The Barr Brothers

Straight Talk Sunday: In Pursuit of the Different

Straight Talk Sunday
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Straight Talk Sunday (in fact this is the first one of 2012), and I think part of that is because I haven’t had much time, but most of it is because there hasn’t been that much to say. Being creative around the clock is hard…and when there’s nothing to say, I don’t want to force anything, because that wouldn’t be any fun for you guys to read. But today, there’s something to say. And what better time to say it than now.

I’ve been struggling a bit in the past couple weeks with the concept of maintaining this beloved blog that I’ve been running for over three years. My life seems to get crazier by the day, and juggling a full-time job, the commute to and from work every day, social gatherings, and just having time to myself here and there gets difficult. Finding time to put in blogging gets really hard, and like I said before, I don’t ever want to force anything.

I’ve thought a bit about quitting, you know…about letting go of the blog. It’s fucking sad to say, and it even makes me squirm when I type it here. This thing has been my obsession for the past three years, and to think about discontinuing it tears at my heartstrings. But I’ve just found that it’s really hard to manage with so many other things on my plate.

But today I’m here to say that I’m not giving up. Nope. Not me, not today. There are a lot of distractors, but then all of the sudden I come across something so beautiful, so different, so moving, that it reminds me once again what the point of this blog is. It reminds me why it’s WORTH taking time out of my life to maintain this blog and to share with you guys what I find to really be life-altering. It was beautiful music that got this started, and it is beautiful music that will keep it going.

Today I came across some of this music, and I’m here to share it with you guys.

I get really excited when I hear a song that sounds, for lack of a better description, a little different. Listening to so much new music every day can be tiring. A lot of it starts to sound the same, and it starts to blur in my mind a bit. What’s funny is that at times I’ll hear songs that don’t fit to a typical song structure (you know…chorus, three verses, a bridge), and I’ll immediately put it off as the works of people poorly versed in the study of music. But then some songs come along that don’t follow this structure and I praise their existence. But perhaps what’s more important than just the structure of the song is the sound of how it was put together.

A great example of this is a song off of Bowerbirds’ new album, called “In The Yard.” When I listen to this track, there are things that I hear and wonder if they intended to make it sound funny like that at times. I ask myself why it sounds a little off, or why the tempo changes so unexpectedly. And then I realize that they’re doing this completely on purpose. These guys have a mastery of the art of making music. And by doing these quirky things in their song, they’re keeping my attention the entire time. It’s creative, and by god it works. This song right here inspired this post, and it is something like this that inspires me to keep going.

MP3: “In The Yard” – Bowerbirds

Another great example of music that moved me today and reminded me why I love doing this so much is a song by Django Django called “Default.” Tell me this isn’t one of the more unique songs you’ve heard in a while. Is it electronic? Is it rock and roll? But wait. It’s folky, it’s twangy, and if it isn’t one of the catchier songs you’ve heard in a while, you might be crazy. I absolutely love it. Are these guys modern-day Fatboy Slim?

And lastly a video I received today of a live recording of The Barr Brothers performing their popular song, “Beggar in the Morning.” This one struck me as unique because of the visual experience. I can listen to a song like “Beggar in the Morning” and be mystified at the noises and the beauty of it, but it’s hard to really conceptualize what it took to put these noises together. In a session they did with KEXP, The Barr Brothers recreated the song, and we get to see all of the parts that form the whole. It’s truly beautiful, and without these visuals, I’m not sure I would have been able to appreciate this song to the same extent that I will now.

And to sum it up, thank you guys for being here to read what the Sunset Family has to say every day. If it weren’t for you guys, we’d have nothing to work for. So thank you, thank you.

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Live: The Barr Brothers (100Band Review #70)

Barr Brothers

What’s Left: 25 days, 30 bands

Who: The Barr Brothers

When/Where: April 12th, T.T.’s, Cambridge, MA

Expectations: I was supposed to see Wye Oak this night, but there was a problem with tickets. I went to the concert venue next door instead, with no idea of what or even who to expect.

Concert: After watching the talented Barr Brothers , I can say with the utmost certainty that this Montreal based band is one you should know about. They were responsible for the bulk of the crowd that showed despite Torquil Campbell (of Stars) and his new side project band Memphis headlining. The Barr Brothers started off the evening playing this song in the most attention grabbing way.  Brad Barr threaded a string around his guitar string so that when he pulled on it, it appeared as though he was flossing his guitar. This created an effect that elongated the notes and probably lots of other stuff that I don’t know about. He also took a tape player and played a little bit of a talking track and then would rewind it and looped the resulting noise. There was a lot going on and it entranced the crowd right away. (For better understanding watch this live video of the song here.)

 

Other highlights included a call and answer section between the guitar and harp player, which isn’t exactly something you see every day. When they played “Sarah Through the Walls” the audience was regaled with the story behind the song. It goes something like this: Sarah Page is the harp player for the band and lived next to The Barr Brothers in Montreal. For months Brad heard her practicing through the walls and found one song especially beautiful. He got up the courage to knock on her door and play his version of the song on his guitar. This was met with a look of confusion and Sarah said she’d never heard the song before. A few awkward laughs later and they became friends and later band mates and this gorgeous song came out of it. It’s a sweet story and one of the few I’ve remembered from the concerts I’ve seen. It’s stuck with me all these months just as their music has.

 

Concert Afterglow: Absolutely one of the most endearing concerts I’ve seen. I want to be their friends.

 

Recommendation: This is a delayed review, so I can say that four months later this concert has made a memorable impression, you need to see them. They are going on tour in support of their debut album being re-released by Secret City Records but mainly in eastern Canada. If you can’t see them you should at least attach yourself to the gorgeous “Beggar in the Morning”.

 

 

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