Archive for the ‘indie’ Category

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Twin Shadow – Forget [2010]

November 22, 2010

Post #51. Forget by Twin ShadowTwin Shadow‘s live performance is solid.  Probably the coolest dude in Boston last Thursday, George Lewis Jr. led Twin Shadow with an electric guitar, afro, and thick mustache.  The band rocked with hard drums, heavy bass, and guitar leads, giving Lewis the occasion to show off his skill and flare.  While this made for a great set, it doesn’t much compare with their album.  Forget is great.  It’s simply great.

If given only a quick listen, Twin Shadow is perhaps easy to write-off as another hipster 80s throwback.  I think the distinguishing factor upon listening to the full album is that everything sounds completely honest and unassuming.  Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear‘s production sets all parts around the vocals yet keeps the dressing elements simple.  Though I didn’t listen to anything nearly as cool when I was young, these songs remind me of childhood and make me want to dance around in the living room (softly enough to avoid skipping the needle).

Stream the entire album here. Also, here’s a free download of I Can’t Wait, which also happens to be my favorite track on the album.

source: pfork

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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

 

 

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Future Islands – In Evening Air (2010)

May 4, 2010

Post #36. In Evening Air by Future Islands.  I haven’t liked growl singing since the days of Creed.  (Yes, it is true and horrible).  For many years after my conversion to “good” music I have listened to singers with smooth high voices, and only in the last year or two have I become open to rougher voices.  It’s easy to hear the difference between this and Stapp’s grunts, but it still took me a few listens to adjust my ear to the Future Islands singing.  Though the music drew me in, the reason I keep listening now is because of the singing.  Lead singer, Sam Herring, conveys so much emotion and seems to pour all of himself into every word.

Herring’s passion is easily visible in the video of An Apology, below.  But if you listen to one track, listen to Tin Man (free download).  The song builds up to about 2:32, where all instruments drop a bit and Herring croaks “I am the tin man.”  I could listen to him say that over and over.  This album was released today and is available to order here.  5 of the 9 songs are on this youtube playlist.

source: jmac

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Caribou – Swim [2010]

April 20, 2010

Post #34. CaribouSwim.  Why do you need my thoughts when Caribou creator Dan Snaith explains Swim so well? “I got excited by the idea of making dance music that’s liquid in the way it flows back and forth, the sounds slosh around in pitch, timbre, pan… Dance music that sounds like it’s made out of water, rather than made out of metallic stuff like most dance music does.”  Some beat crafting credits go to Four Tet, Junior Boys‘ Jeremy Greenspan, and Born Ruffians‘ Luke Lalonde.

Stream the whole album here or via this youtube playlist.  Also, free downloads of Odessa and the Spirituals remix of Sun.

source: dataless

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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

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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