Review: High Places-High Places

30 09 2008

Fabakis is comin’ to you with a new album review. Today it’s:

High Places-High Places (2008 Thrill Jockey)

Brooklyn duo High Places (comprised of Rob Barker and Mary Pearson) have been much hyped since their formation in May 2006. On September 23 their self-titled debut album finally dropped courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records.

The first adjective I thought of when listening to High Places is “organic”. The soundscapes, though primarily synthesized, seem to blossom and grow until the samples form sort of an ecosystem. In “You In Forty Years”, the way samples are panned and layered gives the impression of birds chirping from all around you. (In fact, actual samples of animal noises are featured at the end of “Papaya Year”). The sense of being in an environment is present throughout. If I had to give the album a color, it would definitely be green, and if I had to give it a figurative location, it would be a rainforest. This sense is reinforced by Mary Pearson’s naturalistic lyrics. “The Tree With The Lights In It” actually takes place in a forest, and trees remain a motif throughout. 

This may seem to be a rather hippy-dippy assessment but the feeling isn’t trivial. For an electronic record, this organic essence is an impressive accomplishment. Without it, High Places would just be another copy-cat of Burial, or Animal Collective or Thom Yorke, or The Knife, or… you get the idea. 

Instead they opt for highly syncopated beats, usually featuring hand drums of some sort, which immediately switch the connotations from the club to Congo. The drums avoid disturbing the viscerally natural environment that the samples create as a standard four-on-the-floor or breakbeat would and, if anything, contribute to it.

Additionally, Mary Pearson’s vocals are recorded beautifully and inhabit their space perfectly. Her lyrics, initially, seem to melt in with the rest of the soundscape. It takes a little effort to extract them from their surroundings but, once out in the open, they are thoughtful and appropriately sparse. They are also somewhat oblique, opting for imagery that conjures general emotions rather than detailed story-telling. 

Overall, the album is, certainly not life-changing, but it is certainly very refreshing. Its main defect is probably that, while it creates a lush and inviting environment, it doesn’t really force the listener to investigate its details. The lyrics can easily remain melted, the album can wash by the listener and all the songs can end up sounding the same. Luckily, for those who care to investigate, the album always offers a new leaf to be turned over.

Fabakis Rating: 8.4



30 09 2008

Yesterday The Hold Steady cancelled their seven stop UK tour for undisclosed reasons. Today it was announced that lead guitarist Tad Kubler is currently undergoing treatment in a hospital for Pancreatitis. While pancreatitis is generally caused by excessive alcohol consumption it could’ve been any number of things. A useful mnemonic device for remembering the causes of acute pancreatitis is; ‘GET SMASHED’, that is:


  • Gallstones
  • Ethanol
  • Trauma
  • Steroids
  • Mumps
  • Autoimmune causes
  • Scorpion venom
  • Hyperlipidaemias
  • ERCP
  • Drugs (Such as Azathioprine)
  • Basically his pancreas is inflamed and it’ll be an unpleasant few days until it gets resolved. A combination of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and medication will be used to relieve the pain. Sorry buddy… The band will be rescheduling the dates in the UK and they hope to have the situation resolved soon.
Here’s what the rest of the tour will look like:
10-09 Paris, France – Nouveau Casino
10-11 Hamburg, Germany – Knust
10-12 Cologne, Germany – Luxor
10-13 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
10-15 Oslo, Norway – Rockerfeller
10-16 Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser Slussen
10-17 Goteborg, Sweden – Sticky Fingers
10-19 Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
10-20 Berlin, Germany – Columbia Club
10-21 Vienna, Austria – WUK
10-22 Munich, Germany – Ampere
10-30 Louisville, KY – Coyote’s at City Block *
10-31 Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium *
11-01 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle *
11-02 Tallahassee, FL – The Moon *
11-03 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre *
11-05 State College, PA – The State Theatre *
11-06 New York, NY – Terminal 5 *
11-07 New York, NY – Terminal 5 *
11-08 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory *
11-09 Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre *
11-11 Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix Theatre *
11-12 Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall *
11-13 Bloomington, IN – Bluebird *
11-14 Chicago, IL – Riviera *
11-15 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
11-16 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
11-19 Boise, ID – The Big Easy *
11-20 Seattle, WA – Showbox *
11-21 Seattle, WA – Showbox *
11-22 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom *
11-23 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore *
11-24 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore *
11-25 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern *
12-16 Den Bosch, Netherlands – Brabanthallen ^
12-20 Dublin, Ireland – The O2 ^
12-21 Belfast, Northern Ireland – Odyssey Arena ^
* w/ Drive By Truckers
^ w/ The Counting Crows & Melee 

The News: The Love you till Tuesday Edition

30 09 2008

I stopped smoking, atleast for awhile. I actually ran three miles today. She didn’t.

And here’s the news!

-Shearwater will be releasing a seven track EP titled, The Snow Leopard, on October 14th. The day after it’s release they’ll be playing at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage! ITS FREE!!! Anyways, the album will feature it’s title-track, live cuts of a few familiar songs and some b-sides. 

-In the New York Times, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin writes about a ficitional meeting of minds between presidential hopeful Barack Obama and the West Wing’s outgoing President Bartlett. Read More

-Read about what happens when we die in Time Magazine’s online edition.

– AC/DC will not sell their album on Itunes. Angus Young was quoted as saying, “We don’t make singles, we make albums.” Well put sir.

-If you haven’t heard the new AC/DC single, watch their music video here:

-It’s been nine or so days since Travis Barker survived a jet crash that killed four other people. Yesterday he was released from a Georgia hospital where he received treatment for his third degree burns. DJ AM, who was also onboard the plane, left the hospital late last week. Reports claim that a blow tire was to blame for the fiery crash.



Andrew Bird-Fiery Crash


-778 points in a day… Read more

-From’s Five things

Sep 29th, 2008 | NEW YORK — Tenants of a Brooklyn building said their landlord came up with a new idea for how to kick them out: Let the smell of the cats out of the bag. Dead cats, that is.

The stench from the carcasses did catch the tenants’ attention — but they stayed and sued.

One tenant, Daisy Terry, told a City Hall news conference on Sunday it was so bad she had to hold her nose coming down the stairs.

The building in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood was purchased last year by a company listed in court papers as Heskel. A call to Heskel Properties in Manhattan was not immediately returned.

Terry said the landlord used the dead cats to try to push out rent-stabilized tenants.


Senate Passes Anti-Piracy Measure; Civil Enforcement Omitted

The US Senate passed an anti-piracy measure on Friday, one that calls for increased enforcement measures on intellectual property infringement.  The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (S3325) mirrors a similar measure recently passed in the House of Representatives, with important modifications.  The measure calls for the placement of a cabinet-level, piracy “czar,” though it stops short of authorizing governmental involvement in civil infringement matters.

That was strongly rejected by the US Department of Justice, which protested the use of government attorneys for essentially private disputes.  The DOJ refused to supply “pro bono lawyers for private copyright holders regardless of their resources,” and subsequently won removal of the provision.  

Despite the pushback, the recording industry expressed enthusiasm.  “At a critical economic juncture, this bipartisan legislation provides enhanced protection for an important asset that helps lead our global competitiveness,” said RIAA chairman and chief executive Mitch Bainwol. The bill now heads back to the House for expected approval. S3325


And that’s the news for today… 

Look for a Fabakis Fall calendar as well as reviews, and other articles here at

The News…

29 09 2008

Welcome to the working week. Whether you’re in school, supposed to be in school or working, it’s still Monday. Another week, another set of obligations…

A few more Hipster terms from our Stuff Hipsters Like articles.


Bust a moby -To dance, groove or kick a little something something.
“Did you see Brock bust a moby all over James last night?”
“He’s got the moves, he can really bust a moby”

Chipper – A woman who’s easy
“She’s a real chipper and will sleep with anyone after one bronson.”


So in the news:

-Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will headline this year’s Super Bowl Half-time Show. 

-Join the global electoral college at the


-Muxtape dies again, and for good… Read more at Digital Music News

-Scarlett  Johansson has married actor Ryan Reynolds… 

-Ray Davies wants to reunite The Kinks! Readmore at the Guardian


-According to Rolling Stone, Chinese Democracy, the previously mentioned Guns and Roses album, will be released around the end of November. Guns and Roses go perfectly with turkey and stuffing so get ready. The album will be sold exclusively at Best Buy for starts but will eventually hit shelves in most stores.

-The Jesus and Mary Chain will release The Power of Negative Thinking this week. The four disc box set contains b-sides and rarities.

-The Walkmen walk around San Fransisco for La Blogothèque. Watch via P4k

-Sign up for the 2008 World Stoner Games Here!

-Bob Dylan’s new album, Tell Tale Signs, will be streamed on NPR one week prior to it’s October 7th release date. This album will be the 8th installment in his Bootlegs and Rarities series.

-Here’s another set of fun concert posters from Smashing Magazine.



















-Lastly, Oasis and Ryan Adams are teaming up for another tour that will end on the 20th of December, less than a mile from my house… 

12-03 Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena *
12-04 Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center *
12-06 Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl *
12-08 Denver, CO – Broomfield Events Center *
12-10 Minneapolis, MN – Target Center *
12-12 Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena *
12-13 Detroit, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills *
12-15 London, Ontario – John LaBatt Centre *
12-17 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden *
12-19 Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Center *
12-20 Washington, DC – GMU Patriot Center *



The Zombies-Time of the Season

Tonight is the night for a “Clever People Party”

26 09 2008

Host a debate party! Invite everyone you know and watch the candidates throw punches while knocking a few back… Btw, we didn’t think of these, but I enjoyed them so much that I had to share. Enjoy and visit the original blog here.

And here’s your Drinking Game Initiative:

DEBATE NUMBER ONE:  Friday, September 26, 2008

MODERATOR:  Jim Lehrer from The NewsHour on PBS

FOCUS:  Foreign Policy (could be changed to the Economy given the circumstances)



-When the buzzwords “change” or “maverick” or “hope” are used

-When someone says “I voted for or against” or “He voted for or against”

-When McCain refers to Obama’s “inexperience”

-When McCain stammers and looks like he might have a heart attack

-When McCain somehow works in his personal story as a POW during Vietnam

-When McCain refers to the moderator as “my friend” or the audience as “my friends”

-When Obama somehow works in his personal story of being raised by a single mom and his grandparents

-When Obama makes a smirk, shakes his head, and says, “Now wait just a minute…” or “hold on there…”

-When Obama makes the case that McCain and Bush are one and the same or uses the phrase “more of the same”

-When Obama talks about “multi-tasking” or having to address more than one crisis at a time as president

-When anyone brings up “suspending the campaign”

-When either one lays claims to being “bipartisan” or working “across the aisle”

-It’s a Social when Sarah Palin is mentioned!

-Finish whatever you are drinking if McCain loses his temper!



-When someone mentions the “Bailout” of Wall Street

-When someone mentions Wall Street and Main Street in the same train of thought

-When someone starts quoting dollar figures (for example: 700 billion)

-When someone talks about mortgages/foreclosures/homeowners



-If anyone uses the words “surge” or “victory”

-When anyone mentions a particular nation as being a potential “nuclear” threat

-When McCain talks about Islamic Radicals/Terrorists

-When Georgia and/or Russia are mentioned

-When Iran and/or Iraq are mentioned

-When Afghanistan is mentioned

-It’s a social for al Qaeda or North Korea!

-Finish whatever you are drinking if anyone delivers specifics on how to get out of Iraq “safely and responsibly”.

What would we be without wishful thinking? Here comes a new Wilco album!

25 09 2008

From Billboard:

Wilco will begin recording its next album in October, Billboard has learned. The follow-up to 2007’s “Sky Blue Sky” is expected for a spring release via Nonesuch. After opting for a highly performance-oriented recording approach on “Sky Blue Sky,” frontman Jeff Tweedy said in a recent radio interview that he expects Wilco will “allow ourselves a little bit more leeway in terms of sculpting the sound in the studio and doing overdubs and using the studio as another instrument. Last time around, it was more of a document.” Wilco will take a break from the studio at the end of the year for nine dates supporting Neil Young, beginning Nov. 29 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and wrapping Dec. 15 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Since that article has been written, Neil Young and Wilco have added a second date at MSG.

Stuff Hipsters Like part III

25 09 2008

Welcome back to another installment of Stuff Hipsters Like. If you missed our first two entries be sure to check them out. Take note that this comes a day early because Friday is a very busy day. This week, we tackle the remix/mashup, skinny clothing, and obscure Bob Dylan songs.

Before that, here are a few definitions and terms to remember:

Clothesline: The same thing as a grapevine in gossip-based conversations.

“Oh man, I heard on the clothesline, that M.I.A just did the Diesel party.”

Deck: A key word for most Hipsters, similar in meaning to the antiquated fresh. To be deck is to be up on the latest trends, cutting edge, and/or hip.
“That tassel we met at the gallery opening sure looked deck in her cowboy boots.”

Chipper – a woman who’s easy
sentence: “She’s a real chipper and will sleep with anyone after one bronson.” (Bronson=Beer)

Fin – the opposite of deck, similar to outdated terms like “wack” and “lame.” Something that is fin is bad or undesirable.
sentence: “How can you like that Vin Diesel movie? Every film he’s ever starred in has been fin.”

The Frigidaire – the cold shoulder
sentence: “I don’t know what her problem is, but she gives me the frigidaire every time I see her.” 

Here we go!

7. The remix and the mash-up

With the advent of digital recording software, and the ease at which someone can just cut and copy a song, we’ve seen remix and mash-up tracks pop up everywhere. These “new ideas” don’t just occur in the realm of hip hop and rap music, they’re everywhere! We’ve seen acts like Girl Talk take the indie hipster scene by storm this year and the scene will only get bigger and bigger as time goes on. As for the remix. most itunes released indie albums include someone’s remix of one of the popular songs on the album. For instance, we have Crystal Castles remixing everyone from Liars to Uffie and let’s not forget all the remix tracks of “Paper Planes” (Yes i know that you knew about that song when Kala was released, well before Pineapple Express, and that you are a “True Fan. Listen to “Sunshowers” on Arular and claim it as your own… Give it up) 




8. Skinny Clothing

All hipsters wear skinny clothes… Mostly… All

There are a lot of rules… Skinny shirts, skinny jeans, skinny underwear, all of these fall into this hipster fave. Whether you’ve just begun wearing American Apparel’s boxer briefs or you finally picked up your 510’s, be assured that you will be declared hipster scum upon stepping onto 18th street (DC not New york). On the right we have some typical skinny jeans. 

Skinny is in. Fat is not. Go hit the Gym  dance-floor!

9. Obscure Bob Dylan material

Bob Dylan has recorded something like 7 billion songs. Outside of his major works lie bootlegs, demos, rarities and live recordings. Here we find Bob Dylan’s most obscure flashes of brilliance. Of my limited Bob Dylan knowledge i’ve chosen “Talkin Hava Negeilah Blues” for your listening pleasure. This is a great example of an obscure Dylan song to show your friends. This will help your claim the title, “Best Itunes Library ever”. If they don’t understand or believe you, go into the classic 1966 Royal Albert Hall argument. 

Talkin hava negeilah blues



Things to look forward to:

Record reviews of Kanye West, Ben Folds, The Cure, Land of Talk, High Places, Gentlemen Jesse and his Men, Of Montreal, Vivian Girls and The Sea and Cake.

A Fabakis remix of “Reckoner”

On repeat articles about The Mountain Goats, Jeff Buckley, The Byrds, and The Zombies

The Fabakis October playlist

Halloween Party!

and more articles and interviews