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.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Random Holiday Post (but probably a sweet post...its sweetness is yet to be determined)

In Soviet Russia, post reads you. ~ Family Guy

What we need is some good old fashioned fun for the holiday season. There's this sweet little game called LineRider that is sweeping the nation with each geometric stroke. Check it out here: LineRider.

There is this really awesome music program called MusicIP that analyzes your music library and then can create playlists of songs that sound similar to a song that you choose. So let's say you want to create a downtempo mix, you "seed" the playlist with a song that you think is appropriate for the playlist. Then you can tell the program to create a playlist of as many songs you like. The Analysis of the songs takes a while, but it's well worth it. Also, the program recommends new artists with links to tracks. Check out MusicIP (click the download software box in the middle), it's free!!

Do you like to read about what's going on in the world, but don't like having to go to 10 different websites just to get the information you want? Then get an RSS reader. I have a Mac, and I use the free Vienna News Reader. For Windows, there are a ton of free RSS news readers, but I suggest you read this to find which is best.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

#1 Album of 2006 + Sandburg's Top 20 of 2006 Mix

Drum roll please....

1. Under the Influence of Giants-Under the Influence of Giants
Maybe you're a little surprised by this selection, or maybe you're giving me that sly nod of semi-approval, or maybe (just maybe) you're thinking that I'm dead on. After careful deliberation over all the albums considered, I kept coming back to this one. Under the Influence of Giants is the album Sting and the Police would have made in 2006. It's edgy, but it isn't cookie-cutter. Under the Influence of Giants (UTIOG) have created the polyester of indie rock-pop, genre-spanning music. You're not really sure what exactly to call it, but when the falsetto starts to sound and the chords start to play, you just accept that this album is extraordinary. Think Eric Clapton, Sting and The Police, Maroon 5 (but much better), and various late 80s bands that are un-namable at this point.
There's a great deal of harmony in the album as a whole. They certainly complement each other vocally, but I'm more impressed with the way they incorporate intricate melodies, bridges, and solos into the songs themselves. Nothing is redundant or boring. This album is a well-planned party and everyone is invited. So check your presumptions at the door and just enjoy it. Whatever your tastes, this album is sure to please. For once, being 'Under the Influence' is a darn good thing.
Buy Under the Influence of Giants here.
Listen to "I Love You" and "Mama's Room" (an extra song!!) as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

*****So you've heard enough about Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.
Download it now!!*****

Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist includes:
(21 songs, 1:21:56 total time, 123.6 MB)
Song Name-Artist
1. Jerusalem - Matisyahu
2. Multiply - Jamie Lidell
3. I've Got You - The Damnwells
4. She Moves in Her Own Way - The Kooks
5. Further Down the Road - Bernard Fanning
6. 1BR/1BA - Vienna Teng
7. Reach for Love - Ollabelle
8. Fall To Pieces - Razorlight
9. Three More Days - Ray LaMontagne
10. Napoleon Says - Phoenix
11. Heal Over - KT Tunstall
12. Today - Zero 7
13. Time Bomb - The Format
14. For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea - Belle & Sebastian
15. No Man's Land - Sufjan Stevens
16. His Majesty Rides - Josh Rouse
17. The Big Bang Jump! - Office
18. Riga Girls - The Weepies
19. Blue Mind - Alexi Murdoch
20. I Love You - Under the Influence of Giants
21. Mama's Room - Under the Influence of Giants

Let's not forget that there were some albums that didn't make the cut but are still worthy of praise...

Tobias Froberg-Somewhere in the City
Califone-Roots and Crowns
Jim Noir-Tower of Love
Josh Ritter-The Animal Years
Sonya Kitchell-Words Came Back to Me
Gomez-How We Operate
Cat Power-The Greatest
Sia-Colour the Small One

#4 - #2

Tomorrow's the big day--be sure to check back for the number one album and some nice goodies.....

4. Office-Q & A
I posted about this band earlier, but I'm going to elaborate. I also need to make a disclaimer here. This album is no longer for sale, as Office (not The Office) was just signed by a label a couple of weeks ago (I can't believe it took that long). Their 'first' album is due out early next year, so I'll keep you posted on that.
But on to this 'demo album' of sorts...Q & A is just a spectacular display of what pop/rock really sounds like. Q & A has a ton of energy throughout but it is never overbearing or overdone. I could almost see this album being the soundtrack to a Rocky movie--it's that kind of inspiring rock album that isn't preachy but isn't trite either. I said it before and I still mean it: They sound like Coldplay with higher seratonin levels. They do that catchy hand-clapping thing in "Wound Up" that gets accented by great guitar riffs and drum beats. I love the positivity coming from songs like "Dominos" or the way they create terms like "Big Bang Jump!" (are they trying to tell Miriam-Webster something?). Thank Goodness they have been signed.
Nothing to buy yet. Go here to download a bunch of tracks.
Listen to "The Big Bang Jump!" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

3. The Weepies-Say I Am You
The Weepies were the most pleasant of surprises this past year, as the super-folk-duo of Steve Tannen and Deb Talan. None of their solo works really stand out as incredible, but together they form a significant group. Sometimes touching and sentimental, other times flirtatiously deep, and still other times waxing poetic, The Weepies is anything but depressing. They show an impeccable knack for creating delicious pop tunes, without losing literary quality. It seems to me that Tannen and Talan were born to harmonize, were meant to sing with each other. Say I Am You plays with your emotions, it takes you on a car trip throughout the bustling east coast, through the mild-mannered farms of the midwest, to the mountainous west, while making stops in the cotton skied south. This is an album about relationships--with the earth, with the people around us, and with ourselves. Say I Am You challenges us to find what is meaningful and good in this world, and to hold on to it with our dear lives. It's personal and it's universal. Touché, The Weepies.
Buy Say I Am You here.
Listen to "Riga Girls" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

2. Alexi Murdoch-Time Without Consequence
Nick Drake just came out with a new album--he's just going under the pseudonym of Alexi Murdoch. Of course, this is a total lie, but you might not know that from listening to Alexi Murdoch's Time Without Consequence. I'd been awaiting this album for quite some time (along with my fellow Murdoch fan Matt), and my expectations were more than fulfilled. It is obvious to liken Murdoch to a Nick Drake copycat, but that would be oversimplifying Murdoch's talent and sound. Time Without Consequence hovers between a ground of mystery and mystic haunting and an infinite sky of creative positivity and innovation. Murdoch grabs hold of his listeners, he entrances them, and imparts wisdom upon them that is hard to forget. Armed with mostly just a raspy baritone and a loose acoustic guitar, Murdoch's music sounds much bigger than one would think. This is not a sparse acoustic album--it's a well-produced, other-wordly album that finds Murdoch changing the listener for every 4-minute chance (and sometimes longer) he gets. In listening to Time Without Consequence, I find that the title perhaps isn't so accurate; Indeed, I feel that this album has a time-slowing effect to it, with the only consequence being the beautiful piece of artwork that Alexi Murdoch has created.
Buy Time Without Consequence here.
Listen to "Blue Mind" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

#7 - #5

The pulse is quickening...the anticipation is heart-racing...the music is sweet.

7. Belle and Sebastian-The Life Pursuit
Maybe this album should be ranked higher than it is, because everybody and their mother in the blog scene has rated this album pretty high. I've always had this aversion to listening to Belle and Sebastian because I just thought it was that kind of music. I don't what the hell that means or what the hell I was talking about. Damnit, The Life Pursuit is one of more complete albums I've heard in a long time. This album makes me feel that everything in the world is good. It makes me feel that music can make you happy and not be cheesy. It makes me want to go up to random people on the street and give them a great big hug. The Life Pursuit is chock full of cheery falsettos, clarinets, bopping organs, and jangly (my new favorite adjective) guitars. The Life Pursuit is that summery-sounding rock album that grabs influences from the likes of Marvin Gaye and The Doobie Brothers and sounds a little like a more accessible version of The Flaming Lips or The New Pornographers (although neither of these really pinpoint the sound). Don't be fooled-this album is a lot smarter than it may appear at first.
Buy The Life Pursuit here.
Listen to "For The Price of a Cup of Tea" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

6. Sufjan Stevens-The Avalanche
From the man who brought you the inspiration behind the name of this blog, comes the B-sides (!!) from Illinois, one of the best albums I've ever heard. For those of you wondering who the hell I'm talking about: Sufjan Stevens is a prolific indie-darling, whose album Illinois in August of 2005 shot him to superstar status in the indie music world. You'll be hard pressed to find anybody who doesn't really like him. Illinois was originally slated to be a 50-song double album, but Sufjan decided to package it as a 25-song single album. After receiving such praise for Illinois, Sufjan decided to release The Avalanche, the other half of the double album.
Essentially, The Avalanche begins where Illinois left off. The beloved banjos and trumpets stay, only to be complemented by his characteristic weird conglomeration of sounds at the ends of a few of the songs on the album. One of the greatest songwriters today, Sufjan doesn't disappoint on The Avalanche--just about every song is a masterpiece in itself. Call him over-hyped, call him whatever. With three different versions of the now-famous "Chicago", and nearly twenty other tracks that range from the uplifting to the gentle-sleep-inducing ballads, this album of B-sides is much better than a collection of A-sides from a boat-full of bands this year. The bottom line is that Sufjan's formula works:
1 part quivering vocals
1 part introspective and thoughtful lyrics
12 parts instruments
An album that's worth listening.
Buy The Avalanche here.
Listen to "No Man's Land" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

5. Josh Rouse-Subtitulo
Who needs medication? All it took for Josh Rouse to go from the melancholic Americana songwriter to the hip, rootsy optimistic singer was a trip across the Atlantic. A former inhabitant of the great states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Tennessee (among others), Rouse decided to move to a small town on the Atlantic coast of Spain. He immersed himself in the small town culture and just wrote songs. After two years of searching and writing, he released Subtitulo. Rouse is a true folk-hero--and a prolific one at that! He sticks to acoustic guitar based songs, laced with subtle strings and a gentle piano. This album is like a blanket that wraps you up as the sun dips below the horizon on a cool summer's eve. Rouse is always frank, but it's his voice that lets the whole package go down smoothly. The vocals are soothing--sonic therapy, if you will. When listening to these songs, I start to get a feel for who he is...that takes some real talent. There are a few songs on the album that lack greatness, but "His Majesty Rides" (you can tell Rouse gets into this one) and "It Looks Like Love" (just listen to the piano!!) are some of the greatest songs I can remember in a long time.
Buy Subtitulo here.
Listen to "His Majesty Rides" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Drumroll for #10 Through #8

10. KT Tunstall-Eye to the Telescope
So you're probably wondering why I have KT on the list. Why not is really the question to be answered. KT didn't start out big, except for her sound of course. I haven't heard a female singer/songwriter who can contemplate about the mysteries of the world and still rock like the best of them! She balances her unique solid vocals with some pretty nifty guitar work to boot. Eye to the Telescope shows us two very different artists--a balladeer and a true rocker. It's the best of both worlds. KT is a real talent, and we shouldn't put her down for the fact that people actually dig her sound.
Buy Eye to the Telescope here.
Listen to "Heal Over" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

9. Zero 7-The Garden
This was probably one of the most anticipated albums for me over the past year. I simply adore Zero 7 and I was even more pleasantly surprised when I found that Jose Gonzalez (!!) was going to do vocals for half of the songs on The Garden. I posted about these guys here, but I think they deserve a bit more congratulations. From the tripped-out, disco-tuned, percussion-filled rendition of "Crosses" (a Gonzalez original) to the more classic-Zero 7, space-expanding, color-coded "Today" to the slightly odd "The Pageant of the Bizarre", The Garden flows incredibly well. Zero 7 target emotions-they evoke subconscious memories with their ethereal and plushy sounds. I don't know why this review has come out more pretentious than the others---I guess I'm just having a hard time explaining how much I like this album.
Buy The Garden here.
Listen to "Today" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

8. The Format-Dog Problems
I don't really know how I chanced upon this Tucson based band, but I'm glad I did. Dog Problems is a high-pitched, insanely catchy and pop-driven album that somehow retains a sense of intimacy despite what its sound may suggest. This is an album with big aspirations, reflecting a band with a great deal of potential. The lyrics range from the humorous to the 'self-reflectory', packaged in sweet candied melodies. Imagine Sting and The Police meets Billy Joel, except without all the drunkenness and car accidents (too soon?). Most of these songs make me just downright giddy, and I think there's definitely something to be said for happiness-inducers these days.
Buy Dog Problems here.
Listen to "Time Bomb" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Revealing #15-#11

This whole venture has gotten us really excited about the past year in music, but more importantly, we've even more excited for music being released in the coming year. Patrick is going to have the whole scoop for you....

15. Vienna Teng-Dreaming Through The Noise
Read what we wrote about her in this post.
Buy Dreaming Through the Noise here.
Listen to "1BR/1BA" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

14. Ollabelle-Riverside Battle SongsWe're only loving this band more and more. It's bluesy, it's soulful, it's good.
Read what we wrote about Riverside Battle Songs in this post.
Buy Riverside Battle Songs here.
Listen to "Reach For Love" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

13. Razorlight-Razorlight
Why exactly these guys decided to self-title their sophomore release, I have no idea. Why Pitchfork berated these guys to no end, I have no idea. Why Q Magazine rated this album the 3rd best of the year, I do have an idea.
Read what I wrote about Razorlight in this post.
Buy Razorlight here.
Listen to "Fall to Pieces" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

12. Ray Lamontagne-Till the Sun Turns Black
I was anxiously anticipating this album and my expectations were definitely met by Ray Lamontagne's raspy and comforting vocals. Ray Lamontagne is a unique talent, whose styles range from laid-back blues arrangements, to Carribean lamentations, to funky fresh melodies. Imagine Jack Johnson rolled together with a little Nick Drake, and you've got a basic idea of what Lamontagne's all about. I couldn't believe that I didn't post about this year, but he nevertheless makes the grade here.
Buy Till the Sun Turns Black here.
Listen to "Three More Days" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

11. Phoenix-It's Never Been Like That
No, they're not from Phoenix. They're a French-American band that write trippy, catchy, and downright fun songs. Now, ordinarily I don't like anything French unless we're talking about Air or--as is now the case--Phoenix. With pulsing drums, a happy guitar, a modest usage of electronic tools, and fluttering vocals, Phoenix has put together an album that has me thinking that "it's never been like that". I'm not going to link to the Pitchfork review (because that only encourages them), but from what I recall, they received a pretty good review for a band that is relatively well known in indie circles. Screw it, they got an 8.0--even Pitchfork liked it. Read the review here.
Buy It's Never Been Like That here.
Listen to "Napoleon Says" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Start the Countdown

It's time, CSVMAD readers! Oh yes.
We're going to start counting down the 20 best albums of 2006. Here's out it is going to work:

We're going to give you 20-16 and 15-11 in the coming days. Then, Patrick and I will be releasing albums 10-1 (2 at a time, like the animals in Noah's ark) as we flood you with the best music of the year.

Notice: We're going to make a playlist available made up of select songs from the albums that are part of the countdown.

So don't wake up just yet, or else you might miss Sandburg's Top 20 in your dream.

20. Matisyahu-Youth
I have to give props to Matisyahu, who seems to have outlasted the novelty label that everyone has placed upon him. I must admit that I was more impressed by his first album, Shake off the Dust...Arise, but Youth sees Matisyahu expanding his musical capabilities. Isn't it refreshing to see someone devoutly religious only encouraging people to discover what kind of religiosity works for them? Yes, yes it is.
Buy Youth here.
Listen to "Jerusalem" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

19. Jamie Lidell-Multiply
Jamie Lidell used to make freaky electronic music. A lot of it was not very good. Then Jamie Lidell discovered he had an amazing voice. Lidell then made awesome music. Multiply features retro-style, funky grooves that gets jazzed up and 'bluesed' down by Lidell's vocals. It seems like Lidell has opened the door and it doesn't look like the door is closing anytime soon.
Buy Multiply here. Also check out Multiply Additions here.
Listen to "Multiply" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

18. The Damnwells-Air Stereo
I just posted about these guys, so that this selection wouldn't come out of left field. If you don't remember what we wrote or you just got here because of, then read the post here.
Buy Air Stereo here.
Listen to "I've Got You" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

17. The Kooks-Inside In Inside Out
The Kooks could be terrible. Thank God they're not. The Kooks have got that severe British accent that can sometimes be a total detriment to the sound. But The Kooks have managed to pull it all together and create an awesome rock album that's both catchy and interesting.

Buy Inside In Inside Out here.
Listen to "She Moves in Her Own Way" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

16. Bernard Fanning-Tea & Sympathy
Read what we wrote about him in this post.
Buy Tea & Sympathy here.
Listen to "Further Down the Road" as part of Sandburg's Top 20 Playlist.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Music Videos

For some reason, I love the music video. And lately, I've been frustrated. Many bands (or the directors they employ) think that shooting a video of the band playing the song should be enough.
But this is a wasted opportunity. This is a time for the band to show the expansiveness of their creativity. The music video allows listeners to understand the song in a different light, through a different lens.
That's why, I'd like to tell you about some of the best music videos from this year (with links, of course). You'll find most of these videos via either Cliptip or videos.antville. Also be sure to vote on video.antville for what you think are some of the best.

So let's get on to the links already.

Hot Chip-Over and Over (to just go straight to the video, click here)

The Rapture-"Whoo! Alright - Yeah. Uh Huh...." (to just go straight to the video, click here)

The Softlightes- Heart Made of Sound (or you can go straight to the video)

The Zutons-Why Won't You Give Me Your Love (or just click here for video)

Gnarls Barkley-Crazy (or you can click here for video)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This will be my last post before my end of the year picks, which are going to be done in a series of 4 or 5 posts. We're going to start with some fun stuff and then get down to business for the top 20 albums of the year, but for now let's just enjoy this.

Locksley is a Madison, WI turned Brooklyn-based quartet that will remind you of The Beatles. It's 70's light-hearted rock with a modern bite. With free-flowing, wilting vocals and jangly (you'll see this adjective later's a word, I think) guitars that skip in your ears like rocks water skiing on Lake Michigan (which means very nicely). Locksley manages to create broad sounds that fill up the given space, but they never overdo it. It's so easy to just create noise these days in an attempt to sound original or different (see TV on the Radio...yuck) but Locksley seems to have it all figured out. With their motto being "yeah. rock", I think we've got an upcoming album about which to be excited (their first album will be released January 16).

A few tracks have been available over the internet, primarily over at so I'll direct you to some of my favorite tracks from there.

Listen to "Here There" (4.7/5)
Listen to "She Does" (4/5)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Damnwells - Air Stereo

I want to tell you all about a Brooklyn band, The Damnwells, that released their most recent album all the way back in August. But the album is so 'damn' good that I have to share it with our CSVMAD readers.

The Damnwells are unique to me in that they have pretty wide appeal. From the presentation of the record, one might think that The Damnwells is a band with some serious rock capabilities. And they somewhat deliver on that front. But every song seems to be tempered by a modest, raspy, mild-mannered voice and a wise, understanding guitar. The Damnwells's style is like trucker-stop music meets avant-gardist lyrics.

Words not enough to convince you? Well, take a listen to "Golden Days", which gets digested like a Crosby, Stills, and Nash tune. It's a song that reminds one of monday morning classic rock and sunday afternoon football. If that doesn't do it for you, try listening to "Louisville" (shout out to my buddy Slossy who reigns from the great city of Louisville). The track is all about nostalgic love and reminiscing over a lost relationship. Some how, some way, The Damnwells seems to make the idea sound new and original.
But the album, Air Stereo.

Listen to "Golden Days" (4.75/5)

Listen to "Louisville" (4/5)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Looking to Jetset? An abridged guide to holiday trips on the east coast

First off, I would like to say “Thanks” to Benji for bringing me aboard. I hope to offer something different, yet complementary; something fun, yet informative. I will strive to become the Simon to his Garfunkel, the Cher to his Sonny, the Big Boi to his Andre. While I don’t want to become the Jessica to his Nick, it is ultimately in the hands of the readers; the faithful proletariat who remind me I am not just doing this for the money.

1.) Gram Parsons: “Streets of Baltimore”

Okay, so maybe Baltimore isn’t as glamorous as Gram’s “woman” makes it out to be. But, it’s certainly a change from the Tennessee farm life that she was used to. “She said the prettiest place on earth was Baltimore at night.” Unfortunately, she felt it was even prettier than her Gram, as he ends up buying a one-way ticket home—perhaps to write the somber, “Love Hurts.” Maybe Baltimore is not the best choice for a holiday getaway, especially if traveling with a significant other.

2.) The Walkmen: “Lost in Boston”

So we travel farther north only to get, you guessed it, lost! This was always one of my favorite tunes on “A Hundred Miles Off,” despite most critics dismissing it as trite. It’s simple and catchy: “Lost in Boston/drinking rum and chocolate/a hundred thousand blinking lights/are making me exhausted.” So bring a map, get some rest, and live it up.

3.) Ryan Adams: “New York, New York”

Adams is a must on a list like this: he’s told us how he misses Kentucky, how Tennessee sucks, and we all know he has a soft spot for the Carolinas. But this upbeat tune, that made him ‘gold’ in the critics’ eyes, is perfect for the holidays:

I remember Christmas in the blistering cold
In a church on the upper west side
Babe, I stood their singing, I was holding your arm
You were holding my trust like a child

It starts with a light bongo groove and ends with a sweet saxophone solo, plus Adams actually sounds like he has his life together…but where’s the fun in that?

4.) Albert Hammond Jr: “Hard to Live (in the city)”

Geez, Albert, why didn’t you tell us this THREE SONGS AGO?! “To all those questions I have no answers.” Oh, okay. Our city reviews have not been the most objective: all have been bitter men with loss fresh their minds. So let’s get out of the city and get a woman’s perspective.

5.) Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: “Moonlight in Vermont” (written by John Blackburn & Karl Suessdorf)

Pennies in a stream
Falling leaves, a sycamore
Moonlight in Vermont

…People who meet in this romantic setting
Are so hypnotized by the lovely...

Ahh, this is the place! Benji, I actually want to become the Louis to your Ella because, damn, they are good together.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Extending the CSVMAD Family

A new day has risen for the CSVMAD family. Introducing: Patrick

For the past few months now, I--Benji--have been the driving force (the only force) behind Carl Sandburg Visits Me in A Dream.

Well, that is all about to change. From now on, my next door neighbor Patrick will be co-writing this blog with me in an effort to blow your minds with some serious sonic ecstasy. Just to give some reasons for the change:

1. Patrick and I have many overlapping tastes, but I think Patrick will be able to give you-the readers-a different perspective on the indie scene.

2. In an effort to increase the level of posting for this blog--which means more music for you--I thought adding Patrick to the CSVMAD family would definitely help. Quality and quantity can go hand-in-hand.

3. Patrick is awesome.

4. Part, Pack, Prick, Trick, Tick, Pick, Trip, Tarp, Rat, Cat, Tack, Air. These are just some of the words that can be made from the letters of his name.

5. Patrick likes Joanna Newsom. I don't understand why. But that's why this is going to work!!

A Different Spin: Part Deux + 10 Songs for Winter

A barren season? Who are you kidding?

There's something about a winter sky in the morning--some indescribable presence amidst the crisp, virgin air that delights my soul. Perhaps it is because I'm a December birthday, but when the snow starts to fall and temperature drips down to awfully low levels, I welcome the new season with some gloves and a jacket rather than complaints and grievances.

Many just see winter as a wasteland for nature--a barren tundra that lasts for several months (depending on whether Puxatawny Phil shows his head). But this is wrong, my friends! Terribly wrong! Winter is mother nature's time for rehabilitation. It is a season full of potential energy that gets lost in the human psyche. That energy will soon be utilized during what many call Spring. It is a shame that in a day where conservation and thriftiness are appreciated, Winter still receives no credit.

True, some of that energy gets lost in the chilly, sterile air. But, it is only to be breathed in by human beings like you and me. This, my friends, is a call to arms. Grab your gloves, get a hat, and put on a jacket already! Put down your hot chocolate and your rock-em sock-em robots! Open the door and start revitalizing yourself. It's better than hot chocolate. I promise.

CSVMAD Volume 3 (click the link on the left to get the file from sendspace):

1. Joshua Radin-Winter (from We Were Here)
2. Sufjan Stevens-Majesty Snowbird (Live)--New track from Sufjan!!!
3. Josh Ritter-Snow is Gone (from Hello Starling)
4. Sufjan Stevens-Jupiter Winter (from Songs for Christmas)
5. Tobias Froberg-When the Night Turns Cold (from Somewhere in the City)
6. Sonya Kitchell-Cold Day (from Words Come Back to Me)
7. Andrew Bird-I Mitosis (Live...Probably going to appear on his next album due next spring)
8. The Damnwells-I am a Leaver (from Air Stereo)
9. Under the Influence of Giants-Golden (B-sides)
10. Embee feat. JOSE GONZALEZ-Send Someone Away (from Send Someone Away - EP)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pieces of the Songs I Love

I've got finals this week, so this may be the one post I do this week. But that's okay, because I've got a sweet band for ya'll to whom to listen.

I recently bought the new album out from The Rapture, Pieces of the People We Love. Let me just say that I'm not typically into the borderline-punk genre (if that is one), but there's something about this album that just fascinates me. It's a little less punk than on previous albums by the band, and a lot more booty-shakin', head-bobbin', dirty fun. It's definitely more accessible than their other albums, and perhaps that's why I like it. Some might call it just selling out, but The Rapture still manages to keep an "anti-establishment" attitude throughout the album.

I wouldn't say that all the tracks are that strong, but the album has enough intrigue to it to make it-dare I say it-sweeeeet. "Down For So Long" carries this disco, reggae-type riff that I still can't get out of my head, while "Pieces of The People We Love" has got one of those pulsing drum rhythms that explodes into 'Na-Na-Na's and features fantastic lyrics like, "Everybody's got a piece of somebody they hide." That's intense.

This may not be that clean, but it sure as hell is good fun.

Buy the album.

Listen to "Down For So Long" (4.25/5)
Listen to "Pieces of the People We Love" (4.5/5)