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: (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: (Default)

I feel really stupid because the first time I heard Neko Case's "Ghost Wiring" was more than four years ago (which doesn't seem at all possible but it must be true since I listened to Neko for the first time right before Fox Confessor was released and that was apparently in 2006; how time flies!) and every single time I've listened to it in those four years I've thought, "Wow! Neko sounds exactly like Mary Margaret O'Hara (who I also first discovered around that same time) in certain parts of this! Bizarre!" Fast forward to 2010... and I randomly come across the little factoid that it's actually been Mary Margaret O'Hara the entire time. Yeah, apparently, I need to read album liner notes more thoroughly before I come to the conclusion that one singer is perfectly and impossibly channeling another. If you're not familiar with Ms. O'Hara, the moments in question are around 2:07 and 2:24. And honestly, i don't think I'm ever going to stop feeling like an idiot for not realizing it was her; I mean, it's one thing to not recognize her voice but it's another to actually convince yourself it's not her even though it sounds exactly like her. But it just seems like such a random pairing! And Mary Margaret O'Hara is kind of a noted musical recluse! So it wasn't a totally ridiculous thought, right? Anyway, I just wanted to tell everyone about my four-year-long blond moment. And, also, this just happens to be a really good song. It was one of the tracks from Blacklisted that took the longest to grow on me but I love it now. It's got such an eerie, dark, kind of Gothic atmosphere. It's beautiful but at the same time very unsettling. And of course Neko's vocals are flawless. And don't sound at all like a Mary Margaret O'Hara clone, as it turns out.

Speaking of Mary Margaret O'Hara, I've only ever posted one song of hers here and I now feel the need to correct that, even if I only pull her music out very occasionally these days. In the late '80s, she released her debut and so far only proper album, Miss America, a collection of eclectic, intriguing songs that span several genres and were totally unsuited for the musical atmosphere of their time. Since then, it's become a bit of a cult classic, mostly because it's spectacular and probably partially because it stands as her only release that can truly be called all her own. You see, in the more than two decades that have now passed, O'Hara has done a Christmas EP, the score/soundtrack to a little-known Canadian indie film, a handful of guests spots and compilation songs, a few very small acting roles (trivia: her sister is actress Catherine O'Hara), and... that's it! In writing, it actually sounds like more than it is. Basically, she's all but disappeared which perhaps makes Miss America all the more stunning, that it has managed to hold up for 20+ years with little effort on its creator's part and no real follow-up to compare it with.

And what, exactly, makes that album such a success? The songs themselves are usually sparse, both lyrically and sonically, and seem to be written more as vessels for O'Hara's voice than anything else. Sometimes, such single-mindedness in music can be a bad thing but here, it is definitely a very, very good thing because her voice, to put it simply, is unbelievable. It's magnetic, flexible, singular and remarkably fearless. As impressive and just plain interesting as her more bizarre vocal turns in tracks such as "My Friends Have" and "Not Be Alright" are, I often find myself more taken aback by her subtler moments. Even when she's not doing anything wacky with her voice, she's still in such command of every note and the way she wraps her voice around the lyrics and melody so effortlessly and perfectly is ear candy like none other. Her phrasing is impeccable; you can literally feel the emotion and heart in songs like "Keeping You in Mind," even when the lyrics aren't particularly interesting or fleshed out. She has a sincerity that's hard to fake in both her calmer and wilder moments. It's easy for a singer to come across as affected and pretentious when they try to do some unexpected, out-of-left-field sudden vocal quirk but for O'Hara it works because you really believe it's just naturally how she sings. Her songs couldn't be sung any other way.



P.S. I haven't posted in awhile and there are lots of new songs floating around the Interwebs. The Narrative has three new songs from their upcoming full-length (which finally has a release date: July 27th) up on their website. I haven't been much of a fan of "You Will Be Mine" since they first posted it a couple months ago (though a mediocre Narrative song is still very listenable; can you tell I'm madly in love with them by how I can no longer subjectively rate their music?) but "Trains" is absolutely gorgeous and I've already listened to it a gazillion times. The third song is the final version of "Fade" which I first posted about awhile ago; it's only slightly altered and still ridiculously catchy. Also, Suzie, <3 <3 <3. Other things you should check out: the first song from Jenny and Johnny's I'm Having Fun Now, coming in August. It's Jenny Lewis' latest endeavor with her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, if the band name didn't tip you off and the song is fun but a bit bland. I'm still excited to hear more though. Also, Blonde Redhead has a new album coming out in September. They're one of those bands I can only listen to sporadically but "Here Sometimes" has got me intrigued to hear what else they've got up their sleeve this time around. You can hear a couple demos from States, Mindy White's new band, "Time to Begin" on their myspace and "Anxious" on their website. They sound like rather generic girl-fronted indie pop songs to me but I can't help liking them anyway. I doubt I'll ever love States as much as I love Lydia though. Finally, speaking of Lydia, I've been obsessing over "Empty Out Your Stomach" since they put it up and there's also a video featuring part of "Assailants" further down the page which is sounding gorgeous as well. Whew. I think that's all... for now.
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Almost there! Pretty much around number six, though, it gets really hard for me to decide what's better than what. I might have just left it at a six-way tie for number one but, well, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. In the end, I ended up ranking them more based on gut impact and my overall relationship with the artist/band than the actual musicianship. So, basically, they're all amazing.

Ten-six. )
urgencytobleed: (the many faces of lee pace)
Song(s) of the Day



The Decemberists - The Bagman's Gambit

I've been very neglectful lately, sorry about that. It's not that I've been any less enthusiastic about music; it's just that I'm quite often too lazy to put in the work it takes to upload a picture and a couple songs in order to share that music. Yes, that sounds pathetic. So I'll try to get back into the swing of things now. Anyway, I saw the Decemberists live a few nights ago and it was quite possibly the best show I've ever been to; it's definitely vying for that position, at least. In short, it was amazing. They didn't play this song but I adore it and haven't had a chance to gush about it here yet. It's one of those epic songs, you know, the ones that start out all gentle and acoustic and then explode into this cacophony of loud instrumentation and intense vocals. Basically, it's glorious. And you should just listen to it. And then go see them live when you get the chance.
 



Neko Case - Favorite

I also saw Neko Case live last month (see, this is how long it's been since I last posted!) and it was also fantastic. Her voice is as flawless live as it is in the studio - maybe it even sounds better. This song was especially a highlight. The recorded version on the Canadian Amp EP is good but it was so much better live. However, neither of the two live performances that have been officially released seem to sound as amazing as it did when I saw her perform it. Maybe you just have to be there to really get it. Anyway, the non-live version is still acceptable even if it doesn't measure up at all. Go see her too!


urgencytobleed: (ben whishaw so so fine)
So... I haven't posted anything here in quite a long time. Sorry about that. But I was in the mood to make a mix the other day so I'll share that. It doesn't really have a theme at all. Basically, the only thing these songs have in common is that a. I've been obsessed with them at some point in the past two or three months and b. I don't believe I've ever posted any of them here before. Other than that, they aren't really connected. I'm too lazy to upload the whole thing in one ZIP file so you don't have to listen to them in order if you don't want to (though I think it actually works extremely well as a whole) and you can pick and choose if you don't want/need every song. Enjoy. :)

And, oh yeah, I know it's sort of a "rule" not to have two songs by the same artist on one mix but whatever... I couldn't decide between the two and they both worked really well so I kept them. They are far enough apart that it doesn't seem like overkill. And anyway, they're both insanely good.

urgencytobleed: (andy lemaster > everyone)
This is... massive, to put it simply. But I couldn't help it. I just adore this album so much and I felt bad not giving every single song a few sentences of its own, you know? And also it's probably overly gushy because I tend to get that way when I feel so strongly about something. But the songs speak for themselves. No amount of words can accurately describe the feeling they give me when I listen to them... so that's the important part. Just listen to the songs.

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone


 
 
Middle Cyclone is out now on Anti- records. Go get yourself a copy! More Neko here.

Loveliness.

Feb. 5th, 2009 01:37 am
urgencytobleed: (the many faces of lee pace)
These songs have nothing in common apart from the fact that they can both apparently be found on recent Starbucks compilation CDs and that they are both sung by beautiful ladies with beautiful voices. And they're also both on the sparser, slower side. Okay, so maybe they have more in common than I thought. So here they are:


A very bare, lo-fi rendition of this song which I might not find extremely remarkable if not for Zooey's vocals - holy shit, people, she sounds beyond amazing here. This has to easily be her most impressive vocal performance; she sounds so strong and sultry and just... awesome. It makes my spine all tingly. And really makes me want some new She & Him material, like, right this very moment.



More new Neko! The title track from her upcoming album, this is pretty much the complete opposite of "People Got a Lotta Nerve" (which can be found here if you didn't catch it when I first mentioned it). It is very simple and slow and hauntingly beautiful. And it is similar to the aforementioned in one way: they both grow on me more with each listen. I love the sad yet slightly whimsical na-na-nas and the little toy piano (I think that's what it is) parts throughout; the lyrics are quite nice as well. And of course, Neko always sounds fantastic - I could listen to this woman sing the phone book and love every second of it.

urgencytobleed: (mindy and leighton are so cute)
I was going to do a song of the day post but I kept thinking of more songs I wanted to mention and four seems like a little much for song of the day and I'm too impatient to post everything separately. So here are four completely random, unrelated songs.

If you don't know by now, I'm a bit in love with Andy LeMaster. This song kind of sneaked up on me from out of nowhere. I never really took much notice to it and then it suddenly hit me and I was completely overwhelmed by how beautiful it is. It's very simple and doesn't have much in the way of lyrics but it is so emotionally affecting anyway. Especially the last few lines: "A heart of gold can't glisten in this winter rain/Turn and go, don't wander in this storm again" - when Andy sings that last word in falsetto, oh God, I'm a pile of jelly. The entire song kind of builds up to that one glorious second for me but it's totally worth it. My obsession with this actually happened a few weeks ago, I just haven't got around to posting it until now.

Another song that I didn't really realize was quite so good at first, I've been enjoying this one a lot lately. It's just so catchy! I also have to say, I've noticed lately that their lyrics are often extremely violent, which I find quite amusing since the actual music is so pretty and usually quite gentle. This one is actually rather tame and only goes as far as "My baby wants to kill me" in one of the choruses. But the song I'm thinking about the most is "The Shivers (I've Got 'Em)" with its wails of "Evelyn, your spine cracks like a wine glass/Evelyn, your skull pops like a walnut" and then it also has the line, "I want to gouge out your eyes/Splinter your spine" - scary, creepy, but in a totally awesome way. Anyway, I am talking about a completely different song now. This song is "My Baby (Shoots Her Mouth Off)" and isn't as creepy but is still very good. So I'll stop talking about songs I'm not even posting and move on.

  • Neko Case - People Got a Lotta Nerve
I haven't listened to Neko much lately but I am very excited to hear her new album, Middle Cyclone, which is to be released in March. This song is short and catchy; I find it most reminds me of "Hold On, Hold On" from 2006's excellent Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (which was my second favorite album that year, behind Joanna Newsom's Ys, for the record). It's not exactly the most compelling song ever but it's pretty good and gets better with every listen for me. And I also suspect it is far from the album's best track. You can download it for free - legally - from her page on the Anti- website here; just find it on the left-hand side of the page and click for your listening pleasure. Also, if you're interested in hearing a bit more from this album, check out the EPK. It's got clips from many more of the songs and they sound very promising.

  • A Camp - Stronger Than Jesus
A Camp is mostly the brainchild of Nina Persson, who you may better know from the Cardigans. She released a self-titled album under this name back in 2001, I believe, and is finally back with Colonia this year. I listened to the first A Camp record awhile back and wasn't overly impressed but I have to say, Colonia is definitely my first true love of 2009. It comes out in the first week of February or so in Europe and is not going to be released stateside until April; sadness. But I am definitely posting a review at some point after it comes out so I don't want to talk too much about the entire album right now. "Stronger Than Jesus" is the lead single and it's catchy, catchy, catchy (I really need to find another word to use; I overuse this one so bad). Nina's voice sounds delightful and it's just a completely lovely smart pop song with a highly infectious chorus: "Don't you know love is stronger than Jesus/Don't you know love can kill anyone/So bring it on, wars and diseases/You know that love can do you like a shotgun." You can hear a special live version of the song by signing up for the band's mailing list on their official site; it comes highly recommended. More on this album later.

Halloween.

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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Shannon

April 2012

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