Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
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Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream will serve as a blog for me to share my thoughts and musings, with a special emphasis on music. The music that will appear in this blog is for evaluation/sampling purposes only, and is designed to promote up and coming bands. Remember, if you like the artist(s), buy the CD! If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please contact us and we will kindly take it down.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alexi Murdoch

Reigning from across the pond, Alexi Murdoch has managed to infiltrate many an iPod with his deep baritone voice. Murdoch released an 4 song EP about two years ago, entitled Four Songs. The standout track from the EP is most definitely "Orange Sky", which has Murdoch describing a dream in which his brother is beside him under an orange sky. The imagery is really just fantastic-it's simple but powerful. What Murdoch lacks in complexity, he makes up for with his smooth voice that seems to lull the listener into a deep sleep-much like the way Nick Drake entrances his listeners.
The four songs from his EP appear on his latest album, Time Without Consequence. Be sure to buy the album-it was released June 6th.

Listen to Orange Sky.

Listen to Never Let You Down (Live).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Zero 7: The Garden

Perhaps I wouldn't classify Zero 7 as an "up and coming" band, but they still remain relatively unknown despite their appearance on the Garden State soundtrack. Zero 7 is really the duo of Henry Binns and Zam Hardake-two Brits who have come together to make music that (in my opinion) represents a feeling. They have the impeccable ability to evoke emotions through their lyrics but also through the melodies.
Zero 7 actually got their start doing remixes, and their remix of a Radiohead song "Climbing Up the Walls" actually got British airplay.
From there came Simple Things, where the duo made the use of talented vocalists to sing over the beautifully laced tracks. Simple Things saw the song "Destiny" rise to the top of the charts in the UK, while "In The Waiting Line" appeared on the aforementioned Garden State soundtrack. In 2004, Zero 7 released When It Falls, which-in my opinion-is a masterpiece. I highly suggest you buy the album.
But their latest release, The Garden is excellent as well. The Garden features a new staple to the Zero 7 diet, mixed with a veteran singer. Sia Furler (see Colour the Small One)uses her rich and melodic voice to once again achieve that classic Zero 7 sound (if you can say it's classic). However, I'm more impressed with Jose Gonzalez (see previous post), who sings on the album. Gonzalez's lyrics add a whole new dimension to the quality of Zero 7's songs, as the Argenitinian Swede softly crackles over the delicate sounds of his band mates.

Buy the album.

Listen to Left Behind (Gonzalez).

Listen to This Fine Social Scene (Sia).

Monday, June 05, 2006

Big Brother Beat: New Segment from CSV

Here at CSV, we are dedicated to offering readers a wide array of indie music.

Personally, I am not a big rap fan, but once in a while, my brother directs me to some good hip-hop. And so, my brother and I have conceived the idea to have a "Big Brother Beat" (BBB) segment where we explore some up and coming rap groups that are sure to make your ears tingle.

Big Brother beat, of course, refers to track 13 on De La Soul's 1996 release, Stakes is High:
Check the lyrics here.

On that note...

Hey everybody, this is AD with a BBB update. Right now, there's something brewing in Cincinnati and it isn't just the Reds leading the wildcard race. 2 Cinci MCs, Ilyas and Donwill, along with Brooklyn native Von Pea have teamed up to create rap group Tanya Morgan. Much like De La Soul of the early 90's, TM uses eclectic beats and socially-conscious lyrics to bring back and old school flavor to hip hop. Their sophomore album, Moonlighting, presents TM on the map as legitimate hip-hop force. Their earlier work of the mixtape variety can be found for FREE here. Definitely pick this up, along with their EP, Sunset. I know personally that many think that rap is on a downward swing--and I'd agree--but all hip hop heads will love these funky beats and lyrical proficiency.

The track "Paper thin" features frequent collaborator Jermiside and samples of a classic MC Lyte track. Enjoy.

Listen to Paper Thin.

Jose Gonzalez: Veneer

You will have to forgive my lack of accents here, as there should be one over the "e" in Jose and the "a" in Gonzalez. This Argentinian Swede-he lives in Sweden but his parents are from Argentina-has been around for a few years but he has remained relatively unknown on this side of the pond. Jose Gonzalez has met with relative success in the UK, and Zero 7 (another one of my favorite bands) has him singing nearly half the songs on their own album.

Gonzalez's voice is quite voluminous, but yet it has a raspiness to it that reminds me of a Bob Dylan with better vocal chords. And lyrically, he's strong as well. The hit single from his album, Veneer, is titled Crosses which ironically explores the ideas of hope and life (contrary to the connotations of the song title). Take a look at the first verse:

Don't you know that I'll be around to guide you
through your weakest moments
to leave them behind you
Returning nightmares, only shadows
We'll cast some light and you'll be alright
We'll cast some light and you'll be alright, for now.

Zero 7 actually has quite an interesting remix of Crosses, which I'll include for your listening pleasure. I really encourage you to go and buy Jose's new album, and definitely (most definitely) pick up a copy of Zero 7's The Garden.

Listen to Crosses (original).

Listen to Crosses (Zero 7 mix).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Office: Q & A

Right now, Chicago is a great scene for indie bands, and one of them that has really stuck out is Office. Their brilliant pop songs are the perfect accompaniment to the fluctuating weather of their hometown: they burst with positive, warm energy, but also have a cool, "windy" sound to them that carries you away into their music.

For me, the two standout tracks are The Big Bang Jump! and Dominos. The Big Bang Jump! is an uptempo rock-anthem-like song that invites you to join a new "scene-a millenium mainstream". I love the kinds of songs where the artist/band makes up a new term and basically explains what it means (see Crocodile Rock by Elton John). When listening to Dominos, I think of Coldplay with higher seratonin levels. It starts out with a delightful piano in the background with an upbeat guitar that flows perfectly throughout the song. Check out these songs, and make sure you pick up a copy of their album Q & A.

Listen to The Big Bang Jump!.

Listen to Dominos.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names

Ladies and Gentlemen, something may be rotten in the state of Denmark, but nothing is wrong in the state of Swedish rock! Indeed, swedish rock has really become a bastion of great music. The Caesars ("Gonna Kick You Out" and "Jerk It Out" from that iTunes commerical), The Cardigans, and now Suburban Kids With Biblical Names.

An odd name indeed, from this swedish duo of nerds. Suburban Kids With Biblical Names actually comes from the lyrics of a Silver Jews' song "People". The song isn't that good, but this band sure is. To quote their record company, Labrador, "Suburban Kids with Biblical Names is Johan Hedberg and Peter Gunnarsson. They make and record their music in the hallway or the storehouse at the home of Peter’s kind parents. Johan makes simple drafts of the songs and then Peter polish them and turn them into shiny pop songs. They put two songs on an internet site in the beginning of 2004 and got very good response from people." After that, the only way was up. Their catchy pop/electronic (poptronic, as I have just made up) songs will really put a smile on your face.

My favorite song from their newest release, 3, is "Loop Duplicate My Heart." The video is also pretty good.

To preview other songs from the Labrador label, click here.

Listen to Loop Duplicate My Heart.

See the video. It's dorky and cool.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream: Explained, Kind Of

I would first like to start off by explaining the meaning behind my blog title. Often times, I'm reading music blogs and I have no idea how the hell they get their names.

I first must tell you that I am a huge Sufjan Stevens fan. I have been listening to him for about a year now, and I find the lyrical and musical quality of his music to be amazing (amazing will be referred to as chamazing at times). He really is one of the great songwriters of our time-if you don't believe me, you can go and pick up a copy of PASTE magazine (they ranked him number 43 out of 100 I believe).

I fell in love with Sufjan's most recent release, Illinois, which, if you don't have it yet, you should most definitely get it. Sufjan (who claims that his name is Armenian for "the man with a sword") is an identified Christian who explores a great deal of religious imagery in his work. However, it isn't over-bearing or blatant in any way. Stevens remains vehement in not revealing the meaning behind many of his songs, insisting that the listener derive his/her own meaning. In my point of view, Stevens explores the difficulties of religion, the excitement of exploration, and the character of America (with a little social critique) among other themes.

In addition to his epic titles-see track titles for the albums Michigan and Illinois-Sufjan also is a multi-talented musician who loves using trumpets and banjos in his songs. His most recent release, "Illinois", was originally slated to be a double album, but the idea was scrapped earlier on. And with the mini success of Illinois, Sufjan has decided to release the second half of the original album, which is called The Avalanche. It is going to come out some time in June (details will be forthcoming). Go and buy it!

But I have digressed. My blog is named after a song on the Illinois album, entitled, "Come On! Feel The Illinoise!: Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition/Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream". The song is about entrepeneuralism in America as represented by the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 that was held in Chicago. The products that he names in the song all debuted at the Exposition (he did his research-4 months worth!). The song talks about-in my opinion-materialism among Americans, and then it swithces midway into a song about Carl Sandburg, the great Chicago poet. Sufjan asks himself (or Sandburg asks him), "Are you writing from the heart?", as if to say that he is trying to be true to himself, to be independent of everyone else around him. The song is so incredibly deep on so many levels and that's why he is the 43rd best songwriter. And so, my blog is named after this song because the thoughts and artists that will appear in this blog will be driven by independent thinking and creativity.

See lyrics to Come On! Feel The Illinoise!: Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition/Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Listen to Come On! Feel The Illinoise!: Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition/Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream.

Buy the album.

Welcome, Bienvenido, Wilkommen, Shalom!

This is officially the first post for Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream (to be referred to as CSV from now on). It is somehow unwise of me to start this blog now, as I am leaving to be a counselor at an overnight camp (camp Ramah in Wisconsin) in only a few days. The internet access there is somewhat sluggish but I was too eager to create this blog to wait. That said, welcome. This blog will primarily serve as a forum for me to tell you, the reader, about some up and coming bands or artists that I think you should know about (sorry for the preposition at the end of the sentence). Who knows, there might be some oldies but goodies and/or themed playlists. Either way, it will be fresh, like supermarket vegetables. That said, I will also use this blog as a means to express myself through the art of writing.
I like helping and you like helping. I think you get my point.