A Slice of Fried Gold

Slices of Fried Gold (All music edition for Erik)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I've been listening to a ton of new music lately in preparation of the end of the year special I plan on doing and the yearly CD I make for my mom for Christmas - my top 20 of 2007 (and by yearly I mean it started last year and will continue on for the foreseeable future). Most all of it has been very good, with some degree of weirdness quite often standing out about it. Well, maybe they all seem weird because of the last album I'm writing about because it has enough weirdness to share with everyone else.

No less, here's an all music edition of Slices of Fried Gold, specifically for Erik who said he needs new music. Here I am to the rescue!

Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Party

This album is something I'm amazed that I had never heard of until perusing discussions about what the 2008 album of the year may be, because simply put, it's awesome. It's a trio from Scotland who make very tuneful and lyrically intelligent indie pop in the vein of...really, I can't think of anyone that really makes sense here.

They don't really sound like anyone in particular, whether it's because of their unique sound or Scottish brogues, I'm not sure. But the point is, it's a great album that has such clever lines in it that it made me even take notice to the lyrics - and lyrics are normally the last thing I notice.

Example: On the third track, "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms" the lead singer drops a line that I thought was both funny and really fitting. He's talking about an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend and he admits that he "may not want you back, but I want to kill him." The lyrics stand out because they are so honest and feel so real, and it presents them in such an engaging atmosphere with strings, a soft repeating guitar beat, and drums simply there to set a beat.

Seriously though, there's something about a Scottish singer that makes the lyrics seem even more soulful. This album is highly recommended.

Frank Turner - Love Ire & Song

Staying in the United Kingdom, we have Frank Turner with an excellent release that is mostly a guy spilling his guts with an acoustic guitar, but not in a cheesy Dashboard Confessional sort of way.

Turner has a full band with him, with electric guitars, strings, bells, drums, and more all making appearances to add more depth to his sound. Really, it's all in support of Turner as a storyteller sharing everything he has on his mind with us a listener in occasionally mournful, sometimes aggresively passionate, and with a bit of humor from time to time.

This isn't one of those releases that is going to bowl you over because of something new it brings to the table, it's just one of those albums that takes an existing formula (in this case, singer-songwriter) and takes a big step towards improving on weaknesses and maintaining the strengths of it.

Mutyumu - Ilya

I described this in a text message to Erik last night as what you would get if the makers of a fighting game snagged Nobuo Uematsu to make a soundtrack for their game, except they didn't realize that he added metal as one of his influences.

So yeah, I'll say it's really freaking weird and definitely not for everyone.

However, it's pretty awesome. It's primarily instrumental, with only soft female vocals and occasional yells from a male vocalist coming in. The thing that really makes this album stand out so much is the fact that the violinist, the drummer, and the pianist in this group are pretty much world class, and when you combine that with gorgeous vocals, solid bass and guitar, and incredible song structure, you get some seriously epic music.

The second track starts out sounding like a new reimagined theme song to the anime Trigun and slowly transitions into a string, bass, piano, and vocal bridge that is flat out gorgeous, and then about a minute and 45 seconds in becomes almost entirely drums and vocals laid out in the most triumphant way possible. This is a 6 minute and 14 second track that transitions like this pretty much throughout, existing as almost a chameleon to the bands myriad influences.

I love it, but I would completely understand someone else hating it. I also realize that it's not something you can listen to all the time, but when you're working and really buzzing off caffeine, it's like a stimulant in its own right. Bizarre and awesome.


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