The rising temperatures (multiple days in the 20s and 30s!!!*) and the realization that next week I will be in Austin running around listening to many bands (in shorts no less) brought a decided cheer to my weekly listening. Or, at least, maybe the decidedly melancholic inclination of my recent listening has started to wane… Not really, though, the real difference is in the ostensible emotional quality of the sound — a lot more high tones and power chords. But, a clever songwriter ensconces deep, dark truthful tidbits in the most upbeat sounding compositions; The Smiths and Belle & Sebastian were always deft at this art. The challenge for the listener is as always to listen carefully….
Loves It! – All We Are – A duo from Austin, Texas, that create gorgeous classic country songs tinged with elements of bluegrass and folk. The dueling and intertwining vocals wooed me instantly. They are melodic, yet soulfully idiosyncratic at the same time; emotions and meaning seeping out with each note. Their music will strike the ear as familiar at times serenading you to a peaceful reverie and at times leading to foot stomping enthusiasm. Whatever your inclination these two musicians will likely as their name suggest win your heart and please share the it.
Get their music here: http://lovesit.bandcamp.com/
Asaf Avidan – Different Pulses – From Austin to Jerusalem, a logical transition… A discovery courtesy of the finely curated taste of NPR’s Bob and Robin, Asaf Avidan makes bone-chilling electronic soul music. His music reminds me of the pre-Play work Moby did in the 90s, epic soundscapes with old school R&B or soul saturated vocalists spliced into the mix, which was really a trend borrowed from the early days of dance, house, and trip-hop music. The vocals lie somewhere between a falsetto-like Nina Simone and Macy Gray or the earthen grit of Skylar Grey. It will totally arrest you.
More info: http://www.asafavidanmusic.com/
The Jezabels – The Brink – From the moment I saw Hayley Mary belt “Disco Biscuit Love” at Schuba’s a couple of years back, I fell unabashedly in love with these Aussies. They make baroque, lush pop-rock music for the kids (like me) that believe music should literally move you. And to see them perform live is to remember why pop and rock music captured the hearts of many – it is an immediate and emotional connection with people (many strangers) in a shared space. There is the truth (for many of us) that the rock shows and the dance floor is the one place where the world seems to make sense and inspire hope and belief. The Jezabels music though not superficial in content (see “Disco Biscuit Love” and “Electric Lover”) inspires the euphoric and cathartic bliss of a great pop music. The Brink, their latest offering, is a continuation of their thoughtful brand of energetic pop and the perfect antidote to the darker days and feelings. Note: Chicago folks they will be playing Chicago in April. Their live shows are not to be missed, if only for the sole purpose of watching me dance with complete abandon.
Tycho – Awake – Oh man, oh man, have I been waiting with baited breath for this record. If you could bottle chill and groovy into one container, Scott Hansen has discovered the formula. Dive his last record plays with continuing frequency on my stereo, quickly become an addition to the rotation of classic electronic downtempo albums such as Four Tet’s Pause and Rounds, Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James Album and I Care Because You Do, or Boards of Canada’s Music Has a Right to Children. The latest offering from Tycho is more sprawling and layered upbeat electronic beats perfect as backdrop, soundscape or texture for relaxing… however you may choose to do this. Enjoy.
More on Tycho: http://tychomusic.com/awake/#new-album
…and if the week is really getting you down and you need a pick me up, here an upbeat (perhaps dance?) mix that I use to get me going: Upbeat IndieDancePop Mix.