A key determining factor in whether we keep a song in our library vs. commit it to the big trash bin in the sky (or cloud) is whether or not a song has changes. Is it dynamic? Does it go anywhere? Does the tempo change? Does the arrangement change? It’s usually the songs that take me on a ride that catch my attention.
Such it is with The Ceremonies. One of my favorite EPs of last year, I can’t quite pin them down. The Ceremonies inject standard indie pop rock with a hot dose of slide guitar and some hootin’ and hollerin’ careening from shouts to whispers, horns to harmonies, and more. “Land of Gathering” reminds me of Local Natives, “Straw Hat” has notes of a less epic AgesandAges or Typhoon (with some sexy sax).
The Ceremonies “Land Of Gathering”
I have to admit, I don’t understand a lot of “popular” dance music. It’s repetitive and doesn’t go anywhere, and the vocals are frequently one-note. There is no emotion, let alone an emotional arc to a song. Usually it’s the songs that I know and can sing along to that are my favorite to dance to, but every so often a curveball lands in my inbox.
Okay so, it’s possible that “Pumpin’ Blood” doesn’t really count as an electronic/dance song in the same way that “Clarity” or “Titanium” does, and NONONO is not grouped in the same category as David Guetta but man, that song is my jam.
I can’t get enough of the combo of synth, whistles, percussion and (I think?) acoustic guitar, putting NONONO pretty squarely in the realm of electro pop/rock. Not only am I compelled to jump out of my seat, a huge smile is on my face every time I hit repeat. It is exuberant and driving at the same time, and thankfully the rest of the EP doesn’t disappoint.
NONONO “Pumpin’ Blood”
To start with, I owe this band a huge apology.
They sent me their mixtape a year and a half ago. It took me months to set up the interview them, and (after briefly thinking the audio was lost with my stolen computer) finished transcribing it this past fall. And now at long last it is now here for you to see/hear/read. Thankfully, the songs are timeless and the theme is rather timely with the new year, making changes, etc.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of my favorite mixes I’ve ever received. I mean, all of them have a special place in my heart, both because they were created for me, and I always appreciate how no matter what my musical horizons are challenged or expanded (often both). The tracks included in “Farmers’ Almanac,” however, are probably the closest to my personal taste. And not just a genre I’m partial to, but a genre that has a tendency to elicit strong emotions from deep inside my being. At least three of the artists on here have moved me to tears with their songs.
It does make sense though, as the music COYOL themselves make is not unlike what you will hear on this mix. Perhaps with a dash of the American Southwest, to spice things up. A write-up in Black Book Magazine this past fall praises “the fantastic arrangement that seems just a little yet perfectly off and the oddly beautiful lyrics that stick with you long after each track.”
Here it is. The obligatory end of year list. As is the case with every year, I try to keep track of albums I love starting in January. Then all of a sudden December rolls around and I feel confident I missed a ton, or glossed over some great ones. I have lofty ambitions to revisit certain albums (Django Django, CHAPPO, Fiona Apple, etc.) and then it never happens.
Disclaimer now done, here is a list of 20 albums and 10 EPs (in no particular order) that I really enjoyed this year, and recommend checking out!
A week ago on Monday, while most other bloggers were posting their year end lists I was lucky enough to get to share mine on a live radio show.
Every other Monday night, Hunnypot Radio hosts a live show at a local venue with two industry professional guest “DJs” and two live acts. I was invited to participate as an “industry professional” “DJ” in the last show of the year. Whenever I hear my name mentioned as a professional in the music industry, I feel like I’ve somehow pulled one over on them, hence the quotes. And thankfully, DJing in this case just means choosing ten songs and burning two CDs, hence the second use of quotes.
Still though, even without doing my own spinning, it was pretty cool to hear my song picks played at a club. And everyone seemed to enjoy.
Since I am unable to put together a collection of songs without some sort of connection, I thought it was only appropriate to assemble some of my favorites of the year.