Archive for July, 2012
New Popspotting podcasts are still a few months away, but thanks to a Spotify subscription, Iâ€™ve been hearing a lot of new music that I want to share.
I consider Spotify some kind of minor miracle. For a long time, Iâ€™ve been the cranky old lady who doesnâ€™t listen to anything made in this decade. Still, there are a few contemporary artists who excite me and make me want to listen to more artists like them.
Iâ€™ve caught up with artists Iâ€™ve enjoyed before as well, like Glen Hansard.
â€œRhythm and Reposeâ€ [Spotify, Amazon] is the debut solo album from the Frames frontman. Hansard went on to star in the indie musical â€œOnceâ€ and perform on the movie soundtrack, which contains original songs as well as covers of a few Framesâ€™ songs. Hansard is also half of the duo The Swell Season.
Hansard is a master of melody. He manages to infuse his songs, which are largely quiet, somber ballads, with a groove. The track â€œSleepingâ€ from the Swell Seasonâ€™s debut album lodges itself in my head quicker than anything on the radio lately. A few tracks on the â€œOnceâ€ soundtrack also achieve earworm status.
In â€œRhythm and Repose,â€ it seems Hansard is flirting with classical structure. The instruments are lush; the melodies more complex. As a consequence, there are fewer of the hooks that keep me going back to the Once soundtrack. The lovely â€œMaybe Not Tonightâ€ has the highest earworm potential. It reminds me of a country duet from the 70â€™s. The jazzy â€œLove Donâ€™t Leave Me Waitingâ€ is also groovy and reminiscent of Van Morrison.
I fell in love with the â€œOnceâ€ soundtrack instantly. I enjoy â€œRhythmâ€ a lot, but itâ€™ll take me a few listens to fully appreciate it, I think. I believe that this is an intensely personal album. Its lyrics, like those in â€œRacesâ€, seem to describe a period of contemplation and pain. The chorus of Races states â€œYou never loved meâ€. I feel as if Iâ€™m peeking into someoneâ€™s diary.
Frank Oceanâ€™s â€œchannel ORANGEâ€ [Spotify, Amazon] debuted at Number 2 this week. Ocean came out earlier this month. His announcement grabbed headlines and possibly piqued a lot of curiosity. Indeed, I was curious, because very little R&B from the past decade has interested me, and all of the reviews Iâ€™d read raved about â€œchannel ORANGE,â€ praising its fresh, unique sound.
I love this album. Ocean is doing something different here, but heâ€™s framing it in a familiar sound that I love. The track â€œPyramidsâ€ is delightfully weird; almost nerdy, but contains irresistible hooks. Itâ€™s a throwback in the best possible way. Ocean clearly loves 70â€™s R&B even more than I do, but he loves contemporary R&B too and has a way to marry them seamlessly.
Ocean namechecks Forrest Gump in a track that features a subtle but infectious guitar lick. It sounds so different from â€œPyramids,â€ which sounds nothing like â€œBad Religion,â€ which reminds me of Princeâ€™s â€œLetâ€™s Go Crazyâ€ with its organ-heavy opening.
This album has really made me reevaluate my listening habits. Iâ€™m wondering what R&B gems Iâ€™ve missed these past few years.
- â€œSettle Downâ€ by No Doubt. Love it. Itâ€™s surprisingly complex, insanely catchy, and fun. Maybe my favorite song of theirs.
- â€œRunawaysâ€ by The Killers. Not as edgy as previous efforts. Sounds like Gaslight Anthem. Still, pretty good. Some people might accuse The Killers of selling out, but it sounds like a natural evolution to me.
Today, two good friends join forces to bring you yet another episode of “Popspotting Listener Edition.” Listen in as Heath Solo (@HeathActor) of “The Film List” and musician Matt Murdick (@musicalconcepts) of the “Musical Concepts Podcast” discuss Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series “The Newsroom” and the BBC reboot of “Sherlock Holmes.”