Archive for the ‘Of Monsters and Men’ Category

So last week I wroteabout Of Monsters and Men. To say that I have fallen in love with this band would be the grossest of understatements. They are like an addictive drug that brings me to new highs and leaves me wanting more. Really, it’s quite dangerous. They create a sound textured with accordions, horns, choral shouts and the unresistable chemistry between the lead male and female vocalists. I haven’t been as enamored with a band since March of last year, when I discovered The Head and The Heart. And boy does it feel good.
Thankfully, the group released their EP Into The Woods today, their first release in the United States/Canada. Into The Woods includes four of the eleven tracks from the band’s debut album, My Head Is An Animal, which has received critical acclaim in Iceland and whose release is expected in the US this coming spring.

The EP opens with Little Talks, perhaps OMAM’s most vibrant and well-known tune—the one that earned them a strong fan base in Iceland and beyond. The song is upbeat and catchy and will surely have you dancing around your house in the best of spirits.

Six Weeks, an edgier song (it reminds KEXP of Arcade Fire) sprinkled with vocal harmonies, really showcases the depth and breadth of the entire band.

Love Love Love is a somber melody that tells the heartbreaking tale of a one-sided relationship. This song sits on the softer side of OMAM melodies and highlights the vocal talents of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir.

Because you love, love, love when you know I can’t love
You love, love, love when you know I can’t love, you.

The EP closes with From Finner, a dynamic, toe-tapping, sing-along jam which is filled with la-la-las and recycles the same catchy lyric throughout the song.

We are far from home
But we’re so happy.

Of Monsters and Men are slated to play at South By Southwest in March of 2012, perhaps reason enough for me to bite the bullet and buy a ticket to the coolest city in Texas. Though hopefully they will have the wits about them to come rock the socks off of the fine people of New York City.

The EP is fantastic, but as with most EPs, leaves you craving more. For now, do yourself a favor and head over to iTunes (or Amazon–it’s cheaper) and download a copy of Into The Woods. It’ll be the best $4 you’ve ever spent.


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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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