Archive for the 'thoughts on a song' Category

Twenty Twelve: A Best of for Playlists

My official 2012 “best of” list. This past year seemed to be more of a year of the side project single releases and/or remixes outnumbering originals.  I found it frustrating that a lot of good music was coming in “one hit” forms so in addition to a best of album list there will also be a best of songs list. Some of my top albums were mentioned when I made a 6 month update. You can see that here.    

 

Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet blackbird   You might have heard this song playing in the background of a car commercial (at least the band gets money out of it!). This album is great, and it also makes good background music if you ever find yourself with a bag of shrooms and a friday night.

 

Errors – New Relics   1349182514_errors-new-relics Errors would best be described as synth, psychedelic electronic music. They remind me a bit of Psychic Ills but with a female singer and more downtempo.

 

 Lorn – Ask the Dust 5021392728193 This Lorn album is possibly their best. The remix album they released this year of this album is fantastic too.

 

Black Marble – Weight Against the Door tumblr_lya1r8HFDE1r4phooo1_1327365548_cover

Black Marble is a really great cold?/new? wave band. The lead singer has a perfectly deep monotone voice and the music is minimal but catchy.

 

Carnivals – Humility EP canrivals If I still had a car, I would turn this up and drive down a dark highway. Very spacey, they sound a bit like the band Hood in their song structure comprising of strung together spacey electronic samples with an indie rock foundation.

 

Chelsea Wolfe –  Unknown Rooms: A collection of Acoustic songs chelsea-wolfe Apparently she is a friend of a friend. Lucky me. I love Chelsea Wolfe and wish she would release more music under the Wild Eyes project as well. No matter, her music is stunning.

added bonus because this is a particularly beautiful cover:

 

Expensive Looks – Dark Matters expensive looks I can’t stop listening to this band, their new album (a 2013 best of) is just as addicting. They sound a bit like a mix of Lemonade, Discovery, and Pictureplane.

 

Tropics – Popup Cinema homepage_large.e05f165e This album filled the void that the disappointing Toro y Moi release created.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmYQJmAjlDQ

 

Shad[]wb[]x – Haunted by Colors shadowbox-haunted-by-colors She is amazing and yes I’ll probably post something about  Shad[]wb[]x on every music update.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XFBsfw_uj8

 

Vitalic – Rave Age vitalic-rave-age-nov-2012 This is definitely the best Vitalic album. I’m glad they came back full force.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s77Es2snCc

 

Benoit & Sergio – New Ships Ep benoit-sergio-300x300 Some electronic dance pop, I wish there were more songs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y54_cBl9hqw

 

Singles:

Revelator/Wear your Wounds Split

– I put the Adrift in You on repeat and it never gets old. Please let me clarify that this project should be associated with drone metal (like Om or Nadja). For some reason a review comparing them to Cold Cave, My bloody Valentine etc. has been copy and pasted everywhere. I would love to blame Pitchfork for this utter failure of a review but they have yet to word fuck this release. I hope these projects will release more and this isn’t just a “one time” thing like Greymachine because I really need more music like this.

Toro y Moi – so many details

– I didn’t care for the full release this year, nothing can bring me back to the kind of love I had for the Causers of This kind of Toro y Moi. This song kind of brings me back and I wish the whole album had been more like it.

Mixhell – Exit Wound

– This kind of reminds me of A Place to Bury Strangers. This song came out of nowhere from Mixhell and they don’t have anything else like it.

Andre Obin – A Star is Torn

– Dear Andre Obin, If you happened to google yourself and find that you have come across this article please release a whole album. Soon. Thanks.

Dropout Orchestra – Your Girl (Kinema Remix)

– This song is a bit cheesy and completely a dance song but it’s a personal favorite.   And so concludes my list for 2012.

 

 

Disappointments that I might have been caught ranting and raving about in anticipation:

• Purity Ring – Shrines   ———-  They released all of what I considered their best content prior to the album release and then the rest of the album sounded like filler. I was bored with it and definitely disappointed. Oh well… I do tend to get bored easily.

• Toro y Moi (I’m going to stop beating this dead horse)

• How to Destroy Angels – An Omen ————— I loved the initial release and so I was excited to see what Reznor and his wife came up with next. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t even sort of like it (ha but kinda I want to). The only song keeping it afloat is Keep it Together. It’s strange because I generally like all of Reznor’s side projects including the giant instrumental “Ghosts” album. His judgement has usually been spot on especially when he pulled the plugs on the material he worked on for Puscifer saving himself the embarrassment had it ever been released . This particular release of How to Destroy Angels completely lacked direction and therefore lacked a sense of inspiration. The sound and structure of the songs start as a seeming attempt to deliberately be anything but a Reznor song only for it to utterly dissipate into his trademark style. Its been apparent Reznor’s desire to feel something different, to be something different only to be stuck within himself and let that frustration fuel his creativity. This release had a strange impact, it seems as if he finally lost himself. No worries, The Fragile has a special place in my broken bruised forgotten sore heart.

Anything forgotten will be updated as I think of it.

- betweenthesound

Mid-Way Update errr close enough

Ok. So I think I promised a new music update halfway through 2012.

Here it is! Get your clicky finger ready!

 

1. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble

This is the full album that dropped June 11th (I think). Either way this is going to be an album of the year. I effin love this album so much. With audio inserts that are kinda like Pictureplane but is as danceable as Discovery or Toro y moi, my ears are so so very happy. Here is to hoping he will make his sweet music making ass over to the US for some shows.

 

2. Trust – TRST

Some very good darkwave (? genres can be hard for me to place). This album is solid. There is this part in Shoom, I think it is around 2:28 where in the middle of a break down he lets out this sigh and I get goosebumps because it is rare to hear someone so into their music that they let it consume them and then…. sigh… That is the kind of shit I can’t get enough of.

 

3. iamamiwhoami – Kin

Synth-pop. I am always partial to not liking artists that have this kind of vocal style. However I really like this music and Play is a really catchy song. Also it’s always cool to dance around with a bunch of bipedal Puli dogs or whatever those things are.

 

4. Elite Gymnastics – Ruin 4

I am really upset that I didn’t hear their original album in 2011. This band quickly became a favorite of mine that I will obsessively listen to everything they put out. Aside from their original being amazing, the remix is just as good. Their music tends to juxtapose their melancholy lyrics and so one minute you are dancing and the next minute you have your ear up to the speaker because you just caught the tail end of some depressing shit while trying to sing along. Example lyric : The things that felt like bliss/ only really felt like shit/ it’s a waste/ it’s a waste /it’s all it ever was .

I love them.

http://youtu.be/iGY5pqANpZs

 

5. The Invisible – Rispah

The Invisible would be what I think of as a mix between Calla and Thom Yorke.  Songs like Generational and Utopia really carry this album. I think most people will like this album for their own reasons.

 

6. oOoOO – Our love is Hurting Us

Most people are aware that I am obsessed with oOoOO. Listen. To. it. all.

 

Songs that I really like from this year detached from their albums:

Van She – Idea of Happiness (Sebastian Remix)

-Holy shit if this isn’t a good dance number!

Eyes (feat. NO CEREMONY///) – Stay +

Summer – MMOTHS

As A Child (with Machinedrums) – Lone

Open- Clark

Secret – Clark  (both songs are from Iradelphic)

Sleepless – Flume

Lights Out – Gauntlet Hair (actually this whole album is pretty good and they are awesome live too)

 

There you are. I am off to go find a life size labyrinth spiral that is a mile from my apartment. Happy Friday!

 

- betweenthesound

AlmostAGhost Thoughts On A Song: Iron & Wine “Tree By The River”

Iron & Wine

time isn't kind or unkind

A couple of weeks ago, Iron & Wine dropped their new album, Kiss Each Other Clean. Interestingly, they performed a show here in Los Angeles on the day the album was released, allowing me an opportunity to experience the new songs live before hearing the record. The show was pretty good, and my only real critique was I wished for more acoustic songs, since that is what Sam Beam is truly an expert in. He did a couple, but most of the tracks were laidback rock songs, with horns and background singers and drums and I think there were something like 11 people on stage. Of course, I found out later, that’s what the new album is, so I guess the show fit.

Anyway, I don’t mean to review Kiss Each Other Clean, as I don’t quite have my head all around it yet. (Short review: not entirely sold on the new sound but the songs are generally awesome.) But one song in particular, “Tree By The River,” was something I felt like reflecting on.

“Tree By The River” begins with “Maryanne, do you remember that tree by the river when we were seventeen?” Many of Sam Beam’s standout songs are wistful in nature like this, from his early “Bird Stealing Bread” (“I’ve not seen you lately on the street by the beach or places we used to go / I’ve a picture of you on our favorite day by the seaside”) to the emotional “Passing Afternoon” (“only now I do believe sometimes, with the window closed, she’ll sit and think of me”) to the epic “Trapeze Swinger” (each verse starts with “please remember me”). “Tree By The River” is yet another song about remembering the past, with a tinge of melancholy, but with a matter-of-fact acceptance that sometimes things just drift away.

Before this turns into a “whoa Iron & Wine did it again!” post, I’m not real sure yet if he did. The difference in “Tree By The River” is that basically this is a song about a tree. There is an almost stark lack of symbolism and poetics in “Tree By The River,” which made Beam’s earlier songs so memorable. Nothing happens at this tree. There’s no birds stealing bread out from under his nose, no frightened circus acts overhead, which are clear metaphors. He does reminisce about the sun, a wall, a horse near the tree, but they’re incidental, and the song expresses a very vague memory.

There is some slight framing of the memory, as the repeated verse: “‘Time isn’t kind or unkind’ you liked to say / But I wonder to who and what it is you’re saying today.” This I think is the prototypical Iron & Wine verse. “Time isn’t kind or unkind” gets to that matter-of-fact acceptance I mentioned earlier, and clearly expresses the main theme in many many of Beam’s songs. Tie that to the loss of love hinted at in “I wonder to who and what it is you’re saying today” and pretty much this is Iron & Wine to a tee.

While Beam has always been a master at just saying enough to a story to maintain mystery but still be effective, perhaps then the stark plainness of this song was a conscious decision to cut away all the moments and images he usually puts in his songs. And what’s left is a simply expressed, yet still emotional, lyric that almost everyone could relate to: “Marianne, we were in love when we were young and remember that tree? Where are you now?”

Have a listen:
Iron & Wine “Tree By The River”

- almostaghost