recommended listening


A truncated list of good things I listen to. Indulge at your own risk.

SHALL WE BEGIN? MMMKAY.

  • THE AVALANCHES- SINCE I LEFT YOU
    Oh, how shall I begin? This record is divine, basically, is the point of everything I write about it, so you should probably listen to it like now. Okay? Okay. It is the spawn of a club DJ and a music historian. It is pounding, it is actually rather danceable, it may be played over the ambient speakers of Urban Outfitters stores in the near future. But: the way they put the samples together is simply magnificent. They have woven a sort of opera out of them. It runs the gamut from absolutely crazy to slow and soft and soothing, then back to disco-y marvels. Listen for: ALL THE SONGS, BABY. EVERY SINGLE ONE.
  • DUNGEN- 4
    PRETTY FRIGGING AWESOME. This record was touted as “hip elevator music,” and sure, some of the songs are pretty calm compared to their older stuff, but then you get to Samtidigt 1 and suddenly you are swept along to rock the hell out. It sweeps the scale from loud and feedbacky to slow, soft, and full of that lovely flute/fiddle combination that Gustav seems to like so much. I like it too, so I’m not complaining. It has a very nice flow, good to listen to as background music. The nice thing about the loud tracks is that they’re not overpowering, just crazy but muted. Tracks to listen for: “Det Tar Tid,” “Fredag,” “Samtidigt 2.”
  • INTERPOL- OUR LOVE TO ADMIRE
    One of my absolute favourite albums. It is so nicely structured- starts out a little intense, loud and sharp, and gradually relaxes until it becomes something totally different, a sedated animal. “Pace Is The Trick” has made my Top Ten Songs list. This record is bloody amazing. Though Turn On The Bright Lights may be more well known (and debatably better) I greatly prefer this, if only for the cover: It’s a model of a gazelle being eaten by a lion! What’s not to like?
  • SIGUR ROS- TAKK…
    Jonsi…just Jonsi. He outdid himself on this one. Sure Med Sud i Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust was met with awesome reviews, it is much more melancholy and a little tedious. I can listen to Takk… until the day I die. It is that good. The lilting melodies, the whale keening and the downright beautiful tinkling sounds surrounding “Saeglopur” tend to make me shut up in the middle of sentences when I am listening to the song. I usually put this on and fall asleep to it, but by no means is it boring: the last few songs have very loud drums just randomly pop into the mix. Be warned. Great album, great band, I have never heard a song I didn’t like by these guys…alright, maybe Von makes me cry quite often, but it’s still a good song.
  • SUFJAN STEVENS- ILLINOIS
    Man Sufjan, why did you do this so damn well,this record makes me tear up. Stop that. I don’t need to be sniffling through “Casimir Pulaski Day” because it is so beautiful, and dammit bone cancer shouldn’t be that pretty! “Decautur, Or, Round of Applause For Your Stepmother” is awesome banjo-y goodness. I like this record a lot. I would like to maybe find Mr. Stevens and give him a big hug because of this record. It has the right balance: Sad song, then happy song, then kinda midway song, then getting sadder song…the cycle repeats. It’s okay to have such heartbreaking songs if you’re gonna have a song about zombies after it. Come on.
  • SPOON-GA GA GA GA GA
    Oh, Spoon. I found these guys whoknowswhere, and have not gotten tired of them yet. They are great. This record was one of the first that I bought by my own judgement, and I am very glad I did. The songs are just poppy enough not to be funeral dirges, and rocky enough that they’re not, say, the Jonas Brothers. Plus there are Youtube videos of a cute yellow robot thing dancing to their songs! GUAH SO CUTE
    Anyway, this record is just pure energy. I don’t think there’s a downbeat song in the entire thing; well, “Black Like Me” might count, as it has a piano in it. I especially enjoy “Rhythm And Soul” as it is…well, rhythmical with a dash of soul. SOUUUL.
  • OF MONTREAL – HISSING FAUNA, ARE YOU THE DESTROYER?
    One of my favorite albums. It is loud and crazy to begin, settles down, and then suddenly changes over the course of the 11-minute long epic “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal.” Apparently it’s supposed to chronicle Kevin Barnes’ gradual change into his alter-ego Georgie Fruit, but I just think the music’s great. The lyrics, as per usual, are florid and looping and lovely and half the time make absolutely no sense, but that’s alright because the sheer infectiousness of the beat makes up for it. Would infinitely recommend. Listen for “Gronlandic Edit,” “She’s A Rejector,” and “Voltaic Crusher/Undrum to Muted Da.” Hell, you kind of have to listen to the whole album, all of the songs are pretty much intertwined with each other.
  • WHITE DENIM- EXPOSITION/FITS
    Firstly: This record is like Dungen, kind of. Spanish/Texan Dungen. I don’t know if that would make any sense to anyone reading this, and if not then just go listen to this. Yeah, it’s good. I love this album. I have listened to it for about a week and a half and am not tired of it yet, which is saying something. It is happy and alternately jumps from utter energy to slightly toned-down-ness. I love it. I love it. I want to play the songs loudly from a car window whilst driving through corn fields, then having a huge bonfire. That is the image I get. I am going to make a music video from some of these songs. Five stars. Songs to listen for: “Don’t Look That Way At It,” “Shake Shake Shake,” “Regina Holding Hands,” “Syncn.”
  • BEIRUT- THE FLYING CLUB CUP
    I am appalled that I haven’t written this album up yet. It is wonderful. It is quiet. It is liable to make people go off into Moulin Rouge-esque monologues about life and love and bohemia. I love Zach Condon’s voice, firstly: it makes the record sound a little antiquated- it is low and wavering, and you are always just hoping that he will make the next note, and every time he does it is a little sigh of relief. The violins and trumpets and drums in the background make it…make it… oh, it is beyond words. Please listen to this album, and if not the whole thing then shame on you but at least listen to “Nantes,” “Cliquot,” “The Penalty,” “Cherbourg,” and “In The Mausoleum.” Please.
  • MY MORNING JACKET- OKONOKOS
    I only knew of this album because of the version of “Golden” I mistakenly bought, but damn that was a blessing in disguise because it is well worth seeking out. This is a great, great live album. Jim James is right on key, the drummer (Patrick Mulrooney or something similar) is crazy and loud, the rest of the band is spot-on…it is beautiful, and it is raw, and it is real. They played “Steam Engine” and it is just sublime- soft, at the end, but then after the last few lyrics the guitars bloom into solos, then fade, and soon the piano and bass fade out, leaving the drums to thrash. And it is wonderful. This is before they became very very popular, so all the songs are from their first couple albums. “Wordless Chorus” is magnificent. “One Big Holiday” equally so. “Dondante” is absolutely breathtaking, seeing as after the final guitar solo, a saxophone (SAXOPHONE) comes wisping in, carrying the song to the close. Very, very cool. This album is wonderful, and if you enjoy this band it is well worth it to buy it.
  • THE SMITHS- THE QUEEN IS DEAD
    Okay, firstly, I have not listened to nearly enough of The Smiths to truly give a good, concise review of this album. Also, if you know of the Smiths and have not heard this album, you should give yourself a smack with a wet noodle and proceed to listen to it as soon as humanly possible. Is it good? Oh hell yes. Is it perfectly balanced? Pretty much, yes. I am not exactly sure why they put “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” on the end of it, it seems like it was just tacked on, but all the other songs are woven beautifully together and are like an orgasm for the ears. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little here, but you should get the point that this album is GREAT and you should listen to it NOW. (‘Specially the songs “Cemetry Gates,” “I Know It’s Over,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again.”)
  • BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW- EATING US
    Oh gosh, where do I begin? This album is fucking fabulous. It is…hell, I’m going to have to write this based on individual parts- the drums, unlike the ones in Start A People, are hugely thumping and loud and supporting everything Tobacco and the rest of the band do. The synths are swooping, fuzzy, wonderful. The guitar, though it only shows up in a few songs, is soft, psychadelic. And Tobacco’s voice is distorted into some mystical twisting high angel song.  It is sublime. It is stoner elevator music, basically, but still loud and still powerful. Listen for “The Sticky,” “Twin of Myself,” “Fields Are Breathing.”
  • ANIMAL COLLECTIVE – SET FROM HOVE FESTIVAL
    Yeah, I know this isn’t really an album, but it’s a set I downloaded a while ago of their performance from Hove Festival. It is magnificent. Everyone is on tune, which is unusual for Animal Collective. Especially live.  Well, it is positively marvellous, and as per most of their songs it is loud and wonderful and actually very good background music for doing anything to. They play everything I could have ever asked them to play. It runs the gamut from happy and wonderful and glorious to cripplingly sad. It is life. It is everything about life that we love, and hate to love. I would love it if people listened to this and went running through the streets with the only intent being to feel the air against their skin. Link to download forthcoming.
  • JONSI- GO
    Oh MY GOD.
    THIS ALBUM. IT IS AMAZING. He is singing in English and Icelandic and Hopelandic and everything inbetween, it is energetic and floral and loud and brassy and beautiful: the sound of a million tiny beautiful rainbows blooming. The sound of a bonfire surrounded by flowerpetals. It is joyful, it is the music that makes us live. I love this. I love it.  Songs to listen to: “Animal Arithmetic,” “Boy Lillikoi,” “Go Do,” “Grow Till Tall.” Oh hell, just listen to the entire thing.
  • FRANZ FERDINAND- FRANZ FERDINAND
    Everyone seems to enjoy this record, and I’m no exception. It just seems to appeal to all my senses- the lyrics are well done, pretty witty at times, the music is energetic guitar-heavy poprock, it’s just a win-win combination. A few of my friends, though, have told me that their newer albums have suffered from popularity decay, which saddens me somewhat. They had so much going for them! And threw it awaaay! (at this point I’d dramatically swoon. But I digress.) Anyway, pretty swell album, good to listen to when you’re feeling down and want a boost. Songs: “Take Me Out” (OF COURSE), “Dark Of The Matinee,” “Michael,” and “40′.” The album works well as a whole, as well.

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ASSORTED SONGS
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  • ROKKURRO- FERDALANGURINN
    Icelandic beautiful softness, it is glorious and cello-y and jazzy and I usually end up listening to it about sixty times while drawing. It is not overpowering. It is almost romantic. I cannot understand a word she is singing, but it sounds like what I’d like to believe angels sound like, so I end up not caring. Please check these guys out, they have several other songs but I have not looked into them yet.
  • KINGS OF LEON-CRAWL
    I realize that I have been a little unfair to these guys. This song, even though it’s on their new album (which I hate), is probably the closest to their original stuff; it is loud, Jared is pummelling on that bass, the guitars are not effected to high heaven, the drumbeat is not fancy. It is simple. It is a lot less poppy than the other songs on the album. The only problem I have with it is the sudden added reverb- these guys had no reverb on their earlier albums. None. It’s the producers, I’d bet, but I’m willing to look over that little “problem” because the song gives me a little hope for the band.
  • ANIMAL COLLECTIVE-MY GIRLS
    This song got “Best Song Of 2009” according to Pitchfork, which is saying something. Of course, they are pretty dang biased about Animal Collective, but whatever. This song is probably my favourite of theirs, but the only version I have is a live one from a Norwegian festival in which there is random yelping at the end and little Norwegian bits added in the middle. (At least I think it’s Norwegian. He is really hard to understand.)
  • PASSION PIT-I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER
    Everyone ready? OKAY!
    HAVE YOU SEEN MEEE CRYYYYYYYY
    TEARS LIKE DIIIIAAAMMMOONNNDDSSSS?!
    DOWN AND DOWN THEY FLYYYYYYYYY
    FASTER AND FAAAAASTERRRRRRRRRRR
    ‘Nuff said.
  • THE PLOT-WHITE RABBITS
    This band was reccomended to me via Last.fm, and I decided to look it up on a whim. The first song I looked up was called “Percussion Gun” (or some such slovos), very loud, and I was about to download it when I realized it cost something like forty cents more than the rest of the album. I am a frugal music-listener, so I said “Later,” and instead bought this song. It is off of their debut album, and sounds like Spoon hyped on energy drinks with a lovely velvety singer’s voice and a hyperactive piano. Highly, highly recommended.
  • (UNKNOWN TITLES)-VLADIMIR AND ROSA
    A pet project of my acquaintance Will (two l’s) that he’s been working on for a while with his friends. They’re on Last.fm if you’d like to listen to the songs, but- they are dark, and the guitar is flowy and masterful, and there are violins and cellos that suddenly sweep into the song and take you away. The bass is slow, soothing, and Will’s voice (even though he doesn’t like it) suits the music very well. The lyrics are kind of not my style, but they fit quite wonderfully. Check ’em out first chance you get; you won’t regret it, I think. They do a dadaist song. There are no set lyrics. It is called “Everybody Dance” and is pretty damn awesome.
  • PROPHECIES AND REVERSED MEMORIES-MUM
    I saw the version they did on La Blogotheque and instantly fell in love with it. I adore this song. It is soft and soothing, yet somehow energetic- it makes me think of long train rides and sitting in 1960s swimsuits by Shoys Beach and just laughing with friends. Unfortunately I do not own 1960s swimsuits, so I’ll have to go with the one I’ve got. VERY MUCH reccomended.
  • TAKEN BY TREES-MY BOYS
    A cover of the awesome Animal Collective song “My Girls”, this is soft and bongo-y and has an accordion. No electronica whatsoever, it is lovely. The singer’s voice is simple, angelic, airy. Very, very much recommended if you like the original, and even if you don’t.
  • JONSI AND ALEX-BOY 1904
    No idea what the title means, but I downloaded it simply because I like Jonsi, and because he sounds like a little tiny whale. It is soft and lilting and sounds like a choir of angels, quite frankly. Very good to fall asleep to.
  • MODEST MOUSE – GRAVITY RIDES EVERYTHING
    I am ashamed that I haven’t listened to more of this band, especially because for the last year or so EVERY SINGLE BOY who ventures into Mrs. Grace’s room grabs a guitar and starts playing the riff from 3rd Planet. It is now stuck in my head, augh, augh, augh. Anyway. This song. It is very, very lovely. It makes me feel floaty and wonderful and made of win. (har, har.) Going to buy the entire album, actually.
  • ANIMAL COLLECTIVE – FIREWORKS
    Six minutes of happy electronic clicks and beeps and ooo-ing that makes me feel like I’m supposed to be singing at the top of my lungs and jumping around in an electric-blue jumpsuit. Or something. If this song was a person, I would want it to be my friend.
  • RATATAT- LOUD PIPES
    This is proof that I like instrumental music maybe a little too much. Something about the heavy drumbeat behind the guitars gets to me, I don’t know why, but it wiggles its way into my brain and I don’t realize until I find myself bobbing my head hard enough to injure bystanders. These guys have made me dig rap songs, which usually I…I don’t. But. Jay-Z did a rap with the Notorious B. I. G. over one of their beats, and it was positively marvelous. Really. Seriously. I might download it in the future.
  • COCOROSIE- FAIRY PARADISE
    This song has a lot of latent memories attached to it, but that doesn’t make it good only for that. CocoRosie is really, really fucking weird, but I don’t mind them as much as I used to: they are an aquired taste. Anyway: the singer sounds like a very hesitant Jamaican woman reciting rather nice poetry in a high, wavery voice; the beats and electronica backing her up are florid and soft and delightful. Check it out, see how you find it.
  • GRIZZLY BEAR- READY, ABLE
    “What I did, I did.” Oh, dear, this song.  I once read on someone’s blog that “Grizzly Bear are the Devil’s choir boys” and well, I don’t know whether to agree or disagree based on this song. It is so beautiful. It is mournful. It is like someone took the Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective and put them in a huge pot with Owen Pallett, then stirred the whole mess up and poured out the four marvellous musicians responsible for this. There are beautiful violins in the background, the bass is soft and soothing, and the lilting kind-of-chorus that swings into the main part of the song is like the sea to me- wavy, vibrato. So beautiful. I highly recommend this song.
  • LCD SOUNDSYSTEM- DRUNK GIRLS
    I fucking love this song. I really do. It is weird and happy and catchy as hell, and the lyrics are hysterical once you get down to it: “Drunk girls/wait an hour to pee!” he sings gleefully, and you sometimes can’t help giggling along with him. I play this when I’m walking around- when I was in Paris, I listened to it all the time on the Metro and scared some people with my smile and involuntary air-guitaring. It’s that kind of song. Listen to it!
  • YEASAYER- 2080
    So I fell in love with these guys due to “Ambling Alp,” then went on Blogotheque and further fell in love due to their acoustic version of this song. They only use a piano, some bottles, and a bunch of eager people singing the “YEAH, YEAH!” part of the chorus. It is pretty damn mindblowing. The album version is also rather nice, but lacks the same raw energy as the Blogotheque one. You can download the video on the Blogotheque website, if you’re interested. It’s free!

Will update once more music falls into my lap.

2 Responses to “recommended listening”

  1. lynna 03/10/2010 at 11:53 pm #

    When do you guess you will update with another entry comparable this. I feel that whole area of indie music needs to get listened to more.

    • brosandi 05/06/2010 at 8:54 pm #

      I am constantly updating. Check back every few weeks and there’ll likely be something new up there.

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