I don't often feel compelled to share my favorite music here, largely because I always feel stupid when talking about music because I don't really think I'm good at articulating WHY I like certain songs, artists or albums. Luckily, this time, The New York Times did it for me.
The National is one of my three favorite artists of the past decade, and this album was very highly anticipated by me; it lived up to the expectations. I really have no idea how likely it is that many of the posters here have heard of them, but if you haven't heard them I recommend with all I have to offer that you do so.
The Times wrote this great review and profile of the band and their newest album that was published this morning, including a stream of the album in question, High Violet. Long, but interesting. I love that they put this really long, thoughtful review and profile up, then accompanied that with the stream so readers unfamiliar with the band could listen immediately and form their own opinions. I often read about a band or album that is made to sound interesting, and then forget to revisit it later when I have time to find some of the relevant music.
This has been a GREAT year for new music (and it's only April!), with loads of my favorite artists releasing new albums that have been excellent. The National's High Violet was easily the one I've anticipated the most, and it more than met my expectations. Great stuff.
I had no idea about this stream, but this is another fantastic album and people should check them out too. The National, the Hold Steady (who, coincidentally, are also from Brooklyn, like the National), and Scottish band Frightened Rabbit are my three favorite bands of the past decade.
I can't imagine this is done to prevent online trading of music, as this in fact just makes it more possible. For example, High Violet leaked on the Internet on Monday, with a very poor quality version being distributed. Today, a higher quality one became available when someone ripped the album off the Times' stream, and it's being distributed all over again.
If I had to guess, it's simply a way to get more exposure out of the media coverage. I've got to imagine there are a bunch of people hearing these bands for the first time on these streams, as the Times and the Guardian are both pretty widely read obviously and neither of these bands has previously enjoyed the kind of mainstream attention those papers have to offer. And allowing the stream is going to result in more listens than simply a written review would.
My quick take (sorry, it's not favorable): The vocalist sounds like he's been drugged or something. There's no emotion to his singing except maybe boredom. The instrumentals are similarly monotonous, though there are high points in many tracks. My musical tastes trend towards the soul, folk, and blues styles, so that's where I'm coming from.
Thanks for sharing though. It'd be cool if others found pieces highlighting some of their favorite little-known bands and posted them. I'm always on the prowl for new music.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
While we're recommending bands, try Clogs. The National member and collaborator Bryce Dessner and Padma Newsome (respectively), plus two other dudes. They just put out their fourth album (first with vocals), The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton. I first heard of them from KCRW's Top Tune podcast (kcrw.com), which posted "Last Song" a few days ago. This song uses someone a wee bit familiar to Dessner and Newsome... uh, National vocalist Matt Berninger.
You wanted the best, you got... the Out of Context Quote of the Week.
"YES. There are so many HIV+ people I'm gonna have sex with now." (JustinShapiro)
Thread ahead: New Music Tuesday (5/11/10): 1335 CDs, Vinyl &c. Next thread: Lise Reviews Free Music Badly - Deep Elm Sampler # 9 "We Dream Alone" Previous thread: Amazon MP3 100 for $5 each and daily deals - April 2010
iTunes Top Downloads -- January 04, 2009 This is a moment in time snapshot of the current top downloads from iTunes. We take a snapshot each week at the same time and post it here. To preview the songs, click on a link.