One night to be confused

So I was looking up some Royksopp songs and stumbled upon The Knife, a Swedish brother-sister duo. The electropop duo have been around since 1999 and apparently have taken a page out of Daft Punk’s book – they wear masks while performing. And the voice of the lead vocalist also reminds me of Bjork.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for about two days now and I still am not sick of it.

The Knife – Heartbeats

Never too soon

I know it hasn’t been long since my last post, but just I found this song and have not been able to stop listening to it all night so I thought I’d share.

I heard “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap in the trailer for the movie 500 Days of Summer, which will be released this July and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Needless to say, it’s an indie flick.

Honestly, if I had heard about the band by their name first, I probably would not have given the song a listen. Luckily, I didn’t. This Australian post-rock/alt rock/indie band has been around since 2005 but have only recorded two EPs so far. They have an album coming out sometime this spring, and I think they are a band to watch this year. In the songs I’ve heard, the lyrics are sparse, but I think the vocals and instrumentals make up for it.

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The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

“Sweet Disposition” starts off a bit U2-ish with the guitars but then surprises you with the soaring vocals of the lead singer, whose voice has quite a range, and the chorus, which does not fail to make me rock my head to the beat.

(I honestly cannot wait to blast this in my car.)

The Temper Trap – My Sun

If the previous song was not to your liking, this song may suffice. It’s heavier on the rock, if you will.

Until who knows

I cannot remember exactly how I started listening to bossa nova, but I know it was in 2003. I was probably procrastinating in college (as usual) and just looking for new music.

I’m sure the genre immediately evokes the song “The Girl From Ipanema” in most minds. You know, the song often cited as “elevator” or “lounge” music. But it is so much more than that.

Bossa nova means “new trend” in Portuguese and is a style of Brazilian music that is influenced by jazz and samba. In fact, bossa nova became so popular that numerous songs from the genre were added to the repertoire of jazz standards, and even jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra sang bossa nova songs. Apparently, in Brazil, doing something with “bossa” means doing it with a sort of charm, and bossa nova surely has a certain charm about it, as well as a laid-back feel.

Of all the bossa nova singers I am familiar with thus far, my favorite is Gal Costa. I do not remember how I first discovered her, but I am very glad I did. Her voice is amazing and you can just feel the emotion, even if you can barely understand what she’s singing. She is to bossa nova what Ella Fitzgerald is to jazz, in my opinion.

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Gal Costa – Janelas abertas

Gal Costa – Desafinado

 

Then there’s Bebel Gilberto. Her father just so happens to be Joao Gilberto, who is widely regarded as the father of bossa nova. Her voice is not as rich as Costa’s, but it is still pleasant nonetheless. The following songs also were in the movie Closer.

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Bebel Gilberto – Mais Feliz

Bebel Gilberto – Samba de Bencao

(And not all bossa nova songs have such a slow tempo. I just prefer bossa nova songs of this kind.)

This old story

There are some albums that will never get old, no matter how many times you listen to them.

For me, Menos el Oso by Minus the Bear is one of them.

I love every single track on this album and if it didn’t take me so damn long to upload just three songs, I would upload the entire album. You will either love Minus the Bear and their lyrics, riffs, disjointed yet coherent sound…or completely hate them. I don’t need to say anything else because the songs say it all better than I ever could.

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Minus the Bear – Memphis and 53rd

Minus the Bear – Drilling

Minus the Bear – Pachuca Sunrise

The prodigal daughter returns

Hello again.

Sorry for the ridiculously long absence. Seems I have missed quite a bit here but am back just in time for some sanity.

Anyway, I bring as part of my apology this:

I saw a link to this video on Yahoo’s front page, of all places. Since then, I’ve been hooked on this song (and video) by Oren Lavie called “Her Morning Elegance.” The song is so delicate and whimsical, and the video is one of the most creative things I’ve seen in awhile. It doesn’t hurt that Lavie sounds like a mix of Nick Drake and Alexi Murdoch.

So Here We Are

For me, listening to music and travelling go hand in hand. No matter the type of transportation (boats/ships aside) or the distance to destination, I must absolutely listen to music. This has been the case ever since I was little; more specifically, when my parents got their first car after coming Stateside. It all started with listening to cassette tapes of Chinese (and the occasional Western) artists my parents love/d, some of which I came to love myself. That eventually progressed into listening to my walkman, then CD player, and then the ol’ ipod.

While driving or being a passenger in a car, particularly, there’s just something about watching the landscape pass me by, especially if it’s accompanied by the perfect song. It may be the music, the lyrics, or both that make every turn, every place more…alive? So unmitigatedly indescribable. Regardless, there is nothing else like it.

Here are a few travelling favorites:

Nick Drake – Pink Moon
I actually discovered the music of Nick Drake from this commercial (my favorite), which pretty much sums up the point I made. I love listening to this, especially at sunset/night.

Iron and Wine – Naked As We Came
Mellow song that’s perfect for travelling past less populated areas/farm areas or for a smooth drive.

Cat Power – The Greatest
For a cloudy or dreary day or when particularly thoughtful.

The Postal Service – Clark Gable
The beat of this song gives turns more of a whimsical feel and almost seems to push you forward. But I really added this because I love this song and especially this one lyric: “And I want life in every word to the extent that it’s aburd.”

Bloc Party – So Here We Are
Perfect for listening at night in a city or some place with a lot of lights in the distance.

23

I forget which blog or site I was reading a few days ago but I stumbled upon this new band. Well, not exactly new because they’ve been around since the ’90s but new to me. Anyway, they’re called Blonde Redhead and they were discovered by Sonic Youth, who produced their first album. The album I just discovered is their latest effort, titled 23, which was released this past April. They’re categorized as indie/alternative rock and the band is comprised of a female Japanese frontwoman and two Italian brothers (who I think are identical twins), one of whom happens to be the singer’s husband.
Logistics aside, I really like the album. It has a dark/gothic/eerie feel, which is highlighted by the singer’s high, ethereal voice against the background instrumentals and riffs. 23 was produced by Alan Moulder, who also produced Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness for The Smashing Pumpkins; a few of Moby’s albums; and the two The Killers albums, if that is any indication of their sound.

(Yeah, the album cover is kinda creepy…)

Here are my two favorite songs from 23:

Blonde Redhead – 23

Blonde Redhead – Silently

(Btw, it’s just a coincidence that all the bands I have posted about thus far have female singers. Honest.)