Ten.

Dec. 29th, 2011 10:05 pm
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Feist - Metals


To me, Metals is undoubtedly Leslie Feist's greatest accomplishment to date. I know a lot of people are lamenting the lack of lighthearted, cutesy-quirky pop songs but that's never been the aspect of Feist's music that has drawn me in - to be honest, I've always thought "1234" was one of The Reminder's weakest links and the songs that have stuck with me from that album are its darker, more atmospheric moments such as "The Park," "The Water" and "Intuition." Metals, then, is a perfect album for me because it's built from beginning to end on such sublime melancholy. Containing both some of the edgiest songs Feist has ever released and some of the subtlest, Metals is finally the album that, as a whole, is substantial enough to stand up to her spectacularly evocative vocals. In the past, I've mostly found her voice more memorable than the songs themselves but, here, the music is just as intriguing and complex as the many shades of Feist's vocal timbre. Even the poppier, peppier songs - "How Come You Never Go There," "The Circle Married the Line," "Bittersweet Melodies" - carry a certain amount of musical heft that transforms them into something more than delightful but ultimately frivolous concoctions. Still, the most intriguing tracks to be found on Metals are those that don't sound quite like anything Feist has ever done before or, rather, like more daring and large-scale versions of things she's tried to do before. Aching ballads like "Graveyard" and "Anti-Pioneer" aren't too dissimilar at their cores from much of Feist's past material but on Metals, in large part due to the addition of gorgeous string arrangements and strangely haunting group vocals, they soar and swell like never before and refrain from veering anywhere close to elevator music, a tendency which some of her past material has suffered from. Elsewhere, Feist travels even further outside her comfort zone, such as on the expansive opener "The Bad in Each Other," which is quirky but also remains very rooted, retaining an almost earthy, naturalistic quality despite its extremely layered and bombastic instrumentation. "Undiscovered First" follows along these same lines. It rises and falls effortlessly, building up from a restrained, foreboding opening to a sudden burst of energy in the chorus to a chaotic sea of voices and instrumentation at the end. Among such cacophony, however, Feist's pained delivery rings out clearly above all, and there is no more affecting moment on the entire album than when everything fades away and she wails nakedly, her voice echoing and distant as if in a cave, "Is this the way to live for me to be yours? Is this the way to live? Is it wrong to want more?" Overall, Metals is a phenomenal album, one that keeps giving the more you listen to it, which can't really be said for Feist's past efforts, at least in my personal experience. Though The Reminder was one of my favorite albums of the year when it was released in 2007, I've hardly listened to it since then. Metals, I feel, will keep revealing more to me far after the luster of newness has worn off.

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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: (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)
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Alright, finally, a 2007 wrap-up. I was getting nowhere with trying to make a cohesive mix, so I've decided to go about this a bit differently. Basically, this whole week is going to be "2007" week and I'm going to try to post something everyday - the first two days will be my top ten albums, the next two will be songs from other good albums, and the third will be sort of an "anticipated in 2008" post. I've posted quite a few of these songs in the past, but it gives you the chance to realize that these are my very favorites and if you haven't tried them by now, I definitely recommend you to! There are still some albums I haven't listened to properly but I realized that if I kept trying to listen to everything, this wouldn't be done until the end of 2008, so I decided that none of those would probably make it into my top ten anyway and settled on this list. I'm pretty happy with it; the only spot that doesn't feel completely static is #10, which was occupied by quite a few different albums until I decided on what's there now. So, without further ado, the latter half of my top ten, complete with reviews, purchase links, and Youtube videos!

10.
Emma Pollock - Watch The Fireworks (purchase)


Watch the Fireworks, in many ways, picks up where Emma's previous band the Delgados' final album, Universal Audio, left off. It's full of catchy, slightly quirky indie pop tunes sprinkled with well-written lyrics and Emma's distinguishable raspy yet sweet vocals. The album opens with "New Land", which could be a pretty generic singer-songwriter track if not for the carnival-esque melodies and persistent drumbeat propelling it. This is true of most of the tracks; they don't tread any new territory, but Emma knows how to make them memorable and instantly lovable. "Acid Test" is a bit edgier and more rock-oriented while singles like "Paper and Glue" and "Adrenaline" are poppy without being completely vapid. All of the catchiness is interspersed with more folky simple songs like "Limbs", "Fortune", and "The Optimist" which are soft and pretty but Emma's slightly raw voice keeps them from sounding bland. Her music is probably most reminiscent of female artists like Anna Nalick and Nerina Pallot, but her years of experience with the Delgados allows her songs to be more meaningful, impactful, and durable than others with a similar style who haven't been active for as long. Her delivery sounds both youthful and wise at the same time and her songs fit nicely as one unit but never blend together until you don't know which is which. I used to listen almost exclusively to artists of the "female singer-songwriter" ilk but I've grown a bit tired of that these past couple of years, so it takes a lot to capture my attention in that category anymore. For that reason, Emma definitely deserves to be on this list. From the moment I first heard Watch the Fireworks I knew I was in love and even if her chosen style of music isn't terribly unique, she definitely stands out as one of the most talented women in that group right now.

  • Acid Test
  • Paper and Glue
  • The Optimist


See #9-6. )

#5-1 tomorrow! (Unless you know the one other place I've posted this. In that case, you're lucky.)
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I liked using a mixtape method so much last time that I think I'm going to continue using it for each of my future themed posts. It forces me to be choosy in my selection and seems more thoughtful and cohesive than simply a random group of songs. With my last one, I actually struggled to fill up an entire 80 minutes but it was the opposite with this mix. Because of the broad theme - songs featuring handclaps - there was a much larger selection of songs to choose from which meant I had to make quite a few painful cuts, especially in the final stages, when I would suddenly find a new song to fit in and had to trade another one for it or when I had to take out or replace some songs for the greater good of the overall sound. I tried to focus more on making all of the songs fit together musically than just choosing a bunch of my favorites, so for many of the artists included, the song I picked isn't necessarily my very favorite of their handclap-featuring songs but works better with all of the others. I specifically wanted to make this mix more upbeat and fun so there are only a few slower songs. Also, this compilation has a shocking amount of male vocals for my usual tastes - okay, it's still not a lot by normal standards, but it's a lot considering that I almost exclusively listen to females. Anyway, here are 22 lovely songs that will hopefully put a smile on your face and make you want to get up and dance. Same as last time, you can either download single tracks below the cut or download the whole mix, whichever works better for you.

It's such a crazy kick-ass beat. )

Download entire mix (70 MB)

P.S. Does anyone know any good songs with any kind of group vocals in them? I did a post with some awhile ago but I want to revisit and expand on the theme and I'm running a bit short on songs. If you can think of any (and not ones that totally don't match with my music taste at all), let me know!
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I told you, I come up with the weirdest ideas sometimes. This time, the theme is family members as in father, mother, sister, brother, etc. I started out with quite a few songs and to make the list shorter, I had to cut out a few really good ones because I decided not to include songs I've posted in the past or more than one per artist, but these that are left are still all awesome. In my opinion, of course. Also, I seem to have an abundance of daughter, mother, and brother songs but not much else. Hmm... Anyway, sixteen lovely songs are waiting for you below this cut!

urgencytobleed: (jenny smile)
I was given the suggestion to gather songs with a sun and moon theme, so I decided to act on it and was surprised by how many songs I had that fit the bill. There were way too many originally for me to upload in a reasonable amount of time, so I cut it down to twelve for each category. A lot of these are among my very favorite songs, so enjoy.

Sun. )

Moon. )
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Here's part two. And I was reminded by a little birdy about some songs I may have left out, so... there could possibly be a few more than originally intended tacked onto the end. Possibly.


Part 3 tomorrow!
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Here are my favorite, as I like to call them, "singalong" songs. Basically, any songs that have some sort of group vocals in the "hey, I just invited anyone who happened to be around to join in" vein. And hey, they're pretty fun for the listener to sing along to as well.

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Song of the Day!



Joanna Newsom - Sawdust & Diamonds

LYRICS )

Joanna is a fucking genius. Seriously. If I could write anything that was one-tenth as good as that I'd be happy for the rest of my life. "Only Skin" is completely brilliant as well but I couldn't upload it without compromising the quality due to Box.net's 10MB limit, but do yourselves a favor and find it if you haven't heard it!

DOWNLOAD
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Feist!



So, I'm still completely obsessed with Miss Leslie Feist. I seem to be more drawn to the really slow and moody songs at the moment. Her voice is just complete perfection; I feel like I could listen to it forever. I really wanted to upload pretty much every song, but I narrowed it down to five. All of these are mindblowingly gorgeous. They're the kind of songs that don't necessarily grab your attention at first but grow on you over multiple listens and somehow end up as your favorites and are ultimately more fulfilling than the immediate ones. So, give them a bit of love and I'm sure you'll love them as much as I do.

  • Let It Die
  • Lonely Lonely
  • The Water
  • The Limit to Your Love
  • How My Heart Behaves

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Shannon

April 2012

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