Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Monday, August 27, 2012
While I wouldn't argue that 2012 has been a great year for music, there's a lot I've been enjoying. We'll save a larger discussion of albums until the end of the year, but here are a few songs I've really enjoyed over the past few months.
I've been obsessing over Pyramids by Frank Ocean. It's catchy, soulful and has a great beat. I seriously love it, and I'm not much of an R&B fan.
I previously mentioned my love of the new Beach House album -- and the song Wild in particular. That continues unabated. I still can't stop spinning Simple Song by The Shins, which is another album that will end the year high on my list. Another repeat listen this summer has been Celebration Rock by Japandroids. They may not be the deepest lyricists, but this song sure is great.
Finally, I have to give credit where credit is due to the song I've spent the most time zoning out to during the summer of 2012, A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth. Best known from the movie Drive, it's hypnotic and hard to forget.
I still hold out hope for the overall quality of 2012, partially based on the insane strength of September's releases -- Animal Collective, Bob Dylan, Calexico, St. Vincent & David Byrne, The Avett Brothers, The XX, Aimee Mann, Band of Horses, Ben Folds Five, Menomena -- but also considering the other pending releases -- AC Newman, Ben Gibbard, Kanye West, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and many more.
If nothing else, it will be an interesting year and a great prelude to 2013.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
There's No Leaving Now is both the name of the new album (out yesterday) by The Tallest Man on Earth and the name of our Song of the Day. I generally find The Tallest Man on Earth both interesting and a bit grating. Mostly it's Kristian Matsson's voice, which sounds a lot to me like a very intense Bob Dylan impersonator. But there's something interesting about The Tallest Man on Earth that make it worth exploring.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Stoner country music legend has never met a news story or blog post that doesn't include his love of marijuana. His new album features a duet with his son Lukas on a cover of Pearl Jam's Just Breathe -- it's pretty awesome. Their voices are strikingly similar, and the awkward lip syncing in the video has to be seen to believed.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Calexico have a new album -- Algiers -- coming out September 11, and the new single is really great. Para is recognizably Calexico while being epic and expansive. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Heaven -- the newest album from The Walkmen -- is on the more sedate side. I find The Walkmen hard to love but difficult not to like. On first listen, I found Heaven to be mostly calm and restrained, something our Song of the Day -- Heaven -- isn't.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I'm always on the lookout for bands influenced by the too short career of Velocity Girl, one of my most favorite bands from the "alternative" era of the early 90s. La Sera seems to capture the mix of frenetic pacing and dreamy vocals that Velocity Girl did so well. In fact, La Sera's song "Please Be My Third Eye" takes its main vocal melody almost directly from "Drug Girls", from 1994's Simpatico, VG's 2nd album.
As far as Soundalikes go, this one is pretty poetic. Overlay the opening verse of each song and La Sera hits the same beats almost point for point. I don't remember much from my high school English classes but the culprit here seems to be a 6 syllable line and hard-soft-hard-soft-hard-soft inflection pattern. Let's just call it iambic hexameter without thinking too much about whether that is a thing that exists and examine the songs closer. La Sera's song opens thusly:
When you sit beside me
I can see much further
Than my own dimension
I can't wait much longer
Velocity Girl's song begins similarly:
Bet you didn't mean to
Turn them into heroes
But it doesn't matter
'Cause we love those drug girls
It's been 15 years since Velocity Girl has been relevant, but their sound was pretty great and they are a clear influence on bands making music today. They deserved a longer career, and they deserve to get credit for their influence, starting with today's Soundalike. With that said, here's the original:
And here's the Soundalike:
Friday, May 25, 2012
Do we need more bands that evoke The White Stripes and The Kills? Unequivocally, yes. Seattle duo The Grizzled Mighty doesn't want to reinvent the wheel, they just want to go for a ride.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
I really liked 2006's Carnavas, the first Silversun Pickups album. But I found their next album (2009's Swoon) to be fairly forgettable. I haven't devoted a lot of time to their third full length -- Neck of the Woods, but I'm curious to give it a try and see if their career is headed for ever-diminishing returns or exciting new places.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
If you like your Americana on the bluegrass side of the fence, or if you like hilariously clever band names, you're likely already hip (hep?) to Duluth's Trampled by Turtles. Songs like Keys to Paradise make liberal use of banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Beyond these hallmarks of the genre, TbT bring to their songs an indie pathos not usually linked with the boot-stomping hootenanny one usually associates with bluegrass. The result is the most vital trad-folk rock coming from an artist not carrying the surname Avett.