Archive for the ‘hum’ tag
For a less serious post, here’s a short list of music I’ve been delving into recently, in no particular order, rhyme or reason:
The Mars Volta — This band comprises members of At the Drive-In. While I haven’t been incredibly enthusiastic about At the Drive-In, this band is off the charts in regard to virtuosic ability at both lead guitar and vocals. I can’t comment on the lyrics because I haven’t adequately looked them up, but musically, there is a gigantic landscape here to explore. The band has numerous albums, but so far, I’ve only ventured as far as “Frances the Mute,” and this is keeping me busy. Much of the album contains multiple movements, as in classical movements, and they are at once quiet, at other times, multi-layered, spacial, sprawling and enthralling. This band takes a bit of patience if one isn’t used to such elements, but the time you spend with the albums (or even individual songs, like the multi-part Cassandra Geminni) is well worth it. Listening to this band will help your recognize true musical talent, and even virtuosity, from mere amateur attempts. “The Volta is taken from a Federico Fellini book about his films, what he characterizes as a changing of scene, or a turnaround; a new scene to him is called Volta,” Cedric Bixler-Zavala said. “Y’know, changing of time and the changeover. And Mars, we’re just fascinated by science-fiction so and it’s something that ultimately looked as in anything I write, its meaning is always up to the listener. As the way we write songs and words, if it looks great on paper then to us it’s like painting, so if it looks good meaning the second then people usually have a better interpretation than we ever would.”
Centaur — Speaking of amateur attempts, one won’t find virtuosity here. But — and it’s a big “but” — this band brings an equal dose of wall-of-sound distortion behind Matt Talbott’s (formerly of Hum) sing-song, smooth vocals. It’ll be a bit softer than Hum, and the band’s album, “In Streams,” should be listened as a whole, not in parts. For lovers of Hum, Matt Talbott continues to give us good tunes, albeit, not quite the same. Still worth a couple listens.
Wilco — The addition of Nels Cline several years ago made a huge difference in the tone and direction of this band. Don’t misunderstand me: I love “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” but with Cline, on albums like “Sky Blue Sky,” it’s like listening to a completely different band. And both bands, post Cline and after, are a treat. Personally, I tend to favor the Cline albums because they seem to have more depth, more layers, and let’s face it, there are some serious rock-out moments. The songs and lyrics, of course, have their own uniqueness, and Jeff Tweedy is a talented songwriter. One only has to listen to “Side with the Seeds” on Sky Blue Sky to understand the beefed up level of talent Cline adds to the band. And he seems to have no problem delivering that calibre of solo during the band’s live shows.
A Fine Frenzy — As a fan of Sarah McLachlan, Anna Nalick, The Cranberries and others, I’m a sucker for beautiful music and singing. Listening to A Fine Frenzy’s album, which is the music of 22-year-old Allison Sudol, one gets the impression of frolicking with deer through an open forest. Regardless, the melodies are lovely, especially “Rangers,” “The Minnow & the Trout,” and “Come On Come Out.”