Archive for the ‘pop’ Category

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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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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

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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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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

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Florence + the Machine – Lungs [2009]

December 1, 2009

Album post #15.  Though I am not certain of this, it seems that Florence + the Machine‘s debut album was named for its defining feature – Florence Welch’s voice.  She’s got Lungs.

What separates Florence’s music from other pop singers with strong pipes is the way her songs are arranged.  Rather than making simple music to show off her voice, whoever The Machine is has orchestrated these songs to complement Florence’s voice with the appropriate fullness and subtlety for which each piece demands.

Listen to the whole album on this youtube playlist.  Three of my favorite songs are below: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Howl, and Cosmic Love.  Florence’s voice is breathtaking on Cosmic Love.

source: dataless