Veils – Time Stays, We Go

I can’t encourage you enough to walk your happy ass over to The Veils website (here) and preorder your copy of their new album today.  The album is set to release in April, and there is little doubt in my mind that this will be one of the best albums of the year.  Don’t delay, vinyl is limited…

/enjoy.

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Album Review: The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

Caveats:

  • I pre-ordered my copy of Wolf’s Law by the Joy Formidable.
  • I am a bit of a fan.
  • I am biased to female vocalists. (It’s how I ended up married!)

I thought for sure, for sure!!!, that after Silversun released Swoon and Joy Formidable released The Big Roar, that the Pumpkins era would finally return and we would move out of the 80’s electro-pop influenced music that has saturated the Indie scene for a few good years now.  Don’t misunderstand, I quite enjoy all the 80’s inspired music that floats around; however, I do feel it necessary to have movement in the music and loud guitars and varying vocal deliveries that are not present in all electro-pop drone material.

But at the end of the day, I was wrong.  And Silversun took a shit with their last record, and the only thing separating me and the abysmal cliff that is blending genres was this new record by the Joy Formidable.

Wolf’s Law:
Cool album cover to boot!  The deluxe edition that I ordered (that came out a day early!) has really cool packaging with a hummingbird pin enclosed in it that apparently has the magical property of getting one-on-one face time with Ritzy at any show… (SCORE!)  I think I ordered the deluxe edition just because I have a bit of a passion for wolves, and I loved the imagery.  I even donate to help curb wolf management programs at Defenders of Wildlife.  (But that’s neither here nor there… Go donate!)

The album was a bit tough to swallow at first.  From top to finish the album is complex lyrically, as I’ve come to expect from Ritzy Bryan.  The album fires off with the first two singles: This Ladder is Ours  and Cholla.  A strong start quickly fades away.  While the third track, Tendons, is a decent song, it fails to bring the level of immersion high enough.  On their freshmen record, I found that I was constantly drowning in the warmth of the music and the thickness of it, while trying desperately to put a finger on what she means or wants to say.

The next several tracks are easily forgotten.  Silent Treatment is obviously a very intimate track and brings you as close to Ritzy as we probably will ever feel.  It is a beautiful song, but it is covered on both sides of the album, and I feel like it gets lost.

I didn’t get engaged again until The Leopard and the Lung, which comes about as close to the sweeping, orchestral songs that were every other track on The Big Roar.

All of this seems pretty damn dismal, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The Turnaround looked like (at first glance on my iTunes gui) that it would be an epic masterpiece.  But they had gone and slid a hidden track at the backside of the song.  It’s a quiet and building Sigur Ros-type piece that, I think, turns this album to roses.  The song is the title track, Wolf’s Law, and it is a perfect end.  The song sounds like salvation and it is exactly that to its parent.

It is getting stronger through repetition.

/enjoy.

The National – The Virginia EP

The National are finally releasing The Virginia EP on vinyl.  You can click here for the link to pre-order the item.

BBQ-260

Track List:

Side A:
1. You’ve Done It Again Virginia
2. Santa Clara
3. Blank Slate
4. Tall Saint (Demo)
5. Without Permission
6. Forever After Days (Demo)
7. Rest Of Years (Demo)
Side B
1. Slow Show (Demo)
2. Lucky You (Daytrotter Session)
3. Mansion On The Hill (Live)
4. Fake Empire (Live)
5. About Today (Live)
The soul crushing finale to the EP…
/enjoy.

Songs from the Top of the ’12 Heap.

For the past several years, everyone has been calling the year; “The Year of the Single”, and that no bands have produced a decent full showing in years.  While that is obviously erroneous bullshit, there were quite a few decent tracks this year that made it only onto EPs, one-offs, or (yes) came from a ‘festering turd of a record’.

Some of the live videos were chosen because I was at those shows… and they were epic.  Beware, the first few songs on here are quite poppy.

My top 20 tracks from ’12:

20: Ride this Feeling – Kate Miller-Heidke

19: Queen of a Sad Land – A Silent Film

18: The Winds – Jessie Baylin

17: Bay of Skaill – The Magnetic North

16: Wolf – Now, Now

15: Leonard – Sharon Van Etten

14: Disappear Always – Wild Nothing

13: Pair of Wings – Frankie Rose

12: Frigid Spring – Chairlift

11: Time Meant Nothing – Teepee

10: Varúð – Sigur Rós

9: Kill for Love – Chromatics

8: Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2 – Father John Misty

7: The Water – Discount Guns

6: Ride – Lana Del Rey

5: Change the Sheets  – Kathleen Edwards

4: Werewolf – Fiona Apple

3: Irene – Beach House

2: Medicine – Daughter

1: Heaven – The Walkmen

/enjoy.

 

Top 10 Albums of 2012

Recapping the year is always a daunting task, but a somewhat enjoyable one, especially in music.  You get to relive your bloom and your summer days, the cool autumn night and the  harsh (sort of) winter.

I don’t pretend to know more about music than anyone else, I know what sounds good to me, and I think I know what people generally like to hear.  They want to hear passion and they want to feel emotion in the music.  If not, you listen to rap.  (Poor joke.)  Twelve was an interesting year: musically, politically, end-of-the-world wise…  But at the end of the day, we saw and heard new sounds emerging.  Blues rock continues to hang on (surprisingly), folk has not lost weight in the indie crowd, and electronic indie music has truly come into its own, producing some of the year’s finest music.  (Especially if you read Pitchfork…)

Thirteen has a lot of potential, but for now, we stay lucky, for a few more days in 2012.

10: Chromatics – Kill For Love – Drone, drone, drone… bring back Medicine.  Don’t get lost in your shoes.

9: Sigur Rós – Valtari – Can’t describe it.  Just… wow.

8: Father John Misty – Fear Fun –  A late addition for me, but I am confident that this will continue its heavy rotation on my playlists well into 2013.  Folky and fun, good, like Fleet Foxes before Helplessness Blues…

7: Discount Guns – Odessa – I am not traditionally a fan of blues rock, but this duo from Louisville, KY hit every button: Loud, Lo-Fi, and Meaningful.  (Blues rock with meaning?  Yup, I’m not shitting you.)

6: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die – I’ve come back to this album several times and every time it feels a little different.  I can truly imagine Lana Del Rey pulling out an old steno note pad with these lyrics and repeating elements lamented throughout the book.  Her voice pulls off these childhood memories with great gravity.

5: Chairlift – Something – The most fun album of the year is not by a band named Fun.  It’s by Chairlift.  This album is gorgeous.  It is the album that I wanted Elizabeth Harper (aka Class Actress) to do, but she didn’t quite gut the whole thing out.  Something is a great album, suitable for driving half-lit.

4: Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – Fiona did her most self-deprecating, most personal album with Idler Wheel.  Her old material seems dated and childish in comparison.

3: Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur – Produced by Justin Vernon… I loved Kathleen Edwards other material, this truly brought her into alt-country fame.

2: Beach House – Bloom – Musically the most powerful album of the year.  The album is solid, top to finish, without skipping a beat.  I typically like albums that finish stronger than they begin.  Their best showing to date.

1: The Walkmen – Heaven – The most important album of 2012 is the story of survival.  What happens when you make it to the end of the American Dream?  What then…

Honorable Mentions: Frankie Rose – Interstellar; Wild Nothing – Nocturne; School of Seven Bells – Ghostory; Sharon Van Etten – Tramp; and Now, Now – Threads.

/enjoy