Favorited ex.fm Songs

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Musical globetrotting - Lasse Passage, Franny & Zooey, and Blood Relatives

 Lately, I've been finding a lot of music I really enjoy from artists all over the world so I thought I'd do another "musical globetrotting" post.

I stumbled upon Scotland's Blood Relatives by accident. I was listening to a new song by Meursault on Soundcloud and got distracted. Instead of stopping and finding something else to listen to, Soundcloud started playing recommendations based on that song. A couple songs later, "Dead Hip" by Blood Relatives began, and the band's catchy and danceable indie pop grabbed my attention. They released their debut album, "Deerheart,"last October.

I've found myself being drawn to a lot of Scandinavian artists (First Aid Kit, Tallest Man On Earth, Indianna Dawn, etc.), so I started following the music blog allscandinavian.com. Most recently, they introduced me to the Norwegian artist Lasse Passage. He is in the process of releasing four EPs by May. His first, "Stop Making Sense and Start Making Success, Vol. 1" was released in January, and has me excited for the next three (of which I can presumably guess the titles). His music is hard to place in a single genre, but maybe alt-folk could match closest. Regardless, Lasse Passage is an artist I intend to keep an ear on in the future. If you have Spotify, go check out the whole album, otherwise here's a small taste:

Juan Julio Peña and Victoria Linares hail from the Dominican Republic and makeup the twee pop duo Franny & Zooey. The two certainly don't hide their affinity for J.D. Salinger. The band name comes from Salinger's book of that name, and their "Bananafish EP" from last year take its name from the Salinger short story, "A Perfect Day For Bananafish." You can stream/download the track "Like In Movies" below, and if you like that, head to the duo's Bandcamp page for another free track or to buy their EP.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New music: Racing Glaciers

Racing Glaciers are a five-piece indie rock group from England. They toe the line of post-rock, at times reminding me of The Album Leaf or sounding like Explosions in the Sky with horns added. Regardless, the band has found a sound that they know how to work wonders with. They recently released their second EP, Ahead of You Forever, and I cannot get myself to stop listening to it. The first day I listened to it, I was almost late to class because I didn't want to stop before the album ended.

You can stream the whole EP below. At the very least, I recommending checking out the intro track "Ahead Of You Forever" and its transition into the wonderful "New Country." If you enjoy what you hear, the album is £2 (about $3.34) on Bandcamp. It is worth every penny and then some. The band's first EP is also available for whatever you feel like paying (including free) on their Bandcamp page. So have a listen and then hopefully go support an unsigned artist making music as good as anything else I've heard this year. Enjoy!

Want to see more of Racing Glaciers?


Thanks to the All Things Go blog for introducing me to Racing Glaciers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Discovering music the old fashioned way

Last week, I went to see Josh Ritter in concert. It was the second time I've gotten a chance to see him live. Since his new album is my favorite record of his since 2006's incredible "The Animal Years," I was really excited to hear the new material. His performance didn't disappoint at all. He performed a whole bunch of songs spanning his 15 year career, most of the time with a huge smile on his face. What made the show even better though was the presence of the previously unknown to me Gregory Alan Isakov as the opening act.

It used to be that I would discover a lot of bands by catching opening acts for other bands I enjoy. In high school, The Starting Line was my favorite band. I remember discovering them by hearing just the second half of the last song from their set as I was entering a show (for New Found Glory I think). The Starting Line hadn't been on the bill, but when I got home I spent a bunch of time listening to their music on Pure Volume (or whatever it was people were using back then). These days, I don't get out to as many shows, and most of the new music I stumble across is from one of the various music blogs I read (see the right hand side of the page for some of those) or Twitter accounts I follow, so I've missed that particular joy of discovery. Therefore, it was really nice to experience coming into a show with no preconceptions of the opener and finding myself pleasantly enjoying Gregory Alan Isakov's set.

From the first song, I could tell I'd enjoy his gentle finger-picking style of guitar playing. Throughout the show, he used multiple microphones to create different vocal effects, sometimes sounding far away, other times just a bit tinny, and other times strong and powerful. It was a nice way to add some variety while performing by himself. And while lyrics aren't always something you notice right away, Isakov is really a wordsmith, peppering his songs with great lines like "If it weren't for second chances, we'd all be alone" and "your heart's a thousand colors, but they're all shades of blue."

Fittingly, with Valentine's Day fast approaching, here's a song called "Saint Valentine" from Gregory Alan Isakov's album he released last year.

And here's a live performance of the hauntingly beautiful, "The Universe," another standout song from his most recent album, "The Weatherman."

Want to check out Gregory Alan Isakov?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My favorite album so far this year

With 2014 a little over a month underway, there's one album that's stood out to me thus far. I've really enjoyed releases by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, James Vincent McMorrow, Hospitality, and others, but the album I keep returning to is the debut LP by Louis Weeks.

Louis Weeks is a Washington DC based composer / songwriter who spends his day job writing music for tv and movies. In his spare time, he's been crafting his debut LP, which he released January 14 after two years of work. The album, "shift/away," does an incredible job of combining digital elements with more organic sounds. I was introduced to Louis Weeks by the excellent We Listen For You blog, which described Weeks' music as having "that rare quality in electronic music of feeling handmade as if the machines that go into producing the sound were as organic as the vocals that accompany them." One of my favorite tracks, "Bloodline," sounds like a song from an indie folk album with only occasional synthetic sounds filtering in and out. That this song works so well and fits in amongst the others is a testament to Weeks' genre defying sound.

Another album highlight is the track "Fold," but the whole thing is wonderful and worthy of repeated listens.

Even better, the whole album is currently available for whatever price you'd like (yes, including $0) on his Bandcamp page. You can click here to go get it.

Want to check out Louis Weeks?

Artist website