05 September 2009

Thesis Soundtrack 2009

It's been all quiet on the Megan front lately, because I’ve been killing myself working on my post-grad thesis ("the effects of the shift toward digital music and the individual", just in case you were interested), which has left me zero time for blogging. Which sucks, because when I’m writing, be it creative or academic, is when I listen to music the most. It’s a cosmic joke that I have heard so many fantastic albums released this year and haven’t had the chance to share them.
I’ve taken the morning off and am writing a post summarizing some of my favourites of the year. I’ve included them in a zipped mix at the end, but if you would like me to upload any individual tracks just comment and I will!

Wild Light
Don’t be fooled by the album cover, like I was. It looks like the kinda cover you see on bland, generic alternative pop crap doesn’t it? And the album name doesn’t help. I don’t know how many times I have to be taught to stop judging things by their covers before I actually, you know, stop doing it.
This album is pretty cool. Classic indie without being boring by the numbers indie. Harmonica and harmonies and a lead singer with an interesting voice (and you know how I love my interesting voices). They definitely remind me another band, or bands, but I’m having trouble pinpointing who exactly. My brain keeps saying the Decemberists, but I really don’t think that’s it. Help me out VK listeners!

Songs included in the .rar file:

On My Mind
My Father Was A Horse

Throw Me The Statue – Creaturesque
Haven’t had a chance to listen to this album in any great depth, but ‘m digging what I’ve heard. Kinda like a less crazy and uninhibited of Montreal.

Songs included in the .rar file:
Hi-Fi Goon

Veils – Sun Gangs
Picked up this EP on Amie Street, my eMusic replacement, and I’ve been digging it. Very rich instruments and male/female vocals, which is always nice. They also like to do that think where the quite builds slowly from a soft song to a rocking out one. Also, don’t be surprised if the band friends you last.fm after you listen to them for a bit, it seems to be something they do…'
This one’s been popping up everywhere, and for good reason. The album has a The National / Editors vibe going on like crazy. That combination of slow rolling songs and deep lead vocals. Very nice.

Songs included in the .rar file:
Sit Down By The Fire

Vandaveer – Divide and Conquer
Another album I’ve been seeing get raved about all over the place. It falls into the same category as other bands I’ve recently discovered that I wouldn’t have liked even a year ago. Soft, folky (not folksy), introspective music. I suspect my mother’s death has a lot to do with my sudden willingness to sit quietly and listen to what quite music and think, but even if your mother is still alive I’m sure you can dig this album.

We’ve got the male female vocals again, and nicely arranged songs. If the last.fm bio thing is to be believed lead singer/song writer Mark Charles Heidinger has a pretty full on family history on his father’s side, which maybe doesn’t mean anything to you but I personally get something extra out of music if I know a little about the context in which musician was forged. (Lol, forged, like they’re freakin' swords or something.)

Songs included in the .rar file:
Divide and Conquer
Before the Great War

The Love Language
Ah now, this album I really love! It’s like, the songs are beautifully arranged, with horns and strings and drums and guitars and I mean they are really awesomely done. But then the band is all like, yeah we’ve put all this effort into making this perfectly crafted songs, but we’re so cool we’re going to record it on a dodgy little tape deck.

I don’t know if the songs were recorded into tape deck, but they have a similar sound the early Mountain Goats stuff, so maybe. Very lo-fi, is what I’m saying. But whereas lo-fi is normally just a guy and guitar, or a garage band, these guys really have gone for a Rufus Wainright-level of song arrangement. And I love it. The contrast between the polished songs and the lo-fi fuzziness, it works way more perfectly then it should.

Songs included in the .rar file:
Grey Court

Lord Cut Glass
Now, see, just up there I was berating myself for being wary of the Wild Lights album because of its cover, but then this here album I bought solely because of it’s awesome Napoleonic cover.
Turns out this was one instance where my cover bias paid off. This is Alun Woodward’s, of the Delgado’s, solo release and oh my, accent! Scottish, no less. The words roll into each other at the ends and you’d better believe I love it! The songs themselves are very clever and upbeat, once again I am reminded of someone but I’m not sure who. (What kind of self respecting music blogger can’t compare acts to one another? That’s like our thing!)

Songs included in the .rar file:
Look After Your Wife

Builders and the Butchers – Salvation is a Deep Dark Well
Ah, this band sounds a lot like the Hold Steady and, damn it, someone else I can’t place. I’m sorry guys, I understand if you want me to resign. Seriously though, the Hold Steady comparison is solid. The lead singer has that same preachy kind of voice as does Craig Finn. In this instance the preachyness works well because the album has a distinctly fire and brimstony kind of religious bent to it, but in a good way.

Songs included in the .rar file:
Devil Town

The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
This album works perfectly next to the Butchers and the Builders one. Its plays with the same themes and ideas (although, as the title might suggest from the other side of the argument), and has a similar sound. It softer though, more folk than rock, and boy oh boy am I in love with the lead singer’s voice. Gah. It’s not even “weird” as the vocals I love usually are, I’m confident that most people would agree that it is one nice voice.

Songs included in the .rar file:
Cage the Songbird
To Ohio

A.C. Newman – Get Guilty
New Pornographer’s front man's latest solo offering (not, sadly, a sequel to the Mountain Goats’ Get Lonely). The thing about A.C.’s solo stuff is that it sounds an awful lot like New Pornographer’s stuff, which is good if you’re a TNP fan, which I totally am. Melodic power pop up the wazoo, in other words.

Songs included in the .rar file:
There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve

(that’s the name of the song, I haven’t included 10 or 12 A.C. Newman songs…)
Well, now that was cathartic! Forgive any typos, all of my editing reserves are used up!

The .rar file! (remember, I’m more than willing to upload any individual tracks you might want)


Julie said...

These are great! I suspect many purchases will follow ...

Regan said...

I wish I knew how to open this file. :(

Tender Branson said...

Builders and Butchers have been making their way through my brain lately. Thanks for sharing.

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