My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Field Notes: November Update

As promised, a music update.

A quick reminder: Music can be acquired for free with minimal effort these days, and I'm a strong believer in getting a taste of things before you buy them. That's one of the reasons OiNK was so great. However, it's very easy to forget to support the artists who make this beautiful music. So if you like these songs, consider buying their records. The important thing to remember is that there are many ways to acquire an album, some that benefit the musicians far more than others. One good way is to buy it directly from them (i.e. their label). Look for them on Cdbaby. Or go see them play - even better. In any case, avoid buying things from places like Amazon if you can. With a bit of extra searching, it's easy to find a more direct line to them.

Read this article for more information. It's thought-provoking, to say the least.

Now, onto the music.

PJ Harvey - White Chalk

The title track off her new album. While I love this album in its entirety, this song stands out. It's quite necessary that you listen to it on headphones (the whole album, actually), while surrounded by grey weather. One of the best fall records I've heard in a long time.

Bat for Lashes - Sad Eyes

What can I say about this song? Bat for Lashes make haunting, ethereal, nocturnal music. This song is one of the slower tracks on the record. It's the kind of song I would want someone to put on a mix cd for me, if that make any sense.

Phosphorescent - My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

I discovered this guy meandering around on Allmusic one day, through his association with Castanets. He plays throaty, spare folk songs that sound like the musical offspring of Neutral Milk Hotel and Will Oldham (I normally hate such A+B analogies. The subject is never equal to the referenced artists. Ever.) However, he does have a certain charm all of his own, and this cover of the old Willie Nelson song is pretty stellar.

Camera Obscura - Dory Previn

I was lying on my bed a little while ago listening to this song, and was immediately transported into some imaginary 1950s alternate reality: I am a schoolgirl walking home under orange and yellow trees, books under my arm, trying to forget about a boy and get on with my life. The words coming through my headphones are those of Dory Previn. I listen, and everything is clear. It cuts through all the useless clutter and tells me: Don't you think it's time I put him out of my mind?

The Decemberists - The Kingdom of Spain

In my recent attempts at songwriting, one thing I keep coming to is how the best songs are usually very simple. Analyzing song structures proves this point time and time again. This tune is one of Colin's most straightforward songs, yet it never feels boring or repetitive. The verse progression runs through the whole song, broken only by a tiny bridge and a two-chord outro. I need to learn from songs like this.

Low - Open Arms

Lastly, a song that just makes me giggle every time I hear it. The mighty Low, who make some of the most hypnotic music I've ever heard, doing a cover of the Journey tune. Alan cracks up at one point. Truly, this is one of the best things ever.

Over and out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the music tips! After a long stint where my ears couldn't take in anything but Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens, thanks to taking up running and my IPOD, my ears are now in search of new tunes again at long last and actually liking new sounds again. I've been wanting to hear PJ Harvey actually as I have never heard of her, and as for the other suggestions, I wrote those down too. Thanks