Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birds and Whales, Plus Assorted Misc.

I took this at Grimey's New and Pre-Loved Music back in June.
First up, last Saturday Andrew Bird and St. Vincent played at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville-- I decided no to do a full blog post about it because that would have required me making notes and such through the concert, and it was all too perfect to do anything else but melt into the seat. I was dead center, only a few rows back from the stage. 'Nuff said. It was an experience.

Speaking of Andrew Bird, while on a short car trip last Friday, my friend played for me a band called Noah and the Whale. Noah and the Whale hails from the UK and has a lot in common with The National, sound-wise. Throw in more Andrew Bird-like instrumentation and you've got a pretty good picture. From the first song, "The First Days of Spring," to the epically orchestral "Love of an Orchestra," they had me. Their debut album, which came out Oct. 6th, is also called The First Days of Spring. It's lovely, layered orch pop, for lack of a better term. Like The National, Noah and the Whale has a certain entrancing quality and swells and flows like the music. Truly, it took a few bars before I thought to myself, "I have to have this."

Give it a listen, the album comes courtesy of my Googling skills and NPR.

Finally, in case you hadn't heard, Ben Gibbard is involved in a project to put words from Jack Kerouac's Big Sur to music. He partnered with Sun Volt's Jay Farrar to create One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur, a 12-song album set for release on October 20th. For more, you can click here for NPR's All Songs Considered blog write up. The entire album is also being streamed by NPR up to the release date. I'm listening as I type, in fact.

Flight of the Conchords's I Told You I was Freaky also comes out on the 20th, so budget yourself accordingly.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Vampire Weekend : Horchata

As Vampire Weekend's new album, Contra nears its release date, we bring you their first single, courtesy of Drowned in Sound, one of my fav British music websites.

"Horchata" is exotic, syncopated goodness. This bodes well-- not a watery continuation or a divorce from their signature sound. Take a listen.

You can catch Contra January 12th.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hope for AT 40?

Just a quick post, this morning I had the shower radio tuned in to American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest and was a little more than shocked when "Say Hey" by Michael Franti & Spearhead came in at no. 21. "Say Hey" was featured a while ago in a Paste sampler CD and I just assume that if a song is in any way worthy of Paste, it probably won't be getting anywhere near Seacrest & co.

If you haven't heard it, the video is below. The song is really catchy, has great energy and good lyrics. It'll make you want to move. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

John Mayer Goes Pop. Again.

A few days late, but regardless, John Mayer announced that his next album is just about ready for release.

The last issue of Rolling Stone had a brief write-up describing Mayer's new effort. This time he's spinning himself back into the pop realm with Battle Studies, an 11 track disc that will be released on November 11th.

Mayer is pretty solid-- even Room for Squares is surprisingly good despite the teen ridiculousness of "Your Body is a Wonderland." So hearing he's shifting gears is a bit disappointing. Personally, I was really pleased with the direction he took on Continuum. It was like he managed to scrape off the bubble gum and turn himself into a legitimate musician who as more to offer than moody, breathy singing.

TMI won't count him out until the album has been played to satisfaction, but let's hope that he elevates the standards of pop rather than regresses to 2000. We've been there. let's not go back.

The first single, "Who Says" was released just a few days ago on the 24th. Look for a review soon.