Fifteen.

Dec. 23rd, 2011 11:06 am
urgencytobleed: (i put a pearl in the ground)
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy


Though I've been a fan of St. Vincent since 2007's Marry Me, I'll admit I've always considered Annie Clark to be a sort of second-rate Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). Both women share a flair for the dramatic, once played second fiddle to Sufjan Stevens in his touring band and have similar rich, nearly operatic vocal timbres that, at times, are capable of sounding eerily identical. However, as Worden has veered in a lighter, more playful direction with her latest release, Clark's music has only grown darker, weirder and louder over the years. In fact, within the first thirty seconds of Strange Mercy's jarring yet oddly addictive opening track, "Chloe in the Afternoon," it becomes quite clear that, three albums in, Clark has succeeded in carving out a musical niche all her own, specializing in sounds unabashedly cluttered and cacophonous but also strangely beautiful. Strange Mercy picks up where Clark's last album, Actor, left off. Much heavier and more experimental than her debut, Actor also felt slightly undercooked; though brimming with large-scale ideas, it seemed often too scaled-back and reserved, as though Clark didn't feel quite courageous enough yet to fully let go and bring her crazy concepts to completion. Now, with Strange Mercy, she seems to have finally cast off all reservations and though the results aren't always conventionally pretty, they are refreshing and intriguing. The first half of the album is near flawless. Following the aforementioned opener is the perfect representation of Clark's numerous talents in "Cruel," which sets her deceptively sweet vocal delivery up against wicked lyrical barbs ("They could take or leave you/So they took you and they left you/How could they be casually cruel?") and abrupt bursts of distorted, punchy guitar. "Cheerleader" does away with the faux-sweetness entirely, instead employing unsettling vocal effects to lend a creepy atmosphere to the verses and culminating in a satisfyingly passionate chorus. With all of its intricacies and technicalities, Strange Mercy could have easily gotten lost in the process and, as a result, come off as remote and cold. Luckily, this is not the case and the title track is perhaps the album's most emotionally affecting moment. The first half of the song meanders along gorgeously before unexpectedly switching gears, allowing Clark to croon insistently, the determination in her voice palpable, "If I ever meet the dirty policeman who roughed you up/No, I - I don't know what." The interrupted, stream-of-consciousness style of the lyrics only adds to their impact. Past this point, the album does begin to drag slightly, though it never becomes anything less than a pleasure to listen to and the final track, "Year of the Tiger," is another marvel. As a whole, Strange Mercy may not be as immediately accessible as Clark's previous albums but it rewards repeated listens in a way that they do not. It's the kind of album that's full of tiny surprises; the fun lies in uncovering them.

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: (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: (i put a pearl in the ground)
New St. Vincent video for "Laughing with a Mouth of Blood."
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein star as feminist bookstore employees.
Hilarity ensues.

urgencytobleed: (Default)
I am shocked at myself - I'm actually managing to keep on schedule for once! Anyway, from here on out, I feel like this list is pretty much exactly how I want it; as much editing as I've done to the bottom five in the last couple of weeks, I've barely touched the rest. And I'm just going to say right now regarding number thirteen: Don't judge me, mmkay? Onto the music!

He ate my heart and then HE ATE MY BRAIN! )
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: (matthew gray gubler)
I haven't posted any covers in awhile, so here are a few really good ones that I've discovered since... whenever the last time I posted any was. (I think it was that big 5-part covers extravaganza which was pretty close to when I first started posting, so awhile ago.)

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)

2007, #5-1.

Jan. 8th, 2008 11:47 am
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Drumroll, please...

5. Los Campesinos! - Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (purchase)
(+ The International Tweexcore Underground)


I debated whether I should place Sticking Fingers Into Sockets this high or if I should even place it at all because I've only started to love it recently and it is just an EP after all. However, I've become extremely obsessed with it over the past week or two and the fact that I'm even considering it at all amongst so many full-lengths is impressive enough to cement its place. Plus, if you include the quite excellent The International Tweexcore Underground single, you almost get enough to make a pretty solid long-player. Now, to actually talk about the important part, the music: I'll admit that all of their songs have a similar sound, but you know what? It's one damn good song and anyway, in my opinion, they're different enough to distinguish themselves from each other. This EP serves as an excellent proper introduction to their music. It opens with "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" and its catchy and lyrically amusing chorus will be stuck in your head for days on end ("There's red stains all over the place/But they're not blood, they're cherry-aide/We throw parties, you throw knives/It's all the same if the fizzy drinks are nice"). Plus, that darkly humorous reference in the second verse ("It's your party but I'll die if I want to/I'll die if I want to") is bound to at least make you chuckle. Then there's "You! Me! Dancing!", a six-minute dose of pop perfection which culminates in the childish but strangely addicting shout-along of "It's you! It's me! And there's dancing!" Even the 35-second closer, "Clunk-Play-Clunk-Rewind-Clunk", has something lovable about it. As for that single, "The International Tweexcore Underground", it's another instantly enjoyable track, with sparring boy-girl vocals and cute if slightly pretentious lyrics. Even their covers, like Pavement's "Frontwards" and Heavenly's "C is the Heavenly Option", have just as much attitude and personality as their originals. Sure, they stick to a similar formula and their song titles nearly veer into Fall Out Boy territory as far as complete absurdness goes, but they never take themselves too seriously and seem like they're just out to have a good time and that's really all that matters. I'm almost positive their upcoming debut full-length will find a place in next year's list, though it does have quite a bit of stiff competition. (Since writing this, I downloaded the album leak because I have absolutely no willpower, but the plus side - it's completely excellent, as I was expecting.)

  • We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
  • You! Me! Dancing!
  • The International Tweexcore Underground


See #4-1. )

Tomorrow, the best songs from the albums that didn't quite make the cut but were still noteworthy.
urgencytobleed: (Default)
It's still a month until Christmas but seeing as it is already completely white and miserably cold outside, this seems to be the perfect time to bust out the Christmas tunes anyway! Now, I don't know about you, but most Christmas music annoys me, so aside from a few traditional songs (though performed fantastically, of course) I've tried to mostly include ones that can be easily enjoyed all year 'round. Some are explicitly about Christmas while others are more vaguely winter-y or contain a fleeting mention of Christmas but are just so awesome that it's enough to count. Hopefully, this mix will bring you more enjoyment over the holidays than whatever crappy radio station playing those generic cheesy Christmas songs. As always, below the cut, you can find the tracklisting with links to each individual song or download the entire thing in a ZIP file.

Sew up the bad that you've done - tomorrow Christmas day comes. )
Download entire mix (72 MB)

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Shannon

April 2012

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