Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musical serendipity

The French novelist Marcel Proust wrote:  "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Maybe ears, too?  With autumn's arrival at mid week, my aural senses continue discovering many new and wonderful songs and artists worth sharing with you. Some by accident, some not.

Here are 10 current, recent and soon-to-be released songs worthy of a listen or two, and a place in your iPod playlist:

Owen Pallett:
A Swedish Love Story
"A Man With No Ankles" is the first track from Owen Pallett's forthcoming EP, A Swedish Love Story (due for release on Sept. 28), which he wrote in tribute to one of his favorite films, En Karlekshistoria.  The Canadian musician is best known as a solo artist who previously recorded under the moniker Final Fantasy. Here's a link to sneak a listen to "A Man With No Ankles":  http://stereogum.com/498332/owen-pallett-a-man-with-no-ankles/mp3s/.

"Undertow," lush in multi-voice harmony, is from the all-female, Los Angeles indie quartet, Warpaint, whose evocative sound is reminiscent of The XX.  "Undertow" is from Warpaint's new album, The Fool.

"Gypsy Eyes," is from the 21-year-old, Massachusetts-born singer/songwriter Sonya Kitchell, whose jazzy, chamber pop musings recall Joni Mitchell during her Hejira period.  Her album, Convict of Conviction, was released in March.

"Write About Love" is the title cut from the forthcoming (due for release on Oct. 12) album by the Scottish indie-pop darlings, Belle and Sebastian, and it features guest vocals by British actress Carey Mulligan (Pride & Prejudice, An Education).  You can find a free download of the single "Write About Love" online via the music blog "Stereogum": http://stereogum.com/.

Amanda Merdzan is an Australian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose album, Into the Gallery, features themes of heartbreak and homesickness.  You can find a free download of "To Know You" via the music blog "Here Comes The Flood": http://blogger.xs4all.nl/werksman/archive/2010/09/16/568371.aspx.

"Never Listen to Me" by The Thermals, an indie punk trio from Portland, Ore. is from their current album, Personal Life, that was released earlier this month.  The Thermals are getting a lot of buzz in various music blogs and, earlier this month, played at Bumbershoot, Seattle's music and art festival.

"Bye Bye Montreal" is from the new album, Hunter Hunter, by Canadian singer/songwriter Amelia Curran, released this week.  It has already been honored in Canada with a Juno award for best solo traditional and roots folk album.

"From Above" is nice, witty pop from the forthcoming Lonely Avenue, a collaborative project from Ben Folds and British author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, About A Boy), that is due for release next week. You can sneak a listen via: http://www.directcurrentmusic.com/.

"In Every Direction" is from Junip's newly-released album, Fields, the current project of Swedish guitarist/vocalist Jose Gonzalez that has received plenty of plaudits from kcrw.com's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" program.  Fields was recently a First Listen featured album on the NPR music website.

Finally, "Sink or Swim" by Bad Lieutenant came to me ~ found me? ~ totally by accident.  While perusing the music blog, "Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good" ~ http://musicforants.com/blog/ ~ I stumbled upon a song list which included a tune by the 80's new wave band New Order (remember 1983's "Blue Monday"?).  Upon reading New Order's Wikipedia entry, it noted that band leader Bernard Sumner moved on to form a new group, Bad Lieutenant.  Immediately, I visited iTunes, found Bad Lieutenant, and sampled "Sink or Swim" from their 2009 release, Never Cry Another Tear ~ and was hooked.  Same great sound, same great voice.

Musical serendipity, I guess.

Happy listening!

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