Favorited ex.fm Songs

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The band Noah and the Whale is an English band whose name was taken from combining the names of one of their favorite movies, The Squid and the Whale, and the film's director, Noah Baumbach. The title of the post is the name of their first single from, The Last Night On Earth, their upcoming (March 7) release. This song is a far cry from their previous two releases which were more of a blend of indie pop and folk and were far less upbeat. I haven't spent much time listening to their older material, so I can't vouch for it, but this new single is nothing if not catchy. I defy you to avoid trying to sing along to the chorus. I've found this song playing through my head many times after I listen to it, which usually means I end up wanting to listen to it again. I'll be curious to see if the rest of their album is as catchy or if it is more similar to their previous albums. Below is the official music video for L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.:

Here is another track from the album (that sounds much more like their older stuff), but the little tape gadget to play it in from their website is too cool to pass up:

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Joe Pug

Joe Pug is an artist that I've been aware of for a long time (since he toured with favorites of mine like M. Ward and Josh Ritter), but for one reason or another, I hadn't spent much time listening to his music. A few weeks ago, one of his songs (I can't remember which anymore) came onto my iTunes shuffle and sent me out looking for more of his music. He had an EP available for download on his website, and Amazon is still selling his only full length album, Messenger, for $5. Since picking those up, he has been one of my most listened to artists. His music isn't anything fancy (just his guitar, voice, and harmonica), but he just makes really good folk music. While my favorite song of his keeps changing, right now it is a song called "Not So Sure" from his album Messenger.

There are some artists that seem really cool, but I just can't quite get into their music. Beck is one example, where I like him as an individual, but I can never get that into his music. Fortunately, in Joe Pug's case, I like him and his music. He has worked hard to build a following by touring relentlessly, but the coolest part is an offer he put on his website. He will send fans two song CDs, at his expense, so that they can pass them on to others and spread the word of his music. Not many artists would be willing to take that kind of hit from their pockets on good faith that those people will enjoy the music and buy more or attend shows. He claims that he just trusts his fans and the good nature of people in general. According to him, this gamble has payed off and been one of the main driving forces behind his growing popularity. I love trying to support artists who are willing to give away some of their music for fans to sample, and in his case, it has been no problem supporting him after this. Whenever his next album is released, I'll purchase it that day without hesitation.

If you're interested in picking up some of his music, you can go to his website and there is a link you can click to get one of his EPs for free if you sign up for his mailing list. He doesn't send things out very often, so it shouldn't hit your inbox too hard, but I'm sure you could just unsubscribe if you want also.

Joe has also recorded two sessions for Daytrotter, which you can download for free here and here, the latter one containing a version of the "Not So Sure".

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Iron & Wine album

I was getting worried about not having things to write about, and then today I came across about 4 different artists/songs I wanted to cover. I should have plenty of material coming up, including a song from a 62 year old soul singer who just released his debut album, a couple songs from a folk singer who has gained his following by giving away music for free, and a couple old favorite of mine that I have yet to cover. But for today, it's Iron & Wine that gets the call from the bullpen of ideas (hmm... probably a forced baseball reference).

Iron & Wine, the stage name of Sam Beam, released his newest album today. If you are familiar with Sam's previous work, this album may catch you off guard a bit. His previous releases have been hushed, stripped down, folky affairs, while his new record sees him experimenting with horn sections, electronic elements, and more plugged in instruments than usual. Upon my first couple listens of Kiss Each Other Clean, I actually really enjoy the change. It was strange at first, but it quickly grew on me. The first track from the album is called "Walking Far From Home" and stood out as an early favorite track for me. Here is a video of the song:

The whole album can be streamed right now at Spinner, here.

The first single from the album, Tree By The River, can currently be downloaded for free from Amazon here, and the whole album is only $6.99 there.

Iron & Wine also did a session with Daytrotter recently, and you can download 4 songs from that session for free here. Enjoy the free music and pick up the new album if you like what you hear!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jolene by Ray Lamontagne

Tonight I watched The Town, the Ben Affleck directed movie about a group of bank robbers in Boston. The movie was one that I had looked forward to seeing for quite some time, and I thought it ended up being pretty good, if maybe not quite as good as I had originally hoped. More importantly for this blog though, the song that played over the closing credits really caught my attention. The song was "Jolene" by Ray Lamontagne, a folk singer/songwriter from Western Massachusetts. Ray Lamontagne is one of those artists whose music I usually enjoy, but who I rarely really go out of my way to listen to. It may just be that I never really stopped to listen very closely to the music when I heard it because when I heard Jolene after the movie tonight it sounded great. I think tomorrow I may have to spend some time checking out the rest of his catalog.

Here is a video of Ray performing the song on Elvis Costello's show Spectacle (which I also need to watch more of). Anyhow, here you go:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I think I'm in the right place

I don't want to write too much because it's really late, but I wanted to post this song before I went to bed. A couple years ago a few of my favorite musicians (M. Ward, Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, and Jim James from My Morning Jacket) teamed up to form the (super)group Monsters of Folk. As was to be expected from a gathering of favorites, I loved their self-titled debut album. A few days ago they performed songs from the album on the PBS show Austin City Limits.

Today was my birthday as well as the day I found out that I passed my master's comprehensive exams that I took last week. Those two things combined to put me in a pretty great mood all day. When I got home from school, I had some cake and watched some of the Austin City Limits episode, which I had recorded. One of the first few songs they played was "The Right Place." That song is one of my absolute favorite good mood songs (in that I love it even more when I'm in a good mood to start with). It fit perfectly with how I was feeling and ended up stuck in my head the rest of the night.

Below is the music video for the song. It's pretty simple, just black and white video of the band practicing the song, but it seems to capture the band really well. Enjoy!

cause i like where i'm livin
and i like what i do
and i like what i'm seein
when i'm lookin at you
i still like what i'm sayin
when i open my face
i think i got the right feelin
i think i'm in the right place

The whole album is currently $5 on Amazon here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So I could stay the tallest man in your eyes, babe

Today's post is dedicated to my favorite song by one of my favorite current artists. The Tallest Man On Earth is the stage name of Sweden's Kristian Matsson, a phenomenal folk singer-songwriter who often draws comparisons to Dylan. In 2010 he released, The Wild Hunt, my top ranked album of the year. While that whole album (and really every song he has released) is just fantastic, my favorite Tallest Man On Earth song comes from his first album, Shallow Grave.

This video for "The Gardner" is from the French website La Blogotheque and their Take Away Shows series, where artists perform their songs in unique settings. This particular video was taken at a place called Music Inn in Greenwich Village before Kristian's show later that night with Bon Iver.

Tallest Man on Earth - The Gardener - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

If you like this, you can grab one of his songs from his most recent EP, Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird, from Pitchfork here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Decemberists Album

The new Decemberists album, The King Is Dead, came out today. I've been a fan of the Portland, Oregon band for several years now, and their albums have yet to disappoint me. I picked up the album after teaching today, and I've listened to The King Is Dead twice now, and so far I've really enjoyed it. While their last album, The Hazards of Love, was a rock opera with a story throughout, complete with different people voicing different characters, the new album is just a fun, regular album, indie-folk affair, much more to my liking. So far my favorite song is the first track, Don't Carry It All. I'm a sucker for a catchy harmonica in a song, and the accordion is a fun touch. You can hear the song below:

Here you can stream the first single from the album:

If you want to hear more, last I checked, you could still stream the full album here as part of NPR's wonderful First Listen series.

Also, the album is on sale at Best Buy for only $6.99 (where I picked it up), and it is $3.99 for the mp3 download from Amazon through the end of today (so hurry!).

Monday, January 17, 2011

My favorite song of 2010

I always like doing end of the year lists of my favorite albums. Sometimes I'll post them online somewhere, other times I'll just keep them for myself. Usually I have high hopes of making a song of the year list too, but for some reason that task never reaches completion. While I may throw a bunch of songs I like in a playlist, I rarely can actually convince myself that they belong in some order. This year was no different. I intended to make a best songs of the year list and instead ended up with a big list of songs with no order whatsoever.

All of that leads us to the song "O.N.E." by Yeasayer. Had I managed to get around to making a year end song list, I have no idea where other songs would have fallen, but this one would have been #1. I never got into their previous music much, but I found myself playing this year's album, Odd Blood, over and over. This song and "Ambling Alp" both received probably as many plays as any other song this past year for me. O.N.E. is much more dancy and electronic than most of the stuff I listen to, but it is incredibly infectious. I've read that the song is about getting over an alcohol addiction. I listen to it as convincing yourself over and over that you are over an ex. Either way, listening to it is a heck of a way to spend 5 minutes.

If you enjoy this, you can pick up the whole album from Amazon for $5 here.
Also, Yeasayer released a "pay what you like" live album on their website for Christmas that can be found here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So I guess I'm writing a music blog...

I've been thinking about doing this for a while now, and I finally decided I would just give it a go. The main motivation was that I often find myself listening to music during a day when I hear a song that just won't leave me even after it finishes. It may be a new song or one of heard countless times but it just resonates with me at that time. The main focus of this will probably be posting songs like that, songs that hit me just right at that certain time, songs that I want to share with others in hopes that those songs will do the same for them, or that they will share with me the songs that do. We'll see how it goes...

Anyhow, I spent the weekend in Madison, WI, and on the ride home I encountered one of those songs. The song was "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. I've heard it dozens of times before, and I love it every time I do. I had been listening to music for the whole drive, but when this song came on, it made me stop and really listen. Since I just returned from a weekend in Madison, below is a video of Justin Vernon (the man behind Bon Iver) singing the song on The Late Show two years ago with Bucky Badger peeking out from his undershirt.

This song along with one other Bon Iver song and one song from Volcano Choir, another band of Justin's, can be downloaded for free here on Bon Iver's website.