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How To Make People Like You Whether They Want To Or Not

June 29, 2009

As regular readers of this blog know, The Brown Tweed Society is rapidly becoming the cultural epicenter of this new technology I like to call “Internet.” Using a keen sense of pop culture awareness, we’re bringing you tomorrow’s entertainment news today.  Many of these so-called other blogs are looking at TBTS for content and analysis to repeat on thier sites .  We didn’t just raise the bar–we are the bar, baby.

Being your resident music jockey, I know just how important it is for you, the reader, to look like you know something about music.  I understand that you have things like “jobs” and “lives” and that you just can’t spend all day every day listening to the latest Wilco record or scouring this “Internet” for where Spoon is going to play their next show.  And I know you are counting on me to bring you up to speed on all this stuff so that you can exhibit your knowledge in various social situations.  So today I’m going to introduce you to two bands that are on the cutting edge of rock music.  As an added bonus, I’m going to give you some pointers on how to use your new-found knowledge to your advantage.


In early 2007, Brooklyn’s own Yeasayer introduced themselves to the world at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX.  The band’s world music-influenced brand of rock and roll quickly created a blog buzz that grew exponentially as word travelled.  By summer, “Sunrise” and “2080” hit the internet as downloadable singles and it was obvious that Yeasayer was something special.  What really set Yeasayer apart was their seamless integration of Middle Eastern and North African influences into their music, something that hasn’t been done successfully very often.  Yeasayer released their debut album All Hour Cymbals in October 2007. Cymbals immediately ended up on many year-end “Best Of” lists.  They have cemented their early promise through innovative live shows and endless touring.

Currently, the band is working on a new album that is set to drop in 2010.  They previewed some of the new material at this year’s Bonnaroo, again to rave reviews.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been told by a number of attendees that Yeasayer was one of the best bands at the festival.  Band member Chris Keating is involved in strong collaborations with other artists such as Bat for Lashes and Simian Mobile Disco.  Also, the band provided a single for the Dark Was The Night charity compilation that was released earlier this year.

Integrating Yeasayer into social situations: The best use of Yeasayer’s music to increase your social standing is to play their album on your computer at work, just loud enough for your co-workers to hear but not loud enough to get yourself in trouble.  When you get the inevitable “Who is that you’re listening to?”, simply reply “Yeasayer, of course.  Can’t you tell?”  and then return to whatever you were doing.  If the questioning co-worker is attractive and desirable as a social companion, offer to allow him/her/them to have a “Listening Party” at your place over drinks.  If the questioning co-worker is unattractive and/or someone you don’t want to hang out with simply deter further questions by turning the music up louder and louder until you can no longer hear their bleating.

Bon Iver

The story of Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project is already the stuff of legend.  Here’s the short version if you haven’t heard:  Vernon goes through the break-up of his band DeYarmond Edison and the dissolution of a relationship.  To top it all of he battles through having mono and later retires to a solitary cabin in the wilds of Wisconsin.   While there, he records a full album’s worth of songs–both beautiful and haunting.  He calls the project “Bon Iver”, a bastardization of the French “Bon Hiver” or “Good Winter” and names the album For Emma, Forever Ago.  He self-produces the album and sells it off of his website.

“Skinny Love” is the first song to drop in 2007 and all of the sudden the band is all over the music blogs.  Vernon, who wasn’t widely known outside the Midwest, suddenly finds himself with a new found coast-to-coast fame.  He puts together a band and starts to play shows under the Bon Iver moniker.  The album gets picked up by indie label Jagjaguwar and is label-released in early 2008.  It makes most (if not all) Best-of lists for 2008 and all of the sudden Justin Vernon is absolutely smokin’ in 2009.

So far in 2009, Bon Iver released the EP Blood Bank, which again has garndered critical acclaim.  Like Yeasayer, the band collaborated on the Dark Was The Night compilation and Vernon also participated in the Dark Was The Night concert at Radio City Music Hall in May.  He performed some tracks off of For Emma and also dueted with David Byrne. Most recently, Vernon has released details of a collaborative project with fellow-Wisconsoners Collections of Colonies of Bees called Volcano Choir.

Integrating Bon Iver into social situations: Bon Iver is best reserved for a quiet evening with you and someone special.  Make it background music as you are socializing in your apartment and wait for the “What is this fantastic music?” question you know is coming.  If you desire the evening to continue, put on a somber face and recount how Justin wrote this entire album for a lost love out in the forest.  Tell the person that you’d have to do something similar without them in your life.  Get ready for love in the first degree.

If, however, the night is not turning out as you’d hoped, simply kill the lights and play the song “Creature Fear” off the For Emma album.  Turn a flashlight on and put it under your chin so the light shines upward toward your face.  Then explain that you are really a changeling like the dude on True Blood and you’re going to change into a duckbilled platypus right there.  Then remind them that when that dude turns back into a human, he’s usually naked.  Make sure the front door’s unlocked and there are no obstructions that might cause injury on the way out.

Well, folks, there you have it–two bands that will turn your life into something you can be proud of.  I know you’ll want to repay me somehow for these tidbits of wisdom, and the only thing I ask is that you use the powers I’ve shown you for good and not for evil.  That, and don’t use that line about being a shape shifter in Louisiana–trust me on that one.  Later!

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