Archive for the ‘Latest and Greatest’ Category

This is the eighth installment of a weekly collection of the “latest and greatest.” I post two newly discovered songs that have captured my attention and two of my longtime (word of warning, this will be a relative term) favorite songs that are building up dust in my music library.


King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men

Though their full-length debut album, My Head Is an Animal is not due out in the United States until next year, Of Monsters and Men has already created enormous buzz, and deservedly so. KEXP recorded and streamed their fantastic set at Iceland Airwaves. This six-piece folk-pop group from Reykjavik, Iceland adds a unique, but naturally fitting sound to my music catalog. I was immediately drawn to their male/female vocals and golden harmonies. Of Monsters and Men received initial acclaim for the catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo of their debut single, Little Talks. And while I have loved every song that I have streamed endlessly on youtube, King and Lionheart strikes a chord within me. It is some combination of Nanna’s soft, pitch-perfect voice, which reminds me of a less-whiney Regina Spektor, feel-good instrumentals and haunting, mythical lyrics that makes the tune impossible to resist.

Howling ghosts they reappear
In mountains that are stacked with fear
But you’re a king and I’m a lionheart.

Way You Are by Kris Orlowski

I’ve been listening to Kris Orlowski’s recently released EP Warsaw for several weeks now and have been trying to find the right words to describe it. There is something about Kris’ deep, solemn voice in Way You Are—calming, almost entrancing. I’ve heard some call this Seattle-based group “folk-pop”, but somehow I don’t think this label fits. While Kris was accompanied by strings on his last EP, The Fremont Abbey, Kris’s soulful voice stands alone on Warsaw. The result is a somewhat darker set of tunes, with a slow-building, earthy force.

Love the way it sounds
the moments your with me
Like soft wind brushing waves
across the sea.


Change of Time by Josh Ritter

I’ve shared my love for Josh Ritter and his prolific songwriting and musicality on this blog before. And last Monday night, I was reminded of the joy he exudes when he was a special guest at the WFUV Holiday Cheer Concert at Beacon Theatre. Ritter took the stage—with simply his guitar in hand and smile on his face—after fantastic, energetic sets by Dawes and The Head and The Heart. With only three songs—Change of Time, Sir Galahad and Snow is Gone—he managed to “wow” the crowd. Ultimately, my favorite song was Change of Time, which showcased Ritter’s skillful fingerpicking and artful turns of phrase.

I was thirsty so I drank
And though it was salt water
There was something ’bout the way
It tasted so familiar.

King of Spain by The Tallest Man on Earth

On the subject of incredible guitar players (and Europeans…), I recently unearthed The Tallest Man on Earth’s 2010 album The Wild Hunt. After weeks spent reflecting on 2011 releases, I decided to return to some of the fantastic, but neglected albums in my catalog. Kristian Matsson’s gruff vocals and intricate acoustic guitar—the simple elements that create his revival folk music—shine through in King of Spain.

Well if you could reinvent my name,
Well if you could redirect my day,
I wanna be the King of Spain.

Below, he performs King of Spain live on KEXP.


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This is the third installment of a weekly collection of the “latest and greatest.” I post two newly discovered songs that have captured my attention and two of my longtime (word of warning, this will be a relative term) favorite songs that are building up dust in my music library.


Anyhow… by Tyler Lyle
Tyler Lyle’s The Golden Age & The Silver Girl has been playing on repeat for the past three weeks, and for good reason (a longer post and interview is on the docket). Anyhow… is one of the strongest songs on the album. Lyle’s honest and heartfelt voice is complemented by the ongoing plucking of the banjo and adorned with pristine strings.

I heard you say you loved me in your sleep
What I’d give to be in that dream
When you finally bloom for me
I wonder what color you will be

That Moon Song by Gregory Alan Isakov

Gregory Alan Isakov’s This Empty Northern Hemisphere is an exciting new addition to my library. Adam over at songsfortheday wrote about Second Chances last week, and after getting jazzed about how great the song was, I quickly realized he would be opening for Blind Pilot at both of their New York shows. Isakov, with his acoustic guitar strumming and vocal hints of Dylan, fits the folk mold. His songs stream pleasantly through my headphones. But he really comes alive in concert. That Moon Song stands out on both the album and live. The song is outfitted with the full, vibrant sound of strings, beautiful harmonies (between Gregory and the Brandi Carlile on the album!) and the unique blend of Isakov’s voice through the clean and “tinny” sound microphones.

Ahh and that full bellied moon she’s shinin’ on me
Yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea
And those broken heart lovers,
They got nothin’ on me.  

It is no surprise that at the end of their set I immediately purchased the album.


Kiss Quick by Matt Nathanson
Matt Nathanson’s Modern Love was the soundtrack of my summer. The San Francisco-based singer-songwriter’s album is filled with catchy, up-beat tunes, many of which are sure to be live show sing-a-longs. But the standout is Kiss Quick, whose seductive lyrics and delivery draw you in.

Kiss Quick, I’ve got a line out the door
Who all think they can save me.
One by one they lay the world at my feet,
One by one they drive me crazy.

The Rider. The Horse. The Land by Bryan John Appleby

Bryan John Appleby is an incredibly talented folk musician writing songs out of a warehouse in Seattle’s Ballard neighorhood. His recently released 11-track debut album, Fire On The Vine, is soaked in soft harmonies and spiritually and historically inspired lyrics. The Rider. The Horse. The Land, full of bells and horns, is the most vibrant track on the album and was Friday’s KEXP Song Of The Day (free download available!)!

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