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The Morning Benders open for Broken Bells at Music Box in Hollywood 5/19

Highly anticipated Broken Bells show with The Morning Benders this Wednesday at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre in Hollywood. For those who don’t know, Broken Bells is the amalgamation of L.A.-based producer Brian Burton AKA Danger Mouse and James Mercer, lead singer from indie-music heavyweights The Shins. The Morning Benders newest album Big Echo (produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear) is a beautiful blend of lo-fi percussion, melodic arpeggios and soft falsetto. Guitars with heavy reverb harken back to surf rock of the 50s and 60s, while a wurlitzer smoothes it out for a laissez-faire listening experience. Both bands are bi-coastal and both bands completely rock.

   

Good Feeling

 

With their June 15th release of Apparitions on Carpark Records Light Pollution has decided to hit the road today in support of the album. Their coast to coast tour starts tonight in Ohio and goes through June. The band will play at Lincoln Hall on June 4th with This Will Destroy You.

   

A candidate for the 'Chilled Record of Summer 2010": Miniature Tigers

In the summer we all need a record to chillax to, don't we? The music of Miniature Tiger, who will be releasing their sophomore album "Fortress" in late July, seems to have all the right requirements to be the soundtrack of our battery recharging moments. The band has a song produced by Neon Indian currently streaming on Stereogum - but we recommend you also check out their older material on their myspace page, there are some beautiful pop gems in these guys' repertoire.

   

Triumph of The Quirky Crew: Ghostland Observatory at Anderson High

 

 

AVID. "Advancement Via Individual Determination." I only wish this program existed during my high school days.  I was duly impressed when I was asked to attend a songwriting workshop (put on by the non-profit writing center Austin Bat Cave) at Anderson High School. Aaron Behrens from Ghostland Observatory was to host…say no more. 

As I walked through the halls of the school in between classes and all of the fresh-faced students were running around, moments of my insecure high school days came flooding back.  Expressing yourself whether through song, art, theater, was not cool back then.  It was simply a scene from a movie where the geek outcast finally gets the cute girl.  It’s not reality.  

A lot of the students in this particular class are going to be the first in their family to attend college.  This class is all about writing, self-expression, and college preparation…they were defined as a “quirky crew”. I LOVE THE QUIRKY CREW!!

 

Aaron Behrens did an amazing job inspiring these kids.  I literally was so into his speech that I found myself believing that I, too, could be on the cusp of a monumental career in the arts.  I am telling you, I was convinced!

 

Aaron had some motivating things to say, but it was more than that, it was his spirit, his artistic integrity, his humbleness that was so inspiring.  Some of the focus was about the freedom of expression.  Doing what you want in an artistic way that creates self-empowerment.  To break out and be free, don’t care about what the doubters believe and leave them behind.  Let people laugh at you - because guess what, Aaron now travels the world playing music for a living.  How many people have wished that were their reality?  Being true to yourself, saying YES to success, open your arms to the opportunity and sacrificing everything for your passion.  Challenging yourself as an artist, as a human being to do something completely new. Aaron said something in particular that resonated with the students, “I once wrote to live, and now I write for a living.” It was powerful. And you could see in the students’ faces and in their reactions that he was connecting with them. It was a visceral connection. He performed some songs throughout the class, as well. If you could have only seen the girls’ swoon. Good God!

 

We talked a little about the structure of songwriting, but the talk was more focused on an exercise given to the students.  Aaron threw out some words to inspire the class to write.  After a 10-15 minute writing session, the class took turns presenting their creations.  We heard rap, stories, poems, saw amazing drawings.  I swear, I wrote my own piece, and I had to hold my arm down to stop myself from volunteering to read it out loud in front of the class. 

 

It was truly a wonderful learning experience.  Aaron said that he can’t read music, he plays by ear, and that he derives his inspiration from things that find him, not the other way around.   I hope that the Austin Bat Cave continues to put on these seminars.  I can’t wait to see who they bring in next!

 

--Ellen Green

 

 

   

Fang Island announce dates with Flaming Lips

Exciting times for Brooklyn's indie avant-prog combo Fang Island after they earned Pitchfork's "Best new Music" blessing. The band announced dates supporting The Flaming Lips in July - definitely a fitting opener for the quirky psych rock darlings. Fang Island will also headline their own mini-tour beginning May 15th in Phoenix, leading to a NYC homecoming on May 29th with Dan Deacon to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Cake Shop. The quintet also plays Chicago's Green Music Fest in June. Fang Island began, oddly enough, as an art school project while the band members were attending the prodigious Rhode Island School of Design (also the foundation for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Les Savvy Fav, Six Finger Satellite, Lightning Bolt and some band called the Talking Heads.)