Posts Tagged ‘neko case’

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List #11: Bands I Discovered Through NPR

19 August, 2009

I recently wrote an article about the Newport Folk Festival on my other blog, and it got me to realizing how wonderful NPR has been in introducing me to bands that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of. Here are some:

  • Andrew Bird. Okay, so I had heard of him before, but only a few songs. A live concert or two got me hooked.
  • Neko Case. I apparently had a full album before I heard her on NPR, but never knew it. She’s awesome.
  • The Weepies. This isn’t strictly true. I still think I once heard an interview with them, but I can’t find any record of it.
  • She & Him. A group consisting of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. I like them together, but not Ward by himself. This individual concert also turned me on to the Newport Folk Festival.
  • St. Vincent. I’m still figuring out what I think about them. I love them/her (it’s mainly one singer) live, but the albums that I’ve listened to leave something to be desired.
  • The Avett Brothers. Sometimes they’re too loud, but their folky stuff is great. (They were also at Newport.)

There are also a bunch of artists, like the Decemberists, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and so on, that have concerts archived through NPR. Also many world music groups. It’s an amazing resource and I’d encourage you all to check it out. Especially listen to these few ones I picked out, but there are so many more, too.

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List #5: The Last Ten Albums I’ve Gotten

6 June, 2009

Apparently I’m on a music kick right now. What follows is a list of the last ten albums I’ve gotten through some means. Some I have not paid money for, but for a few that is legal, and others less so. There’s more music that I’ve gotten recently, but I’m not counting anything that is not a full album, and also no samplers. (Very) short reviews of each album follow.

  • Kyle Gabler – “World of Goo Soundtrack” [This is the soundtrack to a pretty fun game I’ve downloaded the demo of, very atmospheric and entertaining music, available for free on his website. Not as good as some of the others in this list, but then again it’s not a professional quality, money-making album.]
  • The String Quartet – “Tribute to the Killers” [Hot Fuss played on violins and cellos. Need I say more? This is awesome, and I will buy it as soon as I have disposable income. Let’s just say I’m previewing it at the moment.]
  • Chairlift – “Does You Inspire You” [The single from this album, “Bruises,” was apparently popularized through an iPod commercial. I found out about it in this video about squirrels. The single is great (and will be featured in an upcoming list of “Songs I’ve Been Addicted to at Various Times in My Life,” the rest of the album is pretty good too, but in retrospect I probably should have just bought the single.]
  • Neko Case – “Middle Cyclone” [I only recently discovered Neko Case, and, as such, felt required to buy her newest album when it came out. It’s really cool; love songs written by tornados, tigers, and so on. Pretty sweet. Favorite track: “People Got A Lotta Nerve.” Second favorite? The half hour of crickets at the end. Really. Very relaxing.]
  • She & Him – “Volume One” [This is one of the very few bands that I’m fairly proud of finding out about before most people have. It’s a collaboration between M. Ward (whose solo stuff I actually don’t like much) and Zooey Deschanel. A mix of newish sounding stuff and their covers of sixties doowop, it’s a very odd but very nice sound. Favorite track: “Sweet Darlin’,” which I have no idea whether it is a cover or not.]
  • Barenaked Ladies – “Live at Universal Studios” [A nice set recorded as their first gig without former frontman Steven Page. Still pretty good, but it’s a little lacking. I really like the track “For You,” which again I don’t know if it is a cover, a new song, or what. They offered this briefly for free to the subscribers of their mailing list, which was nice.]
  • The Weepies – “Hideaway” [I love this band, and have successfully shown them to a few of my friends, who are spreading the word. A married couple of songwriters, they do great songs, trading off in a sound that for some reason I can only describe as “small.” But that’s a good thing. “Antarctica” is a wonderful track to check out. I got another album at the same time, but I like this one better and I figure one per artist is good.]
  • The Decemberists – “The Hazards of Love” [Another album I’m “previewing,” I don’t find this as compelling as their earlier stuff. It’s not the ballad-y folk-opera-ness of it, since I loved “The Crane Wife,” but I think this is just less interesting than it could be. I was also disappointed that the song “Annan Waters” was not actually a straight version of the Irish ballad I love and have many versions of, but rather an interpretation of it. Ah well. It’s still probably my favorite track, but since I find this album fairly mediocre it’s kind of hard to pick. Yet I’ll still see them in concert next week.]
  • Girl Talk – “Feed the Animals” [If you haven’t heard Girl Talk before, check him (yes, him) out. He remixes lots of pop songs together to make completely new things. This really features one of my favorite things in music, when melodies combine unexpectedly. First track I heard was “In Step,” which is pretty great.]
  • Death Cab For Cutie – “Narrow Stairs” [Another album I was looking forward to so downloaded, and another one that I wasn’t really impressed with. I don’t even have a favorite track. But I have a suspicion my copy doesn’t have all the tracks, so I’ll have to check out the real thing and see how I feel.]

Sorry to end the list on sort of a lame note, but that’s pretty much the order they came in, from most recent to least. I hope this turns you on to some new music, or justifies some opinion you’ve already had of a band. As a final request, can someone PLEASE tell me what the official way to list albums is? Is it italics, or quotes, or…