Falls – “Home”

Cover31-300x300Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown, better known as Falls, know all too well the bittersweet privilege and inevitable tragedy that is heartbreak. They found out soon after their breakup that they still worked well together musically, and headed to the studio. This folk duo has since then gone on to support and perform with the folk greats like Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, and Passenger. Their songwriting skills are quality, and their voices intertwine beautifully. In this song titled “Home,” you hear melancholic twangs that slowly blossom into optimistic waves of hope, and it is nothing short of soothing. “Home” is from Falls’ debut EP, Into the Fire, which was released earlier this year.

 

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Minus The Bear – “Into the Mirror”

sunonthesandMinus The Bear is an indie rock band from Seattle. Their half-eighties rock, half-electronic pop combination in their songs is definitely something to listen for, which is especially apparent in this song titled “Into the Mirror.” Guitars swoon and perform acrobatics to make a sort of eclectic sound that reminds me of old eighties rock songs, while lead singer Jake Snider provides smooth, deep vocals. Minus The Bear have had four LPs and five studio albums so far. The last one, Infinity Overhead, was released in 2012 and they have done an acoustic album since then. “Into the Mirror” is from Minus The Bear’s fourth album, Omni, which was released in 2010.

 

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Band Appreciation Friday – Fleet Foxes

Oh man what I used to be, oh man oh my oh me

Fleet Foxes will forever be one of my favorite indie folk bands simply because they never fail to provide me with a song for any of life’s unbearable or beautiful moments, which is a quality I definitely hold dear. They are accessible yet cryptic, melancholic yet sanguine, restrained yet always evoking a hint of hopefulness. I will always hold folk music in high regard because I believe that it has the tendency to be some of the most raw and pure sounds there are. Like I have said before, folk music, especially Fleet Foxes, has a predisposition for hiding, but I honestly think that the chase for meaning is worth it in the long run.

220px-Sun+giantFleet Foxes is fronted by lead singer and songwriter Robin Pecknold, whose outward appearance immediately gives away the whole genre of the band, which I absolutely love. This is a man who literally is his music, and it’s refreshing in a way. His parents were the type that wholeheartedly enjoyed music and understood it’s magical qualities (his father was even in a band), so he was exposed to all this amazing music at a very early age. He started Fleet Foxes with a friend many years after that and started to record demos. Many were impressed with Robin Pecknold’s songwriting, to which I would describe as being incredibly mature and evocative. As for his voice, it’s one beyond his years. The rest of the band formed soon after, and the band was born. Fleet Foxes released their debut EP Sun Giant in  2008, having only five songs. From the first track “Sun Giant,” Pecknold’s musical abilities are clearly showcased, and the songs that were released were each more impressive than the last. Fleet Foxes took aspects of many different genres, including the purity of church-choir music mixed with the riffs of classic rock, for example, or soothing interludes meshed with indie overtones. “Mykonos” is my favorite from this EP, and it’s a song I have a deep, personal connection to. There’s just something about it that yearns for the past; something about it that beckons for the times you’d rather forget but must keep near for the sake of sentimentality. It’s an enigma of a song, and it’s one that I will always hold dear to my heart. Sun Giant was an impressive start, to say the very least, and it’s brilliant uses of falsetto and reverb left the listener with a sense of longing for more.

220px-Fleet_foxesFleet Foxes then released their debut album Fleet Foxes the same year as Sun Giant, and it proved to be quite a treasure. Rather than elaborate off of the already relatively fresh EP, the folk band decided to do some sampling – namely, mix together aspects of the best of the best to create music that could be listened to by everyone – no matter your music taste, there was a song for you on this album. Yes, the range was broad: “White Winter Hymnal” and “Ragged Wood” set the stage for a whimsical, fluttery scene in which you imagine woodland animals scampering about, while “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” quickly turns your mood dark and somber. “Your Protector” and “Blue Ridge Mountains” are one of my favorites off of this album because they erupt with an overwhelming sense of power and resilience that inspires me each time I listen to them. Again, the folk melodies are subtly nestled in between classic rock beats and smooth choral interludes, and it all turns into a new, different sound. Robin Pecknold has such an amazing grasp on his own voice, and that control really matters with passionate songs like these. Soft rhythms and folk references make Fleet Foxes a stand-alone album, one that deserves to be held with high praise.

220px-FleetFoxesHelplessness_Blues2011The Fleet Foxes trifecta was then completed with the release of their third album Helplessness Blues. This album was undeniably their most mature and focused album yet, and it clearly showed with Robin’s songwriting and the rest of the bands mellow undertones. This album has one of my absolute favorite songs of all time: the melodic, brilliant masterpiece titled “Montezuma.” The lyrics in that song are nothing sort of perfection to me, and it will always somehow leave you both inspired and crestfallen all at once. “Helplessness Blues” is the showstopper here, and it doesn’t disappoint. It brings the tension of love and loss to a new angle, and the battle between them is breathtaking. “Sim Sala Bim” is poetic and lovely, while “Lorelai” is a waltz of joy. Overall, Helplessness Blues evoked a sense of introspection and sincerity, all while portraying a more mature image.

Fleet Foxes has a different sound to me mainly because their album was the first physical CD I had bought in a very very long time. I bought both their albums and kept them both in my very first car immediately after I had gotten my license, and so they had a bit more sentimental value that way. Since then, I always attribute Fleet Foxes with a sense of independence and the feeling of being carefree for once in a very long time, which is why I am always filled with nostalgia when I listen to these beautiful songs.

 

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Bibio – “Dye the Water Green”

homepage_large.8ebf10d9I adore Bibio. His hazy, swooning experimental pieces are songs that I always seem to fall for, and he manages to do it all while maintaining a sense of civility and unexpected beauty. Bibio is actually composed of one man, Stephen Wilkinson, but every time you listen to one of the amazing, melancholic songs that he has (and he has many), you feel such a deep sound that it seems as if every void was slowly being filled in yourself. It’s that powerful. The first song I heard by Bibio was the romantic, quirky song “Lover’s Carvings” and from that I can really tell that he has grown since then and gone on to create even more meaningful works. His latest EP, The Green EP, has this wonderful track “Dye the Water Green,” and the lonesome vocals and overpowering instrumentals really separate it from all the rest. There’s a sense of maturity and sentiment, and it shows off Bibio’s strong points.

 

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Cage The Elephant – “Come A Little Closer”

220px-Cage_the_Elephant_MelophobiaThis song has been stuck in my head all day. Cage the Elephant’s raw, gritty sounds are- simply put- organized chaos, and they are simply amazing. They can go from subtle and smooth to absolutely crude and unrestrained, but in the best way possible. The indie rock band has come quite a long way since the release of their debut album, and have cultivated a persona for themselves along the way. Matt Shultz has a beautifully eclectic voice, and it interlocks pretty well with the band’s careening, energetic, almost punk-rock style beats. “Come A Little Closer” has a perfect mix of falsetto and deep, brooding vocals, a combination that always works for me. “Come A Little Closer” is from Cage The Elephant’s third studio album, Melophobia, which released in 2013.

 

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Grizfolk – “The Struggle”

packshotGrizfolk are a relatively new indie folk band, and their new song “The Struggle” is the perfect mix of crooning vocals and synth pop beats. Indie folk has a tendency to be nostalgic and have a certain untouchable quality, and with Grizfolk, it’s a new genre altogether. It’s not quite folk, and it’s not quite pop, but it works nonetheless. “The Struggle” is from Grizfolk’s debut EP From the Spark.

 

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The Black Keys – “Everlasting Light” (Song of the Week 3/27/2014)

homepage_large.fa0b9413I love The Black Keys. Singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are two of the coolest people ever, and the fact that they are such good friends and work so well together only makes their music that much more special. They produce a different, more luxurious style of hard-rock music, a style of rock that houses bluesy undertones. They bring out the best of this bluesy rock, and they do it with buzzing, yet muted guitars and restrained vocals that turn explosive at the most perfect times. They have had a pretty successful career thus far, seeing as though they have had a total of seven studio albums (with another one set to be released May 14 of this year) each becoming more popular than the last. Brothers released in 2010 and it was arguably their most popular album to date, with the amazing, catchy single “Tighten Up” which has won numerous awards. My favorite off the album is the sensitive, yet exhilarating ballad “Everlasting Light.” It’s my favorite simply because of Dan Auerbach’s prim and proper falsetto vocals, a technique he had seldom attempted in the past. It definitely paid off experimenting with in the long run, and it was even more impressive considering how focused and restrained it was. The Black Keys are amazing, which is why their song is my song of the week.

 

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Washed Out – “All I Know”

220px-Washed_Out_-_ParacosmThe first song I heard by Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, was the soft, humming, electronic masterpiece “Amor Fati,” a song that makes you feel inspired and instantly more hopeful. His debut album, Within and Without (2011) was more sincere and heartfelt, along with synth beats and electronica vibes that are ever so popular with indie pop music. His latest album, Paracosm (2013), is more of a statement, one saying that Washed Out had finally found it’s own distinct sound and has settled in to it’s corresponding niche. This album had more feeling, more colorful focused synth and polished, yet beautifully hazy and effortless lyrics and vocals. “All I Know” is from this album, and it’s a pretty awesome song, but also check out his other singles, “”It All Feels Right” and “Don’t Give Up.”

 

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Sivu – “I Lost Myself”

artworks-000058977692-4onl83-cropFirst off, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting that much this week. I’ve been so busy with school and to top it all off, I’ve been dealing with a nasty cold. I haven’t forgotten about you lovely people or all these songs I still need to show all of you, so don’t worry! I will post song of the week (which I usually post on Tuesdays) a little bit later today. Now, I heard this amazing song by Sivu a long time ago, and forgot how amazing it was. Sivu has an effortless voice and his ethereal music is breathtaking. James Page, also known as Sivu, has been a real up and comer in the world of indie music, and he’s worked with some of the greats, including Alt-J’s producer. There’s a quiet confidence about his music, and it really deserves to be known. “I Lost Myself” is from Sivu’s EP of the name name, which came out in 2013.

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Metronomy – “The Look”

220px-METRONOMY_THE_ENGLISH_RIVIERA_ALBUMCOVERMetronomy is an electronic band from England, and their mellow music was perfect for my intense studying session today, and it stuck with me the most out of all the new music I heard today. Not that Metronomy is new, it’s just new to me. I was pleased with what I found, and I will definitely check out their older albums. I was really digging the eerie, ominous tone that was coming from this track titled “The Look.” It’s one of those songs that is a perfect example of the phrase less is more. The incessant drumming and ethereal synth beats really take this song to the next level, along with the simple, melodious guitar solo towards the end. Metronomy released their latest album, Love Letters,  just about two weeks ago, and it’s already getting positive reviews. “The Look” is from Metronomy’s third album, The English Riviera, which came out in 2011.

 

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