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Friday, July 20, 2012

This week in music (week of 7/17/2012)

First things first, if you use Twitter and are interested in following my music thoughts or getting links when new posts are written, I've started a Twitter account for the blog @MoonNotRomantic. I'm still pretty mad at Twitter for cutting me off one character too short for @MoonAintRomantic, but I suppose I'll get over it. Last week's album of the week by Dirty Projectors is still in constant rotation and is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. Beyond that, after a bit of a new music lull the last few weeks, things are certainly starting to heat up again.

New release of the week - Something for the Weakened by Meursault

This week's album of the week is from Scottish indie folk band Meursault. I like the band plenty
on its own merits, but they also get bonus points for being named after the main character of the Camus novel, The Stranger. As for their music, it is most easily placed in the indie folk genre, but that classification by itself doesn't really do their uniqueness justice. The songs usually have a very lo-fi sound while still managing to build up to something epic at times. Some of that is likely attributable to lead singer Neil Pennycock, who can insert a sense of urgency to a song with his howling vocals. Beyond just your standard guitar, bass, and drums, the band also employs electronic elements and various other instrumentation, which helps to spice up the music. I don't recall when I first stumbled upon the band, but I've been a fan for a while, and Something for the Weakened is an excellent addition to their previous material. Below is my favorite track from the album, "Dull Spark." The track has pretty driving drums behind it for most of the duration and is a bit more rockin' than some of the rest of the album.

My favorite Meursault track from previous albums is the cover of Withered Hands' track "Red Candle Bulb" on the band's Nothing Broke EP. Below is a live version recorded with fellow Scottish artist (and one of my favorites) Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit. Those Scots certainly know their music.

Other notable releases

Also out this week, Old Crow Medicine show released a new album called Carry Me Back that is a fun listen. I know close to nothing about Icelandic band Múm, but they released a compilation of rare and unreleased tracks called Early Birds that seemed pretty good. The music is ambient sounding electronic stuff, which is way out of my knowledge base, and I have no idea what the title of this track is, but here is a song I enjoyed:

Miscellaneous Links, News, and Notes

* The Polaris Prize is a yearly award for Canadian musicians that "celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in recorded Canadian music" according to the award's website. This week, they narrowed the nominees down to 10 albums including two of my favorites from this year "I Predict a Graceful Expulsion" by Cold Specks and "Voyageur" by Kathleen Edwards. Last year, Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" took home the award.

* If you're looking for some new music, several of next week's releases are streaming for free online including Purity Ring's debut "Shrines," Passion Pit's "Gossamer," Gaslight Anthem's "Handwritten," Fang Island's "Major," and The Antlers' EP "Undersea" (in exchange for liking their Facebook page). Lots to be excited about there!

* Also, Bob Dylan announced is 543rd (approximation) studio album, Tempest, due out 9/11. I actually enjoyed his last one, so I'm looking forward to hearing this one.

* While Ben Gibbard has been making music as Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, and All-Time Quarterback (not sure if I'm missing any), he has yet to release a solo album under his own name. That will change on October 16 with the release of "Former Lives"

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