a simpler sound.

New Music Mixtape: August.

I'm just sneaking a mix in before the monthly deadline.  I had a harder this month [I also was a little low in my usual iTunes funds- I squandered away my iTunes savings on an entire season of Parks & Rec because I couldn't wait until it came out on Netflix, and I needed my Ron Swanson fix], but there are some great songs on here.  Enjoy. 

[FYI: I'm running all over the place today, so I'm holding off on adding in band links until later- but Google makes all of that a little unnecessary anyhow]

1. V.A.L.I.S. - Bloc Party
This album is a bit of a mix bag- not your usual Bloc, but this track stays pretty true to their sound.

2. Rivertown Blues - Yellowcard
Now talk about throwbacks; this song brought me right back to the old Yellowcard I loved so much in high school- super fast drums, with the faint beauty of that fiddle in the background- such nostalgia for this one.

3. Would That Not Be Nice - Divine Fits
This new collaboration has members from Spoon and Wolf Parade, among others.  The Supergroups just keep forming- something akin to the Avengers of Indie Alternative music.  I'd see them live for sure.

4. The a Team [Live] - Birdy [Ed Sheerhan cover]
It's not news that I absolutely adore this girl's voice and work on the piano.  I'm actually learning a few of her piano renditions right now. When I was a kid, all I knew were Disney songs [I can still play A Whole New World and Can You Feel The Love Tonight? THAT'S RIGHT.]

5. Keep on Swinging - Rival Sons
They've got some serious rock in them.  I get a mix of The Black Keys and a little bit of Led Zeppelin.   Love love love that riffing on the guitar.

6. Family - The Cast of Cheers
I heard this song on Pandora, and literally could not get it of my head.  It's ferociously catchy and fast, so I had to have it. 

7. Cut It Out - Kitten 
I love the light, breathy quality of this song and the lead singer's voice.  The drums give it this 80s ballad sound and remind me of this really specific song from that era, and I can't put my finger on it.  It's driving me a little crazy, but I'll figure it out eventually.

8. World's End - Army Navy
This has such an oldies vibe to it.  My youngest years were spent listening to this era of music [that and Madonna...] so even though this sort of sound is so simple, it holds a really special place in my heart.

9. Downwind - Sean Rowe
This man has such a booming, deep voice that's really addictive. This song also has that old surfer guitar sound that I love. It's like a sexy version of Sheb Wooley's Purple People Eater [that may sound completely nuts, but think what you will].

10. Dementia - Owl City ft. Mark Hoppus
I actually heard this song on Pandora and thought it was a new departure of Blink 182.  I had no idea it was Owl City. I thought, well Blink is going a little more pop, a little less punk, but I don't hate it.  And then I found out the truth.  And I wasn't all that upset about it.  Heck, I can't help but love that Carley Rae Jepsen duet he does, so why not like a collaboration with Blink? 

11. Fading Listening - Shiny Toy Guns
This song has an odd mixture of dance music mixed with Fleetwood Mac.  It's kind of perfect in that way.  Some of the male vocals remind me of M83 a bit, so overall it's a great mixture of sounds.


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.

have a listen: The Lumineers 'Ho Hey'

I discovered The Lumineers recently through one of the blogs I frequent.

Listen to this song [and watch this video] for a little bit of light [figuratively and quite literally].

I can't help but smile when I listen to the chorus:

"I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart"

It's just the right amount of simple, with this undeniably infectious warmth.  Add the gentle strum of a fiddle, and the low tap of a bass drum and they've got me hooked. 

The timed shouts from the rest of the band are a jolt to heart, in the best way possible.  I love the effect of lightbulbs breathing in time with the song. [I have a quirky thing for incandescent lightbulbs...look for an upcoming post explaining why..] This band has so much lighthearted soul [is this a contradiction?] and it's evident as they walk the halls with instruments in hand and conviction [and smiles] on their faces.  

Something about this track is just so pure and almost child-like.  The video only further embodies this with its throwback touches, alluding to a simpler time.  

Only the best songs act like synapses, connecting us to a memory, a feeling. They reverberate in your soul.

This song does just that for me.  

This is just a song/video review, since I'm still so new to the band. I'm starting to get a feel for the rest of the album, and it's already promising.