Sunday, August 30, 2015

Song of the Week

This week was another tough one, simply because there were three songs I was really, really loving.

Destroyer's Poison Season was released on Friday, and while it's unfair to say that it's not Kaputt (Kaputt was truly a moment, a revelation, and I doubt Dan Bejar will ever make another Kaputt), I generally enjoy it. It is a little too lush, I think, and I'm not bowled over by the lyrics but I definitely like the record overall. It's going to take a bit more time and a few more listens to fall in love with but I do really, really love "Times Square," (also very fond of "Forces From Above" and "Sun in the Sky")  and it was a contender for Song of the Week but...

...the song I listened to the most this week was Frank Turner's "Josephine." I am really, really enjoying Positive Songs for Negative People. Like I mentioned in last week's post, the record just feels very lived in. Like I've been listening to it for months. Like it's an old favorite. Probably because Frank Turner is certainly one of my favorite musicians these days. "Josephine" is a fantastic song, I had it on repeat during a few nights this weeks, and I cannot wait to hear it live but...

...Depression Cherry was finally released this week! And I was still pretty obsessed with it all week, and it became the first new record of 2015 I purchased on vinyl! (I bought the Admiral Fallow record on mp3, if you're wondering.) And what a record it it! Velvet cover! Clear vinyl! Beautiful packaging for a beautiful collection of songs. Last week I wrote about "Space Song," and while I think every song on the record is fantastic, I really fell in love with "Bluebird" this week.

It's a beautiful song. I also realized that the eighth track on their records are always my favorite: "10 Mile Stereo" on Teen Dream, "Wishes" on Bloom, and now "Bluebird" (I also love that #8 on Devotion is a cover of "Some Things Last A Long Time," which was also covered by The Twilight Sad.) But like the best Beach House songs, "Bluebird" is an expression of longing. And I think that's what the band does best: express longing, and in turn, heartache. But they do it so beautifully.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Song of the Week

I know I'm technically a week early (I have no idea when albums come out anymore) but I need to talk about Depression Cherry.

Is it more of the same from Beach House? I'm not so sure. Beach House is never going to really expand their sound (do you want them to?) The closest we got to this is probably Bloom. But while yes, sonically Depression Cherry is similar to every other Beach House record (I think it's closest to Devotion), it has a completely different feel to the others. Just like Teen Dream feels different than Bloom and Devotion. But all the elements of what makes a Beach House record a Beach House record are there. Victoria Legrand still sounds incredible, and they're both writing songs that really suck you in and keep you there, like that really fantastic hug you need when you're upset. A Beach House record makes you feel like it's okay to be less than happy, because the songs are going to be their to cry with you, to be the shoulder to cry on, and to hug you in the end. But at the same time, I've never felt sad or depressed from listening to their songs. The fact of the matter is that they are great at developing a mood within their work. I haven't necessarily been sad while listening to Depression Cherry but it's just another example of the band doing what they do best. The bottom line is Beach House is one of the most consistent bands at the moment (up there with Frightened Rabbit and The Antlers and Titus Andronicus.)

Maybe it's because I'm a big fan of the band at this point but I feel like Depression Cherry is actually more immediate than Teen Dream or Bloom. I've read a lot of reviews saying all the songs sound the same and that's, quite honestly, a load of crap. You have to just press play and go along for the ride and become full emerged into the world the album created. Actually, I feel like this record already feels very "lived in" for me. (I also felt that way about the new Frank Turner album.) I didn't feel like I needed to warm up to it, or have it grow on me. It felt like a record I had been listening to for months already. I know I have to listen to it some more before I really discover everything about it but right now, "Space Song" is probably my favorite song after "Sparks." But you've all heard the latter already.


In other news, I'm still trying to digest of all Poison Season but I'm a little concerned about how ordinary I find the lyrics. What's going on, Bejar?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Song of the Week

Hmm, this is a tough one, simply because I haven't really discovered anything new this week. (Well, I've been listening to a bit of Other Lives' Tamer Animals, which I do like. It's in the same vein as Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes.)

Joanna Newsom also announced she has a new record coming out in November, and very little music news is ever going to top that. She also released a new music video but I can't quite pass judgment on it yet because I feel like with every Joanna song, you have to spend some time with it before you'll fall in love with it. I mean, whose music is denser than hers?

And again, James Vincent McMorrow's "How to Waste a Moment" is incredible, and it's probably the song I listened to the most this week.

But I'm going to pick an old song that I have simply just enjoyed listening to the most this week.

Dry the River's "No Rest."

(I also really like this live performance of it.)

I just can't imagine anyone not liking this song. In fact, I imagine everyone having the same exact reaction to this song as I did the first time I heard it. "Jesus Christ, that voice." And look, yeah, the vocals are the star of the show here but the lyrics! the strings! "No Rest" is a really perfect song.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Song of the Week

I wanted to write about the new Beach House single, "Sparks" but as fantastic that song is, I feel like in a couple of weeks I am going to be writing about that band anyway, so let's focus on a man who did release a record this week.

(Also, James Vincent McMorrow's "How to Ruin a Moment" is incredible but I haven't had too much time with it yet. But let's just say, JVM is getting better, if that's even possible. That. Voice.)

Anyway, my song of the week is "The Next Storm" by Frank Turner, off of his brand spankin' new record, Positive Songs for Negative People. I've been listening to it all weekend and much like most of his work, the whole is greater than it's parts. I've never liked every single song on Frank's records but when he's good, he's really good, and he has so many amazing songs that they really outweigh the bad. Positive Songs for Negative People has some quality songs on it, and I'm sure it's all gonna be terrific live (when is Frank not terrific live?) There are some songs I still need to fall for ("Mitten" is one of them), and quite honestly, the end of the record after "Josephine" (which is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album) really just falls apart. "Silent Key" is something I'll probably never want to listen to because it's too weird. And not in a good way, like "Lemonworld" or "Don't Take Off the Gloves" or "Med School" (I will fight anyone who says "Med School" is a bad song. That song is kind of brilliant.) But who knows, I used to cringe when those three songs came on my iPod, so maybe one day I'll love "Silent Key."

Okay, back to "The Next Storm." The song has actually been in my head all week, that's how catchy it is. It's a quality pop song with a fun video, and definitely my favorite track (as of now) on Positive Songs for Negative People. And I can't wait to hear it and Frank live in September.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Song of the Week

I saw We Were Promised Jetpacks twice in a week. I didn't plan it that way, it was just...they played a free show last week and blew me away, and the next day they were all like, "Surprise! We're coming back next week!" And I was on a great concert high so I was like, "YES! I don't care that it's a 10:30pm set on a work night! They're playing the Mercury Lounge, I'm going!"

And they were awesome yet again.

Now, you know I love me some Jetpacks, and I had seen them twice before this past week but I always thought there was something off about their live shows. I always said they didn't have it. There was nothing particularly special about their live performances. But they really, really brought their A game to Pier 84 last week. They were incredible. I don't know if it's because they figured out how to incorporate the songs from their third album into their set or if the crowds were better or maybe it was just me. This time around I knew their songs a lot better, and you know, they didn't have James Graham and company opening for them. Anyway, they were amazing. And then they were amazing at the Mercury Lounge. They were tighter, they kept momentum going, their set just worked, and Adam Thompson's voice was surprisingly great (I say surprisingly because I never rank him among my favorite voices but his voice is so strong. Dude can sing.)

Anyway, I've been listening to the Pack a lot this week (it's been a mix of them and Dry the River, so I don't know what my feelings have been doing) and it's given me a chance to discover their second record, and rediscover their third. (Their first, These Four Walls, is perfect from top to bottom.) Now, we all know I liked Unraveling a lot when it initially came out but it kind of got lost in the Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave shuffle. But it is a great album. It really shows how strong their songwriting has gotten since These Four Walls (it's a bit more nuanced, less repetitive.) I've especially fallen back in love with "Peaks and Troughs."

There is something absolutely addicting about this song. It's catchy and infectious, just like "Quiet Little Voices" or "Ships With Holes Will Sink" but it's not as immediate. It slowly reveals itself; it doesn't seem like much of a song at first but it builds and eventually blows you away. "Peaks and Troughs" and "I Keep It Composed" are some back-to-back punch.