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12.09.2005

i'm about to pass a kidney stone. how's that for sex on wheels? 

- nick diamond responds to a catcall

while everyone else was busy compiling their best of 2005 lists,
i found a sure thing for my best of 2006 list.

islands.
islands.
islands.
(in case you don't know me that well, 3 times means i really love em. overexcitement mixed with OCD, perhaps.)

i'd heard a few islands songs that were floating around the internet, and i was already sold. but then i went to see them at knitting factory on tuesday night, and now i'm obsessed.

from the deadpan stage banter and the all-white suits to the clarinet love and the turkey in the straw violin solo, they could not have been more my favorite. islands take all the lush, layered, passionate instrumentation of the arcade fire or wolf parade, drop the haunt, and add brilliantly absurdist lyrics and humor - think beta band, beck, uh, unicorns - to create something both giddy and gorgeous.

there were about 7 of them hopping around on stage at any given time. "nick diamond on vocals, piano, guitar and synth, jaime tambeur on drums, jim guthrie of royal city on guitar and vocals, mike feuerstack of wooden stars on lap steel and percussion, patrick gregoire on guitar, percussion, and bass clarinet, patrice agbokou on five-stringed bass, sebastian chow on violin, piano, and recorder, and alex chow ('no relation') on violin and piano." details via pitchfork news.

they played most of their upcoming album return to the sea (the only song i recognized was "don't call me whitney, bobby") and for their encore they covered "graceland" by paul simon. fitting, as they cite the graceland album as one of their influences. apparently some people were surprised and said islands don't normally do encores. but bitches, we got TWO. the crowd just wasn't leaving. everyone clapped and wooooot-ed and ow owww!-ed until nick and jamie came back out and played the second encore of "abominable snowman" for what they said was the first time ever live. i can't believe it only took two people.

let's just say check the balcony at their next show, i predict a david byrne and/or bowie sighting.

some general islands background: the two founders (nick and j'amie) are ex-unicorns. their upcoming album will feature guest appearances by members of arcade fire and wolf parade. they have opened for beck and remixed a song for guerolito. nick was also a co-writer of the vice holiday send-up for charity "do they know it's hallowe'en."

if you haven't already, go download
:: abominable snowman ::
(courtesy of simple mission.)

islands : return to the sea is scheduled for UK release in january. i know what i'll be buying myself for my birthday...

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