Dec. 30th, 2011 01:53 pm
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Eisley - The Valley

It's been four years since Combinations and, after such a long wait, The Valley, on one hand, might be viewed as a disappointment for it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and, to some, may even be a step backward in quality. Gone are the dark, heavy songs that made Combinations so interesting ("Many Funerals," "Invasion," "A Sight to Behold") and the whimsical lyrics that have permeated Eisley's music in the past. Instead, The Valley finds the band sticking mostly to brighter, shinier sounds and lyrics about love lost and found (which makes sense, considering the amount of relationship drama the DuPree sisters have been through over the past several years). Though there isn't much here that can truly be considered new or innovative - most of the songs adhere to the traditional pop song format and never veer too far off course - The Valley is still a worthwhile listening experience. The melodies, though predictable, are undeniably catchy and the harmonies Stacy, Sherri and Chauntelle DuPree are capable of crafting are nothing short of stunning, as rich and vital to the music's effect as any other form of instrumentation. In fact, it is really the strong vocals that set Eisley apart from similar bands that aren't quite so memorable; Stacy and Sherri, who trade leads back and forth over the course of the album, both have the unique capability of selling absolutely anything they're singing about. Even if, as on The Valley, the lyrics aren't particularly mindblowing and often seem quite repetitive, the girls sing with such feeling and conviction that it hardly matters. Songs like "Smarter" and "Sad," on paper, are a bit cliched in their representations of anger and betrayal but Sherri's vocals are fierce and biting, allowing the songs to rise above their middling premises. Later in the album, "Better Love" and "Please" are rather generically constructed yet stand out for their energy and hard-hitting choruses. Meanwhile, Stacy's songs tend to be slightly more experimental than her sister's. The piano-based "Watch It Die" provides some of the whimsy that is missing from most of the rest of the album; light and playful, it begs immediately for the repeat button. "I Wish" finds both Stacy and Sherri switching off vocals during the verses, creating a discombobulated effect that is resolved in the layered, swelling chorus, one of the biggest on the album, sounding much larger than the two or three voices it is constructed upon. Closer "Ambulance," on the other hand, dials down the intensity but is no less riveting. Though it was released more than a year ago on the Fire Kite EP, it still sounds just as fresh and emotional now as it did then and serves as a perfectly understated yet poignant ending to the album. If you're looking for something that's never been done before, The Valley isn't the place to find it. However, if you're looking for something that's perhaps not very new but is injected with passion and energy by a band that has grown ever more confident in their abilities, then it's a very fulfilling album. Despite being relatively inconsequential, I have come back to many of the songs here far more than most other releases this year. Still, it'll be interesting to see how Eisley continues to develop; they already have an EP slated for release early next year and, considering how long this album had been sitting on the shelf prior to release, it's difficult to say, musically, exactly where the band might be now.

urgencytobleed: (Default)
Here's a lovely video of Beach House performing "10 Mile Stereo" on Conan from last Monday. I can't get over how flawless Victoria Legrand's voice sounds live, my goodness. I think it actually might even sound better than on the album which is quite awe-inspiring. If you haven't heard Teen Dream yet, well, then, what are you waiting for?!? It's one of the best albums of the year! And I promise, I will do a better job of convincing you of that once I actually get around to posting my top albums of the year. Until then, enjoy the performance.

In random free music making its way around the Internet, Owen Pallett has released a demo EP that you can stream and download for free here. It's mostly instrumental, containing a few songs from Heartland without vocals and some new compositions. But the clear standout of this little collection for me is the one song that does have vocals, an alternate version of one of Heartland's best, "The Great Elsewhere," with Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond singing instead of Owen. It helps that the song is just fucking amazing anyway but I'm fairly certain that Shara could sing anything and make it sound like a work of genius. She's that good, folks.

Also, Sherri DuPree-Bemis from Eisley recently posted a lo-fi cover of Kanye West's "Heartless". I didn't think this cover was going to work but it turns out, it's actually quite a perfect choice. Sherri turns the song into kind of a dark, plaintive acoustic guitar ballad and, oddly enough, it seems completely suited to this style. Also, her voice sounds as beautiful as ever. Here is that for you.
urgencytobleed: (kneel and crawl to hell and back)
It's nearly halfway through December already. How did that happen, right? I feel like the year has just flown right by. Of course the end of the year means it's almost time for me to post my annual list of favorite albums but I'm not nearly ready for that yet. There are still a few albums I haven't formed an opinion on yet and I feel like I'm discovering new stuff everyday that I should really listen to at least once before finalizing my list just in case I've missed something amazing. Of course that's the most fun/frustrating part of making these kinds of lists, isn't it? Looking back on them a year later and feeling stupid for not realizing the awesomeness of this one album that totally would have made your top five if only you had been thinking straight back then.

Read more... )

In other news, like I said, I haven't even got my albums of 2010 list nearly finished yet and already there are several releases I'm looking forward to next year! Here are some links to free downloads of tracks from a few of them. First, here's "Down by the Water" from the Decemberists' upcoming The King is Dead. It's going to take a lot to top The Hazards of Love for me but I have faith in them to do it or at least come close. Asobi Seksu have offered up "Trails" from Fluorescence. I enjoyed their last album, Hush, well enough but this sounds like it may be a return to a noisier, louder sound which I'm looking forward to. Eisley will finally be releasing new material in March, The Valley, which will be their first release on new label Equal Vision. You can download "Ambulance" from their official site right now. Though most Eisley fans probably have already heard it (I can't hear much difference between this and the Fire Kite EP version), at least there are still newer songs to look forward to soon. And if you haven't heard it, well, what are you waiting for? It's one of their most beautiful songs yet and Stacy's voice sounds heavenly. Finally, I'm also looking forward to the new Wye Oak release, Civilian, the title track from which can be heard here. I haven't been very into this band when I've tried in the past but this song is really, really good and I hope the rest of the album lives up to it.

Alright, now I'm going back into my hole for awhile to sort out that damn list I keep talking about. Wish me luck!

urgencytobleed: (Default)
Well, I'm not sure quite how long it will take me to get through everything but I guess I can get started anyway. Before we get onto my top twenty of the year, here are a bunch of other songs I've loved that were released in 2009. A lot of them are from otherwise lackluster albums. Some of them are from compilations, live albums, EPs, singles, etc. They're all quite lovely and I highly recommend every single one. Here are the first ten of... however many I end up with. Enjoy! (Because I actually haven't posted any of them before... which is only due to the fact that I've been terribly lazy all year.) Oh right: album titles are purchase links and song titles are, naturally, download links.

Click me! )
urgencytobleed: (where do i belong)
Song of the Day

Eisley - Laughing City

I have a newfound love for this song... but I love pretty much every Eisley song, so that's not really anything surprising.
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So, in honor of last night's Oscars ceremony - which I surprisingly thought were decently interesting this year - here are a handful of songs that work well for the occasion.

First, a few that go hand-in-hand with some of the winners (all very deserving, in my opinion):

And here are a few that have a general actor/movie theme to them:

Enjoy! :)
urgencytobleed: (jenny smile)
Guess what? I finally got another mix done! And in time for Valentine's Day, too! Now, I don't really care about the holiday one way or another, but the general theme of this is "sappy love songs" so it's appropriate to post it at this time. It covers a pretty broad range, since I could only get so far with the 100% in love songs so some are sarcastically romantic ("Fucking Boyfriend", "Marry Me"), some are depressingly romantic ("I Know I Know I Know", "My Invitation", "I Know"), some were chosen simply because their titles seemed to fit (any of them with "heart" or "valentine" in the title), and the rest of them are pure, unabashedly sugary, head-over-heels-in-love songs. So, whether you're going to bask in a lonely depression or spend some time with a special someone, I hope you enjoy this!

Download entire mix (69 MB)

2007, #5-1.

Jan. 8th, 2008 11:47 am
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Drumroll, please...

5. Los Campesinos! - Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (purchase)
(+ The International Tweexcore Underground)

I debated whether I should place Sticking Fingers Into Sockets this high or if I should even place it at all because I've only started to love it recently and it is just an EP after all. However, I've become extremely obsessed with it over the past week or two and the fact that I'm even considering it at all amongst so many full-lengths is impressive enough to cement its place. Plus, if you include the quite excellent The International Tweexcore Underground single, you almost get enough to make a pretty solid long-player. Now, to actually talk about the important part, the music: I'll admit that all of their songs have a similar sound, but you know what? It's one damn good song and anyway, in my opinion, they're different enough to distinguish themselves from each other. This EP serves as an excellent proper introduction to their music. It opens with "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" and its catchy and lyrically amusing chorus will be stuck in your head for days on end ("There's red stains all over the place/But they're not blood, they're cherry-aide/We throw parties, you throw knives/It's all the same if the fizzy drinks are nice"). Plus, that darkly humorous reference in the second verse ("It's your party but I'll die if I want to/I'll die if I want to") is bound to at least make you chuckle. Then there's "You! Me! Dancing!", a six-minute dose of pop perfection which culminates in the childish but strangely addicting shout-along of "It's you! It's me! And there's dancing!" Even the 35-second closer, "Clunk-Play-Clunk-Rewind-Clunk", has something lovable about it. As for that single, "The International Tweexcore Underground", it's another instantly enjoyable track, with sparring boy-girl vocals and cute if slightly pretentious lyrics. Even their covers, like Pavement's "Frontwards" and Heavenly's "C is the Heavenly Option", have just as much attitude and personality as their originals. Sure, they stick to a similar formula and their song titles nearly veer into Fall Out Boy territory as far as complete absurdness goes, but they never take themselves too seriously and seem like they're just out to have a good time and that's really all that matters. I'm almost positive their upcoming debut full-length will find a place in next year's list, though it does have quite a bit of stiff competition. (Since writing this, I downloaded the album leak because I have absolutely no willpower, but the plus side - it's completely excellent, as I was expecting.)

  • We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
  • You! Me! Dancing!
  • The International Tweexcore Underground

See #4-1. )

Tomorrow, the best songs from the albums that didn't quite make the cut but were still noteworthy.
urgencytobleed: (Default)
It's still a month until Christmas but seeing as it is already completely white and miserably cold outside, this seems to be the perfect time to bust out the Christmas tunes anyway! Now, I don't know about you, but most Christmas music annoys me, so aside from a few traditional songs (though performed fantastically, of course) I've tried to mostly include ones that can be easily enjoyed all year 'round. Some are explicitly about Christmas while others are more vaguely winter-y or contain a fleeting mention of Christmas but are just so awesome that it's enough to count. Hopefully, this mix will bring you more enjoyment over the holidays than whatever crappy radio station playing those generic cheesy Christmas songs. As always, below the cut, you can find the tracklisting with links to each individual song or download the entire thing in a ZIP file.

Sew up the bad that you've done - tomorrow Christmas day comes. )
Download entire mix (72 MB)


Oct. 31st, 2007 11:38 am
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Happy Halloween! I was going to make an entire 80-minute mix of Halloween-esque songs but I didn't think of the idea until yesterday and realized that it probably wouldn't be very good if I tried to compile it in such a hurry. So, instead, here are ten songs that sort of evoke a Halloween-y feeling. They aren't really directly related; most of them just give off a creepy/scary/haunting vibe lyrically and/or musically and then there's a few that mention appropriate things like ghosts, coffins, dead people, etc. I don't know many actual Halloween songs and I guess it's better to go with songs you can actually enjoy year-round anyway! Here they are...

We are the living dead, yeah, the living dead! )


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April 2012



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