Back in early 2004, The Walkmen rolled into San Diego, touring off of their breakout album Bows and Arrows. I had yet to hear the album, and the nation was still about six months away from unanimously agreeing that the searing anthem “The Rat” was the best rock single of the year.
So it was just dumb luck when a friend and I — having just moved to the city and wanting to introduce ourselves to the live music scene — basically closed our eyes, pointed to the concert listings, and chose The Walkmen. At the Casbah. It was a hell of an introduction. Front man Hamilton Leithauser was a whirlwind that night, slightly drunk, perching on the monitors and throwing around mic stands, and stalking the stage like he owned the place and everyone in it. We were all instant fans. Continue reading…
San Diego’s Hotel St. George recently premiered the excellent video for their song “Little Children’s Bones.” The video features a robot battling a wizard in Russian roulette, a dog with a cape, and various other serious things. It’s definitely in your best interest to check it out.
To enhance the viewing of their latest musical movie film, band members Matt Binder and Eric Visnyak provided us with their Poetic Memory. Watch the video above, and read their list of influences below. Continue reading…
New Jersey has produced some terrific music in years past. I mean, come on: Frank Sinatra, George Clinton, The Boss, Yo La Tengo, Bon Jovi… Alright, maybe not the Bon Jovi part, though I do freely admit to feeling the urge to sing along whenever “It’s My Life” comes across the airwaves. Don’t judge. But out of all those bands, Yo La Tengo is probably the most similar to Real Estate, and even that comparison is a stretch.
“Beach Comber”, the opening track on Real Estate’s self-titled debut, serves as a perfect introduction to the band’s surprising restraint and easy-go-lucky rhythm. Their music uses a feeling of youthful carelessness not just as a sonic template, but as a common theme that runs throughout the album. Front man Martin Courtney exhibits a thoughtful, sincere singing style, his voice humbly meshing with the hushed, playful tones. Continue reading
Fact: there are more albums in existence today than ever before, and, as more albums are released in the future, that number will most likely increase. We, the intrepid writers for Owl&Bear, stand at the frothy frontline of this constant deluge of new music, bravely filling buckets with the good stuff and presenting it as sweet sustenance to our parched readers. We perpetually receive music from PR people, begging us to check out undiscovered artists, and a lot of it is, quite frankly, underwhelming. But once in a while we come across a diamond in the rough, something that grabs us by the ears and doesn’t let go. And so it happened that, mere seconds into hearing “If You” (MP3), I became a fan of Boy Without God.
Hailing from Massachusetts, famed home of the sassy Congressman, Boy Without God is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Birnbaum. His new album, Your Body Is Your Soul, which sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel if they’d been fronted by Johnny Cash, has been on constant rotation in the Owl&Bear offices lately and is shaping up to be one of the best albums of the year. Birnbaum was kind enough to share his influences with us for our newest installment of Poetic Memory.
Poetic Memory is a regular Owl and Bear feature in which musicians disclose their influences—whether it’s albums, songs, artists, or something random. If you’re interested in being featured here, send us an email. Continue reading