The Appleseed Cast – As the Little Things Go

Where has all the post-rock gone? I’d be willing to be we will soon look back on the early/mid 2000’s as the golden-age of genre that had little chance of becoming popular. With its obscenely long songs and few-and-far-between lyrics and vocals, it does seem like quite a miracle that bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai ever got to quit the day jobs. But maybe the fact that they were the antithesis of radio-pop’s 2.5 minute formulaic entries could be a reason for their success.

Kansas’ The Appleseed Cast are one of the forebearer’s of America’s post-rock wave. Having been to their hometown of Lawrence, KS, I can totally empathize with the solemnity of their music. On the uncommon occasion when vocals do enter the fray, one can never tell if the melodies are signs of triumphant victory or helpless exasperation. The jangly guitars are often soaked in healthy doses of reverb and delay, perhaps mirroring the expansiveness of their homeland.

I have a playlist on my computer of songs that I enjoy at times when I’m too tired to focus on words, intricate drumming, or anything really. This playlist features endless minor chords, chorus and string swells, and a consistent, wounded tone. The Appleseed Cast’s album Sagarmartha is on this list in its entirety. Its lead-off track “As The Little Things Go” is the perfect soundtrack to laying flat on your back on your bed, staring at your ceiling, and considering past defeats and future victories. But the hidden hopefulness of the music always reminds me that things could be worse- I could live in Kansas. Ha!

Inspired and the Sleep – While We’re Young

I’ll put a pause on personal stories today and get straight to the music. Yes, you’re quite welcome.

Inspired and the Sleep’s track While We’re Young from the album Teenager has absolutely everything I look for in a song. Every single thing. That’s hard to come by.

It has the quirky beginning to snag my interest, a relaxing back-tone, fun instruments in between verses, and overall blissful beats.

Hope ya dig it!

Until next Monday, catchya later tricks!

 

While We’re Young by Inspired and the Sleep

Beach House – Take Care

I admit it, I am late to jump on the Beach House bandwagon. Yes, I knew their album Teen Dream received high acclaim when it came out last January, and I knew that it ended 2010 on many of the top album of the year charts, but for whatever reason I just couldn’t get into it last year. Things certainly have changed for me because now it seems that I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been listening to it nonstop lately. Really. Repeat upon repeat upon repeat of this album. My roommate is probably going to be sick of me soon, but I’ll put up with a little of his moaning if it means I can listen to just one.more.song.

This is the duo’s third album and, to me, the stand out track is the eerily romantic, Take Care. (Is “eerily romantic” even a thing? Well it is now.) The first few times I listened to this track I kept thinking it reminded me of something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then it hit me – it feels very much like Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space by Spiritualized. It has this dreamy, surreal quality to it that surrounds you with the emotions of the vocals while immersing you in its dreampop textures. I feel the song while listening to it. It’s that good.

The only downside to my new Beach House obsession is the pair seems to have been MIA for the past year. They have popped up here and there throughout the year to play festivals, but their website hasn’t been updated in a while and I can’t seem to find much information about a new album or tour. Even if they don’t put out anything new, I guess I can be content having this gem of an album to listen to…on repeat.

Beach House – Take Care

James Blake – I Mind

First, some confessions: I don’t usually listen to dubstep. To be completely honest, I don’t really know what dubstep is. Many of you probably know a lot more about James Blake – and whether or not the music he makes is dubstep – than I. I’d probably just call it pop music. Personally, it reminds me of Imogen Heap, with it’s gratuitous Auto-Tuned self-harmonizing (especially on songs like “Lindisfarne I” and “I Never Learnt to Share”); I mean that in that in a very good way.

I’ve sat on James Blake’s debut album for a while, but I’m just starting to appreciate it now. As someone with no familiarity with dubstep, James Blake’s record sounds completely fresh and new to me – the stuttering beats, the complex synth tones and sounds, and the simplicity of the songwriting. The album opens with some mellow chords and a sound effect that I can only describe as the lighting of a blowtorch, literally sparking the album. This opening track, “Unluck,” consists of about two lines of lyrics repeated ad nauseam, but the musical development makes it a really exciting composition and a great introduction to the larger musical concepts developed throughout the record.

The album’s penultimate track, “I Mind,” has even less songwriting and even more interesting sounds. While the melody is fairly stagnant (nearly nonexistent), the changes in timbre and texture make this song unlike anything else in pop music, which is usually so reliant on melody (and ignorant of all other musical elements). For its emphasis on these oft-overlooked musical components, James Blake’s self-titled debut LP is the greatest breath of fresh air I’ve gotten from a new pop album in a long time.

Enjoy the chameleonic sonic landscapes of “I Mind.”

James Blake – I Mind