Album Review: Campfire OK – When You Have Arrived

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Campfire OK When You Have Arrived
Fugitive Records
Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Recommended if you like: Deep Sea Diver, Rogue Valley, Bombadil

When a relatively unknown band goes on tour with a very recognizable act, there are essentially two routes the band can take. The first way is to feel overwhelmed by the headliner and just do your best to put on a good show. The second is to put all your cards on the table, play the best show of your life every night, and let people walk away wondering which band was the opener and which was the closer. When Campfire OK toured with Anberlin this summer, crowds raved about their live show and were ecstatic to hear the new songs recorded. For first time listeners of Campfire OK, you’ll find it difficult to put your finger on what exactly to call their music. Whether you call it indie folk, bluegrass, or indie pop, there is no doubt that this is some of the most creative and well crafted music to come out this year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBTsV0lKYTQ]

Over a year ago, the band released a music video for their song “Wishing You The Best” and put it on YouTube. It’s modest view count does give the incredibly well crafted video the justice it deserves. The song showcases Andrew Eckes’ rolling banjo that is prevalent on most of the record as well as lead singer Mychal Cohen’s unique baritone voice. The hypnotic bass drum complements the lyrics in a way to bring them to the front row of the song as Cohen sings out “And I’m sorry if I was overbearing, but I didn’t mean it. But you’re so pretty, I couldn’t hold back, I couldn’t help it.

Song after song provides a slightly different sound on the indie rock spectrum, offering up plenty for new fans to love. The song “New Tradition” takes a step back from the banjo and brings in some Wilco-esque electric guitar as Cohen and background vocalist Zarni DeWet sing the majority of the song together in stunning harmony.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVc4vOXE3s8]

The lyrics on each song are just as magnificent as the instrumentation. The title track is near the end of the record, but certainly does not lack in content. The title “When You Have Arrived” is in reference to meeting the expectations of other people, especially from their personal standpoint of being an independent musician. In the chorus, he asks, “Do you know who I am? Do you know what I want? Tell me what it’s like to rise. Tell me how it feels to be admired, and tell me how you know when you’ve arrived.” He puts things into perspective with the second verse as he honestly says, “Oh, gentle sir, don’t you know how our lives are mirrors where we see clearer. I am the man selling roses on your street corner for two small dollars, and I am the man pouring coffee at 6 A.M. for your high school daughters.” The earnest lyrics leave you thinking twice about the work and dedication independent artists like Campfire OK put into their art in order to make a living doing what they love.

You can order the album on Amazon and iTunes. You can also like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Throwback Album Review: Relient K – Mmhmm

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Relient KMmhmm
Capitol Records
Release Date – November 2, 2004

Recommended if you like: Switchfoot, Anberlin, Yellowcard

If you were an avid fan of the “Christian Rock” scene in the late 90s and early 00s, then you were very familiar with the witty, pop-culture drenched lyrics of Relient K. Whether it was “Sadie Hawkins Dance,” “Maybe It’s Maybeline,” or “Mood Rings,” you couldn’t help but swoon over Matt Thiessen’s cunning lyrics and the band’s power chord heavy music. However, the release of Mmhmm marked quite a few milestones for the CCM heart throbs. First of all, this was the band’s debut release on a major record label, Capitol Records. Secondly, it was the last record with founding member Brian Pittman. It also marked a pretty big step in a more mature direction both lyrically and musically for the band.

The lead single for the album, “Be My Escape,” sets the tone for the new grown up sound with the prominent piano playing throughout the verse and chorus of the song. “Be My Escape” also provided the band with their first mainstream single, being certified Platinum in November 2005.

“High of 75” follows next in line on the album and is credited as the only Christian single. This song certainly harkens back to their former albums with lyrics formed around the weather. The introduction of some synthesized drums and beats also make their way into this song, offering another new element in Relient K’s new sound.

As well as bringing in some new pop-friendly sounds into the new record, Relient K also used this album to experiment with a heavier punk sound, first shown off in their song “I So Hate Consequences.” In the second chorus of the song, you even hear some screaming vocals, which is unprecedented musically with Relient K. The most impressive part of this new release is how well the band moves from the heaviest chorus they’ve ever written to a bridge filled with piano and cello. The move back and forth from the chunky guitar chords to the piano chords make this arguably one of the best written songs on the album musically.

In the song “Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet?” the new sounds continue to come into play with the addition of a banjo. While Thiessen never releases the true meaning of the lyrics, many believe that this song was written in regards to the ending of his relationship with Katy Perry. The weight of the lyrics is very poignant, especially in the quiet parts of the song. “What happened to us? I heard that it’s me we should blame. What happened to us? Why didn’t you stop me from turning out this way?

“Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” is undeniably Relient K’s biggest hit, reaching number 58 on the Billboard Top 100. The song is the epitome of what the album is trying to accomplish: a great mix of the rocking guitars and drums, the arpeggiated piano chords, and Matt Thiessen’s lyrics at their best.

It’s hard to believe that after nearly 8 1/2 years, this album has really stood the test of time in the Relient K discography and really served as a turning point in their career as more than just a quirky Christian rock band. Thiessen and company have since proved that they’re one of the best pop-punk bands writing music today.

 

You can order the album on Amazon and iTunes. You can also like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Top 12 of ’12

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As usual, I’ve compiled my list of top albums from the year. This is one of my favorite posts to make every year, so I hope you all really enjoy reading along. If you’re interested, here are the lists from the last few years:

Top 10 of 2009
Top 10 of 2010
Top 11 of 2011

It’s interesting to note that several of my top albums are self-released albums. Artists are definitely still making good records with or without the record labels, but those doing it without need your support.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)


Bruno MarsUnorthodox Jukebox
Atlantic Records
Favorite Tracks – “Young Girls” and “Locked Out of Heaven”


Delta SpiritDelta Spirit
Rounder Records
Favorite Tracks: “Empty House” and “Tellin’ The Mind”


Justin BieberBelieve
Island Records
Favorite Tracks: “As Long As You Love Me” and “The Beauty and the Beat”


Macklemore & Ryan LewisThe Heist
Self-Released
Favorite Tracks – “Can’t Hold Us” and “Same Love”


Phillip PhillipsThe World From the Side of the Moon
Interscope Records
Favorite Tracks – “Man on the Moon” and “Home”

#12

Of Monsters And MenMy Head Is An Animal
Universal Republic

The opening fingerpicking of “Dirty Paws” sets quite an ominous tone for the debut LP for Icelandic indie pop quintet Of Monsters And Men. The eerie male/female harmonies, the gang vocals, and spacey choruses are the blueprint to My Head Is An Animal, but you really wouldn’t want the album any other way. Nanna (female lead singer) and Raggi (male lead singer) have quite an impeccable way of meshing their vocals together, whether
in octaves or in perfect harmony. Their most notable single was “Little Talks,” which went Platinum in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, and the United States (strangely enough, not in Iceland.)

#11

Paper RouteThe Peace of Wild Things
Self-Released
To say that Paper Route’s last three years has been tumultuous would be an understatement. A lot happened between their major record label release Absence and their latest release, including the loss of guitarist and vocalist Andy Smith. In an interview with lead singer JT Daly, he speaks about the pain of losing a lot of really foundational pieces of the life they knew as Paper Route. Through this pain, Daly and company wrote their 2012 self-released The Peace of Wild Things. The familiar synth/pop feel is present, with strong influences from the likes of Peter Gabriel, ELO, and Genesis. Their single “You and I” has received lots of attention on the likes of Sirius XM Hits 1 despite the help of a big record label to help promote the song.

#10

Imagine DragonsNight Visions
Interscope Records

In 2011, Imagine Dragons quietly self-released an EP titled It’s Time, but thankfully their music didn’t remain quiet for very long. In November 2011, Interscope Records signed the quartet and put them in the studio immediately to work on their first full length, Night Visions. The result was a very unique album, bringing in hints of electronic dance music, rock guitars, and even some rhythmic hand claps. Their hit song “It’s Time” will get stuck in your head in a matter of seconds with it’s catchy melody and mandolin line, the song “On Top Of The World” features a earmworm-worthy whistle melody that keeps you hanging until the big chorus hits. While the band certainly has a good amount of growing to do, it’s very encouraging to see major record labels still pulling in excellent talent and growing it.

#9

BarcelonaNot Quite Yours
Self-Released
“Being told that your label doesn’t want to make a record with you at first felt like the rug was being pulled out from underneath us,” says Barcelona’s Brian Fennell. “Since we simply sold our first record to them, we were stoked to actually make a record with them. And that feeling of the floor falling out from underneath us was quickly replaced with hysterical laughter and going to get whisky.” While it’s hard to know all the details of what it took to make Not Quite Yours, it’s clear that fans were excited to hear what they had to offer.Barcelona created a Kickstarter to help raise funds for the album and within a month nearly doubled their goal. It was pretty clear that Barcelona was inspired by the response they received from their fans. With an acoustic guitar strumming lightly and a persistent floor tom pounding, Barcelona opens up their 2012 record with a subtle yet powerful song “Hanging in a Void.” Fennell’s vocals pierce through the music on every song, lyrics constantly in the forefront. While Fennell’s lyrics are usually about heartbreak, there’s always a small sense of hope that comes at the end of the album.

#8

Andrew OsengaLeonard, The Lonely Astronaut
Self-Released
In March of 2011, Andrew Osenga launched his Kickstarter announcing a bold plan: he wanted to write a concept album “to tell the story of a man named Leonard Belle. He lives 300 years from now and loses his wife in a sudden accident while their divorce is being finalized. In his rage and grief he takes a gig driving a long-distance space freighter for a year. (Due to relativity, by the time he returns to Earth everyone he knows will be old or dead.) He decides to bring along some antique instruments and recording equipment and will make a record.” Over $18,000 later, fans bought into the odd idea and waited patiently for the album to be released. The album was officially released September 18 2012, and it certainly did not disappoint. The musical stylings are all over the spectrum, ranging from acoustic guitar driven ballads like “Smoke Signals,” to synth heavy/screeching guitar solo weeping songs like “We Never Said Goodbye,” to catchy-bass-line rockers like “Tower of Babel.” While the genre may be hard to pinpoint, the lyrics follow the rise and fall of Leonard’s life and loss of a loved one he experiences through his time traveling. Although some may have initially seen this album as a comical/odd/unrealistic concept album, it is easy to fall deep into the story of poor Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut.

#7

Mumford & SonsBabel
Glassnote Records

There are some artists who musical stylings change drastically with the release of every album. Then there are some artists who know what works perfectly for them and stick to it. Mumford & Sons certainly fits into that last category. Their signature percussion style acoustic guitar, rolling banjo, and persistent kick drum make their presence known in nearly every song in some form. Marcus and company have taken their bluegrass tunes, alongside their gorgeous harmonies, and have brought a once forgotten genre into the forefront of Top 40 radio. The album peaked at 7 on the US Billboard Top 200 albums, number 3 on the US Digital Albums Chart, and number 1 on the US Folk Albums chart. While some critics may complain that it is far too similar to Sigh No More, many think that they have found their niche and know exactly how to write their style of music. Regardless of it all, these songs in their own right are a terrific collection of well-written tunes.

#6

A Silent FilmSand & Snow
Self-Released
When listening to A Silent Film, it’s easy to try and make comparisons to similar English piano-rock bands like Keane, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay. However, their new album Sand & Snow sets them apart mostly due in part to lead singer RobertStevenson’s strong vocals. Songs such as “Reaching the Potential,” “Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well,” and “Anastasia” lay a terrific foundation for the rich layers of vocals, synth and keyboards, and the rest of the instrumentation. Although the band is independent, having self-produced this album in Arizona, they have had a few songs receive some radio success on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, as well as earning 200K downloads as iTunes’ Discovery Download.

#5

AnberlinVital
Universal Republic Records

Fans of Anberlin are not afraid to tell you which album is their favorite and which album is their least favorite. Regardless of which era of Anberlin you prefer, it’s undeniable to see the progression in the right direction with their latest release, Vital. It’s perfect blend of rock guitars and drums, a more pronounced synth and keys presence, and their signature soaring falsetto vocals featuring Stephen Christian. When the first single “Someone Anyone” was released in late August, it was quite evident that there was a new energy that the band had never had before. When describing the new album, Christian describes it as “the record I want them screaming back at me every time we play live.” Anberlin should get exactly what they ask for with catchy tunes like “Self-Starter,” “Someone Anyone,” “Desires,” and “Orpheum.” And what Anberlin album would be complete without a final opus. With the help of Eisley’s Christie DuPree, “God, Drugs & Sex” ends on an epic note. The album had plenty of success on the charts as well, including reaching 16 on the Billboard 200, 3 on the Top Alternative Charts, 1 on US Christian Albums on Billboard.

#4

Punch BrothersWho’s Feeling Young Now?
Nonesuch Records
Since Nickel Creek’s breakup in 2006, Chris Thile has been quite a busy man. His side projects have included working with Michael Daves, Edgar Meyers, and most recently the Goat Rodeo Sessions. However, he spends the majority of his time working with the Punch Brothers. In February, Thile & Co. released Who’s Feeling Young Now? on Nonesuch Records, deciding not to over-complicate the music and make it a little more accessible than their previous work. Those facts, however, do not take away from the true bluegrass feel you get with this album: mandolin front and center, rolling banjo not far behind, guitar and violin shining through occasionally, and the bass laying the foundation and rhythm of each song. Even if you’re not a huge fan of bluegrass music, it’s hard to deny the catchiness of songs like “This Girl,” “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” and “Clara.” The only thing more entertaining than listening to Who’s Feeling Young Now? is watching the quintet play live. The Punch Brothers recorded a live set performed for Austin City Limits that aired live on November 3rd that included a number of songs from the latest album. The members’ shirts and ties certainly did not set a precedent for their behavior on stage; their excitement playing live shone through on each song.

#3

Anchor & BrailleThe Quiet Life
Tooth & Nail Records

In 2008, Stephen Christian started Anchor & Braille as a side project for Anberlin after the release of their major label debut New Surrender. The first release, Felt, was very laid back and significantly different from anything anyone had heard from Stephen Christian. The response was quite positive, but fans were unsure if the project would simply be a one-time-thing. Three years after the debut, Christian and new partner Micah Tawlks collaborated and essentially reinvented the sound of Anchor & Braille. Gone are light acoustic guitars and weeping pianos; they’ve been replaced with sampled drums and heavy synth to supplement his vocals. From the opening measures of “Goes Without Saying,” you know that something is very different. After adjusting a few songs in, the album becomes mesmerizing. The haunting chorus of “oohs” during “In With the New” draws you in, while the raspy guitar on “Kodachrome” jars you once again. Probably the most powerful song on the album is “Hymn for Her,” a song written for Tawlks’ soon to be born child. When listening to the song from such a perspective, it’s tough not to fall in love with it.

#2

House of HeroesCold Hard Want
Gotee Records

There were two foreseeable routes House of Heroes could have taken with their latest release: keep following the rock opera/concept album route that they did with The End Is Not The End as well as Suburba, or write a straight up rock album with killer songs. The band chose the latter, and it turned out to be a great decision. Each song on the album was loaded; hooks flying everywhere, harmonies galore, powerful lyrics. After spending years trying to make it big, they’ve said enough is enough and laid it all out there. “Out My Way” lays it out plain and simple: “It took a whole lot of blood and sweat to get what I got. It took a whole of cold hard want to get what I got.” Each song on the record is fantastic in its own right, whether it’s the Muse-esque “Remember The Empire,” the jangly acoustic driving “We Were Giants,” or the epic ballad “I Am A Symbol.” The boys pulled out all the stops on this record, and it certainly shows. The album peaked at 3 on the Top Christian Albums chart on Billboard.

#1

LovedrugWild Blood
Self Released

There are many bands who claim to be known for their unique singer’s vocal style. Then there’s Lovedrug’s Michael Shepherd. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny the fantastic melodies Shepherd brings to life with his range and style of singing. After nearly 4 years without a proper LP, Lovedrug decided to self-release their latest, Wild Blood. Opening with the title track, Shepherd gets right to business singing out “We’re crying out honestly, this wild blood will set us all free.” The drums set the tone in nearly every song, heavily dictating the emotion of every song. During “Dinosaurs,” the bass and drums drive the melody to ring out. The four-on-the-floor kick drum with rolling snare in “Preminition” make the song one that’s just begging to be belted. Chorus after chorus comes, each one bringing a feeling stronger than the last. The acoustic guitar takes lead on “Girl,” a gorgeous love song about spending the rest of your life with the love of your life. The chorus belts out “Spent thirty years not knowing you. I can’t afford to waste more time running ’round the world, when all I know is you’re my girl.” The final song makes for the perfect finale to the album. The opening pad followed by the slow guitar solo provides a mood of near desperation. Shepherd cries out “I’ll be your drug if you need it, I’ll be the one who will chase you so hard. I will be there when you need it, I’ll be the love that you’re chasing so hard.” By the end of the song, you feel like you’re the one crying out for her to just stop looking for drugs and abuse and want her to come running into your arms. The lyrics are poignant, but hit exactly where he wants them to hit.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, hope you enjoyed my reviews and list. Stay tuned for more musical suggestions, recommendations, and reviews in 2013!
-matthew

Top 10 of ’10

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Allow me to preface this list by saying that this year has been a hella good year for new music. I have a Top 10, 5 Honorable Mentions, and a Top 5 EPs. And there was a huge amount of music I left out. Please feel free to discuss my choices and let me know if you agree, disagree, like, dislike, etc.

Top 5 EPs

#5


Lauris VidalBetter Part
P Is For Panda Records

#4


StatesLine ’em Up
Unsigned

#3


Andy ShaufWaiting For The Sun To Leave
P Is For Panda Records

#2


Brandon Clark & The American StandardHonestly
P Is For Panda Records

#1


SatelliteRing The Bells
ADM Records

Honorable Mentions (In alphabetical order)

Brett DetarBird In The Tangle
Ravensong Records

Favorite Tracks: Empty House on a Famous Hill, Road to Ruin Woman


HellogoodbyeWould It Kill You?
Rocket Science Records

Favorite Tracks: Finding Something To Do, When We First Met


Jakob DylanWomen & Country
Columbia Records

Favorite Tracks: Nothing But The Whole Wide World, Everybody’s Hurting


Jimmy Eat WorldInvented
Interscope Records

Favorite Tracks: Movielike, Coffee and Cigarettes


Sky SailingAn Airplane Carried Me To Bed
Sky Sailing/Republic Records

Favorite Tracks: Alaska, A Little Opera Goes A Long Way

And now for the Top 10.

#10


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo
Reprise Records

I’ve always had a soft spot for TP. It’s my Dad’s favorite artist, so I grew up listening to him and loving his stuff because my Dad loved it. Then as I got older and learned to appreciate music, it helped me realize why Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are as good as they are. With Mojo, they went back to their influences and created an album that was less pop based then all of their other stuff and created a straight up blues/rock album. With catchy tunes like I Should Have Known It and Jefferson Jericho Blues, they show they still have that pop sound. However, they aren’t afraid to just hit record and jam. With 4 tunes clocking in at 4:59 or longer, The Heartbreakers show off their amazing talent and just play to their heart’s content.

#9


AnberlinDark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
Universal Records

I have been a fan of Anberlin since I bought their album Cities a few months after it released. However, I was not a big fan of New Surrender. When I heard they had a new album coming out, I was slightly anxious because I feared they would continue down the road they had gone with the last album. I’m glad they didn’t. When I listen to this album, I hear catchy tune after catchy tune. Whether it’s Closer, You Belong Here, Pray Tell or Down I just think of how well they have done with this record.

#8

Sara BareillesKaleidoscope Heart
Epic Records

My love for Sara Bareilles started this summer when I saw her play for free in downtown St. Louis. Nicole had told me she was playing, and I was slightly hesitant to go. Thankfully, we decided to go out and see her. When we saw her, she had yet to release her new album, but she played several tunes from it. Every song she played from the new album was infinitely better than any song she had ever written before. When I finally got a copy of the album several months later, I fell even more in love with her songs. Uncharted just has that piano hook and lyrical hook that takes days to get out of your head. Let The Rain is one of her few guitar based songs, and it’s my personal favorite. I love the quirky clapping pattern and the following lyric:

Wish I were pretty, wish I were brave
If I owned this city, I’d make it behave
If I were fearless, I’d speak my truth
The world would hear this
That’s what I wish I’d do

#7


Zach StroutLuggage Rack
Blackroom Records

My freshman year at Greenville College, a band called Ellery Grange was created. It was such a different band than I was used to seeing; it consisted of two acoustic guitar players, a viola player, and a drummer. I had always wanted to start a folk band with a lineup and song collection similar to theirs, so I chose instead to fall in love with their music. After just a few short months together, the group called it quits and 2 of the members left Greenville College to pursue other opportunities. However, Zach Strout continued to create music and was signed as Blackroom Records’ first artist in over 5 years. His low key, guitar strummed style of folk music instantly drew me in. I quickly grew to love the amazing harmonies in Mary Lou, the stomp-clap part in La de Dah, and the poignant lyrics of Since I’ve Been Home.

Side note: When Zach played his CD release show, I was lucky enough to meet a very attractive string bass player, and well… the rest is history.

#6


Andrew BelleThe Ladder
1L Music Inc.

Even thought I only downloaded this just a week or so ago, this album has quickly immersed itself as one of my favorites of the year. I love the way the album starts out with the track The Ladder, with the lyric “Woe is me/faithless you and selfish me/I will leave a key for you outside my doorway” and the song quickly picks up with kick drum and a haunting banjo riff. Song after song hits you hard, with poignant lyrics and music that matches the tone of the words so perfectly. My personal favorite on this album is Oh My Stars. The 2nd verse is so beautiful:

Tell me all about your foreign wars
And all about the photographs that line your drawers
‘Cause I know a lot about closing doors
But not enough about what opens up yours

#5


Tokyo Police ClubChamp
Mom & Pop Music

One afternoon I was driving home from my summer internship. I was sitting in hardcore traffic on I-64 and decided to turn on the NPR station out of St. Louis. Just as I turned it on, they had just started giving a review on the new release from Tokyo Police Club. Just a few days later, Nicole went to see Passion Pit, whose opening act was Tokyo Police Club. She told me how good they were live, and I knew it was a sign that I needed to download the album. The opening song Favorite Food immediately sets the mood for the album, with its interesting synth intro, its slow guitar riff, and its flowing lyrics. Whether it’s a synth heavy song like Bambi or a guitar driven song like Gone, their style never wavers. The lyrics and Dave Monks’ baritone voice is always the centerpiece of the song, and is surrounded by a wave of instrumentation.

#4


JónsiGo
XL Recording

It’s a little hard to pinpoint what it is about this album that makes it so good. Is it the quirky synths and orchestral-eque arrangements? Is it Jónsi’s ever-constant falsetto voice? Is it his unique accent and diction? Is it the penetrating lyrics? Yes, to all of the above. What was supposed to start out as a simple acoustic side project turned into an explosive masterpiece. Whether it’s the hyper and upbeat tune Animal Arithmetic or the slow and steady song Grow Til Tall, it’s easy to see why Jónsi’s debut album was so well received.

#3


The NationalHigh Violet
4ad Records

I did everything in my power not to like this album. I tried to convince myself that I hated Matt Berninger’s voice. I tried to convince myself that the songs were awful. But I couldn’t do it. I downloaded the album, listened to it all the way through once, and couldn’t stop thinking about how good it truly was. In a very airy, sad tone, each song cuts right through you and tells a story. In the lyrics, the songs seem so simple with often repetitive phrases, but that makes the songs so much more penetrating. My personal favorites off this record are Bloodbuzz Ohio, England, and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

#2


Mumford & SonsSigh No More
Glass Note Records

The first time I heard Little Lion Man this summer, I fell in love with Mumford & Sons. I loved that I heard a song filled with banjo, acoustic guitar, and rich harmonies immediately after hearing Dynamite by Taio Cruz on the same station. After I heard that song, I went home and looked up the album and listened to the whole thing. It was just a few days later I got the full album. While it was technically released in 2009 in the UK, it wasn’t released until February of 2010 in the US. My question was “How did I not hear about these guys for nearly 5 months?!” The rich harmonies, the ever present banjo, and the brutal lyrics are just a few of my favorite things about this band. It’s hard not to love a band with lyrics like this:

How can you say that your truth is better than ours?
Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms
The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

#1


MenomenaMines
Barsuk Records

I heard about Menomena this summer while spending my summer in St. Louis. The first time I listened to their album, it didn’t really click for me. I liked a few of the songs, but I wasn’t really feeling the flow of the album. And then one day it hit me.

I listened to their song Tithe. The intro, the piano riff, the guitar riff, and the first verse:

Spending the best years of a childhood horizontal on the floor
Like a bobsled minus the teamwork and the televised support

From that day on, I understood the flow of the album. Each song was so intuitive with the song before it, and each song was so unique. I had the opportunity to see them live when they came to St. Louis, and seeing them perform these intricate songs live just made the album come to life even more. The song Five Little Rooms add lots of variety to the album by putting an emphasis on the baritone saxophone played by bass player Justin Harris. Overall, this album is outstanding and definitely worth a listen.

Thanks for reading along and checking out my choices. Hope you’ve enjoyed!

-matthew
1:40 pm