Thursday, October 28, 2010

Song of the Day 10/28: "El Cuarto de Tula"

Who doesn't love soothing Spanish guitars? On the off-chance of an Indian summer (which seems to be a reality right now), it's nice to transport yourself back into the summer mindset, even if it's just for a day. Buena Vista Social Club and their smooth grooves are here to help you out with that.

— Joe Pinsker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Song of the Day 10/26: "Flume" - Bon Iver

You don’t need to know its background to love For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon’s first release as Bon Iver. The rushing, rhythmic acoustic guitar work, swelling choruses and natural, imagistic lyrics will surely be enough to convince you. In fact, you can probably guess at that background by listening to what it produced – the sparseness, restraint, and beauty of the music beckoning to the four secluded months Vernon spent recording in a cabin tucked away in the frozen Wisconsin wood. The album takes a contemplative, ruminating course through experience, with stark emotional truths shining through the enigmatic lyrics. “Flume,” the opening track, sets the stage for the rest of the album in that regard: with lyrics such as the chorus’ “only love is all maroon, lapping lakes like leering loons,” the song won’t give itself away through written word – you’ve got to listen if you want to know.

-Melany Barr

Friday, October 22, 2010

Song of the Day 10/22: "A Paw in My Face"

From Here We Go Sublime is Axel Willner's debut full-length album. The producer, on German electronic music label Kompakt, makes trance music that is more fit for the living room than for a giant dance club. Willner definitely draws elements from glitch, creating a style that has a surprisingly wide dynamic range owed to the combination of the fluidity of trance and the choppiness of glitch. The album also has a minimalist feel to it, which makes it feel at home on Kompakt. This may sound contradictory, but Willner makes it work. "A Paw in My Face" illustrates this concept beautifully. Willner starts with a chopped-up guitar sample (sampled from Lionel Ritchie's "Hello") looped until he brings in a simple drum track. He gradually makes this more complex, introducing new melodic and percussive tracks until he dives into a new hook. He builds on this for the next few minutes, introducing phased sounds—almost like a Leslie rotary speaker—before breaking down the tempo of the song right before the end. The only thing one can wish for at this breakdown is that he keeps going. This becomes the theme of the entire album. His formula may be a bit repetitive, but he manages to keep the sound fresh enough that you'll always want more of it.

— Prasanna Swaminathan

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Song of the Day 10/21: "Down the Line"

Jose Gonzalez is a musician who you probably haven't heard of, but you may have heard -- he has partaken in a wide range of collaborations. His solo work, however, may be his most impressive. He has one of the most mellifluous voices in the industry, so you probably won't even need that much initiation into his soundscapes. "Down the Line" is a good place to start, though.

— Joe Pinsker

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Song of the Day 10/20: "You Make My Dreams Come True"

Whether she’s a Rich Girl, a Maneater, or just that someone about whom you’ll never have to say ‘She’s Gone,’ Philadelphia favorite sons tell a story about a girl we all know. Highlighting the sustaining, focusing power of love, the singer is made a unified whole, pulled together by the imaginative energy of his loving baby. But is it a story about long-term, mutually sustaining, monogamous relationship, or merely an intense, and perhaps fleeting, infatuation? Clearly this is a relationship that will leave a lasting mark, as he says ‘I ain’t the way you found me / and I’ll never be the same,’ but it bears few marks of stability. It’s ‘hard to handle / but like the flame that burns the candle / the candle feeds the flame.’ I’m not a physics major, but I’m pretty sure that most candles burn out eventually. Also, make sure you watch the music video. You’ll be a better person for it.

-Will Darwall

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Song of the Day 10/19: "Last to Swim"

The singer-songwriter, folk-inspired scene can get a little old, what with the countless beards and equivalent sounds. Philly local Timothy Showalter alias Strand of Oaks may be bearded, but his sound is carefully crafted and clearly his own. His newest release Pope Killdragon is incredible, replete with textural and emotional variations that lend his music a depth many would envy. He is a master of patterns of restraint and release, gradually amplifying the song’s elements until they burst into something you’ll want blasting in your ears. “Last to Swim” is just one of the many fantastic songs on the album, and serves as a good introduction to this most interesting of indie folksters.

-Melany Barr