Archive for September, 2009

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Volcano Choir – Unmap [2009]

September 28, 2009

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Album Post #6. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Collections of Colonies of Bees released their debut album Unmap as Volcano Choir last week.  This album is an experimental project and a few of the tracks even seem to be left unfinished.  Volcano Choir starts you off with a few nice melodies and then strips their music down to odd abstract themes at the risk of losing some listeners.  If you have the chance to listen to the entire album *link*, be sure not to give up when you reach the mire of tracks 4 – 7 (I hesitate to call them songs).  I was just about ready to ignore the album until reaching track 8, Still (see youtube video below).  This is a marvelous arrangement of Bon Iver‘s Out of the Woods from their Blood Bank EPStill brings the album into focus and makes the morass meaningful, even though my pop and classical sensibilities would rather do without Mbira in the Morass

source: cward

NOTE: If you’d like to have a reminder to check the blog when a new post is made, email professorkeanbean@gmail.com

Also, don’t forget to rate the albums as I post them.  You will need to go to the page of the new post by clicking on the album title.

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Washed Out – Life of Leisure EP [2009]

September 21, 2009

Album Post #5.  Life of Leisure by Washed Out released last week.  Washed Out is Ernest Greene, a 20-something living at his parents’ house that produced these dreamy tracks in just a few months.  Yes, I envy.  Apparently it was not Greene’s intention to have his pseudonym describe the sound of the music, but it does.  The tracks sound faded, which gives them a nostalgic feeling.  You are taken to a make-believe summer; Washed Out’s cassettes are on repeat  and you can’t stop dreaming of that first crush.  I woke up realizing that I had nearly worn out the mp3s.  Pace yourself.

I have some downloads for this one.  Here are 3 free downloads from Life of Leisure (right click and save link as…): Hold Out, Feel It All Around, and You’ll See It.  (The EP is definitely worth purchasing at only $5.50.)  And here are 2 other downloads not on the album: Belong (my favorite) and Luck.

I searched for as many Washed Out songs that I could find on youtube and put together this playlist with 4 of the 6 songs from the EP (not all the same as the downloads) and the single Belong.  And below I have included the most popular song, Feel It All Around, and Belong.

source: mbridi

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Taken by Trees – East of Eden [2009]

September 14, 2009

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I’m really not into “World Music” or catchy backstories; the reason being I fear they could displace artistic integrity.  The “culturally aware” soak up music from other continents, believing they are more enlightened because they listen to music with a Sheng or Gudugudu.  Artists that have cool stories to accompany their music (like Passion Pit getting a record deal when lead singer Agelakos’ songs written for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day got discovered by his friends) aquire fame and sell more records than artists with just as much or more talent.  A better example of this is everyone’s huge obsession with Bon Iver because of that cabin story without considering the much deeper music of Phosphorescent’s album Pride (bear in mind that I love Bon Iver too).   But enough of this rant.

Album post #4: Though her release East of Eden of last week under a solo project named Taken by Tress has a fantastic backstory of a trip to Pakistan to record the album, Victoria Bergsman of Peter, Björn, and John is not guilty of sacrificing her art for a hook.  You can hear it in the music.  The songs are subtle, and the story never dominates the music.  This album is wistful, plaintive, and fun (see My Boys, cover of Animal Collective’s My Girls).  I posted a couple of samples below but you should really listen to the whole album.  Go to Grooveshark and type in “taken by trees east of eden,” click on album, and start playing from the first song To Lose Someone (my favorite on the album).  Enjoy!

source: jmac through jdumk

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Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue [2009]

September 7, 2009

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Album post #3.  Ambivalence Avenue by Bibio of 2009.  I won’t waste too much of your time with an exposition on this album.  Click this LINK to my youtube playlist (missing one song – abrasion) and let the music speak for itself.  British music producer Stephen Wilkinson (a.k.a. Bibio) skillfully marries folk and r&b with ambient and beat-heavy electronic music and manages to make a groove for everyone on this record.  If you don’t have time to play the whole album, be sure to sample at least three tracks.  I highly recommend Fire Ant, Haikuesque (When She Laughs), and Lovers’ Carvings and have included videos of these three below.  Oh, and make sure you wear some nice headphones.  No crappy laptop speakers allowed.

source: pfork