Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Last.FM Randomizer Challenge 3.14.17

The randomizer chose #46 which happens to be Band of Horses on my Last. FM list of most played artists of all time - haven't even thought about this band in a while!

I absolutely love this band's three first albums - Everything All the Time (2006), Cease to Begin (2007) and Infinite Arms (2010). Mirage Rock (2012) and Why Are You OK (2016) have been sleeper hits, at best, and I haven't been able to get into them the same way I got into the previous three. The songs on the first three albums just grabbed you and from my experience, songs on Mirage Rock and Why Are You OK seems to be more...mellow? Uninteresting? I hate to say it but, yes. Uninteresting.

This Americana folk rock band formed from Ben Bridwell's, formally of Carissa's Weird, (a band with a strong cult following,) vision of a pop version of folk adding elements of older Country and current alternative rock. Results from that have been "The Funeral," "No One's gonna Love You" and "Laredo", some of their best work to date. If you don't know any Band of Horses songs, you probably have heard "The Funeral" in a Grey's Anatomy promo commercial or even a 2008 Ford Edge advertisement during the superbowl (true story). If you couldn't tell, yes, they've sold out hard but has it really worked for them and I'm not someone who judges "selling out" harshly. It kind of depends on the circumstance, in my opinion. Now their blimps on the map and they can record in Asheville, North Carolina, be signed to SubPop and have a comfortable music career. And like Carissa's Weird, Band of Horses has gotten a loyal following but with that oompf they've received from using their songs from advertising, it's given them a leg up that will prevent them from stopping or founder any time soon.

Even though I wasn't into their last two albums, I can still hear that the talent is there - they just are experimenting with it in a different way that I'm not into. Hopefully (for me!), their next one will be more reminiscent to Everything All the Time or Cease to Begin.

Also, just a extra, special tip for you - "Detlef Schrempf" can make me weep like a baby when the timing is right. This is the verse that really gets me:
So take it as a song or a lesson to learn
and sometime soon be better than you were.
If you say you're gonna go, then be careful
and watch how you treat every living soul.

Highly recommend you listen and it's one of the instances that make this band pretty fantastic.

Remember Feist? She's coming out with a new album.

I couldn't be happier! This will be her first album and new music since 2011's Metals.

Check out the track listing on Stereogum. It is set to release Friday, April 28! Same date as Sylvan Esso's What Now - it's going to be a good day.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 Women who are Killing it in the Music Industry

In honor of Womens History Month, I decided to write something about the ladies in music I love...

-Natalie Prass
We need more of Natalie Prass. Her self titled debut, which released in 2015, was written in 2009 and recorded in 2012. Her record label had to delay the release due to Spacebomb Records being a small outfit and just not having the funds and manpower to release more than one or two albums at a time. “And I remember my stomach dropped,” Prass says in an interview when she was informed the record would be released in 2013 (and later on, had been pushed back even more,) , “I just pictured myself standing on that mountain again, a year later. That just seemed like an eternity to me at the time.” In between the date of her release however, she wrote more songs and went on tour with Jenny Lewis to play in her backing band. She writes and composes all of her own songs, hires her own musicians for tours and is as far as I can tell, in charge of her career and destiny. That's definitely killing it in the music industry.

-Valerie June
I might be a little biased because I just saw Valerie June in Philadelphia and she was insanely good. She has so much energy on stage and does the perfect amount of talking during songs (even though she thinks she talks too much). She dances like no one's watching, dresses however she wants and has total ownership of her career. Her songs are enigmatic and interesting but somewhat familiar – very reminiscent to 70's soul and Blues in its heyday. Her new album The Order of Time just came out yesterday (March 11) and it's pretty fantastic. Go listen to it!

-Margo Price
Like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette before her, this midwest farmer's daughter is writing about her life in a sincere and relatable way. The Illinois born, Nashville, Tennessee transplant is keeping busy with touring right now (just found out she's going to be in Albany this Summer! Yes!), but I'm really hoping she'll get back in the studio soon.

This might be a controversial choice, but I really like Sia and dig her songwriting abilities, regardless of her weirdness just for being weird. She writes some of the catchiest, consistent and authentic pop songs of today. In a world of rap degrading women and saying the “n” word every other sentence that's sprawling all over pop radio, Sia is a breath of fresh air and one of the only surviving legitimate pop song writers who not only writes for herself and other people, but maintains a career that she takes ownership of.

-Jenny Lewis
Well, duh. Jenny Lewis is just the shit. She's honest and raw in her songwriting, her instrumentation is usually experimental with every album she writes and she's always collaborating with other artists, finding a sound that's their own. She's still riding pretty high on the success of The Voyager, released in July 2014 (it's a really good album, okay?), but like Price, I hope she comes out with some new music soon.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Albums I'm looking forward to in March

February was all about Prisoner for me, despite what Pitchfork said about it (but I guess for Pitchfork, this review is pretty good,) but March is up in the air regarding what album I'm going to be obsessed with. There are a couple contenders, but really I just want the new Sylvan Esso album to come out right now (but it's due out April 28).

Ed Sheeran, Divide: "Shape of You" is growing on me but I wasn't a huge fan of it when I first heard it. It actually releases today! (March 3,) and is Sheeran's third studio album. It's gotten pretty good reviews so far too.

Laura Marling, Semper Femina: Marling's follow up to Short Movie is released on her own label, More Alarming, and comes out March 10. It sounds like this is kind of a concept album for her. This is what she said in Pitchfork: "I started out writing Semper Femina as if a man was writing about a woman,” Marling said in a press release. “And then I thought it’s not a man, it’s me — I don’t need to pretend it’s a man to justify the intimacy of the way I’m looking and feeling about women. It’s me looking specifically at women and feeling great empathy towards them and by proxy towards myself."

The Shins, Heartworms: Just when you think the Shins are done and James Mercer is doing another Broken Bells album (which I really hope he and Danger Mouse do in the future,) he comes out with another Shins album. This is their fifth studio album but you would think it's their eigth or ninth with how much music they put out and how relevant their music still is in the media. I did think Port of Morrow was a little on the safe side but now that I keep listening to it, I don't think that anymore - they've been pretty consistent and I think this one is going to be just as awesome. They've released two songs from the album already - "Name for You" (my favorite of the two,) and "Dead Alive". The album also comes out March 10.