Archive for January, 2010

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Beach House – Teen Dream [2010]

January 26, 2010

Album post #23.  Teen Dream by Beach House.  I wish I could say that I was a big fan from the beginning, but I can’t.  Though I’ve always felt that I should spend some time with them, both of Beach House‘s previous albums just didn’t draw me in.  Teen Dream, however, has made me a fan.  Dreamy organs and warm guitar played over simple steady drum beats provide singer Victoria Legrand the opportunity to stretch and push her unique voice in ways that pull at my heart.  Very little music has felt this intimate right from the start.  This album feels fuller and Legrand’s voice sounds stronger on it, but now after falling in love with them I am excited to go back and explore their other two albums (and also to see them @ Paradise Rock Club in March!).

Stream the entire album for this week at Spinner here.  I also put together a full youtube playlist here (though the version of Used to Be is an older cut).  There isn’t a dull song on this album, but I’ve included three super good tracks below: Silver Soul (which almost makes me cry every time I listen to it), Norway, and Take Care.

source: dataless

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Owen Pallett – Heartland [2010]

January 19, 2010

Album post #22. Heartland by Owen Pallett, who formerly performed under the moniker Final Fantasy. Every song is incredibly orchestrated with surprising twists and turns.   Though I’ve listened to it over 15 times I only know a couple of words. This is because I get so wrapped up in the melodies carried by strings and horns I forget to listen to what he is saying.  His voice becomes an instrument for me.

I suggest listening to this album on lala.com the whole way through, but you can sample a couple songs from Heartland on Owen’s Myspace.  You can also download the single Lewis Takes Action in exchange for your email from his website here.  Please excuse the Final Fantasy video game scenes below.  It was the only studio recording that WMG didn’t remove.

source: pfork

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Surfer Blood – Astro Coast [2010]

January 12, 2010

Album Post #21. Surfer Blood‘s debut album Astro Coast, to be released on January 19th but available for streaming now at SpinnerAstro Coast is summery Weezerish surfer rock that seems better suited for release 6 months from now.  However, I’m glad I won’t be listening to it with my windows rolled down for some time because I would miss the subtleties that make this album great.

The element that stands out to me is that each instrument sounds as it occupies its own space within the music and doesn’t interfere with sound from the other instruments.  Recently I’ve steered clear of rock because I’ve become a snob to muddyness.  But Surfer Blood even seems to be able to use fuzzed out power chords without sacrificing clarity.  Also, I absolutely love the towering reverb used on the vocals (see Swim).

I could only find one song on youtube (Harmonix, below).  Please be sure to listen to the songs Swim and Take It Easy. The single Swim is available as a free download here. Listen to the whole album here at Spinner.

source: dataless

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St. Vincent – Actor [2009]

January 5, 2010

Album post #20.  Annie Clark’s sophomore album as St. Vincent, Actor, seems to be straight out of a dream.  Unexpected transitions, swirling orchestration, and catchy harmony vocals take Clark’s songs into some imaginary world or Disney movie.  So many of these songs appear straightforward at the start but blow me away when a three or four new layers enter at the climax.  I think Burton would do well to have Clark write the soundtrack for Alice in Wonderland.

Here is an incomplete youtube playlist.  Below are three standouts. Enjoy.

source: pfork