Thursday, March 31, 2011

Song of the Day 29: Manchester Orchestra - April Fool

Manchester Orchestra is a fantastic group hailing from Atlanta, Georgia who I found out about from, funnily enough, one of my teachers last semester. They've gained the praise of both mainstream audiences and music critics alike and have found themselves comfortably sitting on top of the indie rock scene. To fuel the hype machine for their upcoming record they've released two new songs in the past month or so, one of which was released today, and are slowly turning the wheel to make everyone wee in their pantaloons in excitement. I am one of those wet trouser people. The sound they utilize on these two new tracks is similar to what they did on 2009's Mean Everything to Nothing while still feeling completely fresh. Click the link above to check out their brand new single, 'April Fool'.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Song of the Day 28: Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens is undoubtedly one of the most unique artists in the music scene today. On his critically acclaimed record Illinois he blew everybody else out of the water with his insanely intricate and beautiful music composed of booming orchestras and zooming synths. On his 2010 record he explored the more synth-oriented portions of his former records and kicked it up a notch. The title track from The Age of Adz is a perfect example of this progression in its 8 minutes of pure electronic and orchestral bliss. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Song of the Day 27: It ain't hard to tell - Nas & Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Four Tet mix)

Today I decided on a song a little outside the norm. For the most part I loath remixes and mash-ups of any sort, but lately I've come across a rare variety of truly creative songs that I think deserve some credit. A while ago I came across this mix of two songs by two artists that couldn't be any different. Whoever it was that did this mix took the instrumentals from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's song 'Sleep' and added in the vocals from Nas' "It Ain't Hard To Tell" to create a surprisingly perfect product. The melodies and flow from each song go together so well it almost seems intentional. Though many fans from each group may dislike the clashing of the two genres, this mix remains a truly impressive feat of strength by the creator.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Song of the Day 26: Death Cab For Cutie - The New Year

Death Cab For Cutie is a band I've always heard mixed opinions about, but for me they'll always be a go to group when I crave some crisp indie music. Their album Transatlanticism will always be a nostalgic ride for me, and has been since early 2009. Ben Gibbard is easily one of the best lead men in modern music and holds this position with his imaginative and thought-provoking lyricism stemming mostly from his social experiences. Everything about this band has become something I can relate with and I feel like I've grown up with some of these songs as they age without a wrinkle. I'll include a small lyric at the bottom which may be my favorite from the record. It's incredibly simple, but it really hits me.

I wish the world was flat like the old days, and I could travel just by folding the map. No more airplanes or speed trains or freeways, there'd be no distance that could hold us back.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Song of the Day 25: Dangers - Power Chord Blues

Dangers is a particularly angry band. I mean, really fucking angry. On 'Power Chord Blues' for example, they're fairly pissed with the state of the music industry. And what hardcore band isn't really? It seems all too common a theme to be a pissy little badger about how music is nowadays, but Dangers is almost elegant with their fury. There are several things that make this song so incredible, from the intensity and concise nature of it, to the back and forth during the breakdown and the ceaseless energy throughout. It's nice to let out a bit of that angry side in you, isn't it?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Song of the Day 24: Person L - Canyonlands

It's another gloomy Saturday in this unpredictable state of mine and once again I find myself slouched in bed with nothing to do but eat spaghetti and enjoy some lovely music. Person L fulfills my need with their drum powered track from their debut record, "Canyonlands". This is another one of those songs that builds, but never quite crescendos. Instead it cools itself down to a peaceful strut by the end of track which ends with the final plucks of an electric guitar. This style is a norm for the band and has really set them apart from their competitors in their packed genre. Also, Kenny Vasoli could sing a rabid bear into submission.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Song of the Day 23: Nana Grizol - Cynicism

For those familiar with my blog, you know that I sang the praises of Nana Grizol not too long ago. Their fantastic record "Ruth" was both warm and embracing while still having a subtle touch of melancholy underneath. Perhaps my favorite track of 2010, album opener 'Cynicism' contains everything that makes this band fantastic. The poetic lyricism paired with the warmth of lead man Theo Hilton is what makes this song flow like the breeze of a humid summer night. Though many may be unfamiliar with this unbelievably underrated group, 'Cynicism' should be evidence enough that they deserve your time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song of the Day 22: TV On The Radio - Love Dog

TV On The Radio are a recently rediscovered love of mine that I forgot about some time back in 2007. I had briefly been infatuated with their fantastic song 'Wolf Like Me', but they seemingly dropped off the face of the planet for me sometime afterward. "Love Dog" is a song off of their latest full-length, Dear Science, and it really captured me upon first listen. I can't decide which I like more about this song - either the string instruments playing throughout or the mellow feel of it. Maybe I just really like the way "lonely little love dog" sounds.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Song of the Day 21: Elliot Smith - Needle In The Hay

For all the praise I've heard about Mr. Smith over the years, I never fully indulged myself until just recently. His self-titled LP feels like a hangover set to sound with his soft voice lulling your ears into a somber slumber. The subtle intensity of opener "Needle In The Hay" keeps me waiting for the moment when he unleashes that fiery passion hidden behind the slow plucks of the acoustic as his voice slowly gains momentum, but he never quites let's it loose. That's the beauty of this track - never quite knowing what comes next from Smith. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Song of the Day 20: The Early November - The Truth Is

Ace Enders has never been too shy with how personal his music is. During his days with The Early November he crafted his music with a hyper-intimacy that would make Justin Vernon feel threatened. Perhaps my favorite track off of the 46 song LP, The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path, "The Truth Is" is a fine example of both Ender's ability to pull the audience in, and his band's ability to craft music tender enough to accompany him. The clever way he incorporates each instrument with his writing is brilliant and is one of the best moments of the whole record. If ever they decide to reunite, I hope they live up to what they left behind.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Song of the Day 19: Cursive - Big Bang

Cursive is own of those lovely little bands I've stumbled upon through the magnificent thing known as the internet. When I discovered they were touring with one of my favorite bands (Alkaline Trio) last year, I immediately dug up every album from them I could. God, what a fantastic discovery. Through most of their work they never really focus on one certain subject matter. They jump from divorce, to the terrors of fame, to Happy Hollow's fairly blatant theme of religious doubt. "Big Bang" is the essential song to represent the album, and perhaps the band as a whole. The enormous presence of horns on this song (and the record it comes from) shows the group's versatility with their instrumentation. This is also shown by the beautiful use of the cello on The Ugly Organ. I highly, highly recommend to this band to anyone who has a thing for energetic and passionate music.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song of the Day 18: Ticonderoga - Drunkmare

Much like my Saturdays, I'm often as lazy as humanly possible when that last day of the week comes around. Those hidden little indie gems like Ticonderoga often have some of the best songs you've never heard, and are just perfect for a day spent in bed. A recent addiction I've gained from them is the fifth track on their self-titled LP, "Drunkmare". It both slowly gains momentum while still keeping a peaceful calm about it and is so subtly melancholy that it catches you off guard when it grabs at your heart. Listen, learn, love.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Song of the Day 17: The National - Start A War

On gloomy, lukewarm Saturdays like today I enjoy listening to some slow, calming music and The National happily obliges me. Whether the relevance of the title of this song is at all applicable to the current situation in Libya, which floats around in my mind more and more each day, this remains to be one of my favorite songs from this fantastic indie group. For those who haven't yet fully introduced themselves to The National should take time and immerse themselves in Boxer, it's a truly remarkable album. As for me I'll sink into my bed and enjoy Boxer for the rest of the day. Cheers.

Song of the Day 16: Bayside - The Wrong Way

Bayside's new record Killing Time is, in a few words, exactly what we thought it would be. Fans of the band know them as one of the most consistent artists around today, with each of their albums providing quality music injected with fiery hot passion and anger. Since their arrival on the scene they've pumped out album after album of sinisterly embracing music and Killing Time is no different. Track seven of the record, "The Wrong Way", is one of the best songs they've released since their earlier days with an insane solo and lyrics reminiscent of classic Raneri. Bayside is a cult.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An American History Writing Project

Here's a little 10 page writing project I did for my American History class a month or so ago. I got some good feedback and figured it might be worth posting so here it is. It's quite a lengthy read, so thank you to whoever takes the time. Click below for the whole story.

Song of the Day 15: Defeater - Blessed Burden

While the trend of storytelling in hardcore music isn't all too uncommon, one group by the name of Defeater have seemingly taken over the market with their two critically renowned releases in the past three years. The writing on both record's is superb in its ability to tell a story in a concise and understandable fashion, but still giving the listener a reason to continue to listen with the addicting musicianship and intense vocals. They do a fantastic job of stirring up their audience with the insane amount of energy that they have and on their debut full-length Travels they start it with a roaring train of a track. "Blessed Burden" gives you no chance to ease into the group's sound. They shove it down your throat and expect you to keep up - and if you do you're in for quite a ride.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Song of the Day 14: Neutral Milk Hotel - Song Against Sex

As stereotypical as it may be, I am one of the people who think Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over The Sea is a perfect record. Upon first listening of that record I had no idea the band had previously released any other music. I was so focused on IAOS that no other music mattered to me for about a three month period. However once I discovered their debut record On Avery Island, I immersed myself in a new experience from a band I thought i'd known inside and out. As the opening song of the record, "Song Against Sex" is both an energetic beginning and a beautiful introduction to what is to come from the band. With both the strange lyricism and unpredictable musicianship, Neutral Milk Hotel stamp their unique style onto the listener immediately.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Song of the Day 13: Listener - Ozark Empire, or a snake oil salesman comes to your town.

Listener is without a doubt one of the most interesting artists I've come along in the past year. I've rummaged through indie blog after indie blog trying to find new artists, but it was Dan Smith's appearance in The Chariot's music video that caught my eye more than anything. On his newest release Wooden Heart (review for it here) he explores the art of spoken word poetry, but this wasn't always his style. On some of his earlier releases, Return to Struggleville in this case, he explored a sort of hip-hop like approach to his poetry. The song above is a testament to how simplistic, but powerful, his music is. Banging on an old washer with the handle of an axe to make a beat? Dre watch your back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Anthem Song Review

Let's take a moment to step back and observe Aaron Gillespie's career. During his time with the wildly successful post-hardcore powerhouse, Underoath, he was the glue that held the group together through its years of interchanging members. And with them he provided his clean, powerful vocals to contrast the harsh screams, and in a way he helped to perfect the style. During the later period of his Underoath career, he also built up his side-project, The Almost, who were a softer rocking group with a very similar religious message to them. Now in an attempt to find his comfort zone with a side-project to his side-project, Gillespie has gone solo to explore a more overtly religious backbone for his music. Much like the music that came with The Almost, Gillespie's debut LP Anthem Song is both a soft-rock and an acoustic effort with a touch of folk, however now with a very distinct feeling of gospel. As for the religious background that remained mostly dormant during his time with both Underoath and The Almost, it now rears its head in the most blatant fashion possible as Gillespie sings exclusively of Jesus and God; Heaven and Hell. If ever there were any doubts of Mr. Gillespie's devotion to big J.C., please allow him to dispel them in the blandest of fashions.