Stuff I’ve been listening to a bunch over the last month ~
Band of Horses – Everything all the time
Originally released over a year ago, its strange I didn’t find this band until now. They have a lush sound of distorted guitar, reverb and minor key melodies, melding perfectly with the expansive alto vocals. Lyrics can be melancholy, but the tempo is upbeat enough to flip it all around and induce a damp-eyed smile. Standout tracks: Funeral, Great Salt Lake, Monsters.
Blonde Redhead – 23
This trio has an interesting setup and a stunning vocalist (a tall Asian in a red dress and Italian twins). Their sound is noticeably eerie and melancholy, but the new record plumps up their minimalism with a full studio, while still maintaining the flavor of earlier works. Standout tracks: 23, Spring and By Summer Fall, Silently.
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
80s electronica has certainly made a comeback, retro-techno even infiltrating backbeats of the top 40. Most of the songs have jagged synth beats on top of a standard snare/top-hat drum set. Lyrics range from KMFDM militaristic chanting (Get Innocuous, North American Scum) to Prince falsetto tweaks (Time to Get Away). Standout Tracks: North American Scum, Someone Great, All My Friends.
My Morning Jacket – Z
Granted, its ancient (2005), but now firmly ensconced as a classic. Jim James and his crew of Kentucky psychedelic spacerockers have put together a perfect record. The entire album is heavily reverbed, gifting the vocals and guitars a mystical twinge. Wordless Chorus lives up to its name with soaring ooohs and aaaahs. Gideon builds from a simple riff to an ethereal parabola of impressive yodels. Dondante finishes off with a slow contemplative jam (highlighted once again by James’s wide-ranging vocals).
Tiesto – In Search of Sunrise 5
I’ve also thought Tiesto was unparalleled in the world of melodic eurotrance, mostly because he avoids the cheesy oversynthed oakenfold trash and integrates the full range of “world music” into his In Search of Sunrise series. The fifth edition is no different, organically transforming hardline goa beats into gentle vocal dance and even the occasional house tempo switch. For the most part this is driving music, coding music, writing music, the lower base synchronized with a heartbeat, the upper melody infused with the natural noise of rain or the shore.
Ulrich Schnauss – Goodbye
The German ambient composer is hard to track down. I’ve yet to find his sophomore record Strangely Isolated Place in stores or online. I’ve always thought the best metaphor for his sound was the blur tool in photoshop, distending the distinct sounds to just this side of a sweet oblivion. Goodbye integrates a few upgrades, including warped out vocals, and even includes a song that isn’t lazily blissful (Medusa, in his best approximation of M83). Standout Tracks: Never Be the Same, Medusa, Goodbye.