Today is my twenty-fifth birthday. Quarter of a century. My mom took me out to Best Buy today, and we dropped some dollar dollar bills (y’all) on Matt & Kim, Deerhunter, The Smiths, The Black Keys, and Kings of Leon. The music collection is expanding. And I am in love.
“Cameras” by Matt & Kim. This song is off this duo’s most recent release, Sidewalks. If you know anything about this musical duet, then you would know that the charm of their music is the raw sound they offer. I am not talking about eyelash melting guitar rifts, but the unpolished sound that comes from two people setting up a recording studio of their own making and having fun. That’s what Matt & Kim are all about. Matt’s untrained vocals overlapping with the drum/keyboard combinations to bring its listeners something that makes you want to get up and just dance, even if you don’t like to dance. In Sidewalks, Matt & Kim break out synthesizers creating a more polished sound than their two previous albums (Matt & Kim – a self-titled bit of raw awesomeness – and Grand) but still manage to maintain that genuine “Matt & Kim” sound.
“Oats We Sow” by Gregory & the Hawk. I first came across this beautiful folk artist while viewing my friend’s last.fm page (link provided if you want to create an account). Always a musical pioneer, I came to respect his tastes and decided to give GATH a listen. And I am beyond glad I did. Minimal instrumentation, witty lyrics and melodic voice, Meredith Godreau steals your heart as Gregory & the Hawk. This particular song grabbed my attention due to the honest and timeless lyrics. It’s the lesson that we all have to learn over Godreau plucking her guitar with accompaniment of flute. (This song is found on two albums, Moenie and Kitchi and In Your Dreams,)
“End All” by The Narrative. I know in my last post I raved about another song by The Narrative and suggested you download it. I am going to redouble my efforts at having you give The Narrative a chance. When I last posted I had recently found their full length and had yet to give it a proper listen, though it came out in late July. Now that I have, well, PICK IT UP IMMEDIATELY. Though the album had some songs that just did not reach the band’s full potential, there were more than enough breathtaking ones to permit a full album purchase. This particular song knocked me on my ass. The lyrics are well written and the music does a magnificent job of highlighting their chaos. The opening immediately brings the listener to pace with a building crescendo of piano and drums. Favorite lyrics: “I hold you here in my mind; I am coming undone. Fleeting emotions, a landslide is born and the pieces will tumble through the cracks in your floor. Silence is stating intentions louder than anything we’ve ever mentioned. All that was promised has already fled; just hold me until it ends.”
“Dawn of the Dead” by Does It Offend You, Yeah?. I honestly cannot tell you how I came across this band aside from purchasing an album on iTunes, which then generated suggestions with their Genius feature (a feature I usually get annoyed with as they typically suggest the latest radio hit, which is something I can hear any old-time). After reading a brief review I decided to drop the money and buy this 10 song debut. It combines electronic and rock to create this ridiculously catchy dance music. The opening song sounds as if it were inspired by Daft Punk, but as the album progresses it is obvious that this five piece group had their own reputation and sound in mind. Alternating between strictly electronic confections and lyrically filled pop rock songs, You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into marks an absolutely stunning creation. I will definitely be looking forward to their second full length, which they are rumored to be recording.
“Sore Thumb” by The Format. For anyone who knows me, they have probably been scratching their heads about why I had not suggested a Format song until now. As vying for position of FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME, I am not at a loss for suggestions. Though I must stipulate, this is an odd song to use as an introduction to the beautiful world of Nate Ruess and Sam Means, for it is pretty atypical of their sound. But the lyrics are some of my favorite. This song comes off their first album Interventions and Lullabies (released in 2003). Nate’s lyrics delve into the world of heartbreak and life transition. The first album was written and recorded when both him and Sam were young, and it is obvious with some of the lyrics. It’s not a bad thing, as I was young when I first dove head first into Format love. They are relatable. With their second album, Dog Problems, you can hear the growth both musically and lyrically. Their sound changed but they were still able to keep up that something that made them “The Format”. One of the best and most humorous things about this album is the catchiness of the music, but the lyrics are heartbreaking. You are singing along with Nate as he reveals some of his trials. Unfortunately in 2008 The Format went on hiatus. Nate now sings with fun. (along with Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train) while Sam Means lends his talent to various musical groups (such as Destry).