I don’t know if this blog has regular readers or anything, but if you’ve been checking back you’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted for almost two months. That won’t happen again! I’m making it a goal to post here at least twice a week from now on, and I will meet that goal. Starting today, with this post.
So here goes, another random grab bag of stuff that I’ve been listening to and think you should pump into your earholes as well.
There’s several bonus songs, so check those hyperlinks! Which is a fancy word for “song-grabbin’ words.”
“Horchata” By Vampire Weekend (From Contra, out January 12, 2010 on XL Recordings) – I was pretty pumped to find out that VW would be releasing a new album. Hopefully the release date will get pushed up, I’d hate to have to wait for January. There’s still the heavy Afro-Caribbean influence on this track, and there’s some neat rhythmic elements. It kind of has an Animal Collective feel to it on certain parts, particularly Merriweather Post Pavilion-ish. And because I didn’t know what horchata was, here’s the wikipedia definition. Apparently it’s Jamaican: “Horchata or orxata is the name for several kinds of traditional beverages, made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley or tigernuts(chufas).”
“Divide & Conquer” By Vandaveer (From Divide & Conquer, out now on Supply And Demand Music) – This immediately reminds me of Mark Geary or Damien Rice. The vocals here, as well as the words and music, are by Mark Charles Heidinger, who I learned is from Kentucky and has also drawn comparisons to Nick Drake. I’d call this rainy-day music because of how bare the music is and how close to a whisper some of the vocals come. A lovely Rose Guerin supplies the female harmonies here.
“Know Better Learn Faster” By Thao Wth The Get Down Stay Down (From Know Better Learn Faster, out now on Kill Rock Stars) – I’ve posted songs by Thao before, and this one is just as good if not better than anything on We Brave Bee Stings and All, the debut album from her and her backing band. The album is fun and heartfelt and has a unique pulse from start to finish. Thao’s somewhat piercing vocal style is wrapped well in some funky basslines and nice percussion. And on this track, Andrew Bird supplies the fiddle and the whistling at the end of the song. That’s enough of an endorsement for me!
“Laundry Room” By The Avett Brothers (From I And Love And You, out now on The Avett Brothers and AR, LLC) – I saw these guys at Austin City Limits, and they were as good as when I saw them in Ohio back in June. These guys are so earnest and down to earth, and they are fantastic songwriters. With this latest album, produced by Rick Rubin, they get a bit of polish but don’t lost what made me love them in the first place – the heartfelt lyrics, strained yet beautiful vocals and the strings and piano that fit together so nicely with banjo and guitar strumming. It’s powerful folk music, and this song is a perfect example of the growth they’re going for with this record. It’s worth it for me just for the line “I am a breathing time machine, / I’ll take you all for a ride.” Awesome.
“Island, IS” By Volcano Choir (From Unmap, out now on Jagjaguwar) – This is Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and the band Collections of Colonies of Bees. This song isn’t really a fantastic example of what the rest of the album – some spacy electronic beats with Justin Vernon’s tenor vocals and some trippy effects – sounds like, but it is a quality tune. Something about Vernon’s voice is just haunting and inviting at the same time. Check this out, for reals.
“The Boys Are Too Refined” By The Hush Sound (From Goodbye Blues, out now on Fueled By Ramen) – FBR is the label that bands like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and Panic At The Disco either began on or remain on. If that’s a turn-off for you, know that The Hush Sound don’t fit that mold perfectly, and this song is a decent example of that. The piano tickling in this tune and the bass guitar are so kickass, you almost forget it’s a straight pop song. Greta Salpeter’s vocals are fantastic here. Basically, the song is catchy and I love it.
“Wicked Blood” By Sea Wolf (From White Water, White Bloom, out now on P Dangerbird Records) – Fantastic folk-rock that is instantly reminiscent of Bright Eyes, Sea Wolf really carve out a niche all their own on this newest album. I also hear a tad of The Decemberists here, and I’m not sure why (tell me what you think in the comments!), “Wicked Blood,” is the first single off the album, but I really recommend checking out the entire collection of songs because it is so strong. The pounding piano keys on this tune are so great.
“You Can’t Force A Dance Party” By Dent May (From The Good Feeling Music of Dent May And His Magnificent Ukulele, out now on Paw Tracks) – Some songs are so charming, it’s just impossible not to enjoy them. For me, Dent May’s crooning over what is indeed some magnificent ukulele playing about how you just can’t make people get down is so endearing that I had to share it with you. You’re welcome.
“Fiya” By tUnE-yArDs (From BiRd-BrAiNs, out now on Marriage Records) – tUnE-yArDs, or Merrill Garbus as she’s known in the human world, made this entire album using a Sony voice recorder and the audio editing program Audacity. This is a fine example of how the beats of a drum track and loops of guitar samples can come together and create just a beautiful track. It’s not like a lot of things out there, and I appreciate it for that. Give it a listen.
“Hell” By Tegan and Sara (From Sainthood, out October 27 on EPK) – It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since Tegan and Sara have graced us with an album. This first single off their new release (less than two weeks away now!) represents a bit of change. It’s far more straightforward and slightly less quirky girl-rock than I’m used to hearing from there. But I’m sure I’ll love whatever Sainthood is filled with because, well, I thoroughly enjoy Tegan and Sara.