Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recent Ramblings and Listenings

Now that I have had time to let the storm that was SXSW settle, I have come up with the following list of bands that particularly impressed me or that you need to hear.

1) Anathallo - I have posted about this band in the past and after seeing them live back to back in Austin this band has become one of my favorite acts out there. There stage show mimics the highs and lows of their albums. While Floating World gave Anathallo a place on lots of American playlists, the follow-up Canopy Glow proves that the bands maturing sound steeped in flowing melodies accompanied with booming percussion has found its niche. I strongly recommend buying this album.

2) Mumford & Sons - This U.K. quartet is part of a burgeoning folk movement in London that consists of artists like Laura Marling and the band Noah and the Whale. Featuring a bass, acoustic guitar, banjo, and keys the band mixes all four voices in harmony often going acapella. Rocking out in acoustic folkloric fashion, the band really impressed me in their sxsw showcase. They have an EP out on itunes that is worth checking out.

3) The Wrens - No secret here, but this band blew away my expectations in their live show. The singer threw his bass, hung it from the strings of the tent, gave it to the crowd to play, and jumped off the moniter all in a 45 minute set that only consisted of about 6 songs. If you don't own the album The Meadowlands you probably should buy it. Great indie pop music.

4) Nelo - Nelo is an austin based pop-rock outfit in the styles of Dave Matthews Band and Sister Hazel. Having had a close relationship to this band over the past few years, my cousin is the vocalist, has given me the opportunity to really watch the band grow. Had you asked me to analyze them last year I would have said that they were a fun and talented college band great for the back decks of fraternity houses throughout the south, but after watching their show at SXSW I can honestly say that this band is poised to produce great, easy-listening pop-rock. The growth is easily heard in the bands new songs like "Love Solution" and "Break Through" which carry a bigger weight than the floating somewhat bouncy pop on their self-titled debut album Nelo. They are releasing songs from their new E.P. Two Years Ago on itunes every month with the full E.P. available in July. The E.P. is a big step forward for a band who suffer from being outside the scene in a very 'scenester' town. Check it out.

5) The Tallest Man on Earth - This swedish folk music is made by one man and his acoustic guitar. Raw and gritty, the music seems full of emotion. Kristian Matsson, who literally is the band, is incredibly talented and the songs seems full of emotion. Good Stuff.

Lots of music is available for free this week including:

NPR sxsw concert series' including Blind Pilot, Avett Brothers, Dirty Projectors, Blitzen Trapper, and The Decemberist's available here for download and stream.
Leonard Cohen's Live In London album. Listen here.
The Decemberist's The Hazards of Love. Listen here.
Gomez A New Tide. Popular british rock. Listen here.
Obits I Blame You. Brooklyn Noise-Pop. Listen here.
Harlem Shakes Technicolor Health. Listen here.
Royskopp Junior. Norwegian pop techno. Listen here.

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