Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Abbytron’s Top 10 Halloween Albums

We here at hearingade would like to wish you all a Happy Halloween! Being my favorite holiday and all, I’ve already posted a mix about ghosts and a mix about monsters, but there’s always more where that came from. That’s why, for this special day, I’m listing off my 10 favorite Halloween albums that I suggest you all hunt down and buy in time for your evening celebrations.

Sometimes one song just isn’t enough. Every so often, you’ll find an album that is just so packed full of Halloween goodness, you’ve gotta play the whole thing. This couldn’t be more true for the 10 albums I’ve selected. Get ready to be spooked, because these records turn the creep factor up to 11.

1. Jeremy Messersmith — “The Reluctant Graveyard”
This album is a spectacular pop treat for the cheerfully morbid freak in us all. It’s no secret that I am a gigantic Messersmith fan (that’s not to say I am gigantic, but that my love for his music is gigantic), and “The Reluctant Graveyard” is in no small part responsible. Yes, his other albums are also magnificent, but they aren’t about dead things. This is the only one that speaks my heart’s language (and, yes, I understand how disturbing that probably sounds).

Listen to: Organ Donor

2. The Alan Parsons Project — “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”
Any Alan Parsons Project album probably has its place in a Halloween playlist, but this one especially. “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” is a collection of songs based on the literary work of Edgar Allen Poe, a man who may as well be the holiday’s mascot. With musical renditions of “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the album even includes a saga of five songs dedicated to “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Not gonna lie, it’s pretty amazing.

Listen to: The Tell-Tale Heart

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October 30, 2011

Bertram Wooster infuses old poems with a musical makeover

How about a little folk-pop with your classic poetry?

This darling collection of songs by Bertram Wooster — a project by French musician Olivier Le Blouch — plays a wonderful mix of instruments over the stanzas of old beloveds by the likes of Lord Byron, Robert Frost and William Butler Yeats. It’s magnificent how much more appealing these poems are when presented in Le Blouch’s delicate, alluring voice.

The elegant piano composition of John Keats’ “Fairy Song,” both bright and somber, leads gently into the more uptempo “When We Two Parted” by Byron. One of the best sounds on the album may be the sweet twinkles of a baby piano, making appearances for Anonymous’ “Little Lessons” and Lear’s “The Duck and the Kangaroo.”

I'm fairly sure some "bong trees" were involved in the making of this story.

But let’s not also forget the brilliant tones of melodica featured at times and the occasional hints of metallophone. My two favorite poems of the bunch — Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat” and Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” — both get the ukulele treatment. The latter an upbeat little tune complete with flute, tambourine and much more; the former speaking to my heart of hearts with handclaps, one of my greatest (and most dear) weaknesses.

October 29, 2011

The ‘Guy on a Buffalo’ guys wanna record an album

The other night, I was hanging out with some friends. One of them asked us, “Have you seen ‘Guy on a Buffalo’?” We all agreed that we had not, so our friend whipped out his fancy iPadamajiggy and showed us this:

There are three more of these bad boys on YouTube!

Understandably, we were all laughing pretty hard while this was all happening, so the next morning, I went back on the YouTube to watch them all over again (No. 4 is my fave! “Put a stove on your foot!”) and discovered that the boys behind this brilliant narration are part of a Texas country-folk band called The Possum Posse. Furthermore, this group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to release a full-length album in 2012. They’ve got a $12,000 goal to reach, so if you care about making awesome things happen, pledge some money to their cause.

Don't let this picture fool you. You're in for some major silliness.

October 28, 2011

Brandon Schott releases dreamy ‘13 Satellites’ into pop music orbit

I have a very special appreciation for Brandon Schott‘s music, as I often am with music I’ve discovered all on my own. Not only is it good, but I didn’t need anybody to tell me it’s good! It was during one of my sweeps of iTunes new releases that I found the island-tinged “Good to Me” from his 2007 album, “Golden State.” It’s one of those songs you want to play on the beach at sunset with an umbrella drink in your hand.

Schott continues his tradition of feel-good music with his fourth full-length album, “13 Satellites.” People talk about wanting sincerity in their music; well, you will find all kinds of it here. This guy loves life, he’s passionate about his music, and there ain’t no bones about it. There’s an infectious buoyancy to every track bound to have you bopping your head in no time.

It’s impossible to miss the Beatles influence in Schott’s music. Think the mid-’60s “Rubber Soul,” “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper” phases of the Fab Four. “13 Satellites” would also appeal to fans of Guster, Jeremy Messersmith and “Head Trip in Every Key”-era Superdrag. You’re welcome.

This is an album for dreamers. At just a little over a minute long, “Build a Boat” is a sweet little uke tune about sharing time with a special someone in a rooftop watercraft. In “This is Home,” Schott waxes carefree about a rundown house, unpaid bills and the love that makes it all worthwhile — like a “Danny’s Song: Part II.”

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October 27, 2011

Video Raid: The Cloak Ox, ‘Prison’

So, back in 2009, former Fog frontman Andrew Broder said in an A.V. Club interview, “Fog is done. Anything can happen, but if I start up another song-based project, it’ll be probably be under a different name. … I still want to be in a band and do all that band stuff — I’ll get back to it at some point; I just don’t know when.”

Well, all, “when” is NOW, and it is completely glorious. With his new band, The Cloak Ox, Broder released “Prisen,” a six-song EP, last month with the label Totally Gross National Product. I know this because I stumbled upon the band’s music video for “Prison” off the EP, and I am thoroughly in love with it. Hopefully this isn’t the last we hear of them.

October 26, 2011

Feist’s ‘Graveyard’ Is A Place To Bury Sorrow

2011 is the year that just won’t let up. I was reminded of this last night when I was listening to Feist‘s latest album, Metals, for the first time, with the album’s second track “Graveyard.” It’s a somber song that fits with the mood of Metals perfectly, with a pleading refrain of “Bring ’em all back to life.” When I heard it, I immediately wished the song had come out eight months earlier because I knew that I could’ve used a song like that when my dad died. I didn’t know that the next day, I’d find out my friend Glandorf had died in his sleep. Instantly, “Graveyard” took on a new meaning for me.

Death is a strange thing. When someone you love dies, the only thing you want to do is talk to that person. You pour over old text messages. You reread e-mails that you just got days before. You listen to sad songs and you want so desperately to hear that person’s voice again. Nothing cushions the initial shock of hearing the news that your friend is gone and it’s strange how you can still hear their voice in your head. I can’t stop thinking of drunk-dialing Glandorf on my friend’s back porch and hearing him scream “Valentine, you are drunk!” as I slurred nonsense at him.

Glandorf was a remarkable guy. I know everyone says that about someone when they die but honestly, Glandorf was great. He loved Rush and he went to high school with Matt Berninger, of The National. Just knowing that gives you an idea of what a cool motherfucker Glandorf was  but above that, Glandorf was smart, funny, and one of the nicest, kindest people I’d ever met. 2011 has taken a lot of things from me but losing someone I considered a peer so shockingly and unexpectedly has left me shaken, functioning on autopilot, wondering if I should be listening to Rush because that’s how Glandorf would want people to remember him. He’d want to be remembered as we all rocked out to some classic Rush. I don’t have any Rush records though. And it seems that the only thing that’s making me feel better is Feist.

Feist – Graveyard

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