1. Nevermind, Nirvana – Age 12
In 1996 my parents took me on a vacation to Michigan. We drove over the course of two days from Central Minnesota to Mackinac Island. We only stopped to sleep and to see any, and every, goofy road side monument – e.g. the world’s biggest ball of string. My brother and sister hadn’t come for whatever reason, so there wasn’t much to do for entertainment in the back of our stuffy station wagon. My choices were to either endure my mother reading endlessly out loud to my father or to pull out my walkman and take a listen to the tape I had borrowed from my friend. It was Nirvana’s Nevermind, and I had never heard anything like it. Every time I would come to the end of one side I would flip the tape over and keep going. I was hypnotized. The dynamics were so intense. Kurt’s voice was so raw and honest. Everything about it made sense to me, and for the first time in my life an album gave me a sense of personal expansion. It was as if listening to it had turned on a light in a corner of myself that I didn’t know existed but had been there all along.
2. Clarity, Jimmy Eat World – Age 15
In 1999 I was on the verge of some real independence. I had started learning to play the guitar two years prior and spent most of the hours of my day writing shitty music and riding bike around town with my friends. We had a band and we were ambitious. We traveled around Minnesota playing shows to eight kids in basements for what felt like ages. While we were out on one of these so called tours I was introduced to Jimmy Eat World’s album, Clarity. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved every moment of every song on it. I basically lived and breathed that record for an entire year. It became a part of me, and I started to take myself seriously when I thought of making a life out of being an artist and making music.
3. Songs of Love and Hate, Leonard Cohen – Age 26
Starting when he was four years old my father would spend his summers with my Great-Grandparent’s at their farm in Central Minnesota. When I was young we would go out every summer to that same farm to visit my Great-Grandparents. After they passed away the farm was relatively uninhabited for 11 years. In 2010 I was at an interesting point in life. I was treading water emotionally and needed to connect to something real and true. I thought of the farm and drove out to rehabilitate the place over the next few months whenever I could. It was completely overgrown and rundown. I spent a lot of time out there bringing the place back to life, and one of the albums that grew to define that place and time for me was Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate. His songwriting is so bare and effortless. His lyrics are masterfully conversational and frank. Leonard Cohen is a great poet and songwriter. He understands what’s important to him to explore and he doesn’t seem to spread a lot of his creative energy outside of those realized priorities. I gained a new level of focus from the example I found in Leonard and in Songs of Love and Hate. On that album he explores ideas that I relate to so deeply that sometimes it feels as if some of my work could be a response of some kind to his. I feel I can go places lyrically that I would’ve hesitated to before because I know I’m not alone in the admittance of something so real and dark and complicated and beautiful. Maybe I’d be more of a coward without experiencing Songs of Love and Hate. Maybe some other album would’ve helped me find my way. I can’t say for sure, but I did find It. I did spend the time to sink into it, and I’m glad I did.
If you have any recommendations or stories of albums that have changed your life, please leave them in the comments.
See you out there,
This post was written by Nate Eiesland of ON AN ON as part of their Takeover of Indie Music Filter. Follow Nate and ON AN ON on twitter.
Hey. I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from tour and a few killer podcasts I listen to while driving across the country. This is my first blog post ever by the way. Here goes…
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Driving through the barren Arizona desert listening to the Chemical Brothers is an out of this world experience. But there is almost too much music on tour. Live music every night, loud venues and clubs, music in the tour van and through my headphones. Sometimes it’s good to just have silence… and other times its time for a damn good podcast. It’s like safely reading while driving. Here are a few of my solid go-tos that really get me through my saturated music world. Check them out on your next long car ride.
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Being on tour is a complete sensory experience. I’m constantly trying to turn the sounds, smells, and sights into permanent memories. In the digital world of blogs (like this one), twitter, facebook and smartphones, photographs will never be the same. I love turning the pages of my parents’ photo album—physically seeing the printed photographs chronologically mark the life they lived. I want that. And so I’ve tried to take more photos on tour. Not just for social media posts and to share with all of you, but to print out physical copies that I can later leaf through. I want to sense the marks of time and experiences I’ve had on the road. Here are some of my favorites from the first half of 2013 (USA, CANADA & EUROPE).
To preface this I get excited when I see girls in bands partially because I’m heterosexual but also because, lets face it, there are fewer girls in bands than guys in bands. I’m excluding bands with one girl singer in the band or artists who happen to be women. That’s a common occurance. Nico, Robyn, Sade – all great artists and singers. But what’s uncommon are bands like Sleater Kinney or Lucious Jackson where the women are masters of their art and instruments. And when I see a female kick the shit out of the drums or destroy bass lines I am switched on. And if there was ever a year for this to happen it is 2013. The Age of Almighty Sexy Girl Band is upon us. And here are a few that are making it a solid case.
A trio of sisters that grew up playing music together alongside their parents under the stage name Rockinhaim drop the rocken and shorten it to Haim. The sound ls like Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush having sex with the faintest En Vogue song playing in the background. Not only equipped with a solid EP they can handle themselves effortlessly live. I finally got the chance to see them live at Lincoln hall in Chicago and I was floored. It was well anticipated after missing them at Governors Ball in NYC and at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. Guitar necks are child’s play for the sisters Danielle And Este Haim. It was so epic even Rockenhaim reunited that night. And I will confess that I did see Este Haim and was immediately so star struck that i froze up and couldn’t introduce myself to her.
I had only heard their single “Husbands” before I saw them live at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago and I couldn’t believe what I was watching. 3 women annihilating drums bass and guitar while the 4th woman had the most powerful and captivating voice. All clad in black I was so satisfied to hear Nu wave garage punk with a screaming female to entrance me the entire set. Like Haim they have great recorded songs but they are even better live.
Yeah yeah yeah so hot chip is a bunch of awesome dudes that write some fantastic songs. I know I know. But their live drummer Sarah Jones kind of stole the show for me at Lollapalooza in Chicago this year. She hit perfectly on even the most complex songs and kept an awesome style the entire time. I was smitten. She’s also in Bat For Lashes? Okay still smitten. Oh and here she is utilizing a Roland BT-1 and proof of how amazing she is.
This post was written by Ryne Estwing of ON AN ON as part of their Takeover of Indie Music Filter. Follow Ryne and ON AN ON on twitter.
I’m trying a little experiment on Sept. 3rd, where I’m going to give the IMF keys to Chicago/Minneapolis band ON AN ON for the day. Tune in then to hear Nate, Alissa and Ryne blog about whatever they’d like. And if you’re in any of the cities below, go catch them live on their upcoming tour.
When ON AN ON hit the road in September for headline dates throughout the US, they do so with a limited edition cassette release. The cassette features the Minneapolis/Chicago trio covering Hot Chip’s “Boy From School” and a stunning re-interpretation of Bjork’s “Unison” (below). If you’re past cassettes though, grab it digitally on August 20th.
In the ambulatory of the University of Vienna On An On take shelter from the gust of wind howling in their ears. The Chicago & Minneapolis based trio strikes up “Ghosts” while the clouds are drifting fast above their heads. In this transition between light and shadow the haunting vocal harmonies of Nate, Alissa and Ryne really seem to invoke ghosts. When Nate ends with the line “cause I was on the verge to scream when you wouldn’t scream about anything”, fragile like a wisp of wind, it gives you goose bumps!