Listening To

Listening To >> Otis Redding

Listening To

Listening To >> Portugal. The Man

Full on obsessed with Portugal. The Man, despite that obnoxious “.” in the middle of their name.  (I realize it’s hypocritical for me to critique someone else for reappropriating punctuation since I regularly make up my own words and generally feel free to use punctuation as I see fit, but for some reason that period really irks me.  I reappropriate punctuation in order to affect a certain reading of the sentence, whereas I feel like they did it just to be “conceptual.”)
HOWEVER, I am able to overlook this gaff because their music is SO GOOD.  I haven’t fallen for a new band, since, well, let’s be honest, the last time I uttered that phrase on this blog, which probably wasn’t that long ago, but I’m blinded my newfound love for them.  Their sound is hard to pin down, but if you can imagine a cross between the Black Keys and a grown-up MGMT, and if you ever loved 311 (I swear there’s some faint echoes of 311, it took me forever to figure out who it is, but that’s it), and all of this is sounding appealing, you should check them out.
I was immediately won over by their tinges of neo-soul, but they are nothing if not heterogeneous, building an indie-rock sound from influences ranging from classic rock, blues, and gospel to electronica and psych-pop with floating harmonies and John Gourley’s vocals being the constants tying it all together.  Interestingly, the producer was Paul Kolderie, who has worked with both Radiohead and Pixies, and you can hear his influence in their as well.
So the first two songs are from their new album, The Satanic Satanist (meant to be ironic, don’t worry), and I’d recommend starting with that one if you want to pick an album to download.  They’ve got their story a little better figured out by this album, paring down the influences slightly and avoiding self-indulgent guitar solos, and it’s more immediately accessible because of it.
Then, if you’re hungry for more, venture on back to Censored Colors, which you might take a little longer to warm up to but is ultimately rewarding.  The final song here is from that album.  You’ll see what I mean– at first you’re going to be like, “hmmm,” but wait until 0:28 when the piano comes in, and then at 0:52 you’re going to really know I didn’t lead you astray.

Listening To

Listening To >> Sleigh Bells

Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller (Sleigh Bells) GETTIN AFTER IT.  I kind of want to be Alexis Krauss after watching this.  
A little over a year ago, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss were a waiter and a 4th grade teacher, respectively.  Then Spike Jonze discovered them, and played them for M.I.A., and the rest is history.   Interview on Pitchfork here.

(I think I must be in an intense mood today… first a video of chopping wood, now this…)

Listening To

Listening To >> Seu Jorge

Seu Jorge’s take on David Bowie’s “Changes”– in Portuguese.  You might recognize his sound from The Life Aquatic– many of his easygoing, acoustic Bossa Nova renditions of David Bowie songs were featured in the film.

Listening To

Listening To >> Yelle

Jumpstarting the weekend with the infectious beats of French pop cutie Yelle.  All the official videos are un-embeddable, so you’ll have to watch them on youtube, but the one below should be enough to entice you if you think there might be any room in your heart (iTunes) for some French pop.
One awesome video here, and the official video for the song above here.  You really should watch the real versions, they’re super fun with loads of 80′s style on steroids.  Think Lady Gaga eccentric but happier, cuter, French, and without the weird fetish-y undertones.

Listening To

Listening To >> Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons “Winter Winds”
This song makes me want to hit the backroads in an old Jeep Wagoneer, roll the windows down, and “let love grow.”

Listening To

Listening To >> Summertime

Late-summer heat has this song playing on repeat in my head.  Here, the classic jazz standard by George Gershwin performed by a few of the greats.  Amazing to hear how each of them interprets it, no?
A very spare, introspective version from Ella Fitzgerald.

Possibly on the other end of the spectrum from the one above by Ella, Big Mama Thornton, who I l-o-v-e, brings something totally different to this classic… Though not the classic arrangement, this might be my favorite.

A very lush recording from Ella with Louis Armstrong, and maybe the version that comes to mind when you think of this song.
The original recording by Billie Holliday.

Listening To

Listening To >> Dreams-Come-True-Girl

A song guaranteed to melt your heart.
If a mash-up of Ryan Adams and The Morning Benders with a little Roy Orbison thrown in there sounds like a good combo to you, check out Cass McCombs’ latest album Catacombs.

(PS- To make it even more adorable, the song is about his wife.)

Listening To

Listening To >> Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams is like an old childhood friend who you know you’ll always have a special relationship with no matter the distance between you or years that pass.  You can go ages without talking, but when you see each other again, it’s just like it always was and you wonder how years went by without seeing each other. 

I’ve gone on somewhat of a Ryan Adams bender recently, and I’m always so happy when these phases come back around.

“Oh My Sweet Carolina”

Listening To

Listening To >> Florence and the Machine

A seriously bizarre but awesome video for a great song.  Nominated for several VMAs, including Video of the Year, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, etc.
I nominate it for best use of sparkly gold mini-dress and matching heels with fringy ankle strap.  I am obsessed with that outfit.  #LustListed.

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