Sunday, November 7, 2010

Alina Orlova: Laukinis Šuo Dingo (2008)

Any of you who commonly listen to 'foreign' music have probably heard of Alina Orlova. She is a young Lithuanian songwriter, specializing in the jazzier side of folk music. I should imagine that most readers of this blog are familiar with the style of music, but the style isn't necessarily what matters-- it's the talent. And Alina Orlova has talent.
She is among the many artists of the modern day who found their fame through demos released on the internet. Alina Orlova is no Justin Bieber, however. All of her songs-- on Laukinis Šuo Dingo and otherwise-- are magnificent compositions. Orlova possesses a unique voice, with the ability to be equal parts spectral and saccharine, and the fact that I can't understand a bloody word of the lyrics means that the entire mood of the song centres around her voice and her piano.

Laukinis Šuo Dingo is Orlova's debut, and is a few years old. You can, however, expect this year's Mutabor to be making the rounds of Top Ten lists, come December.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Laura Peek and the Winning Hearts: From the Photographs (2007)

You may have noticed some absence on my part. This wasn't due to laziness or forgetfulness, but rather to a sort-of disinterest toward every album that came my way. My past few months have been spent listening to the same Gaze albums on repeat and obsessively researching the Russian Revolution.

This changed when, a few years too late, I happened to hear the single off of Laura Peek's debut: Stand Right There. While I typically approach new albums with a music elitist's disapproval, the song had my instantly in love, and instantly making a purchase-- and one of my better purchases in ages.

The best terms I could use to describe this album are charming; quaint; sweet; but not in the same manner that one looks at twee. There is a peculiar sort-of old style class here, brought out by Peek's literary lyrical style (the one that makes me swoon). Her piano playing is lively, her voice sweet and girlish, and her subjects a tad on the darker side, creating a fun and dancey contrast.

Oh, and The Verdict is about Nabokov's novel Lolita, which charms me immensely.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gaze: Mitsumeru (1998)

Springtime in Vancouver isn't necessarily a bright, cheery segue into summer. The flowers may be blooming, but the sky is hazy, murky grey, the temperature lingers around ten degrees, and it rains more often than it doesn't.
It takes a Vancouver band to capture that feeling.

Gaze are my band for spring. They play a messy and cloudy twee, tinged with a hint of punk, with lazy, rambling lyrics and melodies. Gaze were a three-piece all-girl Vancouver act who put out two full-length albums in the late 1990s. They are comparable to fellow British Columbian act Cub, but with a smoother, more detached sound. Twee princess Rose Melberg supplied the drums, so that is kind-of a selling point.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Diskettes: Weeknights at Island View Beach (2005)

The internet doesn't want to provide me with much information on this group, but here's what I know: The Diskettes are a darling Canadian twee band with dual male and female vocals. They also happen to be the some of the most fun you'll find in your media player.

Weeknights at Island View Beach is a definite pick-me-up album: it's cheery and charming and simple. They are comparable to other twee groups, yes, but there's a peculiar and different sense of inelegance that makes the whole thing just that much sweeter, more endearing.

As the word 'twee' implies, this album is adorable. Don't miss out on this gem.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Beards: Funtown (2002)

Being a British Columbian, it is in my very nature to follow Lisa Marr around like a lost puppy (due, of course, to her role in the wildly popular Vancouver pop act Cub, active in the 1990s). Funtown is a particularly special album, however, because it also features Muffs frontwoman Kim Shattuck.

The two women's track combine beautifully on Funtown, making it almost impossible to distinguish the fact that they were penned by different writers. And the songs? Delightful and danceable pop/punk (and an actual combination of pop and punk, not the mess of teenaged angst that seems to have that title tacked onto it). It is something like a cranberry tart, with its perfect combination of sweetness and bite and can be easily adored by fans or either or both genres.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good Luck: Into Lake Griffy (2009)

I could simply type "sounds like Nana Grizol", and Sheesha would be onto this like it was wearing a Chekov costume. But unfortunately for myself, more people than just Sheesha read this blog. So I will go into a little more detail. Good Luck is an all-star band (just like Nana Grizol) featuring members of bands like Matty Pop Chart (not like Nana Grizol). They are part of the Plan It X and No Idea records collectives, like other bands such as Defiance, Ohio. It is a very worthwhile record, and you should download it right now, and purchase the vinyl because it is apparently made out of different pieces of broken vinyls melted together apparently, but I don't know for sure because mine is still in the mail. Alex out.

Ballboy: A Guide for the Daylight Hours (2004)

I cannot help but find myself surprised that this band has attracted so little attention. Ballboy have been active since the late nineties, were a favourite of John Peel, and are absolutely delightful.
The highlight of this band is, by far, the lyrics, which are truly some of the greatest, wittiest words I've heard in a long time. I have caught myself chuckling aloud, in public, and oh, right, this is the band responsible for song titles like 'I Don't Have Time to Stand Here With You Fighting About the Size of My Dick' or 'I Lost You, But I Found Country Music', and if that doesn't have you sold, well, you're probably a lot higher brow than me.

And well, even if you do have classier tastes, don't go and ignore this band. The music is decent, with a bit of an emphasis on drums, and the melodies are simply lovely.