Favorited ex.fm Songs

Monday, February 11, 2013

This week in music (week of 2/5/2013)

It'll be a short post this week (Note: Now that I'm done, it did not end up being short. One day I'll learn how to just post quick and move on.) even though there was a bunch of great new music.

New release of the week - Pedestrian Verse by Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit is one of my five or so favorite artists, so there is little doubt that I would enjoy this album. However, just how much I've enjoyed it has caught me a bit off guard. Their 2008 album "Midnight Organ Fight" has an argument as my favorite album ever (along with M. Ward's "Post-War"). In 2010 I named "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" my second favorite album of the year, so you can see that expectations were sky high for me. Despite that, this album fits very well within those expectations.

For those that don't know, Frightened Rabbit is a Scottish indie rock band. I can't remember where I read it, but lead singer Scott Hutchison said he wrote "pedestrian verse" on the cover or a notebook that he used for the lyrics to this album. Seeing that motivated him to avoid trite lyrics. As he explained it, if you call your album "Pedestrian Verse" and the lyrics really are pedestrian, you'll be called out on it. The first line on the album is "I am that dickhead in the kitchen giving wine to your best girl's glass," so I'd say he has avoided regurgitating generic lyrics at the very least. The delivery of his lyrics in that wonderful Scottish accent mean he probably could spout pedestrian verses and I'd still enjoy it. Fortunately that's not the case.

The album is full of potential favorite songs (like both of their last two albums were). Early on, I'm really enjoying "The Woodpile," "The Oil Slick," "State Hospital," and "Holy." My favorite song on "The Midnight Organ Fight" has probably changed dozens of times, so I'm sure if you ask in a couple weeks I'd give you a different list of favorites. Here are three songs from the album if you want to sample it:

Runner-up of the week - Regions of Light and Sound of God by Jim James

This is the first full-length released by Jim James (lead singer of My Morning Jacket, member of Monsters of Folk) under his own name. While I've always enjoyed My Morning Jacket, it has never been a band that I got too into. This album may make me go back and spend some more time with those older albums though because it is just growing on me more and more with each listen.

Most importantly though, everyone should take a few minutes to watch this performance of "A New Life" by Jim James on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He is backed by The Roots along with a string section and perhaps some other additions as well. The steady build of the song and adding of more members along with the camera/light/whatever else work is amazing. I know Jimmy Fallon can rub some people the wrong way (I used to dislike him but have since been converted), but what he and The Roots are doing with music on their show is fantastic. They refuse to just do what everybody else is doing, and it's great for music / tv. I can't think of another show that would give you a performance like this.

Miscellaneous Links, News, and Notes

* Over the weekend I finally got around to watching Searching For Sugar Man, an Academy Award nominee for best documentary this year. I'll probably write a longer post about it later, but for now I highly recommend checking out the film and the soundtrack. As good as the movie was, the soundtrack is even be better (it's only $5 on Amazon right now). It's a shame Rodriguez never took off as an artist and that we are limited to only two of his albums.

* This weekend, I went to a local record store and saw Velvet Underground's classic album with Nico and the Andy Warhol banana on the front. However, in this version the banana was green, which caught me off guard. After some Googling on my phone, I found out that this version (called "Unripened") was what was originally presented to the studio and in turn rejected along with the note "You have got to be kidding me". I'm waiting for a record cleaner I ordered to arrive before listening, but it sounds like the tracks are re-ordered and several versions of the songs are a bit noisier / rougher around the edges. Regardless, I'm pretty excited to add this to my slowly growing vinyl collection and to get a chance to hear it soon.

* I agree with a lot of what was said in this post about the cheapening of the music industry. It is well worth a read. Don't worry, it's pretty short.

* Dawes is set to release a new album in April. A few days ago they gave us the first taste of the album:

* Sasquatch Music Festival announced their lineup a couple weeks ago, and it was something to behold (including The Postal Service, Sigur Ros, The xx, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and just a ton more great acts). Because of this, I expected tickets to sell a bit faster than the couple months it took last year. What I didn't expect was for them to sell out in just over an hour. Here's hoping I can still find a not too expensive ticket on Stub Hub or something and can make my second trip to George, Washington this summer.

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