Weekend Winddown 6

Thankfully we are now in the final month of winter. Winter seems to be the time of year when everyone goes through hardship of some form, particularly illness. It’s also a time when I feel determined to rug up at home, rather that go out; to stay in and listen to some quiet music (the kind I’ve posted on “Weekend Winddown” mixes).

That’s why Sigur Rós couldn’t have performed at a better time. I saw them last Saturday night in Sydney. They were beautiful. My friends had plenty to say afterwards; about how amazing the vocals were, how mesmerising, how the beat of the faster songs really set their hearts racing. I was speechless, maybe even slightly sad. It could’ve been because I was exhausted, it could’ve been because the performance was over, but mostly it was because Sigur Rós know how to play amazingly emotive music.
Their latest studio release sets itself apart from the others with hopeful, upbeat melodies. But they still return to the beautifully soft and sad sound.

It’s not yet the weekend but I’m home sick today so I’m preparing the mix early this time with an example of sad stuff Sigur Rós can produce.

Sigur Rós – Fljótavík [buy]

I saw Adele’s album 19 in stores before I heard who she was. The album cover put me off so I never bothered to listen to her stuff.
Then I watched an episode of Skins, where one of the characters, Cassie (reeling from the death of another main character), runs through the streets of New York. A song is playing while this happens: a piano driven pop piece that reminds me of Sia’s “Breathe Me.” I later find out it is Adele. I also find out, much to my chagrin, that this song did not make it to the Skins Season 2 dvds and has been replaced by something else.

Adele – Hometown Glory [buy]

A friend recently recommended Son Lux to me. I was pretty keen to check this guy out because he had done an awesome remix of Beirut’s “Sunday Smile.”
His debut album reveals his large scope as he expands and contracts loud and quiet songs; some angry and violent, some melodramatic and heartfelt, and some softer; more reserved and controlled.

Son Lux – Tell [buy]

The Acorn have gradually grown on me. It’s not that they require patience or repeat listening to enjoy, it’s more that each song seems to compliment the other. Listening to one song by itself doesn’t really do these guys justice. I initially thought “Hmmm, they sound like Turin Brakes.” Which is true and I like Turin Brakes, but The Acorn have a little bit more to them.
Usually a guy sings but the example I give here is driven by beautiful female vocals that remind me of some 90’s female singers, like Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh Nash. However the use of strings and the way in which each song builds make it easy to keep them from becoming overplayed power-pop for drama series.

The Acorn – Lullaby (Mountain) [buy]

I wasn’t too excited about Cat Power’s release, Jukebox, last year. And I’m still not. I found it pretty ordinary compared with much of her earlier work.
But the remake of “Metal Heart” shows that Chan Marshall still knows how to tap into the beautiful.

Cat Power – Metal Heart [buy]

Fleet Foxes have been the latest big thing to sweep the blogosphere. Namely, their song “White Winter Hymnal” has been a popular hit. I downloaded it, thinking that it was good timing for winter. But I really didn’t like it. At all. I’m not sure why I didn’t then but I still don’t. Maybe I just don’t like the round-a-bout repetition of the chorus. It’s too hokie.
But I checked out the rest of the album and man, was I wrong about these guys. Amazing! The vocals, the escapist lyrics, the sound which harks back to Midlake, who in turn hark back to 70s folk rock.
This song in particular reminds me of the music from the closing scene of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Fleet Foxes – Your Protector [buy]

I felt pretty content just buying Lamb’s best of album, some time ago. Then I realised how much it sucks that the duo have broken up. So I’ve started going through their backcatalogue and found this sweet little number.

Lamb – Learn [buy]

Bring on spring!

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