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Posts Tagged ‘Bon Iver’

Written for The Yellow Bird Project:
December 26th, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

Seasons Greetings My Merry Music Lovers,

The time is here, for my albums of the year. Sorry, Christmas makes me feel like rhyming. Anyways, I have finished my schooling and can once again indulge in the things I love (music, books other than textbooks etc). After much deliberation I have come up with a list of my top albums of the year. Like my list of my favourite songs of the year, the list is simply all my listens added up to see what I listened to the most throughout the year. I’m not saying these are the “best” albums, just my favourite. I think it’s pretty obvious what my album of the year is judging by my previous two lists (EPs and songs) and the picture at the top of this post which depicts a pretty fleet looking fox, but if you haven’t already figured it out, take a look:

20. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful The World Lays Me Down

To start us off is the debut album by a talented little group of music makers from England, Noah & The Whale. I love pretty much every song on the album, and Laura Marling’s beautiful voice sparkles here and there throughout the album, making it shine ever brighter. A promising start for these guys and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future. I had the privilege of seeing them play live in New York City and wow what a show.

19. Tyler Ramsey – A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea

Next is an album that I listen to every time I have had the need to just take a step back and calm down a little while. It is by guitar extraordinaire Tyler Ramsey. Ramsey also serves as one of Band of Horses’ guitarist. A truly talented musician and a great debut album by him.

18. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim

If you don’t know who Laura Marling is by now you must be living under a rock. Her debut album is just pure beauty, and she is only 18 years old. I can’t wait to see what she will have for us next. In her spare time she has been making guest appearances on the albums of some pretty awesome bands. Mystery Jets, Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons have all collaborated with Marling and it seems as if everything she touches turns to gold.

17. Plants & Animals – Parc Avenue

This one is the debut album from my fellow Montrealers, Plants & Animals. I fell in love with this album over the summer while I was interning in New York City. I remember strolling down 3rd avenue on bright sunny days listening to Parc Avenue. Good times. Ok I’ll stop being cheesy now. Seriously, this album is pretty incredible and if you haven’t already, you should give it a listen.

Plants & Animals – Feedback In The Field

16. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park

Number 16 on my list is by a band called Department of Eagles. If you are a fan of Grizzly Bear, then Department of Eagles is right up your alley. You see, the bands share the same lead singer, Daniel Rossen, and because of this have a similar sound. There are obviously differences between the two bands but I was really impressed with this album. “No One Does It Like You” is among my absolute favourite songs of the year.

Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You

15. Horse Feathers – House With No Home

Number 15 is just a beautiful album that I listened to to death this year by a band called Horse Feathers.

Horse Feathers – This is What

14. Vampire Weekend – Self Titled

Vampire Weekend was another one of my bands of the summer. It’s funny, when I first listened to this album I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. Then one day I just got it and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year.

13. The Dears – Missiles

The Dears are back and better than ever on their newest LP, MISSILES. The band has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, while keeping the foundation of Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and adding an array of talented musicians from all different places. What we are left with is a group of seriously talented musicians who have created a really great album. This may in fact be my favourite Dears record to date.

12. Ratatat – LP3

I waited for this album to come out for so long that when it did come out I was so excited that I listened to it non-stop for weeks. That being said, it is quite the album. I don’t know how it ranks among the other two Ratatat albums but it is definately a fresh new sound for them that makes this album stand apart from the other two.

11. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

This was an album that I was reluctant to listen to at first, because I wasn’t crazy about Blitzen Trapper’s first release. But after hearing a couple of songs on satellite radio I decided to give it a try. I was happy I did because this album is pretty amazing. I had the chance to see them play when I went to see Fleet Foxes opening for them awhile ago, but I left after Fleet Foxes’ performance. Looks like that was a bad decision on my part.

Blitzen Trapper – Furr

10. Dr. Dog – Fate

Number 10 on my list is Dr. Dog’s album Fate. This is just an amazing album from start to finish. The highlights on it for me would have to be “The Old Days” and “The Breeze”, but every song on this album is worth a listen. Just an all around solid album.

9. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

You won’t find too many top album lists without this album on it. Bon Iver exploded onto the scene this year. Songs like “Flume” and “Skinny Love” have been permanently on my mind as I often find myself singing or humming them to myself. You can see how much bigger they got within the year. The first time I saw them play was at a small venue in Montreal called The Cabaret. A few weeks ago I saw them play in New York City at the prestigious City Hall, one of two sold out back to back shows at the same venue. By the way, have you seen the awesome design they did for YBP?

8. The Dodos – Visiter

Even though The Dodos album cover looks like it was created by a child, the album itself is as far from childish as it gets. These songs are rife with emotion, lead by the incredible guitar playing of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber’s tribal drumming. And as good as they sound on the album, you have to see them live to fully appreciate them. I was lucky enough to do so and all I have to say is…”The Season”.

7. Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow & Blue

I’m not sure how popular this album was because I don’t know that many people who listen to Born Ruffians but I was in love with this album the second I heard it and I am still in love with it today. “Little Garcon” is probably my favourite, but the rest of the album is great as well.

Born Ruffians – Barnacle Goose

5. Man Man – Rabbit Habits

What could possibly be bad about a new Man Man album? It seems as if these guys just get better and better with time. Their first album was okay, their second was great and their newest album, Rabbit Habits is stellar. What I love about Man Man is that they always keep you guessing. For example, who expected that amazing xylaphone action in “The ballad of Butterbeans”? This is another example of a band that is great on the album and even more amazing live. If you have a chance to see these guys live you must do so.

Man Man – The Ballad of Butter Beans

4. Pinback – Autumn of the Seraphs

This was arguably my most anticipated albums of the year. Pinback has been one of my all-time favourite bands for a long time now and the idea of a new Pinback album just gets my hyped. I don’t know if this album will go down as one of my favourite Pinback albums, but it is definitely worth a whole bunch of listens.

Pinback – Bouquet

3. Pete & The Pirates – Little Death

Number 3 on my list is a wonderful little album by some awesome Brits that go by the name of Pete & The Pirates. I really became obsessed with the album for a good while this year. I’m not sure what makes these guys so likable. Their music is just exciting. They might be my favourite British band of the year. They also have two new songs on their myspace page called “Blood Gets Thin” and “Jenny” that are worth a listen, check it out.

2. The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues

The Hush Sound at number 2. Who would have thought. Their first two albums reminded me too much of Panic at the Disco, but on their newest album, Goodbye Blues, lead singer Greta Salpeter takes the reins and is featured much more prominently then the band’s other male singer. They may be too poppy for some, but I love it and think they are well deserving of my number 2 slot.

The Hush Sound – Break The Sky

1. Fleet Foxes – Self Titled

Fleet Who? Ya right. This has been the year of the Foxes. Throughout the year we have been treated to one of the best EPs of the year, in the Sun Giant EP, as well as an amazing debut self-titled LP by Fleet Foxes. Songs like “Mykonos”, “White Winter Hymnal”, “Your Protector” and “Oliver James” have been on continuous repeat throughout the year and I was lucky enough to see them play live twice in Montreal. I’m so excited about this band and what will come from them in the future.

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why

So there you have it. Fleet Foxes sweep the series. They have produced my favourite EP, LP and song of the year. I’m so happy for these guys. Now I would like to pay tribute to a few more albums that either just missed the top 20 or were released too soon to be a part of this year’s list. Here are some albums that deserve honorable mention…

Yeasayer – All Hour Symbols

Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Santogold – Santogold

The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves

Alaska in Winter – Holidays

The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

Tv On The Radio – Dear Science

Radiohead – In Rainbows

Now that you know pretty much everything that I listened to throughout the year it’s your turn! What are your top albums of the year? I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten.

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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Written For the Yellow Bird Project:
December 6th, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

In the second installment of my “Best of 2008” series, I will be unveiling my top songs of the year. Just to warn you, this is a list of my most listened to songs. It’s not a list of what I think were my favourites throughout the year. Also, I only put one song by each band or artist. If I didn’t do this the list would be almost exclusively Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. Other than that there aren’t really many surprises except for a few bands here and there where I thought to myself, “wow did I really listen to them that much?” Anyways, without further ado, here are my favourite 20 songs of 2008:

20. Stars – The Night Starts Here

I remember first hearing this song while in London. I was immediately addicted. It quickly became the song of the trip. By the way, have you heard Stars’ new EP called the Sad Robots EP? It was number 3 on my list of the top 5 EPs of 2008. You should really check it out.

19. Laura Marling – Cross Your Fingers

If you don’t know who Laura Marling is yet than you are really missing out on one of the top new artists of the year. She writes some of the most beautiful songs, and she is only 18 years old. Unbelievable talent.

18. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor

This is my favourite song from Hot Chip’s new album, Made in the Dark. I don’t know if the album as a whole will stand up to their amazing previous album, The Warning, but it is nevertheless pretty damn good.

17. Chairlift – Bruises

This song is just catchy as hell. Every time I see that Itunes ad, the song stays in my head for the rest of the day. The rest of the album isn’t bad either. It’s called Does You Inspire You. Give it a listen.

Chairlift – Bruises

16. Plants & Animals – Bye Bye Bye

This one is by my fellow Montrealers, Plants & Animals. I absolutely love their debut album, Parc Avenue, which was nominated, but didn’t win the Polaris Music Prize. Have you seen their performance on Pitchfork TV’s “Don’t Look Down”? Check it out here.


15. The Hush Sound – Break The Sky

I don’t know if anybody knows about them, but I love them. Catchy tunes, singer with an outstanding voice, what more do you need?

The Hush Sound – Break The Sky

14. Horse Feathers – This is What

I became obsessed with this band for a good 2 months. Haven’t really listened much to them since then, but I still consider this one of my favourite songs of the year.

Horse Feathers – This is What

13. Dr. Dog – The Old Days

How can you not love this song? The whole album is amazing, but this was definitely my favourite and most listened to track on it. Check out this awesome performance:

12. Miniature Tigers – Hot Venom

I recently got into this band. They are really poppy and catchy as hell, and I love every minute of it. This song is a cute little ditty about falling in love….and venom.

Miniature Tigers – Hot Venom

11. Man Man – Top Drawer

How insane is Rabbits Habbits? Without a doubt one of my favourite albums of the year. This song is tied with “Mister Jung Stuffed” for most listened to song on the album. I was lucky enough to see them play live with Yeasayer opening. Yeasayer was just ok. Man Man was INCREDIBLE. One of the best live shows I have ever seen. If you get a chance to see these guys live, please do so. You won’t regret it.

Man Man – Top Drawer

10. Islands – Pieces of You

My favourite song on the new Islands album, Arm’s Way. Love the strings.

Islands – Pieces of You

9. The Dears – Money Babies

This song, along with “Demons” and “Lights Off” are my favourite songs from the new Dears album, MISSILES. I think it actually may be my favourite Dears album to date. Have you heard about the new Dears band members? Pretty talented company.

8. Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

I really could have picked any song from Vampire Weekend’s stellar self-titled debut album, but I think this just might be my fave. Afro-poppy goodness!

7. Tokyo Police Club – Graves

To be honest, I liked Tokyo Police Club more before they released their debut album, Elephant Shell. The album, does have some goodies though. And they’re Canadian, so they get extra points.

6. The Dodos – The Season

This song is just completely ridiculous. I was lucky enough to see the Dodos play it live at Sala Rossa in Montreal a few months ago and it completely blew me away. It is arguably the best single song I have ever seen played live. You can’t really get the same feel from watching a video, but hopefully this will give you an idea:

5. Pete & The Pirates – Bears

Awesome song by some talented Britts called Pete & the Pirates.

Pete & The Pirates – Bears

4. Pinback – How We Breathe

I love Pinback and everything they have ever done. It’s kind of weird how they are a completely different band live, but I still love them. This is the song I have listened to most off of their new album, Autumn of the Seraphs.

Pinback – How We Breathe

3. Born Ruffians – Little Garcon

I don’t know what it is but this song has a certain charm that just grabs me. By far my favourite song on Born Ruffians’ excellent debut LP, Red, Yellow & Blue.

Born Ruffians – Little Garcon

2. Bon Iver – Flume

This song could have easily been my song of the year. I got to see Bon Iver play in Montreal a few months ago and wow what a show. And lucky me, I’m seeing them play again on Thursday, this time in New York City, with the Tallest Man on Earth opening.

1. Fleet Foxes – Mykonos

But of course the best song of the year is by Fleet Foxes. So far they are 2 for 2 in my “Tops of 2008” lists. Their Sun Giant EP is my EP of the year, and now “Mykonos” wins for song of the year. Will they sweep the board with the best album of the year? Stay tuned to find out.

Now that you know mine…what are your favourite songs of the year?

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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Lily Allen

I will admit that I was quite obsessed with Lily Allen’s first album Alright, Still. Which means that I have been greatly anticipating her second release, which will be entitled It’s Not Me, It’s You. I’m a little nervous that it won’t be nearly as good as the first, but judging by the first song on the album, “The Fear”, it may not be so bad. The song is not as edgy as the stuff on her first album, but sounds pretty nice nonetheless. Here’s the brand new video for the song. And expect to see the album in stores on February 10th.

“The Fear”:

Also, thanks to Ian France over at the Danish Poet Blog, take a look at this new video of a Christmas song that the Killers wrote with Elton John and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. That’s quite the company. Ho Ho Ho!

“Joseph, Better You Than Me”

And thanks to Pitchfork for this new Fujiya & Miyagi Video for the song “Sore Thumb”, off of their brand new album Lightbulbs.

“Sore Thumb”:Vodpod videos no longer available.

By the way, I am going to see Bon Iver and the the Tallest Man on Earth play on Thursday at Town Hall in NYC and I am really excited. Just thought you should know.

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I just got Sirius satellite radio, and while there are a lot of pretty useless channels I have found one that I have been listening to pretty frequently. It is called Left of Center and they pretty much play everything that I listen to on a daily basis while introducing me to some cool new stuff as well. So far I have heard them play Pinback, The Shins, Islands, Sonic Youth, Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, Bon Iver, The Arcade Fire, Interpol and Ratatat. Not only do they play a lot of great music, but they have some amazing special performances and programs. All of next week, Kings of Leon will co-host the afternoon show, and on Friday, Beck will play his entire new album, Modern Guilt, while throwing in a couple of other songs here and there. Pretty awesome stuff.

Does anyone know of any other Sirius sations worth listening to?

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Sarah Siskind must be getting a lot of attention these days since Bon Iver has decided to end every show on their most recent tour with a cover of her song “Lovin’s For Fools”. Justin Vernon’s music picks are usually pretty solid. Touring with Bowerbirds, covering Sarah Siskind, and the next time I will see Bon Iver play in New York City on the 10th of December at Town Hall, opening for them will be the amazing Tallest Man On Earth. Here’s a tip for you. Whatever Justin Vernon says, goes. That man has some good taste in music.

Anyways, here’s a video of Bon Iver performing “Lovin’s For Fools” with the songwriter herself, Sarah Siskind.

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The show started promptly at 8:30 with the opening band, Bowerbirds, who played an amazing set. They really got the crowd on their side when they said that we were a much better audience than Toronto. Why is Montreal superior to Toronto in so many ways? Anyways, after a very entertaining set, it was Bon Iver’s turn to wow the Montreal crowd. I had high expectations going in, and they were definately met if not surpassed. Lead singer Justin Vernon isn’t alone in a secluded cabin in the woods of Wisconsin anymore. He was joined on stage by a band of three (one of whom is a member of Bowerbirds). It was kind of interesting to hear some of the songs off of his outstanding debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago, with a full band, sometimes all drumming at the same time while Vernon played guitar. Some of the highlights in this set were when he got the whole audience to sing “what might have been lost” at the end of the song “The Wolves (Act I and II)”. Also when Vernon thanked the audience for paying attention to Bowerbirds, unlike the people in Toronto who were apparently too involved in their conversations to listen. And then the encore was just amazing. After singing happy birthday to Mike, the newly 21 Bon Iver band member, Vernon led his band and the three Bowerbirds to the front of the stage where they did a cover of an excellent song by Nashville singer/songwriter, Sarah Siskind. It was the last song of the night, and may have been my favourite moment of the night. My only complaint about this show was that it wasn’t longer. Not that it was a particularily short set, there’s just never too much Bon Iver. Thank you Bon Iver and Bowerbirds for an amazing night.

Here are some terrible quality videos with decent to good sound quality:

Flume:

Blood Bank (New Song):

Lovin’s For Fools (Sarah Siskind Cover):

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Remember how I was saying how Bon Iver is Everywhere? Well I have spotted him on another one of my favourite music sites. This time Bon Iver has been featured on Daytrotter, performing the amazing “Flume” as well as “Lump Sum”, “Stacks” and “Creature Fear”.

Not only are we seeing Bon Iver all over the internet, he is also coming to a town near you, or at least a town near me. I already have my tickets to the Bon Iver show that will take place on Wedensday at the Cabaret in Montreal. Good thing too because the show is sold out. I can’t wait to hear that amazing voice live.

Bon Iver on Daytrotter

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