It’s been a little while since I did a music post and this blog was originally going to be about music and writing.
I won’t be streaming songs in here until I can figure out how to use my own bandwidth. However, I will give you sites with either clips or whole songs. You may not always like all my choices, but who knows, you might find something that you can’t live without. If you do anything, make sure to check out the last one. You won’t be sorry.
Today, I’m focusing on mostly instrumental groups. Some label them post-rock but I find that description too vague and occasionally, it can lead me to some pretty funky music. Which, of course, can be a good thing. I love nothing more than finding a small, unpolished or polished gem in an over-populated rock garden. ( Bah. Bad metaphor, but I’ve got the WIP on brain here, so let’s get you some new stuff to listen to and I’ll go back to my rewrites of a sticky, sticky chapter. <G> )
So, after saying that, this first one isn’t instrumental. I stumbled upon them by accident when they were compared with another of my favorite bands. Can’t remember who it was at the time, but I do remember not agreeing with the comparison. However, this
Arizona band, Calexico, is a hard one to pin down. They have kind of a sexy, desert feel with strong Latin influence. All you have to do is pull up the website and listen. www.casadecalexico.com The music just continues to play.
They are touring with Sufjan Stevens so we’ll segue there.
Sufjan Stevens. I bought A Sun Came years ago and it has to be one of the most fascinating and strangest CDs. Has a strong Celtic feel to the opening with soft, male vocals. I want to love this CD and in fact, do love parts of it. But the truth is, I rarely play it because there are jarring snippets between a lot of the songs that just throw you out of the music enjoyment. I loaded it into my computer and cut those out, then burned a new copy. But, I found a lot of promise there, so I’ve tried him again. Now, if you’re in the mood for something soft with a little bit of a Simon and Garfunkel (with a hint of old country, too) feel, check out this video. www.creativearson.com/sufjan/
Illinois seems to be the most popular recording of Sufjan’s. You can listen to clips at Amazon.
Dirty Three— Australian like the next group, I swear there must be a melancholic and contemplative slowness to the country. Some of the music is so drawn out and loose, you want to lie on the floor and close your eyes. (I’m a pretty high-strung person, so music that makes me pay attention to actual life is a good.) If you like moody strings and guitar, check them out. I own Ocean Songs which sounds a little like it was recorded in or near water… or water pipes anyway. Some of it is so pretty… Click on their name to check out Cinder on Amazon.
Hungry Ghosts – Australian band I’d like to hear more from. (www.myspace.com/alonealone — now, this is the kind of music you play when you want to chill, contemplate the universe… write. The song that comes up first is Alone, Alone and it has a rough, twangy opening and then flows into something melancholy and beautiful. Play this when you write that really tough scene—the one where your main character has to come to a few painful realizations. Same with I don’t Think About You—only this one has a bit of a naughty, gypsy flair. Pulls at the heartstrings, yet makes you smile. )
Mogwai—Man, people either love them or hate them. Some think the music is too dark and sad. Yeah, it can be. I love the CD Happy Songs for Happy People and yes, we’re talking sarcasm here. Hunted by a Freak has been on this blog and my Myspace page. If you have the time, sit through it. Has a nice build-up—lots of emotion. The violins later in that song never fail to make me stop and close my eyes. The song in its entirety is here. http://www.mogwai.co.uk/t/
Since I’m talking about some instrumental rock bands, I have to mention Explosions in the Sky. Oh, this is pretty music. More subtle than Mogwai and not quite as funky as Godspeed You Black Emporer, they do the emotional build up but it’s more sparse and heavy on emotion. I love The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place. Click here and pick one– I love the third… You might recognize this Texas band’s sound from the soundtrack to the movie Friday Night Lights.
Mum! (You can click at the bottom if you want to explore without registering.) This group from
Iceland is also a hard one to fit into a mold. The CD Finally We Are No One is so nice. One review said fey-like, which is an interesting description when everyone’s view of Fey is different. I mean, there’s a big difference between say, the world of Froud and well, Laurel K. Hamilton’s Gentry Fey. <g> When you listen to the song Green Grass of Tunnel, at first you might feel like you’ve stumbled on a secret world. I suggest turning it up loud because my very first listen was loud and I got goosebumps— Okay, there is a bit of ethereal, fairy like female vocals, so be prepared. Actually, I think my favorite off that CD is We Have a Map of the Piano.
Let’s see if this works… go here and choose one of the longer clips.
Now, I’m leaving you today with one that is so incredibly good, I will sometimes just play it over and over. Listen to the entire song, the build up of emotion, that voice… see if it doesn’t bring tears to your eyes.
Sigur Ros—Another Icelandic group that tends to grab me by the throat. Go here www.sigur-ros.co.uk/media/ and click on the first choice “untitled #8. Atmospheric and absolutely lovely.