Dec. 21st, 2011 12:17 pm
urgencytobleed: (the many faces of lee pace)
My Brightest Diamond - All Things Will Unwind

Shara Worden has one of those voices where she could probably recite the phone book and get away with it. This perhaps accounts for the fact that each of her albums, though vastly differing in tone, has been such an aural feast. First came her debut album as My Brightest Diamond, Bring Me the Workhorse; dark and dramatic, it was propelled mostly by the dizzying rise and fall of Worden's operatic wail and her wickedly black lyrics. Its follow-up, A Thousand Shark's Teeth, was a more subdued and somber affair, sometimes so gorgeously soothing that it verged on soporific, though the voice remained always inspiring. Now, three years later, she has returned with All Things Will Unwind, which builds on elements from both of her prior releases while also bringing something new to the table: it is, so far, the brightest, most playful thing Worden has ever done. Thanks in large part to their richly-orchestrated arrangements, even the sleepiest songs here sound full of life, like the slowly building "She Does Not Brave the War" and the endearing closing ballad, "I Have Never Loved Someone." Meanwhile, faster-paced numbers like "Ding Dang" and "There's a Rat" are delightfully tongue-in-cheek and quirky but resist tumbling into the cutesy cliches they could so easily become in lesser hands. Where the album most succeeds, however, is in the moments that fall somewhere between these two extremes. "Reaching Through to the Other Side" and "Escape Routes" are intriguing paradoxes, quixotic and lively but with a melancholy, vaguely foreboding undercurrent. "Be Brave" is both strangely chilling and highly infectious. It shifts through several moods, from the sparse, spooky beginning to a threatening pep talk from Worden to herself ("Shara, now, get to work/Shara, this is going to hurt") to the uplifting chorus to a final emotional outburst of frustration ("It's so hard, it's so heavy to be hungry to be happy/It's so light, it's so easy just to be/Oh God, what would you do with me?/Oh God, what's my responsibility?"). Also sublime is "Everything Is in Line," a call-and-response duet with DM Stith. Featuring passionate vocals from both parties, the most surprising thing about it is its relative simplicity, considering how immense and complex it sounds. It's the pinnacle of All Things Will Unwind, which explains why its chorus provides the album's title. Overall, All Things Will Unwind is a diverse and immensely enjoyable listen, not only because Worden's got one of the best voices in independent music today but also because she's also a brilliant songwriter. She knows exactly when to pull back and when to let it all hang out, which is precisely what makes her music so compelling. You may come for the voice but you'll stay because of the songs.

urgencytobleed: (Default)
I've actually heard a few of these albums since writing this up. Oh well. I guess that's what I get for being lazy about posting.

I close my eyes to conjure up something but it's just a faint taste in my mouth. )
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: (Default)
I've decided to make it my goal to post everyday this week until I've milked 2009 for all it's worth; this is a rather ambitious goal because I still have a lot of writing to do (and, as we all know, I am physically incapable of brevity) but I'm going to try to stick with it. In accordance with that, here are eleven more... honorable mention-ish songs. There might be one more (much smaller) set of these before I get to my actual list; I haven't decided if there are enough songs left to warrant that yet. Also, if you download something, maybe take a couple of seconds to leave a quick comment? Of course I'm not forcing you to but it does make me feel like I'm doing some good when I get one every so often.

Music this way. )
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Song of the Day

My Brightest Diamond - Gone Away


I kind of wrote this song off as boring for a very long time. I do that with slower songs a lot because they don't tend to hit me as quickly as more upbeat songs do. Now I realize that, though the first half of this song is very slow and languid and molasses-like, it's the farthest thing from boring in the world. However, I do still enjoy the last part of the song ("For this is a ride going nowhere...") the most, where it picks up a bit. Shara's voice there just completely transforms from pretty to intense and emotional and huge. It gives me chills it's such a fantastic pay-off for the very slow build-up that leads into it. The emotions she can wring out of her voice just amaze me to no end, never mind the fact that her voice technically is extremely impressive as well.

P.S. Go download "Golden Star" if you haven't, too. That's my other favorite song from this album currently.

urgencytobleed: (ki i wanna fuck it up)
Alright, I can't delay this any longer as it's already way overdue. Well, sort of - on the 27th of December, I promised it within the week but on the 15th, I gave myself a month so I at least have to get this posted before I break both deadlines. Anyway, it's been nearly done for at least two weeks now but I've been a. lazy in writing thoughts on each album (which, if you know me, I can't go without including) and b. obsessed with slightly re-arranging the list so that if I didn't force myself to stop I'd never be able to. I'm pretty happy with it right now, for the most part, especially the top ten; the rest of the list is more fluid, as is to be expected, but I just couldn't bring myself to make the lower ten "honorable mentions" and call it good - they deserve better than that so I had to include them.

So, since otherwise this is going to be extremely tl;dr, I am going to split it up into two entries to make it only slightly tl;dr. I was going to do four but considering I'm already later than I wanted to be, that seems pretty unnecessary. So, two it is. Back ten today, top ten tomorrow. Remember, it's all my opinion, my tastes, etc., etc. so if you want to tell me how bad it sucks just do it in a constructive way, okay? I don't like arguing.

And for the record, most surprising thing about this list? 14 of the bands have prominent male singers in them. This is shocking because about two or three years ago, I basically used to shun most male vocalists and only listened to female vocals. This is a big step for me. Sure, about 8 of those also have prominent female singers, but still. I am proud of myself for this, people! There were only three bands out of ten on my list last year (four if you count Rilo Kiley - which I don't; poor Blake only got one song, after all) and those all had female vocals as well. Anyway, yes, this is exciting to me. Now, onto the important stuff!...

P.S. Click on the album covers for Amazon links if you are interested. I actually own physical copies of 15/20 of these which is pretty good for a downloading fiend like me. So support these artists if you like them, okay? Also, remember to change download links from hxxp to http for them to work. And the key tracks are listed roughly in order of how much I like them, so if you don't want to download them all, just try the first song from each.

Without further ado, #20-11... )

urgencytobleed: (lee pace is adorable)
I've been kind of non-existent here lately, I know, at least compared to the rate that I used to post, but here's a little something to make up for that. I've been wanting to make a new mix lately but had absolutely no ideas for it. Between that and trying to think of something - anything! - to post about, this one was born. The seed was planted last night when my Zune decided to play me "Get Big" and "Warrior" back-to-back and I thought it sounded quite nice, so then I kept thinking about other songs that would work with those two. There is really no hugely obvious theme this time... I guess just that all of the songs are kind of dark and moody and sad, different aspects of depressing, I suppose. And basically I just think they all sound good together and they're mostly songs that I've been obsessed with lately. I think there are only two that I've posted previously, so that's a plus. And I just have to say, I'm the kind of person who feels like it's wasteful to not use the entire 80 minutes of a blank CD, so it was extremely hard for me not to try and fill up the last twenty or so that remain with this. But there are really no other songs I felt the need to add and I was afraid that any half-hearted inclusions would disrupt the entire thing, so I left it be. Also, there is really no reason for the two parts, just me being pretentious, I guess. (And yes, I realize that Orenda Fink is technically on the CD three times which I generally try not to do but whatever...)

I'm landing now, forgetting how. Your gravity ruins everything. )

Download entire mix (87 MB)
urgencytobleed: (matthew gray gubler)
My Brightest Diamond

My Brightest Diamond is singer-songwriter Shara Worden. I've been meaning to post more about her latest album, A Thousand Shark's Teeth, but I don't really think I can put together an actual review without it sounding terribly repetitive, so instead, here are a couple more songs from that (I posted Inside a Boy a month or so ago) and some from her first album, Bring Me the Workhorse. Basically, the music is very gorgeous, dark, atmospheric, and slightly avantgarde and Shara's voice is simply to die for, ranging from banshee-like shrieks ("Freak Out") to operatic warbling ("Golden Star") to sexy and dramatic ("The Ice & the Storm"). Her debut is a bit more lively and rock-oriented but still quite mellow, while her recently released sophomore effort is more on the sweeping, orchestral, classical side of the spectrum. They are both excellent and if you enjoy other slightly kooky artists like Kate Bush, St. Vincent, and Bat for Lashes it is almost a given that you'll love Shara as well.

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: (Default)

April 2012



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