Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Week That Was #4: January Is Endless

Wow, I didn't know I liked the Dears that much. I guess seeing a band live really does make a difference; Camera Obscura's up there, too. The rest of the week is kind of skewed to what was posted on the blog, but I heard some of the artists - #2, #6 and #10 - for the first time last week. It's always tricky finding that balance between old and new, but I'm pretty happy with last week's distribution. Enjoy the picks:

This song is a big reason why the Dears have been atop the charts over the last two weeks. It starts out sparsely, with Murray's characteristic delivery, but eventually turns into a huge, harmonious crescendo, probably the best build this side of "The Bleeding Heart Show." After a little synth interlude, and it gets even bigger, with Murray's "You and I" partnered with Natalia's "We've got the same heart." While there's clearly a romantic element - particularly in light of their marriage - there's a universality here that speaks to anyone who's ever been an outsider.

MP3: The Dears - You and I Are A Gang of Losers
Buy: Here

Bowery Electric, as their name suggests, hail from the isle of Manhattan, and they really show off the nocturnal side of the city. Ethereal, understated vocals and enrapturing instrumental give birth to a sound that is as desolate as it is seductive. Admittedly, this combination has been utilized frequently, but originality sometimes has to take a backseat to sheer proficiency. In a landscape saturated with downtempo, Bowery Electric sticks out.

MP3: Bowery Electric - Saved
Buy: Here

It's appropriate that this song's title translates into "the world" (thanks, Babelfish), as Thievery Corporation incorporates a cosmopolitan blend of influences, ranging from Brazilian, Middle Eastern and, of course, French. I've quite a weakness for the latter, and I think this track is exquisite.

MP3: Thievery Corporation - Le Monde
Buy: Here

Rachel Goswell is, esoterically, a musical goddess on par with Liz Fraser and Emma Pollock (who has finished an album). While Rachel provides the heights of Souvlaki, as well as contributing later to Mojave 3, she's often overshadowed by Neil Halstead. Perhaps in an effort to differentiate, she had a solo release a couple years ago, Waves Are Universal. Although it didn't resonate critically or commercially, perhaps because it doesn't deviate much from her past, I've found the strength of her voice to be more than enough. This track is the clear highlight, marrying atmosphere churn with her dreamy delivery.

MP3: Rachel Goswell - Coastline
Buy: Here

One notable absence from that Aphex Twin set is "4," the opener to the Richard D. James Album. While the presence of a lively drum machine makes the song danceable, this track is more of an example of his ambient learnings. A downright pretty synth provides some gentle hooks, and some vague vocal samples add up to a weird, but soothing listen. He's really not that scary after all! Oh, and check out the video.

MP3: Aphex Twin - 4
Buy: Here

I think we can give Bloc Party the "band with the best taste" award (Snow Patrol isn't bad, either). Not only is Silent Alarm Remixed a fine work in its own right, but every single remixer is fantastic. I finally gave M83's Before The Dawn Heals Us my full attention last week, and it's gorgeous. Ethereal vocals reminiscent of Sigur Rós blend seamlessly with a multitude of synths, creating something as melodic as it is melodramatic. I might be posting a live set from these guys later in the week, so stay tuned.

MP3: M83 - Teen Angst
Buy: Here

The great opener to Mogwai's Mr. Beast gets a glitchy makeover in this companion to the "Travel Is Dangerous" single, and no, I don't get the artwork either. While the guitar-fueled crash (or piano, in this case) that characterizes Mogwai's usual sound is pretty disparate from electronic noodling, it's an effective unity in this case.

MP3: Mogwai - Auto Rock (Errors Remix)
Buy: Here

Sophie Ellis-Bextor caught my eye on the new Forkcast feature in a wicked display of synth-pop. (Merry Swankster has the mp3.) I'll definitely be keeping an eye on her upcoming album, but ever the fan of connections, I investigated her history a bit. Not only did she collaborate with the Manic Street Preachers and Spiller, but she was also in a band called theaudience. While it's a bit of a departure from her glammy future endeavors, there's a definite upside here.

MP3: theaudience - I Know Enough (I Don't Get Enough)
Buy: Here

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...