Earlier this week as I was burning Mp3 data discs for some folks as Xmas presents, upon transferring albums from my music folders onto blank CDs, I realized much of the music was from bands that released debut albums within the last year. Amidst the instantly recognizable epic rock from Kings of Leon, Bruce Springsteen, Muse, and Pearl Jam crept some highly pervasive tunes from some more under the radar bands. The following is a small list that made a huge impact on me throughout 2009, and recommend checking out if you haven't already acquired.
Bowerbirds - Excellent Americana duo based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Defining characteristic is their intricate vocal harmonies and heavy use of the accordion (!) in several songs. Also they offer wonderfully emotive lyrics.
Bon Iver - Isolationist project from singer/songwriter Justin Vernon that completely snowballed into a critically-acclaimed indie-folk phenomenon. I can't go a week without listening to Bon Iver. Check out their cover of Outfield's, "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight."
Delta Spirit - These guys really came out of nowhere and blew me away this year. Saw them open for Dr. Dog and The Shins, and also a headlining show at R&R Hotel with their blistering straight-forward American rock 'n' roll. They are coming to DC9 2x in February.
Passion Pit - Say what you will about synth-pop and electronic rock, these guys are the real deal. Riding on the success of single "Sleepyhead", this band's debut disc appeared on almost every publication's top 50 of the year list. Soooooo infectious.
Re-discovery of Phish - I just flat out fell in love with Phish again this year. It's good to see them back out on the road just flat out ripping through tightly performed three hour sets rife with classics "Harry Hood", "You Enjoy Myself", "The Divided Sky". Their new album Joy is nothing to slouch at either, offering particular strength in "Backwards Down the Number Line", "Ocelot", and "Time Turns Elastic".
The Walkmen - Saw these guys early this year in Columbus, Ohio at a tiny little club, and I felt like I was at a stadium show. Their indefinable sound (NPR described them as "Dylan meets indie rock) is so vast, with a vintage, lo-fi edge to it that makes me think they should have existed 40 years ago, or are on the cusp of being the biggest band in the world.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I thought I'd just keep the vids coming this Friday with this expertly produced introductory piece to The Barns. It touches on all the major offerings of The Barns featuring live footage of several of this year's winter/spring performances, Filene Young Artists from our opera company, and key elements of historical context. I'm particularly fond of the end dialogue from West Texas country singer/songwriter Radney Foster...check it out!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I know you've been waiting with baited breath for the premiere of November's "This Month at Wolf Trap" installment, and we've got the goods for you below. November was very concert heavy, so you'll enjoy some expertly captured HD footage of John Eaton, Radney Foster, and Works Progress Administration. We will likely take a hiatus from the TMAWT series come the end of December, since the Holiday season is a bit of a slow time here at the Foundation, but we'll bring it back strong in January (provided I can find a qualified multimedia intern)! Know of anyone?? Please send them my way! :)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Can you believe it?! A GRAMMY nod for the Wolf Trap Opera Company!
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts proudly announces a GRAMMY nomination in the category of ‘Best Opera Recording’ for Volpone, a piece commissioned by the foundation and performed by the organization’s nationally renowned Wolf Trap Opera Company. Unfaithfully based on Ben Jonson’s 17th century comedy, this new American opera revives the great tradition of comic opera through the eyes and minds of composer John Musto, and librettist Mark Campbell.
Check out GRAMMY.com and scroll down to category 99 to view our competition. This is a huge deal for us and couldn't be more excited about what this means for the Wolf Trap Opera Company and Wolf Trap Recordings.