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Ha! I bet you didn't think I was going to get around to posting the rest of this today, did you? Well, neither did I but in the end, I forced myself to do it because I would have been completely disappointed if I screwed up the entire schedule at the last minute. Because of this, half of these reviews are kind of half-assed. But I've also written about all of them to some extent before so that's partly to blame too. Anyway, I doubt most of you read my overly-long ramblings anyway so as long as the music follows, I guess that's all that matters.

And the winners are... )

And there you go! That's it! Now I can take a break for a couple of days before I get to work on gushing all over my first potential top twenty of 2010 when it comes out on Tuesday. Yes, you read that right, I'm already predicting what's going to make it onto this year's list. In fact, it's not even halfway through January and I've heard three albums already that I'm positive will be on it. I won't make some broad exclamation of album of the year yet because that's more than a little premature but, yeah, I'm pretty sure I've got 3/20 spots locked.
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I guess I should have just added these to part two because there really aren't that many left. But all... four of them are very good!

Is this even worth an LJ cut? )
urgencytobleed: (jenny smile)
I'm too busy to write long reviews of these albums right now so if I keep trying to do so it's not going to happen until next year probably. Also, they're not as fresh for me anymore so that makes me feel less enthusiastic about writing a lot too. Anyway, here are some songs from them and some brief words... just because I don't have the time to write a ton about them doesn't mean they're not good, alright?

 
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!



This seems to be a very divisive album - and for good reason since it mostly sounds nothing like the band's previous releases - but I happen to be madly in love with it. In fact, I think I can say without much hesitation that it's actually become my favorite Yeah Yeah Yeahs album by quite a large margin. As much as I love thrashing around and screaming along to Fever to Tell and as much as Show Your Bones has grown on me since the first time I heard it (I used to feel pretty "meh" about it; now I fucking love almost every track), this album is by far their most mature, layered, and emotional work yet and this new direction works very well for me. When I first heard about its emphasis on synths over guitars and its supposed Donna Summer influence, I have to admit I was a little worried about how all that would turn out. But it turned out to be pretty brilliant. Electro-dance numbers like "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll" are instantly catchy but where this album really shines is in its quieter, more introspective moments. "Runaway" starts off as a piano ballad and, while it's pretty enough already, completely transforms into this dense, pulsing, gorgeous sea of synths, strings, and Karen O's unmistakable voice. As much as I love her shrieking and screaming, I think her voice is most effective when it's more restrained and tender. When she sings about halfway through, "All along/Not so strong without these open arms/I hold on tight," it is so effortlessly beautiful and moving. "Hysteric" combines the best of both worlds - it's catchy and emotional - with a chorus ("Flow sweetly/Hang heavy/You suddenly complete me") that is downright dreamy - a word I never thought I'd use to describe a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. And closer "Little Shadow" is also perfect; it's deceptively simple at first but once you listen closely, you realize just how many subtle layers are there, and Karen's voice has never sounded so fragile and sweet. "Dull Life" is a bit of a sore thumb as it's the track that's most easily compared to their older stuff, opening quietly before erupting into a punk-y, energetic, and completely kickass chorus. Basically, the entire album is pretty mindblowing to me; even the weaker tracks have their moments of brilliance. It may be quieter and less aggressive than their previous releases but, in my opinion, it's no less full of passion and attitude. Don't write it off just because it's different.

(These files are so huge, sorry; I didn't realize until after I uploaded them. Speaking of, has Box.net removed its 10MB file size limit? And does that mean I can finally post Joanna Newsom's "Only Skin" here without compressing it down to an unlistenably low bitrate? Fuck yes!)


Maria Taylor - LadyLuck



Oh, Maria, Maria... I love her but this album is kind of underwhelming. I mean, it's not bad but I feel like she can do so much better. It seems like she's afraid to step very far out of her comfort zone or something like that and it keeps most of these songs from being that memorable though I am happy that she's putting a little more power behind her voice on a few of them. They just don't quite have that... special something about them that makes them stand out; I mean, her songs have always been mostly quite slow and simple, but I don't know, these ones haven't quite grabbed me yet. Maybe they will but I doubt I'll end up liking this as much as her other two albums. But, that being said, there are a few real gems. "Time Lapse Lifeline" is very catchy and repeat-worthy though I think I like the acoustic Savannah Drive version from last year just a teensy bit more. It's followed by "It's Time" which is actually shaping up to become one of my favorite Maria songs ever. The lyrics and melody are very simplistic and repetitive but it somehow works and it's hard to explain exactly why. Later on in the album is "Orchids", which starts out as a minimal but pretty acoustic ballad before becoming a bit livelier and electrified for a bit and then transitioning back to a mellower sound. And closer "Cartoons and Forever Plans" is adorable and catchy, almost verging on cheesy but, for me, not quite getting there. So while it might not be a totally satisfying album overall it's still got its moments. And, um, it's either a testament to my obsession with him or a testament to his insane talent that Andy LeMaster was involved in all of the best, in my opinion, songs. Seriously, people. Now It's Overhead. Listen and be amazed. Apart from Lydia, this is the band I feel most strongly about pimping out to as many people as I can. Because they're pretty much the best band on Saddle Creek. Bands like Bright Eyes and Cursive get all the attention but NIO deserves it too. Anyway, oh yeah, this is about Maria. Here are some songs.

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: (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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Okay, here's the final post of 2007-related stuff. That is, until six months from now when I discover some album I didn't know anything about previously and it suddenly becomes my new favorite. And believe me, that's probably very likely to happen, knowing my track record. I actually still have a handful of albums on my "Need to listen to more!" playlist, but I have to let go of 2007 list-making at some point or I won't have time to listen to any 2008 releases. (And shockingly, those are starting to pile up as well already!) Anyway, here's the last set of songs. Enjoy!

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I liked using a mixtape method so much last time that I think I'm going to continue using it for each of my future themed posts. It forces me to be choosy in my selection and seems more thoughtful and cohesive than simply a random group of songs. With my last one, I actually struggled to fill up an entire 80 minutes but it was the opposite with this mix. Because of the broad theme - songs featuring handclaps - there was a much larger selection of songs to choose from which meant I had to make quite a few painful cuts, especially in the final stages, when I would suddenly find a new song to fit in and had to trade another one for it or when I had to take out or replace some songs for the greater good of the overall sound. I tried to focus more on making all of the songs fit together musically than just choosing a bunch of my favorites, so for many of the artists included, the song I picked isn't necessarily my very favorite of their handclap-featuring songs but works better with all of the others. I specifically wanted to make this mix more upbeat and fun so there are only a few slower songs. Also, this compilation has a shocking amount of male vocals for my usual tastes - okay, it's still not a lot by normal standards, but it's a lot considering that I almost exclusively listen to females. Anyway, here are 22 lovely songs that will hopefully put a smile on your face and make you want to get up and dance. Same as last time, you can either download single tracks below the cut or download the whole mix, whichever works better for you.

It's such a crazy kick-ass beat. )

Download entire mix (70 MB)

P.S. Does anyone know any good songs with any kind of group vocals in them? I did a post with some awhile ago but I want to revisit and expand on the theme and I'm running a bit short on songs. If you can think of any (and not ones that totally don't match with my music taste at all), let me know!
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Song of the Day!



Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Turn Into (acoustic)

"Turn Into" is one of my favorite songs on Show Your Bones, though it took awhile for me to truly appreciate it, as often seems to happen with me. I haven't really listened to much Yeah Yeah Yeahs lately but I randomly downloaded the acoustic version of this song from an iTunes session a few weeks ago and finally decided to listen to it last night. And I was completely blown away - so much better than the album version. The acoustic guitar and Karen's more vulnerable and soft vocals give the lyrics much more poignancy and depth. The melody is still catchy but more emotional, painful and sorrow-filled. Then, there's Karen's high and ethereal vocalizing between some of the verses. I often forget how beautiful her voice can be because that side of it isn't really shown off much in their more aggressive usual sound, but it's really affecting here. It all just comes together really nicely; I think I've listened to this version more than thirty times since last night. It's stunning.

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The number of songs left is dwindling, so there'll most likely only be one more post after this to complete the theme. As for this post, today's chosen colors are gold and silver.


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Shannon

April 2012

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