Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's A New Year and I'm Back...Kinda

I love, love, loved 2005. It seems like every couple of minutes there was another amazing album being discovered (I'm head over heels in love with Rachel Stevens' album right now, I listen to it all the way through almost daily) with many of my current favourite bands releasing albums (Sigur Ros, Death Cab for Cutie, m83, The Jim Yoshii Pileup, Broken Social Scene, Decemberists, Daft Punk, Kanye West). I had low expectations for 2006, though, as the only bands off the top of my head releasing stuff that I had any interest in was Mogwai and (supposedly) Built To Spill. Yet January has already come with a bang, and there is some pretty great music already. Since Spin has already done a fine job hyping the upcoming Mogwai album, I thought I'd shed some light on some other corkers for 2006.

Beth Orton "The Comfort of Strangers" (Out February 2006): I've often been on the fence about Orton, sometimes loving songs of her's "Concrete Sky", other times being bored with her, and occasionally finding her collaborations even more interesting ("The State We're In" her vocal turn with The Chemical Brothers is pretty transcendant). But I'm not even 5 songs into this one and I'm in love. I'll include a YSI here of my favourite song, so far, "Conceived" which starts with a ridiculously catchy bass and high hat (hi-hat? I couldn't tell you which is right), and then a gentle acoustic strumming and her vocals, and finally some piano and I'm suddenly sitting outside on a June morning, looking up at the sky. The best description I can make is that this song makes me feel...warm?

{Yousendit guideline. Copy, change the two x's to t's, past and there you are}


Ester Drang "Rocinate" (Out January 24th): Hmm, I remember a few years back when I was pining for Jets To Brazil, so I was scouring their website for any news (still haven't hear any) and saw that they had mp3s by Ester Drang. At the time I was trying to keep up on any and everything emo and downloaded them, only to find out they were nothing like emo, but instead more of a lush, poppy indie band. Kind of like The Prom, if you've ever encountered them. Then, I forgot about them, until I came across this album and thought I'd give it a spin and...Wow! This is really good, full-on indie-pop music. I'm hearing soaring guitars, pianos, violins. It's really really lush and fun, and interesting. Here'a YSI of one of my favourite songs "Valencia's Dying Dream".


Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins "Rabbit Fur Coat": (Out January 24th) Jenny Lewis is the singer from Rilo Kiley. Still with me? Good, because this sounds nothing like Rilo Kiley. There seems to be a real backlash against Rilo Kiley, though I'm not sure why, I think they have some of the catchiest indie rock going. But, this doesn't sound like indie rock. This is Jenny Lewis releasing a solo album of solo country material. It's all really fun and great as she's really giving it and using her voice better than she ever has before. Picking a song off this album was harder than either of the previous two, because I really wanted to pick one that is catchy, but shows off the countryness of it, while also showcasing her voice, so I went with "Rise Up With Fists" which has all of those elements, it might not be my favourite (Or maybe it is...) but it's really good.


Hey, and if anyone has any problems with mp3s I'm offering up, feel free to hit me up at my email the_shrine(AT) and I'm cut it out promptly. My goal is to excited, not exploit. Pretty good, eh? I just came up with that now.