Sacred & Profane – Art, Beauty & stuff that doesn't suck

"Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your poetry" -Oscar Wilde

Stuff that isn’t Christmassy or crappy October 7, 2009

I am particularly excited for my New Release Tuesday post today. “Why?” you ask. “Is it because of the new Backstreet Boys CD or the Creed re-release?” Well, I can honestly so that it is not. It is however the first week of October which means the official beginning of the Christmas season for record labels and movie distributors, thus kicking off the nauseating three month frenzy of crap being dumped into the marketplace. Sweet!

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CD’s

The-RaveonettesThe Raveonettes – In and Out of Control

Emily Haines

Emily Haines

For those unfamiliar, The Raveonettes are a brilliant band from Denmark by way of Brooklyn consisting of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo who I am in love with. Sharin shares a special place in my heart with Metric’s Emily Haines. I indeed have a weakness for waify non-American blonde indie rock chicks who play guitar. Anyway…on to the music.
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The Raveonettes’ last album Lust Lust Lust was my absolute favorite of 2008 and I’ve since been patiently anticipating its follow-up. Their music is like pre-Beatles pop songs recorded by the Velvet Underground and then covered by a Psychocandy era Jesus and Mary Chain who sent the tracks back to the future through a time warp to be mixed by a pre-felony/incarceration era Phil Spector. Helpful? After three attentive listens I’m prepared to say that In and Out of Control isn’t quite on par with Lust Lust Lust, but I didn’t expect it to be. The same seamless harmonies and efficient songwriting, just much less adventurous sonically.
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Here is their incredibly catchy new single “Last Dance”

GoslingDead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

Two things can be expected from actors who become bored with acting and decide they want to be rock stars: A) Their album will suck. B) No matter how bad it sucks some label will take a gamble and release it. For this reason I was terrified upon hearing Ryan Gosling, one of my very favorite actors and man crush objects, started a band with his neighborhood’s hipster children’s choir and they were releasing an album. Initially I feared that best case scenario it would be dismissed as an indulgent novelty and forgotten before doing any permanent damage. Well, sorry I doubted you Ryan.
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I am relieved to say that after listening, my respect for Gosling as an artist has only deepened. Dead Man’s Bones can’t easily be summed with comparisons so I’ll just recommend listening to it. The best I can do is say that it’s eclectic, charming in a creepy sort of way and best experienced with a fake life-sized doll.

hope sandovalHope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Through the Devil Softly

Best known as the former singer of mid 90’s shoegaze folk duo Mazzy Star whose song “Fade Into You” still finds its way onto soundtracks and TV shows. Hope could sing through a phone book and make it haunting and rich, (though I hope she never does because that would make for the worst album ever), and to me that’s why this album as a whole doesn’t grab me. Too much gets stripped down and cleared away to make room for her vocals and as a result sometimes the songs either run into one another or just don’t go anywhere. Through the Devil Softly was produced by former My Bloody Valentine guitarist Colm O’Coisoig who I wish would have brought some of his former band’s sonic adventure with him to this one. Click here for more good times secret

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Built to Spill – There is no Enemy

Indie-rock troubadours continue to make it work after 15 years. Nothing groundbreaking, just good vibrant pop-rock songs and giant beards.

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Noah & the Whale – The First Days of Spring

This British folk band’s name is a tribute to filmmaker Noah Baumbach and his wonderful 2005 film The Squid and the Whale which makes them instantly cool. Their sophomore album The First Days of Spring is a melancholy affair that seems to largely be about lead singer Charlie Fink and former member Laura Marling’s relationship. While it makes for a focused album it comes off as semi-pitiful when considering that 19 year old Laura’s album Alas, I Cannot Swim is quite good and seems to have nothing at all to do with him.

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matthew good VancouverCover

Matthew Good – Vancouver

Well-crafted, emotive songs from veteran Canadian singer-songwriter.

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Brandi Carlisle – Give Up the Ghost

Produced by Rick Rubin, the mastermind behind Johnny Cash’s American recordings. Love her voice, like her songs as much as I need to.

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LogoAIR09-Reflets5

Air – Love 2

Sleepy and uninspired 5th album from the French electronica duo responsible for setting the moody sonic backdrop to Sofia Coppola’s debut film The Virgin Suicides.

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clienteleClientele – Bonfires on the Heath

Well, this hazy, London indie rock band is nothing if not consistent. Sometimes predictability can work.

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DVD’s

anvilAnvil: The Story of Anvil

The fact that I never heard of Anvil and that my only interest in 80’s hair metal is mocking its ridiculousness didn’t stop me from loving this documentary. The film was marketed as the “true to life” Spinal Tap which makes sense but at the same time trivializes the heart of the film. It is hilarious and equal time is spent laughing with them and at them but it’s also heartbreaking. At Anvil’s core is a story about disappointment and broken dreams and the relationships that sustain us. Director Rob Reiner does a great job delicately balancing humor and heart. You will find yourself cheering these guys on as they take one final stab at their dream. I Highly recommend!

Books

postsecret1PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God

This book series is very meaningful to me so I’ll post about it at length in a couple days

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2 Responses to “Stuff that isn’t Christmassy or crappy”

  1. Nicole Says:

    I heard “Last Dance” for the first time about 2 weeks ago or so. Amazing!! I was at work when I heard it and had to stop what I was doing just so I could listen and dance in my office a bit. Loved it. Oh… and I have a girl crush on Emily Haines. She likes me better!

  2. Here I am sitting at my kitchen table… and what comes on the alternative radio station but “Last Dance.” I hope you’ll do more of these posts, because I love your music recs.

    Also I found you through Mrs. Decker’s blog.


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