Time for another playlist! I don’t foresee posting to this blog too much in the future, but I do want to post the occasional playlist with music I’ve been into lately. This mix has a lot of guitar-heavy/folk/psychedelic/electronic type stuff. Enjoy.
Click the picture to take you through to the Spotify link.
2013 is just about done with and although I didn’t update you all on my musical interests much this year, I thought I would at least list my favorite albums of 2013. Like last year, I’m not putting them in any particular order because each one is important to me in a unique way.
Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City
Son Lux- Lanterns
Ólafur Arnalds- For Now I Am Winter
The National- Trouble Will Find Me
James Blake- Overgrown
Drake- Nothing Was the Same
Chance The Rapper- Acid Rap
Atoms For Peace- Amok
Local Natives- Hummingbird
Night Beds- Country Sleep
Jim James- Regions of Light and Sound of God
Unknown Mortal Orchestra- II
Sam Amidon- Bright Sunny South
Autre Ne Veut- Anxiety
Albums from 2012 that I loved but didn’t listen to until 2013..
Miguel- Kaleidoscope Dream
Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Alt-J- An Awesome Wave
Damien Jurado- Maraqopa
Nils Frahm- Screws
Twin Shadow- Confess
Look! I made another Fall playlist. Consists of albums that have been released in the last month or two with the exception of Centipede Hz by Animal Collective which was released last year. Enjoy!
Volcano Choir´s upcoming album, Repave is the latest project I am really excited about. The first single from the album, “Byegone” is grandiose, with a steady guitar line, progressive piano, and an overall excellent arrangement. I´m hoping this track is an accurate representation of the rest of the album-if it is, I´m sure Repave will make bigger waves than their debut album Unmap.
I´m sorry I haven´t been posting very much in the last few months. Currently I am in Europe and have been a bit busy. Hope you are having a great summer! I´m behind in the music world right now, so I would love it if you all would share with me what your favorite summer songs or albums have been!
The National’s follow-up to 2010’s High Violet is finally with us, and I’m a little bit in love with it.
There was once a time in which I wasn’t too keen on the voice of The National’s frontman and primary lyricist, Matt Berninger, but my opinion has since changed and The National has quickly become one of my favorite bands in the last few years because of their beautiful rock orchestrations and wonderfully melancholy lyrics.
From the first listen, Trouble Will Find Me announced some fairly intense emotion; and not just through the lyrics. A few weeks ago while I was sitting in my car on a rainy Sunday I listened to "This Is The Last Time" for the first time. As the first fourteen seconds of the song played I was struck with a very palpable sense of sadness. My heart sank and I let out an audible sigh to myself for no reason at all other than that guitar line just sounded so sad. As I quickly tried to reassemble my heart in my 95 Wagon, I remembered something Matt Berninger said in his 2010 interview with the A.V. Club
"Sadness is not always the worst feeling. Sometimes it’s a really pleasurable thing to be overwhelmed with sadness."
Something I’ve come to appreciate with the help of Mr. Berninger is that sadness does not always have to be perceived as a terrible part of life. I don’t hope for sadness to be a central piece of anyone’s life, however I think there is value in standing in sadness for a moment to look around and see what one can glean from it. It seems as though humans tend to avoid sadness at all cost in the quest for happiness, but The National challenges this thought pattern as nearly each one of their songs forces you to face sadness head-on.
If sad music doesn’t make you a little bit happy, then I hope the gorgeous orchestration, guitar, and drums in this album will. The more I listen to these new tracks, the more I pick up on the finesse and detail that the Dessner brothers, Devendorf brothers, and Berninger have put into this record. Each melody, lyric, piano part, and drum beat is calculated and seamless.
Trouble Will Find Me is out today on 4AD Records- go grab it at your local record store!
Sorry it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Here’s a playlist I made for your ears (for listening) and limbs (for dancing). It’s mostly songs released from the last couple years, but there’s one by Arthur Russell which is from the 1980’s. Each artist is unique and lovely, so be sure to give each one a thorough listen.
Back in July a mutual friend told me about his brother’s band from Nashville. I almost immediately wrote it off because it seems like everyone’s brother has a band, but then he mentioned that the band had recently opened for The Head and The Heart. My ears perked up, knowing that if a band is opening for The Head and The Heart, they’re probably not too bad… and probably not someone I should be ignoring.
I went home, looked up Night Beds and found a couple of their tunes. I was immediately taken aback by the sultry-smooth vocals of Winston Yellen as well as the sparse folk and country infused tones. Winston Yellen is the main man in the foursome as lead vocalist and guitarist, and is backed by Juan Solorzano on guitar and bass (Solorzano plays the bass through some sort of pedal setup all while playing guitar), and St. Louisans Caleb Hickman on lap steel and keyboards, and Taylor Derosa on Drums.
Last September Night Beds stopped by St. Louis for a show at The Old Rock House. It was definitely a great show, however I felt it was lacking a very full sound because at that point the band was touring as a three piece (no bass and no guitarist other than Yellen). Yellen is so passionate about his songs, and in intense moments, his guitar seems to come secondary to his vocals. Never is passion a bad thing in a musician, but since he was the only guitarist during that show, it became sort of distracting to me when the guitar was so minimal, or not being played at all because Yellen became so enveloped in song.
The album was able to come alive in a much fuller way this time around. Listening to the band with a more fleshed out, developed sound made all of the difference for their live show. The music of Night Beds is mostly quiet and introspective, but when there are loud swells and unrestrained moments, the band combined with Winston’s vocals pulled last night’s crowd right into his world of unbridled, shameless emotion.
Yellen started out a capella with Country Sleep album opener “Faithful Heights”. In this recent interview with the Fuel/Friends Music blog, Yellen said he felt insecure about his vocals… but I think most people would have to wonder how he could feel insecure with such a powerful, beautiful voice.
The show went by all too quickly. They played a selection of 10 or so songs from their debut album (I didn’t note their setlist) all while weaving in some fun in-between song banter, and Yellen’s occasional quirky antics with the crowd. He came to the edge of the stage at one point, grabbed my friend David’s shoulder and said something none of us could understand, then continued with the show. After my brother Jon jokingly threw out a song request, Yellen came down from the stage after they played said song and attempted to playfully headbutt my brother. Somehow it all worked- it wasn’t necessarily a surprise that this obviously very intense person might be a little quirky and quite raw- in all of areas of his music- including his interactions with his audience.
I have had a lot of fun watching this band grow over the past couple months and having the opportunity to listen to some of the guys in the band talk about their excitement for this new endeavor is exhilarating. Best of luck to Caleb and Taylor- it’s especially fun to see two talented St. Louis natives move forward into what looks as though to be a promising experience touring and playing with an excellent band.
They’ll be touring the US for the next month and then Europe in April. Their touring will continue on this year- be on the lookout for other new dates!
Over the years more and more sites for streaming music have popped up. I think at this point everyone knows about Pandora, so I wanted to highlight some of my favorites that aren’t as well known. Each site has it’s own little perks and features that make it unique- some are better for background noise, some are better for finding new, unknown music, others are great for when you’re going for a run and need a quick playlist to get you through your workout. Check them all out and figure out which one you like best!
-You can search for playlists based on a genre, artist, or mood.
-Awesome (free!) apps for iPhone and Android.
-Many of the songs have free downloads, straight from the website
-The site is based on what music is creating the most buzz online which means you’re able to find a lot of new up and coming artists.
-Has a really nice, easy to use layout
-Streams at 320 kbps.
-The base level membership is free and allows you to make playlists, stream a certain artist’s music, and favorite songs you like.
-Suggests artists based on ones you already like.
4 . thesixtyone
-A wide variety of genres and bands stream
-You can choose what music streams by searching for an artist, or by choosing one of their playlists.
-Often offers band info, tour dates, downloads, lyrics, and other random information with each song.
5. Hype Machine
-Highlights trending tracks that are being posted on blogs week by week, going back as far as 2007.
-Has a feature called Fast Forward that plays 20 seconds snippets of songs to allow you to find new music quickly.
-Helps you find blogs based on the type of music you like, which country it’s based out of, and who’s doing the blogging- whether it’s an individual, a label, a magazine, or a radio station.
So far 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for new releases…here are a couple that I’m listening to and have thoroughly enjoyed thus far.
Local Natives- Hummingbird is out today! Don’t think about it, just buy it! (or stream it first…)
Night Beds- Country Sleep will be out on February 5, but is currently streaming over on Pitchfork.
The Revival Hour- Scorpio Little Devil was released yesterday in the UK and has yet to be officially released in the US. However, the album can be streamed and digitally downloaded on their Bandcamp worldwide.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra- II is out on February 5, and streaming over on NPR’s first listen.
Last year I found that some of my favorite shows (Active Child and the second time I saw Poliça would be my best examples) were the ones in small venues, emitted big vibes, rad lights, and loud bass. Every show has it’s own personality, but lately I’ve found I can connect well to a show that has those qualities and are most memorable even if I don’t know the band’s music all that well. A band that can create an aura, ambience, and atmosphere unique to their show, is the show I want to go to.
I guess you could say I’m seeking out that high of a groovy show, so San Francisco’s Geographer seemed like maybe they’d be able to deliver this with their bleepy bloop pop music and occasional big bass and Michael Deni’s smooth voice. Geographer really is a great band, they’ve got some catchy songs that are fun, but not songs I see myself wanting to listen to for the rest of my life. I was hoping the band would surpass my expectations with their live show- maybe that it would be big, bassy, and exciting, but it was comparable to how much I enjoy their recorded music- very fun, danceable at times, but not a show I’ll need to see again in the near future.
For people who truly love Geographer’s sound, the show I’m sure was incredible- he did everything right. Michael Deni amped the crowd, came off the stage at one point to stand amidst fans and encouraged them to come close to him as he sang, and put on a passionate show, and thanked us profusely for being such a fun audience.
I hope I’m not becoming too much of a cynic with fun live shows, I’ve made it sound like I didn’t like the show- I did. I danced. I sang along. It just didn’t quite fulfill that hope I had for a big, full sounding show that shook my heart and put me in a music (and not drug or alcohol) induced-trance. I think Geographer is onto a good thing though- I’m anxious to see where they take their music in the future.