Milky Chance - Stolen Dance
Emerging from obscurity this year comes Milky Chance, a German artist with strong songwriter skills that will please both genders. Guys will appreciate the guitar driven melody and girls will appreciate the pop sensibilities and range of Milky’s croon.
This song is easy to listen to and it is surprising how the pace transforms a fairly bittersweet ballad into an upbeat romantic declaration of love. Stolen Dance definitely has dancefloor appeal and DJs are already mixing the tune for their own sets.
Download - Stolen Dance
Any Other Name
Thomas Newman - Any Other Name
Shakespeare wrote in Romeo & Juliet, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." The quote in context refers to Juliet’s lamentation over her love for Romeo and the their families’ fueds. This quote summarises Juliet’s belief that words are frivolous when compared with the actuality of something.
Thomas Newman cleverly alludes to this when naming the score for the film American Beauty. In the film, roses are a used symbolically along with the themes of love and lust.
Thomas Newman composes an otherwordly piece that seems to defy time. The instrumental piano is lucid and peaceful and manages to embody so much meaning - the concept of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, the shortcomings of words in capturing reality and the highly individualised construction of meaning. Maybe the piece achieves this or maybe that is just my interpretation when I listen to this masterpiece.
Download - Any Other Name (control-click & save)
All Summer Long
Horrorshow - All Summer Long (Live)
And i still think of your face everytime it rains and I wonder
In a different time and place could we find our way to one another?
Solo MC from Horrorshow really crystalised the sentimental feeling of chance encounters and forlorn teenage infatuation when he penned All Summer Long from the group’s 2008 debut album The Grey Space.
On an album that features some heavy topics, such as depression, losing loved ones and finding hope, All Summer Long brightens the corners of The Grey Space and makes the listener feel what it’s like to be 16 and in love again.
To reward their fans on the four year gap since their last studio full-length, Horrorshow have decided to release a free live album, Live At the Spiegeltent. The generous act is also a calculated move to excite old fans and win over casual listeners before the group release their third album later this year.
Download - Live At the Spiegeltent (album)
Active Child - Evening Ceremony
One reason to be thankful for Stephanie Meyer is that despite writing some inexcusably trashy vampire-romance books, her Twilight franchise has garnered some impressive soundtracks. The latest of her books to be remade into a movie will be The Host.
Active Child has released Evening Ceremony for the soundtrack and it is a low-key, ambient piece with a layered production style that makes for the perfect accompaniment to the falsetto of Pat Grossi.
Thankfully, you don’t have to like Twilight to appreciate this.
The Paper Kites - Bloom
The lush vocals of The Paper Kites are enough to melt away the frosty clutches of Winter and help you indulge in the beautiful Summer weather we’ve been having in Australia, whether you live here or not.
Bloom is probaly the most famous of The Paper Kites' tracks from their debut EP Woodbine. They have since released a second EP this year and embarked on a national tour.
Keep an ear out for this incredibly talented bunch of Australian artists.
Laura Veirs - July Flame
I have been searching for a song like this for a long time.
By that statement, I mean I have been looking for some slower tempo, introspective singer/songwriter material and Laura Veirs’ July Flame has certainly satisfied the above criteria.
The only problem is that the fact it’s taken me so long to find her 2010 single is a worry. Download from the link below before it’s taken down and enjoy.
Download - July Flame (control-click & save file)
Benjamin Gibbard - Lily
Benjamin Gibbard keeps the mood positive throughout most tracks on his first solo album, Former Lives. The Death Cab For Cutie and Postal Service frontman wrote the song over the course of ”eight years, three relationships, living in two different places, drinking then not drinking.”
Needless to say, the Seattle songwriter has had a lot of experiences over the time these songs were conceived. It’s also the first body of work Gibbard has released since his very public divorce from Zooey Deschanel in December of last year. However, fans of Gibbard’s heavier songs (such as Tiny Vessels, Title and Registration, Title Track etc.) may have to wait for future material, since the majorty of tracks on the new album are upbeat in melody or lyrical content.
Lily is one such song.
Clocking in at just over two minutes, Lily sees Gibbard writing a classic love song comparing Lily’s qualities to cheesy metaphors with the sentiment of a teenager’s romance and sung with the smooth voice and range that is unmistakably Benjamin Gibbard.
Other album highlights includes Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke) where Gibbard expresses his desire to get lost in the city, as the song literally becomes lost in a mariachi band; A Hard One to Know with its speedy percussion and acoustic-strumming as well as Lady Adelaide with an infectiously light melody that is reminiscent of the wordless humming on Cath and Soul Meets Body.
Former Lives won’t be remembered for any particular song or lyric, but it’s strength lies in its cohesive, yet varied songs that serve as an enjoyable listen, despite the age of the material. I have read a lot of criticisms from fans who want to hear something darker, more depressed and lo-fi, but in the end artists don’t have to cater to their fans’ taste, and if Gibbard isn’t wallowing in depression after his divorce or relapsed into alcoholism, it is something we should respect and accept that he is acknowledging his past and moving on with life on Former Lives.
Paul Dempsey - Ramona Was a Waitress
The other day I was at an engagement party and Ramona Was a Waitress was playing. It was a song I thoroughly enjoyed when it was released in 2009 and I was glad to hear it again. Paul Dempsey, the frontman of Something For Kate, released this track as the lead single from his solo album Everything is True. The track tells a story of love for a waitress by the name of, you guessed it, Ramona.
The personal details in the song give the listener an acute snapshots in to the life of the singer and the subject in the song -
"there’s a way you’ve always known her, telephone between her cheek and her shoulder"
The track was a triumph for Dempsey who has suffered writer’s block and depression for a long period before releasing Everything is True. Since June 2010, Paul has been living in New York with his wife playing his music in clubs. There is no word about any forthcoming releases yet. Hopefully that will change soon.
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