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, September 26, 2007

We've Moved

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Marc Broussard's Got Soul

Marc Broussard has traded in his clean-shaven, smooth-talkin' pop sensibilities into a shaggy-haired soulful opus that glorifies (but doesn't redefine) classic soul artists and their influences. On his latest record, S.O.S. Save Our Souls, Broussard takes on the daunting task of performing covers of soul performers like Marvin Gaye and the Staple Singers. But he does so with such care and delicacy, that it's hard not to instantly love this album. Some accuse Broussard of lacking the ability to craft original songs, deeming the covers album a simply money-making scheme, but I dare you to take one listen to "Come in From The Cold" and tell me he's not talented. Queue up "Respect Yourself" and try to prevent yourself from groovin' along like a giddy school girl (guilty). If that doesn't suit your fancy, try putting on the cover of Gaye's "Inner City Blues" and close your eyes. I can't help but hear Marvin himself singing that song. So what are you waiting for? Go and get yourself a copy of S.O.S. Save Our Souls.
Listen to "Inner City Blues" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Come in From the Cold" (4.8/5)


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Round-Up Apolgies

This week has been full of exciting events and happenings for me, as I moved in to my new place for the year. This has been the sole reason why blogging has been so scant as of late. The drought may continue for a couple of days more, but believe me, a major surprise is on the way. You don't even know what's coming.
But anyway, let's take a look at what's been heating up the in the blogosphere over the past couple days:

1. Rogue Wave--Michigan (courtesy of Pelican's Perch)
2. Akron/Family--Phenomena

Windows/Mac Featured Website: YouConvertIt
Much like Zamzar, YouConvertIt allows you to convert just about any file to another format--all as a web-based application. Pretty cool?!

The Sweet-Pea Music Featured Website: Josh's iTunes Album Art Grabber
Josh has figured out how to deliver high-resolution album art by decrypting the iTunes album art images. So now they're available to the public! Note: the search box is very specific.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Federico Aubele

Fresh out of the Eighteenth Street Lounge (founded and managed by CSV favorite Thievery Corporation) catalog comes the sophomore release of Federico Aubele Panamerica. Some might look down on lounge music, granting the respective artists the same status as jam bands, but I beg to differ. ESL has consistently put forth quality electronic/lounge/downtempo acts for quite a while now, and Aubele is the best of them all (Thievery excluded of course).

Aubele's Panamericana isn't just "world" music--it's not just a collection of different Latin influences. This is an album crafted with catchy melodies and riffs in mind. Each song illustrates a picture of something, somewhere--a series of magnificent mirages that only last 4 minutes each. "Maria Jose" conjures up a slow-motion Chevrolet dustying through an abandoned stretch of highway (the driver must have aviators on, right?), while "Corazon" is more reminiscent of a summery evening at the beach as the sky slowly fades to purple hues. These images, these emotions are what make Aubele's music intriguing. This is what makes him different than the slew of "lounge" artists out there.

Go and get yo'self a copy of Panamericana.
Listen to "La Orilla" (4.7/5)
Listen to "Maria Jose" (4.8/5)

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

James Blunt--All The Lost Souls

Let's be honest with ourselves. We (I'm speaking on behalf of everyone, here) all love the 'Royal soldier becomes sensitive high-pitched troubadour' story, but what about the music? I should confess that I have mixed feelings about Blunt's music--I don't find it dynamic or incredibly engaging. I do think he has a knack for melodies and harmonies, that he is quite masterful in the art of the soft-spoken ballad.

Back to Bedlam was a quality effort, but not exactly my cup of tea. I was hoping that the sophomore album All the Lost Souls--after hearing the lead single "1973"--would feature more complex arrangements, or at the very least, a maturity in Blunt's sound. But for better or for worse, this album is a heavy dose of the same.

That's not to say that there isn't anything quality on All The Lost Souls. The lazy guitar on "Give Me Some Love" leads into a high-charged chorus that seems well-paired with the mysterious dark-aired "I Can't Hear the Music". The Lennonesque "Shine On" (not a cover) is another gem on the album, along with crooning 'oohs' on "Same Mistake". Blunt's world now certainly seems less chaotic than Bedlam, and it's resulted in a relatively good album. But it seems that the album title has gotten to the heart of the problem with Blunt's music--perhaps there's too much emotion in these songs that the record's soul seems lost.

Go and get your copy of All The Lost Souls (awesome album art).
Listen to "Give Me Some Love" (4.7/5)
Listen to "Same Mistake" (4.6/5)

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Not-so-silent Jens Lekman

Man crush--this might be the best way to explain my adoration for Mr. Jens Lekman's music. I admit it, but at least let me elaborate why you should have one too for Sweden's best musical export. Lekman's third release Night Falls Over Kortedala is a dreamy Scandinavian collection of songs that wakes you up, delights and entertains, and carefully tucks you in at night. It's coherent, profound, comical, and intriguing.

From the lyrical component of Night Falls, Lekman conveys his sage-like wisdom about life and relationships with the utmost frankness and comedy. He possesses the story-telling ability of a Bob Dylan, as seen by the doo-wop big band "Postcard to Nina" which has him dazzling the listener about an awkward (true) visit to a friend's house (for explanation, check out this video). Or have a listen to "Your Arms Around Me", a charming ode to a woman who surprises him while he's cutting avocados and cuts his finger--he goes to the hospital with her only to have her "arms around [him]". It's Lekman's ability to make a point without being preachy that makes him the esteemed lyricist that he is.

But from a musical perspective, there is nothing lacking here either. "Sipping on the Sweet Nectar" is a discopop delight that meshes beautifully with the funked-out "Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig" that breaks into a full out chorus of falsetto from Lekman. There's certainly a good deal of growth on this album from Oh You're So Silent, Jens, and it has resulted in an album that is incredibly consistent and enjoyable. It seems that Sir Lekman is not so silent anymore.

Go and get a copy of Night Falls Over Kortedala (already out in Europe, due out Oct. 9 in US)
Listen to "Postcard to Nina" (5/5)!!!!!!!
Listen to "Your Arms Around Me" (5/5)!!!!!!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Root Root Root for The Go! Team

Grab a jump-rope, some colorful tenniboppers and your outdated boombox (the one that only has room for a cassette, please) and don't forget your copy of The Go! Team's Proof Of Youth--there's a party going down. The lo-fi sampling junkies from the UK bring more of their feel-good funkiness and energy to a slew an album that is indeed...youthful.

It seems that in an attempt to be unassuming in their approach to making music, The Go! Team has created another album that has a certain enjoyable flashiness and gaudiness to it that contributes to a feeling that might best be described as pure joy. This is cross-generational goodness jammed into a cut-and-paste package ready made to delight. The lead faux-rap single "Grip Like a Vice" has a certain urgency to it that makes it fresh, while tracks like "Doing it Right" illustrate the band's knack for catchy rhythms and schoolyard chants. Anthems galore appear on this album as well ("Keys to the City" , "Titanic Vandalism", among others) that make Proof of Youth more than a juvenile effort. Even more impressive may be the fact that The Go! Team crafted a marvelous sophomore effort in the face of their ever popular debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike. Indeed, lightning does strike twice.

Get yo'self a copy of Proof of Youth!
Listen to "Doing it Right" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Keys to the City" (4.74/5)

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy Bees

U.K.'s The Bees have slipped under the radar for some baffling reason--I guess coming from across the pond will do that to you. The Bees' sophomore release Octopus is a collection of golden 70s AM radio tunes, complete with well-placed harmonies, funky fresh guitars and some Dylanesque piano riffs. Take one listen to "Who Cares What the Question Is?" and tell me you don't hear the influences of Dylan's "Isis"! But these guys aren't simple copycats--queue up the dusty jazz "Got to Let Go" and partake in a delightful array of horns and the like. These busy bees even manage to pull off the reggae "Listening Man" while still successfully executing country ditties like "Love in the Harbor". Octopus is a thoughtful, fun album that clearly has a lot of heart and earnestness to it. From that respect, it seems like that they've picked up a thing or two from the very era of music they're recreating.

Go and get a copy of Octopus.
Listen to "Got to Let Go" (4.9/5)
Listen to "Who Cares What the Question Is?" (4.7/5)

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Meet Demetri Martin. Person

This isn't really music-related (although if you watch the whole thing, you'll realize Martin's pretty proficient with the piano/harmonica/guitar) but I find it too hilarious to pass up. Enjoy.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Kanye West Sneak Peek

Well, there's been a whole lot of buzz about Kanye West's upcoming album Stronger. Afew tracks have leaked into the blogosphere and I wanted to keep ye faithful readers updated. Now many of you may know that I hardly cover hip-hop or the like on this blog, but Kanye seems to be able to transcend genres and tastes like very few before him. Perhaps it's the great samples that grants him that cross-demographic appeal (I don't think it's his above average vocals), but either way, enjoy.
Kanye West - "Champion" (4.6/5) Courtesy of The Leather Canary.
Kanye West - "Good Night" (4.6/5)


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Are You Ready for Some Football?

That's right, everybody. Soon the leaves will resemble the machinations of a children's coloring book, and then fade to the ground. But don't despair! We've got football, and I've got my Chicago Bears.

What's that? You want to hear my predictions? Well, let's say the Bears ought to get to the Super Bowl and win 72-3. Case closed.

But I would be remiss if I didn't include some tracks to commemorate the beginning of the season:

The Who--Eminence Front
It's not about style, it's about winning the game folks. As Dustin Hoffman says in Confidence, "Style gets you killed."

K-Os--Sunday Morning
Every day is like Saturday night, but I can't wait 'till Sunday morning.

Jens Lekman--Sipping on the Sweet Nectar
...of victory, that is. Go Bears.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Seeing Stars

Canadian collective Stars has released their awaited sophomore effort In Our Bedroom After The War on label Arts and Crafts to a good deal of anticipation. Having already been released on iTunes, and coming to stores on CD on September 25th, fans are already getting a taste of the band's electro-rock fusion sound. In Our Bedroom After the War certainly has an electronic feel to it, but Stars manage to make this record feel more human and tangible. Computers don't make mistakes, don't contradict--but from the very title of the album, you can see that the Stars are looking to make contrasts. The duality of the bedroom and war works on several levels, perhaps most prevalent as electronic beats are juxtaposed to rock rhythms and vocals that make these songs all the more delectable.

"The Beginning After The End" sounds like a Massive Attack track that never made it to an album (this is good), while the chorus-heavy "Take Me to the Riot" is a sure anthem that everybody can sing along with. Tracks like "The Night Starts Here" and "My Favourite Book" have a funky playfulness to them, which culminates in the insatiable and tasty "The Ghost of Genova Heights". Coherence in the record seems to have been a primary concern as well, as they conclude the album with the reflective, sensitive "Today Will Be Better, I Swear!" Indeed, 'Today, today is going to be a better one'. Looks like the bedroom wins out in the end.

Believe me, you won't regret it: In Our Bedroom After the War
Listen to "The Ghost of Genova Heights" (4.9/5)
Listen to "Today Will Be Better, I Swear!" (4.9/5)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Nick Drake Revisited

I find the whole aura around Nick Drake to be simply fascinating on multiple levels. For one, how is it that such a miserable human being could craft equally beautiful arrangements? Moreover, how could these magnificent works be cast aside by several record companies during his lifetime? And perhaps the greatest irony of all is the sudden popularity and prevalence of Nick Drake tribute artists/bands over the past several years. Now the record companies are willing to sponsor anything with his name on it!

I would like to draw your attention, though, to the most recent of the Nick Drake tribute artists--esteemed classical pianist and now cover artist Christopher O'Riley. After having released a successful tribute album for Radiohead, O'Riley takes on the melodic piano-heavy music of Nick Drake and again achieves success. Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake is a collection of modest grand piano arrangements that convey the grace and beauty of Drake's music with each stroke. Perhaps it's just hearing the music played on a finer instrument that enhances its effect, but I would like to think that O'Riley's skill has a great deal to do with it as well. "Three Hours" perfectly captures that addictive dissonance of the real version, while "Northern Sky" and "One of These Things First" have a particular fragility to them that make up for the lack of vocals. O'Riley is truly at his best on "Introduction-Bryter Layer", which finds him not only mimicking but somehow taking the Drake's work to the next level.

Go and and get a copy of Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake
Listen to "Introduction - Bryter Layer" (4.7/5)
Listen to "One Of These Things First" (4.6/5)

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kelly Sweet

The aesthetic seems to be right, but I just can't really buy into her act. Kelly Sweet, on her debut We Are One, definitely shows promise for a talented songstress-songwriter, but it seems as though there is still work to be done. Her voice is incredible, it's just a shame she hasn't quite decided how to best use it. There's not really a fanbase for the next indie-Celine Dion (maybe not the best description, but it will do), and it is for this reason I find most of We Are One to be a tad humdrum. Songs like "Dream On" (yes, an Aerosmith cover) are conceptually great ideas, but even this track limps to the finish. Nevertheless, Sweet seems most comfortable with arrangements like "Raincoat", where she floats between Norah Jones and Mariah Carey (trust me, not a terrible combo). The album is worth a look--not a long one at that--but I'd be more interested to hear what's going to be next for the burgeoning vocalist.

I could be wrong--go and get a copy of We Are One and see for yourself.
Listen to "Raincoat" (4.5/5)
Listen to "How 'Bout You" (4.5/5)

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Letter From Feist

Just when you thought Feist was at the height of classy cool, she manages to write a formal letter to her fans after a porn site took over her website for a day. Oh Feist, how we adore thee!

Listen to "1 2 3 4 (ft. Grizzly Bear, The National, Mates of State, The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene and Nicole Atkins)"
Listen to "Mushaboom (Red Demos)"
Now playing: June Christy - Shoo Fly Pie

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