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Posts Tagged ‘Stars’

YBP MixtapeHey guys. I made an extra special Mixtape this week featuring music from bands that are a part of my favourite non-profit organization The Yellow Bird Project. Check it out!

Oh and here’s the tracklist:

1. Stars – Division (B-Side from In Our Bedroom After The War)

2. Of Montreal – “Alter Eagle” (From ID Engager Single)

3. Uninhabitable Mansions – “Do You Have A Strategy?”

4. Broken Social Scene – “Needle In The Head”

5. k-os (feat. Murray Lightburn and Emily Haines) – “Uptown Girl”

6. Holly Throsby – “A Heart Divided”

7. Elvis Perkins In Dearland – “Slow Doomsday”

8. The National (feat. St Vincent) – “Sleep All Summer” (Crooked Fingers Cover)

9. King Creosote – “Camels Swapped For Wives”

10. The Tallest Man On Earth – “A Field Of Birds”

Click here to listen!

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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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Written for the Yellow Bird Project:
December 1st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner…

Well folks, the year is winding down once again. I feel like just a few months ago we were ringing in 2008, but the truth is that another year has passed us by. This will be my first post in a series of posts celebrating “The Best of 2008”. To start off the series, I’d like to talk about my favourite EPs of the year. There have been quite a few EPs released this year to keep us going while we await new full lengths from our favourite artists. Artists such as Andrew Bird, Final Fantasy, The Decemberists, Antony & the Johnsons, Animal Collective and Coldplay have all released EPs this year. Some have been better than others, but they have mostly been solid. So here is my list of the Best EPs of 2008:

5. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP

Starting out the list is Animal Collective’s Water Curses EP. The first two songs on the 4 song EP are amazing and the last two are just so so, but what makes this EP so special is the title track of the EP, “Water Curses”. This song is among my favourite all-time Animal Collective songs. They could have just put out the EP with this being the only song on it and I would still consider it a great success. I may be building this song up too much. You’re probably going to listen to it and be like…”Ok it’s not that good”. So forget what I just said. This EP is terrible. “Water Curses”? Awful, Awful song….

Animal Collective – Water Curses

Animal Collective Myspace

4. Andrew Bird – Soldier On EP

Next we have the brilliant multi-instrumentalist/whistler extraordinaire, who is back with this excellent little EP to tide us over until his next full length album, which will be entitled Noble Beasts and is slated for a January 27th, 2009 release. I have this feeling that nothing Andrew Bird puts his hands on can turn out bad. I have loved pretty much everything I have ever heard from him and this EP is no exception. “The Water Jet Cilice” is pure beauty in song. Check it out.

Andrew Bird – The Water Jet Cilice

Andrew Bird Myspace

3. Stars – Sad Robots EP

I absolutely love this EP. Stars have always brought the drama and this EP is no different. It is comprised of 5 new songs and a new live version of the Stars classic, “Going Going Gone”. I was also lucky enough to be able to see Stars perform some of the songs from this EP live in New York City a few months ago. I am really eager to hear what the next Stars album will sound like. I really hope it goes in the same direction as this excellent EP.

Stars – Undertow

Stars’ Myspace

2. The Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid (A Singles Series) EPs

This is a series of 3 EP’s of odds and ends that obviously wouldn’t fit on the new album that the Decemberists are working on entitled Hazards of Love, which will be released in March 2009. Colin Meloy has always been a fan of the EP, releasing a number of them before this one, including his Colin Meloy SIngs series, in which he covered songs of Morrissey, Shirley Collins and Sam Cooke on three EPs. This series of EPs is quite spectacular if you ask me. I really like every song on them. My favourites would have to be “A Record Year” off of Volume 3, and the cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” off of Volume 2. Valerie Plame is also a pretty awesome song. You can find that one of the first volume.

The Decemberists – Record Year

The Decemberists Myspace

1. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP

And the winner is….of course! This one’s a shoo-in. Just an amazing EP from start to finish. “Mykonos” is still arguably my favourite Fleet Foxes song period. It looks like Fleet Foxes are going to clean up this year in most of the “Best of 2008” lists. Check in soon to see if they top the list of best song of the year, or best album of the year.

Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant

Fleet Foxes Myspace

Honorable mention goes to the Another World EP by Antony & the Johnsons, the Plays to Please EP by Final Fantasy, and the No Way Down EP by Air France.

So Fleet Foxes take best EP of the year…what a surprise. These guys are just amazing. I really hope they keep it up on whatever they decide to release next. The next thing I’m working on is my list of the top songs of the year. After that I will reveal my list of the top 20 albums of the year. It’s actually quite fun to look back and see what you really listened to a lot of during the year. You should do it too.

What are your favourite EPs of the year?

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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From The Yellow Bird Project written by me:
September 21st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

So I saw Stars last night at Terminal 5 in New York City. This was my second time seeing Stars and my first time at Terminal 5. When we got there, the opening band was still on the stage. They were called Bell X1, and since I only heard them play a couple of songs I can’t really judge whether they were something I would want to listen to on a regular basis. The crowd seemed really into them though, so you may want to check them out.

Before Stars’ set they had guys putting red roses all over the stage. The flower theme went really well with the music that was being played, which was like sad piano music, reminding me of Erik Satie. If anyone knows what it was please let me know because it was lovely. When Stars finally took the stage I knew that I was in for a much different experience than when I saw Stars the first time in Montreal. When I saw them in Montreal it was this secret show at an art gallery in Old Montreal, in which there were only 150 tickets for sale. I managed to get one of them and was treated to one of the best shows I have ever seen. There was no stage, no crazy lighting, no banner, nothing fancy. Just the band and their instruments. Last night at Terminal 5 in NYC was a much different sort of party. Besides the thousands of people in attendance, this show was not just a concert, it was like a show on steroids. This show had huge projections and an insane light show, that went along to the music. It was pretty insane, I have to say. Especially for me who is used to shows with minimal lighting effects. The lighting was almost too bright at times, making it impossible to even see the band. But overall it was pretty amazing.

Lead singer Torquil Campbell got the crowd on his side right away when he said that the first Stars song ever written was in New York City on 58th and 10th. And before launching into “Window Bird” he said, “here’s to Hell’s Kitchen”. The love affair with the fans didn’t end there. The crowd went crazy when Torq had a few thoughts about how Barack Obama should be the new President of the United-States. And if that wasn’t enough, the band continuously threw bundles of red roses into the crowd throughout the set.

As for the set list, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was expected that they would play a lot of new songs, but they surprised me by playing more old songs than new ones. We were lucky enough to hear them play “Look Up”, “Elevator Love Letter”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, “Ageless Beauty”, “Soft Revolution” and “Reunion”. For the encore they played “Take Me To The Riot” and then went back to the old stuff, finishing off the night with “One More Night”, “Calendar Girl” and “Heart”. I was more than happy with this set list, a tribute to the Stars fans who have been there since the beginning. They also played two songs off of their new EP, entitled Sad Robots. Before playing these songs, Torq said that you could either buy the album here, buy it online or steal it off of your friends. He said he didn’t care how you got it as long as you listened to it. It’s nice to hear bands that care more about people hearing their music than hearing about how much money they made.

In the end it was an excellent set, by an amazing band, at a pretty mediocre venue. Terminal 5 is far from my favourite venue, but it didn’t ruin my night. Any night with Stars is a night to remember.

Stars – 14 Forever (from Sad Robots EP)

Stars – Undertow (from Sad Robots EP)

Until next week…

-The Middle Distance Runner

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(Au Revoir Simone Wearing the shirt they designed)

I have decided along with my friends at The Yellow Bird Project to write a weekly blog for their site. This doesn’t mean i will stop writing here. I’m just going to be writing more!

In case you haven’t heard, the Yellow Bird Project is a non-profit, charity organization, where they get artists we all know and love (Stars, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Hayden, Holly Throsby, My Brightest Diamond, Devendra Banhart, The National, Rilo Kiley, The Shins, Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Broken Social Scene, King Creosote and Joseph Arthur) to design a t-shirt, with the proceeds going to the charity of the band/artist’s choice. Some charities that have been chosen are: The Elliott Smith Memorial Fund , The Nature Conservancy, and Art For Change.

This is a very awesome organization and i am honored to be writing a weekly blog for them!

To view my Yellow Bird Blog click here!

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