Given that Metric just released their newest album Synthetica last month, I was originally going to feature “Youth Without Youth”, however, as my RSS and twitter feed have lovingly [and frustratingly] reminded me, next week is Comic-Con!
One of these days I’ll go down there. All I need to do is save and plan properly. Planning commences now.
So instead, in tribute to SDCC, this week’s song honors one of my favorite, and one of the best, collaborations between music, film, and obviously, comics!
Metric’s “Black Sheep” was prominently featured in the soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. While this is probably old news to many of you, for anyone who doesn’t know, it was perfectly fitting given that Metric was in fact the inspiration for the story’s fictional band, Clash at Demonhead!
I absolutely love Metric’s electro-indie-alternative sound and how Emily Haines’ vocals are consistently balanced against aggressive riffs. Likewise, when the music becomes more melodious, as it does in the chorus of “Black Sheep”, she shifts to a sweeter sound, creating such a fantastic contrast.
Both the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack and Synthetica are available at Metric’s official website, iTunes, and Amazon. The albums are also likely available at your local record store! ;)
Whether it’s done lyrically or musically, I love when a song’s emotional tone takes a surprising turn. Beginning with drums that demand attention, a keen electric guitar, and perfectly complementary dual vocals, “Your Story”, from Bears of Manitou, initially appears like a rebuke, but evolves into an emboldening message. This song focuses on the present and making the best of it.
While I usually restrain my words for a single song, I just want to say how much I love Origins, the album on which “Your Story” appears. It’s a solid, musically cohesive debut album. It begins with the upbeat “Everything I Want,” which serves as a pleasant introduction to both the band and the album. It’s a cheery indie/folk song and it’s appearance before “Your Story” is a smart juxtaposition; these first two tracks effectively show the band’s musical and lyrical range, and the rest of album lives up to that.
The next track, “Straight Ahead”, is catchy and nostalgic, with an amusing charm. “Searching For Love” musically deviates from that, with a heavier, somber sound. The bridge in that song is one of my favorites on the album; there’s a slightly jazz-y tone to it that highlights the brightness of Maria Sais de Sicilia’s voice. It’s then followed by two of my favorite tracks and track sequence: “Dear” and “Houses”. The former showcases how strong the harmonies and vocal interplay are between Sais de Sicilia and fellow vocalist Gabe Williams, while “Houses” has air of regret to it, which I love. I’ve featured “Out of Colorado” before, but here its track placement is a refreshing note that keeps Origins balanced and on an even keel. The next song, “Can’t Steal the Moon” may be my favorite of the bunch; thematically, it’s a mixture of melancholy and resignation, and musically it leans more towards their indie sound. Finally, “Home” is short and sweet with a sentiment of contentedness; it’s the perfect end to this album.
The band currently has a Kickstarter campaign to get it pressed onto physical CDs and vinyl and they have an adorable video to accompany it:
It ends on the 11th and as I write this, they need a little over $800 to reach their goal! $10 will not only get you the digital version of the album, but a physical copy as well; with $9.99 being the average price of an album on iTunes, you’re actually getting quite the deal.
Multi-hyphenates blow my mind. Not merely through their myriad of talents, but due to their abundance in work ethic. As I was catching up on the premiere of the TNT television show Falling Skies, I noticed that Sarah Carter, who plays a badass resistance fighter, was billed in the credits as Sarah Sanguin Carter, and I was intrigued. I discovered that the beautiful word is not only her real middle name, but also the first half of the band that she’s in, SanguinDrake, and I quickly searched for their songs. Carter’s speaking voice is so distinct and given that she’s described their sound as “Abbey Road psychedelic folk rock”, I knew it had to be fascinating– and I was right!
I absolutely love the whole concept and aesthetics of this video. The vintage PBS title card, the film effect, and the whole Factory vibe, with the Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, and Nico visuals are so spot-on, so well done, but more importantly, very keen in regards to the lyrics. “Gems are gems if we make them so.”
Carter’s voice is slightly reminiscent of Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs) and Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer), with a bewitching bite to it. This quality of her voice atop infectious drums and guitar distortions, solidify a very distinct atmosphere that evokes nostalgia and ephemera.
I’ve been a fan of Carter since I saw her in the television show Black Sash (yes, I’m a WB child. And that theme song? ♥), and now I’m definitely a fan of her music. In my SanguinDrake search, I stumbled upon this interview with photographer Noa Azoulay-Sclater and I love what she had to say here:
Azouley-Sclater: Do you feel like we need to take risks in art? Why?
Carter: Of course! Nothing valuable is without risk. We’re in the business of birthing what’s never been. We have no idea what will happen in the process. What we’ll learn, what we’ll lose, and what it will bring.
Art is creation at its best and most chaotic.
For more SanguinDrake, they have a stunning website, where this song, and the album Pretty Tricks from which it’s from, can be purchased. You can also get it on iTunes. Anyone near San Diego can also see them live at The Griffin on Friday July 6th.
Admired, Inspired is a roundup of a bunch of my favorite links. Enjoy!
Anyone who listens to music needs to read David Lowery’s Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. It’s far more than just a response; Lowery has crafted an incredibly informative treatise on the music industry as it stands today. Emphasis is my own:
The fundamental shift in principals and morality is about who gets to control and exploit the work of an artist. The accepted norm for hudreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time… By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.
From the always fantastic Seth Godin, who constantly helps navigate through changing tides of creation and consumerism: Amplify the positive outliers.
Not just for creatives, but for anyone who wants to just try something new, Leo Babauta answers the inevitable question: “Where in the world do I start?“
New favorite blog discovery! I came across The House Vintage after Catherine linked to her interview with them. I’m so enamored! I love that their features and interviews dig into personal choices and philosophies beyond the visual aesthetics of fashion and style.
While I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been keeping up with the show for quite some time, this interview with Maurice LaMarche, voice actor extraordinaire (Orson Welles! The Brain! Mr. Freeze! Kif!), makes me excited for tonight’s Futurama season premiere!
Our writing gets richer. As our writers come into a more mature age, they’re exploring deeper themes, because that’s what happens to us when we get old. When we started, all our writers were in their 30s. Now, they’re in their late 40s. Some of them are in their early 50s. This show was a little more joke-driven, gag-driven. Now, we’re exploring things like father-son relationships, what it means to love, what is God. You know, comedy.
Over the weekend, I tried to make these Chocolate Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen… “tried” being the operative word. Long story short, I need to stop making major substitutions on my first attempt at a recipe. Note to self: baking is a science. Measurements exist for a reason. The end result was still quite delicious though!