Archive for the ‘folk’ Category


Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz [2010]

October 9, 2010

Post #48. Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz, to be released October 12. Sufjan drops a big one!  What’s he getting at with calling this The Age of Adz?  The age of advertisements? Is he really talking about an adze? Or is it the age of odds?  I stopped trying to interpret too much of Sufjan‘s lyrics when he explained that The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us has no underlying social or racial meaning, but is instead the story of him being frightened by a wasp as a boy.  The reason I love this album is the way it builds to I want to be Well and settles down for Impossible Soul.  Sufjan mixes swirling wind instrument patterns (used heavily in The BQE) and some new electronic tricks into his trademark flowing folk, which results in a fun and somewhat scatterbrained sound.

Stream the whole album until October 12 at NPR.

source: npr, dataless




Arcade Fire – The Suburbs [2010]

August 18, 2010

Post #45.  The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.  You knew this was coming (sorry DrewDrew, you had your way last week).  This Arcade Fire album takes on a more rock spirit than their previous albums and even has a somewhat shoegaze atmosphere.  The whole thing builds and builds to the end and I can’t help thinking that AF intentionally muddied up their sound and structured the album this way to give me the feeling that I’m driving through endless suburban sprawl.

The last six songs on this are fantastic, and of course Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is a contender for single of the year.  Enjoy!

source: pfork


Punch Brothers – Antifogmatic [2010]

June 23, 2010

Post #42, written by SPK.  Punch BrothersAntifogmatic.  If you like pure bluegrass, rock, or classical music, you probably won’t like this.  But if you can imagine them all rolled up into a ball, pressed flat, and cut into four-minute eclectic cookies, this is your band.  His third album since departing from grammy-winning Nickel Creek, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile’s newest, Antifogmatic, with the band Punch Brothers and produced by renowned Jon Brion, conjures musically the restlessness of ambitious young urban spirits eager to be recognized for creativity by day, lyrically distracted by the call of collective loneliness-avoidance at night (supplemented with Rye Whiskey, of course).  A personal favorite is the out-of-body violin “float[ing] out the window and down the street” in contemplative Me and Us.  See the WSJ review, their entire Bonnaroo set, and don’t miss the homage to Radiohead below.  Enjoy!

Link to This is the Song video

source: ncreek


Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking it Easy [2010]

May 14, 2010

Post #38. This is the album I have been waiting for most in 2010.  Phosphorescent‘s fifth LP, Here’s to Taking it Easy, follows the styling of his last, To Willie, a tribute album of Willie Nelson songs and songs popularized by him.  Yep, this is country, but it’s honest country.

Matthew Houck is the most sincere artist I have ever seen perform a song.  As he shares his downtrodden spirit in songs about lost love and divorce, he sings with the conviction of a street corner preacher and speaks to the heart of everyone in the room.  There’s just nothing like seeing him live.

Stream the album for a few more days at Spinner.  Please be sure to listen to Hej, Me I’m Light.  That track is the most like the haunting folk sound of his magnificent album Pride.

(live video of Permanently Lonely from To Willie)

source: dataless


Midlake – The Courage of Others [2010]

March 16, 2010

Album post #30.  Midlake‘s third LP, The Courage of OthersPitchfork is full of crap.  This album is great.  I agree that it’s not as good as The Trials of Van Occupanther, but it certainly deserves praise.

The element that stands out to me throughout the album is the consistency in direction and sound.  The songs on this album are a more subdued folk rock, orchestrated by acoustic fingerpicking, vocal harmony, and flute.  I’d compare the sound of Van Occupanther to The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and that of The Courage of Others to the darker songs of Simon and Garfunkel and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Don’t listen expecting Cloudy, but something more along the lines of Hangman.

Here’s a full youtube playlist.

source: merchocolate and pfork


Bat for Lashes – Two Suns [2009]

March 8, 2010

Album post #29. Two Suns by Bat for Lashes.  I grew up listening to a lot of the mainstream Celtic music that you would see on PBS (Three Irish Tenors, Riverdance, Celtic Women, etc.).  Kind of dorky, but I bet everyone besides my buddy Fink wants to play a Bodhran.

Bat for Lashes isn’t quite Celtic, but between the minor melodies, hollow drums, and Natasha Khan’s towering voice it shares a lot in common with PBS-pop Celtic music.  It is of course much cooler!

If Khan’s music isn’t attractive enough for you to fall in love with her, just take a look at the video of the album’s single Daniel below.  She has a face to match her lovely voice. Full youtube playlist here.

source: pfork


Four Tet – There is Love in You [2010]

February 2, 2010

Album post #24.  There is Love in You by Four Tet.  My first taste of Kieren Hebden’s music (a.k.a. Four Tet) was on the Radiohead EP COM LAG (2plus2isfive), which includes Four Tet‘s masterful remix of Scatterbrain.  I instantly loved his creative use of organic sounds and electronic modulations of voices, bells, and other instruments.  I’ve probably played Four Tet‘s 2003 album Rounds about a hundred times and didn’t really expect another LP of his to be that good.

There is Love in You is similar to Rounds in its swirling themes and organic sounds, though it uses more driving and straightforward rhythms and also has a few songs with more direct instrumentation (e.g. Circling).  The standout track is the 9 minute Love Cry, which was released last fall and let us know we should expect something exciting in 2010.  Hebden places this track after the gorgeous opener Angel Voices, and before the dizzy dream Circling, which provides a nice transition to the subtler tracks of the record.  My favorite on the album is the closer She Just Likes to Fight.  There’s just something about it that relaxes me and makes me smile.

Here’s a full youtube playlist, which includes Moth and Wolf Cub from the amazing Burial and Four Tet collaboration of last fall.  I also highly suggest checking out (and downloading for free) Four Tet‘s DJ mix from December, Much Love to the Plastic People.

source: radiohead and dataless