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Sunday Sounds: Sucré, “Endless Sleep”

I missed everything.

Oh heaven, please help me, help me from falling back again.
In hibernation, a century of loneliness.

So I stay at home in my own world, and I kiss it all goodbye.
Life never seemed so elegant but so trite.

No love, no loss, there is only air.
I feel no pain, there is only here.

But this shall be the end of endless sleep.

I must stay awake.

It’s been far too long, yeah?

Hello again.


Sunday Sounds: Copeland, “Erase”

It’s always gonna be music that brings me back.

A few years ago, one of my favorite bands, Copeland announced they were no longer going to make music together. Although there have been many amazing groups from my teenage years that have called it quits (Acceptance and Northstar quickly come to mind) this particular disbanding stung just a little bit more than the others because of the album that they had just released, You Are My Sunshine. The fall of 2008 into the spring of 2009 was rife with changes and overall just a tough year, but that album helped me get through it. To this day I still go to that aching emotional place any time I hear “The Day I Lost My Voice (The Suitcase Song).” Then again, even without the personal history, I’m sure that song could break me down.

Fast forward to spring of this year: Copeland announced they were reuniting to create a new album called Ixora. There was nothing that could keep me from getting my hands on it. My fervor was rewarded and those of us that pre-ordered were given a digital copy last weekend.

Ixora is a masterpiece. Solid and coherent, it’s ethereal, atmospheric, and irresistible with its sincerity. While the album is stunning as a whole, each song stands on its own, all while maintaining a thread throughout.

“Erase” in particular deftly illustrates the range of the album. Falling in after the comparatively confident “I Can Make You Feel Young Again”, which radiates certainty and assurance throughout, “Erase” is more finely drawn in its intention. Lyrically, it’s subtle song, keen in its imagery, slowly building one idea upon the next, suffusing the listener with its portrait of nearly ineffable, unrelenting connections. There’s a poignant push and pull between nostalgia and frustration with a hint of acceptance.

The music acutely complements the lyrics. “Erase” begins simply, with only vocalist Aaron Marsh and a piano gently lulling you into the song, patiently allowing the lyrics to sink in. Soon, guitars follow as the language slowly moves from the metaphoric to the emotionally specific. Then, the strings sweep in, elevating the sincerity and intensity. Finally, as the bittersweetness of the lyrics become more evident, with Marsh singing “You’re still a breeze upon my skin / close my eyes, breathe you in. / I’m still the shadows in your night, / taking over, until I fade into your light,” the drums and bass complete the picture and heighten the aggression.

It’s the final verse that cuts the deepest though. It’s layer upon musical layer with Marsh allowing his signature falsetto to blend with it– it’s just one element to emphasize the haze. That is, until the final line shines brightly, “I can’t help this awful feeling / that I can’t erase you.” It’s a short line, but an important one, reversing the influence from narrator to subject. A short instrumental breakdown follows before the song ends on an elegantly slow swell of strings. It leaves you still reeling from the admission that you can never know how much others will affect us and how little we can control it.

I am patiently (but excitedly!) awaiting my physical copy, but for those who missed out on the pre-orders from their official website, Ixora is set to release on iTunes tomorrow, but since I’m posting this late PST, it’s probably already up. Buy it now!

Copeland has a handful of shows between now and February, so if you’re somewhere in the South/South Atlantic, go!


Sunday Sounds: Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know”

Within less than a month of its release, the Arctic Monkeys‘ newest album AM is without a doubt one of my top albums of year. The first song, “Do I Wanna Know,” effectively establishes the album’s emotional and conceptual tone as one full of temptation and [musical] aggression. Oh, it will lure you in.

From the get-go, the drum beat is immediately arresting, followed by a guitar riff equally intense and infectious. It’s heavy and… it’s suggestive. You can’t deny how sultry it is. Throughout the song, the constant riff pairs poignantly with its lyrics of pervasive wistfulness. Naturally, Alex Turner’s voice slinks throughout and strengthens the seduction.

Hell, the whole album is just absolutely seductive. And I’m certainly not the only one who thinks so: as I was looking up the video, I saw that one of the highest rated comments is how this song is perfect for a sex scene. Never change, internet; these are the times I love thee.

This past Friday I had the pleasure of hearing this song live and my god, it was glorious. The entire show was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time (mad love to my friend Kim for letting me know about it and inviting me along!). Despite the occasional side-eyeing from people who forget how crowded a rock concert can be, the energy of the crowd was amazing. Of course, both Arctic Monkeys and their supporting band, Mini Mansions were spectacular. I was able to snag some shots, and for once my instagram looks especially interesting.


Sunday Sounds: Twin Forks, “Back to You”

Collaborations between musicians whom I already love are one of my absolute favorite things in life. That’s no exaggeration. And Twin Forks fits the bill perfectly.

Twin Forks is comprised of Chris Carrabba from Further Seems Forever, Suzie Zeldin of The Narrative (two bands I’ve previously featured; here and here), Jonathan Clark, and Ben Homola of Bad Books.

Yes, the result is just as fantastically phenomenal as you imagine it would be.

“Back to You” is a sublime song. It’s upbeat, sincere, and incredibly infectious. In the beginning, amidst the drum beat, claps, and the mandolin, there’s a stray, candid holler, establishing the mirth and geniality, not only of this song, but of this album (as it’s the first track of their EP), and of this band. This is a band you want to be best friends with. This is a band you can be best friends with. Carrabba is as earnest as always, and in this song, there’s a lightness in his voice that I just love (but when don’t I love his voice, let’s be honest). When the harmonies kick in they’re absolutely charming and so lively that I dare you to sit still. The chorus just makes you wanna move! Near the end of the bridge, Zeldin’s voice peeps up, sweetly supporting Carrabba’s as he croons the chorus lines.

As for the lyrics, well, given that FSF’s The Moon Is Down is my favorite album, it’s no surprise that I’m constantly (and consistently!) enamored with Carrabba’s writing. As one expects with Twin Forks’ falling into the Folk/Americana genre, “Back to You” is mostly externally situated, with hopeful reflection.

Twin Forks’ debut EP will be available for sale this Tuesday, the 17th, but you can pre-order it on iTunes! And you don’t have to wait to hear it, as it’s currently streaming for free over at Purevolume. They are also going out on tour this fall (check out tour dates here), so if they swing by your city, please go and take me along with you!

Among the recent press surrounding the release, this interview between Substream Music Press and Carrabba is an insightful one, and while the entire thing is gold, these comments regarding creativity and public perception stand out:

SM: Yeah, and that’s part of the trick too. How does an artist transition without alienating anyone?
CC: Don’t you think it’s tricky to try and not alienate anyone? You’re going to alienate someone. I think that I better not worry about who likes it. I just kind of believe that if I write something potent and evidently honest, then I just kind of trust that people will like it. There’s going to be people who don’t like it because they like the non traditional aspect that Dashboard had. You can’t predict that stuff and I think you could drive yourself crazy. I think you can give yourself writer’s block when you do that and I’ve done that before.

SM: At this point in your career, do you feel like the pressure is off?
CC: No, I don’t. I don’t know that I feel like the pressure will ever be off because I put the pressure on. I felt a lot of pressure when nobody was listening. I felt a lot of pressure when the people were listening were diehard fans and I felt a lot when the people were listening were diehard fans and haters who wanted to tear it up. The pressure comes from me, it’s eternal. I don’t think its reactionary to the particular happenings of the moment.

Intrinsic motivation. That’s what it always comes down to.