Songs I’ve been diggin lately

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been busy and this week I’m going on vacation, but hopefully in February I’ll be able to get back on track.  In the mean time here are a few songs I’ve really been into as of late.  Enjoy!

And last but not least, a new song from Reckless Abandon favorites, Pomplamoose!

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Live Music in the Twin Cities

After the holiday lull live music is back in full force here in the Twin Cities.  Here are a few shows I’m exited about:

Vampire Weekend at First Avenue – March 22nd –  7pm

I haven’t seen Vampire Weekend live before and I probably won’t be able to make it to this show because of too many other good shows I’ll be attending.  But I’ve heard they put on a great show, so if your a fan and willing to shell out $27.50, I’m sure it will be well worth it.  Get tickets fast because this could sell out any day!

Passion Pit at First Avenue – April 4th – 8pm

I really want to go to this show since I missed them last time they were town.  Tickets are only $15.75 so I might be able to fit it into my budget.  This show is going to be another hot one, so get tickets right now… seriously!

Manchester Orchestra at The Varsity Theater – March 21 – 5pm

This will be the sixth time I’ve seen Manchester Orchestra, if that’s an indication of how good they are live.  Tickets go on sale 1/21 and they only cost $14!  Is there any reason not to go?

Copeland at The Varsity Theater – March 15 – 5pm

This is Copeland’s farewell tour… it’s a real bummer they’re calling it quits but I’m glad I’ll be able to see them one last time.  If you’re a fan of Copeland this is it, it’s your last chance to see this wonderful band, live.  The show is only $15 and The Varsity is perfect venue for what will be a bitter sweet evening.

Japandroids at the 7th Street Entry – April 10th – 9pm

Japandroids are an up and coming garage rock band who have been getting a lot of buzz as of late.  Their new album Post Nothing is a lot of fun and the Entry is a perfect fit for their style of music.  It will be cool to see them play there as I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re playing the mainroom.  Tickets are only $10!

Tegan and Sara at The Orpheum – March 24 – 7:30pm

Tickets went on sale for this show a long stinking time ago, so I’m sure there aren’t many great seats left, especially for what you’ll be paying.  But if you a big fan, it might be worth it.  I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll win tickets… some how.

Chris Koza – the 7th Street Entry – February 5th – 8pm

Koza is a great local artist and always puts on a great show!  For $8, what do have to lose.

Other notable shows:

David Bazan at The Turf Club – April 5th – 8pm

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at First Avenue – March 27 – 6pm

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists at First Avenue – March 15th – 7:30pm

If you’re a fan of music I challenge you to go out and see some shows this year!  Touring is one of the primary ways bands make money these days and often it doesn’t cost that much more than going to a movie.  Also, the Twin Cities has a great music scene with great venues and we’re always getting excellent national tours coming through.  If you’re looking for tickets I recommend getting them directly from the venue to avoid ticketmaster’s barrage of fees.  If that isn’t convenient for you, you can usually get tickets for most shows around town at the Electric Fetus.  So get out there and support the bands you love, or check out some new music, you won’t regret it!

Beatles Project 2010

As most people know, The Beatles had a big year in 2009.  They released two box sets and effectively reached a new generation by releasing the video game “The Beatles: Rock Band.”  What I was most excited about was the stereo box set which features The Beatles’ 14 studio albums plus the Past Masters collection, all newly remastered for the first time.  I’ve had about 90% of The Beatles’ catalog for the past ten years but only in a digital format.  I’ve always wanted to get the physical copies of their albums and when I found out I could get them all in one fell swoop, I was thrilled.  Unfortunately, the box set is a little out of my price range at this time, but the good news is, they are also selling all of the newly remastered albums individually.  With that said, I’ve decided, over the next year I’m going to collect all 14 studio albums and track my progress here at Reckless Abandon.  I’m going to begin this project with a story about how I became a fan and then I’ll be giving reviews and commentaries of each albums as I get them.  This will all of course will be intermixed with Reckless Abandon’s usual musically offerings and projects I have planned for the upcoming year.  Thanks for stopping by and check back for new post coming soon!

Darren

Top 10 Albums of 2009

This is kind of anticlimactic at this point considering we’re already well into 2010, but hear finally, is my top 10 albums of 2009.

10. Fiction Family – Fiction Family

Somewhere between fronting the band Switchfoot and releasing an ambitious solo project, Jon Foreman had time to write and record an album with Sean Watkins of Nickle Creek.  The two call themselves Fiction Family and their self-titled album sounds like a striped down version of Switchfoot with little bits of country/bluegrass influence provided by Watkins.  The two sounds meld together nicely, creating one of the more pleasant listens of the year.

9. Manners – Passion Pit

After the success of the 2008 Ep, Chunk of Change, Michael Angelakos decided to take his one off project, make it into a band and record a full length album.  Like the Ep, Manners is synthesizor heavy, full of samples and features Angelakos’ piercing falsetto.   The big difference is the addition of guitars and live drums which give it a fuller sound.  Lyrically Manners is more melancholy, though the music is as poppy and fun as ever.  If your a fan of Passion Pit you must check out Angelakos’ in studio performance at The Current.  He performs three songs from Manners using only a piano.  It’s pretty amazing.

8. Sainthood – Tegan & Sara

Sainthood picks up right where Tegan & Sara’s last album, The Con left off.  It’s full of the catchy pop hooks, but has more of an edge, showing that these ladies know how to rock with the best of them.  The guitars are fierce and the keyboards moody giving Sainthood both a modern sound and a sound hearkening back to the eighties.

7. Champagne Downtown – Halloween Alaska

Halloween Alaska are a local Twin Cities band and they seem to be content with just that.  With Champagne Downtown they’ve perfected their brand of synth driven indie rock.  The album as a whole is very chill, but on several songs the music turns on a dime, completely changing the dynamics, giving the album an unpredictability I find refreshing.

6. Monsters of Folk – Monster of Folk

When I first heard of this project I wasn’t expecting it to be very good.  I figured a band with three frontmen simply couldn’t work.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  M. Ward, Jim James, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis combine to create a powerhouse of sound.  Their collaboration is nearly seamless and rarely sounds like a compilation featuring each of the artist’s individual songs.  The influences are pretty much what you’d expect from the four guys involved.  They each bring a little bit of what they’re know for.  I was least familiar with Jim James’ work going in, but ended up really enjoying his vocal range and song writing.

5. Horehound – The Dead Weather

When The Dead Weather came on the scene everybody kept referring to them as “Jack White’s” new band.  However, when listening to this album it becomes clear, this is very much Alison Mosshart’s band.  She does most of the singing and is credited for writing 8 of the 10 original songs.  Mosshart’s voice is rough and bold, but also distinctly feminine, which not many female vocalist pull off very well.  Despite the fact that White doesn’t front this project his presence is still very much known.  He sings on a few tracks, but the biggest surprise is that he serves as the band’s drummer.  Who knew he could play the drums so well?  Good pure rock albums are hard to find these days but Horehound hits the nail on the head.

4. Daisy – Brand New

Daisy was initially disappointing to me because it simple isn’t as good as their previous effort, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which I happened to chose as the best album of the decade.  But once I gave Daisy a chance I realized it holds up on it’s own and is one of 2009’s best.  Daisy is very much in the vain of The Devil and God both in the weirdness and simplicity of the album art work and in the music.  Brand New are as unpredictable as ever especially in the vocals which are laced with screaming and yelling.  The opening track, “Vices” begins with an old recording of a woman singing a hymn.  This plays for over a minute then is suddenly broken up by screeching guitars, followed by singer Jesse Lacey screaming “WE NEED VICES.”  I’m not sure how long Brand New can keep this up, but I’ll keep taking it as long as their dishing it out.

3. Beggars – Thrice

As far as I’m concerned Thrice can do no wrong.  They continue to release one solid album after another, while reinventing themselves each time.  Beggars is the follow up to the band’s incredibly diverse double album, The Alchemy Index.  This time around they decided to go with a more straight forward, upbeat rock album inspired by such genres as jazz, blues and roots music.  One of the highlights of Beggars is the strong presence of the rhythm section.  The bass grooves from start to finish while the drums are tight and loud.  Lyrically singer Dustin Kensrue talks of the dark world we live in, while alluding to a better life beyond.  Check out Thrice’s session they recently did for Daytrotter.

2. It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright – mewithoutYou

With their latest release mewithoutYou you have completely shred any evidence of their post-hardcore roots.  The album is mostly acoustic guitar based, with accompaniment from horns, bells, organ, strings and many other instruments.  The resulting sound is even more eclectic than the band’s past work.  Singer Aaron Weiss’ spoken word style vocals are still present, but he also employs much more traditional singing, which suits him well.  Lyrically many of the songs are based on children’s stories similar to Aesop’s fables telling of valuable life lessons, this in combination with Weiss’ faith inspired writing, provide some very thought provoking lyrics.  It’s All Crazy is filled with charm and keeps you coming back for more.

1. Mean Everything To Nothing – Manchester Orchestra

In terms of straight up rock and roll it doesn’t get any better than Manchester Orchestra’s Mean Everything To Nothing.  Musically this album is like a category 5 hurricane, full of cutting guitar riffs, pounding drums and shredding vocals.  All these elements combined, perfectly capture Manchester Orchestra’s live sound, which is their biggest strength.  Frontman Andy Hull has never been one to shy away from vulnerability and Mean Everything To Nothing finds him as open as ever.  His lyrics are self-deprecating and honest as he strives to figure out his meaning in this life.  Manchester Orchestra took a hug leap forward with this album and these guys are only in their early twenties.  There is no doubt they’ll be on many a top 10 list in years to come.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who followed along with me on my Top 25 countdown.  It was a lot of fun!  I’m hoping to have my top 10 of 2009 up by the end of the week.  Also, I’m going to come up with a plan to have consistent posts throughout the new year.  I probably won’t have a post up every day, but at least a couple per week.  If anybody has any ideas or things they’d like to see, let me know!

Darren