Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nods and Clawed!

Well its a few months into 2k9 and I think I've just begun to get a taste in my mouth for what the year holds! As of right now here is my Nods and Clawed list for the end of 08' through the start of 09'........

Lets start with the Nods!

Fever Ray- Fever ray is the solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson who is a half of the brother/sister duo the knife! I absolutely love the sound that Fever Ray holds and think that they are a huge standout band in 2009! Dreamy and sooo enjoyable I Nod my head with pleasure every time I hear them.

The pains of being pure at heart- How much better can it get?? This indie rock band hailing from lovely New York City captured my heart within minutes of hearing them! I look for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart to be huge in 09'. A very large nod of the head!

Empire of the sun- Leave it to Australia to release a strange yet wonderful band like Empire of the Sun! If you haven't heard this band yet your missing out on an electro trip back to the 70's with the flair of today's indie dance... the song Walking on a dream will make you want to run to the nearest music store and buy a synth and move to Australia and make music for kangaroo mob's while wearing almost space like costumes!! My head wont stop nodding! Check them out now!!!

Cursive- This Omaha Nebraska band formed in 1995 and are still pumping out great music even to this day! With an indie/punk edge Cursive has a way of drawing you in and never letting you go! I look for the new Cursive album to be a huge hit in 09' so keep your eyes and ears open for Cursive!! Nod Nod Nod!!!

And now the Clawed!

Matt and Kim- With all the great bands coming out of New York City these days, Matt and Kim are not one of them (my opinion of course) I can only take so much disposable music and if you ask me Matt and Kim are the poster children for it! I really think If I found two 8 year old kids and gave them a toy piano they could make music that closely resembles Matt and Kim! Stop the hype please!!! I claw them!

Travis- This hurts me because I really enjoy Travis I really do, But there last album ode to J Smith was horrible! For some reason it sounded as if Travis wanted to be more like Muse and get loud but It just wasn't working for them.... A very large disappointment! oh Travis.... Please go back to your old selves.... until then I will have to Claw your new album!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Music we love and hate

Bob Boilen of NPR's All Songs Considered asks:
So I've been wondering: Why do we love the music we love? It isn't clearly all about talent and craftsmanship, or even style. Is it the time and place we hear music for the first time? Is it where we are in our personal lives? What do you think? Are there bands you know you should love, but don't? And just why is it that you think you don't?

Why, yes! Funny you should ask, Bob. A coworker recently professed his undying love for Pearl Jam to me in an ongoing discussion of music that moves us. Up until now, we've agreed on such bands as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. As you can see, we've had a theme. However, said coworker took it to a whole new level with the Pearl Jam reference. I cringed when I saw the words on the instant messenger screen. Pearl Jam has always been one of those bands that I could take or leave...preferably leave. I don't have any good reason for my dislike, other than that their music just doesn't move me. Which, actually, is a pretty damn good reason. I was thrown off a little a few years ago when I thoroughly enjoyed Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild soundtrack. I have a sneaking suspicion that I only like the soundtrack because of it's association with the movie (see Bob Boilen's question above). But don't get me started on the movie...
Another band that I should probably love but actually loathe? Nirvana. I'll wait while you get up off the floor and compose yourself. Yup, can't stand 'em. No matter how angry I was (am) as a teenager (adult), I've never been able to relate to anything Nirvana put out. Furthermore, I think Kurt Cobain's voice sucked (with all due respect to a man who was doing what he apparently loved). I hate his screaming and whining. I literally cringe whenever Smells Like Teen Spirit is listed as one of the top songs of...ever.
I think the moral of this story? I actually don't like grunge. At all. And while the rest of the music world fawns over this genre and subculture, I'll stick with the happy go lucky music of Mates of State and The Submarines. Thank you very much.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

As promised the Top 10 albums I could afford for 2008!!

Top 10 albums of 2008.....that I could afford......

#10.... The Last Shadow Puppets/ The age of the understatement

#9...... Santogold/ Santogold

#8...... Cut Copy/ In ghost colours

#7..... MGMT/ Oracular Spectacular

#6..... Lykke Li/ Youth Novels

#5..... Ra Ra Riot/ The rhumb line

#4..... Kings of Leon/ Only by the night

#3..... Fleet Foxes/ Fleet Foxes

#2..... Black Kids/ Partie Traumatic

#1 album of 2008........ James/ Hey Ma

Top 10 songs of 2008........

#10.....Gang Gang Dance/ House Jam

#9..... James/ Waterfall

#8.....Fleet Foxes/ White winter hymnal

#7..... Glasvegas/ Geraldine

#6..... Kings of Leon/ Sex on Fire

#5..... Black Kids/ I'm not gonna teach your boy friend how to dance with you

#4..... Santogold/ L.E.S. Artistes

#3..... Lykke Li/ Little Bit

#2..... Cut Copy/ Lights and Music

#1 song of 2008.... MGMT/ Electric Feel

2008 was a great year for music and I can't wait to see what 2009 holds for us!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A little bit in love with you.....

About 7 months ago was when I first heard about Lykke Li.....I heard the song "Little bit" and immediately was sucked in by it's catchy catchy sound, and found myself singing it whenever I could! I at first because of the sound of the song and also by the sound of her name thought that Lykke Li must be an Asian singer songwriter....I felt pretty stupid after I had researched her a little more and found out that...Lykke was actually a 22 year old girl from Sweden....but anyway..... A few more months past and Lykke finally released her album titled "Youth Novels" it took me a few more months to actually get my hands on this album..... Now that I've had the opportunity to listen to Youth Novels about a million and a half time's I find myself in a strange and sort of confused state..... When I listen to Lykke Li I can't help but ask myself how is this any different then listening to the new Beyonce album??? I find Lykke Li to be very Poppy but at the same time intriguing as hell! Ive been thinking about this for the most part of a month or so....when I'm driving down the road and "Complaint Department" or even "I'm good I'm Gone"comes on I can't help but here a similarity to every other girl making everyday Pop music..... but with Lykke there's just something different that draws me in to her...maybe it's her dreamy put you in a trance like voice....or the fact that Bjorn Yttling (better known from Peter Bjorn and John) produced this album....I'm not really sure but there's just something I love about Lykke Li! Sure I could probably take this album down the street and hand it too the first 15 year old girl I see and say here listen to this album and she'd probably love it! But so what! I really have no answer why I Love Lykke Li so much.....but for the record when this girl crosses into the pop scene I think I'm still going to listen to her....I know it's amazing it really is.... But it's simply unexplainable! I give the Lykke Li Youth Novels album a 4 empty wallets out of 5!!! so deal with it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Can I contain the excitement? About Chatham County Line.

I know the unspoken rule here is that we were really only supposed to review indie music. But Phish announced their summer tour dates today and I'm going to have to go ahead and Freak. The. Fuck. Out.
I'm trying to devise a plan to go to all the shows. Since I was doing god knows what when they were touring through the 90's and early 00's (probably sitting in high school...), I'm going to more than make up for it this time around.
2009 holds some big things for Laura's music world. Phish on tour. No Doubt (my not so guilty pleasure since middle school) on tour. Some of my favorite singer songwriters releasing new work: Matt Costa and Eleni Mandell, etc. My new heightened awareness of indie rock and the magical world of listening that comes along with it. This is big.
I listened to the latest Chatham County Line release last night. I'm not calling it new because it was released this summer. IV is a good album, in fact I would even venture to say that it's a great beginner bluegrass album. I get a slight twitch when I see Chatham County Line described as alt-country. They're bluegrass...I do not, and never will, like country. I think this is a good way for someone to get into bluegrass because it has many of the necessary requirements: banjo, mandolin, songs that tell intense stories, etc. But it doesn't hit you over the head with bluegrass. It's subtle (for the most part) and it's approachable.
I'm going to be a jerk here and compare Chatham County Line to Yonder Mountain String Band. It's really unfair to compare bands and I know that. But on My Quest to Find the Least Annoying Bluegrass Band, Yonder Mountain String Band has unofficially held the crown for a while now. For the most part, I can really get down with YMSB. They have some tracks here and there that are a little to twangy, a little to hill billy, a little to something for my taste, but overall they rock. Chatham County Line has the same problem: randomly inserting twangy-ass songs into an altogether kick ass album. Something tells me, though, that a bluegrass album is not complete with an instrumental track of just banjo jams. Perhaps that a bluegrass rule I don't know about. So suffice it to say, Clear Blue Sky wasn't my favorite track on the album. Thank goodness it's only 1:57.
The real gem of this album? Birmingham Jail. What an incredible track. Now, I'm not sure if this song stuck with me because it sounds very reminiscent of the opening song for the short lived Joss Whedon series Firefly. There's a pretty good chance that this similarity is why I love this song. But without that, it still tells a powerful story of desegregation and Dave Wilson sings it like his life depends on it.
Other strong tracks include the opener " Chip Of A Star" and "Whipping Boy". In fact, as I go through and listen to the album over again, I'm finding many more awesome songs. Hey, this is a good album!
I'm going to spend money on this one, ladies and gentlemen. It gets 4.3 empty wallets out of 5 empty wallets from me. And it'll also get my $$.
Album streams here.

Seriously, who does Chatham County Line remind me off? Little Feat? The Band? This will require some further listening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cut Copy /// In Ghost Colors

I'll be honest with you when I first bought the In ghost colors album from Cut Copy I was slightly disappointed..... I absolutely fell in love with the song "lights and music" and really thought I would dig this indie electro band from the down under..... but sadly I found the album disposable.... and I pretty much threw it to the side and moved on to other music of interest. It wasn't that I didn't like the sound Cut Copy had introduced..... It's just that (and I think that my partner in crime Laura would agree) I found them sounding a little like New Order or even....sadly Duran Duran... So that pretty much did me in. Or did it?? For some reason, and maybe it's seeing there name on different web sites all the time or just seeing it when I right click on the computer I don't know...... But something made me keep grabbing the album over and over again and I found myself giving it time after time another listen....... And now I'm really fond of In ghost colors. I've learned something from this experience with Cut Copy and that's you can't judge a band on just one listen....sometimes even the mood can effect the way you look at a band or there have to really give the album a chance to grow. I've also learned that you can't immediately compare one band to another because that's taking away from the true intentions of the band. So overall I like this album alot!! so go my friends go!! Run to the lights of the city!!
So after all is said and done I give this album 3.9 empty wallets out of 5.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Glasvegas- Glasvegas

Yes, this album was released forever ago and yes, I've already killed one of the singles, 'Geraldine', by listening to it over and over again. But the rest of the album deserved a listen when I found the stream. I had the chance to listen to Glasvegas in it's entirety the other night in Mike's car, however I demanded he play 'Geraldine' at least three times in a row.
So right off the bat, it's got a pretty strong track in 'Geraldine'. What is that song even about? Surely not about a social worker, right? That's just a little to literal. I don't care if it's about kitty litter, it's a damn good song. In fact, the first third of the album is damn good. Aside from the super cheeseball part where we have to listen to You Are My Sunshine in the thickest Scottish accent ever, the album is quite enjoyable until you get halfway through. 'Go Square Go' was strange. James Allan is really good with the drawn out notes and arena rock carry on. Unfortunately, he took a walk down punk rock road for this song and it sucks. Sucks.
The last high point of the album is 'Daddy's Gone', a song about absent fathers. After that, I can do without the rest of the album. Especially, 'Stabbed' which is just a creepy spoken word track that freaked me out a bit.
I think this album is worth the 4 or so good songs on it, as they are really good songs. I also think Glasvegas is, for me, made better by the thick-as-hell Scottish accent singer James Allan is working with. That is part of the draw for me...which makes me think the people in the UK must just really love the music.
Glasvegas - Glasvegas gets 3.5 empty wallets out of a possible 5 empty wallets from me.
Strong points: unique sound for 2008, two super strong singles ('Geraldine' and 'Daddy's Gone'), and awesome accent.
Weak points: they tried to get a little to wierd, they tried to get a little to punk rock.

Return or birth of Dead Confederate...

As some people may remember a band made a quick appearance last year under the name Dead Confederate.....well it seems that there back....or well just starting I'm not sure? In 2008 Dead Confederate had a single entitled The Rat which I loved but it went away as fast as it came it seamed.... Well It looks as if Dead Confederate may be making a run at the public ears and not so much with the indie ears in 2k9 by giving this awesome song another run for it's money!! Dead Confederate are a band based out of different areas in Georgia and have a sound that is kinda there very own. I'm very happy to see Dead Confederate back in the spotlight and wish them the very best in 2009! Let's hope this is a band we can watch make it big!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Venue or Album... both are great.

So as everyone knows 2009 holds a few albums that I'm just pissing in my pants to hear.... One of course is the New album from Andrew Bird (Noble Beast) that I'm thinking is going to really push Andrew Bird into the public eye in 2009! Is this really the Andrew Bird I remember dancing around too in my living room during the days of thrills?? Who would have thought? Another large album coming out in 2k9 that I think will really shake the hair off of a muskrat's baby is... the new album from the already super popular Decemberists which as of now has no name?? I think you'll be hearing so much Decemberists this year that you'll never forget there name ever again! But finally the reason for this post is to talk to you about another album I think will be huge in 2k9 and that album is.... the new album from Animal Collective entitled Merriweather Post Pavilion.... What I find interesting about this album first off is it's name Merriweather Post Pavilion which just so happens to be my favorite large venue ( if they get the bands I like) to go and see a live show here on the east coast. For those of you that have never got to experience a live show at Merriweather.... Let me explain to you what this rarely spoke of venue is like.... As you pull into the parking lot of this beautiful Maryland outdoor venue you are welcomed by large beautiful standing Tree's in an almost forest like setting as you walk on the trail like path toward the gates of the venue you are treated to the sounds of nature all around you. To the left of you is a large pond with a fountain that is like a shot from a post card.... as you get closer and closer to the gates you are surrounded by signs stating different things that have happened during the history of this beautiful venue (one in particular being the shaving of the front man of the cure Robert Smith's beautiful and legendary hair). As you enter inside the gates you are greeted by a breathe taking grassy meadow to sit and watch a concert under the Maryland skylight. I thought that it was interesting that a band would name there album after a venue but then when I thought about it more I understood completely. As for the band and the album itself I think this strange and different sounding album will make it huge in 2k9 making it one of my most anticipated albums of the year!!! Good for Animal Collective and even better for the indie rock community!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Give music away for free!

I just finished reading this article from New Music Strategies. While I think I'm coming at it from a different angle than most readers, I thought it was quite relevant to my current music situation. You see, the author wrote it for musicians and labels who are grappling with the concept of releasing free mp3 downloads of their music. Does it return great rewards to give away the music you created? Yes! But, as the author points out, you aren't giving away your music, you're giving away recordings of your music. And what reward does that bring? New listeners and fans to buy your full album and purchase concert tickets. His idea that musicians don't make money on their music but they profit because of their music, makes perfect sense. Reading some of the comments enlightened me even more to the music industry as one commenter pointed out that by offering his/her music for free, the requests for it to be used in DVDs and advertising came pouring in. And we all know, advertising is a great way to get new music out there (iPod commercials, anyone?).
So what does this all have to do with me? If it weren't for free mp3 downloads, I wouldn't have discovered (and eventually spent money on) some great bands in the past few months. For example: I recently downloaded some tracks from Gentleman Auction House's new holiday album Christmas In Love from Free Indie. I had never heard of the band before and decided to take a listen because I was trying my damnedest to get in the holiday spirit. I liked what I heard and went digging for more. It didn't take long for me to buy their album (thank you iTunes gift card for Christmas!) and search furiously for tour dates. Unfortunately, they seem to stick pretty close to St. Louis, but rest assured that I'd buy tickets if they ventured to the Pittsburgh area. So by posting two or three songs for free, Gentleman Auction House now has a devoted fan who will probably spend money on them*. I can almost guarantee you I wouldn't have done such in depth research of them otherwise.
Bottom line: I'm poor. And I want new music to listen to. So if for no other reason than to plump my iPod playlist, musicians should totally release free mp3s.

*Given that it's right after a payday and I have no bills to pay.'s music we can afford.

Music in the new year....

Let me start off by saying I'm really looking forward to the hype of music in 2009. By the end of the month I should have my list of the top 10 albums of 2008... unlike most music critics or album reviewers I don't have the money or the time to listen to every album I want to listen too by the end of 2008, therefore I will stretch my list until January 31 of 2009. I can tell you this my list will have a few surprise picks that other lists ...I feel may be lacking. But hell it's all I can afford!