Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Greed Meets Hunger (Down Like Me)

Peter Bjorn and John released their latest album Gimme Some this week. Critics are giving the Swedish trio credit for making whistling hip again - this is in reference to the band's biggest hit "Young Folks". Now, I know how these things work as I've been listening to, and reading about music for years - someone says or writes something they think is clever, someone else reads it, or even thinks the same thought, and says or writes it again; And suddenly you can't escape the suggestion when looking at any review. This may seem like something I should let pass, as a small personal annoyance - but the thing is, that song is old - several projects removed in fact, it wasn't even my favorite track on Writer's Block,  and to continue to beat that same drum really does a disservice to a group that has much more to offer than the fond memory of one hit. (Never mind the fact that the true champion of whistling is Andrew Bird - and as far as i'm concerned that is not up for debate) Back to the point though PB&J are not some one trick pony of a band as clearly evidenced on this new album. Here is one of my favorites from Gimme Some, "Down Like Me". My immediate love of this song surely shows my own biases as right from the opening cords, and the first couple lines it feels like Micheal Stipe visited the studio that day - yet I should perhaps mention that another song on the album had me thinking Joe Strummer did the same. Still this drives home my original point Peter Bjorn and John are not a one hit wonder, they are much better than that.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Every Martyr in this Jungle (Estate Sale Sign)

It's truly a week for lovers of the lyrical arts - I've already mentioned James Mercer today but the full album I'm most excited for this week  is The Mountain Goats All Eternals Deck. This is almost entirely due to  John Darnielle's songwriting ability ; Just for a bit of perspective he once won a New York state award for lyricism - this in a place that is arguably as close as it gets to a heartland of hip-hop. Some fans of the band have begun to sour toward this cleaner more polished product - yearning instead for the lo-fi sound that they fell in love with on the groups earlier efforts. I'm of a mind that anything new is exciting from these guys, nostalgic or not. Some may also be glad to know this isn't a concept album like 2009's The Life of The World to Come. Here is my early favorite from the album " Estate Sale Sign " undoubtedly the hardest rocking track, in which Darnielle's voice quakes with emotion that only comes from something written and sung from deep deep down in a persons soul.

(this live recording may not be all that kind to your speakers - particularly at the very beginning but I felt that it may also remind some of those listeners who are possibly bellyaching over the studio sound that the live
 experience is something else completely)

The Question is Simple, Why Not Be Smiling? (An Easy Life)

Broken Bells is in some ways almost too awesome to exist. It's the kind of collaboration music nerds like me usually only dream of seeing.  James Mercer (of The Shins) has been one of my favorite songwriters for years, and lately it seems everything Danger Mouse touches turns to gold  - maybe we should start calling him Midas Mouse. Nah, that sounds too much like Modest Mouse. But wait a minute there, maybe I'm on to something!  A musing for another day I suppose. Meyrin Fields, the duo's new EP which drops tomorrow totals only four tracks - yet what it lacks in quantity it certainly makes up for in quality. There's not a stinker here and that is reason to smile Though I'd be fibbing if I said I wouldn't have gladly waited another three months or so for another full album. Here is my early favorite from the EP "An Easy Life".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Wine, No Cheese - But Still A Tasting of... Something (Move On)

I've been told I have taste. I've been told it is good. I've been told it is bad. I've been told it is strange. I'm not one to dwell too much on any one of these opinions but the fact remains that I enjoy sharing music. That is the sole reason this blog exists. Chances are  my posts will be brief but numerous - restricted only by my own personal excitement over bands, albums, tours and everything music related. I will for the most part keep this current, which means I won't be looking backward often. I could wax poetic about my deep love of music till you begged me to stop (or more likely just closed this page) but I will save us both the time and trouble by ending this introduction here... fittingly enough with the help of a song titled "Move On" by Bing Ji Ling (the opener from his new album Shadow To Shine which came out on Tuesday on Tummy Touch .

These Killing Hands (The Tide Pulls from the Moon)

William Fitzsimmons is yet another folk singer with a soft-spoken delivery - still his clever lyrics often impress me which is what I think separates him from what seems to be an overly crowded niche in folk music these days. This is his fifth project and while time will tell whether or not its his best I do feel relatively safe in saying Gold in the Shadow may be his most appealing work to date. Small wonder that when I  brought him up in conversation I  heard that increasingly familiar response "Oh he had a song on Grey's Anatomy!".. Now I've never watched the show, and don't plan on it but it seems someone in their music department deserves some credit for having taste. Here is the new album's lead single "The Tide Pulls from the Moon"

The Drugs in Sweden Must Be A Trip (Would You Say Stop)

Acid House Kings songs can usually be summed up in three words . Sweet. Poppy. and Swedish. They have a jangly sound that makes you think they could sing about anything and it would end up putting a smile on your face. (particularly when Julia Lannerheim sings lead - as she does quite often on their new album Music Sounds Better With You) The band has been going strong since the 90's but Julia didn't join fulltime till 2001 and its a good thing she did because if she hadn't I might never have given them a closer look as anything other than another Swedish pop group on Labrador. Here is the video for the lead single "Would You Say Stop".

Wait For It...Damn Right I Did. (Rotten Apples)

So Voxhaul Broadcast has had a fair amount of indie buzz for a long while now.. I first heard them in 2008 and my Lastfm and Pandora stations have been playing the same two songs for that entire span, and like a good music junkie I kept my ears peeled and what did I hear in 2011? That same efffin' song I been hearing! "Rotten Apples" but now its as the lead single of a full length project. I wanted to be mad, but really I can't muster much rage because the album is pretty damn good. Also calling it Timing Is Everything makes me think they agonized over its release more than anyone else could have though  I haven't decided whether the lyrics of  "Rotten Apples" make the whole situation more or less ironic.