Colin Meloy – Wildwood

Posted: February 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music, Literature | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Colin Meloy – Wildwood

Colin Meloy, frontman for indie folk-rock group, The Decemberists, released his debut novel last year.  It is the first book in his Wildwood Trilogy that he has created with the mother of his child, award-winning illustrator Carson Ellis.  It is a very impressive, if somewhat predictable, first novel from an artist who has already made his name as a musician first. Meloy created a new and exciting world with Wildwood, one that I will be happy to venture through again. I could do without the whole “machines are bad/nature is good” lesson that was thrown in there a couple times. It’s not that I disagreed with the sentiment, it just felt a little trite. Even before reading his debut novel, I knew that Colin was a marvelous wordsmith and a great storyteller. I really enjoyed his writing style and his decision to utilize his extensive vocabulary to the fullest despite it being a children’s novel. The first installment in the Wildwood Chronicles
was a great read and I highly recommend it. I expect even greater things from the 2nd book in this trilogy.

 

And in the off chance you have stumbled upon this site having never heard The Decemberists, take a listen to one of my favorites from their debut release Castaways and Cutouts.

The Decemberists – Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect


The Best Songs of 2011 (So Far) – Part 4

Posted: April 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

So it’s time to bring you the final installment and my absolute favorite songs of the year so far.  I hope you guys have enjoyed listening to this list as much as I enjoyed putting together.  Again I want to remind you that if you enjoy these songs, please go and purchase some of these albums.

5. The Decemberists – Down By The Water (removed 7/21/12)

It’s no sea shanty or civil war folk-lore, but this R.E.M. influenced rock tune is pretty incredible.  I just can’t get enough of this entire album.  While most everyone seems to be going back to the 80’s for inspiration this year, these guys seem to have found the early 90’s early enough for them, and it really works.

4. The Head and the Heart – Lost In My Mind (removed 7/21/12)

Great harmonies, great lyrics, great melody, and with a fantastic continuous build and crescendo. This song is just darn-near perfect.

3. The Civil Wars – I’ve Got This Friend (removed 7/21/12)

This entire album is absolutely phenomenal, but I keep going back to this particular song over and over.  If you just sample this song, you won’t get it.  Just trust me. Download this song, let it get under your skin. Then go and buy the rest of the album.

2. Sarah Jaffe – A Sucker for Your Marketing/Vulnerable (removed 7/21/12)

This is a bit of an unorthadox choice for this list, especially to be this high, but I just couldn’t ignore it.  I usually don’t take the time to listen to very many live recordings, but this is just an absolute masterpiece.  The range and control she has over her voice is unbelievable and is showcased really well in this recording, not to mention the flawless and beautiful transition between the two songs.  This whole session is worth checking out.

1. Adele – Rolling In The Deep (removed 7/21/12)

This girl’s on fire and there ain’t nothing able to put her out.  Another album that could have had any number of songs on this list. As much of an affection I have for other songs on this album such as “Someone Like You” or “One and Only”, it had to be this song.  It is just so unbelievably catchy but has so much depth and character at the same time.  This is an absolutely epic song that will last for decades. It is the perfect opening track that sets the tone for one of the best records of the year.  A testament to the strength and power of this song is the numerous amount of covers that have already popped up from the unknowns to the legends, John Legend that is (more to come on that matter in future posts).

So there it is.  My personal favorites of the year.  I am sure that I have missed some great ones.  So please comment and let me know of the egregious errors in musical judgment that I have made.  What song do you think deserves that #1 spot?

Part 3 (#’s15 – 6)


New Decemberists Album Gets Title and Release Date

Posted: November 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: | Comments Off on New Decemberists Album Gets Title and Release Date

The Decemberists are now set to release their follow up to concept album Hazards of Love this next January.   The King Is Dead will be released on the 18th on Capitol Records and is the 6th studio effort from the band. I have been following these guys closely ever since I first stumbled upon their live show at Austin City Limits in 2005.  After being completely enraptured by their live performance, I quickly devoured all of their albums and I have been a big fan of everything they have done thus far.  I have yet to be disappointed by one of their albums and from what I have heard thus far, I believe that will remain the same.

Colin Meloy and team will be joined by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck on three of the ten tracks.  And it seems very apparent that he has had quite an influence on the sound of this new record.  I was a big fan of the sea shanty style of their earlier records, but I am enjoying hearing the band explore some different musical styles over the past few records.  And I am really digging the alt-country rock sound that this new record seems to encompass. Right now they are giving away the first single, “Down By the Water,” for free on their web-site. And below I have some videos of Meloy performing two more songs off of the new record @ KEXP’s CMJ stage.

Track Listing

1. Don’t Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise to Me
4. Rox in the Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down By The Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery

“June Hymn”

“Rise to Me”


Songs for Haiti

Posted: January 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles About Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What has happened to the country of Haiti is truly tragic.  Sadly, though I have to admit that I have practically ignored what has happened. If you’re anything like me, if there is a problem that you can’t fix, you like to pretend like it doesn’t exist.  Well I have been reminded lately of how big of a difference our generosity can make in times like this.  Even though I can’t be there in Haiti to help out, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have an impact on their world.

So today I want to shine a light on an organization that has chosen not to ignore Haiti.  Instead of just sitting at home and writing a check, the people at Paste Magazine are using the influence that God has granted them and have started a campaign to raise funds for the relief effort that is taking place in Haiti right now.  They have asked artists from across the globe to donate songs that they would give away to those who donated to the relief fund.  Right now there are over 200 artists that have contributed mp3’s for this cause, with a good portion of them offering exclusive unreleased songs.

Part of me feels a little sleezy trying to entice you into giving by telling you about all of the great music you can get if you do. But then again, if writing this post means that more money will be given, and more lives will be positively affected, then that is all that matters.  I hope that those of you who are reading this recognize the great opportunity to “love your neighbor” through financial gifts and are doing so regularly. But that is another matter. For right now I have some great tunes to tell you about.

Paste has managed to get an excellent and very eclectic group of artists to participate. Of Montreal, Bruce Cockburn, Switchfoot, State Radio, Deer Tick, Andrew Bird, The Decemberists, Duncan Sheik, Ludacris and literally hundreds more have given songs to help the people of Haiti.  And these aren’t just cheap b-side tracks that would’ve remained unheard.  There are some real gems to be found in this musical smorgasbord. So head on over to SongsforHaiti.org and make a difference while you download music today.