of monsters and men

Song of the Day: Milo Greene – 1957

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

If you have ever listened to Of Monsters and Men and thought, jeeze, I really want to listen to another band that sounds like this one, then my friend, I have just made your day. Milo Greene are a quintet from Los Angeles, a place slightly less exotic then Iceland. However, they too have managed to blend male-female harmonies together in gorgeous fashion and this jangly folk pop number is a good track that summarizes this.

The band released a self titled album earlier this summer and are now on tour for this said album and will be in Toronto (for the second time this year) on October 29th. Check out this track.

Lollapalooza Day 3 Review: Of Monsters and Men, The Devil Makes Three, Sigur Ros, The Walkmen, August 5, Chicago

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

Winner of Lollapalooza Sunday: Of Monsters and Men.

Let me explain to you how amazing Of Monsters and Men are: I was bled on, copiously, by a stranger while waiting for this set to start, and yet I ended it with a ginormous grin on my face. They’re that good. Having read Ricky’s post in April about their show at the Phoenix Theater, I knew that I needed to experience the magic. Sure enough, approximately 20 seconds into their set, I already had that warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach. Lead singers Hilmarsdóttir and ÞórhallssonI (the band is Icelandic) have voices that play off each other beautifully, and they’re backed impeccably by horns, drums, accordions and tambourines. Hilmarsdóttir’s vocals shine in particular – she sounds like what I would imagine a nicotine-addicted angel would: throaty and angelic.

I feel impelled to give a shout-out to the crowd at this set as well – best crowd ever (except, of course, for the one losing her life force all over my legs). Everyone was under 5’6’’ so I had a perfect view of the stage, they brought bubbles, streamers, and blow up birthday cakes, which were all tossed in the air at the exact correct moments, and everyone was as appropriately appreciative of this amazing band as they should have been. Well done guys!

Best bluegrass act of Lollapalooza Sunday: The Devil Makes Three.

I had already created this category in my mind before heading to Lolla on Sunday, knowing that Trampled by Turtles would take the prize. Shnope! Just kidding! While Trampled by Turtles was excellent in their own right, The Devils Makes Three came out of nowhere, jammin’ like nobody’s business to snatch that title. The trio hails from Santa Cruz and consists of a guitar, a banjo and a upright bass (if your band has an upright bass you win, but if your band has an enthusiastic, female upright bassist then you double win.) The threesome put on an incredibly high energy show for the crowd, who made up for their small
size by doubling their enthusiasm – I’ve never seen a group of people break out into so many small, simultaneous hoedowns.

Least impressive act of Lollapalooza Sunday: Sigur Ros.

I would give Sigur Ros my “Most ‘meh’ act of Lollapalooza Sunday” category, but as I see it, Sigur Ros doesn’t even make it that far. This band confuses me. I know there’s something I’m missing – I have friends with great taste in music who love them. In my opinion though, Sigur Ros commits the two cardinal sins of band-hood: they make music that is not only unappealing, it’s also boring. (I already feel bad for writing that – for those who disagree, just chalk it up to my heat stroke).

Most pleasant surprise of Lollapalooza Sunday: The Walkmen.

The Walkmen toured with Fleet Foxes back in 2011, which is when the band came to my attention. I’m a big Fleet Foxes fan, so I looked up the Walkmen thinking that I would probably enjoy them as well. I was completely nonplussed with what I found, so when I saw they were coming to Lollapalooza I was unenthusiastic. My plan was to head from Trampled by Turtles to Gary Clark Jr., but when Trampled by Turtles finished their set and I turned to walk towards the Playstation Stage, I found myself facing the Sony Stage, where an impeccably suited-up man with a massive set of lungs was belting out some seriously wiggle-inducing music, and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I’m not sure what it is about their live performance that makes it so distinctive from their recorded music for me – I think their recorded material sounds just a little more punk than their live performance, which has a little more finesse to it, which apparently makes all the difference.

Best all female band of Lollapalooza Sunday: Dum Dum Girls.

I constantly bemoan the fact that there aren’t more all female bands out there (it just seems odd to me that there are so many solo female acts – Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine, Santigold, M.I.A., Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj – and yet the indie world, as well as most other genres of music, almost completely lacks for female bands.) Which is why I was thrilled that

a) Lollapalooza had an all female band and
b) I super enjoyed them.

Overall winner of Lollapalooza: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound.

This one was a fight to the death between Of Monsters and Men and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, but in the end the element of pure surprise and joy that came with showing up 30 minutes early for the set I was planning on seeing, only to find myself faced with the world’s most charismatic front-man of a post-punk, retro, R&B group doing his “weed dance” clinched it for me. You know that when you find yourself laughing with delight multiple times during a concert that the band is doing something right. If you happen to be local to Chicago, get ready to make these guys your hometown sweethearts, and if you’re not local to Chicago, get ready to see these guys when they tour. Awesome.

Osheaga 2012 Preview! Part 1

Posted on by lauren in Concerts | Leave a comment

The countdown is on! Only two more days until I board a smelly bus at six in the morning in my attempt to get to Jean Drapeau Park in time to see The Walkmen. High hopes this one has. As the excitement for the festival builds, here is a playlist and preview of what thousands upon thousands of happy ears will be feasting upon.

This post will be broken up in three, as the festival has now expanded to three days now. If you are reading this and wondering what the hell “Osheaga” is, well here’s a quick breakdown.

Osheaga came to fruition in 2006, when Montreal decided it wanted to be more awesome than it already was. 2006 was also the year the shortlived Virgin Music Festival came to Toronto. Osheaga obviously lasted longer. Growing in size every year, but only have ever been a two day long festival, last year Osheaga’s popularity allowed it to begin on the Friday afternoon. Now in 2012, Osheaga is three full days long, sees sponsors from Virgin Mobile, Blackberry, hosts the same caliber bands that hit the festival circuit, and has seen the likes of Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Eminem, Sonic Youth,  Iggy and the Stooges and more, grace their main stages. Osheaga is also host to many up and coming bands, offering a wide variety of music in a quieter setting (Parc Jean-Drapeau is gorgeous to say the least).

So here’s the playlist, who out of these I will see, and who I will heart-breakingly miss is still up in the air!

1) Charli XCX – U.K. Electronic “Dark Wave”, sounds promising.

2) The Walkmen – Still going strong after 10 years, NYC gritty indie. Makes you want to hit a dimly lit basement bar.

3. Yukon Blonde – a band name that invokes the thought of beer, Vancouverites that pump out great Canadian indie rock.

4. Fun. – Well it’s in their name, so they must be right? Breakout hit We Are Young, many will see just for this.

5. Freelance Whales – Saw these guys a couple of years ago, really fun poppy music.

6. Bombay Bicycle Club – Another UK export, extremely energetic indie pop. Also, Wikipedia declares them from “Crouch End”, London, which is just a cool as name.

7.  Of Monsters and Men – Icelandic folk pop, already on the fast track to mainstream, great for camping or anything involving a bonfire.

8. Dum Dum Girls – legit the real deal, think The Pretenders, hints of old Mazzy Star with their own fresh twist.

9. Gary Clark Jr – Blues God, of our decade, as I have proclaimed him.

10. Franz Ferdinand – If you don’t know well… listen to them. Making music to dance to for 8 years, these Scots are still going strong.

11. The Weeknd – Having reached international success, Toronto’s own will have the entire crowd grooving smoothly.

12. Atlas Sound – Bradford Cox, lead vocalist of Deerhunter’s side project is as melodic and dreamy as Deerhunter.

13. Florence and the Machine – With vocals this flawless, Florence Welch makes it look so effortless. Source of inspiration for many American Idol contestants.

14. Sigur Ros – Making a comeback that no fan can ignore, emerging from their hiatus with new acclaimed album makes for an unmissable tour.

15.Justice – France electronic outfit are guaranteed to make us dance nonstop during their headlining set.


For a full list of Friday’s schedule check out the website.

Concert Review: Of Monsters and Men, April 12th, Phoenix Theatre

Posted on by Ricky in Music | Leave a comment

Of Monsters and Men is basically the gentle love child of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and the Arcade Fire. They combine the humble, folk sound of the former with the frenetic well layered and explosive sound of the latter. It’s a perfect marriage, much like Arnold and Maria Shriver before all that random crap happened.

Here’s a one word review of their live show: Awesome.

It’s just so great to be able to go to a concert venue and just hear the pleasant music that Of Monsters and Men create. I’ve been a fan of their debut album for a long time (you can win it! we have a contest here) and to be able to hear it live was just a wonderful treat. The horns, the drums, the vocal interplay, the cute Icelandic accent banter, it’s all great. Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s voice is so precious it makes me want to go to a Catholic church and tell the priest of all the (petty) crimes I’ve committed in my life and beg for forgiveness.

If there was a hippy commune where everyone was treated like equals and lived in perfect harmony, I feel like Of Monsters and Men can soundtrack it. Their live show just leaves a fuzzy feeling in your stomach. I really regret missing their inaugural show at the El Mocambo (was in Peru) and after witnessing their superb show at the Phoenix, I regret missing them at SXSW (under the guise that I already had tickets for them here). Some bands you can see many times, Of Monsters and Men is one of them.

I believe this was the last show of their current tour. I’m pretty sure Of Monsters and Men will be back stateside at some point this year, make sure you catch them.