Once in a while the music-guy at Metro collects all the cds that have been sent to him but he won’t actually listen to/write about (he has to be selective and only focus on what he and our readers would find interesting, he simply can’t listen to it all) is put in a big box for everybody to root around in and take home what they would like. I’ve found some gems that way (Julia Marcell and Vashti Bunyan, who fit in my personal musical landscape perfectly) and some stuff that was o.k. but not very interesting (I mostly forget about having those in my iTunes). Most of the artists are unknown (at least to me), and I select purely on if I like the cover-art. It’s amazing what you can tell about the music purely from how the case looks. I’m pretty stoked with my picks this time:
Uploaded with Skitch!
Joseph Arthur made me sit up and take notice as soon as I put the cd on. I selected the album because I like the painting-look of the cover, and I figured it would be indie-music. Something soft and singer-songwritery. It is all that (although less quirky than I think of when I think of ‘indie’), and in a very good way. I love the sound of his voice, soft but powerful. The songs stay with me. I really enjoy listening to him and put him with my other newly discovered music that I truly love and listen to a lot. As it turns out I already had a song of his in my library, he contributed to the Shrek 2 soundtrack, which is full of awesomeness. I recommend him to anyone who will listen to me. Go listen to him. Now. (Or after reading the rest of this blogpost.)
Young the Giant Seemed a little self-important to me, because of the affected name and self-titled album, I usually don’t like that combo very much. The quirky collage-art enforced that idea a little, although it is very beautiful. The kind of work that as a designer makes me jealous because it is outside my own wheelhouse yet awesome and I couldn’t do it. The music is pretty awesome and straight up interesting alternative rock, though. Very listen-able but still a bit quirky here and there. Because I really liked Joseph Arthur, Young the Giant had less space in my head to impress me. Which is why for me the band shines the best in the songs that are heavier on guitar and drums because they are more rock. If you like Coldplay but (like me) wish Chris Martin had a less whiny voice and wouldn’t sing so high all the time, you’ll probably like Young the Giant.
The Deaf I Picked this one because I liked the oldskool rock look and thought “it could be awesome or terrible, let’s find out”. It wasn’t until I just scanned the image that I noticed one of the guys is the guitarist of the Dutch band Di-rect and this must be his side project. I’d already listened to it and decided it’s a fun listen that’s not going to disappear into the depts of my iTunes where the vague music lives. I like that I was able to form an opinion without influence of prior knowledge. The Deaf is pretty fun rock music. Catchy and rather danceable. Heavy on the guitar, and it works. And now that I know of the connection I have to say: way more fun and better (according to me) than Di-rect.
Heathers When I first saw this cover I was impressed by the pretty watercolour stag on it. I immediately thought “this is girl-music”, the kind of music I would like but my equally alternative-music loving boyfriend would not really want to listen to. Like She and Him (I love them, too girly for him.) Now Heathers is girl-music, but very different than She and Him. Heathers is fast, quick guitar-work and the two female vocalists sing really fast in harmonies. I didn’t need to look up their site to know they’re Irish, the accent in the singers is noticeable (enough for me to tell). Their style is also recognizable as Irish. I really like the quirky strong girls and this is exactly that in music, but after a while the constant singing in unison can be a bit too much. I like them, but Heathers is weird enough that they won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. (I’m happy to have discovered them though.)