Music to my Ears #4

I went through a bit of a music slump and then all of a sudden found myself listening to albums all over the place. So choosing 3 was actually a bit of a challenge. I stuck with 2 rather recent albums as well as a compilation album for an incredible movie (seeing as I don’t listen to compilations that often…)

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1. Kintsugi by Death Cab for Cutie

I will always get excited when a new Death Cab album is released, but I never really got into their previous album and so when I listened to this the first time through and realised it was a winner I was beyond happy. To me this album sounds like the perfect development from older albums and also incorporates certain elements of The Postal Service. Its a good mix of upbeat singles and slower ballads, catchy tunes and restrained vocals, electronic and acoustic elements, and yet the album flows really nicely. Ever since the first time the OC played Lack of Colour, I fell in love with Death Cab and so falling in love with a new album was pretty darn satisfying.

Listen to: Black Sun, Little Wanderer, El Dorado and Binary Sea.

2. Darling Arithmetic by Villagers

I have Dad to thank for introducing me to the Villagers through my favourite track by them; Becoming a Jackal (which annoyingly doesn’t appear on this album), and have been immersing myself in their albums ever since. This newest album was released earlier this year, and shows a rather restrained and elegant style of theirs that I really enjoy. This album is beautifully melancholic and simple, put together in a really neat way. If you’re a fan of Kings of Convenience (which I am) then this folky acoustic album will definitely be up your alley. If not, listen to Becoming a Jackal, their debut album to hear another side of their music.

Listen to: Courage, Everything I am is Yours, Dawning on Me and The Soul Serene.

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Soundtrack

Weirdly appropriate, as this time last year I was on a plane to London watching this movie for the first time. First things first, if you haven’t seen this movie, you should. Its Ben Stiller at his best, and its also a reminder of how incredible and beautiful life can be. Its fantastic, and had a pretty perfect accompanying soundtrack. This soundtrack is perfect for a Sunday morning spent pottering (which is my favourite thing to do on a Sunday). There’s a cool mix of songs from a few different artists, but most of it is Jose Gonzalez or his band Junip (I’m not complaining at all).

Listen to: Stay Alive by Jose Gonzelez, Don’t Let It Pass by Junip, and Don’t You Want Me by Bahamas and the Weather Station (such a cool cover).

Give some of these a listen and let me know what you think.

What have you been playing recently?

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Music to my Ears #3

Another month nearly over, another post to share some very well-loved albums. Somehow I accidentally managed to select albums all released in 2014, which is strange for someone who is usually at least 5 years behind everyone else. They are all excellent albums worth your time, promise (or at least they were for me…but that sounds a lot less convincing).

Chet Faker: Built on Glass (2014)

Chet Faker Built on Glass

I think I discovered Chet Faker through Pandora and have been enjoying his chilled vibes ever since. His music is a real mixture of influences, with a bit of R&B, soul, jazz all wrapped up in a modern techno sound that gets better each time I listen. Each song has a different feel to it and yet it all flows together as an album really smoothly (it’s actually split into two half’s but I didn’t even realise this until today) . I love it all. Its well reviewed by most for good reason and a great album to have on for a relaxed sunday get together over a few beers. He is right up the top of artists I would travel to see live.

Listen to: Talk is Cheap, Gold, 1998 and Cigarettes & Loneliness (my favourite)

Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014)

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You might remember Angel Olsen from my Laneway related music post where I mused over musicians I was excited to see. Well I saw Angel Olsen, and she was just as good live (and also a total babe). I have still been loving this album pretty much constantly and wanted to bring it up again in case you hadn’t taken my advice to give her a listen last time round. I love this album because it shows off two very different sides to Angel’s music. There’s the electronic folk rock side that is upbeat, energy driven and fun like in Hi-Five and Forgiven/Forgotten and then there is her other quieter, more minimal and emotional songs (that if I’m honest I connect with and adore the most) like Unfucktheworld and  White Fire. Its all good stuff and if you are into alternative rock/folk music then this could be right up your alley.

Listen to: Unfucktheworld (the song that made me fall in love with this album), Hi-Five, and the beautiful Windows.

Tiny Ruins: Brightly Painted One (2014)Tiny Ruins Brightly Painted One

Another Laneway find, we were lucky enough to stumble across this act whilst trying to source coffee and from across a very hot carpark I was enchanted by the dreamy, delicate vocals of Hollie Fullbrook. Their album offers the same evocative and gentle sounds that are a result of her simple yet beautiful lyrics and the sparse use of instruments. The sound reminds me of things like Fleet Foxes or Kings of Convenience, and its equally as wonderful. This is the kind of album where each song asks to be replayed over and over until you finally get the image being created. Its beautiful and definitely worth a listen, especially if you need something for relaxing evening (i’m thinking bath, candles and wine…).

Listen to: Me at the Museum, You in the Winter Gardens, Carriages and Reasonable Man

Give them all a listen and let me know what you think 🙂 What have your ears been listening to?

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Music to my Ears #1

Hey All!

So if any of you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember when I used to do an albums of the month (semi) regularly. I stopped after a while because the pressure of finding new albums I liked every month when sometimes I just wanted to listen to the same song on repeat was getting a bit frustrating.

So here it is..back and better because it won’t be every month but just whenever I have a few new albums that I want to share as being favourites at the time. Less pressure, less often and more genuine in that I have actually been listening to the albums for more than 10 seconds. A win-win I say. Ready to jump in? I hope you have a cup of tea cause this isn’t short..

11. The Best of Joy Division

A little bit of context here: I have been a big fan of Joy Division since I was around 15 and my Dad introduced me their post-punk sound and tragic back story. Then at the beginning of this month Edd and I finally got around to watching the very popular black and white film “Control” which focuses around Ian Curtis, the lead singer, and the story behind the music. The film was incredible and I definitely recommend you go watch it regardless of whether you have listened to the music or not. I could do a whole post on the film but I’ll stick to just using it to explain why this month I couldn’t resist getting back into listening to all of my favourite tracks.

The style of music is a combination of post-punk and new wave. They were pretty inventive for the period in which they started and their heavy base line along with Ian Curtis’ characteristically deep, monotonous vocals are still unique and not really comparable to any thing else that I have listened to. The pulsating music is a perfect back drop for Ian’s tormented lyrics which are a big part of what I love about Joy Division.

Two words: Haunting & Rythmic

Songs you should listen to: All 14 preferably but my personal favourites range from he high energy tracks such as “Disorder” and “Transmission” to the more sombre and haunting tracks like “Atmosphere” and the depressing but poetic track of “New Dawn Fades” (which also features my favourite lyric).

2.The  Foals Holy Fire

Moving on to something a little more recent, lately I have been loving the fun new album by The Foals. I have heard that this album isn’t the best of theirs but it is the first I have listened to so with a lack of comparison I rather love it. Confident and manicured you can tell this is their third album and although at times it does sound a bit commercial, the majority of the tracks are alternative and upbeat and make the perfect songs to blast in the car when I can sing along at the top of my voice. There is enough variety to keep the album interesting and their style of energetic, alternative rock keeps me coming back for more.

Two words: Dynamic and Catchy

Songs you should listen to: There is the strong, upbeat track “My Number” which you probably already know (and it is always stuck in my head) but other good tracks include “Everytime”, “Out of the Woods” and the slower, captivating “Moon”.

3. Daft Punk Random Access Memories

Another popular album that I should of gotten into ages ago and yet after the first listen I decided I didn’t like and ignored for months afterwards (please tell me other people make this mistake). Recently, a colleague was listening to this and I started to realize that I was enjoying it way more than I anticipated. Now it is a favourite for when I want something techno, energetic and just a little bit random. I don’t know Daft Punk well but this album is such an eclectic mix of jazz tracks, techno beats, passionate opera vocals and so much more. Somehow this weird and wonderful mix creates an album like nothing I have listened to before, something creative and surprising and all round kind of wonderful.

Two words: Eclectic and Tactile

Songs you should listen to: Another album where it’s hard to choose favourites, mainly because all the songs are so different, but I can’t go past the song everyone knows and has heard 8 billion times “Get Lucky” (honestly, I could listen to that song on repeat for hours and not get bored of Pharrell’s charming vocals and the extremely catchy tune). As well as this I also love the robotic and rather hypnotic track “Doin’ It Right” and as the strange yet captivating Opera track “Touch” featuring Paul Williams. An eclectic mix of sounds and beats, I am glad to say I finally understand the well deserved hype.

4. London Grammar If You Wait

So to finish off, this album has been one I have been obsessed with for months now. How could I not be with the breathtaking vocals of Hannah Reid that are perfectly paired with the restrained and yet emotionally nuanced music. I think of them in the same way as The xx in comparing the careful composition of urgent vocals and delicate, seemingly simple songs. Although some of the songs are almost too composed and sound a little too manicured for the majority of the album there is a juxtaposition of  melancholic introspection and emotional climaxes. The debut of this English trio blows my mind in how sad and yet uplifting the tracks can be. The balance isn’t perfect 100% of the time but when it works, it’s graceful and subtle and all other sorts of wonderful things.

Two words: Beautiful and Captivating

Songs you should listen to:  “Hey Now” as well as “Wasting My Young Years” which both exemplify the balance between the composure and the urgency that Reid’s vocals convey all within the one song,  “Strong” which is my personal favorite to sing to as it the vocals are deep one moment and soaring the next, and then the unexpected but wonderfully crafted “Interlude” which is one of the rare times where the vocals become almost secondary to the haunting piano and instrumentation. Lastly, a special mention for “Nightcall” which is a wonderfully emotional cover of a Kavinsky track (also very awesome, go check out the original first).

I feel like that was one monster of a music post but trying to sum up an album in a few words is tricky when you have no knowledge of music technology.

What music has been occupying your time lately?

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Albums of the month for May!

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Hi All,

I have just spent the day in bed feeling rather rotten but am hoping tomorrow I will feel well enough to crawl into work and answer phones for 8 hours (not easy to do with a massive head cold and a whole load of mucus, too much info, sorry). However I thought I would drag myself away from watching back to back Amazing Race episodes (reality tv is my drug, it could be worse) to bring you 3 albums from snother good music month with some cool new additions to the music scene.

1. Lorde: The Love Club EP

A short 5 song album from this stunning 16 year old Aucklander! I would be jealous if I wasn’t so overwhelmed by her rather special take on indie-pop that has launched her as an international sensation (the things I was doing when I was 16 were no where near as interesting, in fact not much has changed HA). It’s rather hard to believe the voice and talent of these 5 songs has been written and performed by such a young newcomer to the music world, in fact it leaves you kind of dumb struck. All 5 songs on the EP have something unique to offer but my favorites would have to be Bravado and The Love Club.

2. Deep Sea Arcade: Outlands

My next favorite of the months was this great LP by a relatively new Australian band which was featured on 95bfm and one song left me wanting more (in a good way). The album is a pretty varied mix of british indie/brit pop, pychodelic 60s rock and new wave (think a modern version of the monkees…) with other influences that seem to still be being sorted through and organized as I suppose would be common for most LPs. I feel like this album still has a characteristic Australian indie rock feel to it that I associate with other great Australian bands like The Shins. There is a great mix of quiet, thoughtful synth tunes and more upbeat rock tracks yet the album as a whole is a great listen and a new favorite for long car rides (especially as the Husband likes it too, our musical tastes don’t always overlap!). A few of my favorite tracks include Seen No Right, Granite City, Steam and Ride.

3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away

My absolute favorite of the month was this melancholic, subdued stunner of an album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I should preface anything further by saying that I have never listened to anything else by Nick Cave other than a song he did with Kylie Minogue once upon a time (thanks to singstar 90s) so I have no idea what any of his previous albums are like. Having said that this is one of my favorite albums of the year, maybe even the last five years or decade. I heard the last song on the album played on 95bfm (the best Auckland radio station in my opinion) and was hooked by its sombre simplicity and yet a hauting emotional intensity that really characterizes every song on the album. Every time I listen to this album I hear and feel brand new things. It’s a creative masterpiece that can come across as simple or laid back but is layered with so much complexity and feeling that I don’t even know where to begin. There are also some rather weird lyrics (Hannah Montanna and the African Savannah come up once or twice…) but I kind of like that, especially as they are being sung in Cave’s amazing baritone that reminds me of classic Leonard Cohen, just a bit stranger and more intense. The songs I can’t get enough of are Jubilee Street, Higgs Boson Street (a weird but wonderful song) and Push the Sky Away, which started this whole love affair.

See you soon with some more favorites!

Xx

April’s Albums of the Month!

20130430-184107.jpgHi All!

Happy last day of April. April has been a busy, crazy, chaotic but amazing and wonderful month for me (hence the slight lack of blog posts recently) and I couldn’t be more thankful for everything right now even if life is still going to be crazy and exhausting for the foreseeable future. Here is your first installment for my monthly favorites and my 3 favorite albums that I listened to.

1. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

Hands down my favorite album for the month. For someone who is not big on hip hop/rnb/other types of music this album became a very quick favorite of mine (which annoyed Edd greatly, Sorry!). Singer/songwriter Frank Ocean brings us this great album of what I think is quite a unique blend of alternative hip hop/R&B/soul/gospel/funk with his creativity and talent shining through in every single song. Choosing favorites from this album was so hard as I truly adored every and the different things each song had to offer. Listen to this album, even if it doesn’t sound like your type of thing. I insist. (Sidenote: I sound ridiculous trying to sing along to every song on this…but I do it anyway. His voice is magical).

Songs you should go listen to: Thinkin about you, Sweet Life, Crack Rock, Pyramids (an amazing nine minute ride and my hands down number one song on the album), Forest Gump

2. Calvin Harris: 18 Months

So I should forewarn you all that Ocean’s masterpiece took almost complete control of my musical moments this month but these next two deserve an honorable mention for slipping in occasionally. I’m sure everyone knows Calvin Harris and his music that makes dancing hard to avoid. Useful as gym soundtracks or for a general pick me up!

Songs you should go listen to: Green Valley, Bounce, Feel So Close, We’ll Be Coming Back, Sweet Nothing

3. Kings of Convenience: Declaration of Dependence

I am a big fan of Kings of Convenience and the duo’s simple yet perfectly complicated acoustic harmonies. Another unique band in my opinion that have created yet another favorite album (here is the last time they were mentioned here) that is perfect for a chilled out afternoon or for the nights I can’t get to sleep on want someone to softly sing me into my dreams (wow that came out really corny, sorry). Beautiful guitar, beautiful voices and an impeccable album.

Songs you should listen to: 24-25, Boat Behind, Rule My World, Power of Not Knowing, Freedom and Its Owner

So there are my musical mentions of the month. What has kept your ears occupied lately? Let me know if you know any of the above albums and let me know what you think about them! See you soon with more April favorites 🙂

Xx

Albums of February!

Hi All!

So the end of February approached at light speed and suddenly today I realized I had to get organized and do my monthly posts! This month, music-wise, I signed up for the 30 day free trial on Spotify (slow to the party, I know) and have been having heaps of fun finding old music that I no longer have and also listening to some new albums. Here are three albums I have been listening to quite a lot this month, only one is a brand new to me find but there are heaps more I just haven’t had the time to listen to properly yet. So enjoy!

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1. The O.C. Volume 2

So way back when I was pretty obsessed with the O.C. My best friend had all the DVDs and we would watch them endlessly. One of my favorite parts of the O.C. is the great music they use. So many bands I love I discovered through the O.C. haha, is that sad? I love all their sound tracks but this 2nd one is a favorite and just happened to be the one I kept putting on this month. A great mix of indie/alternative music that is quirky, fun and a little bit interesting.

Songs you should listen to: Specialist (by Interpol), You got me all wrong (by dios (malos)), Popular mechanics for lovers (by Beulah) and Eastern Glow (by The Album Leaf)

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2. Emile Sande: Our Version of Events

So this is my amazing new find of the month! Somehow I clicked through to this album by the young, beautiful Scottish singer Emile Sande. I believe this is her debut album and I absolutely love it! I don’t listen to a lot of soul or R&B music but do love a good singer along those lines. Emile’s voice is simply stunning with a lot of soul and emotion and her songs are fun to sing along to even if I do a crap job of it. The album has a good mix of upbeat songs and slower, more melancholic tunes. Definitely give her a listen if you like R&B singer/songwriter stuff.

Songs you should listen to: Heaven, Suitcase, Next to Me, River

Lungs_FatM3. Florence + the Machine: Lungs

Last up is an old favorite that you will all know I am sure! I have listened to the new album by Florence + the Machine and it left me wanting to go back to this album which I used to have and loved to pieces. On Spotify one of the first things I did was go and find this again! Florence has one of the most beautiful and powerful voices in my opinion and this album exemplifies this along with a variety of amazing songs that incorporate rock, pop, soul and indie qualities. Such a huge talent and an album I could listen through over and over. (I should add that choosing my favorite songs below was quite a challenge).

Songs you should listen to: I’m not calling you a liar, Between two lungs, Cosmic Love, My Boy Builds Coffins

That’s it for this month! What’s been keeping your ears occupied?

Albums of November

Hi All!

My three end of month posts are all going to be a bit late for November so apologies in advance 🙂 Here is the first, three albums that have stood out this month and have been been on repeatedly!

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1. Bon Iver: Bon Iver

Not a new favorite by far but one I have loved for the entirety of this year however this month it has been popping up more than usual. Compared to their first amazing album which I also love this has a very different feel. A blissful yet melancholic sound with Vernon’s falsetto paired perfectly with a soaring band to create a variety of songs that are both personal and yet grand, solemn yet hopeful. Trying to comprehend the lyrics is nearly impossible yet the fractured poetry of Vernon’s lyrics are conveyed in a confusing, beautiful way. Definitely worth a listen especially if indie/folk is something you enjoy.

Songs you should go listen to: MinnesotaWI, Holocene, Michicant, Hinnom TX (but I seriously adore each little piece of perfection this album offers up in every song)

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2. Lena: Stardust

After hearing that a friend (the wonderful Reese) was enjoying this album I gave it a listen. Although it’s different from a lot of my usual music this album from a gorgeous German singer is pop yet sophisticated and elevated with a quirky element that sets it apart from the norm in my mind. An album that I enjoy singing along too and that is catchy, fun and interesting. Lena’s stunning voice is a pleasure to listen to and the whole album is an enjoyable experience that I see being played even more during the summer.

Songs you should go listen to: Stardust, Mr Arrow Key, To the Moon, I’m Black, Goosebumps

 

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3. Bic Runga: Belle

Bic Runga is a New Zealand artist who has always been a favorite and an export that I will always be proud of. Her stunning voice when paired with quirky tunes and catchy lyrics provide excellent car drive sing-a-long music. As well as the rather mainstream, pop songs that she elevates through sheer skill there are also a variety of different sounds on this album, with her time in France shining through in some quaint tunes as well as some slightly moodier tunes. All the different sounds are done with Bic Runga’s classic vocals and a sense of daring and character. The album features a lot of collaboration which works in the album’s favour, keeping the sounds fresh and different but still Runga at heart and the combination of her vocals with Nielson’s are dreamy.

Songs you should go listen to: Tiny Little Piece Of My Heart, This Girl’s Prepared For War, Everything Is Beautiful And New, Belle, Darkness All Around Us (my absolute favorite!)

Bit of a short one this month! Let me know what some of your favorites are or if you listen to any of these 🙂 All are worth a try, I pinky promise!