12/28/11

Today at work I messed around with the site’s color scheme! My boss told me that I needed to redo it from last week, which is cool. I made a neat little background image. I think it looks alright.

ANYWAY, here are the music reviews for today!

The Life Pursuit

by Belle and Sebastian

(Listened to 2 Times Today)

I have had The Life Pursuit for, no joke, 6 or 7 years and never listened to it. I had heard that Stuart Murdoch (I think that’s his name) deals with a lot of  Christian themes, which is always fun in popular music, because most “Christian” artists are absolutely terrible. But every time I would start it up, it just sounded so poppy and, as my brother called it, twee, that I had to turn it off.

But then about two week ago, I decided to give it another go and I was blown away. How could I have not liked it before? I don’t know. It’s poppy, sure, but the pop is merely a result of tight-ass, fantastic songwriting paired with lyrics that don’t really allow sloppy production. So the instruments are clean and so tight you can bounce a quarter off of them, and I just assumed it was pop (Which, sure, it is, but I guess when I say “pop,” I’m referring to all the negative connotations that I have with the word. Like, when I think pop, I usually think of music that isn’t all that honest and is based around maybe 4 bars of catchy instrumentation).

But on The Life Pursuit, Murdoch (I’m pretty sure that’s his name) writes extremely catchy tunes with lyrics that detail the trials and triumphs of life, mostly from teenage perspectives. Or something. I mean, it sounds super pretentious, but if you can bring yourself to really listen to the lyrics, you might find that they’re extremely easy to relate to. Take this, for instance, from the song “Another Sunny Day,”

There’s something in my eye, a little midge so beguiling
Sacrificed his life to bring us both eye to eye
I heard the Eskimos remove obstructions with tongues, dear
You missed my eye, I wonder why I didn’t complain
You missed my eye, I wonder why, please do it again

The [hidden?] meaning here is that some Eskimos remove small objects from each others eyes with their tongues (gross). So Murdoch (I’m devoted to calling him this, whether or not it is his real name) sees this midge (gnat?) as having sacrificed it’s self by flying into his eye so that he and this girl could come closer together. And then he tells the girl that Eskimos do that thing I already wrote about. So she misses his eye (on purpose?) and presumably kisses him. He doesn’t complain and wants her to do it again.

Awww.

Anyway, the whole album is fantastic and I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. I know I’m late to the party but hey, better late than never, I guess.

Which  brings me to my next review:

If You’re Feeling Sinister

by Belle and Sebastian

(Listened to Once Today)

It said on Wikipedia that this is B&S’s best album. I listened to it. Wikipedia also said that Murdoch said that it’s a collection of great songs recorded very poorly. That’s pretty spot on.

Kid A

by Radiohead

(Listened to Once Today)

It’s Kid A. I don’t need to review it. One of the greatest albums of our time.

The Glow pt. 2

by The Microphones

(Listened to Once Today)

This album defined my freshman year of college. I was super depressed and lonely and a strange sort of mystical place in which I refused to drink or do any drugs even though they probably would have made me much happier. But Phil Elvrum’s songwriting fed me in a way that gave me hope, kind of like what Catcher In The Rye does to 16-year-olds. Not only that, but my attempts at writing and recording songs before I heard The Glow pt. 2 were terrible and put me in a funk. Hearing and reading about Phil’s self-production methods really helped me find a sound for my own work. I don’t sound like Phil, nor do I try to, but my style of recording and my approch to songwriting has never been the same since.

It’s as much an atmospheric sounds record as it is a music record. There are soundscapes (god do i hate that term) and ambient recordings. There are also badass rock songs. There are also nice soft songs. It’s a fantastic album, one of my favorites from a few years back that I hadn’t listened to in a long time. Overall, his later album, Mount Eerie is better (Listening to Mount Eerie in the dark in the middle of the night during a lightning storm is a particularly good memory of mine), but The Glow pt. 2 is a rock-solid album.

Damaged

by Black Flag

(Listened to about 3/4ths today)

As far as punk rock goes, I am not crazy about Black Flag. I dig the sloppiness and balls-out rock, but the lyrics usually kind of bug me and I always wish they sounded fuller. But I had a craving for them today. Rise Above, Spray Paint, TV Party, Depression…great songs. THIS VERSION of Depression is effing awesome.

Actually, Maybe

by Michael Hanf

(Listened to 1/4th today)

So, Michael Hanf is my brother. I may be biased. But his songs are so good! It’s a nice mix of Radiohead and whatever else. He’s got quite a few musical projects going, all of which are pretty top-shelf. Check them out:

http://mdhmusic.bandcamp.com/album/actually-maybe

http://manzanacarnal.bandcamp.com/

Just a Friend

by Biz Markie

(listened to the song today)

YOU! You got what I neeeeeeed…But you SAY he’s just a friend! Yeah, you say he’s just a friend!

How I Got Over

by The Roots

(Listened to Once Today)

Awesome, introspective album from the Roots. ?love is a master drummer/producer, Black Thought kills it alongside lots of guest rappers. The girls from Dirty Projectors guest on a song, Monsters of Folk guest on a song, Joanna Newsom guests on a song. Totally easy to listen to the whole album through, even better if you can focus on the lyrics. I hear their new album, undun, is great as well. I need to pick that up.

Normal

by Run Dan Run

(Listened to Once Today)

Run Dan Run is a local Charleston act. Dan sent the album to me, but I hadn’t listened to it until today. It’s really good! Excellent production for an unsigned band. It sounds like a lost Broken Social Scene album, which I know Dan would take as a compliment of the highest order. But it honestly does. Keep in mind I’ve only really listened to You Forgot It In People, but it picks up right where that album leaves off, right down to the overdriven Feist-y vocals yelling behind the lead male vocals. Dan seems to write two or three lyrical phrases and then repeat them a few times, but it works with the post-psychedelic sound they have. Great drumming and art from Nick Jenkins, too. Check them out here.

So, that’s it for today! Hoo boy, that took longer than I thought it would. Look out for another post tomorrow, and recommend music for me to listen to!

Dan

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