Best of 2011

Posted in Music on January 1st, 2012 by Tom

My best of 2011 is all done, though a tad bit late. Apologies.

It was a good year for the blog though, with some 40-odd posts, nearly all music related, making this the year to beat in terms of content production. It’s still a little unevenly paced still, but we made it through the year without any huge gaps in updates, which I’m quite proud of!

Without further ado, I have linked to the big list of the top albums of 2011. Below, for purposes of aggregation, is my Hype Zeitgeist widget.

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Lead Single from Florence + The Machine’s Forthcoming Album

Posted in Music on August 24th, 2011 by Tom

London’s premiere siren and her crew are back at it again, and not a moment too soon. I was pretty tired of the radio and TV continually reminding me how good Lungs was. I should know; Florence + The Machine were one of the first groups I ever discussed back when this blog was just starting to become a ‘music blog’, and that was July, 2009.

The final single from Lungs was released a full year afterwards, in the summer of 2010, and even now in 2011 the album’s popularity shows no signs of waning. It’s a tribute to the craftsmanship that went into that record, but it’s also annoying to watch mainstream media get all excited about a record that’s nearly two years old. If it was a child, it would be speaking, for pete’s sake…

Enough ranting though. Just when you thought you were sick of F+TM though, they drop a brand new track off their forthcoming album that’s due out November!

‘What the Water Gave Me’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

I gave the aforementioned Lungs a brief spin while I was typing this up so I could compare the new track to the older material. It holds up pretty damn well, and given the previous discussion, that’s saying something.

What the Water Gave Me‘ is a little darker in tone than their past work, and that works wonders for the group’s sound. It’s got a little more grit to it, and then at about the 2:20 mark we trade out the familiar ethereal synthesizers for an honest-to-god guitar. The addition of such a traditional element to the band’s pallet of sounds gives it a previously unaccessed degree of dimension that simply sounds great.

Expect big things in November. Enjoy this in the mean time.

Florence + The Machine – ‘What The Water Gave Me’
(via UK iTunes) – [You might need to set up some proxy devilry to get the above link to work; otherwise sit tight for the track’s release in other countries]


Best of 2009

Posted in Music on December 31st, 2009 by Tom

The page for my Top 10 Albums of 2009 is up. Artists include:

Florence + The Machine
Franz Ferdinand
Passion Pit
The Sounds
We Were Promised Jetpacks
White Lies
Wild Light

but not necessarily in that order!

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Follow up on ‘Lungs’

Posted in Music on September 11th, 2009 by Tom

lungsIn what I believe was the inaugural post of the music-focused segment of the blog, we talked a little bit about Florence + The Machine. I only had a handful of tracks, but I was so impressed I felt like I had enough to post on. Well, I made good on my promise and finally got around to listening to Lungs all the way through.

I was pleased to hear not just the previously cited ‘Howl’ and ‘Cosmic Love’, (still the most solid tracks on the record) but also ‘Dog Days Are Over’, which I didn’t realize was on the album. Not only is it on there, but it’s the opening track! Fantastic.

But in this brief little addendum, I really wanted to point out just a single track: like the others, it is supremely crafted, and makes fantastic use of the vocal capabilities of the ‘Florence’ component of the group. Past that, though, the wordplay of the lyrics, combined with a feeling of genuine emotion, made ‘My Boy Builds Coffins‘ stand out among even the best songs on this record. I can’t recommend this album enough!

[ mp3 ♫ ]


Florence + The Machine

Posted in Music on July 26th, 2009 by Tom

Florence + The Machine Oh man. I’m really excited. Over the past few weeks I’ve stumbled across a handful of tracks by Florence and the Machine, and have become really taken with them. For the record, I’d like to say that Florence is one hell of a looker, even if The Machine is less so (pictured, right; it was hard to find an image with the dudes in it too. Photo Credit: Foxy Roses).

That aside, the music is fantastic. I first caught wind of them playing a really good cover of Beirut’s ‘Postcard’s From Italy‘, which is no small task to pull off (take it from me; I’ve heard it botched), especially if you abandon the horns that are the emotional backing of that song!

I really wanted to wait until I’d had a chance to grab a copy of Lungs, their album that dropped just earlier this month, but I really wanted to share the music, and I had some time. Simply put, her (Florence Welch) vocals are hell-of-powerful. Not quite as finessed or lilting as Neko Case (who hails from the New Pornographers, recall), or as wispy as Imogen Heap, Florence has a good deal of force behind her singing. You can hear it in ‘Howl‘, particularly in the final build-up, around 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the song.

To give credit where credit is due, though, The Machine deserves due props as well. Vocals alone can’t carry a group. Just ask the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O can belt and squeal all she wants, and do a good job of it, but a lot of their stuff (for me anyways) still falls flat. The example I want to use here is ‘Cosmic Love‘: Listen to the grandeur they paint with this track; they have to, with the subject matter being something as big and expansive as the universe!

So anyways. I’m gonna grab Lungs as soon as I can. It shows tremendous promise from the above two tracks (‘Postcards’ isn’t on the record), which is more than enough to convince me to give it a try; I’ll report back with the final verdict.

Lungs – Florence + The Machine