Five.

Jan. 5th, 2012 09:26 am
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness


It's staggering to consider how prolific Los Campesinos! has been since the band released their debut full-length, Hold on Now, Youngster..., in 2008; less than four years later, Hello Sadness is their fourth album (along with a rather impressive array of single releases and b-sides). Even more staggering is just how much the band has evolved musically in that span of time. To play the dark, brooding Hello Sadness next to the buoyant, youthful Hold on Now, Youngster... makes for a stark contrast in both mood and complexity. Yet, at the same time, both sound distinctly like Los Campesinos! albums, impossible to mistake for anything else. While Gareth's vocals have deepened and become less erratic, his acerbic lyrics more introspective and mature and the infectious melodies subtler and more experimental, these essential elements that set the band apart from others of their ilk still remain. "By Your Hand" and "Hello Sadness," with their bouncy choruses set off by rather depressing lyrics ("It's only hope that springs eternal/And that's the reason why/This dripping from my broken heart/Is never running dry"), are among the catchiest songs the band has ever concocted; they also display a stunning amount of depth, building on the heightened emotional resonance of last year's Romance Is Boring. In fact, the heart-wrenching "To Tundra" brings to mind one of that album's late highlights, "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future," with its gradual build-up to an impassioned finale, which finds Gareth pleading in a wounded wail, "Take a body to water/Take a body to tundra/Just take me with you as well." Also memorable in the second half of the album are "The Black Bird, the Dark Slope" and "Baby I Got the Death Rattle," the latter for Gareth's characteristically self-deprecating and humorous lyrics ("You are an angel, that's why you pray/And I am an ass and that's why I bray") and the former for its soaring chorus, a rare solo moment for Gareth's sister, Kim. As a replacement for former female vocalist Aleksandra, she is utilized mostly for harmonies throughout Hello Sadness, which makes her raspy, slightly soulful turn in the spotlight all the more delightful. At only ten songs, Hello Sadness is a much more compact affair than its predecessor and it is also much more consistent, without a moment of filler. It is the band's most accomplished album to date and it'll be a difficult one to top - though I think the members of Los Campesinos! have already proven they're quite capable of outdoing themselves time and time again.

urgencytobleed: (Default)
Yes, I am aware that one of these is not an official album release but you know what? I don't care. It's still just as good as anything else on here so it counts!

Now, somewhere time pursues us as we love in Technicolor. )
urgencytobleed: (why do you edit? just give me credit)
A random assortment of unrelated odds and ends because I couldn't be bothered to think about making a Christmas post until Christmas was nearly over. So, yeah, happy holidays and enjoy!

I. SOME NON-TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY TUNAGE )
II. A NEW BRIGHT EYES SONG (WHICH IS BETTER THAN 85% OF OBERST'S LAST THREE ALBUMS) )
III. A DELICIOUSLY WEIRD VISUAL FEAST )
IV. A SONGWRITING MARVEL )
V. A HOLIDAY CLASSIC WITH A TWIST )
urgencytobleed: (Default)
November is National Novel Writing Month. I don’t know if many of you are writers but I personally couldn’t live without writing. My head is constantly filling up with all these random ideas and if I don’t get them down on paper as soon as possible, they begin to invade my real life. Well, if I really care about a certain character, they end up invading my real life regardless but writing it down at least keeps me relatively sane. Now, I’m not going to build myself up as this excellent writer because I don’t really know how my own writing stands up to the rest of the world’s but I have written a fair few things that I think I can be safe in saying I’m very proud of. (If anyone is honestly interested, I post my stuff here. Two warnings: I write mostly about love and depressed people and, usually, both of those things together; I am also not really a plot person. If that already sounds unappealing to you, please don’t read it and then tell me how much I suck, mmkay?)

Now, back to NaNoWriMo, this is my first year attempting it and I didn’t decide to do so until the last minute so it’s all rather hectic and exciting. So far, I’ve been doing well but I imagine when the things I’ve already decided will happen have been committed to computer screen (that sounds so much less eloquent than paper) I will start having a much rougher time of it. It doesn’t help that I am a notorious procrastinator and a frequent victim of severe writer’s block either. But I am determined to trudge through even if it means wanting to pull my hair out some days. If anyone reading this now is going through the same thing, here are some lovely songs related to reading and writing to help you through. Even if you’re not an author – or at least not an author insane enough to attempt this – I’m sure you’ll find plenty to love in these songs too.

Read more... )

And if the music isn’t enough and you aren’t spending the month trying to write your own novel, here are my reading recommendations for you! Now get to your local libraries, people, (or direct yourself to Amazon using these handy links) and read until you drop!


Yeah, I like to read. A lot. Unfortunately, it’s on the backburner this month as I can only focus on so much at once! Plus, I’m afraid I’ll inadvertently steal from whatever book I’m reading and I do that enough as it is with the books I’ve already read.
urgencytobleed: (i put a pearl in the ground)
So, I wanted to make a Halloween mix, an idea that I first tried out on here awhile ago (almost three years ago, what the hell?!?) but wanted to expand to a more CD-filling running time. At first, I was only using songs that had scary/Halloween-y words in the titles but then I ran out of those and focused on songs with a creepy/haunting vibe to them musically and, in the end, both of those groups ended up being pretty equally represented. So it's not exactly strictly Halloween-based anymore but it fits the spirit of the season well anyway. Enjoy the music!

All hail the queen. Still, I've never seen a witch this mean. )
urgencytobleed: (sebastian <3 <3)

 
Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring )


Go buy the album! Seriously. It came out in January. Do it.
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Song of the Day



Imogen Heap - Canvas

 
I haven't decided what I think of Imogen's new album, Ellipse, yet as a whole but this song is, without a doubt, one of the best things she's ever done - in my opinion, of course. I've always found her moodier, darker songs to have more lasting power with me than her more straight-forward upbeat ones - for example, I'd much rather listen to "The Moment You Said It" or "Closing In" from her last album now than something like "Goodnight and Go" - and this is exactly the kind of music I wish she'd make more of. It has such great atmosphere; the instrumentation is so haunting and Imogen's ethereal vocals only add to the spine-tingling factor. It's really just a gorgeous song and that's all there is to it. I've been obsessed with it since I first heard it and it still sounds just as good so many plays later.


P.S. In other exciting news, those crazy kids in Los Campesinos! have posted a new song up at their blog entitled - take a long breath - "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future". Once you get past the initial shock of how mellow and mature it sounds (though of course there's still plenty of wailing from Gareth to go around), I'm sure you'll fall in love with it. Harriet's violin arrangements are absolutely stunning and the lyrics are very typically LC! though maybe with a bit more depth and genuinity than before. As much as I love the high-energy overdose on sugar that is Hold on Now Youngster, it's also very nice to see them maturing and exploring another side of their sound. I don't know whether this will be on their upcoming third release or not, but it definitely bodes well for the future.
urgencytobleed: (pushing daisies plastic wrap kiss)
Alright, as promised, today = the top ten. I can honestly say that I adore every single one of these albums. So I'm quite happy with this list. I've also realized that my reviews would be a whole lot shorter if I didn't quote so damn many lyrics... What can I say? I'm a sucker for good lyrics. Anyway, I think that's all I have to say. Except that these all come highly recommended, obviously, so if you haven't listened to them, I think you should give them a chance. Oh yeah, and if anyone is surprised by my number one, well, you must be new here because it's so predictable if you know me. That is all. On to the music...

#10-1 *drumroll* )

urgencytobleed: (Default)
Song of the Day



Los Campesinos! - Knee Deep at ATP

LYRICS )

I know I just posted a review of their album not that long ago, but I've had a bit of a breakthrough with this song. It used to be probably my second or third least favorite and now I can't get enough of it. The energetic beginning and then slowing down and building back up is excellent and I just love the lyrics, especially the second half of the song. That "you're the b-side" line is both terribly witty and depressing at the same time and of course all the geeky references to grammar are adorable.

urgencytobleed: (matthew gray gubler)
Los Campesinos!



Hold On Now, Youngster...

It's pretty apparent that Los Campesinos! do not take themselves too seriously, from their consideration that glockenspiel is just as important as guitars to their heavy use of shout-along vocals and handclaps, from their pop culture-referencing lyrics to the fact that all seven members have adopted Campesinos! as a surname. They make music simply because they want to and it's fun. However, their sound is so much more than just a group of kids playing quirky instruments and writing snarky, hipster-esque lyrics. They're a group of kids who happen to be very talented at their respective instruments, who write sarcastic but sincere lyrics and craft catchy pop melodies that are surprisingly layered and complicated. Their songs twist and turn so much that you're never quite sure where they'll go next but never to the point where they get caught up in being different and lose their universal appeal. For not taking themselves or their craft very seriously, Los Campesinos! sure do make seriously good music.

read more... )
Hold On Now, Youngster...
is out now on Wichita Recordings in the UK and as a digital download elsewhere. It will be released physically in North America through Arts & Crafts on April 1st. Visit the band's official site for tour dates and other information.


P.S. I feel like this review kind of sucks and not just because of the bad pun at the end of the first paragraph. It was just really hard for me to write and to me, it doesn't seem that good. But I'm notoriously hard on my own writing skills, so whatever. Hopefully, it's just because I'm rusty and haven't written a review in quite a few months.

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Shannon

April 2012

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