Category Archives: My Favorites

Weekly Dig 9/6 – 9/12

Foals – What Went Down

Foals-what-went-down Foals have stated that in recording What Went Down they were trying to capture the more aggressive, brasher sound of their live show, and immediately, as you’re listening to the title track it’s clear that that is exactly what they’ve accomplished. I’ve enjoyed past Foals’ albums, but to me it felt that they were missing a little something something. Apparently the extra intensity and heaviness on What Went Down is that something that I was looking for.

It’s not as though the whole album is as aggressive as the self titled opener. In fact it mostly just carries through to just the second track “Mountain At My Gates” and after that we’re treated to a more standard Foals sound. “Albatross” is such a song, it toys with you and builds and builds but never reaches a true climax. The last two tracks also stand out ended the album in a sort of intriguing melancholy. This is a worthy addition to Foals discography and will be getting some play from me for the next little while.


Weekly Dig 4/8 – 4/14

Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada

This week I’m upping the ante from one song to two, but these two songs span almost a half hour. Godspeed, for those of you unfamiliar, are a post-rock band (instrumental), although Godspeed like to augment their instrumentation with samples of all kinds of things from interviews with random people, to announcements from a gas station intercom. They tend to be a bit on the stranger side. The second track, “BBF3,” features some such sampling in the form of an interview filled with eccentric ramblings about the downfall of the US, and this interview really drives this whole EP. The opening track, “Moya,” is captivating with some fantastic chelo and violin work perfectly leading into “BBF3.” If you’ve never listened to, or heard of, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this would be a prime starting point to see if you would enjoy them.


Weekly Dig 4/1 – 4/7

mewithoutYou – ‘February 1878’
http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F42027295&show_artwork=true

 There is only one song here, but this one song is a new one from mewithoutYou and I can’t think of anything that could have made me more excited today. It’s a preview off of the upcoming album Ten Stories set to be released on May 15th. Instantly you can tell that this album is probably going to be more similar to Brother, Sister and Catch For Us The Foxes, because there is an intensity in this song that wasn’t anywhere throughout all of their last release It’s All Crazy…. ‘February 1878’ is brooding and menacing, and all the while feels like it could explode into madness at any time. It’s an awesome song and now has me counting down the days till May 15th.

Top 10 Albums of 2011

This is coming a little later than I fist had expected, I pretty much took the whole month of January off, which led to a few good things, but now we’re pretty much halfway through February. It helped me to get caught up on some bigger releases and led to two albums making it on to my list that weren’t there at the end of December,  Sit Resist and James Blake. Some other honorable mentions I would like to showcase would be The Roots- Undun, Defeater- Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, Laura Marling- A Creature I Don’t know, Slow Runner- Damage Points, and Iron & Wine- Kiss Each Other Clean. There is also another list of 2011 albums that I still need to take some time to listen to namely Pianos Become the Teeth- The Lack Long After, WU LYF- Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, Swarms- Old Raves End,  CunninLynguists- Oneirology, and Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation. Finally hear is my top ten albums of 2011.

10. Radiohead- The King of Limbs

The King of Limbs I’ve already wrote a bit about, but that was quite some time ago. In fact I thing it was my first post on this little blog thing, and here we are almost a year later and this album shows it has some staying power when compared to the already impressive resume that Radiohead has put together. Like I mentioned earlier I feel that this is one of the most relate-able collections of songs this band has released.  “Lotus Flower” lies at the heart of it all being one of the best songs they’ve written.

9. The Dodos- No Color

This album features The Dodos doing everything that they did that made us (me) fall in love with them. They’ve scaled back their operation a bit since their last release, ditching the vibraphone, and leaving us with just Logan and Meric playing their catchy, syncopated indie folk. No Color is a little more see’s this duo more matured, and gives me hope that they’ll be around for a while longer.

6. James Blake- James Blake

James Blake is the breakout artist of 2011. The Grammies might be all about Bon Iver as the Best New Artist, but since when can you trust the Grammies. Anyone that really pays attention to music would know that Bon Iver released an amazing debut album FOUR YEARS AGO. James Blake over the past year released his debut album and three E.P.’s, and did what is always incredibly difficult. James Blake made something fresh and new. He’s come out of the dubstep scene and that’s where his music mostly relates, but he’s mixed things up in a way that’s hard to explain. Hard to explain but easy to enjoy.

7. St. Vincent- Strange Mercy

Beautiful yet psychotic, this album is mesmerizing. It’s messy and fractured and maybe at times seems to go through an identity crisis, but I think that’s exactly what was intended. Strange Mercy takes time to revel in the mistakes and imperfections. Nothing on this album seems like it should work and yet it all does. Annie Clark fuses it all together in an unconventional mix and a midst all the weirdness I can’t help but be totally infatuated.

6. Laura Stevenson & The Cans- Sit Resist

Sit Resist is simply charming. It’s pleasantly simple and straightforward and pulls you in as soon as it begins and I don’t think anyone ever has objected to go where Laura Stevenson and the Cans want to take you. At some point in the middle of the album I’m always surprised by all the different instruments I’ve heard because the feel of the album makes me think all I’ve heard was a guitar and drums and Laura’s voice, but there’s trumpets, violins, banjos, and accordions adding variation all along this pleasant trip.

5. Bon Iver- Bon Iver

I was pretty underwhelmed when I first heard this album. I didn’t think it was anywhere near the quality if Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago. My opinion has changed a bit as time went by and today I would have to take time to think about which album I enjoy more. I still think I would lean toward the debut, but to say the least, Bon Iver has grown on me quite a bit. The sadness of the debut has dissipated, but we are left with that same atmospheric, gorgeous indie folk, whatever you call it.

4. Thrice- Major/Minor

It’s weird to write about this album knowing now that this might very well be the last album written by this band rather than just their newest album. Over the past decade Thrice have managed to release six full length albums and one four E.P.’s/twenty four songs compilation, each time the managed to change their sound quite a bit, but they’ve managed to hold on to their identity. Major/Minor is no exception. With this release it might have seemed that the goal was to hone in on the basics of rock, because these tracks are infused with blues, and once again Thrice manage to sound fresh and at the top of their game.

3. Thursday- No Devolucion

Just a couple days after Thrice announced their hiatus, Thursday followed suite. I don’t know if you call it ironic or coincidental, but here you have two bands that at the turn of the millennium we’re helping to define post-hardcore bow out of the game in the same week after both releasing critically acclaimed records the same year. With Thursday though I think No Devolucion is the best album of their career. While they started out helping to define post-hardcore, here at the end they blur the edges a little bit and bring in post-rock and other influences.  Now over a decade later they are still showing the way for their peers in a genre that has somewhat stagnated.

2. TV on the Radio- Nine Types of Light

TV on the Radio was a band that I had heard plenty about over the last few years, but it wasn’t until this album came out that I was able to really jump in and experience this great group. The video for “Will Do” totally captivated me and ever time I listen to the song it still puts me in an almost trance. This album is full of surprises and every song brings something different to the table. Whether it’s the easy-going-ness of “Second Song,” or the punchy-ness of “Caffeinated Consciousness” it’s all fantastic.

1. O’Brother- Garden Window

This was a debut I’d been excited about for a long time, and it did anything but disappoint me. It’s a very atmospheric and brooding album. It gives itself plenty of time for it’s ideas to develop and show themselves. It’s sludgy, heavy, deliberate and at time delicate and beautiful. It’s my favorite album from the year among another great year for music. O’Brother is a band that seems to have taken just about everything that I enjoy in music and combined it all together into awesomeness, and speaking of awesomeness, I’ve got to mention their live show again. They’ve blown me away every time I’ve seen them. Tanner Merritt’s voice has a power that just can’t quite be captured in the record. I’m pleased to say that at the end of the month I’ll get to see them again. So there it is. 2011. There was a lot of good things happening and there are some  great looking things on the horizon of 2012 that I’ll try and keep you up to date on.


Major/Minor

Thrice have been around for over a decade now, and they’ve come a long way from where they started. With the recent release of Major/Minor they’ve stretched themselves once again, and have come up with something fresh. That alone amazes me, not only do they consistently change their sound, but they manage to do it all the while staying relevant, and on Major/Minor it never feels like their out of their element. Back in the Vhiessu and Alchemy Index times thrice got very progressive and really pushed their sound forward, but here I think they’ve simplified things. They broke rock down to its basics and went with that.

The music Thrice has crafted here is bluesy rock. There is nothing left of their hardcore roots, but the core of Thrice is still there. If you liked Beggars  you should really enjoy Major/Minor. When I first listened to it I was almost thinking this was a Beggars 2.0 but now I’m leaning towards calling Beggars  the beta to Major/Minor. There is more of a soul on this album, and maybe that’s why it seems to fit more with the blues. Dustin’s lyrics are powerful and moving, christian themes have showed up many times before, but it’s all throughout this album. And his delivery of those lyrics is pitch-perfect. “Treading Paper” is a song that features some fantastic work from the rhythm section, and from that song till the end the album is nearly flawless in my eyes. My favorite song as of now would probably have to go to “Words in the Water.” It features a huge and powerful chorus that does all the right things for me, and lucky enough for you it is being offered as a free download. So go listen to it and download it here.


The Dodos 6/1/2011 @ The Urban Lounge

It was another great show at The Urban Lounge on Wednesday. This night featured White Denim and The Dodos. White Denim was our opening band and they were fun.  They are a quartet from Austin Texas, and they play rock. Sure it might have a bit of a southern country tinge at times, and there was a  lot of jam rock in their sound, but at their very core they were just a group of rockers from Texas. They had some interesting guitar riffs and creative drumming, and played a good show overall. I got a little worn out by them after a while. Almost all the songs they played were up tempo, I remember one slow song they played toward the beginning which was good, it gave us a chance to actually hear the singers voice, the rest of the night he was drowned out by everything else. On that slower song they reminded me a bit of Portugal. The Man, which is a pretty good thing to remind me of. Another thing that probably led me to getting worn out a bit was the song lengths. I hadn’t listened to them before this night so I can’t say for sure, but I doubt that all their songs were the 8… 9… 10 minute epics that they played for us. Their songs would change themes a couple times, and you couldn’t be sure that it was a new song or the same song because they never stopped playing. Then when you add a few solos I inevitably would lose interest. Despite all that they put on an enjoyable performance.

I was really excited for the dodos to come on. I saw them last summer at the Twilight Concert Series and it was a great show, and they treated us to another great show this summer. In the space of that year a lot has changed for The Dodos. Last year they had a vibraphonist playing with them and now we have a second guitarist. I don’t think the vibraphonist was ever an official band member, and I don’t know if this second guitarist made band member status either, but as long as we have that dynamic duo of Long and Kroeber it’s not too big of a deal. That second guitarist didn’t seem to do much anyway, he stood there on the far side of the stage and played his stuff and stayed pretty quite. The Dodos also released their new album No Color back in March so they got to add a few new songs to their répetoire. This time around Long just played on electric guitars as opposed to last year were I seem to remember him playing mostly on an acoustic. Last year long also around a bit on a trombone as a buildup to a song, and I was a little disapointed when I didn’t see the trombone this time around.

But, like I said earlier, as long as our dynamic duo remains the same there shouldn’t be any problems. Luckily for us Kroeber set up the same unique drum set, with no kick drum, and that tambourine on his shoe. Long played in that same syncopated finger-picking style, and I couldn’t help but move to the music. They opened with “Good,” and then played “Black Night.” I love the odd rhythms these guys have, it might make it difficult to tap your foot to, but it is incredibly interesting and entertaining to me. I really enjoyed watching these two. They ended up playing a good majority of the songs of f of their new record. “Don’t try and Hide It,” “Sleep,” and “Companions” are the ones I can remember for sure that they played. They also played a few songs each from Time to Die and Visiter. Long had a great intro into “The Season,” which just might be my favorite song of theirs, using his peddle to layer his guitar recording and looping little riffs to just add to the big buildup that that song is. It was probably the highlight of the show for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything these guys have put out and hope they keep coming up with fresh new things to release, and keep touring, because I’m always ready to take in some more Dodo Bird.


Favorites

I’ve got a little update for ya’ll. I’ve added a favorites section to my blog. I’ve now got a list for my favorite bands and my favorite albums. I’ve just got the lists started so you’ll have to check back in later on if you want to see the rest of them.

Favorite Bands

Top 100 Albums