$15 Musical Odyssey

Since I’ve been listening to 89.3 The Current (best radio station ever) I’ve been discovering all sorts of new music. At one point last week I couldn’t take it anymore and decided I must purchase said rock. I had $5 cash and a quick trip to Cheapo delivered $10 more. Not enough to buy the three albums I lusted for, but never fear, iTunes is here. With $15, iTunes and the insight of 89.3 I expanded my musical horizons. Join me for a musical journey of my purchased singles…

First I went on a little Arcade Fire tear (Funerals and a single). I recommend listening to the Morning Edition interview for some background on the band.

“Rebellion Lies” – This is the big single and of the songs I got it’s probably my least favorite (which is more a measure of how good these guys are). I love the keyboard parts and the strings near the end.

“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” – This one has more energy and is a better example of Arcade Fire’s unique combination of bangy jam music that still has this amazing musical quality to it. I love the guitar lick that comes in after the chorus.

“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” – This one has an amazing slow burn. It starts off slow and just builds and builds in intensity. Hearing this one on 89.3 is really what forced my hand and made me go check out Arcade Fire.

“Crown of Love” – This song is slow and mournful and beautiful and then at 3:42 it explodes into this crazy frenetic thing. I love it. I bought it because I liked the melody of the chorus in the 30 second sample, though honestly I was doubtful it would be that good. It’s one of my favorites.

“Wake Up” – I liked the goofy backing choir in this song, which reminds me a lot of the Polyphonic Spree in some ways. This one has a nice breakdown at about 3:51 into a nice drum and piano thing (and is that an accordian?)

“No Cars Go” – This one’s a bit different, but I like its mellow, repetitive vibe.

Then I turned to The Postal Service (Give Up, helped by the fact that you can snag “Such Great Heights” and “The District Sleeps Alone” as free downloads from Sub Pop).

“Brand New Colony” – When I first heard this song I thought it sounded like a Nintendo game. But unlike some other songs of the same vein, this one was still musical enough to keep me hooked and not annoyed. About halfway through this song has a strange shift, and I find myself missing the first half of the song. But that first half is definitely worth it.

“Nothing Better” – This one was an iffy purchase, but thanks to the free mp3s, I was willing to go out on a limb and try it. The melody and Nintendo noises hooked me, and now it’s one of my favorites, especially thanks to the opening line: “Could somebody please call a surgeon to crack my ribs and repair this broken heart.”

Next was the new Lemon Jelly CD, which as a whole woud have disappointed me, but thanks to hearing tracks on 89.3 I could pick the winners. (’64-’95)

“’79 aka The Shouty Track” – A must buy after hearing it on 89.3. It just has a great vibe and build.

“’68 aka Only Time” – Electronic music can grate on you after a while, and this one has the repetitiveness to do that easily. But I like the groove and it makes for nice background music.

“’88 aka Come Down on Me” – It’s hard to buy trippy electronica music based on a 30 second sample, and this song is a good example. Based on the sample I didn’t think I’d like it, but 89.3 played it and I bought it.

Those were the three albums I lusted over, but by being selective and picking just the right tracks on iTunes I was able to get the songs I wanted from all three albums for a third of the price. Record companies take note. Yeah, not having the liner notes is a loss. But I’m a cheap bastard. I’ll live without liner notes.

Then we come to the random singles.

Arthur YoriaI’ll Be Here Awake
“Permanent” – He’s got a nice emo vibe with a little more edge and energy and a better voice than most. The best part of the song–and the sole reason I bought it–is the breakdown in the middle of the song when he stops for a full five seconds, clears his throat, and starts up again. Classic. The rest of the could suck and it’d still be worth it.

Ted Leo & The PharmacistsShake the Sheets
“Counting Down the Hours” – It starts off slow and then bursts open with the guitar ripping all over the place, reminding me very distinctly of ska with its off-beat groove. It made me want to get up and dance.

Death Cab for CutieTransatlanticism
“We Looked Like Giants” – I knew I recognized the voice–same lead singer as The Postal Service (okay musical hipsters, all at once now: “Duh!”). The song manages to rock pretty well, but it’s mainly his voice that sold me.

Rilo KileyMore Adventurous
“Portions for Foxes” – I feel like I’ve heard this song before, maybe snippets from somewhere, but it sounded so familiar and when 89.3 finally played it and I figured out who it was I had to get it. I like her slightly whiny voice. It works well with the music.

6 thoughts on “$15 Musical Odyssey”

  1. This is so odd… I’ve been purchasing a lot of this music over the last few months. I just bought the Lemon Jelly stuff you mentioned last week, The Postal Service stuff a few months ago, Death Cab at the same time. Excellent recommendations! The two you linked are my #2 and #3 from The Postal Service. #1 is “Such Great Heights”, of course.

    Re: Death Cab, you should totally check out “Title and Registration” and “Lightness”. Brilliant lyrics, with the great voice you mentioned.

    I’m going to have to check out all the others you mentioned now.

  2. Just get it over with and buy every other Death Cab song they sell. :) My favorites from Transatlanticism are probably The New Year, Expo 86, Tiny Vessels, Transatlanticism, Passenger Seat, and A Lack of Color. But then again I routinely listen to the whole CD all the way through, so it’s hard to just pick the favorites. The Photo Album is good too. And some other good singles include “Champagne in a Paper Cup” and “Army Corps of Architects.”

  3. If you really dig Ben Gibbard (the lead singer of dcfc and postal service) he has some other non-dcfc or postal service stuff: All-time Quarterback and the Home Vol. Five EP. Home vol 5 is pretty good, and quarterback isn’t bad, but it’s pretty early and rough.

  4. Oh and “This Temporary Life” by dcfc is from the Future Soundtrack for America and is one of my favorite songs by any band ever. Okay I think I’m done now.

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