New Tunes Vol. 1

I’m a huge music lover and used to devote insane amounts of time and money to CDs, concerts, and even sheet music. My collection ranges from classical to classic rock to reggae and everything in between. I’ve had to tone down my fixation over the past several years with the advent of a little something called “family” and other “obligations.” This is a good thing because when I briefly consider (using rough math) how much money I’ve spent on tunes since middle school it’s a bit staggering. I’d like to think there could have been worse things on which to spend my money (heroin, perhaps?) and that somehow I’m a more cultured person because of it. The habit has, I believe, leant itself toward a personal, deep appreciation of the arts in general, not just music. How could that be a bad thing?

Every now and then I allow myself to indulge by exploring new bands and splurging on a few new albums for my collection. I’ll try to post about these finds in case any of you might be interested in giving them a listen or opining on their merits (or lack thereof) if you’ve already heard them.

Find #1: Scottish indie rockers, Frightened Rabbit. To me the hallmark of this band is the unique combination of emotion, great hooks, and raw, prosaic lyrics. I stumbled upon the album The Midnight Organ Fight a couple months ago and can listen to the whole thing straight through anytime. It never gets old. As a matter of fact I hear something new that I love every time I listen. I’m still getting acclimated to their new album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, but I’m liking what I hear so far. Here’s the music video from one of the singles off of the new album:

Find #2: American electronic rock duo, Phantogram. These guys appeal to my undying love of electronic music, especially electronic music that doesn’t forsake the human voice. I am still dissecting all the intricacies of the album Eyelid Movies. Give a listen to this live performance of the track Mouthful of Diamonds (the guitar riff alone is sublime, in my humble opinion):

Find #3: American indie rock band, Broken Bells. Broken Bells is a collaboration between Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse from the band Gnarls Barkley) and James Mercer, lead singer and guitarist from the band The Shins. Their new self-titled album is a real treat, a well-woven quilt of different musical influences. I heard them interviewed on NPR a couple weeks ago and the way they integrated their different musical styles into this project in such a successful way is really impressive. They were quick to point out that they didn’t use any electronic samples on the album, just live recorded music–a sincere feat of talent when you listen to the album in total. Here’s a clip of their recent live performance on the Letterman show:

These three discoveries ought to keep me musically satisfied for a while. I’ll try to wait at least a month until Vol. 2 of New Tunes.

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3 comments on “New Tunes Vol. 1

  1. Pattilu
    March 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Louis – I am listening to Broken Bells right now and they are really my favorite of your 3 finds! I just love their sound.
    You know, not country like “Redneck Woman”, but really nice just the same.

    I thought the other 2 were ok and nice enough to listen to if the music was playing, but I wouldn’t “seek it out”. This group I enjoyed and would look for them. I never heard of them before.

    Guess what – I will be seeing you next week!!! I am so very excited, I can hardly stand it. Just stock up on tissues for when I have to return home. 😦

  2. Louis
    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Oh, Patti! 😉 Thanks for giving them all a listen! I’ll have to play you some more of the Broken Bells when you get here. We have plenty of tissues, but you WON’T be using them! Remember, the glass is half full, not half empty.

  3. Melanie (Main)
    March 26, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Keep doing this!! 🙂 I am randomly perusing things here, and I love it when people who have great music taste post what they find. I loved both the 1st and 3rd groups… electronic music’s not my fav :), but it wasn’t so bad as far as that goes too. Thanks for the new music!

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