An Exploration of “Re: Stacks”- Bon Iver

This is a super cool video I just stumbled upon that explores the songwriting techniques used by Justin Veron on his Bon Iver song “Re: Stacks.” It goes into detail about this song in particular, but also touches on some of his overall strategies on the rest of For Emma, Forever Ago. Vernon’s music is unique, and it is neat to take a closer look into some aspects of Bon Iver that are not straightforward when simply listening to the song. If for some reason you have not had the pleasure of listening to Bon Iver before, you really must start, as it is some of the most beautiful music ever written. Furthermore, if you are a Bon Iver fan, but haven’t listened to any of Vernon’s other projects, I recommend immediately listening to “Bones” by DeYarmond Edison, the band Vernon cut ties with before writing the first Bon Iver record.


“Hold Up”- Declan McKenna

Declan McKenna continues to impress with a cover of none other than Beyonce. Check out this unique take on an already bad-ass song! If you haven’t heard the original, be sure to take a listen for some comparison. The two are both amazing in their own right, but I love the grungier twist McKenna puts on this banger of a pop song.

Audiotree Live x Shakey Graves

Audiotree TV is another organization that puts out stellar videos of artists performing intimate sets. The location of these sessions aren’t generally as interesting as the videos from La Blogotheque’s Take Away Shows or NPR’s Tiny Desk Concertsbut the music is always great. Furthermore, the Audiotree Live Sessions also double as small interviews, as the hosts always initiate small discussions with the artists in between their songs. These conversations are sometimes about mundane topics, but occasionally there are unique tidbits revealed about the artists that would never come up in any other setting.

This particular session is a performance by the immensely talented one-man-band known as Shakey Graves. The whole performance is entertaining, but the opening song, “Roll The Bones,” is particularly groovy and energetic. Watching him finger pick intricate riffs on the guitar, lay down a rhythmic drum beat with both his feet, and belt out raspy vocals all at the same time is super impressive. It looks like he is getting quite a workout on stage, as he is practically dancing trying to play the drums, but seems to be having a great time doing it. The conversation in this video is also interesting, revealing that Shakey Graves was once an actor with a recurring role on the hit show Friday Night Lights before pursuing a career in music.

Song to Song Trailer

I am not really sure exactly what this movie is going to be about, but damn does it have an intriguing trailer. It seems to be some sort of dramatic love story, which normally doesn’t excite me all that much. However, there is a large element of music included as well, so it could be promising! It also has an incredibly star-studded cast: Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Haley Bennett, Rooney Mara, and Cate Blanchett – not to mention cameos from musicians Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Iggy Pop that appeared in the trailer alone.

A Deeper Look Into the Music of Frank Ocean

I stumbled upon this short video earlier today, and thought it was worth sharing. The video takes an in depth look at Frank Ocean as an artist. It explores some reoccurring themes in his music, as well as aspects of his writing style. I would go into more detail about the insights and intriguing visuals, but I think its better if you watch it for yourself. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Jam In The Van x Rayland Baxter

As soon as I published the blog “Two YouTube Series’ Worth Watching,” I realized that I had made a big mistake. While these two series’ are some of the best on YouTube, I realized that there were many others that I also enjoyed equally as much. I will eventually make a top ten list of my favorites, but for now I wanted to share a specific video from another one of my favorite channels, Jam In the Van. Jam In The Van is what I imagine as my dream job. These guys travel around the country in an RV turned recording studio and have bands, both big and small, play and record songs inside their converted sonic escape mobile. How cool is that!? Their videos first crossed my radar a couple years back when I was preparing to attend my first Bonnaroo music festival (something I certainly plan on writing about in the upcoming months) by looking up videos of the festival on YouTube. I was instantly hooked and have been watching their videos ever since. I highly suggest watching not only this video, but also many more from the Jam In The Van catalog.

Although they have had many amazing performances by some top tier artists, my personal favorite is a session Rayland Baxter did earlier this year, in which he performed the song “Mr. Rodriguez.” Baxter gives of a sort of hippie/woodsman/vagabond vibe, which is amplified even further by this particular setting. His performance fits the bill, as he eloquently weaves together rich descriptions to form characters and tell a story that is vague enough for listener interpretation, while still being intriguing enough to follow along. Story telling like this is characteristic of Baxter’s music and can be seen throughout his most recent release, Imaginary Man. This particular performance sees Baxter and his band adding an extra dose of psychedelic jam rock that is not as prevalent in the original recording, which I think makes for an extra special rendition.


Two YouTube Series’ Worth Watching

NPR’s Tiny Desk ConcertsThe Tiny Desk series is the brainchild of Bob Boilen, the host of NPR’s All Songs Considered. The idea of the shows is simple: artists perform a stripped down, often acoustic, three song set…at Boilen’s own desk at NPR! This unique setting in a small, out of the ordinary location makes for some truly special performances. The series hosts artists varying immensely in both style and popularity, making the videos a great way to see one of a kind performances from some of your favorite artists or discover new music from up and comers.

La Blogotéque’s Take Away Shows: Much like the Tiny Desk Concert series, La Blogotéque’s Take Away Shows focus on intimate performances by a wide array of artists. However, what set’s the Take Away Shows apart is their always changing and often public locations. The Take Away Shows feature artists in old buildings and streets budding with people. The fact that there are random people in the videos is extremely interesting because they often depict how entranced these citizens become in the music, which shows the power that music can have.