urgencytobleed: (Default)
...And I realize I haven't been around for months and months, partly because I'm not sure anyone actually bothers reading this anymore, partly because real life got in the way. But I haven't really properly written about music in a very long time so what better way to jump back into it than with my top twenty for the year? However, as usual, I'm terrible at motivating myself when I don't set a strict deadline so here it is: twenty albums in twenty days. I figure sticking to that schedule will a. force me to stop obsessing over albums I have not heard that I may or may not fall in love with before January, b. keep me from procrastinating until halfway through next year and c. make my verbosity less overwhelming for anyone who might still check in here. The best part is that since I've been so absent, I've really only talked about one of these albums in depth - so almost everything is completely new, yay!

Anyway, before I get to that list, let's get the albums that didn't make it out of the way. Here are thirteen songs from albums that were just okay, albums that kind of sucked apart from a song or two and EP/single releases that stuck with me throughout the course of the year. Tomorrow, I will start the countdown. (Also, if you like these posts and want to leave me a quick comment that would be fantastic as I really do appreciate even the smallest thanks.)

Read more... )
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Alright, so, about that 2010 list of mine. I've only got about half the reviews written at this point and at the moment all of my creative energy is being harnessed by other things so I'm not sure when I will have the rest ready. I know I could just copy and paste my first reviews, since I've already posted about most of them before, but even though it is illogical to write the same things in different words all over again, I can't help it. So you'll have to wait for that awhile longer. But here is something to hold you over until then. I've also mentioned a lot of these albums before but some of them are here for the first time so it's not entirely a waste of a post. Also, I can't really call this entire list honorable mentions because, well, some of the albums I don't like much as a whole but they happen to have a couple really amazing songs. So it's just a list of... everything I felt I needed to mention that isn't in the top twenty for whatever reason.

I'm begging with my fingers and it's starting to burn. )
urgencytobleed: (Default)

Mates of State are releasing a covers album this summer called Crushes, which will include this stunning reinterpretation of a Nick Cave song along with nine others, including Death Cab for Cutie, Belle & Sebastian and Fleetwood Mac. Go to their official site for tons of pre-order options (the album itself, digital, is only $5) and a free download of another song, Girls' "Laura".
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)
I just realized a few days ago that I've been posting here for more than a year now; it doesn't seem like that long at all, but I guess the archive dates don't lie and it has been. To celebrate (ignoring the fact that the one year anniversary was actually at the end of March), here's another new review! I started out thinking it would be a lot shorter than usual but it ended up being long anyway, though I think it is a bit shorter than they've been lately. This is probably my second or third favorite release so far this year, I haven't decided exactly yet, but it's up there.

Mates of State



Re-Arrange Us

Mates of State, the husband/wife duo of Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, is a fantastic example of a band who keeps evolving and growing without losing what made them so unique and refreshing in the first place. With each of their five albums, they've matured and expanded their sound in a way that seems completely natural, starting with slightly obnoxious lo-fi indie pop songs and ending up with something more grown-up but no less energetic and catchy. Somewhere along the line, they've become more than capable of writing a truly perfect pop song, an accomplishment that is not to be taken lightly. With the latest of these albums, Re-Arrange Us, the Mates take their biggest steps in a new direction yet, ditching Gardner's signature organ and instead opting for simple piano and other keyboards (though piano is not something new to the band's repertoire; see "Parachutes (Funeral Song)", "Drop and Anchor", and "Like U Crazy" for the stunning proof). At first, this seems like it could be a bad move, removing one of their most memorable assets from the equation, but a handful of listens through Re-Arrange Us proves that to be totally untrue. In fact, it only solidifies their strength as songwriters when such a huge part of their sound is altered yet the quality of the music doesn't waver at all. There have been so many examples of the happiness of married life and children turning a musician's music into something bland and uninspired, so it's refreshing to see that Mates of State are still going strong five albums, two children, and seven years of marriage later - and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
 
read more... )

For fans of: Tilly and the Wall, Rilo Kiley, Rainer Maria, The Hush Sound
Re-Arrange Us is out now on Barsuk records. What are you waiting for?! Go buy it right now!

Remember, change hxxp to http to download.

Next on my list of reviews to accomplish is the latest Tilly and the Wall, but my opinion on that is still fluctuating a bit and it doesn't "officially" come out until Tuesday anyway, so I have a bit of time to procrastinate still.
urgencytobleed: (ki i wanna fuck it up)
Let's talk upcoming albums that I'm extremely excited about:

Click for mp3s + links to buy. )

Also due out this month:

1997 - On the Run (May 28th on Victory)
1997 - On the Run

The Dresden Dolls - No, Virginia... (May 20th on Roadrunner)
The Dresden Dolls - No, Virginia...
 
urgencytobleed: (mindy and leighton are so cute)
Mates of State


I've posted about the other albums coming out in the next couple of months that I'm extremely excited about, but not this one yet, so let's fix that right now! Mates of State consists of husband and wife duo Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner and their sound is pretty expansive and full for it being just the two of them, usually with organ/keyboards and drums as the only instrumentation. Their last release, Bring It Back, saw them maturing and varying their sound a bit more - without sacrificing any of the charming harmonies or infectious energy of their back catalogue. Re-Arrange Us, out May 20th on Barsuk records, seems to take this concept even further. The first single, "Get Better", is as catchy as ever but in a more subtle way; the lyrics are more mature and less abstract and - gasp! - piano and strings have even replaced their signature organ sounds. But it all works. I have to admit, I was a bit iffy about the song on first listen because it wasn't what I was expecting, but now that I've heard it a few times, I've grown to love it and I can't wait to hear what else is in store. Check out the song and its strangely adorable video below, along with a track from each of their previous albums - if you haven't listened to Mates of State before, now is the time to do so! Recommended for fans of Tilly and the Wall and similar energetic indie pop bands, but really, everyone should love them if they know what's good for them. ;)
 
Everything's gonna get lighter even if it never gets better. )



You can pre-order Re-Arrange Us now at Mates of States' official webstore, with or without a special edition t-shirt.

And so that this post isn't completely devoid of downloads, here are some of my favorite Mates songs, one from each of their four albums and one EP. Enjoy!

urgencytobleed: (Default)
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: (stars torquil amy)
It's shocking, I know, but I've actually got this done less than a week after the last mix. Unlike my first girl/boy mix, where I had a bit of trouble filling an entire 80 minutes, with this one, I had too much music to choose from. I've discovered a lot of these types of bands in the last few months and of course there are always the old favorites as well, so I had to figure out a way to work both of those groups in. As painful as it was, I decided to mostly go with new stuff and had to cut out a few of those standbys (Rilo Kiley, Tilly and the Wall, etc.) until I ended up with only four artists that were on the previous mix and I couldn't make myself take out any others from there. I'm pretty happy with the results, though. There are probably about two songs that I would want to replace with something else but it's a bit hard now that I've got them all in a nice order and everything, so it works as is. I don't know if anyone actually downloads and listens to the entire mix in order, but if you do, my favorite transition is from "Midnight Coward" to "Why So Looking Back". It was kind of accidental because I was going to do "Why So Looking Back" after "So Many Ways" but it didn't sound very smooth, so I randomly chose another song to try between the two and it ended up fitting perfectly. Anyway, enough talk, on to the music. There's a lot of bands here that I've never posted about before so I hope you find something new to like!


Download entire mix (74 MB)
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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Shannon

April 2012

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