Tag: The Decemberists

Some Music

Hallo, everyone! It has been a little while since my last post, and so I thought I might write something about a few of my favorite music albums. I’ve done a post about favorite songs before, but seeing as I rarely ever listen to individual songs (except on Pandora Radio) and typically only listen to full albums straight through from beginning to end, I feel that it makes more sense now to do a post with ten of my favorite albums. I don’t know that I can say these are my top ten, because I have too many favorites and they change based on my mood, but here are some which I pretty consistently like and enjoy. I’m not going to post YouTube links, although you can probably find all or most of these on there if you want to preview them. But support the artists if you like their music! And so, onward, in no particular order.

 

Faces in the Rocks by Mariee Sioux

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This album is just beautiful. With fairly simple instrumentation consisting mostly of guitar and America Indian style flute, and lovely female vocals, it sets the most enticing, haunting tone. The imagery used in this album is very strange (and heavily American Indian influenced), and yet it has a quality about it which sets it just on the edge of familiarity. It is an enigma, yet when I listen to it I always feel that I am just on the edge of understanding what it means. This album contains a good deal of wonder, especially in the song “Bravitslana Rubakalva,” and also a good deal of melancholy. It’s the sort of thing that always leaves behind it this exquisite feeling of sadness, beauty, and mystery. I listen to it whenever I want to set a haunting mood or to remember things that I’ve never quite known.

Nightfall in Middle-Earth by Blind Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we have one of my old favorites. I love the band Blind Guardian–their music is fantastic and they’re very nerdy to boot. This particular album is a retelling, in fantasy/power metal form, of Tolkien’s Silmarillion. It’s brilliant. Very intricate, very well done, and it perfectly captures the sweeping feeling of Tolkien’s works. This is one album that always leaves me metaphorically speechless by the time I’ve reached the end, and I have to sit for moments in silence and let it sink in. Just beautiful.

Osforras by The Moon and the Night-Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Faces in the Rocks, this is another haunting and melancholy album, but it is haunting and melancholy in a completely different way. This album seems primal, timeless, wild. It is sung entirely in Hungarian, by a husband/wife team (I believe, although I’m not completely certain that they’re actually married), and uses a lot of flutes and drums. This album makes me think of dancing through an ancient forest. It’s full of a peculiar sort of joy, mingled with an underlying sadness, an almost alien feeling. Magnificent in its own way.

Ghost by Radical Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completely different in style from the previous three albums, this one has sort of an indie rock feel. I think the best way for me to describe it is to call it poetry. Because that’s what it is; the lyrics in this album are incredibly poetic. It’s a concept album of sorts, exploring a variety of stories from the point of view of a house, and it is brilliantly done, full of emotion and an odd, underlying joy, even in the songs which are outwardly darkest. This album is very moving, at times devastating, and always filled with a striking poetry in its words.

Dol Guldur by Summoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we have one of my favorite atmospheric black metal albums. This, like Nightfall in Middle-Earth, is inspired by Tolkien’s works and sometimes takes direct quotations from them (and in fact every one of this band’s albums is that way). This album is absolutely majestic. Long songs with highly repetitive beats that somehow never get boring, growled vocals and instrumentation blending in a melancholy and epic tableau, and sounds that match perfectly to clouded skies.

This Will Destroy You by This Will Destroy You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the only non-vocal album on my list, although I listen to lots of non-vocal music (and Summoning, honestly, hardly counts as vocal music, because most of their lyrics are virtually unintelligible). This Will Destroy You is a Post Rock band, somewhat similar to the better known Explosions In the Sky. I adore Post Rock, because it is so deeply emotional–and this is one of the most deeply emotional Post Rock albums I’ve ever heard. It’s hard to really describe, but I connect with it on an extremely deep personal level, so much so that I feel like this album describes my personality in musical form.

Phoenix by The Classic Crime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is probably the most emotional album on my list. It’s about a journey, from choosing to stand on your own to choosing not to. That sounds rather simple and perhaps not worth making an entire album about, but this album is so beautiful and full of truth. This is another one that leaves me metaphorically speechless every time I finish listening to it, and that moves me nearly to tears. Very deep. At times devastating. But in the end, hopeful.

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a somewhat folky, indie-ish sounding album. I love the feeling of it–melancholy, contemplative, and yet cheerful. This one also has some good poetry in it, though not quite up to the par of Ghost. When I listen to it, I almost feel that it’s transporting me to some exotic land full of spices and bright colors. I can’t say precisely why, but I love that feeling.

Falconer by Falconer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of all the albums on this list, Falconer is perhaps the least musically impressive. It’s fairly standard metal (though the singer has a pretty unique and very enjoyable voice), but what makes this album special is the large amount of creativity in the song lyrics. Every song on this album could be the seed for an epic fantasy novel. Taken all together, they create something truly impressive. To describe why I like this album so much would be to describe why I like high/epic fantasy so much, and that’s probably something to leave for another post, so suffice to say that this album is a rollicking good time for anyone who likes extremely nerdy metal.

Picaresque by The Decemberists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, the Decemberists. The Decemberists have long been one of my favorite bands, and this album one of my favorites of their albums. It doesn’t have the unifying concept of a couple of the others, but the individual songs on this album are so strong that I can’t help but make it my favorite. The lyrics are poetic and use plenty of big words, the songs are delightfully dark and melancholy, and throughout it all is a sort of ironic sense of humor. Very excellent.

 

There you have it, a few of my favorite albums. But I have a lot more favorites. If anyone actually listens to all of those and tells me what they think, they will earn gratitude and virtual cookies.

~ Jared

Randomness

Well, hello there! It’s been awhile since I posted anything here. Sorry about that, I just get inspiration for blog posts so rarely. I don’t have much inspiration for one today, really, but I felt like posting something, so there you go.

 First off, what’s new with me! I should be starting an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop  very soon. I’m enjoying my second to last semester of college (unless I go on to a four  year school… I’m thinking of, perhaps, going to art school eventually). I’m editing the  story I wrote for 3 Day Novel (and it needs a lot of work, I can tell you!). I’m reading  some manga–Fullmetal Alchemist and Planetes, and soon to start Hellsing. I’m in the  middle of an anime, too: Trigun! Which, at episode 11, has finally gotten to be pretty  interesting.

In other news, I’ve also bought several new music albums recently.  I think that shall  be the focus of this post. I haven’t done any music reviews yet, so I might as well, eh?  Okay, so I bought four albums in the past week or so: The King is Dead by the  Decemberists, The Suburbs Deluxe by Arcade Fire, A Maid In Bedlam by the John  Renbourn Group, and The Saga of Mayflower May by Marissa Nadler. They are all completely different and very good. I’ve found, recently, that I’m leaning more towards this kind of music lately… the more folky, indie stuff. I used to be really into metal. Which I still love, but I’m not listening to it as much anymore. At any rate, the albums. I guess I’ll start with….

The King Is Dead

By the Decemberists

This is the Decemberists’ latest album. It’s fairly different from their previous works–a lot simpler, and rather shorter, at only 40 minutes. When I first heard it, I didn’t like it. I thought the songs were boring and didn’t approve of the somewhat Country-ish stylistic shift. After having heard the songs several times, though, something about it has taken hold of me: it’s still the same old Decemberists we know and love, just with a new sound. This album has a more friendly feel to it than many of their others, and the songs, though simpler than in the past, are just as good as anything the Decemberists have recorded. Is it my favorite Decemberists album? No, so far nothing can beat Picaresque. But it’s good and definitely worth buying, whether you’re a fan of the Decemberists or not. Now, on to….

The Suburbs (Deluxe Edition)

By Arcade Fire

Ah, Arcade Fire. A band I’d never even heard of until quite recently. Definitely an interesting band, and a masterpiece of an album. They are, I believe, on an independent label, which is generally a good thing as far as I’m concerned. The songs on this album are fascinating. Musically, they’re good–catchy, complex, a very cool sound–but the lyrics are where they really shine. I’ve never been one to listen much to lyrics, because I for some reason have a terrible time picking them out from the rest of the music. But this album has some really interesting lyrics about modern life that make it well worth listening closely. I’ve listened to it several times and I still don’t feel as if I’ve comprehended its full depth.

A Maid In Bedlam

By the John Renbourn Group

Musically, this is probably the best of the four albums that I bought. It’s got some really lovely, complex songs in the vein of Pentangle, except more traditional. In fact, John Renbourn was the guitarist for Pentangle, and the female vocals on this album are sung by Pentangle’s lead singer. So if you like Pentangle, you’ll probably like this! It is different, however, and a wonderful album in its own right. I’m fairly certain that all the songs on here are traditional songs from the British Isles. The general style sounds somewhat medieval, with a lot of guitar. Very enjoyable, beautiful music.

The Saga of Mayflower May

By Marissa Nadler

The Saga of Mayflower May has, to my ears at least, the most beautiful sound of any of these albums. Almost the entire thing is nothing but Marissa Nadler’s guitar playing and sweet vocals, but you hardly notice that it’s only one person playing, because it sounds so pretty. The whole tone of the album is very haunting and sweet. The songs are very melancholy. It’s one of those albums to listen to when you want to be transported elsewhere….

Okay, I’ve rambled long enough, and I need to do homework now. Bye!

~ Jared