Sufjan Links Fixed

Just a quick note to let everyone who emailed me know that the MP3 links for the Sufjan Rarities have been fixed.

You can find that post here.

It seems that everyone has been raving about Beirut recently, and for good reason. Ever since I first heard “Postcards From Italy” in its demo form on GvB, I’ve been looking all over for more, piecing together various songs I collected from myspace, other blogs, etc…all because Beirut is seriously wonderful music.

Every once and a while, a piece of music comes along that exhibits a certain degree of sheer power…so powerful, in fact, that it can barely be described… a completely awe-inspiring, wonderous, almost intangible composition of raw talent, emotion, and complexity, reminding us why we listen to music in the first place. It’s what we saw in The Beatles, what we’ve seen in Radiohead, and what we’re beginning to see in bands like The Arcade Fire. If nothing else, Beirut scrapes at this same astral quality.

[MP3] BeirutPostcards From Italy
This is by and far the “piece of music” I referred to above. It’s hard to describe exactly what will happen to you when you listen… for me, it was an undescribable, ethereal wave of emotion… like little footsteps dancing in perfect choreography on my diaphram…that slight shortness of breath you experience when standing before unsurmountable beauty. You’re speechless, it takes you over, and by the end you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel something like that again. That’s why this is the best song I’ve heard this year, hands down.

[MP3] BeirutThe Canals Of Our City
This song reminds me somewhat of epic novels like The Odyssey. Despite that the song is only about two and a half minutes long, the slow and steady guitar and drum playing seem to go one forever, as the near-perfect vocals narrate the story. While I can’t really hear the lyrics, it’s no deterrent from wholeheartedly believing that at that moment, what’s being sung just may be the most important thing in the world.

If you buy one record and support one artist this year, make it Beirut’s Gulag Orkestar. Buy it here for only $10 (incl. ship).

Posted By Connor at

FILED: Beirut

So, one exam down. I am a mere 4 exams away from freedom.
I guess having 4 is better than having 5, but the more I look at the number four I realize there is nothing fantastic about it.

I have another exam tonight and need to go start studying for that ASAP, but couldn’t help to read (for the tenth time) Blink-182‘s front man making musical prophecies and statements that far exceed his own talent. Now, don’t get me wrong, Blink-182 was an enjoyable band to listen to and were entertaining to say the least…But have any of you been reading the things that (now guitarless and piercingless) Tom DeLonge has been saying about his (yet another) new project Angels and Airwaves?

“The best music made in decades.”

“It sounds like it has the conceptual depth of Pink Floyd, the anthemic architecture of U2- but with Tom from Blink writing all the melodies. All the songs are very cinematic, anthemic and epic-sounding. The music sounds angelic. Every song gives you the chills and you feel like you want to cry but you’re conquering the world at the same time. It sounds like stadium rock done by a band that’s meant to be the absolute biggest band in the world.”

“The songs are all six minutes long, and [the music] feels like you’re going to cry but you put your fist in the air and you can conquer the world… It’s built on a punk-rock foundation, but it definitely doesn’t sound like Blink.”

“Imagine if you were in a jet plane, soaring through the clouds. That’s what it sounds like.”

That, my friends, is some damn fine self proclamation. Now, typically I would just shrug this sort of thing off and not say anything but I’ve read quote after quote from DeLonge and have to get your opinions. So, with that being said I (and you) just had to see how music derived from a main creative force in Blink-182 could be so incredible.

Maybe this is all a publicity stunt? Maybe the Blink feud is going to be fought with rivaling record sales? I’m not sure, but see if you think that this is the best music you’ve heard in decades.

[MP3] Angels and AirwavesThe Adventure
[MP3] Angels and AirwavesThe War

Sure, I easily think that music sounds a little better than Blink. But do I think it sounds all that different? Not so much. Changing the length of your tracks, from 3 minutes to 6 minutes, doesn’t necessarily add to the greatness of a song. However, the music is better and the sound is stronger, but it’s hard to claim it as “the best music in decades.” The record is coming out in late May and tickets to various Airwaves shows are selling like hotcakes.

At the end of the day, people are still going to hear DeLonge’s voice and think, “Hey, it’s Blink!” I think DeLonge’s strive to be different is appreciated, but all in all it’s those definitive late 90s punk-pop vocals that register with so many listeners and will haunt him to his various projects that don’t share the Blink surname.

Hoping for a Pitchfork review is always somewhat of a two-edged sword. We all know the extent of Pitchfork’s influence on independent music (they get almost 100 times the amount of hits per day that we get), with such prominent and successful examples as CYHSY and Wolf Parade displaying exactly how much a “Best New Music” nod will get you in this game. A quick check of bed-buddy Insound’s top sellers pushes this idea even further. While many believe that all press is good press, we also know how polarized and impressionable like-minded indie folk can be…which is why I wonder: how damaging is a bad Pitchfork review? (this is where I consider writing an opinion piece, but recant until later so I don’t miss what will soon become the real “point” of this post)

EnvelopesDemon is one such album, unjustly shafted under the wings of Rob Mitchum, whose less-than-stellar 6.2 rating is more a testament to Mr. Mitchum’s increasing loss of depth and vision than the album’s actual worth. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an attack so much as it’s a realization of my own…maybe writing review after review after review really can be damaging to one’s originality.

All the while, as reader after reader dismissed the album as just another “RIYL-ism” (no, seriously Rob, that was funny), this time apparently pining off of Architecture in Helsinki, many of us stood in protest, defiant for the cause: Demon is actually good (you mean Pitchfork was wrong?). Maybe it’s time we let the music speak for itself:

[MP3] EnvelopesIs It The Law?
[MP3] EnvelopesSister In Love
[MP3] EnvelopesIsabel And Leonard

So now I guess we wait. Did Pitchfork kill another great release? Until we know for sure, check out a couple better reviews:

allmusic gave is a 4/5
Drowned In Sound gave it a 9/10
PopMatters gave it an 8/10

Now before you say “Isn’t that so like them to pose like that in a photo,” listen up: It is. And they did. So what? Phoenix (yes, that French band) have a new album, entitled It’s Never Been Like That, hitting stores May 23rd on Virgin Records (yes, that weird half-label/half-airline). I had only known Phoenix because of their song on the Lost In Translation soundtrack, a damn fine song I might add, one so fine and “eighties” that I figured Phoenix to be some one-hit wonder from the Reagan years…but I’m glad I’m wrong.

Upon first listen, It’s Never Been Like That is a very well crafted pop record. I’m a little surprised that it’s actually good, but it is, seriously. If you’re a fan of Goldspot and Air, you should listen to these tracks:

[MP3] PhoenixLong Distance Call
[MP3] PhoenixRally

And here’s the track from Lost In Translation:

[MP3] PhoenixToo Young

Nathaniel’s gonna update you all with the Guillemots contest winner very shortly, and then I’m gonna have another awesome contest! Woo-hoo, free stuff!