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Friday, May 18, 2012

This week in music (Week of 5/15/2012)

New release of the week - Bloom by Beach House

The newest offering by Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House was the only album this week that really interested me much (although I could obviously be missing things that I don't know about). The album is receiving pretty positive reviews all over the place including an A- from Paste, an A from Listen Before You Buy, and a 9.1 out of 10 and a "Best New Music" designation from Pitchfork. I've listened to the album 2-3 times now, and I enjoy it, but it hasn't really hooked me yet. As you may imagine from the dream pop genre that they get classified into, the album features lots of lush, ambient soundscapes that just wash over you as you listen. Because of this, I imagine it's the type of album that will take me hearing it at just the right place and time for it to really click for me. It definitely has potential to become a favorite for me. Below you can listen to the first track from the album, "Myth". You can also right click here, to download the track courtesy of KEXP. As of right now, you can download the album from Amazon for $4.99, so head over there soon if you feel so inclined.

Co-new release of the week

I had planned on mentioning down here that earlier this week I had my playlist of 2012 albums on my iPod on shuffle and that I was really getting into an EP by a band called Hazy Mountains that came up (or just one guy called that on closer inspection). Well, I'm still going to mention that, but I'm also going to add that I was pleasantly surprised to see that while looking for a link to his Bandcamp page, I discovered that he also has a brand-spanking new EP just released yesterday. The older EP that I was really enjoying can be streamed below, or downloaded for free (along with his new EP) from Hazy Mountains' Bandcamp page here.

Like Beach House, Hazy Mountains also plays dream pop although his music is purely instrumental. It reminds me a bit of The Album Leaf (one of my favorites) with a bit more of a chaotic sound at times, although I admit I don't have much knowledge of the genre. Certain bands like The Album Leaf, Explosions in the Sky, and this Gold EP by Hazy Mountains just have a way of completely absorbing me into the music. It's a tough line to walk between that and coming off boring, but some bands can do it.

Miscellaneous News and Notes

* One of the reasons I don't give anything grades or scores on here is that I think music is a largely subjective and personal thing. I do actually keep track of scores I give albums for my own reference, but it doesn't feel right saying some album deserves 5/10 just because I don't like it when most other people do. Mostly for me, it is a way to remember later on what I thought of a large number of records so I know what to return to when making my lists of favorites at the end of the year. I think Father John Misty (aka J. Tillman) may agree with this general sentiment after he took Pitchfork to task with an epic rant on Twitter over their (generally positive) review of his album. The whole thing can be read here and is pretty amusing.

* Also, as I've mentioned before, I'm driving to Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington state, and I could not be more excited. One of the very first bands on the schedule is Of Monsters and Men. They recently performed "Little Talks" on Jimmy Fallon, and every time I hear that song, I just come away wondering how a song can be so good. I know a lot of people heard it last year on the EP they released, but it's mostly new to me, and it will likely end up as one of my top 5 or so songs of the year (with a decent shot at #1). Head on over to KEXP here to check out the performance, featuring a pretty good trumpet solo.

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