You Yes You
(compiled August 25, 2011)
Spotify playlist (not all tracks show up…see full list below):
This is Why We Fight– The Decemberists
The Only Thing I know– Gotye
Get Back– Kowalski
Rosalyn– Bon Iver and St. Vincent
All in White– The Vaccines
Life on Earth– Band of Horses
Useful Chamber–Dirty Projectors
Guilty Filthy Soul– Awolnation
Norgaard– The Vaccines
Unfinished Business (White Lies cover)- Mumford & Sons
Eyes Wide Open– Gotye
Rad Pitt– Egyptian Hip Hop
The Swimming Song– Vetiver
A Lack of Understanding– The Vaccines
Summer Skin– Death Cab for Cutie
Mouthful of Diamonds– Phantogram
*all the songs are available for download in my dropbox folder (and also linked on my Spotify account!)
The title of this playlist really should have been “Mouthful of Diamonds,” because that was the song that I was naturally OBSESSED with for a good few weeks. I simply could NOT GET ENOUGH of it. The funky intro beat, the soothing (and borderline orgasmic) guitar entrance a few seconds in, and the bone-chilling lyrics- EVERYTHING. I cannot WAIT till November 1st, when I get to experience the live performance of this song up close and personal at Harlow’s in Sacramento. LE SWEET.
The first verse of lyrics is my favorite of the entire song, and is the perfect sort of message that you can imagine someone saying to some sort of ex:
“Wake up, you’re gettin’ high on your own supply (YES)
Oh, baby, you’re still alive when you could’ve died, oh
The world is not around because of you (LOVE IT)
You know I’m not around because of you.”
I love sense of empowerment behind these lyrics and the “I deserve better” sort of realization that is painted throughout. This is especially apparent in my other favorite line from the song: “And if it isn’t ME, then pack your bags and leave…I wish I could believe those devils won’t take you back out to the salty sea.” (WOW, definitely gives me chills…)
It’s as if she wishes she could “believe” that this person could change their evil ways, but has finally had enough and will no longer waste her time. With that said, I love her sassy lil’ “Hello, Goodbye” line at 1:40 min in, and her ending the song with “I wish I could believe.” SO GOOD.
‘This is Why We Fight’ is a song that was recommended to me by my buddy, Ken Diener, who is an even crazier music junkie than I am. Averaging about 40 shows a year, he definitely beats out my live music addiction. But it’s awesome cause he’s always sending me awesome videos and pics from these performances so I can try and relive the magic. (And then I get to post this magic on my blog!)
I didn’t go to see The Decemberists at Outside Lands this year because I saw them at Bonnaroo. But, it would have been cool to see this song performed live again. It really is a good gem.
I absolutely LOVE the line, “When we die, We will die, With our arms unbound. And this is why, This is why, why we fight.” SOOOOO GOOD. Definitely a good song to help motivate you to fight for something you truly believe in.
‘The Only Thing I know” is a song by an artist (Gotye) that I found out about from my buddy Raudel Hinojosa. He said that he discovered Gotye when he was searching around for some Foster the People videos. I don’t really see the similarity, but it’s still a cool discovery. After listening to Gotye’s albums, I was immediately drawn to this song, probably cause of the fierce base that pulses throughout (I’m such a sucker for a good SLAP-A-DAH-BASE!) The instrumentals seems to be a perfect compliment to the hauntingly intense and weary set of lyrics:
“I’m living with your memory
In the attic in my mind
And you’ve been getting by without me
But I’ve been spending all my time
With a girl that I remember
Who’ll never leave or need to grow
Cos when you left you left your memory
Now it’s the only thing I know… (sad)
When the past gives me no comfort
And though the future is the cost
The way I’m choosing to remember
I’ll forever be the man I never was.”
One of my favorites parts both instrumentally and lyrically is the verse:
“And you, you fade (love this part of the song)
But the memory remains the same
And I, I can’t change
And I think that living with your memory
Is slowly driving me insane….” (the base and guitar part here is LE SIIIIIICK)
I also love when at about 4 min into the song, just about when the instrumentals start to die down and you think the song is going to end, the base sneaks in and an quickly escalates..and at ~4:11 your heart is racing again! Then BOOM, my FAVORITE VERSE OF THE SONG:
“You are perfect but you’re empty (chills…)
And it gets so lonely in my mind
Cos your image in my memory’s
The only shred of you that’s left behind
You were real but then you left me
And that’s the part I can’t accept (more chills…)
So I’ll keep on living with your memory
Because it’s all that I’ve got left.” (SO GOOD)
Wouter “Wally” De Backer (Bruges, 21 May 1980), known by his stage name Gotye (pronounced /ˈɡɔərtijeɪ/ gore-ti-yeah), is a Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental (guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards, synthesizer) musician and singer-songwriter. He has released three studio albums independently and one remix album featuring remixes of tracks from his first two albums. De Backer is also one-third of Melbourne indie-pop band The Basics, who have independently released three studio albums and numerous other titles since 2002. He has won an Australian Recording Industry Award (ARIA).
‘Eyes Wide Open’ was the other Gotye song that I was instantly captivated by. This time I think it was the really awesome drumbeats that reeled me in. The percussion elements in this song are pretty awesome and they fit very well with the flightiness and sense of urgency that arise from the lyrics:
“While the signs will clear
They have no idea
You just get used to living in fear
Or give up
When you can’t even picture your future…
We walk the plank with our EYES WIDE OPEN.
But it was like to stop consuming’s to stop being human
And why’d I make a change if you won’t?
We’re all in the same boat
Staying afloat for the moment.”
I didn’t find out about this till later, but ‘Eyes Wide Open’ reached number 25 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2010 and was also shortlisted for the 2011 APRA Music Awards in the Song of the Year category. I guess I’ve got good taste! 😛
‘Get Back’ is a song from a band (Kowalski) that my buddy Andy (Field) Aiken recommended to me. This band is kind of near and dear to his heart cause they’re from his hometown of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Also, the drummer for Kowalksi (Paddy Baird) is brothers with Kevin Baird, who plays bass for Two Door Cinema Club, a band that I LOVE and one that Andy knows very well having grown up in Bangor. The “Irish indie electro outfit” that is Kowalski has been described to create “create an upbeat shimmering dream pop for the modern age” with their “echo-laiden guitars and synthesizers” Vocalist Louis Price, keyboard and guitarist Paddy Conn, bassist Tom O’Hara and drummer Paddy Baird have shared the stage with Snow Patrol, Editors, Two Door Cinema Club and Ash across Ireland and the UK, and have self released their sophomore E.P ‘Take Care, Take Flight’ (which you can listen to for free at http://kowalski.bandcamp.com/album/take-care-take-flight-e-p). With influences such as The Beatles, Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie, and Broken Social Scene (all bands I LOVE), Kowalski “rely on sonic textures as much as melody. Breathy vocals, infectious rhythms and languid soundscapes mold a muscular, sunkissed, thought provoking sound.”
After listening to a few songs from their Take Care, Take Flight EP, I found ‘Get Back’ to be the song that stood out the most amongst the rest. It’s got a really cool summery indie/pop vibe that kind of reminds me of mix between Postal Service and MGMT. I really like how the percussion intro leads off the song, and how and the other individual instruments are layered in separately, with the keyboard as the last instrument to pop in and set the framework. My favorite parts of the song is the jam sesh that begins around 3:16 min in, as well as the last 30 seconds of the song where the instruments sort of fade away and a staggering vocal arrangement cleverly ends the song.
‘Rosalyn’ is a song that I came across when I was checking out some Bon Iver videos on YouTube after Jensyn Hyman recommended him. (I am going to be seeing Bon Iver with Jen at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on Sept 22! Stoked!) It’s kinda cool that he collaborated with St. Vincent because I had been meaning to check her out after Nicole DeJesus told me about her awesomeness.
Although this song doesn’t have any real complex guitar parts or anything, it’s still a strikingly beautiful song, and I still get chills during the intro. My two favorite parts are when they sing “Wings wouldn’t help you…DOWN” and “Won’t let you talk me, won’t let you talk me…DOWN.”
‘All in White,’ ‘Norgaard,’ and ‘A Lack of Understanding’ (along with ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘Post-Break up Sex’) are some of my favorite songs by The Vaccines. I had never really heard of the Vaccines before Outside Lands, but after seeing them perform live at this festival, I was immediately hooked. They had great stage presence and a catchy punk rock/indie vibe that reminded me a little of The Kooks (who I also like). The Vaccines are an English indie rock band, formed in London in 2010. The band’s debut album, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? was released through Columbia Records on 14 March 2011 and reached number 4 in the UK album charts. They describe their influences as “’50s rock ‘n’ roll, ’60s garage and girl groups, ’70s punk, ’80s American hardcore, C86 and good pop music.” The Vaccines were also nominated for an MTV Award for “Best New Band of 2011,” and they’ve performed as a supporting act for the Arctic Monkeys.
I love the beginning of the ‘All in White’ with the strong baseline entrance and vocals for the first 45 second in. I also love the opening verse:
“Break me on the thirty-seventh hour
Tout me, doubt me, show me all of your power (great line)
I will watch you rise on my back from the ground
Friend or foe?
I don’t know
Do you like what you’ve found?..
I will one day shine with you
I’ll shine on a faithful few.” (great line)
I also really like this verse, but I don’t really get the “All in White” reference: “Lord, I know your type…I’ve known you all my life…I was always wrong, you all in white.”
‘Norgaard’ is one of those high energy, beachy sounding songs that easily pumps you up (although not for very long, it’s a very short song). I always smile at the verse: “Her mind’s made up, she don’t want to go steady…She’s only seventeen so she’s probably not ready” cause even at the age of 25 yrs old, I STILL find the thought of “going steady” a bit daunting…I feel like 17 is so young!
‘A Lack of Understanding’ is a song that initially didn’t like until I heard the chorus part come in at about 50 seconds in: “I’ve got too much time on my hands, But you don’t understand, Or you won’t understand.” My other favorite part is when he sings: “Are you ready, are you ready, are you ready for this? Should I shake your hand or should I give you a kiss? Is this everything you always hoped it would be? We’ll see…” I also really like the line: “Oh you don’t make me nervous, hell nobody does these days.” (I totally get it)
‘Life on Earth’ is a song that I came across when I was looking at the soundtrack for the Twilight Movie (since the ‘Rosalyn’ Bon Iver and St. Vincent song was on there!). The acoustics in this song perfectly compliment the soothing vocals, and it’s just an all around beautiful song. I never explored Band of Horses much before hearing this song, but my friend Gina MacBarb has been a long-time fan and just recently went to their concert in Napa, CA (see the awesome photo she took below!). She said that they played alot of their new songs, which seem to be a bit harder and edgier than their previous stuff. I’m looking forward to exploring their new album!
Band of Horses, originally briefly known as Horses, are an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. They have released three studio albums, the most recent and most successful of which is 2010’s Grammy nominated Infinite Arms. The band’s line up, which included Mat Brooke for their debut album, has undergone several changes, although the current members, Bridwell, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, Bill Reynolds, and Creighton Barrett have all been with the band for several years. Band of Horses has toured Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in 2010. They opened for Pearl Jam on their tour of the Midwest and East Coast and for Snow Patrol at their concerts in Bangor and Glasgow in June. They played the SXSW, Sasquatch, Splendour in the Grass, Summer Sonic, Pukkelpop, Highfields, Malmo, Rock en Seine, Reading, Leeds, ACL and Farm Aid festivals in 2010.
‘You Yes You’ is one of my favorites off tUnE-yArD’s newest album, WHOKILL, and was definitely one of my favorites to have seen performed live UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL at Outside Lands music festival this year in San Francisco. I think my last post (“Road to Joy” ) describes pretty well just how much I STALK THIS ARTIST and how I absolutely love her music and incredibly unique style. I FULLY AGREE with this comment I heard someone say about tUnE-yArDs: “Merrill Garbus is a wild, joyful animal. I am in such awe of this woman!!…. TRUTH. More new on her according to NPR.
Right from the beginning you are captivated by this song’s refreshing opener:
“Now that everything is gonna be okay
Now that everything is gonna be all right
What if baby I cannot see the sound?
What if baby I cannot hear the light?
I love the playful lil’ ukulele solo that soon follows at 45 sec in. Then, there’s the unexpected and clever line: “What’s that about? What’s that about?” LOVE IT! (makes me laugh every time) Then, she continues on with another sassy verse that ends with yet again another unexpected shout!
“I was born to do it
My daddy had enough so I put my back into it
That man was born to do it too
We didn’t have enough so we cannot sing for you–HA!” (The “HA!” is so unexpected and SO AWESOME)
Then, my FAVORITE LINE of the entire song:
“If home is where the heart is baby
Then my home is inside you (SO GOOD)
I don’t need a linen room of diamonds
Yeah a chicken shed will do.”
‘Gangsta’ is another favorite tUnE-yArDs gem that I really dig specifically cause of the le siiiiiiiiiiiick SERIES OF LOOPING that is demonstrated at the very beginning. It’s UNREAL to me how she can create such interesting sounds with her vocals and then loop them together to mimic all sorts of different things, like the sound of a siren from a police car chase in this song for example. And to witness her looping IN THE FLESH at Outside Lands this year?!! UNREAL.
‘Useful Chamber’ is a song by a band (Dirty Projectors) that was initially recommended to me by the singer/guitarist of GIVERS’ Taylor Guarisco, after they played a show with Ra Ra Riot at a Sonoma winery in February. GIVERS toured with Dirty Projectors a couple years ago so they are pretty good buddies.
I really like how dynamic this song is, and how it seems to starts out with a creepy intro that is later disrupted by a perky “Bitte Orca” chorus at 2:38 and then back to a creepy/whimsical state with the “Ahhh” chorus line(3:15). My favorite part of the song is the unexpected guitar freakout at 5:15 that transcends into a pretty sweet jam sesh. Overall, this song is really pretty cool. According to Taylor Guarisco, “It has such an amazing geography. It takes you to so many different places and yet you never get the feeling like you’re being rushed or forced there. As a band that’s something that I think we strive to do.”
Besides ‘Sail,’ ‘Guilty Filthy Soul’ is the other song by Awolnation that I really like. I dig the funky beats and the cool guitar intro that match very well anticipation of the opening line: “I’m runnin’ outta faith, be careful who you tell.” I love the frequent “Woah” outbursts that pierce through the song, especially at 2 min and at the very end. Other than that, my favorite part of the song is at ~3 min in, when he SCREAMS:
“Cause you gotta look her in the eye
and you gotta love your way of life
cause you gotta guilty, filthy soul
don’t ya know its out of your control…“WOAH!”
‘Unfinished Business” is the other song besides ‘Mouthful of Diamonds’ that I had on CONSTANT REPEAT in my car while I was listening to this playlist. In comparing in to the original White Lies version of the song, I definitely like the Mumford version better. They just seem to “turn everything to gold” and brand any cover with their own MUMFORD MAGIC. (Check out their cover of Vampire Weekend‘s Cousins. So different but SOOOOOOO GOOD. This metamorphosis of from indie/pop into folk rock is pretty amazing if you ask me.)
I love how ‘Unfinished Business’ starts off slow (“Just give me a second darling, to clear my head”) but then gains incredible momentum throughout the song. One of my favorite parts is when he sings: “A sight for sore eyes, and a view to kill”, and then later follows that verse up with: “I questioned your doubt, but soon realized you were talking to God now.” (Ah, so good!) Then BOOM, my favorite verse:
“You’ve got blood on your hands
And I know it’s mine
I just need more time (Ahhhhhh…love it.)
So get off your low and let’s dance like we used to
But there’s a light in the distance
Waiting for me, I will wait for you (SO GOOD)
So get off your low and let’s KISS LIKE WE USED TO! ” (the incredibly energy that comes with the delivery of this line my FAVORITE PART of the song) 🙂
I also really like this verse, and the frantic bango element that lingers in the background:
A requiem played as you begged for forgiveness
“Don’t touch me!” I screamed
“I’ve got unfinished business”
The ending of this song is just PERFECT, and I always get chills everytime. I am anxiously counting down the days tillthe Bridge School Concert Benefit on October 23rd, when I get to see the MUMFORD MAGIC again live . I saw them at Bonnaroo (pics below) and they will forever be one the most MAGICAL live performances I’ve ever witnesed. I will see them AGAIN and AGAIN, till death do me part. Yup, THAAAAAAAAT GOOD.
‘Rad Pitt’ is a song that I saw on one of the NME Radar Best new artist lists. I really like the bubbly guitar sound and also think it’s cool how this song manages to sound funky yet chill. My favorite line of the song is:
“Who am I to you
But a mighty fool
Let me feel it (?)
So much hunger.”
(I also really like the lil’ change-up in the song at 1:36.)
Egyptian Hip Hop are an English indie rock band, formed in Greater Manchester in 2008. Their debut EP, Some Reptiles Grew Wings, was released on 20th September 2010 through the Hit Club record label. Egyptian Hip Hop received further press attention and were booked to play bigger festival slots, including Evolution, and Reading and Leeds weekend, at which they briefly joined Warpaint (another artist I like!) onstage at a secret midnight performance) in the UK, and France’s MIDI Festival.
Aside from ‘Help I’m Alive’ and ‘Gold Guns Girls,’ ‘Stadium Love’ is my next favorite song off Metric’s 2009 Fantasies album. I love the high adrenaline, high energy vibe of this song and her sexy vocal which just pump you up even more. My favorite part of the song is at ~40 sec in, when she sings:
“Every living thing
Pushed into the ring
Fight it out
To wow the crowd
Guess you thought
You could just watch
NO ONE’s GETTING OUT! (Yes!! SO GOOD)
Without stadium love.”
‘The Swimming Song‘ is one of my favorite songs by Vetiver, an American folk band based out of San Francisco (SO LOCAL!) who I only started listening to after seeing them at Outside Lands this year. I love the bango element and the light and carefree vibe that it seems to exude. My favorite part line in the song is when he sings: “I’m a self-destructive fool…Self-destructive fool.” ( Aren’t we all?).
‘Summer Skin‘ is a song that just instantly calmed every nerve in my body. From the very beginning with the beautiful piano intro, followed up by an elegant base line and gentle drum roll that seemed to shed every one of my worries as with my “summer skin.” My favorite verse in the song is:
“I don’t recall a single care (very much a summer-time vibe)
Just greenery and humid air
Then Labor day came and went (very fitting since Labor day was just soon after I put up this playlist)
And we shed what was left of our summer skin.”
The other verse that I really like (although kind of sad and indicating a breakup) is:
“And I knew your heart I couldn’t win
Cause the seasons change was a conduit
And we left our love in our summer skin.”
Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997 that I have always associated with my buddy Colby James, since he’s branded them as his “favorite band of all time” since as long as I have known him. I wish I would have started to listen to their stuff more a while back, cause they’re definitely a NEWFOUND LOVE for me and I can seem to get enough of them lately. I would have loved to see them live at the 2011 Treasure Island music festival, but I will be on the East coast for a research conference and won’t be back in time. SUPER BUMMED. (I’m also going to be missing St. Vincent, also a newfound love….GRRR!) 😦
Death Cab consists of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Walla (guitar, production, keyboards), Nick Harmer (bass) and Jason McGerr (drums). The band has released seven studio albums, five EPs, and one demo to date, with their most recent album, Codes and Keys, having been releasd on May 31, 2011.
In an interview with Shave Magazine, Ben Gibbard commented on his song writing saying that he “never sit[s] down to write an album number one. I just kind of sit down and write songs and the theme kind of makes itself apparent. But I would never say I was writing about searching for something as much as just trying to document with every song where I am in that moment when I’m writing that song. If a theme kind of makes itself apparent in a record, it has more to do with the fact that just what’s been on my mind recently. So I guess clearly I have been and was and am, but it was never a conscious decision.” I had no idea he is married to Zooey Deshanel! CRAZY!