Month: February, 2013

Gregory Alan Isakov “That Moon Song,” “Words,” “The Stable Song”

As a nod to the minor holiday that falls every February 14th, I have decided to shed a little light into my soul and share with you an artist I truly adore: Mr. Gregory Alan Isakov.

Native to Johannesburg, South Africa, and current resident of Colorado, Isakov has notoriously stopped me in my tracks for years now – in a literal sense. Whenever I sit down to write a post, I keep the song on repeat the entire time; it’s inspiring and I generally pick out the little nuances after the nth listen. This is not the case with Gregory. I hear his music and consequently nothing else can happen. Few artists arrest me quite like he does.

“That Moon Song” is the song that I believe most people know. It is tremendous and moving and simply sensational. This was my introduction to him. I think my feet left the ground the first time I heard it.

“Words” is one of my favorite songs ever written. I have such a love affair with the irony of writing a song about the power of words. Music inevitably trumps lyrics in my mind and here he has turned that concept on its head by writing absolutely holy lyrics to the most stark, effortless music. There’s something very reminiscent of e.e. cummings in this song which obviously adds to its excellence.

I find it nearly impossible to describe “The Stable Song.” It’s like a modern day lyric poem. Everything moves so exquisitely and in such an order, I can’t help but think it’s some grand life metaphor. And geeeez that first line, that first line…

Everything Everything “Cough Cough,” “Kemosabe” & “Duet”

I don’t really know how to categorize these British blokes and honestly, that makes all the difference! This shit is cool. It’s intricate enough to stand out and keep your ear, but hooky enough in all the right places to ensure you don’t go anywhere. One thing’s for sure, Everything Everything will raise your eyebrows.

“Cough Cough” wasn’t an immediate sell. It took :28 seconds of ::WTF?!?:: before it settled in and cheesily enough “that Eureka moment hit [me] like a cop car.” Brace yourself and keep your mind open. Props to including actual coughs in this track. Nice touch?

“Kemosabe” is another story. Instantly in your face like “Cough Cough,” but definitely a lot more to cling to at the forefront.

“Duet,” the most recent Everything Everything release, attends to the less musically adventurous folks. Definitely feel the lovely, yet quite typical British pop/rock vibe in this one. Kinda wearing their influences on their sleeve (Elbow…Coldplay), but does it really matter? Everything else is “alt-J enough” to stand on its own. I think I’m coining that term.

Photo Ops “It Makes Me Cry”

Don’t be put off by the title of this one. This song is a jam; a pitiful love jam, but hey, ’tis the season – and it’s a jam nonetheless! I love the thundering guitars and the echoing, faraway vocals. The scenic feel to this song could easily be compared to some of Nada Surf’s best. This is a total springtime-sunset-windows-down kinda track. I even like how Photo Ops gives a :05 second heads up via funky mini-intro before releasing an arsenal of sound into your ears. And you can download it for free-fifty!

Bear’s Den “Agape”

Bear’s Den is on the map now! So this is my first repeat band and it’s for a good reason. The last you heard of them, I had explained my woes of trying to exchange money for music and they would have none of it. No web presence; practically “the invisible” band.

They have just put out a new single “Agape” and it is mind-blowingly large. They have a way of proverbially punching you in the gut…but in a good way? The song begins so dynamically with the busy banjo and intermittent pulses filling the surrounding silence. The drums and rhythm guitar do such a dance in this song, it makes your heart heavy before the words even come out of Andrew Davie’s mouth.

To avoid an overwrought description of this beautifully tragic song, I will end by saying that I appreciate Bear’s Den’s absolute sincerity. As gripping as “Agape” sounds, it’s tough to listen to such anguish and not feel some yourself. Consider this your warning.

(Oh, but it’s gooood!)