Sunday, March 30, 2008
* A hub for you guys to request reuploads, which I will reupload and edit into this post.
* A place where those who cannot use Yousendit, or Sendspace/Rapidshare/others (for some older posts), can request uploads from other sites - Megaupload, Rapidshare, etc.
Anything I can help with, just comment!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Going to go for a bit of theme with this one, as it's been really intriguing me these past few days: instrumental music! I know it seems off to put it all in together, but it really is a different creature entirely from music with conventional vocals, with its own unique worlds of sound as well. For me, it's practically a new universe to explore.
So, here goes, scratching the surface of the instrumental side of things...
(Please excuse any mistakes I make in describing the instrumentation. I can easily analyse vocals because I, like everyone else, speak on a daily basis - Instruments are something new and different to me.)
1. Christophe Beck - Sacrifice (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
The heartbreaking final moments of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fifth season, wherein Buffy sacrifices her own life to save both her sister's life and the world, was one of my favourite TV moments ever. A good amount of that resonance should be rightly credited to this beautiful piece of work, which accompanied what was planned to be the series' final moments.
2. Bear McCreary - Two Funerals (from Battlestar Galactica)
From before I watched the series, I knew and loved this song. I had acquired the OST, and the mournful, dark horns with the sad-but-hopeful resonating strings underneath drew me in completely. The drums that follow add that 'military funeral' feeling to everything, and it smoothly folds into a beautiful ending.
3. Daniel Licht - Party (from Dexter)
The strumming, rather Spanish sound of this song reminds me of Miami, where the series is set, and feels like sedately sexy and happy. The song drifts into a sadder place as it goes, and even when you feel like there's a real party going on and the music begins to reach up, that sadness remains with the leading strings. Wonderful piece of feeling music.
4. John Williams - Confluence (from Memoirs of a Geisha)
I admit to being fascinated, in an outsider-looking-in kind of way, with Japanese culture: their history, their culture, their art and music. This may be why I found "Memoirs" so intriguing, both the novel and the adaptation that followed. I uncovered the OST recently, and this was the first song to really grab me. It's very sparse until it really kicks in about halway, where it fills with layers of beauty.
5. Michael Giacchino - Win One for the Reaper (from Lost)
Initially, I was planning on skipping this song for this post, merely because I didn't want it to run too long. However, I began relistening to it, and remembering why Giacchino's work on Lost has been utterly genius. This song, a tribute to the fallen Boone, I believe, is a beautiful funereal piece that shines among Giacchino's work on the show.
1. Explosions in the Sky - Remember Me as a Time of Day (from How Strange, Innocence)
Long-time tBoS-ers will recognise this song from my debut post. I wondered whether I should include it, but realised I couldn't have this post mean anything and not include it. This was my gateway song into instrumental, into feeling a song beyond words. For a long time while I didn't listen to pretty much anything instrumental, this was in my top ten played songs. It's just a beautiful song.
2. Kaki King - Open Mouth (from Dreaming of Revenge)
I first heard Kaki King on an REM cover by Sara Quinn (of Tegan and Sara), and her guitar work was quite nice, so I remembered her name when I saw Dreaming of Revenge and decided to grab it. This song, creeping up my spine and drifting like gas through me, freezing my insides and filling my head with bits of light, is what I found. I've since criminally ignored this album, and in constructing this post I have remembered this and sworn to rectify that.
Seven is enough for now, I think. Enjoy, and maybe I will post some more. I am looking into more scores, from movies and TV alike. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Ann Danielewski, or Poe, is a unique creature, and so is her album "Haunted" (2000). Approached as a partnership project in terms of promotion with brother Mark's book "House of Leaves", there is a great deal of crossover between the two. The songs are sampled with not just dialogue samples from "Leaves", but also samples of a set of tapes the pair's father left them after his death. In many ways, the album's a family affair, and it works superbly, especially on a few of the tracks. The tracks are deep, layered works with nuance and very interesting sounds.
Poe - Spanish Doll
What starts as simply a quiet, heart-filled song of regret is enhanced greatly by Poe's great grasp of additional samples and layers. A great beat is added, and running Danielewski's voice through various filters gives it a truly haunting sound, as do the many background inclusions. It recreates the feeling of drifitng, "tattered and torn". through a place filled with shreds of once-loved memories flitting between memory and forgetting. If you listen to one of Poe's songs, listen to this one.
Poe - Haunted
The album's title track, "Haunted" was the first of Poe's songs I really listened to. in a way, both this and "Spanish" deal with similar material, the dealing with the loss of a relationship, but they do it skillfully and differently enough that I love them equally. "Spanish" is about the dizziness and lost feeling that comes with being abandoned, while "Haunted" is moreso about attempting to heal and escape that. This also uses samples skillfully, with windy sounds and sound effects that make the song very creepy.
Poe - Not a Virgin
A song that, by the title and chorus, one would assume to be celebrating the pleasures of promiscuity, but is in fact a demand for honesty in a relationship. The protagonist here is sick of idealised fairytale stories and wants to know the honest, dirty truth about the one she's with, and attempts to shock them out of their folly with tales of her own promiscuity and maturity. She demands to be taken seriously.
Poe - Walk the Walk
Danielewski takes the attitude shown in "Virgin" and ramps it up here, in a call to individuality with a pace almost comparable to a rap and yet, undeniably, so very Poe. As she yell, music behind her raging, you can feel her passion and a degree of anger, too, at being pressured to conform.
Poe has a lot of talent and has a great sense of atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's been near eight years since the release of Haunted and there's barely any buzz about a follow-up album; reportedly she's begun it but no release date has been set, even tentatively. Still, I can't wait to hear more from her, as she shows a lot of potential here.
Get Haunted here or here.
Monday, March 24, 2008
It had to happen eventually. After denying the 'emo' label since the release of their excellent debut, Panic at the Disco (who have recently shed their trademark '!' as well) have finally proved all their critics wrong by releasing a song that is far from any form of emo. They've stated they looked to their parents' generation for inspiration, like the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and you can hear it in this genuinely excited, laidback rock song. The vocals are smooth and hopeful, the beat is as strong as on any of their previous works, but the anger has been replaced with just excitement, which they wear just as well.
Few bands manage to reinvent themselves nearly so well, and maybe it's because they didn't feel their first album's sound was what defined them, unlike what most media thought. Panic always had an air of the bizarre to their lyrics, and maybe that's the main correlation between "Nine" and the stuff from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. Check out the main chorus of "Nine"
It's nine in the afternoon,
Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could 'cause you can so you do
We're feeling so good
Just the way that we do
When it's nine in the Afternoon
It's charming and disarming and definitely a little quirky, which fits in with the nitro-glycerin cigarettes from "These Tables are Numbered" and their circus-themed live shows. While I loved the anger, smarm and yelling from the first album, I'm happy to say Pretty. Odd. is looking pretty good as well.
Panic at the Disco - Nine in the Afternoon [Pretty. Odd. 2008] (Yousendit link)
Panic at the Disco - She Had the World [Pretty. Odd. 2008] (Yousendit link)
Buy Panic here or here.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan - Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes cover) (Box.net link)
Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (YourFileHost link)
Shawn Colvin - Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover) (Divshare link)
I think that's it for today.
Gossip - Careless Whisper (Wham!/George Michael cover) (ezarchive link)
Testing, testing, one two three
The Dresden Dolls - Sex Changes (Live Radio Session) (Yousendit link)
The Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism (Sendspace link)
Tegan and Sara - When You Were Mine (Rapidshare link)
Tegan and Sara - One Second (Megaupload link)
Shelby Sifers - Snowman (Sharebee link)
Lily Allen - Smile (Acapella) (zshare link)
Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson - Because of You (Hosted at Freewebs.com)
Enjoy the songs while I see the results of my little experiment.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Amy Macdonald - Footballer's Wife (Sendspace link)
Album: This is the Life (2007)
A friend recently pointed me towards the lovely Ms. Macdonald, and then another mentioned the name, so I couldn't resist and grabbed her debut album. This wonderful Scottish lass is slowly creeping up on me. This is the best I've heard from her album, though I'm still warming to her as a whole.
Idina Menzel - I Feel Everything (Sendspace link)
Album: I Stand (2008)
I fell in love with Menzel when I heard her as Elphaba on the Wicked soundtrack, and her new album, I Stand, has only cemented that. This song, about the emotional connection between lovers, in particular showcases her amazing range and vulnerability, without being forced to sing quietly like other singers might have to be. Her Tony award-winning stage presence shows even in studio recordings for her album. I Stand is a genuine contender for 2008's best album this early in the game.
Hanne Hukkelberg - Do Not As I Do (Sendspace link)
Album: Little Things (2005)
This beautiful Norwegian singer is gaining buzz for her recent album, Rykestrasse 68, but I've only gotten my hands on Little Things so far. However, getting into this album is a treat, and this low key affair is definitely a nice addition to my collection. I love the simplicity of the hook, "Do as I say, not as I do... or you'll feel blue!" It sounds overly simplistic in pure text, but it works nicely sung.
Dolores O'Riordan - Ordinary Day (Morgan Page Remix) (Sendspace link)
Album: Are You Listening? (2007) [Original song]
I always liked O'Riordan's lead single for her solo album (though I much preferred the overlooked "Black Widow"), and I've recently begun to dig into Morgan Page's remixes. Anyone who read the review I posted of his new album knows that Page is on of few remixers I hold in esteem even in his missteps, and thus this was a nice treat to come across. Not as flat-out excellent as his take on Regina Spektor's "Fidelity", but still quite an interesting (in a good way) shot at reinventing the song.
Shivaree - Lost in a Dream (Sendspace link)
Album: Who's Got Trouble (2005)
I've had a song or two from Who's Got Trouble for a long time, but only recently did I finally come across the full album in its nostalgic glory. This is one such song, a little jazzy and very nice. This is one of the reasons that Trouble is much easier to get into compared to recent offerings Rough Dreams and covers album Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fighting Songs, both of which are far too inaccessible - but happen to be worth the effort. Shivaree are just so easy to listen to, and sexy in an understated kind of way.
There's a lot of damn good female vocalists around these days, and I'm happy to slowly uncover them. Anyone who claims I'm biased in favour of female singers is probably right, as they populate my favourite singers' lists in a big way. Maybe next time a guy will slip his way into the mix.
Also, big news! Those who know me personally know it's been one of my personal quests to get tBoS listed on the fabulous Hype Machine, quickly becoming one of my favourite websites of all time for making access to blogs and new mp3's so easy. I was surprised and honoured to find that The Bringer of Song is now, in fact, listed there. I can't think of any surprise that could possibly top this. Not even getting a sneak peek at Amanda Palmer's debut album, though I admit that would be a close second (damn you Neil Gaiman!). Anyhow, if you're not already familiar with this site, you should get familiar. Though, you might find that there are far more interesting places to be than my poor lil blog.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The title of Death Cab For Cutie's new single for upcoming album Narrow Stairs sounds somewhat like "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" or "Someday You Will Be Loved", but ultimately it's a different song entirely. You can tell that from the fact that the first half of the seven minute epic is pure instrumentation, building in intensity until the vocals kick off.
The lyrics themselves are bit disturbing, because although the protagonist knows how to string together a nice phrase or two, the utter conviction he has that "I know that you'll find, love, I will possess your heart" creeps you out when you realise that 'love' is less his lover than the object of his obsession. His claim that all that he needs is for her to spend time with him for him to 'possess her heart' is especially creepy as he moves closer and closer.
"I won't let you let me down so easily," he claims when he is rejected, and he indeed refuses to back down, refuses to believe that he genuinely has no shot. It would be sad if it weren't painfully clear he was stalking and following her. The song ends with no resolution, just the threat of what his next move is.
While I like the song, it is far from Death Cab's best work, which both wrenches an emotional reaction from you and holds your interest. This song works to a degree on the first point, drawing you into the story of the stalker and your worries for his victim, but not to the degree of the fantastic songs mentioned above. On the second it really seems to trip up, in that more than half the song is the instrumental build-up, and many people are less than enamoured with that sort of thing, myself included. It may sound closed-minded, but I usually don't want to switch gears from 'instrumental' to 'vocals' in the middle of a song, and I don't usually feel like slogging through four minutes of instrumentation if I'm in the mood for lyrics. "Brothers in a Hotel Bed" had it right - four minutes, and the opening minute was instrumentation, but it didn't take the length of a whole song to get to the lyrical portion. The actual intrumentation is very good and is a great build to the lyrical part, but I'm not the type to enjoy it overly much for its own sake.
Death Cab recently stated that they just want to please themselves with the new album, and I would never argue with artistic integrity. However, I have to question not their decision to make this song, but to pick it as the lead single for the album, when those of lesser patience might tuen out long before they hit the lyrical section (which is the real draw for many, if not most, listeners).
Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart (Sendspace link)
DJ/Producer Morgan Page is making quite a name for himself. After releasing an unofficial group of remixes for free download called Cease and Desist (after the expected legal action), he instead received a boost in buzz and notice that has really helped his career. I myself downloaded Cease and enjoyed it, shocking considering my usual ennui toward remixes.
Now he's come up with Elevate, a mix of original material and remixes that is quite a listen. I've gotten a copy of the album before its release next week on March 25, 2008, and its pretty impressive. I don't know all of the originals of Page's remixes, but hopefully that will remove any bias for from those track reviews due to my knowing the original artists. Taking it on a track-by-track basis:
(Note: Try not to judge these songs by their first listen. I didn't like many of them after the first time, and it was only on the second listen they really clicked with me.)
Morgan Page feat. Lissie - The
Page has called Lissie "one of the most exciting voices [he's] heard in years" and after hearing her contribution to this album, I have to say he's spot on. She does great work with this song, which infuses Lissie's native folk and Page's love of electronic music. Page happily doesn't interfere too much with Lissie's work, backing her up perfectly with a beautiful and yet danceable beat. The song, while not too conventional in its storytelling, is also quite interesting. Quite probably the best track of the album.
Morgan Page feat. Tyler James - Call My Name
Not a bad song by a long shot, but unlike "Road", here the song does grate a little. Guest singer Tyler James ranges from pretty good to unbearably annoying depending on what mood I'm in. Page's producing work here is just as good as ever, though, which works in the track's favour.
The Submarines - Peace and Hate (Morgan Page Remix)
I'm not familiar with The Submarines, but this remix is a good selection for the album. You can clearly hear Page's contributions, and it gets your feet going. There's a great feel of darkness here, which I believe was Page's intent with the song, and it works well. Page really compliments the voices of the singers, and in general has made a damn good remix here. There are some really beautiful portions as well.
Morgan Page feat. Matt Wasley - Fade Away
Wasley is a better guest singer than Tyler James on track 2, and he does a good job. I'd say this is the first time Page himself gets a bit carried away; I noted he never stepped on Lissie's toes, enhancing but not obscuring her, while here Wasley's voice is sometimes overtaken by the music. That's a shame because both the singing and the music are excellent, and in places it's much more successful than in others.
Jenny Owen Youngs - Fuck Was I (Morgan Page Remix)
After alternating between original and remixes up until this point, this track kicks off a section of purely remixes. This is a great track to do it with, as it showcases Page's especial skills in remixing. He takes a pretty folky, strings based rolling song and turns it into a great, low key electronica song that works just as well as the original. I'm familiar with the remix from Youngs' Take Off All Your Clothes EP. I liked it then and I still like it now.
Leigh Nash - Nervous in the Light of Dawn (Morgan Page Remix)
The beginning of this track is Page's second misstep, as the static accompanying the early beats of this song do the track no favours. His remixing of her voice in those parts is quite good, and once you get over the static the song is quite nice. There's an echoing quality that I always love in here, as it really enhances the singer's emotional effect. The annoying static recurs throughout the song, unfortunately, despite the rest of the remix being quite nice. I'm guessing, as you listen to it, the static eventually blends into the rest of the song.
Bitter:Sweet - Dirty Laundry (Morgan Page Remix)
A good remix, although again the vocals are a bit too obscured for a proper listen. That said, the remix is nice, but the volume of it also decreases its effectiveness, despite it sounding quite good. That said, there's a large section near the end that mostly works, as you know you don't need to hear the lyrics, but before that the song itself is compromised a little too much.
Nelly Furtado - Maneater (David Garcia & Morgan Page Remix)
I will be straight up here: I do not like club remixes. That's probably why I cannot stand much that the remix world has to offer, and one of the reasons why I don't find myself drawn to this particular song. Not only does this fact hurt the song for me, but I was long ago ruined for this song when a reviewer noted that producer Timbaland was responsible for the sexiness of the song and not Furtado herself, and I thought "... wait a second, he's right!". Ever since, both the song and specifically Furtado's performance in it have seemed lifeless to me. That all said, even this remix isn't hopeless, as I do like some of the things Garcia and Page do with it; I just care little for the remix material.
Delirium - Angelicus (Morgan Page Remix)
I'm not overly familiar with Delirium's work, but this mostly instrumental track (including opera-style vocals used purely as an instrument) is an interesting departure from Page's other choices. This does mix quite well with Page's remixing work, though it's not so much in my personal taste.
Morgan Page feat. Camila Grey - One Day
Page has a good ear for vocalists, particularly female ones. Just as Lissie was perfect for "The Longest Road", Camila Grey has a beautiful voice that works well with the music infused with bleeps and quiet static. He again showcases rather than obscures, and that allows the song to breathe properly.
Dengue Fever - Sleep Walking Through the Mekong (Morgan Page Remix)
Page takes a shot at a band who, despite hailing from Los Angeles, have decided to mix Cambodian stylings and language (Khmer, to be more precise) this time around, which combined with Delerium gives this album a nice range. Between the heavy, pounding beats and the light, glittery ones, the opening is a nice study in contrasting sounds working well together. The lyrics are in another language but their beauty is just as real as if they were in English. There's something very tribal about Page's take on the song, and it's a refreshing listen. The last few moments are especially nice and echoing.
Under - Under (Morgan Page Remix)
The closing track is a really nice, low key and echo-filled song with a wonderful female vocalist in the lead, and I have to admit I've become quite fond of it. There's something both sleepy and sexy about this song, and that intrigues. You can hear Morgans influence, and it works very much to the song's favour. A wonderful closer.
Definitely worth a listen. I can't say I would have bought it before having heard it, despite knowing a few of Morgan Page's unofficial remixes, but it has impressed me much more than I expected it to. I'd recommend it to anyone a fan of electronic music especially, but some (like the Jenny Owen Youngs remix) will appeal to others as well, like those who enjoy great female vocals. Give it a shot with the sample downloads below.
Morgan Page feat. Lissie - The Longest Road (Sendspace link)
Under - Under (Morgan Page Remix) (Sendspace link)
PRE-ORDER/BUY MORGAN PAGE'S "ELEVATE"
Morgan Page's Official Site - Amazon - Amazon Canada
Monday, March 17, 2008
1. Rosey - Hand in Hand (Album: Luckiest Girl, 2008)
Sounds Like: Ingrid Michaelson, or possibly Flowers From the Man Who Shot Your Cousin sung by Eisley
2. Emancipator - Maps (Album: Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, 2006)
Sounds Like: Dirty Elegance meets Explosions in the Sky in mid-winter
3. Chris and Thomas - Broken Chair (Album: Land of Sea, 2007)
Sounds Like: Iron & Wine
4. Hanne Hukkelberg - Boble (Album: Little Things, 2005)
Sounds Like: Nerina Pallot sings with Dirty Elegance backing in Paris
Enjoy! And if you like, see if they've got anything up at Amazon or another site to buy.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The Magic Numbers - Crazy in Love (covering Beyonce)
The Puppini Sisters - Crazy in Love (covering Beyonce)
This song has popped up everywhere, from the radio in its initial run back in 2003 to appearing on Dance Dance Revolution recently. It's also a pretty popular cover, and both of these take the original and do something interesting and great with it, showcasing the desperation behind Beyonce's fancy beats. The Puppini Sisters send the song back into the 1940's, keeping the fast pace but replacing the modern hiphop stylings with olden-days style background music, and harmonizing the song with three voices. Meanwhile, a recent discovery for me, The Magic Numbers' great take on the song, a more low-key indie style interpretation, deconstructing the song back to its core emotions. Far from the fast dance beats of the original, this version is a depressed male-vocal led song bemoaning the loss of a lover, despite making no lyrical changes or changing the actual mechanics of the song.
This Mortal Coil feat. Elizabeth Fraser - Song to the Siren (covering Tim Buckley)
The Czars - Song to the Siren (covering Tim Buckley)
This Mortal Coil's version has been a longtime favourite, first of my older sister Kara's and then my own. Elizabeth Fraser (of the Cocteau Twins) does an amazing job of the song, even if some of the words become a little blurred, its still completely beautiful. Little did I know, a band I recently discovered called The Czars released a covers album a couple years back that included a magnificent cover of the song as well. At an epic 7 minutes long, its a gorgeous pursuit and a real contender for the best cover version of the song.
Shannon Wright - Asleep (covering The Smiths)
Carissa's Wierd - Asleep (covering The Smiths)
I will admit I think The Smiths' "Asleep" may the the saddest song ever composed, barring none. I'm in love with it, and the intense emotions I associate with it, and I'm always intrigued by covers of it. Carissa's Wierd brings a real stripped-down, almost spoken sound to the song, with very simple instrumentation. This half-singing brings another style of sadness and desperation to the song. I find it hard, meanwhile, to properly describe Shannon Wright's version, which is also beautiful even as it sometimes comes off as a little overdramatic, a little too affected to draw out the emotions the original does. However, few songs can compare to the original "Asleep", and both of these are brave and relatively successful attempts to look at the song from a new angle.
Tricky - The Lovecats (covering The Cure)
OK Go - The Lovecats (covering The Cure)
Hearing rapper Tricky's take on the immortal song is interesting, as in his hands the song is dark, raspy and seductive. The song always had elements of sexual intrigue to it, but this takes the excitement of the original and turns it into an invitation into the darkness; Tricky's lovecats must be black cats, the avatars of a dark enchantress, drawing you away into the night. OK Go, meanwhile, are more faithful to the original but also have their own sound attached, adding a bit of crazed playfulness. The original "The Lovecats" is a rather creepy song when you get down to it, and both of these covers do that great justice.
Utada Hikaru - With or Without You (covering U2)
Scala & Kolacny Brothers - With or Without You (covering U2)
Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru takes on an old favourite, and does it very well here. Her voice is low, with the emotions clear in it; the desperation, the sadness and even the anger are evident in her rendition. The simple piano works great before more music kicks in properly. Her voice is magnificent here, taking the heights impressively. Meanwhile, a potentially even more beautiful version comes from our favourite chior Scala & Kolacny Brothers, whose version of the song is breathtaking, truly. If you've been following this blog I'm hoping you've picked up a song or two of theirs in the past, and I'd say this is one of their best.
And, as a bonus, the lonely but awesome...
Sia - Gimme More (covering Britney Spears)
Now, this doesn't have a partner, but it stands pretty well on its own. It takes Britney Spears' expensively produced and sexy song and turns it into a stripped-down piano-and-vocals performance that reeks of sadness, sleaze and sex. Sia's protagonist is a sad creature, an exhibitionist trapped in her own need for attention and sex but not, in and of herself, sexy. It's sad and yet, Sia's vocals are still wonderful and draw you into the song. Then, you begin to hear that same person in the original, trying her best to be sexy and yet coming off as desperate and self-deluded.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
* A hub for you guys to request reuploads, which I will reupload and edit into this post.
* A place where those who cannot use Sendspace/Rapidshare (for some older posts), or prefer not to, can request uploads from other sites - Megaupload, Rapidshare, etc.
Anything I can help with, just comment!
Friday, March 14, 2008
I stumbled across Norwegian beauty Kate Havnevik via the work done by Alexandra Patsavas as music supervisor for TV drama Grey's Anatomy. Patsavas heard her and knew she was something special, and Havnevik's work has popped up sporadically since on the show. She even created "Grace" (see below) for the second season finale. Her debut album, Melankton, was released for the first time in 2006, and apparently she's got two more in the works. I've been waiting with bated breath for more from her, and the waiting has paid off; she's going to release another album this year.
Her work is beautiful, soaring stuff, sometimes straying into electronica, but all of it features her wonderful voice.
Kate Havnevik - Grace
Album: Grey's Anatomy Season 2 Soundtrack
Havnevik's most powerful composition, written and released specifically for the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack, it recounts the empty, lost feeling of someone who has just lost someone they loved. It's quiet and powerful and real, as she struggles to find exactly what to say. It's very low key, full of humming and faraway noises, recreating the feeling of everything being quiet, far away. She sounds so confused, stumbling through a world that she no longer understands.
Kate Havnevik - Nowhere Warm
One of the more heartbreaking songs Havnevik has produced, this song is from the perspective of a woman waiting for her lover to rush to her side. It's full of yearning, and the piano and Havnevik's clear vocals raise to a beautiful crescendo. You can hear the need in her voice, and you know that no matter how fast he races, it won't be fast enough for her. I feel a chill just listening to it.
Kate Havnevik - Disobey
Album: Unreleased (For future "Pop" album)
After two melancholy songs, this one is a bit happier, with Havnevik's protagonist setting aside her fear of risk, realising that if you do nothing extraordinary you can't see "what the world looks like from above". For the first real time, she even sounds a little sexy, with a nice little beat accompanying the song. This has been the theme of my life for the past month or two, after deciding to be a bit more adventurous.
Kate Havnevik - So:Lo
Album: iTunes Release
Kate Havnevik gets a bit lonely here, with her lover leaving her alone to think about "love affairs everywhere" and how there's only one person who can really make her happy. You can feel a nice vibe between her and the subject, though they never respond, and it's a nice song. The title is interesting, too, because she's not only "solo", alone, but "so low", in that she's pretty depressed about the whole state of affairs.
Kate Havnevik - New Day
To cap this off, the epic "New Day", which shows off Havnevik's more electronic side. This really does feel like a sunrise, with the mournful strings and brass slowly giving into the sparks of electronic beats. You can imagine Havnevik standing on her porch, looking out over the horizon and feeling the chilly morning as she watches the sunrise.
Now, give those a listen and if you like what you hear, check out her album, "Melankton". It's a keeper, though I've only teased it here.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
1. Emilie Autumn - Juliet (Sendspace link)
"The sky will fall but I don't care."
2. Angie Aparo - Spaceship (Sendspace link)
Album: The American
"It was a holiday for the underpaid; everybody got a haircut and lemonade."
3. The Dissociatives - Somewhere Down the Barrel (Sendspace link)
Album: The Dissociatives
"I'm plagued by small town fascists, like a rash on my skin."
4. Flowers From the Man Who Shot Your Cousin - Lay Down Your Arms (Sendspace link)
"There are many here who hunger, and there are many who despair."
5. Carissa's Wierd - Ignorant Piece of Shit (Sendspace link)
Album: Songs About Leaving
"If the shoe fits, then put it on. Wear it like a crown."
These are mostly first-timers for the blog, but moreso underappreciated favourites than one-hit wonders. 'Arms' is an excellent sleep song, and the last comes from a man who would later front Band of Horses and Grand Archives. And remember, check out the albums you think you might like.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
10. Tori Amos - Girl Disappearing (Sendspace link)
Album: American Doll Posse
A melancholy, piano-led song about a girl who is disappearing into "a prison behind her eyes" while Amos watches, in the midst of a war pitting "woman against feminist". Its lyrics are enigmatic and intriguing, Amos' vocals are wonderful, the music pulls you in and drags you upwards. I'm still puzzling out the song's meaning, but its a beautiful piece of work regardless, and the best off her latest album.
9. Dragonette - Take It Like a Man (Sendspace link)
Dragonette is at their best when they take a character I should have no interest in and draw me in, and this is exactly what they do here. While not being very slow, this song does have a strange softness to it, and it does express the idea that though this couple 'get a little crazy with the razor blades', they do love each other. This paradox, being able to draw you into the story of such an alien figure, and just the quality of the song that matches or beats the rest on Galore makes this a winner.
8. Andrew Bird - Self-Torture (Sendspace link)
Album: Armchair Apocrypha (iTunes bonus track), Soldier On EP (as 'Water Jet Cilice')
Andrew Bird at his best here. The song opens with his haunting whistling, like a bird call through am eerie mist. Bird's voice appears then, soaring through this mist with visuals of a mysterious girl with golden curls and morbid thoughts. The song is completely mysterious, but it resonates through your bones and through your body. Wonderful, and a tragic cut from Apocrypha. After this and the gems on the Soldier On EP, I would love to get my hands on any other Bird b-sides.
7. Grand Archives - Sleepdriving (demo) (Sendspace link)
One of the best newcomers to come out of 2007, battling with the now-defunct Die Romantik for the title, this was a wonderful look at the potential of this band. The multiple vocalists gives it a wonderfully ghostly feeling, which works magnificently considering the fuzzy state the song is describing. The lyrics are quite interesting, with a great core theme in 'sleepdriving' that gives you the sense of needing only to escape, without any real consciousness, just instinct. The highlight is the voices, which just resonate in your chest, almost painfully beautiful.
6. Beirut – Elephant Gun (Sendspace link)
Album: Lon Gisland EP
Surprisingly, Beirut's best song this year wasn't on their much lauded new album The Flying Club Cup, but on their fantastic Lon Gisland EP. The epic nature of the band behind the music, with Zach Condon's excellent voice stirring into the mix, makes for a truly inspiring song. This feels wonderful, and that's the only way to describe it. It takes you and throws you into the sky, and you can't tell whether you're flying or falling.
5. Natalie Walker – Circles (Sendspace link)
Album: Urban Angel
A hauntingly beautiful foggy piano-based song about the circle of life, centring specifically around a pregnant woman whose soldier husband dies and leaves her alone with a child on the way. I showcased this track when I discovered it, and it's still outstanding, filling you up with ghostly vocals until you're ready to burst. Natalie Walker has one of the best voices I''ve heard.
4. Tegan and Sara - Back in Your Head (Sendspace link)
Album: The Con
Another former track showcase, this song has gone the rounds with remixes galore. A bouncy , angst-filled track about drifting apart, with the protagonist missing the time "when I was so strange and likeable". The lyrics here are excellent, and the music is a highlight, bouncing along. The vocals sometimes sound echoing, fitting the distance this song is about. The Con was a grower, and this one has shown itself to be the album's best.
3. The Pierces - Three Wishes (Sendspace link)
Album: Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge
Since I got it, I've been enchanted with The Pierces' very strong third album, and by far this was the most impressive track. A haunting, calm song with a preamble about the nature of the soul before it descends into a song about desire that, along with presenting a number of wonderful options for the wish taker, hints to the terrible potential of the scorned.
2. Die Romantik - Another Round (Sendspace link)
Album: Narcissist's Waltz
My favourite discovery of 2007, Die Romantik had an amazing, macabre sound that worked to their extreme advantage. The strained, yet immensely wonderful vocals of , combined with their particular spine-tingling sound, made their work always exemplary. The band broke up in the early days of 2008, which is especially a same considering this utter gem of a song left behind. Not buying Narcissist's Waltz in time for it to rank amongst 2007's Top 10 Albums post was a massive shame.
1. Andrew Bird - Heretics (Sendspace link)
Album: Armchair Apocrypha
Soaring and nonsensical, with his voice and whistling at their glorious best, "Heretics" is a work of fantastic art, sending shivers down my spine while giving me hours' worth of musing over its mysterious lyrics. The fantastic beats make it Bird's catchiest song yet, and it doesn't surprise me that this is bringing attention to Armchair Apocrypha. Though I will be the first to say Apocrypha isn't 100% the album that The Mysterious Production of Eggs was, "Heretics" is definitely in the running against "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" for my favourite of Bird's tracks. Excellent, excellent song that gets better every listen.
If you enjoy these songs, I strongly urge you to consider buying their albums, because these are some of the best songs I've ever heard. If 2008 has a haul half as strong as 2007's, then it will be an excellent, excellent year.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Here's the sitch, from their blog: "We're working on our next ep right now and hope to have it to you by the summer!--Brooks."
TRACK: Belle's Wake - Howl (Sendpsace link)
1. Sia -The Girl You Lost to Cocaine (Sendspace link)
Album: Some People Have Real Problems
"I'll never get laid if I'm running your life."
2. McFly - Transylvania (Sendspace link)
Album: Motion in the Ocean
"We're sorry but we disagree. The boy is vermin, can't you see? We'll drown his sins in misery, rip him out of history."
3. The Bird and the Bee - Again and Again (Sendspace link)
Album: The Bird and the Bee
"Say my name, say my name, say my stupid name. It's stupid how we always seem to do it again."
4. Anna Nalick - Bleed (Sendspace link)
Album: Wreck of the Day
"The edge of your sword isn't sharp enough for me to bleed."
5. Black Box Recorder - Girl Singing in the Wreckage (Sendspace link)
Album: England Made Me
"It's my primary instinct to protect the child."
So, that should do you guys for the length of my recovery. Enjoy! And remember, check out the albums you think you might like.