Tag: Sleigh Bells

KidAJoe’s Top Albums of the Year 2013

KidAJoe’s Top Vinyl for 2013

I cannot believe that another year went by so quickly.  I feel like it was just yesterday I was trying to get this blog rolling, now it’s been dead for a whole calendar year!   I certainly wish I could find the time to keep it up but I obviously have other priorities.    So this list is for my boys in the “Four North Men Of The Rockpocalypse” group on Facebook.

It was an amazing year in music.  It was completely impossible to make a top 10 list, so I’ll just list a bunch of my favorites in no particular order.

  • Kanye West, Yeezus – I’m guessing that this one is not on any of my friends year end lists.  I’ve never really given Kanye much of a chance in the past.  The two main reasons are:  I’m not usually to into hip hop and Kanye West  is a complete jack ass.   That being said, I gave this one a chance partially out interest to finally see what he is all about as a self proclaimed “creative genius”.   The first couple listens I was really jolted by the oddness of the tracks, and had almost written it off.  But then a week or so later I put it back on after not being able to get lyrics from the song “New Slave” out of my head.  In the next few weeks I hardly listened to anything else.   I hate to admit it, but this just might be my favorite album of the year.
  • Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – This is another one of those albums that took me a little bit of time to latch onto.    Ezra Koenig is such an amazing lyricist and writes some pretty catchy indie pop.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito – I love my Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I love that they went back to there rock/punk roots on this one too!  I even had the pleasure of seeing them live this year.  Karen O. is fn crazy on stage.   I was surprised that this one wasn’t on any other lists I’ve seen this year.
  • Quasi – Mole City – Probably one of the most overlooked indie bands of my lifetime, (even by myself for a time) Quasi put out yet another strong album.  If Yeezus isn’t number one, then this one was.
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record – Another amazing song writer, who I had the benefit of seeing live this year.  The sad part was that I was one of about 30 people at the show.  In Miss Friedbergers defense it was a whopping 8 degrees outside that night.  In any case, one half of the Fiery Furnaces put out a pretty cool indie rock album.  This just proves to me that her brother Matt isn’t the only “artistic genius” in this family.
  • Typhoon – White Lighter – This album crept up on my out of no where.   I had previously fallen in love with there EP Hunger and Thirst, but for what ever reason the band had fallen off my radar.  I had fallen behind checking my weekly email of album releases when discovered this release.  I quickly fell in love with this one and will have the pleasure of seeing them in March at Port City Music Hall in P-town.
  • James Blake – Overgrown – Mr. Blake’s  (not to be confused with Mr. Blunt) sophomore output was not a dud.   Still amazed that I can love something that relies so much on synthesizers and autotune.  Just proof that even the worst inventions can be made cool.
  • Kim Deal – Solo Series – This wasn’t actually an album, but a series of 7″ singles from the former bassist of Pixies.   The trilogy of singles quickly became a main stay in my playlist rotation this year.
  • Volcano Choir – Repave – Justin Vernon is a god.  Enough said.
  • Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rival – Noise Pop?  I think that is what they have been dubbed.  Regardless Sleigh Bell is best listened to with the volume turned up to 11.
  • Arcade Fire – Reflecktor – I have a love/hate relationship with this album.  I think it is pretty cool “art pop” that sometime just goes on way to long.  A lot of  songs drone off with the main lyric just repeated over and over for several minutes to end the song.   It is good in practice, but the fact that so many songs on this one tend follow the same exact formula makes the album slightly boring.   So the question is: “Did I add this one because it was a good album or because it was the Arcade Fire?”  Something I guess I’ll have to reflect on in 2014.
  • Haim – Days are Gone – Anyone who knows me at all, know that I’ve been in love with the sister’s Haim since I saw them on Mumford and Son’s Gentlemen of the Road tour.  Most of the songs on this were not new to the Haim realm, so listening to this one initially didn’t contain many surprises.   It will be interesting to see what 2014 will bring for these girls.  I know they are huge in the UK and are getting lots of press in the US.  I also have tickets to see them in Boston in May!
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine – I figured I would book end this list with the two most main stream outputs.  Lorde stormed onto the national stage like crazy this year.  (something I predicted I might add)  If you have only listened to her hit single “Royales” you are missing out.

Other albums worth checking out include:  Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic,  Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II,  Atoms for Peace – Amok, They Might Be Giants – Nanobots, Suicidal Tendencies – 13,  The Flaming Lips – The Terror,  Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere,  The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars,  Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks,  Arctic Monkeys – AM, Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt, and The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion.

In creating this list I have noticed about 10 albums by artist I love that I still haven’t had a chance to listen to.  So I guess my 2013 still has some surprises uncover.  If you want to listen to my favorites from the year on Spotify follow this link.  I invite you to tell me what you think of my list and/or to post your list for the year 2013!

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Musical Interpretation

It’s kind of funny how we all perceive music differently.   One person hears a song one way, while another person hears the exact same song completely differently.  I sometime wonder if I’m weird.  I sometime wonder what is it in me that hears beauty in music when so many others find no pleasure at all. (or vice versa)

There are really two reason I bring this subject up.  One of which just happened Saturday night while the other that has happened about 5-10 times over the past few years.

On Saturday Night Live this week, the band Sleigh Bells was the musical guest.  I was super excited to watch them perform.  I’m not really big into twitter, but once and a while I log in to see what is trending, or to post a random comment.  (my blog always post updates there)  I was surprised to see that 95% of the comments were bad mouthing the performance.  I was actually hard to find comments that were good.  I went back today to watch the performance and I still think they did a great job.  I guess I can see with these guys how they wouldn’t really get to many mainstream followers.  They are what best be described as over powered pop rock.  The guitars are turned up to 11 (haha) and the locals are only at about 6.  Certainly one of the biggest complaints I heard was about the vocal mix, although I’m sure these same people weren’t aware that it was mixed that way on purpose.  In any case most people didn’t consider it music, or said it was just noise, while I was thinking man that FN rocked.

The other more long term example of this comes from my favorite band Radiohead.  I play music when ever and where ever I can.  My life doesn’t like to go long intervals with out music.  I have had the opportunity to play music while working at various jobs along the way.  I know I drive people with some of the stuff I listen to, since I do listen to such a varied style of music.  Well, of coarse Radiohead get played in one of these public forums from time to time, and it never fails that someone will come up and ask “How can you listen to that?  It sounds so sad.”  This comment is so absurd to me! Radiohead sad?  Really?  When I hear Radiohead I hear nothing but uplifting joy.  I have actually envisioned a beautiful sunrise rising above the ocean waves while listening to them.  I hear nothing but beauty.  Sadness? I still don’t get it, but there must be some sadness in the music, for at least 4 different people (some in different states even) have said these exact words.

So all it come down to is personal interpretation.  How one hears a song obviously varies from person to person.  I guess that what make the world interesting.  If we all heard the same thing there would be no need for art (or this blog).

What do you think about these above songs?

Reign of Terror

Now begins my Reign of Terror, a weekend dedicated to good old Rock N' Roll.  Brian K. recently posted a comment to my last blog post asking "anyone remember Rock and Roll? "Electric" Guitars?"  So he is the major influence in this rock themed weekend.  I am, for once, going to shy away from my folk music and return to my headbanging roots.  (or atleast my fist in the air roots)

So the first song I want you to check out definitely makes me want to bang my head and throw a fist in the air.  It really slays, that must be why it is the first single from Sleigh Bells upcoming release Reign of Terror titled Born to Lose. I really like these guys because they play some really loud and driven music.  The best way to listen to them is with the volume knob turned up to 11.  If you ears aren't bleeding after listening to them you didn't have them loud enough. 

Took me a little work trying to figure out how to get a soundcloud link to post here, but finally figured it out.  Enjoy!