for music's sake

Latest

I’M OBSESSED | Jenny Lewis – ‘The Voyager’

Jenny Lewis
Official | Facebook | Twitter

I get the warm and fuzzies whenever Jenny Lewis‘s voice comes on.

In true form, I got them when I listened to NPR’s First Listen of The Voyager (out July 29 via Warner Bros Rec) for the first time last night.

She’s perfected the art of nostalgia, in my books.

Though it wasn’t the first show I’d been to, seeing Rilo Kiley live was probably the first show that moved me. (I know, “ew ugh gross”–BUT IT DID! It really did make an impact.) It was Sam’s first show ever, and she, Hannah, and I went downtown right after school (backpacks and all) and ended up pretty much front row centre. It’s the one concert I never forget I went to, and it’s always one that I bring up if anyone asks me for my dreaded “best of” list. If you know me at all, you know that I am incredibly indecisive. Like, the kind of indecisive that finds me standing in front of the toothbrush section for a good 2 minutes trying to figure out if I want to switch brands or if I want the soft or medium bristles this time or if I need a brush with a tongue cleaner; the kind that waits until the last hour of the last day of university acceptance to choose which university I’m going to spend the next 4 years of my life.

So the fact that Jenny Lewis is a steady for me is a pretty big deal. Jenny in all her forms: Rilo Kiley, with the Watson Twins, with Johnathan Rice. Whatever. As long as she’s involved. Obviously, there are certain albums I prefer to others (for me, Under the Blacklight is the tiniest blip in her catalogue), but hey, that’s human nature and the constant progression of an artist, and I’m down for the ride.

Faves on first listen: “Head Underwater,” “She’s Not Me,” “The New You,” “Aloha & the Three Johns”

On another note: “Slippery Slope” sounds so much like “Under the Blacklight” it’s a bit startling on first listen. So many thoughts ran through my mind: Was in intentional? Perhaps a call back? It had to be a conscious decision right? Right? 

I leave you with the video for “One of the Guys,” the first single off the record. Kristen Stewart, Brie Larson, and Academy Award winner (?!?!?) Anne Hathaway are in it. It’s… yeah.

 

On What Makes “Good” Music and What Music Has To Do (For Me)

my life is a joke (also a possible title for a new playlist)

As a preface, let me be clear the following paragraphs are based solely on my own opinion and that I’m not writing on the extremely broad spectrum of what elements make music music or what qualifies various chords played in succession as music. I’m thinking more specifically about taste–about the numeric/alphabetic rating system and why one person may give an album a 9.0 while another person gives the same album a 5.5. I am well aware that this tiresome topic has been written about prolifically, but I wanted to sort out my own opinions on the sitch (situation, YA FEEL), and since I do my best feeling-things-out and sorting-through-the-clutter-of-my-mind via the written word, I thought I might as well share it here. This is a longer post by Mindful Earful standards, so if you’re reading this and if you actually get to the end, thank you for hearing me out, friends.

Read the rest of this page »

EAR CANDY | [MP3] “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

ryan hemsworth bsb remixOfficialFacebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

[MP3]: “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

Backstreet Boys > N*Sync

FACT.

I don’t know about you, but I was a BSB girl back in the day (N*Sync who?). Millennium was the first album I ever owned (sorry Britney), and if last.fm scrobbling and the Internet had existed back then, you best believe the Backstreet Boys would be the #1 top scrobbled artist on my charts.

Clearly Ryan Hemsworth knows what’s up. (90s throwbacks, boy bands, remixes, and Amanda “I’m suing everyone” Bynes.) Chopping up BSB’s 1999 hit, “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely,” amidst stuttering electronic beats and the ever-classic “Amanda please!”, the Halifax, Nova Scotia native gets the nostalgia levels pumpin’ so well that I’m almost left wanting to hear more of the original chorus. But really, it’s the feel good boy band harmonies and flamenco guitar juxtaposed against blitz claps, warped synths, and quick start-stops that makes for bumpin’-thumpin’-fist-pumpin’ good time.

Hello 1999, how nice of the self-professed Remix Ryan Gosling to usher you into the sample-heavy, nostalgia-infused 21st century. #Backstreetsbackalright!

You can download the track here by tweeting (just close the pop-up window and download away if you don’t have twitter) or by clicking the link above!

I used to have a serious aversion to remixes (“ORIGINAL 4EVER”), but I’ve now chalked that up to being young and very very confused. (Never) quit playing (remix) games with my heart, Hemsworth.

I Went to the Fleetwood Mac Show Last Night and All I Got Was a Nosebleed, Overpriced Beer, and a New-Found Appreciation for Christine McVie

Just kidding…

I also got this shitty iPhone photo that was so shitty it couldn’t even be saved by an Instagram filter!

fleetwood mac @ acc

taken during the first 2 songs when we *accidentally* sat in the “good” seats

First and foremost–this is not a review. Secondly–I enjoyed the show. It was, oh yes I know, “once in a lifetime.” Also, I, like everyone else in the room, fell in love with Stevie Nicks all over again (but I already predicted that one) and secretly wanted her and Lindsey Buckingham to fall in love again, too. Will they? Won’t they? Will they? (They wont.) Nevertheless, their chemistry is palpable. But enough about them, THIS IS ABOUT CHRISTINE MCVIE.

Things:

  • No I did not actually get a nosebleed (but my $100+ nosebleed section tickets made my wallet bleed, so)
  • I could’ve bought a hip, trendy* jacket from Value Village for the price of that beer on tap (*varying opinions on actual “hipness” and “trendiness” of said imaginary jacket)
  • I really did get a new-found appreciation for Christine McVie

She was sorely missed at the ACC last night. I mean, you really can’t beat that superstar Rumours-era lineup of Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks, and McVie-squared. “Everywhere” is my favourite song at the moment, and of course they didn’t play it last night because HOW COULD THEY without Christine McVie?

[youtube http://youtu.be/miwHh9X9sCc?t=24s]
I’m obsessed with this song. Like, Janis Ian obsessed. Like, Regina-George-kinda-sorta-definitely-made-the-right-decision-not-inviting-me-to-her-pool-party obsessed. I play it in the morning when I’m brushing my teeth; I play it and sing along when I really should be studying; I play it in on my iphone speakers when I’m on the toilet (sorry not sorry); I play it on repeat in the car via my iphone when I’m driving–and that, my friends, takes True Dedication. (My van is so old it doesn’t have an audio jack so I have to use a cassette hookup that makes a horrid “clackclackclaaaaaaaack” noise every 7 seconds.) ((I’m immune to it now.))

“Say You Love Me”? “Don’t Stop”? “You Make Loving Fun”? All. Christine. McVie. That woman does not get enough credit, so I’m giving her a shout out right now. Christine, I love you. It was really cool how you made a surprise appearance performing with Steven Tyler (!!) and the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band in Maui, Hawaii in February. I’m glad you got on that plane. Really cool. Very cool. Appreciate you, girl. Miss you, too.

[MP3]: Pandercakes – ‘Paint By Numbers’ EP

PANDERCAKES
@ Columbia, SC
Facebook
| Bandcamp | Soundcloud

For fans of: Twin Sister, Oberhofer, Cults, Summer Camp
Sounds like:  hearing your neighbor’s noisy 90s party through the wall and not getting mad because you know they’re all probably wearing neon windbreakers and spandex over there

I downloaded Pandercakes‘ debut EP Paint By Numbers  last week and finally got around to listening to it on this beautifully sunny and abnormally warm day, and I’ve got to say–how fitting!  The Columbia, South Carolina 4-piece surprised me with the diversity on this record. They describe their music as “fogpop,” and I guess it makes sense: their sound is bright, upbeat, intricate, and definitively pop under a layer of reverb and noise. Thing is, their bouncy melodies mask the rather grim ‘oh-so-this-is-life’ type lyrics. It’s in an interesting contrast. Also, who can resist boy-girl vocals (god knows I can’t)?!

You’re telling me when a tiny pin can break the skin so easily, that your soul will never die. I’d like to see all the evidence behind your arrogance. (“Fogwalk”)

“André Breton” is the only track where they really rein in their sunshine fogpop (is that an oxymoron?), but it’s a nice slowed-down departure to end off Paint By Numbers. It’s like a sunshower! (Y’know, when it rains while the sun is still shining.)

Overall, something about their melodies just makes me think college–but more so the riding-in-cars-during-the-summertime-in-between-college-semesters kind of college picture than beer pong or all nighters. CHEER! SMILES! SUN! OPTIMISM! (Along with a healthy dose of “but, hi– this is reality, don’t forget” lyrics). It’s a nice counter to Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.”

Listen and download the EP for *free* below!


Thanks to Coma Cinema for this recommendation, and thank you, Internet, for everything else.

EAR CANDY | [MP3] Sweet Hearts EP

SWEET HEARTS
@ Los Angeles, CA.
Pop, Acoustic, Indie
Official | Facebook

If you know me (I’ll assume you don’t), you’ll know that I’m not much for belt-y, powerhouse vocals; I’m more keen on whisper-sweet serenades that require you to almost lean in (even if you’ve got headphones on).

Priscilla Ahn more than checked off that box for me when I first came across her sparse ‘girl with a guitar and a loop and sometimes a harmonica’ easy listening tunes. I caught her at the Drake back in 2009, and sitting cross-legged on the floor with everyone else in tiny venue, there was a collective hush over the crowd and everyone was actually leaning in.

Now she’s back with Sweet Hearts, a duo project with fellow musician Charlie Wadhams, and they’ve just released their mellow, mushy, and blush-worthy self-titled EP for free download just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Or if you’re a single lady (“all the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!”), why not celebrate Galentine’s Day à la Leslie Knope?

  

Guys, you can follow suit. And then on the 14th, cozy up with a glass of wine, some cheese, a mirror, and celebrate a little good, healthy narcissism. Celebrate you! (It’ll be like your birthday except better because you’re not a year older!)

Oh sweetheart, when I see you again, you’re never gonna let me go. That’s right, you’ll always be my dearest friend. My, my, I’ll love you till the day I die.

Put on Sweet Hearts’ EP, gaze into your own eyes (that’s what the mirror’s for) and pretend all the lyrics are about you. It’s the new affirmation nation.  

[Download]: Sweet Hearts’ EP here by entering your email address!

EAR CANDY | [MP3] Memoryhouse – “Walk With Me”

OfficialFacebook | Twitter | Tumblr

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Guelph, Ontario dream-pop duo Memoryhouse. Having just self-releasing their digital EP The Years the year before (2010), Sub Pop quickly snatched them up in them in 2011, remastered the EP, added a couple of new tracks, and re-released it–this time with a full-fledged physical release (cd and vinyl).

Their debut full-length, entitled The Slideshow Effect, is due out February 28. “Walk With Me,” the second single from the album, dropped today and is available for the price of an email address (so basically, it’s free)! The cuts that we’ve heard from the new LP thus far are little more uptempo than their predecessors, slightly more sonically optimistic, and much easier to sing along to–which is actually quite fitting since it’s still relatively early into new year and we’re (maybe) still stickin’ to our resolutions and laughably idealistic notions.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

The lead single “The Kids Were Wrong” is also available below for less than a penny. With all the controversy surrounding SOPA and PIPA, you really begin to appreciate the exchange of an email address for a track. Commodity exchange for the new age. Oh the beauty of free (or is it “free”?) legal downloads!

[MP3]: Memoryhouse – “The Kids Were Wrong” [via]

EAR CANDY | [MP3] Oberhofer – “HEART”

Facebook | Myspace | Twitter

The recent couple years have seen an uprising of lo-fi bedroom musicians (see: Youth Lagoon, Coma Cinema) and when Brad Oberhofer appeared on the scene in 2010 unsigned and with a free EP for download, he was no different.

“Heart,” the first single from Oberhofer’s debut LP Time Capsules II (out March 27), is a departure from the reverb-laden fuzz-filled soundscape that we’ve come to identify with him. From the crisp and clear opening notes of a solitude piano to the addition of orchestral strings towards the end, it’s immediately clear that Oberhofer (now signed to Glassnote) is heading in a new, bigger direction. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical at first upon hearing that he was going polish up his sound for his full-length, because I worried that it might lose the youthful fervor and frenetic energy of the o0Oo0Oo EP that really caught my attention.

Everything’s a little more pristine and little more calculated and thought out, but the youthful energy (albeit a little more mature) is still there bubbling under the surface, so I think I’m coming around to it. After all, we all have to grow up some time, right? Besides, that signature throaty Oberhofer yelp embedded in mix at the 30-second mark of “Heart” gave me my sigh of relief and kind of sort of won me over.

[MP3]: Oberhofer – “HEART”

I’M OBSESSED | Peter and the Wolf – “New Shooz”

Official | Bandcamp | Myspace | Twitter

Traffique is the closeted lesbian alter ego of out gay man, Edward Miller, a musical project of Redding Hunter who performs under the moniker, Peter and the Wolf.

Did you catch that?

[LISTEN]: Peter and the Wolf – “New Shooz”

The man behind the music is Austin, Texas’s Redding Hunter. And yes, he dresses in drag when he performs as Traffique. “New Shooz” is a delightfully lighthearted electro-pop track that’s a bit psychedelic. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine a not-so-closeted Traffique emerging slowly from a behind a blanket of pink smoke, vogue-ing montage-style amid cutaways and quick flashes.

The whole story, according to the official site:

traffique’s endless weekend mixtape is the story of a well-adjusted gay man, Edwin Miller, who discovers he’s leading a second life late at night, sleepwalking down dark alleyways in drag, looking for intrigue. His other self, Traffique, is a closeted lesbian, a sexually repressed librarian-type, who sneaks out into the underworld each night self-actualizing all the way down her own vortex of trouble.

Hurray for breaking gender norms and conventions!

In my second life I’m a genderqueer pansexual criminal lawyer come go-go dancer who goes by the name of Kikki Cola, and this my anthem. Holla!

————-

[DOWNLOAD]: P.S. I just realized that traffique’s endless weekend mixtape is actually up for download at the sweet price of “name your price” aka. pay-what-you-want, meaning you can grab it on the spectrum of free to $5 billion. The important part is to spread the music: play it obnoxiously loud through your headphones on the subway until people stare, force/beg/bribe friends to let you be the dj at the next party, announce that you’d like one of the tracks on the album (preferably “almost free” or “get weird”–and then pull out the hat trick “koala hat”–to be played at your funeral alongside Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World”),  etc. etc. etc. You get the picture. Share with your friends.

ON THE VERGE | Youth Lagoon

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Label

Getting to know an artist is like making a new friend.

There are some people that seem standoffish in the beginning (maybe because they’re shy or because they’ve eaten a crap sandwich and it’s ruined their entire day–sandwiches have that kind of effect on people, y’know), so it takes a couple of visits or run-ins for them to get comfortable around you and for you to warm up to them; then there are those people you take an instant liking to (perhaps you both find great pleasure in watching/making fun of what has become of America’s Top Model over the years).

It’s the same with music. There are some musicians that require a couple listens to get into (Joanna Newsom, anyone?) and others where the connection is undeniable and instantaneous. For me, Youth Lagoon was the latter.

Even better, it was like revisiting an old friend. That’s the kind of nostalgia-tinged feeling The Year of Hibernation is wrought with.

“Five years ago, in my backyard I sang love away. Little did I know that real love had not quite yet found me.”

[MP3]: Youth Lagoon – “July”

Raw vocals with a sort of youthful reverie, crackling and hazy with reverb, beg for a closer listen, for a more concentrated ear. With synths, organ, guitar, and some heavy beats layered on–usually starting off quietly and then building up to thicker, fuller sound (think wall-of-sound)–Youth Lagoon crafts introspective bedroom anthems.

Also, I cannot lie. During my first listen of the entire album, I thought it was a girl singing. (Sorry, Trevor.) Alas, Youth Lagoon is Boise, Idaho’s awesomely named Trevor Powers. (Yes, that’s his real name.) And with a name like that and a penchant for bedroom music and introspection, you’d think that Powers might be walking around with a superhero costume hidden underneath his button-ups.

However even amidst the quiet introspection, Powers references the past only as a way to look to the future. Like the experiences and memories that make us who we are today, The Year of Hibernation is a memento of sorts, to the past.

[MP3]: Youth Lagoon – “Cannons”

From the opening track (“Posters”), I could immediately feel a quiet sense of understanding between Powers and I, like a quiet nod. Like, a musical ‘hey, I feel ya!’ What started as a bedroom project (where the whole LP was recorded) has found resonance beyond his four-walls.

You make real friends quickly. You make real friends quickly. But not me.

I get him. I feel where he’s coming from; from his lyrics, to his delivery, to the entire atmosphere that’s created when everything comes together perfectly. And for me, that’s the beautiful thing.

%d bloggers like this: