Talk about long time no see. It’s been months since I have been free/motivated enough to write. In fact, I wouldn’t even say I’m either of those right now, but there has been so much beautiful noise going through my stereo that I haven’t shared with you, and that needs to change. My best of 2007 list is right around the corner and I’m sure I will be plenty busy putting that together and writing it all out, but I need to get a post on here before that. So I’m just going to take a few minutes to give you a low down of what’s been going in my ears as of late.
Sam Beam has released a magnificent album under the stage name Iron and Wine. The Shepherd’s Dog was released late September. If you are familiar with Iron and Wine, you will be very happy to hear what I’m about to say. Beam has pulled off a magnificent transition from the traditional, simple folk that his fans have come to love into these sophisticated, intricate folk tunes that are almost too pleasing to the ears. Folk is tricky, especially in this day in age when it is almost necessary to branch out of your shell and expand. Beam really stepped outside of the box on this one. The music is flowing and involved, but not to the point where you have to listen over and over again to hear what’s going on. Instead, you’ll be listening over and over again to be captured in its melodies. The Shepherd’s Dog is a very big leap in the right direction for this folk genius and will definitely make the best of 2007 list.
Iron and Wine – Boy with a Coin
Iron and Wine – House by the Sea
A lo-fi experiment out of Toronto has caught me ear lately. Their name, Holy Fuck, which has already caused problems for them in many aspects, is one reason I had to check them out. The only upsetting thing about this band is the fact that Coachella refuses to add them to the line up for 2008 because of their name. Lame, I know. Their music is very fast paced, and studies have shown it can cause seizures. As long as you’re not afraid to shake it on the floor, this band is for you. It’s abrasive to the max, and what makes is so great is that they don’t use a single computer. There is no looping, no programmed backing beats, no splicing, no laptops, none of that easy to use DJ shit that can turn your average 18 year old geek into a superstar these days. These guys work hard to make the sound they do, and it’s a job well done. The melodies are poetic, and it’s so easy to get entranced by their sound. It’s not overdone and there is no filler at all (the album is 9 songs, none of which are over 6 minutes). I strongly recommend them.
Holy Fuck – Lovely Allen
Holy Fuck – Royal Gregory
Pinback released their 4 album, Autumn of the Seraphs, on September 11. I was only vaguely familiar with their 04 release, but I knew I liked them enough to check out their newest release. This very much keeps with the Pinback style I remember; however this album has a few more gems for me. An overall good listen, but it’s the tracks that stand out the most that make this album so special.
Pinback – Good to Sea
Pinback – Walters
That should hold you over until the best of 2007 list comes out. Take care.
KEXP has done it again. The 5th Annual BBQ was a complete success. All the bands put on incredible sets. Seattle natives The Blakes kicked things off. With the sun shining early on, it was nice to hear some rock and roll to get the party started. To quote Iggy Pop, “Who are these guys? This shit is great!” (Iggy wasn’t at the BBQ, but the quote was at their merchandise stand and I thought it was funny). They rocked the stage, and then proceeded to the 21+ section to get their drink on with the fans.
They were followed by a newer Seattle band known as The Cave Singers. I used the beginning of this set to go get in line for a burger, but wow did their sound blow me away. The lead singer, if you can twist this one up in your head, is an incredible cross between David Gray and Bob Dylan. His voice is marvelous. It was positively captivating. Their unique anti-climactic, down to the bare necessities sound filled the whole park with music. It’s always a nice treat to be taken back by one of the bands you thought of missing out on.
It only got crazier from there. The Brooklyn based Pela got on stage for what was undoubtedly the hardest rocking set of the night (note that Cloud Cult doesn’t really “Rock”). Their album, Anytown Graffiti, has been growing on me more and more with every listen. It’s a very powerful, moving album. And their show was tight. The people that knew the music, young and old, were enjoying every bit of it. And the people that didn’t I’m sure took note of how great the sound was. Strongly recommend this group.
Pela – Lost to the Lonesome
Pela – Drop Me Off
The Blue Scholars are the best hip hop duo to ever come out of Seattle. Mostly due to the fact that I’m pretty sure they are the ONLY hip hop duo in Seattle. None the less, their music is great. The whole crowd loved their single “Back Home”, a song entirely about our troops and how they belong at home with their families and not dying across sea’s to make the CEO of Exxon Mobil a qua-trillionaire. They played a nice long set that was accompanied by an 8-piece band.
Apparently Geologic thinks I’m a loser.
Then there was Cloud Cult. This band has been an major part of my car stereo selection over the past few months. Their album “The Meaning of *” is both poignant and contagious. Their live show was just the same. Hitting some classic’s from the Happy Hippo album, they branched out for a diversity of songs, but also played a lot of the tunes that made us fall for them. They played a cute version of “Pretty Voice” in the beginning and one hell of a rocking closer in “Take Your Medicine”. Overall, this BBQ was great. Red Hook was there to provide the brews which were nice and cold on our 65 degree August day. The crowd was social, maybe a little too social for those who were there to enjoy the music, but everyone had a smile on their face so I guess that’s saying something. This was my first KEXP event, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be at the next.
I get excited for upcoming releases all the time. Honestly, I think this has topped the list for me. One of the most moving bands in music today, Sigur Ros, with their epic masterpieces that force soothing visuals through your speakers and into your shut eyelids, are releasing both a DVD and a double disc album on November 5th. If ever there was a band that deserved to release a live DVD, it is Sigur Ros. Taking place in several scenic venues (and by venues, I mean houses, fields, and streets) in their home of Iceland, the DVD captures where the visions for their glamorous music originated. I have praised this band before (#2 best of 2005 review) and will continue to do so until they stop giving me goosebumps. The double disc is just as exciting. The first disc containing 3 unreleased tracks and a revamped version of the single “Von” from their debut. The second disc is probably going to be the more interesting as the band experiments with acoustic ballads of 6 of their works. I may forget birthdays, or first names, but rest assured I will not forget what will be in stores November 5th. Just a little more to get you pumped up, below is a video from a track off of their 2005 release Takk called “Glosoli”. One of my favorite songs from the band. Enjoy.
I cherish the fact that other people turn me on to music. Friends, strangers, DJ’s, record store employees, everyone has an opinion when it comes to what to listen to. I think it says something about my character that I am able to believe in other people’s opinions and ultimately let them effect what I am going to be listening to. It’s like a music community. If someone recommends a band to me I more often than not will go out and look the band up. If someone, especially strangers, feels so touched by a band that they have the balls to recommend them to a perfect stranger, then it must be worth at least one listen. That is why I take this blog so seriously. I feel like this is my little gift to that music community. My recommendation. For a while there I lost touch. I got too caught up in trying to find the next best thing and it became this overwhelming task that drained all the fun out of writing. I want to get back to what I loved about this blog, recommending albums that mean something to me. It didn’t take long for this blog to turn into every other blog. That needs to stop. Sure, I’ll still write about new bands and albums, but I need to put my focus back on what matters to me. I needed a list. I needed something that would force me to write something longer than a few paragraphs. Something that would make me think. Here I present to you my Favorite 20 Debut Albums. These are all debuts that I personally recommend. Some of them didn’t start a musical revolution, some of them wouldn’t make a Rolling Stones list, but they are my favorites. Enjoy.
20: Deftones – Adrenaline (1995)
The American hard rocker’s first proper album was dynamite. I didn’t get into at the time of its release, but it is my favorite of the Deftones collection and one of the best debut albums to come from the 90’s. Chino’s intelligent poetry is delivered with such a heavy alternative sound that it is hard for one to turn away.
19: The Strokes – Is This It? (2001) (RS #367)
The first gem of the “The” bands, The Strokes put out this post garage punk hit in 2001. This was one album that really got me back into music. It was the fiery guitars and pondering lyrics that roll smoothly throughout the album that really got me hooked. It received plenty of deserved radio play with tracks like “Last Nite”, “Hard to Explain” and “Someday”. The Strokes debut was a sure fire indie hit to start of the millennium. . It was even ranked in Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time list (#367). This band’s career has really taken off since 2001 with a sophomore album that just topped this one and a third highly anticipated album that didn’t score so highly in my book but was still considered a hit.
18: Pete Yorn – Musicforthemorningafter (2001)
Few artists have taken over my stereo like Pete Yorn did in 2002. For almost a year I considered this debut to be my favorite album of all time. Now obviously I never made an official list, and if I did this album would definitely not be at the top, but considering it never left my stereo and it was all I talked about, at the time it only seemed right to give it that title. Pete’s debut hits nearly every emotion on the human emotion spectrum. What makes Music for the Morning After so unique is that there isn’t a single song that isn’t worth listening to. Yorn’s career has blossomed into that of a talented, respected singer songwriter. His sophomore album Day I Forgot really showcased his growth as both a person and a musician.
17: The Beta Band – The 3 EP’s (1998)
Combining all the tracks from their first 3 EP’s, The Beta Band’s properly titled debut 3 EP’s is considered their first studio album. Though the band has been quoted as calling the album “fucking awful”, it has been hailed as one of the best British albums of all time. One of my first reviews was on this album, you can check it out here.
16: The Shins – Oh, Inverted World (2001)
Still reaping in the benefits of Zach Braff’s film “Garden State”, the Portland based Shins have taken off into mainstream stardom after the movie claimed their music has the ability to “change your life”. After 3 albums this debut is the best example of the Shins in their purest form. A simple, sunshine pop album that really delivers.
15: Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)
As my grandfather would say, “If you looked shit up in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Pearl Jam in the right hand column.” Although the Seattle band jumped on the grunge bandwagon, their twelve times platinum debut is hard to argue against. I really didn’t want to add this album to the list. Eddie Vedder is an arrogant, conceited prick and his music hasn’t been the same since Vitalogy in ’94. But you can’t deny that while his band may suck, this album started the 90’s in the right direction. Every now and then I’ll hear “Alive” on the radio and I’ll leave it on the station just because I am lazy. Then after the singing stops and the jamming begins, I remember how much the album meant to me back in the day. This may be low on the list to some of you, but this list is the best debut albums that launched the band in the right direction. And though this album may have been damn near perfect in its day, the band didn’t make the magic last very long, yet they still put music out and that my friends, loses you points in my book.
14: NIN – Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
Did you know that Trent Reznor was a janitor at a studio in Cleveland and when the building was down he would use the recording equipment to record what would turn out to be his magnificent debut Pretty Hate Machine? This dark 3 times platinum debut would turn out to be the first of over 18 albums in NIN’s Halo series. Talk about starting a career on the right foot.
13: G.Love and Special Sauce (1994)
This summer time favorite of mine hasn’t lost its shine for me. I still put this album in and listen to it like it was just released last year.
12: Led Zepplin – I (1969) (RS #29)
11: Elliott Smith- Roman Candle (1994)
This album, made in a friends basement, was never meant to be heard by anyone. Yet here it sits on the brink of the top 10 debut albums. If Elliott were still around, he would be so proud. If you want the real review, check it out here.
10: The Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
Really picking up the slack of the Art rock movement and carrying it all on their shoulders, this Canadian band really pulled out a masterpiece in their 2004 debut. This list was meant to showcase debuts that have launched a bands career in the right direction. I say you know you’re going in the right direction when your face is on the cover of Time Magazine (deduct points for it being Time Magazine the Canadian version). I doubt Funeral let any of it’s listeners down. Full of organs, accordions, and expressive lyrics, this album, once absorbed, conveys the sorrows of death in an extraordinary way. It took me a while to really get the magic of this band. It didn’t hit me until I received a DVD bootleg in a trade a while back. The Arcade Fire put on such an enchanting show. It is hard to look away when there is so much emotion on stage. That is when I went back to the album and actually gave it the honest listen it deserved. It blew me away. I couldn’t believe I had passed up on the band the first time around. Now, it is an album that I make sure is always near in case I need to “Wake Up”.
9: Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)
This somber debut was a blessing in disguise. When I first picked it up, I half expected it to be a one hit wonder. A friend burned this album for me as soon as he got it because he couldn’t take his headphones off. I was overindulged in Dave Matthews for years and it was time to start branching out again and I liked the single I was hearing on the radio, so I gave it a shot. “Yellow” was all over the radio in a hurry and I half anticipated the album to bomb under my standards. I knew right away I was wrong. It’s eerie, slow paced, and kind of depressing, and I loved every minute of it. From “Shiver” to “Everything’s Not Lost”, this album did more than spark something in me, it sparked something in millions of others around the world. This album won the Best Alternative Album Grammy and The Best British Album from the BRIT Awards. Today, the band is compared to U2 on a daily basis. They have 2 other solid studio albums after Parachutes that are both critically acclaimed and soar in my book. I think Parachutes certainly gave them a nice plateau to start from.
8: Jack Johnson – Brushfire Fairytales (2000)
Looking at all these debut dates, I’m starting to realize that the start of the new millennium was a monumental period of my musical journey. I was certain my list was going to be filled with 90’s bands, but looking at it I am glad I have a diverse selection. This pick, however, could be argued. I am sure it would not be worthy of such a spot on most people’s lists but to me, this album was a significant part of my growing up. I was driving to the Adirondacks to go camping for the weekend with a friend. He only had a few cd’s with him. We were both Dave Matthews buffs so we listened to him for a while and talked about the concerts. Then he popped this in. Our conversation only lasted a few minutes longer before we both shut up and just listened to the sandy guitar and Jack’s poetry. I was blown away. We literally listened to Brushfire Fairytales the entire weekend. When I came home it was all I could think about. When an album takes over your entire thought process for an entire weekend, it definitely has to rank up there. Now, it is a campfire sing along favorite.
7: Ben Harper – Welcome to the Cruel World (1994)
You’ll notice that a lot of these albums were recommended to me from someone else. Ben Harper is one act I discovered for myself. I saw him perform at my very first concert (which ironically was the last HORDE Festival in 1998). I didn’t run out and get his music right away, but I never forgot the name. I never did get into a Harper “phase” either. I can’t explain it. Once I started listening to him I just connected with him so much that I didn’t feel the need to over do it. I listened to him on a regular basis for a long time. All of his albums mean something different to me but his debut was the first one I got. It was stolen in the locker incident freshman year (someone broke into my locker and stole my cd wallet…it’s never been the same since) but I picked it up years later. He had a band on this album, but mostly it is just Harper doing his acoustic folk thing that is so moving. He sings like Martin Luther King with a guitar. Definitely launched Harper in the right direction and personally one of my favorite artists of all time.
6: The Beastie Boys – License to Ill (1986)
This 9 times platinum album started it all. The sampling, the partying, the remixes, the instrumentals, the punk, the hip hop, everything. What these three white boys have done with their careers is nothing less than brilliant. No other album on this list started a livelier, more vigorous career than this one did. If you were alive in the 80’s you’ve heard of the Beastie Boys. Nearly the entire album has had some kind of radio play over their 20 years since it has been released. For me it started my Beastie devotion back in middle school. This is certainly not my favorite album from the band (Paul’s Boutique) but it established their spot on the hip hop world.
5: Rage Against the Machine (1992) (RS#368)
A Guest Review From the Biggest Rage Fan on Earth: Jesse James Jeffers
Furious. Unrelenting. Extremely fucking loud and unapologetic. This self-titled 1992 debut album from a then-burgeoning Social rock powerhouse is in-your-face before you even put it in stereo, with the infamously graphic 1963 photo of a Buddhist monk burning himself to death in protest on the cover. If that isn’t fair warning for what awaits inside the CD case, I can’t think of what would be, given the “Burn, burn” hook in the opener “Bombtrack. The album’s most well-known release, “Killing in the Name,” features the definitive line of the band’s discography when Zack de la Rocha launches into a frenzied chant of “Fuck you, I won’t do what ya tell me.” However, for my money, the album’s claim to this list is firmly established by the tracks “Bullet in the Head” and “Know Your Enemy.” Not only does each of these songs showcase the talents of bassist Tim Commerford and guitarist Tom Morello, respectively, but they are also de la Rocha’s most inspired lyrical deliveries of what has to be one of the most-thoughtful and well-composed debuts in the past 20-plus years. Other hits “Wake Up” and “Freedom” would be top singles off of most albums, yet really are relegated to being gravy on top of a delicious plate of thunderous political rock. New hard rock acts could learn many lessons about genuine anger – and for that matter music – from a debut like this.
Bullet in the Head
4: Weezer (1994) (RS#297)
Ahh yes, Weezer. The first emo kids to pick up guitars and bitch about sex, dungeons and dragons, and lesbians. This album is more than just a good debut. It is holy. I flip through my collection and every time I see it I want to put it in, but I don’t because I feel that the timing is not significant enough. It is by far the best drinking album of our generation. So great in fact, that it has become a drinking tradition right up there with beer goggles and hangovers. Getting drunk just isn’t the same without the “Blue” album. Hearing people sing this album inebriated is home for me. Rivers Cuomo should be the first man credited for making the comic book nerd cool in the 90’s. I mean just look at the band on the album cover. If you had no idea what they sounded like, would you look at those 4 guys and say to yourself “Gee, I bet these fellas make some outstanding music.” Don’t lie, you wouldn’t. His nerdiness has spawned singles such as “The Sweater Song”, “Say it Ain’t So”, and “Buddy Holly”. From start to finish, this album accomplishes so much.
Surf Wax America
3: Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994) (RS#303)
This debut may not have lifted Buckley’s short lived career into stardom, but most singers these days, when asked who their influences are will put Jeff Buckley near the top of their list. His angelic voice can not be disguised. Few debut albums contains as much passion and sentiment as Grace. One listen to this album is all it takes for most people to become Buckley fanatics. This album may not have generated an offspring of classic Buckley albums, but that is only because Jeff’s life was cut short in 1997. Even after his demise, Grace is still selling copies worldwide and continues to gain fans worldwide. For an album that was made 13 years ago by an artist who is no longer with us, that is saying a whole lot. Personally, this album packs so much power that I can hardly contain myself when I listen to it. If I’m in the car with other people I tend to block out all other conversations just so I can hear it and hope to get something new out of it. Buckley is a poet, a romantic, and a hero.
2: Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced (1967) (RS#15)
The genius career of one of the greatest guitar players of all time started off with this masterpiece. With a ton of classic singles like “Hey Joe”, “Wind Cries Mary”, “Purple haze”, and “Manic Depression” this album has to make the top 5. Hendrix did so much for rock and roll in the 60’s and 70’s. His solos are some of the tightest stuff you’ll hear. Though “Voodoo Child” is not on this album, I feel like this is as good a time as any to make my argument between the Stevie Ray Vaughn version and Hendrix’s version since this debut inevitably lead to the making of the classic song. Though Stevie Ray’s version may have the better guitar solo, the better version has to go to the man with the original concept. If it weren’t for Hendrix’s mind altered song writing, we would never have to have this debate.
The Best Debut Album of All Time is…
The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) (RS#13)
Debuting in Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable Multimedia event tour, this collaboration between the Velvet Underground and Nico is by far my favorite debut. Talk about starting a musical revolution, The Velvet Underground took the 60’s to where they had never been before. Their description of drug use and sex was unheard of. The climactic and eerie “Heroin” is the best example. Literally depicting a heroin trip, this chaotic masterpiece comes together perfectly. It takes you from the beginning of the hit then slowly builds into a disaster resulting in commotion and chaos. And that is just one song! I purchased this album on a whim and never regretted it. They are one of my favorite bands to this day. Their range of music is astounding. They hit everything from drowning to affectionate to quiet to anger. I doubt the music scene that we are accustomed to today would be anywhere near as crazy as it is if it weren’t for Lou Reed. He had the courage to break apart from the mainstream and say “Here is what I am, and fuck you if you don’t like it” (not a direct quote). The band lead a fulfilling career with many hits and many other classic albums, but none of them have come close to the tell all magic of their debut. With a little help from Andy Warhol, their music became a cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately it didn’t happen in their time. It took a while for their music to catch on. It was once said that only a few thousand people bought the album, but every one of those few thousand were inspired to start a band (I would find the direct quote, but I have no idea who said it). Today it is looked at as a masterpiece. An album before its time. Most debuts are lucky to hit the mediocre mark. This one blew away the competition for years to come.
There is always one album. One album that always manages to get stuck with the back shelf in your mind when you are shopping. You always see it, but tell yourself you will grab it another time. For almost a year a put off this highly praised album by Spoon. Then I found the answer, I’ll put it on my Christmas list. So I finally got Gimme Fiction last Christmas, and I have been meaning to write this review for a long time now, but there has been so much good music over the past few months that I haven’t been able to write about it. I don’t usually do quotes from other reviews, but I copied it a while back cause I thought it was a very accurate description of the album (sadly, I never wrote where it is from, so my apologies for the plagiarism). “Nearly every song comes off as unassuming in its rightful place. Each track has a designed role, and for that reason you won’t need to use the skip button.” This chaotic, genuine, well thought out pop album is phenomenal. The music rarely explodes with chaos, yet it is so delicately climactic that you almost feel ripped off when it doesn’t detonate with fury. That feeling goes away quickly once you learn to appreciate it for what it is. When I first got it, it didn’t leave the stereo for a month solid. Now, almost 6 months later, it is still in heavy rotation. Every song has something special to offer your ears. It’s been said that Daniel Britt is a pop genius. And until I heard this album, I thought that was some heavy overrating. Spoon’s early stuff (aside from Kill the Moonlight, which is a great album as well) is mediocre at best. But once you become enthralled and wrapped up in Gimme Fiction you will agree. Most of you have heard this before and would hopefully agree with me. But if you have somehow missed out on the sensation, check it out before their new album either launches them into stardom or crashes them down to nothing. Either way, this album will always have a spot in my rotation.
Well you asked for it. Here are the rest of the photos I shot during the 2007 Coachella Music Festival. Some of these are candid shots, others are of the bands not previously mentioned.
Here are a few pictures of the new Perry Ferrell band Satellite Party. Their music was decent, but Perry’s stage antics are always a trip.
One set that may not have gotten as much recognition from my reviews as it should have was the Silversun Pickups. The set was loud, rough, and full of grungy rock. It wasn’t until I saw this set that I really grasped the Smashing Pumpkins comparisons.
The act right after Silversun was Arctic Monkeys. These youngsters really got the crowd going, hitting some classics from their debut and throwing some really good tunes in from the new album. We had to walk away from the front of the stage cause it was getting pretty rowdy and all 3 of us were coming up on 35 hours of no sleep at that point so we backed up and watched the second half of the show from a distance.
We ran over to the Sahara Tent to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out to be pretty entertaining. I am pretty sure this was during Benny Benassi.
Sonic Youth was probably the biggest disappointment of the whole festival. The band was over 20 minutes late, then they finally came onstage without Kim Gordon (lead singer). Instead of cracking a few jokes or playing a little something something for the crowd that was overly patient and eager to hear the band, the guys kinda just stood on stage and said “Ugh…where’s Kim at?” (direct quote). Once Kim finally got on stage, however, they did play a few favorites from their classic album Daydream Nation, but we were only able to catch a few tracks cause we wanted to run over and see Bjork.
This is a great photo. These were probably the only clouds we saw the entire weekend. Of course we were in a tent when they showed their comforting faces, but it was still a nice glimmer of hope that we weren’t going to bake forever out there.
Sadly, Saturday wasn’t my best day for photos. I didn’t get a good shot of Kings of Leon, The Arcade Fire or Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but I managed to snag a few from the Black Keys set. Most of these came out kinda blurry, mainly because the band was jamming and dancing the entire set.
Coachella is known for it’s artwork. While I didn’t get good pictures of most of it (you can go to the coachella webpage to see what kind of crazy shit they had there) I did get a picture of one of the not so hyped up pieces. Right outside of the Mojave tent there was this giant paper mobile with giant snowflakes hanging from the ends. It was blowing in the wind and it had some wonderfully dim lights to add some color. It was delicate, it was uncomplicated, and it was incredibly relaxing. The 3 of us laid under it for a good half an hour at the end of Saturday’s sets. The artists who created it were chilling nearby and asked me to give them a hand. Me and another fella had to have the architect stand on our shoulders so he could pull one of the poles out that had broken from the wind. Anyways, it was an overlooked piece of artwork and it just might have been the most relaxing half hour of the trip.
There were a lot of Rage Against the Machine T-shirts. This was one of the better ones I saw over the weekend.
You can add The Roots to the list of bands I neglected to include in my best of lists. These guys have such a great presence on stage.
This would be Flea (RHCP Bassist…in the straw hat) checking out The Roots set.
That just about does it. Trust me, there are a ton more pictures but the rest are either blurred, too far away or a nice view of somebody’s head that was standing in front of me. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Cloud Cult and The Meaning of 8 are getting under my skin in an extreme way, and I’m loving every minute of it. The band takes the eco-friendly term “green” to a whole new level. The band makes their albums using geothermal energy and recycled materials, donate proceeds to environmentally friendly charities, and play concerts with an onstage painter. The Meaning of 8 is the bands sixth album in 7 years. Released on their own non-profit label Earthology, the label packages CDs using hand-cleaned, reused jewel cases, recycled cardboard and paper, and nontoxic soy ink, and Cloud Cult records in a recording studio which Minowa built from recycled and salvaged materials. How is this not a granola’s dream band?Though I am only familiar with this one, I can feel the passion that gets put into this music. Similar in design to The Arcade Fire at times, this music hits many types of genres including Emo, Indie, Rock, and even this grand opera kind of feel. The band turned down major label offers before making this album in hopes of keeping the same feeling and ingenuity in their music. There are so many tracks I could talk about on this album. My favorite, “Your Eighth Birthday” is an eccentric little piece that ends in this epic cry. The first few listens I had a hard time understanding what it was that lead singer Craig Minowa was saying in his loud cries. I assumed it was the name Kaiden. Come to find out his infant son Kaiden died in 2002. That hit me hard. How can someone go through that kind of emotional rollercoaster and still have the courage to sing about it. The next time I listened to the song I nearly cried. It packs so much more sentiment with that knowledge. “Take Your Medicine” is another enchanting song filled with incredible piano, violins and a delightful choir to combine into this bittersweet symphony (yeah, I said it). “The Deaf Girl’s Song” is just that, a song about a deaf girl making a song. Like most songs on this album it is sweet, charming, and tragic all at once. In tribute to the deaf girl, the album ends with the somber “Song for the Deaf Girl”. A minute and a half of silence that at first listen is confusing until you look at the song titles, then it becomes this thoughtful piece.. Those are just a few from this sincere, fairy tale album The Meaning of 8. Believe me when I say this album is fantastic. Please take a few minutes and listen to all of the tracks below. It is for your own good. Don’t just try one, because the one below it could be the seller for you. Put your myspace page on hold for 15 minutes and enjoy these beautiful songs. If your life is really too busy to stop and enjoy this music then stop reading this blog. Honestly.