The Head and The Heart Visit Daytrotter

Daytrotter continues the neverending onslaught of awesome with today’s The Head and The Heart session.  It’s a dynamic, energetic set from the Seattle band, and well worth checking out.  As Daytrotter puts it: “Seattle band The Head and the Heart lives for the lovely confusion of continuous misinterpretation of what it means when we feel certain things in the various spots where we feel them. They don’t let dreariness creep into the conversation, but rather they find that the shafts of golden light that stream into their eyes when they’re needing it most are signs that comprehension is overrated. There are places that are so familiar that they’re healing, in some way.”  Hear a bit, below, and find some links to other excellent performances.

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Other Stuff You Might Like: Daytrotter

Chances are, you already know Daytrotter.  But in a series about excellent music websites, it’s almost criminal not to mention Sean Moeller’s extraordinary website.  Since 2007, the site has been serving up excellent, intimate music sessions for the masses.  Their motto: “One band a day, every day, 28 Daytrotter Session songs each week.”  Here’s how it works: Bands take a couple of hours out of their travels to visit The Horseshack in Rock Island, IL., where they then record a variety of tracks.  Daytrotter puts together some art, and an oft-amusing description of the session, and gives the music away on their site.  It’s an amazingly expansive collection, too, and a true marvel that it’s all done in a not-for-profit enterprise.  And while picking out highlights in this collection is like trying to pick out a favorite piece of sand on a pristine beach, I’ll do my best.

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Recommended: First Aid Kit

All Songs Considered’s recent review of this year’s CMJ (College Music Journal) came with a lot of awesome surprises – perhaps the best of which is First Aid Kit.  First Aid Kit is two Swedish sisters – Klara and Johanna Söderberg – who make lovely, dreamy, and – most of all – exuberant music.  From their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” to their original tracks, First Aid Kit’s music has the unusual quality of being both natural and ethereal. The songs range easily from moments of introspection, to raucous, confessional declarations of the soul. In a year that brought us the return of Ace of Base, I think First Aid Kit might be just the hero we were holding out for…

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Laura Veirs – Daytrotter Session

Laura Veirs visited the fine folks at Daytrotter back in March to lay down some beautiful, acoustic tracks.  The tracks are lush, gentle, and reminiscent of Summer evenings past.  The more I listen, the more I am captivated by them – and it seems I’m not alone.  Colin Meloy has described her most recent album – July Flame – as “the best album of 2010.”  (It’s worth noting that he said this in January, which I take to be a sign of confidence rather than sarcasm.) As her site describes it:

[July Flame] explores the emotion of mid-summer. Drenched in wood smoke, sunlight, pollinators, pastoral dales, fireworks and warm nights, her lyrics explore the dichotomy between one’s desire for permanence and security and the realization that such things rarely exist.

And there is a sense in all of these Daytrotter tracks that things are both beginning and ending at once… that the world is both waking and sleeping, and that you are, indeed, caught between the two.  Follow me for more…

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Breathe Owl Breathe – Daytrotter Session

From Michigan, by way of Daytrotter, comes yet another triumph.  Breathe Owl Breathe is a three-piece folk/indie band comprised of Trevor Hobbs (Percussion, Piano, Toys), Micah Middaugh (Singing, Guitar, Banjo), and Andréa Moreno Beals (Singing, Cello).  Their songs instantly take me back to Michigan: to evenings where dusk drags on forever in a big sky, where the shores of lakes may as well be oceans, and where settlements pop up like afterthoughts in an otherwise “open” landscape.  The songs are playful and mystical, earthy and ethereal, and they seem to simultaneously speak of dreams and waking.  On the subject of dreams, Micah writes this about the band’s name:

The name Breathe Owl Breathe came from a dream I had. There was an owl that was cutting its way through the cold, still night. (Whoever was in charge of the cinematography of the dream—my hatʼs off to them.) It was from the perspective of just above a field mouse scurrying through blades of grass. The mouse then found a little divot in the ground, laid down on its back, and gave its last breath. The breath rose up into the sky, passing by the owlʼs beak. The owl gave a breath, turned its head, and decided to fly away. Suspended in the air, I watched the owl weave its way out of sight, flapping three flaps on one wing before switching to the other wing to do the same. I had never seen a bird fly that way. I woke up and wrote “Breathe Owl Breathe” on the windowsill with a ballpoint pen, then fell back to sleep. The pen was out of ink, so the writing (I discovered the next morning) was more of an indentation of the words into wood. I called Andréa up, she wrote down Breathe Owl Breathe, the dream came back, and we had ourselves a name.

I think Derek Barber of The Michigan Daily describes their sound best: “Breathe Owl Breathe makes music of honest curiosity: Music that confounds a listener with its relentless humility, while somehow entrancing an audience with its loveliness at the same time.”  My personal favorite of the Daytrotter tracks is “Dog Walkers,” which kind of makes me think of a marriage between Great Lake Swimmers and Evan Dando.  For me, it all comes down to this lyric: “If the light bends, friend, bend with it.  You are a fallen star.  Pick yourself up…”  There’s something that glows in this track, even as it reminds me of the rain and fog.  But maybe that’s just the Midwest?  If straight-up sunshine’s your thing, then look no further than “Birdz.”  It’s lively, warm, and just dripping with onomatopoeia.  What more could you want, right?

Follow me to have a listen.  You can also visit their page, or their myspace page, for more.

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