Songs of Winter

Posted: January 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Songs of Winter

The best time for contemplation is on late winter nights, a friend said to me. Sometimes he holes up in his bedroom and while the world sleeps, he thinks.

The cold harnesses the mind and hones the senses. We see divisions more clearly: the geometry of a bedside table, the sharp difference of darkness and light, the separation of communal identity and the lone self. In winter, the watercolor smear of summer is gone and the world has suddenly come into focus.

Winter keeps us indoors for long spans, which is hell for restless people. But more time affords longer commitments, like that of listening to a record in its entirety. Here are some frosty nuggets.

Music Has the Right to Children – Boards of Canada

Music Has the Right to Children is a future-music dream city submerged in murky water and subliminal messages. Melodies dissolve just as they reach boiling point. Many sounds are so subtle they hardly exist, so strap on some headphones. Hazy jams like “Aquarius” and “Turquoise Hexagon Sun” loom high, stretching a hip-hop beat and warping it forever past time. If Kubrick made beats…

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

“All Blues” is the winter song on the jazz record. These alien chord changes don’t ever touch ground, despite heaps of praise. A tense theme for driving home from work at the end of dusk, the song has no peers. Kind of Blue is so unassuming but it demands your attention. This kind of record is extinct; it’s for people that have to wait for things.

Kid A – Radiohead

I remember first listening to all of Kid A in the early morning, on a stretch of highway in Colorado. We passed cranes and incomplete shopping malls, all of it dusted with snow, to the chug of “The National Anthem.” The car coasted around a mountain pass during “In Limbo,” a drugged funhouse mirror. It’s an album, man, and each song is a stream into one frigid reservoir.

Knives Don’t Have Your Back – Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton

Haines sets out on a desolate adventure from Metric, the electric-rock group, with nothing but a husky contralto and jazz in the liner notes. “The first three songs all begin with the same note,” a friend pointed out, and he’s right; this is a mood record. The music of a late winter night should be concentrated, sparse and factual. Haines’ path is sad and beautiful.

Others:

  • The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
  • 23 – Blonde Redhead
  • The Moon and Antarctica – Modest Mouse
  • Sanguine – Julianna Barwick
  • Turn On the Bright Lights – Interpol
  • Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen
  • Demon Dayz – Gorillaz

Weekly Recap: Conor Oberst, Leonard Cohen and More

Posted: March 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New Conor Oberst Track

Conor Oberst posted a new song from his forthcoming album, Outer South, on his web-site to be streamed.  Click here to listen to “Slowly (Oh So Slowly).” Sounds like he is going to continue one with The Mystical Valley Band for at least one more record, which is great news for us.

New Leonard Cohen Album

If you head on over to NPR you can stream in its entirety the double disc collection Live in London by Leonard Cohen.  This is a great introduction for anyone who’s only interraction with Cohen’s music is the Rufus Wainwright cover of his epic “Hallelujah” found on the Shrek soundtrack.

The Killers Cover Bright Eyes

The Killers will relaese their song Spaceman off of their new record Day & Age as a single on April 14th.   Which wouldn’t be noteworthy at all, but for the cover of the very country Bright Eyes song, ” Four Winds” that was recorded for the B-side.

Where The Wild Things Are

The trailer for the new Spike Jonze interpretation of possibly the greatest children’s book ever, Where the Wild Things Are was released last week, and it looks awesome.  That partly due to how awesome Wild Thing looks, and then also because of the sweet version of The Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” that is playing in the background.

Arcade Fire – Wake Up (ft. David Bowie)

New Death Cab For Cutie Record

Stereogum premiered a new Death Cab For Cutie record, The Open Door EP. Each day last week they would post one of the five tracks that were recorded during the Narrow Stairs process, but are definitely not outcasts.  My favorite might be the last track, which is the only unoriginal track of the bunch, a stripped down demo of “Talking Bird.”