“Can’t Be Saved” by Senses Fail. This is one of my all time favorite songs. I was introduced to Senses Fail when I was a junior in high school. The re-release of their first EP (From the Depths of Dreams) on Drive-Thru Records introduced me to a whole new world of music: the emo/screamo/post-hardcore genre. This particular track comes from their second full-length (Still Searching). Buddy, the lyricist and singer, has insightful lyrics that often play with the ideas of self-identity, religion and forgiveness. Their latest album, The Fire, hit stores this past Tuesday. You should definitely check them out!
“The Moment That It Stops” by The Narrative. I found this band last Spring. I was having one of my existential music moments and went in search of new bands. I can’t remember exactly how I came across The Narrative, but needless to say, I did, and I fell hard for them. They have a very similar sound to Straylight Run, what with male and female vocalists and lilting piano. They have a radio friendly sound while still maintaining a certain bourgeois when it comes to independent music. It’s easy to put on their EP (by the way, they had a full length come out in late July, so check that out too!) and just lose yourself.
“Too Much” by Sufjan Stevens. This song is off Steven’s most recent release The Age of Adz. I always knew of Sufjan Stevens, and I was especially populated with his name when he released his Illinoise album, as I am originally from Illinois. I feel like to classify his music as a certain sound or genre is to defeat the purpose of his music. He does have a folksie sound, yes, but in his latest musical venture, he experiments with sound. It defies classification. However, if you enjoy his music you might want to check out Dirty Projectors.
“Left and Leaving” by The Weakerthans. This song is off an album of the same name. I had downloaded some music from this band ages ago, but never really delved in. Recently a friend of mine mentioned them and I jumped at the chance to give the album a listen. I had one of those “Why hadn’t I been listening to this more often?” moments and the proceeded to sink into a Weakerthans coma. Lyrically stunning. John Samson (who also has produced solo albums) is a genius with words. Favorite line: “Memory will rust and erode into lists of all that you gave me: a blanket, some matches, this pain in my chest, the best parts of lonely, duct-tape and soldered wires, new words for old desires, and every birthday card I threw away.”
Okay, so this last one is not a song, but a person. And the reason it is a person is because he is stunning and has been involved in a few bands and musical projects. His name: Mike Kinsella. The bands in which he has belonged or been a part of: Owen, Owls, Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz, American Football, and The One Up Downstairs. I am sure there are more bands to which he has lent his talent, but these are the ones I know of and listen to. His most recent venture, and perhaps his most well-known, is Owen. I have heard his music described as folk, mathematical music (you’ll understand this term once you hear some of his sound), acoustic, indie rock, and emo. As Owen, I believe he focuses on his musical ability as well as his lyrical genius. In his other projects, like Cap’n Jazz, The One Up Downstairs and Joan of Arc, I believe there is a higher focus on the music, which is still breathtaking. I urge you to go to Amazon or iTunes and listen to previews of his music.