Thursday, December 16, 2010

Riu Chiu

In case you haven't noticed, I don't listen to much Christmas music. Not voluntarily, at least. Between the girl's ensemble I sing in, the radios that play in stores and my piano playing of various carols {and Charlie Brown Christmas songs!}, I don't feel much need to listen to Christmas music on my own time. One of the few exceptions is 'Riu Chiu' by The Monkees.


Surely The Monkees need no introduction. Or perhaps they do since I seem to be living in the wrong generation. Just look them up or ask your parents if you don't know who they are... OR if you're one of those people who think they were just Beatle rip-offs who couldn't even sing.

'Riu Chiu' is an old Spanish carol that dates from around the 16th century or earlier. {A translation for the lyrics can be found here.} The Monkees performed this song at the end of Episode 15 in Season 2, "The Christmas Show". They sing it a capella and in harmony with Micky taking most of the solos.
I heard a different version of this song in a friend's car the other day. It was by one of those artists-of-whom-we-do-not-speak and its overproduced sound made me long for this beautiful, and entirely too short version. Definitely one of my absolute favourite Christmas songs.

Listen:



Well, this is my last song for my week of posting {week = 7 days, not Friday to Friday}. This will probably be my last post for December, too. So, Merry Christmas everyone!!

{P.S. - It snowed. No Library for me. :(
But don't worry, I'll get over it. ;)}

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't Know Why (You Stay)

I vacillated for a while what my second to last song this week would be. I knew for certain what my last song was going to be and I was pretty sure I knew what today's song was going to be... But then, all these other worthy advocates I've been listening to kept coming to mind. I'm not the best at making last minute decisions, because then I usually end up making the wrong choice. But finally I picked a song, and I certainly hope you won't think it was the wrong choice: 'Don't Know Why (You Stay)' by The Essex Green.


The Essex Green is Jeff Baron, Sasha Bell and Chris Ziter. They have been a band since 1997 but are on an indefinite hiatus at the moment. They haven't released an album since 2006's Cannibal Sea which I have been listening to a lot, as of late. They write catchy, 60's inspired indie pop/rock. 'Don't Know Why (You Stay)' is especially catchy; I can never resist harmonizing along with it. This song has been included on all of the playlists I've made to bake Christmas cookies to. {Christmas music? What's that?} So, I decided this really was the best song to post today. :)

Listen:




On another note, they are calling for more snow here. Confession, though: I don't want it to snow because tomorrow is a Library day. Don't look at me like that! It really is a highlight in my minuscule existence. :P

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poison & Wine

My computer and I are lodged in a battle. I am afraid my computer is going to win in the most vengeful way possible... he is going to die. Quite a spiteful fellow he is.
Since I have been struggling with my computer for a couple hours or so, I'm keeping it simple today. {Though at the moment we seem to have reached some sort of truce. *crosses fingers*}

I am posting one of my most favoritest songs ever: 'Poison & Wine' by the Civil Wars!
I've posted about The Civil Wars before, back in July when I first discovered them. But at that point, I had never heard this amazing song. Since then it has become a favourite and is a constant inclusion on playlists I make for everyday listening... And I have fallen asleep to it countless times. {It's a good thing, heh.}

Regardez!

{YouTube Link. Stupid cut-off edge...)


That's all for today. I hope by tomorrow my computer will have learned better manners or at least a less drastic way of doing warfare. :P

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deep Blue You

This morning I awoke to cinnamon rolls and a snow covered yard. Quel bonheur! Sadly, the snow is melting. But surely it will come back before these cold months are done!
These cold days seem to fit perfectly with the music of 8mm which I have been listening to lately.

I've known about 8mm for ages it seems and I remember a week where I listened to them a lot. But somehow I lost touch with their music. Until recently, that is, when I was looking to use the last of my month's downloads on emusic. There were some 8mm songs on one of my "music-to-buy-eventually" lists so I decided I'd download their song 'Deep Blue You'. Which turned out to be an excellent decision, though I do say so myself. ;)

8mm is composed of husband and wife Sean & Juliette Beaven and Jon Nicolson.
They are a pop/rock band with a similar dreaminess like bands such as Trespassers William except with more electronic elements. I suppose the proper term for that would be "trip hop" or "trip rock" but really, who the heck know what those genres are off the top of their head?
'Deep Blue You' was released as a single in 2009 and was also included on the EP they released this year, Love and the Apocalypse.

Listen:


{Again, the skipping time duration should not affect the song. :)}

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let Me Go

Here's a noteworthy song I came across the other day while flitting around the internet. 'Let Me Go' by The Chapin Sisters.

The Chapin Sisters consist of real-life sisters Abigail and Lily Chapin. Their half-sister Jessica Craven is also a member but as of 2010 has taken a leave of absence. Apparently their father/stepfather is Tom Chapin. {A fact which might impress me more if I had known who he was. :P} Actually, many of their family members are musicians, so it must run in their blood.

The Chapin Sisters' sound is a mixture of folk, blues, and pop. Their lyrics are somber and full of heartbreak, most of which they caused themselves. And of course, what good is a sister act without gorgeous harmonies? Well, check! They have them.

Ever since I heard this song, I have not been able to stop listening to it... {Ok, well, that might be a slight exaggeration.}



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Piano Man

Today I am going to do something radical and post a song that everyone has heard of! {Okay, maybe I am overestimating my and other recent generations...} The song is 'Piano Man' by Billy Joel! {If you've never heard of this song, your parents have, undoubtedly.}


I've liked Billy Joel for a couple years now. My first introduction to him was the inclusion of 'Still Rock and Roll to Me' on a mix CD my father made for my mother. But it wasn't until recently that I have come to really love his music.
It started one night about a month ago. I was riding in my sister's car and I had just heard a piece of news that depressed me. {A piece of news that meant a dream of mine was going to have to die.} We were listening to the radio and the song 'Piano Man' by Billy Joel came on. I knew the song, I even had it on my ipod. But I hadn't really listened to it in a while. As I sat there in the dark, sad and listening to Billy Joel singing about unfulfilled dreams... I don't know. I just fell in love with the song. When I got home, I listened to it again. Since then, we have been inseparable. :P
Ever since, I have been on a major Billy Joel kick. I've pulled out the copies I made from the Billy Joel records of a friend and am learning how to play 'She's Always a Woman' on the piano.
Also I'm driving my little brother crazy by constantly singing 'Piano Man'!

'Piano Man' became Billy Joel's first major hit in 1973 and is considered to be his "signature song". Which makes sense since Billy Joel is the piano man. Before he was a successful musician and after his first album had failed, he spent some time as a piano-lounge singer. This song is about that. The characters mentioned in the lyrics are all based off of real people.

Listen to 'Piano Man':
{Full version too. No radio edits for this girl!}



Friday, December 10, 2010

I Just Realized

You know what I thought would be fun? If I posted a song every day for a week! I know, you're probably thinking "Tell me why that is fun, exactly?" And well, it's not. But I want to do it and this is the perfect time of year for it, so paste a smile on your face and let's go!

Basically I shall be posting the songs that have been "rocking out to" lately. {Well, if I rocked out, which I don't. And if the music I listened to induced rocking out, which it doesn't.}
So, let me phrase this differently... I shall be posting the songs I have been listening to constantly as of late.

The other day I saw the music video for this song, 'I Just Realized'. It is by an artist named Matt Wertz. I had never heard of him before but this video made me an instant fan! ;)
I think it is so sweet! I love the video's lighting and summery aura. It makes me feel nostalgic for some reason. The song and lyrics are marvelous as well... Oh, I just love the whole thing!




Well, that's all for now! I'll see you all tomorrow. :P

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chère Françoise

I cannot comprehend how it is December already! Not only did November speed by... the whole year did! And guess what? I have now been selecting artists of the month for a year!
{If you'll see, I have taken the past artists off my sidebar and have given them their own little page! The reason they are arranged in such a *coughcough* "artistic, varied manner" is because the page editor is really difficult to work with. Or maybe I'm just stupid. Either way, I'm just not going to mess with it too much cause I finally got them in the right, chronological order!}

And speaking of artists of the month, this December's "chosen one" is Chère Françoise!


Chère Françoise is Franziska Beeler {as well as Shawn Jurek and Graydon James}. Originally from Switzerland, she sings in English, French, and German!
So far, she only has an EP entitled Departures. In my experience, I've found that EPs tend to have one amazing song and the rest are good but seem to weaken in light of the best song. Well, that is not the case with Departures. Each song is excellent! Indeed, I have trouble picking a favourite.
It is a pretty straightforward folk/french pop album, mostly it's just guitar with Franziska's charming vocals. {Though, if her new songs on myspace are any indication, she is leaning towards a more Electronica sound.} Half the songs on the EP are in French and the other half are in English.
As I mentioned before, I have trouble picking a favourite. Which turned out to be a problem when trying to decide what song to post. I got it narrowed down to three songs: 'Milupa, the Cat' {a song about her cat who was "named after an infant nutrition brand"}, 'Les Démons' {I'm not sure what this song is about since I can only catch every third sentence or so, but it is just lovely}, and 'I am Chère Françoise' which is the song I ended up picking. But I would definitely recommend checking out the rest of the EP!

Listen to 'I am Chère Françoise':





{You may have noticed the time durations skipping around on some songs. Files off emusic do that for some reason... I used to fix them in this long, tedious way but it was too time-consuming and messed with the quality of the song. Overall, the numbers changing around shouldn't affect the song. But let me know if it does.}

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Twin

Eleni Mandell! Why have I not posted about you yet??


Eleni Mandell is one of those artists that I "bookmarked and forgot". But, she was brought back on my radar by happy chance. I was listening to The Living Sisters which is a group formed by Becky Sharp, Inara George, and Eleni Mandell to satisfy their craving for harmony. {Dream team? I think yes!} I knew who Becky Sharp was and Inara George. I thought the name Eleni Mandell sounded familiar. Figuring I had probably bookmarked her, I did a simple search on my computer and sure enough, she was there!

Eleni Mandell seems to me to be an extremely classy person. I don't know why. Her music and personality just seems to have an aura of elegance. She is also versatile! I have her album Miracle of Five which is a folk/jazz album. But she also sings country, rock, vintage-y pop and probably a couple of other genres as well.
And her vocals... words such 'dusky' and 'sultry' are unavoidable. Her song 'My Twin' from Miracle of Five makes me want to slink around like some sort of 1920's lounge singer. :P

Listen to 'My Twin':
{And please: feel free to let your inner lounge singer come out. ;)}

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zoey Van Goey

As the days of October dwindled away and the month of November approached, I realized I had no one in mind to make the artist of the month. Usually, I have a fair idea at least a week or so before. These past few times, I have even had it picked out a month ahead!
I was pondering eligible artists when a little voice in the back of my head said: "Why not choose Zoey Van Goey for the artist of the month?"
"Zoey Van Goey? Hm, I don't know..." I replied, somewhat lukewarm to the idea. But my ambivalence soon faded. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. I had been listening to their album with unremitting fervor the past few weeks. Really, they were the obvious choice.

So, props to the little voice in the back of my mind for having such a fab idea. ;)

That picture is the first one I ever saw of them. Seriously, you have to love a band with a picture like that.
I bookmarked Zoey Van Goey in my "bands to listen to someday" folder but didn't get around to them until... uh... *checks date* a little over... a year later. My, my. That's rather sad. And there are still hundreds more still waiting for my attention. {Sorry, I'm apparently having major focusing issues today. I shall try to keep to the subject at hand!}

Zoey Van Goey is, by my standards, indie pop/folk at its finest. Accessible melodies, often humorous lyrics, great girl/guy vocals, a quirky band name, and elements of surprise... it doesn't get much better than that!
They have only one full length album so far, "The Cage Was Unlocked All Along" which, as I mentioned before, I have been listening to it almost incessantly as of late. Pardon, but I have to make another soundtrack comparison. "The Cage Was Unlocked All Along" sounds as if it could be the soundtrack of a musical. The plot being: a boy and a girl who are romantically involved try to escape an island before it is blown-up into apocalyptic nothingness. The lyrics really seem to follow a interconnecting vein. Though this idea was probably first engendered by the album cover:


Anyhow, here's one of my favourite songs off the album, 'Sweethearts in Disguise':


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Hard Day's Night

I remember a weekend afternoon about 3 years ago, my father bringing home a movie he had randomly bought at Barnes & Noble. The movie was A Hard Day's Night. He had seen it before but the rest of us had never heard of it. We all sat down to watch it.
Our lives were never the same again.




A Hard Day's Night, made in 1964, was the first film to star The Beatles. The plot is basically "a day in the life of The Beatles". Following their madcap lives: running from fans, performing on telivision programmes, doing interviews, From the first scene I was hooked. Their cheeky, hilarious and almost random dialogue was right up my alley. I loved their Liverpudlian accents and just plain adorableness. After we watched the film, Beatlemania hit our household 40 years late.





Of course, I had known who The Beatles were. I had even listened to them. We had a tape of their love songs and my mom and I would listen to it. Until we lost the tape, that is. And of course, my father was a fan of theirs. Still, my siblings and I had not been fully converted.
But after A Hard Day's Night, I became like a sponge whose main purpose in life was to soak up as much information about The Beatles as she could. And I did. I still retain most of that knowledge though I am not as obsessive as I once was. I still think they are the greatest band ever.

I love the early Beatles with their clean-cut image....


and I love the later Beatles who were bickering more often than not.


Give me the name of one of their songs and I can sing it for you, tell you which Beatle sang it and spout trivia about the story behind the song or interesting recording details. {Just think, the first time I watched the movie I couldn't even tell them apart!}

And of course, the inevitable question, do I have a favourite Beatle?
Why, yes, I admit, I do have a favourite. Though I love them all, I have a thing for Paul McCartney!


{You cannot deny the cuteness!}

Anyhow, I polled my siblings, asking them what song in A Hard Day's Night was their favourite. 2 out of 3 voted for the song 'I'm Happy Just to Dance With You'. {The third couldn't make up his mind. *makes a disapproving face*}

So, here's the video clip from the movie where they sing it. {The actual song starts about 35 seconds in.}





{As usual, watch it here if the chopped off side gets on your nerves.}


Since, 'I'm Happy Just Do Dance With You' is not very long, I figured I'd post another song. Which is a bit problematic since I love all the songs in A Hard Day's Night. I finally decided, when in doubt, post the title track! ;)
So, here it is, the song 'A Hard Day's Night'! {The video is the opening credits and most of the first scene, so you can watch some of it if you so desire.}






Monday, October 11, 2010

The Boy Who Giggled So Sweet

The other week, I was looking for something to do on the internet. I eventually settled on watching music videos. More specifically, Emiliana Torrini music videos {for some random reason}.

{For the uninformed: Emiliana Torrini is an incredibly talented indie pop singer from Iceland. For any LoTR fans out there - she sang a song called 'Gollum's Song' in the credits of The Two Towers.
Isn't she just the cutest thing?!?}

Anyhow, I was watching Emiliana Torrini music videos and I clicked on one that was actually a fan video. It was clips of various Emiliana videos set to a song of hers that I had never heard of, 'The Boy Who Giggled So Sweet'. {Later I found out it was from her album Merman which was only released in Iceland.}

It was one of those "love at first listen" songs. It tells a heartbreaking story set to a beautiful, melting melody. I knew I had to post it on here sooner than later. {Though it did end up being a little later than I intended. Such is life!}

Listen:






In other news, Friday was my one year blog anniversary! I didn't realize that til today. How exciting!

Sooooo... now I'm kinding of wondering if I get a prize or something? No? Oh well, I guess there was no harm in asking..... :P

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nina Nastasia

I am extremely chuffed! It is finally beginning to feel like autumn here. There is a bite in the wind today, and as I sit here typing I feel a slight chill. Now, if only our trees would start turning....

I'm a couple days late with October's artist of the month. But it's someone I think is worth waiting for: Nina Nastasia!


Nina Nastasia is a singer-songwriter of the highest caliber. Her 2006 album On Leaving is one of my favourites. It has a gentle folk sound {most of the songs are just Nina accompanied by guitar and light piano} that has put me to sleep many nights that were otherwise wakeful.
I am fascinated by the piano on this album! It often seems to be doing its own thing, incongruous with the rest of the song... yet it works wonderfully.
And well, I am no good at describing people's vocals... so I will just say I love her vocals and I think they complement her music perfectly.

Nina Nastasia's lyrics are a highlight as well. I feel there are so many untold stories in her songs. Her lyrics offer short glimpses of these interesting tales and characters. I often feel inspired to write when listening to her!

Listen to two favourite songs off of On Leaving:





{Spiffy, non? I finally figured out how to make playlists on divshare!}

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Someone Else

I've been feeling too weary/distracted/busy lately to post. {Not to mention, I have had some sort of virus this past week, that brought along a sore throat and chronic tiredness. I'm feeling much better though!}
For some reason, I deemed writing a blog post as "too much effort". So, I've decided to be firm with myself. I've told myself to stop being ridiculous and type out the post that has been rattling around in my head.

I'm posting a song I've been listening to a lot lately and really enjoying, 'Someone Else' by Annie and the Beekeepers.


Annie and the Beekeepers are a country/folk band. Now, I freely admit, I do not like country. But, even though they have songs with strong country sound, they also have a fair number of songs that are just folk. {Their main core of instruments are ones atypical, I believe, of bluegrass but they are played in more of a folky sound.}
Their lead vocalist, Annie Lynch, is an excellent singer - never twangy. {Which is always what I associate with country groups. Rather a gross generalization on my part.}

Listen to 'Someone Else':
{*laughs to self at the humour in that sentence*}




{Talks to self: Now see, that wasn't so hard! And yet you procrastinated writing this for days. *tsktsk*}

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes

I have returned! I was many states away, visiting relatives that I hadn't seen in 20 years. {Quite a feat, indeed, since I am only 17!}

Anyhow, last week I made a conscious decision to go search for new music to listen to.
It did not work out very well.
I've found I usually have better luck when I don't make a conscious decision to go on a music search. {Must be good ol' Murphy's law.}
Though, that is not to say it was a total waste of time! I did run across this unique song by Kristin Andreassen, 'Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes'.
The lyrics to this song, and the song itself, are adorably fun. I found myself involuntarily smiling the first time I heard it.

It also has a music video {which has lots of cute kids in it!!}:





{Disclaimer: Don't blame me if you find yourself randomly humming/singing this.}

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ophelia Hope

September has finally arrived! To me, September marks the beginning of autumn - my favourite season.
And also, I have an excellent artist of the month picked out! It is with great pleasure that I bring you: Ophelia Hope!


It is rather a funny story how I happened upon this band. One day, I got it into my head that I wanted to like an artist named Ophelia. {Don't ask, I don't know. I just get these strange whims.} So, on the handy-dandy emusic searchbar, I typed in Ophelia. Unsurprisingly, there really aren't that many artist/bands with Ophelia in their name. Ophelia Hope was on the list, obviously, and once I heard them, I knew my search was over. Very soon afterward, I bought their album, also entitled Ophelia Hope.
Though Ophelia Hope is based in Bergen, Norway its members are from all over the globe. {"a Norwegian singer, an Italian producer, an Australian songwriter and English percussionist", according to their myspace.}

Defining the genre of Ophelia Hope is difficult. Their sound seems to change with every other song. I have seen them referred to as "acoustic, cinematic pop-noir" which sums it up very nicely. Since when I listen to Ophelia Hope I often get the feeling I am listening to a movie soundtrack of sorts. Only, the thing is, this [mythical] film doesn't stay within any genre boundaries either.
In my mind, I see it as being a mixture of:
1. A 90's chick flick with some despairing moments but a happy ending,
2. A modern romantic comedy with witty lines that keeps you laughing,
3. A black & white film made in the early 60's with a profound, bittersweet subject matter,
4. A brightly-coloured musical with almost childish lightheartedness.

{Am I being nonsensical? So be it!}

It's not as if Ophelia Hope is doing anything amazingly groundbreaking, but yet I find their music to be unparalleled. The more I listen to this album, the more I love it! The rich orchestration, the inflections of jazz, the pensive folk, the clever pop songs... Definitely one of my new favourite albums.

Of course, I had difficulty deciding what song to pick. Knowing that, whatever song I chose, it would in no way represent the full sound of Ophelia Hope. Eventually, I decided on 'Beautiful Tears'. So, I'll stop waxing eloquent now and let you listen. ;)




Oh, and, I am going away this weekend! Just an FYI, in case you desperately try to get in touch with me and get offended and think I hate you when I don't respond.
Ha...haha... :P

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wrapped Up in Books

My apologies for my silence as of late. My nose and I have been buried in a stack of books! I have been addicted to finding new books and putting them on hold at the library, especially this past month. Total count read so far: 44! And I still have a stack in my room waiting to be read.{If anyone is interested, I am currently reading The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley and a volume of William Carlos Williams poetry.}
So, I am posting the song 'Wrapped Up in Books' by Belle and Sebastian cause that is exactly what I am right now. {Regrettably, this song is not about a 17 year old girl who compulsively checks out books at the Library Ah, well... :P}


I am not posting this song merely because of the title, I also happen to love it. ;)
Belle and Sebastian are an essential to any indie pop library. In fact, I think they are the first indie pop band I heard of and subsequently listened too. They opened many new musical doors for me!
'Wrapped Up in Books' is off of Belle and Sebastian's 2003 album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress. The carefree, yet wistful, sound of this song seems appropriate to my mood, as I enjoy these last few days of summer freedom before school starts Monday. {*dun dun DUN*}

Listen:



Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm off to lose myself in some distant, literary land. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Society's Child

I remember the first time I heard the song 'Society's Child' by Janis Ian. It was about a year ago; I had been looking for new music to listen to and, for some reason, that day I was not having much luck. I was beginning to despair of ever hearing anything good again (ha!) when I went into itunes (this was before I switched to the superior emusic) and clicked on one of their "Itunes Essential" playlists. I believe it was their essential "Folk-Rock" playlist.
'Society's Child' was on the list and I started listening to it. The thirty-second preview was all I needed to fall in love with this haunting song.


Janis Ian is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter. She is also known for writing songs about taboo subjects. This song had a very controversial subject matter when it was written around 1965. {Janis Ian wrote it when she was about 13 or 14!}
The lyrics tell the sad, but not uncommon, story of a girl with an African American boyfriend. He is shunned by her mother and they are mocked by their classmates and teachers. In the end, she decides to end the relationship, pressured by everyone who says they can't be together. Janis Ian said: "You know, I don't think I made a conscious decision to have the girl cop out in the end, it just seemed like that would be the logical thing at my age, because how can you buck school and society and your parents? You'd make yourself an outcast forever." {Found here.}

To be sure, this song is not as socially relevant or as taboo as it was in the 60's, but, in my opinion, that does not diminish the anguishing beauty of it.

Listen:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Help Me! Help Me!

For the past 24 hours I have been helping my sister babysit a family {three children, all under 5} while their parents went away for a night. Well, I got there at 4:30 and I thought the parents were coming home at 12 P.M. the next day. Turns out, I had misunderstood and they were coming back at 2 or 3. "Ok," I told myself, "I can do this. No big deal." That was before the parents got stuck in traffic. We were there until 5: 15....
Now, I don't mind babysitting every once in a blue moon, but it's not really my thing. I was beginning to think I would never get to leave! Even my sister, who is a super-babysitter, was going stir crazy.
But it was fun. Really.
...
No, really it was. The kids were sweet and well-behaved. :)

I've also been trying to write a post for about a week now. But I've been vacillating between various song, reaching no resolute conclusion. Then, today, the appropriate song to post hit me: 'Help Me! Help Me!' by Lucy Schwartz. {Haha. Can't imagine why I picked that...}
To be more specific, I am actually posting the music video for 'Help Me! Help Me!' since I think it's quite cute, though not as cute as Lucy Schwartz herself. :)
Lucy Schwartz is a talented, young singer-songwriter who makes pop/folk/jazz music which doesn't sound overproduced. If life were fair, we would be hearing people like her on the radio instead of... well, those artists-of-which-I-do-not-speak.



{You can watch here, if you so desire. Since it gets cut off on blogspot...}

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Azure Ray

I have returned from vacation! Actually, I returned a couple of days ago but things have been surprisingly busy. I had a wonderful vacation, though. :)

August snuck up on me. I can barely keep track of what day of the week it is, let alone what month it is. So, I was unprepared when the first of the month hit. I had no idea who to make the artist of the month. It's not like I don't have scores of candidates, because I definitely do. It's the choosing that always gets me. I politely debated with myself for awhile, trying to decide between various artists - some new, some who I have posted about before... Et finalement, I chose Azure Ray.

I recently bought their EP, November, after hearing the opening and title track, 'November'.
I have a thing for sad songs, which my family often teases me about, and this song was so marvelously melancholic; I fell in love with it, so to speak.
Apparently, Azure Ray is known for their dreamily slow, soft, and mostly sad songs. Though 'November' remains my favourite, I'd say the rest of the EP lives up to that lovely standard as well. :)
And, I just found out, that Azure Ray {Which is Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor - both excellent artists in their own right} is releasing a new album this September! Which is very exciting because they disbanded in 2004. {Needless to say, they are back together, if only temporarily.}


Listen to 'November':

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Roar of Love

Here's an album I can't believe I almost forgot: The Roar of Love by 2nd Chapter of Acts!

The Roar of Love is a 1980 concept album by 2nd Chapter of Acts that was inspired by C. S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. {One of my favourite books from one of my favourite series!} The story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is told through the lyrics. Though, if you are not familiar with the story, you will be confused as not all the key details are included.

I remember hearing the record of The Roar of Love when I was young but I didn't really get into it. Then, a few years later, we started listening to the CD in the car and I was hooked. That started my "2nd Chapter of Acts phase". It was very exciting because, at that point, I had very few Christian artists I enjoyed. 2nd Chapter of Acts {which is siblings, Annie Herring, Nelly Greisen, and Matthew Ward} have been such an encouragement to me through the years. You can just hear their love for Jesus shining through everything they did!
I also love reading about the band and how they formed. {Read the short version here or the long version here.}


I am posting two songs from The Roar of Love: 'Turkish Delight' and 'Aslan is Killed'.
'Turkish Delight' was my favourite song when I used to hear the record as a child. It is sung from the viewpoint of Edmund and is about how captivated he is by the White Witch.
'Aslan is Killed' is about, well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. This song, with its synths and layered vocals, is very cool sounding. {The lyrics are kind of hard to understand, but they can be read here.}

Listen to 'Turkish Delight':




Listen to 'Aslan is Killed':



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And I almost forgot, but Clara gave me an award! *beams*

Thanks again, dear! :)

OH, and one more thing:

Tomorrow, armed with my pile of books, I am leaving for vacation! I'll be gone about a week. So, goodbye until then.

Okay, I'm all done now, I promise.

....I lied.

Now, I'm done. :P

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Song for You

I thought I'd do a few more of my favourite albums since I got kind of distracted the last time I did it, hehe.
Alright, this album, released in 1972, is by one of my all-time favourite artists whom I'm sure you all have heard of: the Carpenters.


Though the album A Song for You contains many of their hits {'Top of the World', 'Goodbye to Love', 'I Won't Last a Day Without You', 'Hurting Each Other' etc.} my favourite song off this album is the title track, 'A Song for You', which was originally a song by Leon Russel.

A Song for You was intended to be a concept album, of sorts. It opens with the song 'A Song For You' and then closes with a reprise of it. There is also a short song in the middle called, 'Intermission'.
The rather humorous lyrics to 'Intermission', which were written by Richard Carpenter, are as follows:
"...We'll be right back / After we go to the bathroom".
In the liner notes Richard says:
"John Bettis wrote the great lyrics to 'Top of the World', 'Goodbye to Love' and many more of my melodies. I wrote the lyrics to 'Intermission' (Music inspired by the Crucifixus of Antonio Lotti [...]) This explains why John Bettis was chosen to write the great lyrics to 'Top of the World', 'Goodbye to Love', et al."
Haha. :)
Speaking of which, 'Goodbye to Love', another of my favourites, is said to be possibly the first love ballad to feature a fuzz guitar solo. The Carpenters got hate mail from some of their fans because of that solo! XD

Listen to 'A Song for You':



Listen to 'Intermission':




Karen Carpenter is one of my favourite female vocalists. It makes me sad to think of her untimely end at the young age of 32. And all because she though she was too fat. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Civil Wars

I've been in a bit of a blue funk lately. So, every time I come to write a blog post I write a few sentences then save it as a draft to "come back to later". {Whether I will or not is debatable!}
But today, I stumbled upon a band that made me want to write a post! Which is quite an improvement. :)

I was on some band's myspace, watching one of their videos. When it ended all the related videos came up. The first one showed an image of a woman and a man with a guitar. It looked promising! So, I clicked on it. And it exceeded my expectation.

Turns out, the band is called The Civil Wars and it is composed of Joy Williams and John Paul White. Apparently, this song, 'Falling', was the first song they ever wrote together!




I am inestimably glad that I found this band. They have definitely brightened my day! Their music really strikes a chord with me. {No pun intended. :P}
If you go on their myspace you can download their live album for free! {Something went wrong with my download, though. But thankfully, there was a provided solution.}

How is everyone's summer going? This summer my best friend has been our library. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trespassers William

Before I even heard Trespassers William's music, I knew I had to love them.
Why? Because of their name, of course!
Trespassers William got their name from one of my favourite books: "Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne...
"Next to [Piglet's] house was a piece of broken board which had: "TRESPASSERS W" on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather's name…it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one—Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers."

{Seriously, if you have never read either of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, go do so now!}

Thankfully, not only do Trespassers William have an awesome band name, they also make incredible music.Listening to a Trespassers William CD is like going into a trance... You then wake-up an hour later, having no idea what happened... but you feel like it was one of the most achingly beautiful experiences of your life! =D

Over the years, they have been joined by various musicians, but the main core of Trespassers William has remained Matt Brown & Anna-Lynne Williams, who sings the exquisite vocals.

I got their album, Different Stars, for my birthday. It has quickly risen to be one of my favourites. It's also a great album to listen to on those nights when I can't fall asleep. Though I usually only get to hear till about the third track... ;)

Listen to 'Lie in the Sound' {off of Different Stars}:



You just might have seen this coming, but, Trespassers William is the artist of the month for July. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Midsummer Night's Dream

Foolishly, I thought that summertime would mean I would have more free time. Boy, was I wrong! Well, the weekdays aren't so bad... but on the weekends it has been non-stop business and socializing! Which is quite unsettling to a recluse like me. :P
Anyhow, tonight I am posting the song 'Midsummer Night's Dream' by Noe Venable because today, June 23, is Midsummer's Eve!


Though really, this song isn't about summer's solstice &c. It also has nothing to do with the Shakespearean play of the same name. {Which actually, was the first Shakespeare play I read, aged 11. By the time I was 14 I had read the "Complete Works" .... I am told this is not normal. *shrug*}
I wasn't sure if I liked this song the first time I heard it... with her opening half-whispered, half-sung vocals and those two girls conversing in the middle of the song. But it was different! And different is {usually} good, I have come to realize... in a world where popular music runs together in a mass of inane lyrics and hypnotic beats. So, as it often turns out, I ended up loving this song. Noe Venable is an artist I am eager to hear more from as well!

Listen:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I've Been Lost

I'm not exactly sure what the "Soft Sounds for Gentle People" compilations are or where they came from but I stumbled across them one day on a blog. I don't know what I was originally looking for but I decided to download the whole collection because, well, as far as I can hear, these are fairly-recently made compilations of various, little-known, sunshine pop bands from the 60's and... obscure 60's music is something that is very near and dear to my heart. :)
There are 5 Volumes of the"Soft Sounds for Gentle People" albums and then also three other albums called "He and She", "Mystic Males", and "Sounds of She".
Though I've had them for a while, I haven't gotten around to listening to all of them. So far, my favourite has been the "He and She" album. When I first listened to it though, all the songs started running together in my mind and they all sounded like they were sung by The Mamas and The Papas...
My ears were beginning to feel a bit bored when I heard the song 'I've Been Lost' by Sunny & Phyllis {Practically all the artists on the "He and She" album are "boy's name here & girl's name here"}. My ears instantly perked up and it was an instant favourite!
Though now, I have found many more songs to enjoy on the "He and She" album, my favourite discovery is still "I've Been Lost". It has good vocals, a pretty, plaintive melody and a catchy chorus! And also, it is in a fantastic key for my voice! {It all boils down to that, doesn't it?}

Listen:



I hope everyone is having a great week! Ta-ta for now! :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn is a musical duo formed by the conjoined twin sisters, "Eva" and "Lyn" {Evelyn and Evelyn} Neville.



Ok, not really. Evelyn Evelyn is really Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. They're just pretending, you see. ;)
Evelyn and Evelyn were "discovered" (*winkwink*) by the aforementioned Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley who then helped them record their album, Evelyn Evelyn. Evelyn & Evelyn's rather tragic and bittersweet story is told through song and words on their album.
{They and their story also sparked a controversy! And personally, I don't feel it's worth going into.}

So, maybe this seems a little weird. First of all, why would people pretend to be conjoined twin sisters who love to make music? And why would one of them be played by a male? I have no answers. All I know is that their music, which covers many genres and moods, is awesome.
My favourite song is the self-titled 'Evelyn Evelyn'. I love how it starts out so calm and then escalates in frustration then goes back down again. An emotional roller-coaster, if you will. ;)

Listen to 'Evelyn Evelyn':

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blue Roses

After much deliberation I have chose Blue Roses as the artist of the month! Ok, not really... it only took me about a nanosecond to decide that I wanted Blue Roses to be the artist of the month. =D

Blue Roses is the recording name of Laura Groves. I recently bought her first, and so far only, album, Blue Roses. After listening to a sample of the first track, 'Greatest Thoughts' I was extremely impressed and quickly decided I wanted to buy the whole album.
I really connected with this album. Does that sound strange? Well, it's true at any rate. This is one of those albums I can just lay on my floor listening to and not get bored of it or wish for it to end.
My one bone to pick, though, is I wish she had better diction because I love her lyrics and they're not always clear. But it's a very minor grievance and I can easily find her lyrics on lyric sites. :)

On her site, it says; "She dreamt of writing, arranging, performing and producing an album that would be as treasured by someone else, and hopefully inspire them in the same way."
I'd say, as far as I am concerned, she has succeeded!

Listen to 'Greatest Thoughts':

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Your Heart

I started going through my music the other day, trying to find a song that I had always wanted to post but never got around to. I knew there were a few... I just couldn't remember what they were... And then I found what I was looking for: 'Open Your Heart' by Lavender Diamond!


Lavender Diamond creates simple, happy music and 'Open Your Heart' is possibly their happiest song. For some reason my brothers can't stand it... :P {Ok, well maybe it's understandable...}

Sorry, this is a sidetrack, but, I am extremely jealous of Becky Stark's {Lavender Diamond's frontwoman} clothes! She always seems to be wearing the most darling dresses.
N.B:

I've never been one to care much about clothes but vintage dresses do something to me, I don't know...

Anyhow, I'll quit burbling now and let you listen to 'Open Your Heart'. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Musical Plans

Sorry I've been so silent! I've had major trouble lately collecting my thoughts and putting them together in a coherent way.
I've also had a social life this past week and it will continue on for the rest of the week. This is rather abnormal for me... and you know what? I hate it. XD
Anyhow, I'm going to cease the "Favorite Albums" for now till I have more time/brain-power.

{Disclaimer: This post is possibly all worthless ramblings. I am not confirming or denying any rumours at this time.}

So, Summer is coming and I'm beginning to think about what I want to accomplish! Practically everything I've come up with is music related...

1. Perfect playing 'La Valse D'Amelie' on the piano. {Ok, maybe not perfect exactly... but polish it!} When I first decided I wanted to learn how to play 'La Valse D'Amelie' from the film "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" I forgot how hard it was. Needless to say I shortly realized it after trying to play it for the first time... I almost gave up. But I stuck with it. :P



2. Finish notating 'The Lady of the Lea' and learn how to play and sing it. In one of my favourite books, A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich, the main character sings the song 'The Lady of the Lea' several times throughout the book. Curious, I looked it up online and found sheet music for it but the resolution was very bad, making it unprintable. So, I am copying out the notes and such onto blank sheet music. Yes. The melody line AND the accompaniment. I've got 1 page down out of about 4 1/2. I don't know what has given me such dedication. Haha!


3. Record an album for my parents! I've made several albums for them before. A few with my brothers and I's "band" where we sang in high-pitched, humorous voices and one with just me playing the piano. {I use a sound recorder that came on my computer. It's not the best quality but it suffices!} And I'm thinking... I'm going to record an album for them with me singing and playing the piano but I haven't decided if I'm brave enough yet. I play the piano and sing only when I'm alone. But... maybe I need to get over that. *shrugs* We shall see!



4. Finish learning how to play the theme song from the TV show "All Creatures Great and Small". {AKA 'Piano Parchment' by Johnny Pearson}. "All Creatures Great and Small" chronicles the life of a British country vet and is one of my family's favourite shows! It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry! As will the books. {Which I happen to be re-reading at the moment!} :)

That's all I can think of. Not too much, I live a low-key life. :)

OH! I'll stop rambling soon, I promise, but guess what I got in the mail today?!?!
KaiserCartel's "Secret Transit" album and "Philanthropy" EP!!! =D
There is nothing better than packages in the mail! Especially something that sounds so fangreatastic! I am enjoying it immensely; three thumbs up!!!

Okay, that's all for now! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Holiday in Rhode Island

Next for my favourite albums, is Holiday in Rhode Island by The Softies.


A family member or two laughed at their band name, "The Softies". That was only because they had not heard their music. Once you hear their music you never question why they would call themselves the "Softies". ;)

I got this album for Christmas last year. I was given it by my paternal grandparents when we were visiting their house. I didn't have my computer with me so I borrowed my littler brother's CD player. I went downstairs and lay across my sister and I's temporary bed and I listened to the album for the first time while reading the lyrics in the album insert. {By the way, I LOVE it when artists put their lyrics in their liner notes.}
And so that is always the memory I associate with this album, lying across the bed in my grandparent's basement, reading the lyrics, listening to the whole thing for the first time.

The Softies are two girls {Rose Melberg and Jen Sbragia} accompanied mostly by just their guitars. They write sad, sweet songs about love & heartache... mainly heartache.
One thing I love most about them is their harmonies. One of my favourite things to do is to play Holiday in Rhode Island out loud (whether on CD or my ipod) and sing along. I have trouble making up my mind whether I want to sing the melody or the harmony so I sing an odd mixture of both. :)

I also had trouble just picking one song. I went back in forth between so many combinations... oi! Finally I decided on these two...

'Sleep Away Your Troubles':


'Just a Day':



And I had a lovely birthday! I feel so much different now that I am 17!
*cough*
;)