Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SHOWCASE: GLEN HANSARD AND MARKÉTA IRGLOVÁ

"Take this sinking boat and point it home, we've still got time..."


There's something exciting about falling in love with something you didn't even notice the first time around, isn't there? When I first listened to The Frames' The Cost, I didn't pay attention, didn't even notice their lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Glen Hansard. After watching half of his turn in indie movie "Once" (stopping only due to a crappy DVD player) with the fantastic Markéta Irglová, though, I'm going back to his output and listening to it in a complete new light.

Why am I so excited about these two? Both can hold a great well of emotion in their voice, and their writing (best when together, in fact) is some of the best I've heard in a while, drawing out a lot of emotion.

Both worked together to create "Falling Slowly", so beautiful it managed to score its own Oscar for Best Original Song. It's delicate, supported by both vocals, as well as guitar and piano. Perhaps even better than "Falling Slowly", however, is Hansard's amazing work on "Lies", a defiant accusation of betrayal. The sadness is wonderfully executed, and Hansard's writing keeps it from crossing the line to sappy or whining. At its core, it feels true in a way a lot of music doesn't. Markéta Irglová shows off her own chops in "If You Want Me", creating a haunting, echoing piece like a siren in the mists. Her sound here is similar to my beloved Lisa Hannigan, but perhaps shows an even stronger power despite Irglová's youth. Hansard proves himself as able to support as to lead here, as well.

Enjoy a smattering of tracks from "Once", as well as a track from Hansard's latest release with The Frames.

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová - Falling Slowly (Once OST, 2007)
Glen Hansard - Lies (Once OST, 2007)
Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard - If You Want Me (Once OST, 2007)
The Frames - True (The Cost, 2006)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

BEST ALBUMS OF 2008 PREP

So, in order to qualify for Hype's zeitgeist this year, my Top 10 albums have to be decided by Monday. Any ideas, even so late in the game, would help me out loads. Either way, you guys will be getting, at the very least, a skeletal version of the list come Monday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

SHOWCASE: BELLE'S WAKE

I've written about Belle's Wake in the past, but only in passing. Since naming them one of 2008's most promising newcomers, I've neglected to mention them despite keeping tabs on their progress from afa When better to properly revisit them than as 2008 draws to a close?

So, who are they? A four-piece band whose style makes me think of ancient, abandoned castles and elegant rundown graveyards. 'Gothic' is a tragically overused word, thrown at everyone from Amy Lee to Amanda Palmer, but here it really is relevant. From the Macbeth-inspired "Toil and Trouble" to the haunting ghost story "Penelope", these songs always seem to touch on hints of the supernatural and the ghostly.

As for the music itself, it's sublime. The band's use of strings and piano are particularly well done, and both lead singers Andrew (who takes the lead on tracks like "Wild Creatures of Doubt") and Ashley ("Penelope" and "Persephone", as well as their cover of Joanna Newsome's "Balloons and Bridges") have extraordinary, distinctive voices.

The production isn't as glossy as much of the music making the rounds, mostly because this gang is still working on a smaller scale than the typical Hype Machine darlings, but they have something special. Though they haven't completed a full new release for 2008, a handful of strong tracks have been recorded and released that have got me pretty excited to hear more.

Belle's Wake recorded their The Nature of the Ground EP last year, which they've offered up for free download here, and are now working on The Riot Sessions.

Belle's Wake - Wild Creatures of Doubt [The Nature of the Ground EP, 2007]
Belle's Wake - Penelope [The Riot Sessions, 2007]
Belle's Wake - A Fevered Dream [The Riot Sessions, 2007]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

TRACK SHOWCASE: BRISKEBY'S "ASPHALT BEACH"

"I don't believe we can believe anymore..."


A song from Norwegian electro-pop band Briskeby, this is the one song from their discography that haunts me long after I moved on to other artists. It's beautiful, hazy, and cutting, as it tears apart the building superficiality of society. The above line is the core of the song, a reaction to the shallowness of the cult of 'beauty' and the advancing of so-called 'progress', while losing anything deep or real about our lives.

Wonderful stuff, worthy of recognition.

Briskeby - The Asphalt Beach [Jeans For Onassis, 2001]

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NEW FEATURE: REACTIONS

Hey guys!

So, I've added a feature to the blog where you can give me a positive or negative reaction to a post without even commenting. I hope you guys will take advantage of it, because I love knowing what you guys think.

Any suggestions for a more specific reactions set?

And to keep you happy, a track from the excellent new album from the Pale Young Gentlemen.

Pale Young Gentlemen - Wedding Guest

EDIT: Technical difficulties. I can't seem to get it to work... sorry, guys. Will keep working on it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

ROULETTE 37

"You play the victim perfectly, holding your beating heart..."

I've been horribly truant as of late, with the post count of the past two months being absolutely dismal. Sincere apologies, all; university sucks. That said, here's a smattering of songs from this year that I've been enjoying in the past few days. When time clears up a little, you'll get posts of a bit deeper quality, I promise.

Sia - Electric Bird [Some People Have Real Problems, 2008]

Calexico - Victor Jara's Hands
[Carried to Dust, 2008]

David Byrne and Brian Eno - One Fine Day
[Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, 2008]

Songdog - Likes of You and Me [Wretched Sinner's Song, 2008]

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TBOS!


The Bringer of Song is now one year old!

In the past year, I've posted 126 times, shared at least twice that many songs, and oftentimes got comments that proved your gratitude. I've been picked up by Hype Machine, I've seen my daily hits go from 20-somethings to 200+ a day. I've been in contact with actual bands, as well as promoters, agents, managers. I've had an amazing time.

I have to say, I'm extremely pleased and a little shocked this little blog has made it so far. I love this blog as much, if not more, than I did when just starting out, which is shocking because I never would have pegged me to commit to something for this long. Usually it's six months then split.... which means this blog really is something very special to me.

The ability to share music with the rest of the world, to help others find something they can listen to, and just an outlet for my unending opinions, this blog has been such a boon to my mental stability. Just being able to say what I want, no apologies and all support, has made this year really, really great.

I wanna thank all the artists who have sent me music, even those whose tunes I haven't yet had time to listen properly to; The Hype Machine for putting this little blog on the map, my family, a few of whom are regular readers of this blog (and one of whom a contributor), and you guys. It's because of you, and the fact that I'm actually helping people find music they like, that this was possible in the first place. I hope you've enjoyed what I've shared so far, and that you continue to for many years to come!

Also, I want to that all those who participated in the contest, including our three winners Gincss, John, and fellow blogger The Impressionable Youth (of The Impressionable Youth). You'll each be getting an email from me soon, and your prizes should be shipped off (hopefully) within a week.

The Smiths - Unhappy Birthday

I liked this song as a child, before I bothered listening to lyrics. Now, though, I still love it. Is it odd that such a generally happy person loved such a miserable song? I'll be back with more music within the next few days, when I'm home where all my music is.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! And hurrah!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ROULETTE 36

"If I could just see straight, I'd probably head straight for the door..."



Coldplay - Viva La Vida [Viva La Vida, 2008]

I should not like this song. For a long time, I've despised Coldplay, after a moment of realisation that their lyrics were downright embarrassing. But though the whole album hasn't warmed to me, the lead single from it is much more impressive than almost all of their previous output. This isn't inane attempts at cuteness or shallow imitations of depth, but a song capturing a specific feeling via an extended metaphor: the loss of power with the loss of love, working as both literal story of a fallen king and metaphorical tale of a modern-day romantic with a broken heart. I'm honestly impressed, and I hope they keep it up.

Ben Folds - Cologne [Way to Normal, 2008]

Hearkening back to some of his older work, "Cologne" is a piece about letting go. Folds is well and truly vulnerable here, at his best, filling the song with the tiny details. There's something very touching about the countdown and the idea of both wishing for a connection ("in my hotel room I'm wondering if you read that story too, and if we might be having the same imaginary conversation...") and trying to disconnect ("I'm letting you go."). The piano and subtle strings works wonders to make this a frail, emotional piece.

Carissa's Wierd - One Night Stand [I Before E, 2004]

I've been so immersed in this year's offerings, I sometimes forget to listen to old favourites. Favourites like this bizarre tale of broken people, the type of song Carissa's Wierd does best. The male/female harmony adds to the feeling of disorientation and haziness of the titular one night stand, while adding a universal quality to the proceedings. It happens to everyone, male or female. The strings and guitars mourn in the background. Beautiful.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CONGRATS, PRESIDENT OBAMA!

Well, president-elect or whatever, at least. Hurrah! Hurrah! I'm a Canadian, but I'm much happier now knowing we're sharing our border with this guy.

Muke - Barack Obama!!!!

Yay!

ALBUM REVIEW: FORGIVE DURDEN'S THE SHADOW OF RAZIA: A MUSICAL


Forgive Durden's new album, Razia's Shadow: A Musical is an interesting creature. Originally envisioned as a side project for lead singer Thomas Dutton, it became his square focus when the band's three other members left the band suddenly. This rather charming and bizarre experiment is a full-on fantasy musical released solely as an album, with a multitude of strong guest singers and some very nice songwriting.

The story follows events in a fantasy world, chronicling two stories: the creation and division of the world into darkness and light, and the romance that would redeem the world and return it to its former glory. While hitting a number of typical cliches in these types of stories, the lyrical style here is very interesting, with some great work done by Dutton.

The first five tracks follow the creation and the rebellion of Ahrima (Thomas Dutton) that leads the world into darkness, and features Dutton, Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter, Lizzie Huffman of Man in the Blue Van, Max Bemis of Say Anything, and Chris Conley of Saves the Day. I'm not familiar with any of the guest talent in the first half, but they all do fine work, particularly Bemis in the role of the dastardly spider Barayas, who precipitates the climax of this portion.

The last eight tracks are devoted to the bigger story, of redemption and love. This one features Dutton again in the lead role, this time as a character named Adakias. This stronger half features Danny Stevens of The Audition, Dan Young of This Providence, John Baldwin Gourley of Portugal. The Man, Kris Anaya of An Angle, Brandon Urie of Panic at the Disco, Greta Salpeter of The Hush Sound, Nic Newsham of Gatsbys American Dream, and Shawn Harris of The Matches. Again, of this half the only contributor I am familiar with is Urie, as I'm a big fan of his band.

It's in this second half where the album really takes off. Dutton's character isn't particularly memorable, considering how much he shares with most fantasy heroes, but luckily the guest cast carry this story well, though I wish all of the more memorable players had gotten more voice time. The plotting anc characterization is weak, and it relies on the singers themselves to infuse their characters with something extra, and many of the contributers do just that. Brandon Urie as the hero's devilish brother demands the role with relish, adding a swagger and making sure the character wasn't pure caricature; Shawn Harris' King is very enjoyable as the princess' bastard father; Greta Salpeter elevates the everyprincess role here with a beautiful voice with a kindness to it that would otherwise be completely lightweight; and Shawn Harris creates a fantastic voice for the bonkers doctor charged with saving the princess' life as the story moves towards its final climax. Also deserving of praise was Adam Weiss of mewithoutyou, whose narration is really the lead voice here, despite Dutton's lead role.

You can tell this was inspired by Moulin Rouge and classic Disney musical movies, as Dutton mentioned in an interview with Alternative Press. The story and production feel very much inspired, and it adds a real sense of nostalgia to the proceedings. There's something just calming about recognising much of what's here, even if it undercuts some of the drama (especially in the climax). There's a real epic feeling to the proceedings, and quite a few of the lyrical choices are just plain inspired.

An excellent album, especially anyone who loves musicals and/or old musical Disney flicks. Perhaps not for everyone, but something I can't stop listening to anyhow. Seek it out.

Forgive Durden - Meet the King (feat. Nic Newsham and Greta Salpeter) [The Shadow of Razia: A Musical, 2008]

Forgive Durden - Doctor Doctor (feat. Shawn Harris) [The Shadow of Razia: A Musical, 2008]

Forgive Durden - Holy the Sea (feat. John Gourley and Kris Anaya) [The Shadow of Razia: A Musical, 2008]

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ROULETTE 35

"Who'd have known, who'd have known, that when you flash up on my phone I'd no longer feel alone?"

A quick roulette this time...

Lily Allen - Who'd Have Known (MySpace Release, 2008)

Aaron Thomas - Far From Home (Follow the Elephants, 2008)

Plajia - Beautiful Explosion (Beautiful Explosion, 2008)

Gregory and the Hawk - Doubtful (Moenie and Kitchie, 2008)

Micah P. Hinson - Yard of Blonde Girls (Dream Brother, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DISCOVERY: MOTHER MOTHER

"I made a fist and not a plan; just call me a reckless wrecking ball."


Now, it's a bit early for a showcase; usually I do those for bands with a bit of history, a few albums I know and love under their belts. So, introducing (kind of) 'Discovery' - mini-showcases for bands I've just discovered or don't have enough material to have a proper Showcase.

This time round, we're meeting Mother Mother, whose new album O My Heart has captured my own heart, though I'm still digging into the album. That said, though, they are immediately impressive, both rocking and being ridiculously cute and funny, something almost no band can pull off credibly. Take "Hayloft", which is led by childish vocals, and somehow manages to fuse creepy and cute in a bizarre way. Or "Arms Tonite", about a lover dying and trying to get back to their lover. Or the lovely "Ghosting", or the sweetly aggressive and self-deprecating "Wrecking Ball"

Mother Mother have my heart, and my ears, because they make great music that just cheers me up, and that is a type of music I want to see more of.

Mother Mother - Hayloft
Mother Mother - Wrecking Ball

IF YOU LIKE: Los Campesinos - You! Me! Dancing | Boney M - Hooray! Hooray! | Cloud Cult - Everybody Here is a Cloud

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ROULETTE 34

"I can't get around the bends in your brain, and your elaborate pain makes me tired..."


Yet another roulette, from your favourite blogger...

Sarah Blasko - Always On This Line [What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Take, 2006]

These past few days, I've been rediscovering the joy of Australian Sarah Blasko's last album, the stunning What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Take. I underrate this album terribly, and while I may go gaga over the Begin to Hopes and Yes, Virginias of this world, I can't forget the downright amazing, but less replayable, work Blasko does. Her work is so heavy, with such substance, that her music often doesn't get the plays others' do, and that's a shame. She's got an amazing voice, and her lyrics are superb. This song is a standout on a stellar album.

Annie - What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song) [Don't Stop, 2008]

Annie's sophomore album is probably the singularly most disappointing release of 2008 so far. The entire album doesn't have half the heart of "Heartbeat" or "Me Plus One", and that is epitomized in "What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)", quite possibly the most banal, irritating song I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. I have never made it to the end of this song. After the first two attempts, I just gave up.

Cloud Cult - Journey of the Featherless [Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornados), 2008]

In stark contrast to the above disappointment, finding this gem was mostly by accident. I knew I liked the Cult from "Everybody Here is a Cloud", but I hadn't yet heard this extremely charming little tale. It's just so delightful, a tale of a simple soul trying to find his way to heaven and getting lost amongst the clouds. It's wonderful.

Yoav - Adore Adore [Charmed & Strange, 2008]

An evocative, almost seductive song from London-based Yoav, who croons a dark tale from the point of our favourite Lucifer. What could come off as a cliche actually comes off as well-done; Yoav's devil is a charming brute, with a wink in his eye as he leads you into the darkness.

Lisa Hannigan - Teeth [Sea Sew, 2008]

Lisa Hannigan, Damien Rice's better half (musically, kids, not romantically), recently split with the Irish heartthrob to make her own music. I've long been a fan of this quirky, waifish singer (see my praise of the fantastic "Sea Song" demo) and Sea Sew was one of my most anticipated releases before it was confirmed to even exist. Does it live up to the hype? Well, nothing could, but we've got a beautiful album here that is still in the process of growing on me. One standout is the melancholic "Teeth", an epic, beautiful showcase. (Longtime fans of Hannigan's should recognise it as the song once known as "The Bottle")

Sara Lov - My Body is a Cage (Arcade Fire Cover) [Young Eyes EP, 2008]

A cover of one of my secret favourites from Arcade Fire's repertoire, it takes their full organ church sound and translates it to piano, strings and Sara Lov's surprisingly vulnerable voice. While Win Butler infused the original with chain-shaking agony and unfulfilled rage, Lov seems to be singing as a caged bird with a quiet strength; two cages, two prisoners, both as interesting as one another.

Alanis Morissette - Not As We [Flavors of Entanglement, 2008]

One of Canada's best exports, the lovely Alanis Morissette released her seventh album, and somehow made it better than most of her output over the years. One of the standouts was this track, a song of rebirth and recovery after her public separation with actor Ryan Reynolds. I've heard the end of a serious romantic relationship can sometimes be likened to mourning a death, and Alanis is in full mourning garb here, trying to understand a world as an 'I' and 'not as we' for the first time in recent memory.

2008, though I've been a little hard on it before, has been a damn good year for music. Though it was missing heavy hitters like Andrew Bird or Tegan and Sara, there's amazing solo work being done from old favourites (Amanda Palmer and the above Lisa Hannigan), and plenty of fantastic new discoveries (Why?, Emily Wells, Caroline Herring, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip) that have made this a surprisingly good music.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT: ANNIVERSARY CONTEST!

(The reason posts have been sparse this past month or so is because of internet issues, not with any flagging interest in blogging, so tBoS will be around, hopefully, for a long and healthy future. In fact, I've spent a (probably literally) crazy amount of listening to tracks to prep for my annual Best 100 Tracks list. And this...)

A year ago this November, this blog came into existence. I posted 'The Debut of Alden', tBoS' very first post. Some of you found it early in its life, and many of you did so after Hype picked us up. Heck, I'm betting one or two of you reading right now have never seen this blog before. A year is a pretty big milestone, and we're gonna celebrate in style.

On November 15, 2007, tBoS came into existence.

On November 15, 2008, three tBoS readers will become very happy.

Now, I announce the The Bringer of Song Happy Birthday Contest!

As a music blogger, this past year I have had contact with some amazing artists who don't get half the attention they deserve. Three such artists have agreed to help me out with our little birthday shindig. First off, what is this contest?

It's simple. Answer one question via email (to our brand spanking new email, thebringerofsong@hotmail.com), and the three best answers, chosen by yours truly, will receive one of the prize packs we have available. The question?

What is your favourite musical discovery you found on The Bringer of Song, and why do you like it so much? It can be an artist, an album, a song, a remix, whatever you can convince me is a 'musical discovery'!

Or

What is the best musical discovery you've made this year? What makes it so special?

Those who gave the three best answers will be responded to with a request for a shipping address, where we will send their prize. What prizes are up to be won?

THIRD PRIZE


A copy of Helen Lawson's Crossing the Bridge EP!

SAMPLE TRACK: Helen Lawson - Something in the Wine

This British artist is one of my own favourite discoveries this year. When I was first offered the EP, I was hesitant - until I heard her song "Something in the Wine", which frankly blew me away. There was just something so fresh and beautiful about it, so unexpectedly, that it quickly ended up on heavy rotation. The rest of the EP is just as enjoyable, especially "Slipping".

SECOND PRIZE


A copy of Helen Lawson's Crossing the Bridge EP, as well as a copy of Plajia's Beautiful Explosion album!

SAMPLE TRACK: Plajia - Beautiful Explosion

Plajia are a Montreal-based band I showcased back in July, working magic with what can only be termed 'trip rock'. Their music swings through a variety of styles, with bizarre yet intriguing lyrics. But I hate to repeat myself, so check out what I originally said about them at their Showcase.

FIRST PRIZE


A copy of Helen Lawson's Crossing the Bridge EP, a copy of Plajia's Beautiful Explosion album, and a copy of Muke's stunning debut, Shutterspeed Lullabies!

SAMPLE TRACK: Muke - Swingsets

When I first heard Oregon-based band Muke, I couldn't stop smiling. Their music is just so fuzzy and warm, so utterly loveable, that I was blown away. I reviewed their album back in August, and I'm still very happy to say that they've got great things coming to them if they keep working at it. They nail the feeling of fuzzy reminiscence in "Swingsets", and ramp up the charm to the max in the simple-but-ridiculously-cute "The Hamburger Waltz".

Included with each prize will be a typed response to the individual winner's email, written by me, just for them. I'd hand write it, but I'd prefer if you guys could read it... I don't know how long it will be, but you'll have first-hand proof that I am genuinely thankful for you guys.

I'll be accepting submissions until November 14th, 2008, and the contest ends at 12:00 midnight. That's Eastern Time, US and Canada for you international readers. The winners will be announced here on November 15, 2008 and shipped shortly thereafter.

Anyhow, no matter who wins, I just want to thank all of tBoS's readers, whether regular readers, first-timers, and anyone in between. I'd also like to thank Helen Lawson, Maddie Liebowitz, Luke Kuzava and the members of Plajia for their help in putting this thing together, and all the other artists, managers, promoters etc. who send me more music than I could ever listen to!

Ready, set, go!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ROULETTE 33: NEW MUSIC 2008!

"Make your peace and stop haunting me..."


I know 2008 is getting older, and in a few months will be on its way out, but the magic of music is that it keeps coming out no matter what! I thought I'd solidified my Best 100 Tracks list for this year, but a couple new acquisitions are threatening to take spots...

Travis - Broken Mirror (Ode to J. Smith, 2008)

Yes, Ode to J. Smith is Travis' second album in two years, and seems to continue the high quality of last year's The Boy With No Name. "Broken Mirror" is a bit darker than their usual output, with quiet, forceful guitar supporting Fran Healy's quiet, almost paranoid vocals. Very nice offering, one that bodes well for the rest of the album.

Belle's Wake - Penelope (The Riot Sessions, 2008)

One of my favourite lesser-known bands, Belle's Wake are beginning to record new music, including this gorgeous piano-led piece. It's quite different to their previous releases, but there's still that inherent darkness and sadness that fueled their previous work, mixed with a little bit of hope and wonder. This band deserves more notice than they're getting, and I honestly think that soon, they're gonna be getting it. Wait and see.

Hello Saferide - 2008 (More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide, 2008)

One of my favourite artists from years past is back with a new album, and this one's quite subdued compared to Introducing..., but just as promising. I'm enjoying it so far, though without an iPod I haven't been able to listen to it half as much as I'd like. This song's got a nice, hopeful feeling to it that makes me smile.

Ben Folds - Free Coffee (Way to Normal, 2008)

This song has a dream-like quality, but never leaves the realm of Ben Folds' typical cynicism, as he talks about going off and becoming rich, and how he feels about his life. There's a great, bleepy electronic style here that I don't believe Folds has tackled before, and it' s quite interesting to listen to.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ROULETTE 32

"Half underwater, I'm half my mother's daughter..."

A Fine Frenzy - Hope For the Hopeless (One Cell in the Sea, 2007)

Klaxons - Isle of Her (Myths of the Near Future, 2007)

The Dresden Dolls - Half Jack (The Dresden Dolls, 2003)

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ALDEN UPDATE AGAIN

Hey, guys.

Sorry for the lack of posts; my computer's internet is dead and that means no uploady. Updating from my sisters Mac at the moment.

Since my last update, Amanda Palmer released Who Killed Amanda Palmer and I ordered it - and am getting a signed copy! Signed personally by that crazy but loveable Amanda Palmer. Hell yeah! In other news, though, it's looking like The Dresden Dolls are either in indefinite hiatus or kaput, depending on what mood you catch Brian Viglione in. Honestly, though I'm so sad I kinda feel like weeping manly tears, maybe this is a good thing for both of them. They'll get away from each other long enough to miss each other, do amazing solo work (maybe even a Viggy solo album?), then get back together in a few years' time and produce an album so great the world will fall on its knees and cry like little babies. (... I hope)

In honour of all this news coming out of Dresden, a song from a pretty fucking amazing album coming right up...

Amanda Palmer - Blake Says [Who Killed Amanda Palmer, 20o8)

Also, once my net is all fixed up I have a couple of big announcements, including one regarding tBoS' big first-anniversary plans. Until then, though, stay awesome.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

ROULETTE 31

"I'd rather take a bath with a sociopath than a date with Bill Gates."

LAL feat. Leah - Your Body Could Start A War (Deportation, 2008)

The Chapin Sisters - Toxic (Britney Spears cover)

Anya Marina - Sociopath (Miss Halfway, 2005)

Micah P. Hinson - Throw the Stone (Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ROULETTE 30

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder; fondness makes the absence longer."


This past week or so, after a slew of great finds, I've been getting back my music mojo and really enjoying some new albums. Though I open the post with an oldie (for me, at least), you'll see that I take my search for the best music in 2008 very seriously, and I hope you enjoy exploring this year's releases alongside me.

Ace of Base - Unspeakable (Junk and Function Mix) (Unspeakable CDS, 2002)

An old favourite, and one of the first remixes I ever liked. there's just something about this song that makes me dance a little in my seat. Ace of Base should be returning in 2008/2009 with new material, and I'm very curious to see what they've come up with.

Yoav - Where Is My Mind? (Pixies cover) (Charmed and Strange, 2008)

After following advice from a tBoS commenter and fellow blogger, eng+, I began to check out Yoav's album Charmed and Strange, and I'm genuinely impressed. One of the best offering in my first listen of the album is a cover of one of my oft-forgotten favourites, Pixies's "Where Is My Mind?". It has a completely different feel, with a subdued, guitar-led introspective take.

Jem - Aciiid! (Down to Earth, 2008)

I do know it's been a bit overkill with Jem these past few days, but I've been waiting years for this follow-up and I'm quickly falling in love with her music all over again. She's just loveable here, with her singing bits in Japanese and just the utter sense of fun in this song. It feels like a song designed for DDR, really. It's a breath of fresh air, as I've been listening to some heavier stuff lately.

Joshua Radin feat. Meiko - Sky (Simple Times, 2008)

Joshua Radin's last record We Were Here (2006) was a quick favourite at first, pulling tightly on the heartstrings. After one too many listens, it began to feel overly sappy, and I abandoned it for other fare. Radin is master of this genre, though, and although I may not be head-over-heels with this follow-up, I do fully expect to enjoy it. This song, featuring Meiko, is a nice one about dreaming about your partner leaving you, and the warm feeling when you wake up and they're still there.

Los Campesinos - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, 2008)

The title track from next month's release, Los Campesinos' second in 2008, is a new take of some old tricks. For those who've overplayed their first album, it may be too soon to give this one a shot as it's very much the same feel of the last album. However, as I never did so, I'm definitely enjoying it. Considering the above lyric from the song, however, makes me wonder exactly how fond Los Campesinos are of Hold On Now, Youngster..., even if I love it.

Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat - Lucky (We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things; 2008)

It's always been very hit-and-miss with Jason Mraz for me, on a song-by-song basis. That said, I'm very fond of this downright cute duet between he and Colbie Caillat, that's in the vein of the above "Sky" in being thankful for a relationship. Here, Mraz outshines Radin and gives Caillat much more to do than poor Meiko, but both songs are worth your time.

Alt-Ctrl-Sleep - Stay (Alt-Ctrl-Sleep; 2008)

A beautiful psychadelic pop track from husband-and-wife duo Joe and April Diaco, who have created some very pretty, introspective and entrancing music here. Just listening to this music draws you in, softly but surely, with its softly pulsing music and rare, dreamy-fuzzy vocals. Give them a listen, I think you'll find them very intriguing.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Friday, September 12, 2008

TRACK SHOWCASE: JEM'S "I WANT YOU TO..."

"I want you to love me, I want you to touch me, I want you to know me..."


This song may not be a flat out work of beauty like other given the track showcase, but there's something so infectious and sexy about it (even if it's a little obvious about it) that I just can't help myself. From Jem's upcoming album, this Spanish-inspired piece is about the sexuality of dancing, and I just love it.

Jem - I Want You To... (Down to Earth, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WHAT DOES THE BRINGER OF SONG WANT FOR HIS BIRTHDAY?

So, last November I got bored. Real bored. Or perhaps I got real busy, and needed to unwind. For some reason, I tapped into my soul and sold it to Google; I made a music blog. And in two months, it'll be The Bringer of Song's first birthday, and I'm considering a few options by way of celebration. One recently made suggestion, by a certain relative of mine, was that I find some way to give you, or a few lucky yous, some presents; that is the nature of a music blog after all.

I am a poor university student, so I can't go around buying gold-gilded thrones and unicorns for you folks. Plus, those aren't very musically oriented. However, I'm hoping to be able to arrange something. As an aside, if you're an artist, or manage an artist, or your cousin's best friend's wife is friends with a member of a band I (might) like, let me know. Wink wink.

ETA Sept 12, 2008: Don't worry about this little issue. Let me just say that I'm fully prepared for November's celebration, thanks to some generous donations.

Andrew Bird - The Happy Birthday Song (The Mysterious Production of Eggs, 2005)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

NEW SONG: BEN FOLD'S "YOU DON'T KNOW ME"

"Why the fuck would you want me back? Baby, it's because you don't know me at all."


A new song has slipped out of Ben Folds' upcoming album entitled "You Don't Know Me", featuring the lovely tBoS-favourite Regina Spektor! It's really cute, and bodes well for the upcoming record. Can't wait!

Ben Folds feat. Regina Spektor - You Don't Know Me (Way to Normal, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

ROULETTE 28

"The people screaming just as they should, but you don't even know if you're good..."


Looking forward to some great-looking new albums from artists I like coming up in the next four months...

Jem - I Always Knew (Down to Earth, 2008)

Keane - Spiralling (Radio Edit) (Perfect Symmetry, 2008)

Amanda Palmer feat. East Bay Ray - Guitar Hero (Who Killed Amanda Palmer, 2008)

Annie - I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me (Don't Stop, 2008)

Dido - Look No Further (Safe Way Home, 2008)

Of Montreal - Triphallus, to Punctuate! (Skeletal Lamping, 2008)

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Monday, September 1, 2008

MUSIC VIDEO SHOWCASE: AMANDA PALMER'S "STRENGTH THROUGH MUSIC"

The most beautiful, moving music video I've seen. I know that's not saying a lot considering how shallow most are, but Palmer and all involved (special props to director Michael Pope whose work here, and in all Palmer's videos, is absolutely stunning). Written originally in the wake of the Columbine shootings and recorded after the Virginia Tech massacre, it's a powerful piece of work.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

DOUBLE TAKE #3: WINE? GOOD.

After a long hiatus for this mini-feature, I had another epiphany. Two songs I like very much, with a swaggering (or perhaps merely drunkenly stumbling) confidence, a twinkle in the eye, and a feeling of true indulgence. The biggest thing, though, has to be the wine...


I'm put together beautifully, big wet bottle in my first, big wet rose in my teeth. I'm a perfect piece of ass, like every Californian, so tall I take over the street, with high beams shining up my back, wingspan unbelieveable. I'm a festival, a parade. And all the wine is all for me.

So summer stains a sky with inky swirls that bring the thunder low. But I don't mind, I'm doing things and doing them with you. And if you're smart you'll put that book back down; you'll drag me to the floor, drag me down for more drinking wine, drinking wine in the afternoon...

Both released by critically acclaimed indie bands with their fair share of rabid fans; both bands with fantastic male vocalists. For The National, this is a moment of fun in their usually contemplative mood, while Franz Ferdinand is no beginner to mischief. Both are great to brighten up an afternoon, and maybe tempt you to crack open a bottle yourself.

Congratulations guys, you've got twins.

The National - All the Wine (from Alligator, 2005)
Franz Ferdinand - Wine in the Afternoon (from Eleanor Put Your Boots On single, 2006)

Search for more at The Hype Machine. Purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

ROULETTE 27

"There is no nation of you, there is no nation of me..."


Ani DiFranco - Star Matter [Red Letter Year, 2008]

I've always been a mild fan of Ani DiFranco, never much of one to follow her work however. Her new album seems quite nice, however, and I foresee listening to it a good amount over the next few weeks. This one's a sweet little song, the first off the album to catch my attention.

Bitter:Sweet - The Bomb [Drama, 2008]

Bitter:Sweet are always great fun to listen to, and this song from their newest album is no different. There's something vaguely glamorous about Shana Halligan's vocals, and the songs are filled with the manic stylings of partner-in-crime Kiran Shahani, making the music busy, bouncy pieces of pop. This song was perfectly chosen as the theme of TV show "Lipstick Jungle" about wealthy, high-powered woman, as it feels fun, devilish and slightly dangerous.

Franz Ferdinand - Lucid Dreams [Madden NFL 09 video game, 2008]

A rollicking adventure of a song, typical of Franz, using the device of lucid dreams to explore the idea of escapism and the fun of it. Sad to hear this isn't a single from their forthcoming album, but definitely shows the gang are on full form.

The Pipettes - The Shoe That Fits (Vocal Mix) [Unreleased]

Alerted to this via Zeon, I immediately pounced on this new track from an old favourite. The Pipettes, though my listening has waned in recent months, were always a great band to listen to. Songs mostly about dancing and love or the lack thereof sung by girls with real character. Two have left to pursue solo careers, and two new girls have stepped up to the plate. This is an a capella version of the new track, ready to be remixed, and I'm a little charmed, though I'll have to see the final version.

Ten Kens - The Whore of Revelation
[Ten Kens, 2008]

A quite indie band from our good city of Toronto are Ten Kens, who seem quite promising. "The Whore of Revelation" is like a bizarrely haunting, crunching carousel. Ghosts live here. Their music is a fantastic mix of music-noise and craggy vocals. While not as catchy as other bands, I'm deeply impressed with Ten Kens, and I wish them success.

Helen Lawson - Something in the Wine
[Crossing the Bridge EP, 2008]

Helen Lawson is a London singer-songwriter with an absolutely beautiful voice that feels like it belongs to some bygone decade. This song is romantic, contemplative and feels like being enfolded in a cool bath. I'll be getting her full EP soon, and I fully expect to enjoy every song if they are as half as good as this one.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ALDEN UPDATE

Suffering from severe irritation as I've had to restore my iPod, which means I've got to re-add every song I own onto it and have lost all of my play counts. If the Best of 2008 albums wasn't already a monumental task...

That said, I've also acquired Amanda Palmer's fantastic debut, so I'm giving a glimpse at it with:

Amanda Palmer - Oasis

Off her long-awaited debut album, "Oasis" is the immediate favourite, reminding exactly why we love Amanda Palmer and her music so (even when the album drags a little). A casually told tale of a teenager being raped and procuring an abortion, it's a study of the apathy with which youth often addresses major sexual sitations.

UPDATE: It's looking a tad more dire, as my iPod is completely broken. I'll need to call in my warranty, which means tBoS will be pretty sparse for a while until my music listening chances are more often again.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Monday, August 25, 2008

ROULETTE 26

"Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into a girl's pants; use it to get into their heads."

Some excellent tracks from albums in contention for my end of year best-of list...

Bloc Party - Ion Square [Intimacy, 2008]

Emily Wells - Symphony 1 in the Barrel of a Gun [The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties, 2008]

Muke - Clockwork [Shutterspeed Lullabies, 2008]

Yael Naim - Toxic (Britney Spears cover) [Yael Naim, 2008]

Micah P. Hinson - Sunrise Over The Olympus Mons [Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra, 2008]

Shearwater - I Was a Cloud [Rook, 2008]

Why? - The Hollows [Alopecia, 2008]

Forest City Lovers - Sullen Seas [Haunting Moon Sinking, 2008]

Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill [Angles, 2008]

of Montreal - Wicked Wisdom [Lantana, 2008]

Death Cab For Cutie - Long Division [Narrow Stairs, 2008]

Got an intense crop here, guys. Can't wait to see what the next four months bring!

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: EMILY WELLS' "THE SYMPHONIES: DREAMS, MEMORIES AND PARTIES"

"Another concept we must ponder: Absence of genre makes the art grow fonder."


Artist: Emily Wells
Album: The Symphonies: Dreams, Memories and Parties

TRACKLIST:

1. Symphony 1 In the Barrel of a Gun
2. Symphony 2 & the Click Boom Boom
3. Symphony 3: The Story (Featuring Count Bass D)
4. Symphony 4: America's Mercy War
5. Symphony 5 Was a Surprise
6. Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well & the Requiem Mix
7. Symphony 7: Dreams Memories & Heaven
8. Symphony 8 & the Canary's Last Take
9. Symphony 9 & the Sunshine
10. Symphony 10: Could This Really Be the End?


Emily Wells is an amazingly talented violinist and singer. Once headhunted by major record labels but striking out on her own to keep her artistic integrity, she made the right choice here: given the freedom to create the music she wants to, she's made one damn good album. LASTFM calls her music Symphonic Folktronica Fantasy, and though Wells dislikes genre titles (as do I), those words do give a great sense of what to expect on Symphonies.

Her music has so many ways to describe it. It's beautiful, mixing her gothic-but-not-exactly-dark-sounding voice with violin. It's a little dark and creepy, but also shiny and happy. It's extremely well written, but it also flows as stream-of-consciousness thoughts. It even contains elements of rap, with a one off appearance by Count Bass D actually working extremely well. It's like simultaneously floating along a ray of sunshine and wandering, lost and worried, in a dark labyrinth.

Take a little Emilie Autumn without Autumn's morbid streak, with a dash of the theatricality and instrumental skill of The Dresden Dolls and a sprinkling of the playful darkness and the harmonising vocals of The Pierces, and you're halfway there. This is one of few albums that I can sit and listen to straight through without changing artists. I'm holding back the best track off this album for this year's Top 100 Tracks list, but really all the tracks are well worth a listen.

Emily Wells - Symphony 10: Could This Really Be the End?

Emily Wells - Symphony 2 & the Click Boom Boom

IF YOU LIKE: Emilie Autumn - How Strange | The Dresden Dolls - Mrs. O | The Pierces - Secret

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound, and listen at LastFM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: INDIECATER, VOL. ONE

"You remind me of me because you don't like me..."


Artist: Various Artists
Album: Indiecater, Vol. One

TRACKLIST:

1) Burning Codes - It's Alright (Belfast)
2) Slushco - Astronaut (Atlanta)
3) Storkboy Choons - Rockfield Symphony (Kells)
4) The E.L.F. - Cockroaches (Sydney)
5) Foreign Slippers - Packed The Car (Norrkoping)
6) Beaten Awake - You Remind Me of Me (Kent, Ohio)
7) Call To Mind - (Untitled) (Inverness)
8) Empty Rooms - We've Been Waiting for You (San Francisco)
9) Cymbals Eat Guitars - Share (New York)
10) Michael Knight - Dumbshow (Director's Cut) (Dublin)

This is a fascinating project: An internet-only compilation of small-time bands unable to get the promotion of major labels, put together by a good-hearted music blogger. This way, the bands get a bit of money and exposure, and the blog gets the attention gained from a new, exciting project being released. However, is the music any good?

Well, both yes and no. The music is quite good technically, and enjoyable to listen to, that's not debateable. Beaten Awake's "You Remind Me of Me" is very listenable; Michael Knights' puzzling "Dumbshow (Director's Cut)" manages to work (barely) despite having a lot of voices going 'ahhhhh' along with music; Storkboy Choons' "Rockfield Symphony" is a nice, shiny 80s-inspired song that I'll probably not listen to again; and Cymbals Eat Guitars' "Share" is a nice moody piece.

Foreign Slippers' "Packed the Car" is a sad, regretful piece that I rather like, with a female vocalist taking the lead. Call to Mind's untitled offering is one of the strongest, a quiet, echoing song best listened to with one's eyes closed. The E.L.F.'s "Cockroaches" is a bizarre tribute to the titular creature, but its fun to taps along to the beat. Empty Rooms' "We've Been Waiting For You" is a song that just feels massive and open, with echoing vocals and a stong beat underneath. Slushco's song, "Astronaut", is probably the warmest, most accessible song, and the one from the band I could easily see gaining greater success. And, finally, Burning Codes' "It's Alright" is a nice, simple song mostly composed of its title as lyrics sung by multiple voices, a little similar to ""Dumbshow (Director's Cut)".

In the long term, I can only see listening to maybe half the tracks on here more than once, but there's enough here to appear to a number of different tastes. One discouraging aspect is the tendency of these artists to overwhelm the vocals with haze and echoes, as it really does lessen the power of the singing. That said, it's a decent compilation, especially considering its genesis. I do hope future volumes will be stronger, though.

Slushco - Astronaut
Empty Rooms - We've Been Waiting For You

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound, and listen at LastFM.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NEW SINGLE: P!NK'S "SO WHAT

"So what? I'm still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don't need you tonight."


What does an angry rock singer like P!nk do when she goes through an ordeal like a divorce? Get back on the horse and show the world exactly how awesome she still is. The song is a daring 'fuck you' to her now ex-husband, detailing a night in her newly single world, determined to show exactly how fine she is. The power of this song doesn't come from its seductive look at being P!nk and her ability to get a table in the same joint as Jessica Simpson, but rather the depth of the anger and betrayal behind her performance of this song. You can tell, no matter how hard she fights it, she's struggling with anger; but she's also refusing to let it get her down and wreck her. Somehow, she manages to convince us that, yeah, she'll be a hell of a lot better than okay if she can just kick somebody's ass.

P!nk - So What [TBD 2008]

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound, and listen at LastFM.

ALBUM REVIEW: MUKE'S "SHUTTERSPEED LULLABIES"

"Show me the way down to Barnacle Bay...."


Artist: Muke
Album: Shutterspeed Lullabies [TBR September 2008]

TRACKLIST:

1. Dreamsicle
2. Sirens
3. Clockwork
4. Electric Skyline
5. Swingsets
6. Sunflower Circus
7. Barnacle Bay
8. Forest Chant
9. The Hamburger Waltz
10. Hanglider

Muke is a charming two-person outfit from Eugene, Oregon. Made up of college students Madeline Liebowitz and Luke Kuzava, they create airy, beautiful pop music. "Shutterspeed Lullabies" is a fantastic name for the albnm, and the second word especially fitting. Their lyrics are fluffy and happy, and their music is like a warm bath. You can just sit there floating in it, smiling. My favourite off the record is "Swingsets", a sweet little song that just makes me inexplicably happy.

Also winners are their "Clockwork" and cheeky "The Hamburger Waltz", the latter of which pokes fun at every advertising cliche known to man. My only regret is the lyric "If you don't like hamburgers you're a communist!", only because it would have been a braver and more current statement on fear-mongering to replace 'communist' with current media favourite 'terrorist' (and look, it fits perfectly in there, too!). Though, I guess 'communist' is more possessions-based, so I'll let it slide. Anyhow, the song points out exactly how manipulative advertising and media are, which makes me very happy nonetheless.

And hey, indie purists! These guys are about as indie as you can get! Get their music before they sell out, eh?

Muke - Swingsets
Muke - The Hamburger Waltz

IF YOU LIKE: Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal | Lykke Li - My | The Bird and the Bee - Polite Dance Song

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound, and listen at LastFM.

Friday, August 15, 2008

QUESTION TO THE MASSES: BEST OF 2008 PREP

It's August, and the end of the year is rapidly approaching. There are so many amazing releases coming in the next four months, and I'm already behind on listening to what I've already got, trying to educate myself best for my annual Best Of lists - 10 Best Albums of 2008 and 100 Best Tracks of 2008. That said, though, I'll be damned if I'll miss out on a worthy release merely because I hadn't thought to seek it out.

So, my question to you: What albums (or individual tracks) should I listen to in order to be fully ready for the end of the year lists? Which would it be a tragedy for me to ignore? Don't worry whether I already have it, neither, because I'm very interested to see what you guys think will be contenders come list day.

TRACK: Los Campesinos - My Year in Lists

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ROULETTE 25

"I just want my trophy back; it's not for sale."


Another roulette, coming right up!

Maxïmo Park - The Coast is Always Changing [A Certain Trigger, 2005]

Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance [Youth Novels, 2008]

Emily Wells - View From a Blind Eye [Beautiful Sleepyhead and the Laughing Yaks, 2006]

Bat For Lashes - Trophy [Fur and Gold, 2007]

Sondre Lerche - After All [Phantom Punch, 2007]

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

ROULETTE 24

"My mind races with all my longings, but can't keep up with what I've got."



Bloc Party - This Modern Love [Silent Alarm, 2005]

I've been enamoured of this song since it was used perfectly to the heartbreaking end of the first season finale of "How I Met Your Mother". I love the upbeat-yet-downbeat feel of the song, and the fact that the singer sounds often like he's singing into an intercom. Jump left!

Boney M -Bahama Mama [Oceans of Fantasy; 1979]

I've been a fan of Boney M's since I first heard the riotous "Rasputin", and their signature style is used to perfection here. A story of a 'bahama mama' in desperate need for husbands for her six beautiful, rich daughters that plays like a virtual ad for moronic bachelors. It's very endearing, with its 80's sound, horns and group singing.

Bright Eyes - Road to Joy [I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, 2005]

Based musically on the very famous 'Ode to Joy', this Bright Eyes piece will always be ingrained in my mind from its memorable placement in the "Heroes" pilot, wherein drug user Isaac is discovered to have overdosed. After that scene I looked out for this song, and found that I actually liked it beyond background music when I did. A great, sometimes self-deprecating, character piece, whether about Conor Oberst himself or a creation.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SHOWCASE: THE VITAMIN STRING QUARTET

One of the most steady, intriguing collections out there is Vitamin Records' set of stunning string quartet tributes. Running the gamut from Evanescence to Tool to Alanis Morissette, they've covered a lot of bases, and have done it beautifully. I'd like to introduce some of my favourite works from my small sampling of their releases.

Vitamin String Quartet - There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Though Of It Yet (Panic at the Disco cover)
Vitamin String Quartet - Nine in the Afternoon (Panic at the Disco cover)
Vitamin String Quartet - I Write Sins Not Tragedies (Panic at the Disco cover)

Vitamin String Quartet - Somewhere a Clock is Ticking (Snow Patrol cover)
Vitamin String Quartet - Run (Snow Patrol cover)

Vitamin String Quartet - How Soon is Now? (The Smiths cover)
Vitamin String Quartet - Miss Misery (Elliott Smith cover)

These are all flawless, layered translations that, while all performed by a string quartet, mange to have a variety in tone and feel while all sounding grand. Enjoy!

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

ROULETTE 23

"Nobody wants to see a beating heart."

Another roulette, though I do apologise for the scarcity of the posts lately.


The Chapin Sisters - Kill Me Now [Lake Bottom, 2008]
(BONUS: The Chapin Sisters - Borderline [Madonna cover])

The Chapin Sisters are a group of actual sisters, Abigail and Lily Chapin, and Jessica Craven, whose dark, sad and heavy folk here weighs down your heart beautifully. Their voices intertwine in a lovely way. Hear an original song, pleading for a lover to kill them; and their reimagining of a Madonna hit.

Bitter:Sweet - Take 2 Blue [The Mating Game, 2006]

A playful, satiric jab at modern life and its ease with antidepressants and other 'pills' as a curative for all the ills in life. A handy filter gives lead singer Shana Halligan the feel of an announcer or voice through a telephone, sweetly instructing us to bend to the pressures of life and 'take 2 blue'. See, now don't you feel lovely? Now good night.

Great Lake Swimmers - The Man With No Skin [Great Lake Swimmers, 2003]

There's something earthy and natural about Great Lake Swimmers, something about their music that, at a visceral level, sounds like the mountains singing. I think it's Tony Dekker's voice, which feels like the lines that run through a stone when you break it and draw your finger across it, or else like the wind echoing through the peaks. This song in particular is a beautiful look at the nature of vulnerability.

Los Campesinos! - Death to Los Campesinos! [Hold On Now, Youngster..., 2008]

Los Campesinos!, a Welsh band so fantastic they require an exclamation mark at the end! It fits, too, because listening to them automatically means I'm bouncing in my seat. A duet swinging between Campesinos Gareth and Aleksandra, this is a wonderful piece of dance-about music. Note that they have another album due out in a couple months, as well.

And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.