Favorite Song of This Monday Morning

Pete Yorn “Social Development Dance” (from his new album “Back & Fourth” that I really, really like)

And when we kissed it was electric
A chemist made us for each other…
There’s something missing in us
We long to make it whole
Though it never feels like it
I know you have it all
I know you have it all…
I heard you were staying up north with a friend
And that your hair was falling out
I tried to find out what had happened to you
I googled you in quotes, got no results
I never learned how you had died
But I knew how you had lived…

April Album Reviews

The sad, sad trend of me buying very little new music….sadly continues. I have been reading a LOT this year. But that’s no excuse!

Absolutely Love & Adore:
Great Lake Swimmers “Lost Channels” – Le sigh. Everything GLS does is just daaaammmmn beautiful. I’d advise you not to start listening to this album. BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO STOP. This one might even be just a *teensy* bit more upbeat than their norm. (I love their melancholy.) Fave songs are “Stealing Tomorrow” “Still” and “It’s Too Late”.

Gomez “A New Tide”
– Somehow I was clueless that these guys had a new album coming out (thank you, Becky, for letting me know!). LOVE it. Just love it. I actually think a lot of it is QUITE different than their last (also beloved) album “How We Operate.” (But I’m sure the Internets will tell me I’m wrong on that!) Fave songs “Engine” (“there’s gotta be an easier way…to find redemption…”) “Lost Track” and “Bone Tired”.

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Lights Off” The Dears” (swoooon)
  • “Boom Boom Pow” Black Eyed Peas
  • “Right Round” (cover? half cover?) Flo Rida
  • “Runaway” Yeah Yeah Yeahs (should I buy this album? I can’t decide!)

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Nada!

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:

March Album Reviews

Annnnd the weirdness continues. I bought very little music, went to no shows (WHAT?!) and while I liked most of what I bought in March, only really fell for one album. WHAT IS HAPPENING. Is 2009 a non-music year for me? WHAT? DO NOT WANT.

Absolutely Love & Adore:
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (self-titled) – Dude’s really growing on me. I liked his first solo album well enough. I LOVED him in concert. And I could listen to this album over and over. The first two songs are my faves “Seven-Mile Island” and “Sunstroke” but really it’s full-album-recommendation worthy.
Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Wave and Water” Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers (yes, that’s the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano)
  • “Afterglow” Kate York
  • “Airport Surroundings” Lonely, Dear (swoon)
  • “Miracles” Jeremy Messersmith
  • “High Cost of Living” Jamey Johnson (sometimes I really fall for the twangy country songs)
  • “Sweet Dream” Greg Laswell (swoon x2)
  • “Make You Feel My Love” (cover) Adele
  • “There’s Hope for You” William Elliott Whitmore (swoon x3)

(A great percentage of this month’s singles are from Paste Sampler 51. I have not searched out as many singles as I normally would. Something is wrong with me!)

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Boy Least Likely To “The Law of the Playground” – Poppy and fun with their usual blend of good musicianship and goofy lyrics. I love these guys and seriously, you should buy tickets if they play your town. You may even hear them cover “Faith”! (So good!) Fave song right now is “Stringing Up Conkers”. Also loving “When Life Gives Me Lemons, I Make Lemonade”.
  • U2 “No Line on the Horizon” – A month or two from now, this will probably have moved up into the “adore” category because I do find myself listening to it more and more. It’s nothing shiny and new; it’s back to old-school, Joshua Tree style, U2. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask me. Really love “Moment of Surrender” “White as Snow” and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”.
  • Okkervil River “The Stand Ins” – I had avoided buying this one when it came out (last year?) as I go through periods where Will Sheff is just too….raw? earnest? for me. (Can’t put my finger on it.) But I kept hearing singles from this and wondering why I didn’t have it so I finally came around. If you are an Okkervil fan, I can’t see you not liking this.

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:
Belle & Sebastian “The BBC Sessions” – Not sure what brought on this purchase, just wandering aimlessly through Reckless I guess! I really haven’t listened to B&S in years.

February Album Reviews

It seems quite weird that I didn’t buy much more music in February than I did in January…considering I am usually no holds barred with the February spending. Well, SOMEONE’s got to buy me birthday presents.

Absolutely Love & Adore:
Joshua Radin “Simple Times” – Joshua Radin music is all kinds of sad swoooooony sounds. An old single of his (“Winter”) was a staple on every mix I made for ages. And his cover of Yaz “Only You”? Sigh. Sooo nice. This album is equally enjoyable. I mean if you like the sorry sadness of it all. Fave songs: “Brand New Day” “We Are Okay” “Vegetable Car”

Messiah J & The Expert “From the Word Go”
– Bought on spec in Dublin for no reason other than I knew I’d never heard of the group. Hip-hop rap combo sounds. LOVE IT! Sassy and fun. Fave songs: “Turn the Magic On” “Geography” “Amnesia Comes Easily”

Mick Flannery “White Lies” – Oh now. Another speculative Dublin purchase. Le sigh. This album is beautiful, head to toe. Last time I looked iTunes only had his older stuff. You should harass them to get this one. The only issue I wonder about for this guy is whether he can make it big when Damien Rice is already out there. Definitely playing to the same “market” and “Wish You Well” for example sounds a lot like Rice. This is in constant rotation chez Duff. Fave song I canNOT stop listening to: “Wait Here”

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “My Life Would Suck Without You” Kelly Clarkson – may be the funnest pop song out there right now.
  • “Crack a Bottle” Eminem – oh yeah, shady’s back.
  • “Been a Long Time” Gary Jules & The Group Rules (feat. Jim Bianco) – sometimes old TV leads you to old tunes.

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Cut Off Your Hands “You & I” – Fun! Love the lyrics of “Happy As Can Be” and the sounds of “oh Girl” and “Let’s Get Out of Here”. I was really busy listening to sad mopey stuff (see “adore” category ha ha) so I really haven’t listened to this one THAT much.

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:
Halfset “Another Way of Being There” – Another Dublin purchase. Nothing bad about these tunes; I’m just not that into the mostly instrumental. (I prefer lyrics.) But if you’re into this stuff (think Explosions in the Sky), then you might enjoy it.

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion: Nada!

December Album Reviews

I bought only two albums in December and a few random singles. Say wha? Definitely the least amount of $$ spent on music all year.

Absolutely Love & Adore:
Frightened Rabbit “The Midnight Organ Fight” – I think this album is outstanding but I don’t have that much more to say about it than when I mentioned it the first time. I listened to it over and over in December. The Vores described it as sounding like Counting Crows. OK, I’ll give them that. I would describe it as… let’s say a combination of Counting Crows with Snow Patrol (from their first album before they got soooo super cheesy and overdramatic in EVERY SONG) but with slightly better music, better lyrics, and better accents. “Backwards Walk” is definitely my favorite song but I’m not sure there’s a single one I don’t like. (“The Twist” may be my #2 fave. I know you wanted to know that.)

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Halo” Beyonce – You could not possibly be prepared for the crazy amount of love I have for this song so I’ll just leave it at that.
  • “Shattered Glass” Britney Spears – Yes. I KNOW!
  • “Someone Else’s Life” Joshua Radin – Swoon.
  • “Duet” Rachael Yamagata (with Ray LaMontagne, I believe, although he was not credited on iTunes when I bought it)
  • “Forever Young” (cover) Audra Mae & Forest Rangers – both the accompanied and the acapella versions are soooo pretty (this was featured on Sons of Anarchy. FYI.)

Other Albums I Liked:

  • The Sea and Cake “Car Alarm” – I bought this just to get a little familiar with their tunes since I was going to see them on New Year’s Eve and had never listened to them before (I know!). It’s pleasant enough and I like it but it’s really (really) tame compared to their live show. Dear Sea and Cake fans, do they have an album that better represents what they sound like live? Lemme know, yo.

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:

Upcoming Albums to Buy in 2009

Jan 20: Bon Iver “Blood Bank” (EP)
Jan 27: Franz Ferdinand “Tonight”
Feb 3: Ben Kweller “Changing Horses”
Feb 3: Nous Non Plus “Menagerie”
Feb 17: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (self-titled)
Mar 3: U2 “No Line on the Horizon” (we’ll see if I actually buy this)
Mar 3: The Boy Least Likely To “The Law of the Playground”
Mar 24: The Decemberists “Hazards of Love”
Mar 31: Great Lake Swimmers “Lost Channels” (or just “Channels” acc. to some sites)

Best Album I Wasn’t Listening to Until Now

So back in June, I started listening to this song “Backwards Walk” by Frightened Rabbit that was on a Paste sampler. By August, I had become officially obsessed with it; thus its presence on my Dragon*Con mix.

Yet somehow I kept forgetting to check out anything else by this band. What is wrong with me? Then a week or two ago, I start, as is my usual December pasttime, reading through all the year-end lists so nicely compiled by Large-Hearted Boy. And I start seeing Frightened Rabbit everywhere… And I look at my iPod and wonder “Do I have anything by them? Why Yes. OH? THIS IS THEIR SONG!?!” And then they popped up on Heather’s (Fuel/Friends) year-end list and I knew I had to get my lazy butt in gear.

Frightened Rabbit “The Midnight Organ Fight” = best album of 2008 that I didn’t listen to until December. And I totally regret that. But at least I’m listening to it now. It’s REALLY good.

Dear Matt White,

When I first got your album, I have to admit, I found it kinda cheesy. Not in a bad way. Just in a “Oh, those are some cheeesy pop songs, dude” way. Do you believe in love at first sight? I think you do! But wow, these songs really grow on a girl. Don’t get me wrong. The cheese factor is still there. But now it’s a cheesy in a “that song really makes me grin” and “awwww” kind of way.

This weekend it was ALL I wanted to listen to. Particularly “Moment of Weakness”. Good on ya!


p.s. Also? it’s surprisingly danceable. I’ve got a whole hallway slip-n-slide routine going to it. Even the somewhat sad “I’ll Be There” has a good background beat.