Favorited ex.fm Songs

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Artist: Hayden Calnin

Due to things like life and school getting in the way, I haven't been able to post in a while. Fortunately, what I have been able to do is listen to lots of music. One of the highlights of that music listening has been the discovery of an Australian artist named Hayden Calnin.

Hayden Calnin released his debut EP, City, on July 20th. I stumbled upon it a couple weeks ago after reading a review on Listen Before You Buy. After hearing the EP, I immediately purchased it and I've been listening to it over and over and over again since then. The first comparison that his music draws to mind is Bon Iver (especially more recent Bon Iver). And really if you enjoy Bon Iver, you can probably quit reading this and just go listen to his music now because I think you'll love it. The comparison is due to the atmospheric nature of their music as well as the haunting falsetto that both can employ on top of that soundscape. However, Hayden Calnin is far from just a Bon Iver clone, and his music is outstanding on its own merits. Unlike Bon Iver, Calnin actually stays in the lower vocal registers for large portions of songs. He also doesn't have a rather large touring band like Justin Vernon does. His songs feature a lot of looping of vocals and instruments that can help build up the sound over the course of a song.

The EP clocks in at under 20 minutes, and unfortunately for those of us in the United States it's all we are going to hear for now. He is currently only touring around Australia, so we'll have to make due with the EP until new material is released. I've already listened to the whole EP about 15 times since I got it. I shudder to think how high that number will be by the time we're graced with new music, but I just... can't... stop... listening...

Below is the video for "For My Help," the first track on the album:

And if you want to check out more, here is the whole EP to stream:

And while we're on the topic of people fans of Bon Iver should enjoy, I recommend checking out James Vincent McMorrow. If you missed it, I wrote about him just over a year ago.

Interested in checking out Hayden Calnin?

Artist Website
Album on Amazon ($4.45)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Artist: Milo Greene

I haven't been posting much lately, but I've got good reason. Starting tomorrow and through the end of the week, I'll be taking my PhD comps. Studying for those hasn't left me much time for writing about music, but it has provided ample opportunity for listening to music. One of the bands I've really been enjoying is Los Angeles based Milo Greene. I was hooked almost immediately after hearing them on Listen Before You Buy. Rather than being the one person that their name indicates, the band is a five piece indie pop / indie folk band. You really have to hear their infectious sound to get a taste for the band though. And since I've got to get back to last minute studying, I'll leave you to do just that with the video for "1957":

If you enjoy that song (which you can get for $0.25 on Amazon), you can sample 2 more tracks (and 1957 again) from Soundcloud, but I recommend just listening to the whole album over and over again. Enjoy!

Interested in checking out Milo Greene?

Band Website
Album on Amazon ($6.99)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This week in music (week of 7/31/2012)

I've been real busy lately studying for my massive exams coming up that I haven't had much time to post. I still don't, but I didn't want to miss my favorite album from this week, so here's a quick post to avoid that.

New release of the week - O' Be Joyful by Shovels & Rope

If it weren't for a particular confluence of events, this wonderful album may never have crossed my radar. A few weeks back, M. Ward released A Wasteland Companion, an iPhone app that shares the name of his most recent album. The app allows users to find independent / public radio stations by name or state. Once you find a station that tickles your fancy, you can stream it on the phone, favorite it for later, or visit its website. After downloading the app, I immediately "favorited" Seattle's KEXP, California's KCRW, and Minnesota's KCMP (aka The Current), all of which I know to be excellent stations. Since then, I've used it a few times to listen to these stations, which is a great addition to the many other ways I listen to music.

What does all of this have to do with the Shovels & Rope album that was released this week? Well, were it not for this new app, I may never have learned who they were. I happened to catch an interview by the duo while listening to The Current through the app a couple weeks ago. Thankfully I did because this album has just been steadily growing on me more and more each time I hear it.

Shovels & Rope is the moniker adopted by husband and wife folk duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. However, that description does not do the duo justice. You really have to listen to their music to get a sense of the energy, joy, and passion that they pack into their songs. If I recall from their interview on The Current, before they were married they used to play solo sets in South Carolina, backing each other's performances. At a certain point they realized it just made more sense to combine their musical forces rather than writing songs separately. While they've been performing together for a few years now, "O' Be Joyful" is their first album with the Shovels & Rope name. It is actually the name of their previous album that they recorded under their own names. You can check out the interview from The Current here if you're interested. If you'd rather just get straight to the music (which is understandable), here's the title track and my current album favorite. It showcases their ability to make a lot more noise and bring a lot more energy than you'd expect from the description of a "husband and wife folk duo":

Also, here's the lead track from the album for your listening / downloading pleasure:

Interested in checking out Shovels & Rope?

Band Website
Album on Amazon ($6.99)