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Archive for the ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’ Category

So I started writing this post on Tuesday, when temperatures in New York City fell as low as 11 degrees with wind chill. It is now Saturday and in typical global climate change fashion, the weather is oddly reminiscent of a beautiful crisp October fall day. But, pretend for a second that it is actually cold outside as you read this…

 

The weather has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. It’s possible (and likely) that we’ve been blessed with a mild winter so far, heightening our reaction to the recent plummeting temperatures. Either way, a cold front has arrived on my doorstep, and despite great willpower, I have not been able to turn it away.

But for all of my complaining, the arrival of cold weather has coincided with the arrival of refreshing, solemn, cold-weather tunes—Iron & Wine, The Tallest Man On Earth and Desert Noises.  While I have returned to work, and therefore am no longer able to enjoy my music sitting alongside the crackling fireplace, these tunes transplant me to my winter wonderland.

Iron & Wine

It was with great delight that I stumbled upon (well, let’s be honest, Pitchfork tweeted about it) the euphoric video for Godless Brother In Love, a beautiful song off of Iron & Wine’s 2011 album Kiss Each Other Clean (which, I must note, I totally overlooked in 2011). While the video is quite emblematic of the song, for me it takes place in the wrong season. If I close my eyes and let Sam Beam’s delicate voice stream through my veins, landscapes coated white with snow fill my imagination.

The Tallest Man On Earth

Kristian Matsson has quickly become a favorite among the many voices in my music library. His raw croak and fingerpicking guitar are the epitome of the folk revival. Stripped down and intimate, his music needs no embellishment. There is something about Love Is All, off of Tallest Man On Earth’s 2010 album The Wild Hunt, that grabs me. Be it his forlorn lyrics or repeated vocal hiccup.

Oh, I said I could rise
From the harness of our goals
Here come the tears
But like always, I let them go.

Desert Noises

It’s always good to know people who know people. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of my new music comes from Adam over at songsfortheday, including the fantastic 2011 album Mountain Sea from Utah-based quartet Desert Noises. They are a perfect cross between Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses (his characterization, not mine, though I wholeheartedly agree). The band has me hooked it’s opening number, Highway Cars, with its funky beat and sun-filled harmonies. The album only gets better with the sweet melody Tell Me You Love Me.

 

 

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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.

THE LATEST

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.


THE GREATEST

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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