a simpler sound.


I've been making mixes lately; some for friends who are moving away, some for road trips, some just because it's what I do.  

One band has made an appearance in nearly every mix as of late: Fun.  Their album, Some Nights, has been at the top of the charts, mostly in part of its hit single We Are Young, which more or less became the anthem of the year [or mid-year anthem at the least- 69 million and counting views on youtube don't lie].

I find myself listening to the track Why Am I the One over and over. 

For once, for once, for once
I've got the feeling that I'm right where I belong
Why am I the one
Always packing all my stuff?

Most tracks have this epic quality to them, something that makes me want to scream the lyrics out my car window. 

At times, there's a bit more auto-tune than I'd care for, but overall, their sound makes me want to dance or march around chanting the lyrics.  I don't know that I've had an album that makes me feel empowered in a fun, jump-out-of-your-chair and sing way.  Yes, Fun. is fun...

Definitely check out their album, and watch their latest music video [you can get the link here too].  A Civil War based storyline is not what I ever imagined for their track, Some Nights, but it's really well done.  It tells the story of two men and their fated meeting on the battlefield. 

bands to keep your eye on: milo greene [a concert and EP review].

I saw Milo Greene back in November when they opened for The Civil Wars at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. From top to bottom, that was one of the absolute best [yes, it deserves the double superlative!] concerts I've ever been to.  Although much of that status had to do with The Civil Wars putting on an impeccably moving performance, I left that show discovering a new band that would soon become another favorite of mine.  

I honestly don't know much about Milo Greene, other than that they're based out of Los Angeles, since I recall them mentioning that at the concert. Apart from really enjoying their soothing sound, I was so impressed by the vocal abilities of every member of the band, as well as their individual instrumental prowess.  With every song, the entire band would perform a sort of 'ring-around-the-rosie' dance, almost seeming as if they could grab any instrument on the stage and perform in perfect pitch together. This created such an organic performance, with each song taking on a varied style and tone. They played quite a few songs, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe they were officially signed to a label, and were still producing an EP themselves specifically for The Civil Wars tour.  I was able to snag a copy and chat with who I believe was the bassist [but with the tossing around of instruments, it was hard to tell!].

The EP has only three songs, two of which have been very recently released as singles on iTunes.

1. 1957: This song was just released as a single the other week. This is their most upbeat song on the EP and has a great melodic quality to it. I love the tapping of the drumsticks [at least I think that's what the sound is, I could be wrong...] throughout the song. Love these lyrics:

'the scent you wear moves in lines 
from your apartment into mine 
you act like you don't know me 
my god you tempt my anxious mind'

2. Silent Way: This song is my favorite on the EP for so many reasons.  For one thing, for a girl who doesn't love country music, I'm a sucker for the plucking of a banjo. It melds so perfectly with the piano. The slow, melodic pace has a repetition that I really like.  It's mimicked in the lyrics,

'when, when, when we're older
can I still come over?'

The song, whether it actually carries this meaning or not, reminds me of being a kid and how easy it was. I'd just go to a friend's house and we'd make up random, ridiculous games that almost always involved an obstacle course [Legends of the Hidden Temple was my FAVORITE show during this phase].  That might be a slight tangent, but essentially, I just loved how easy it was to have friends and have fun with life.  The lyrics make me think of little Jo, asking her best friend that when they're older can it still be the same, simple friendship they always had.  When you get older, things change and get so complicated. I wish it were as simple as this song, but it's not.

3. Don't You Give Up On Me: I posted a great quality live performance of this song at the top.  The song was actually featured on Grey's Anatomy recently. It has the most commercial quality of the three, and I can see it being used again in anther show or movie. I don't mean that as a negative in any way.  I've found so many great artists on TV shows [my secret dream job has been to be the person who chooses music for movies and TV- I'd LOVE that entirely too much]. It's just such a sweet song:

'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go wherever you go
I would never leave without letting you know'

This EP is my go-to driving CD, because I can listen to it over and over without ever getting tired of it. I sing to it all the time and since I rarely allow people to hear me legitimately try and sing, the car is a perfect venue for my performances. It's also got that great quality that makes driving seem leisurely and enjoyable, and calms my ever percolating road rage [I'm really a very calm, relaxed person- but my inner New York resurfaces every so often...!].

The Milo Greene full-length album has a release date set for July 17th, and they'll be heading to Atlanta shortly after on the 21st.  They're playing at the Drunken Unicorn, which is stumbling distance from my house, and I CAN'T wait to see them.  I'd love to invite them over to my house after the show to hang out and drink on my porch. They just seem like the kind of people I'd be friends with anyhow.

Concert review: M83 at The Masquerade.

A couple Mondays ago, M83 [fronted by French musician Anthony Gonzalez] came to Atlanta [within about a half mile from my house] to the Masquerade.  Occasionally, when there's a big demand for an artist [remember the time Snoop Dogg was in my neighborhood? Yeah.], The Masq will move concerts to an outdoor stage behind the main building.  
Despite showing up late, [due to some parking issues] we were able to catch most of the set, and more importantly, the amazing encore [their performance of Couleurs was one of my more surreal concert moments].  I really wasn't sure what to expect, since M83 has such an electronic based sound, with minimal singing.  But I was really surprised to see how many instruments were on stage [in addition to the more synth-based variety].  Their latest album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, takes a departure from their previous work and focuses on trying to use instruments not normally found in alternative electronic music.  I especially loved the guy on the saxophone during one of their bigger hits 'Midnight City' [insert my stalker photo of him here].

I was completely entranced by this guy [see below] and his one man light show, just off to the side of the stage.  It's amazing what a DSLR camera can capture.

The show was a hybrid of an outdoor festival and a rave [hello 90s?] and the combination of dancing, lights and music was perfect. The only things missing were two of my favorite songs: 'Too Late' and 'Raconte-Moi Une Histoire' [I'm dying to make a music video for this!] but this gives me a great excuse to see M83 live again.

New Music Mixtape: May Releases

Photo taken at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, CA

When I have trouble sleeping, I typically do one of two things. I find this time apt to clean the house [yes, in my pjs is when I think it's best to organize the spices in the kitchen cabinets or hang items from the ever-growing pile of clothes that accumulates on my desk chair].

My other late night ritual is hunting for new music.  My modus operandi involves sifting through the latest releases on itunes [with a focus on alternative music].  I basically sample 2-3 songs from each band, starting with the album's most popular song and then randomly choosing another. If I absolutely love the few songs I listen to, I may buy an album or EP on the spot [depending on how hefty my itunes cash is, which currently I've got ample funds so I'm being less picky with my purchases] but usually I'll just wish-list it until I've sorted through the majority of new music out there.  I also like to peruse several good music review sites out there [my go-to sites are this, that, and the other] and this helps give me a well-rounded view of what's out there right now and what deserves another listen.  

Tuesdays are always the best for this task, being that's when the majority of new releases come out.  Last night, I came upon some noteworthy tracks.  Here's the 'mixtape' I put together of some new favorites:

1. Blood Red Shoes - 'Cold' [harkening back to my bad ass roots]
2. Beach House - 'Myth' [other worldly]
3. Best Coast - 'Last Year' [liking the guitar riff]
4. POP ETC - 'Keep It for Your Own' [a touch of 80s synth]
5. Atlas Genius - 'Trojans' [upbeat !]
6. Matt Skiba & The Sekrets - 'Falling Like Rain' [Alkaline Trio lite]
7. Passion Pit - 'Take a Walk' [a refreshing change from their electronic falsetto]
8. Animal Kingdom - 'White Sparks' [reminds me of Mew]
9. Here We Go Magic - 'Over the Ocean' [Radiohead influenced]
10. King Charles - 'Lady Percy' [Mumford & Sons approved]
11. Barcelona - 'Slipping Away' [Brian Fennell's got some indie rock soul]
12. Sean Bones - 'Gallon Jug' [love, love that drum]
13. Death and a Cure - 'When It All Goes South' [singer/songwriter represent]

Give some of these a listen- many of these are just singles [with the hopes of fantastic albums to follow] while others come from albums worth buying in their entirety.  

Music worth a listen: of monsters and men.

If you haven't heard of them before, I highly recommend giving Of Monsters and Men a listen.  The band hails from Iceland, which is probably why the lead female singer reminds me just a bit of Bjork [minus the elecronica-trance vibe and sweet outfits like this]. I've had their EP, Into the Woods since last year and listened to it relentlessly while on a trip to Seattle [alongside a new recording from another great band, The Head and the Heart]. 

Though only four songs, each one is fantastic and addictive in its own right. My love for this band reminds me a bit of my past obsession with Mumford and Sons.  There's something about the combination of varied instruments and how both have the whole band singing in harmony, that really strikes a chord with me. 

Their latest album, My Head is an Animal, recently released in April, is still topping the Alternative charts over a month later.  The album utilizes a fuller range of the band's instruments and voices, but has the right combination of upbeat, catchy songs and slower, more contemplative pieces.

The video I posted is from a couple years back, shot in the band's apartment in Rejkavik.  By filming them in the round, you can really see the full range of instruments [my favorite being the accordion, of course] and voices.

I haven't had the privilege of seeing them live yet, but I look forward to them coming to Atlanta one of these days!