Monday, April 26, 2010

circa survive's blue sky noise

Blue Sky Noise [+Digital Booklet]

Circa Survive released a new album recently, "Blue Sky Noise" and I have been streaming it all day. I like it about 10 times more than their last release, which, while musically interesting, had the same effect on me as 4 beers --- it left me tired, but wanting more.

It's like the band went from sad and mysterious to glad and mysterious. And it's a glorious transformation.

I only found this release because I am a Circa Survive fan, and I only discovered Circa Survive because I am a Saosin fan, but I can honestly say that if I heard this album without ever having heard of the band or knowing if their origins and previous body of work, I would be immensely excited at the discovery and I would buy it and rock the hell out of it on my afternoon commute. It's just plain good.

It combines the ethereal, atmospheric (music review lingo double word score!) signature sound that Circa Survive is known for with a lot of "bounce" and energy that translates to a tone of happiness rather than aggression.

This album, in comparison with the previous album, is like if you told a 12 year old girl "I got attacked by a bear," and she was like "oh no! so scary! so sad!" and then you were like, "it was a panda bear" and she was like "awwwwwwww!!!" 

Come on dude, that's probably not even her real name.

Stream it in full here, and if you like it, hit up the links here and pick it up at Amazon. I still don't know if my Amazon Associateshiphoodness (and resultant presence of Amazon badges / links in my blarg) is offensive or helpful, but they sent me an email telling me that I "haven't referred any sales yet" and that I am a disappointment and that I have so much potential, but I just need to focus. Or something equally metaphorical to my school days. If it bothers you, or if you find it convenient, or just want to berate me for trying to make a buck off of what should be a purely artistic space, post a comment and let me know what you think.

Anyhow, stream the album here and check it out - I think it's a perfect fit for these rainy spring days.

Related: Minus The Bear is releasing a new album on May 4!


Thursday, April 08, 2010

mae (a)fternoon

New mae album dropped last week.

It's entitiled (a)fternoon. I love mae, so I bought it without even previewing it. I know it's good.

If you're not familiar with mae (elephant in the room: yeah, it's intentionally lowercase), they are a clean and fresh sounding band from Virginia Beach that have been making music for almost 10 years.

I remember my good buddy Daniel made me listen to a track of theirs when we were freshman or sophomores in college, and I immediately dismissed it, because "the singer sounded wimpy." The song I heard / dismissed was Embers and Envelopes from 2003's "Destination: Beautiful."

Little did I know that "Destination: Beautiful," although admittedly lightweight, would become a major foundation for my own songwriting and guitar playing. You can even catch me playing "Tisbury Lane" on one of my YouTube guitar demos.

After "Destination: Beautiful" came "The Everglow." I would liken "The Everglow" to...I don't know, let's say the first time you got drunk. And I mean the verrrrrry first time. You had some expectation of what it would be like, but then HO-LEE-SHIT-NO-WAY!

  Pictured: how I felt when I heard "The Everglow" for the first time.

This album raised the bar for my expectation of what music can be --- in terms of both songwriting and performance. The songwriting is basically inexplicable - it combines melodies that stick with you like glue, but with authentic depth; a layering of instrumentation that betrays the group's small lineup. It's like a Ferrari that can tow a boat.

Back to (a)fternoon --- it's the second in a timed-release series of concept albums --- the first one of which was (m)orning, a few months back, and this one is (a)fternoon --- it's weird, there are 8 tracks on each one, and the track 1 from morning has commonalities with track 1 on afternoon, and so on. I am really digging the vibe though. With (m)orning, I hated it for a month, was honestly a little disappointed, then a switch flipped and I loved it.

There's a lot of great guitar tone and recording on this album. SUPER clean, and there's a lot of acoustic guitar doubling electric guitar parts, which I love. His signature electric sound has come int its own, clearly carving out a definition of "Firebird into a VOX."

"Communication" is a standout for me, with such great lyrics I want to write them down and frame them.

Hit the Amazon link up top to preview the album, then buy it if you think it's your spring jam. I just became an "Amazon Associate," which is a setup that allows me to make a buck or two if you actually buy some of the music I'm recommending (from the links / badges I post here). I wanted to let everyone know, so you don't feel like I'm sneaking one in on you. I want to be clear that I have no intent of turning TLA into a money factory, just hoping that eventually I can make enough bucks to register a domain name and get some hosting space for the blog and expand the content to include stuff like podcasts with cool playlists, etc.

So preview the new mae album --- if you're anything like me you'll love it --- and if you're new to mae, you may have just found your new favorite band.



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