As 2010 winds down, new music continues to find its way through the cluster of anticipated end-of-the-year lists and compilations, so in this edition of “The Music Sounds Better” we’ll cover a little bit of both.
Last year indie-pop favorites Girls released their stunning debut “Album” which has yet to be followed.
Though I wasn’t necessarily impressed with the band at first, I was force-fed until I loved it. And yes, I now love it.
Backed behind a childhood of cult involvement thanks to his mother, Christopher Owens has managed to distinguish himself as one of the most brilliant and promising songwriters of this generation of music.
The thing is, it goes beyond the music; Owens is claiming territory as a true artist.
There is something so fascinating, so compelling, yet so honest about his persona that can’t be truly articulated.
The group’s newest release “Broken Dreams Club,” an EP follow-up to “Album,” was released late November, but the track “Heartbreaker” made its way to the Internet a couple of months prior.
As Owens stated in a letter he hand-wrote to the fans attached to the song, “Girls are growing up.”
Laced between settle melodies, driving instrumentation and master lyricism, this is pop music at its finest.
The track is something special, maintaining a distinguishable sound and only enhanced by the more polished production.
If Owens stays true to his word and this new material is a look at what is to come, Girls are looking at an extraordinarily hopeful future.
Greg Gillis’ computer DJ/mash up artist/producer/whatever-you-want-to-call-it Girl Talk is nothing new to the independent music scene.
His densely populated mixes of pop, rock, R&B and rap have been highly acclaimed by nearly every music news source.
Just recently he took the Internet by storm, posting his new album “All Day” up for download. If you were lucky enough to make way through the paralyzed server, you quickly found that Gillis did it again.
At this point I really don’t expect mediocrity from Gills. His previous release “Feed the Animals” was mash up perfection, seamlessly mixing tracks like Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Under the Bridge” with Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.”
After a first listen I first noticed “All Day” was little more cluttered than his previous work running some 10 different samples in a period of 15 seconds. But rather than a flaw, it seems more of an intentional experiment on Gillis’ part to see just how much he can push the art. A stand-out track has got to be “On and On.”
It is a seamless mix of New Order against Lil Wayne to U2 mashed with Twista.
Girl Talk will be stopping by Tempe’s Marquee theater in March for what should be a show unlike much you’ve ever experienced.
If it is not obvious by now through the various mentions in this blog, I love Sufjan Stevens, but it wasn’t until his most recent work that he consumed my music’s play counts.
“The Age of Adz” is undoubtedly my favorite album of the year, maybe even of the past eight years.
There is something to say about an artist who is willing to completely redefine his sound, and I praise Stevens for that.
But beneath the synthesizers, glitched-out odes to Aphex Twin and progressive nature lays the same Stevens as before, and that is something that is never going to change.
To keep things diverse, I am going to pretend I didn’t see Stevens live this year, because it was the best show I have ever seen.
Pavement’s Coachella set was something I had been anticipating for a while, and after waiting six hours in the beating sun at the front of the stage, it was time.
They delivered a set that was unlike anything I had ever previously experienced; it was truly a rock concert. No extraneous light shows or flashy stage antics were necessary.
It was seriously a bunch of cool dads rocking out in front of 20,000 people, and I loved every second of it.
Similarly, alternative legends Pixies offered a straightforward, but slightly more produced show (not a bad thing).
So as I look towards 2011, I am anxious to see what new music comes our way.
I know one thing is for sure, it is going to be seriously exciting.