Posts tagged ‘Chrome Sparks’

April 16, 2012

April Mix: Late Night With Abby

I’m sure you all know by now how much I love a good mixtape. That’s why I’ve become so deeply enamored with the Late Night Tales series of compilations by selected artists such as MGMT and Belle & Sebastian. I listen to these albums not like a regular album, but like a mix carefully arranged from start to finish, meaning I don’t usually skip through to a song I want to hear because it would compromise the integrity of the mix.

Sounds vary from one mix to the next, with really wonderful offerings of everything from mid-20th century rock rarities to modern day electronic tunes. It’s always a nice surprise to see what they’ve managed to fit in, such as when Air’s compilation included Jeff Alexander’s “Come Wander With Me.” It’s certainly not always what you expect, but it always works. Though there are many differing genres, there’s a particular vibe that flows from one Late Night Tales to the next. It’s hard to define exactly, besides the series’ requisite to be the “ultimate late night mix.”  So instead of describing it to you, I decided to make my own Late Night Tales-esque mix. At 23 songs, it’s perfect CD length, so if you’re like me, do the proper thing and burn these to a disc.

If you like it and are like “Heck! Abby’s Late Night mix is so good I want her to keep making more and more!” then you are in luck. Because there will be more in the future as the initial playlist I formed for my Late Night Tales mix had like 200-something songs on it.

Late Night With Abby: 1

Spooky – Cat Fight

Flying Lotus – Camel

Sergei Prokofiev – ‘Montagnes and Capulets’ from ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Crazy

Little Bark – In the Forest

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December 23, 2011

Abbytron’s Top 20 Albums of 2011

Chances are you’ve already seen tons of Best of 2011 lists already, but as a music blogger, I of course have to throw in my two cents. As usual, it’s been a phenomenal year for music lovers like myself, and I’ve spent all of 2011 digging into new releases like it’s going outta style. While I certainly didn’t hear it all, I heard enough to have a pretty good idea of what stands out ahead of the pack. So this is just a rundown of the 10 frontrunners (plus 10 more that vied hardily for those positions) that I believe should absolutely not go overlooked.

1. Noah Gundersen – Family
Okay, so technically this is an EP. But it’s seven songs long, which to me qualifies as full enough to make my list. I mean, as you can see, I’m ranking it No. 1, and if I had to acknowledge it as an EP, then I wouldn’t be able to include it on this list at all. And that, my friends, would be a monumental shame because Noah Gundersen’s music sounds like it was made by angels. So, I said screw it, this is my list and I’m leaving it on. The Seattle musician has a little masterpiece on his hands with Family — at times cleanly rootsy and others softly dulcet. He’s a young man, but his songwriting chops (not to mention his lyrics) are some of the most seasoned and professional I’ve ever witnessed.

Nashville – Noah Gundersen

2. Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On
I don’t know what I can say about this album that I didn’t already say in my review earlier this year. Basically, if you’ve heard Timber Timbre before (especially the trio’s 2009 self-titled album), then you can rest assured that Creep On Creepin’ On is more of what you already know and love. As you can tell, Timber Timbre continues to grow and change yet still hold onto its brooding exterior through all its subtle evolutions from one album to the next.

Too Old to Die Young – Timber Timbre

3. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
I’d heard of the Rural Alberta Advantage before, but it was this year that I fell in love with them. A lot of people have seemed unimpressed with Departing, the folk-rock band’s sophomore album. But it’s brought me nothing but joy, despite the tragic tales set forth by the pained vocals of Nils Edenloff. The fact is, these singable melodies about the darker sides of life and love have been occupying my ears nearly all year, and I’ve found I still can’t get enough.

Coldest Days – The Rural Alberta Advantage

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November 24, 2011

November Mix: Songs To Soothe The Ailing Glutton

It is Thanksgiving, which means you’re about to embark on an epic journey into the glorious land of vittles only to find yourself wasted on the couch, wallowing in a combination of sedate satisfaction and self hatred. While you wait for your holiday indiscretion to run its course, you probably won’t be up for much carousing.

Look familiar, fatty?

You’ve just devoured a big plate of food — well, let’s be honest, two plates of food— plus a slice of pie. And even then, you’re still eating black olives off your fingertips, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU? Have you no shame?! While you’re fantasizing about the bomb-ass leftovers sandwich you’ll be making tomorrow (okay, later this evening) you may need some relaxing tunes to help rest off the carb high and ward off an impending food coma. All you gotta do is lie back and enjoy … and for the love of cats, PUT DOWN THAT CHEESE & CRACKERS PLATE.

Stuffed – Jaill

Calm Down – Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers

Go Easy On Me – Goldfinch

Lost On the Ohio – Jacob Jones

As a Matter of Fact – Vandaveer

Those Little Things – Carla Bruni

After It Ends – John Vanderslice

Evening Kitchen – Band of Horses

Through the Winter – The Woodlands

So Well – Dawes

See the Sky About to Rain – Neil Young

Us – Nosaj Thing

Too Late – M83

All There Is – Chrome Sparks (featuring Steffaloo)

Congratulations – MGMT

November 8, 2011

Let Chrome Sparks’ electro-goodies waft into your head

There are some people I trust completely for new music recommendations, and Gun Lake‘s leader Mark Fain is one of those people. He really has yet to steer me wrong. So when he posted a link to a new song on Facebook last month by Ann Arbor artist Chrome Sparks, I listened. I loved. I pulled up Chrome Sparks’ Bandcamp page and found his albums and they are awesome and I couldn’t have been happier!

The electronic music project by Jeremy Malvin often collaborates with vocalist Steph Thompson (Steffaloo). Two songs on his July release “My <3” feature Steffaloo’s singing, as does the aforementioned new song, “Still Sleeping.”

Though I’ve never really considered myself a big fan of chillwave, that seems to be exactly what this is. It’s a sound that snakes from your speakers to your ears like an invisible strand of smoke, then just sorta floats around in your head, dissipating its particles in your brain’s every crevice. I could get used to this.

If you love it, download it for free! And also, check out this wicked awesome band that Jeremy’s in called Stepdad because they released an album into the wild earlier this year and it’s pumped full of excellence as well.