Dec. 27th, 2011 12:41 pm
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The Elected - Bury Me in My Rings

It's been five years since the release of Sun, Sun, Sun, the Elected's excellent sophomore album, and four years since Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight and I was beginning to think Blake Sennett had given up on music altogether - which would have been a shame because he's always been unduly overshadowed by Jenny Lewis when his talent certainly rivals if not exceeds hers. Lewis has unarguably got the stronger and more versatile vocal chops (though Sennett's now are certainly admirable, considering he often struggled to stay on-key in Rilo Kiley's earlier days) but, at this point, based on what they've done apart from each other so far, I'd have to call Sennett the better songwriter. A few years ago, at the peak of my Rilo Kiley obsession, I would have given the victory to Lewis but her music seems to have only grown more simplistic and forgettable while Sennett's remains rich and lasting. Though Bury Me in My Rings is probably the poppiest thing he's done so far apart from Under the Blacklight, it's poppy in an inspired way and not a limp, bloodless way like Lewis' most recent project, Jenny and Johnny. There are a couple missteps - I could do without the R&B-inspired "Babyface," for example - but, overall, the album is incredibly consistent and also much darker than its often light atmosphere leads one to believe. Though very catchy, at times almost bouncy, most of the songs here feature heavy subject matter, from failing relationships ("Look at Me Now") to death ("When I'm Gone") to domestic disillusionment ("Who Are You"). Adding fuel to the rumors of their volatile relationship, two of the album's most intriguing songs feature unflinchingly honest barbs that sound suspiciously like they might be directed at Lewis herself (similarly, Jenny and Johnny's "My Pet Snakes" sounded as if it could be meant for Sennett). "Go for the Throat" is an impeccably groovy track, straight out of another decade, and the lyrics are decidedly pointed: "Cooked up some big dreams, escaped a small life/You heard the kids scream every night/Now you're on late night, you're doing co-writes/And you just left the rest behind." In the second half of the album, "Have You Been Cheated" is even more wicked: "You put all your best words/In your worst song/And you can't bear to sing it/When they won't sing along... You may not know what you are but you know what you've done/And now you're back out on the road having fun." These lyrics, their richly-orchestrated instrumental accompaniment and Sennett's impassioned vocal delivery make it one of his best songs yet. Another standout is the six-minute ballad "This Will Be Worth It." Its length and gradual build-up bring to mind Sun, Sun, Sun's grand finale "Biggest Star," though it doesn't ever reach such intense heights. Despite its subtlety, it's a highly emotional track, particularly when Sennett croons with heartbreaking earnestness, "If we get the chance to do it all again/Feel free to do it, love, with another man." The fact that such self-deprecating charm sits side-by-side with aggressive confidence and both facets of Sennett's personality come across as equally genuine makes Bury Me in My Rings all the more intriguing - for a pop album, it's surprisingly complicated.

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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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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I told you, I come up with the weirdest ideas sometimes. This time, the theme is family members as in father, mother, sister, brother, etc. I started out with quite a few songs and to make the list shorter, I had to cut out a few really good ones because I decided not to include songs I've posted in the past or more than one per artist, but these that are left are still all awesome. In my opinion, of course. Also, I seem to have an abundance of daughter, mother, and brother songs but not much else. Hmm... Anyway, sixteen lovely songs are waiting for you below this cut!

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Rilo Kiley

Royal Oak Music Theatre
Royal Oak, MI
September 17th, 2007

As everyone should know, I've been insanely excited about this show since I bought the tickets in July and it felt like less of a wait than I thought it would but the actual concert went by far too quickly. I became obsessed with Rilo Kiley summer of last year after only knowing (but liking) a couple songs for the longest time and they quickly became my favorite band. Jenny and Blake were both touring their side projects at that time but I didn't really start loving those soon enough to catch either of them live, so I've been desperately anticipating a new Rilo Kiley album and tour. The show did not disappoint at all. It's probably the best show I've ever gone to just considering how much I wanted it and that it totally lived up to and surpassed my expectations. I would be content if this was the only Rilo Kiley concert I ever got to attend but I would be really sad if I could never see them again. It's definitely a given that anytime they swing around here again I'll do everything I can to go.

read more... (plus mp3s!) )
While the rest of the band came back out and got ready for the next song, the electronic loop from the beginning and end of "Under the Blacklight" played before fading out for "Silver Lining". After that was "I Never" which Jenny sounded absolutely perfect on as did Blake's guitar solo at the end. Next came two more new songs, "Smoke Detector" (before Blake's solo Jenny said "take it away B-Man!" and giggled) and "15" (Blake said it was about infidelity but then Jenny retorted that it was about love so they settled that it was about the fine line between the two). They were both pretty playful and Jenny got really into her dance moves; it was cute.

Blake then explained that they were going to do a cover song which of course turned out to be "Rise Up With Fists!!" but a more rocking and band-oriented version. It was completely trumped though, in my opinion, by "Greetings in Braille" which I thought was absolutely amazing. Blake sounded great especially since his voice has gotten so much stronger than it is on the album version. Then they launched into what I was probably anticipating most: "Spectacular Views". I thought with them playing it slower on their last tour because it apparently sounds too much like "Portions for Foxes" that I would never get a chance to hear it in its full rock-out glory so I was very happy to know they brought it back to how it's supposed to sound. It wasn't as long or as crazy as in the earlier days but it was still great. Jenny sat underneath the keyboard while the guys jammed out for a few minutes and then sadly, it was all over.

It was probably less than five minutes but it seemed like an eternity before they came back out for the encore. Before they did, an acoustic guitar was set up on the stage so I was sure they were going to play "A Man/Me/Then Jim" like they had at one previous show or something equally amazing but then it was taken off again shortly after. They ended up playing only one song because there wasn't enough time for more but it was "Does He Love You?" which is one of my very favorites so I wasn't upset at all. At the end, Jenny just kind of shyly smiled and waved before walking offstage while the guys finished it up. The end was really intense and Blake was getting really into it (and making some of his amusing "rock-out" faces), then they left and the lights came back on and I knew it was over.

We didn't get back home until after three in the morning yesterday so all day I was a bit out of it, partly from lack of sleep and partly because I was still in shock that it had happened, that I had been mere feet from these people I've been obsessing over for a year now. That probably sounds overdramatic but it's true; it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life because I've been dying for it to happen for so long. I just wish I could live it over and over again. This is why they definitely need to give me a chance to see them again; I'll probably go through withdrawal otherwise!

Moral of the story: if you have the chance to see Rilo Kiley, don't be crazy! Go! They were more awesome than I could've ever imagined and they all seemed really happy to be playing together (there was a lot of cute body language and smiles exchanged between Blake and Jenny) which made me forget all of the depressing magazine articles and break-up rumors and Under the Blacklight bashing that's been going on. And if I'm wrong and that's a band that's truly tired of playing with each other than they're extremely good at hiding it. Hopefully, that's not the case.

P.S. The pictures and video are not mine (I didn't want to be distracted for one moment and I take shitty pictures anyway) but they are from the show, so thanks to the person who took them! There are more here. Also, I promise I will try to make this my last Rilo-related entry for awhile. Even I'm getting fed up with myself for posting about them so much - insanely obsessed much?

    • Rilo Kiley - Close Call
    • Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rise Up With Fists!!
    • The Elected - Greetings in Braille

Official website
Purchase Under the Blacklight (CD)
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Song of the Day!

The Elected - It Was Love


Don't be surprised if the next couple of days are pure Rilo Kiley onslaught, considering the fact that I'm seeing them live in less than 24 hours! Obviously, I'm extremely excited. Anyway, I recently rediscovered how lovely this song is. The lyrics are just so simple and relatable and honest. They hit me really hard even if I haven't personally experienced what they depict. Blake is an awesome songwriter; his lyrics are always really easy to become affected by and relate with. Plus, as I've mentioned in the past, Blake and Jenny's voices together make me melt into a puddle. Add in the fact that this song is very likely about their relationship and it's even more aww-worthy... and also a bit uncomfortable.

urgencytobleed: (jenny smile)
I've had a "colors" playlist sitting around on my computer forever so I decided I should finally get around to attacking it and picking out the best songs to post. After a few days of listening, I think the list is pretty much ready. Obviously, a theme like this has way too many tracks to post all at once, so I'll do it in a few installments. I'm not sure how many yet but this first one will get the less specific titles out of the way, as in titles containing just the word "color" and as an added bonus, I've thrown in a few "rainbow" songs as well. Sample/download the chosen ones below the cuts.

urgencytobleed: (jenny smile)
I was given the suggestion to gather songs with a sun and moon theme, so I decided to act on it and was surprised by how many songs I had that fit the bill. There were way too many originally for me to upload in a reasonable amount of time, so I cut it down to twelve for each category. A lot of these are among my very favorite songs, so enjoy.

Sun. )

Moon. )
urgencytobleed: (Default)
Song of the Day!

The Elected - A Response to Greed


This song gives me chills - just the whole atmosphere of it, the strings and Blake's voice, and the lyrics are terribly depressing as well. The part that I bolded especially gets me every time... there's just something about those lines I find incredibly unsettling and sad.

urgencytobleed: (kianna)
The latest theme over at [profile] pretty_music is "summer", so I guess this is somewhat of an extension on the summer portion of my seasons post, only not just limited to titles containing the word "summer". Actually, the first half are songs I've already posted here at some point, but the last four are new.


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April 2012



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