[stream] Vacationer // The Wild Life

pinit fg en rect gray 20 [stream] Vacationer // The Wild Life

vacationer relief cover [stream] Vacationer // The Wild Life

It’s been three years, nearly to the day, since I first heard Vacationer’s fantastic “Trip.” Their debut album, Gone, released in 2012, was one of my personal favorites of that year – all smoothed over like sea glass and perfect for backyards and sunshine.

Now, I’m not sure that a band that bills itself as the “Eastern Seaboard’s Foremost Relaxation Specialists” is going to stray significantly from the niche they have clearly carved out for themselves. And with this new track, “The Wild Life,” the band is still perched barefooted on that new-tropical branch. But what had once sounded like a respite from whatever else was happening in the music world now sounds like a warmed-over revisiting of the path they’ve already led us down, imploring the listener to opt for abandoning plans instead of tending to whatever responsibilities they might have.

Is it catchy? It is decidedly so. Is it groundbreaking? Outlook not so good. That’s not to say the rest of the album is going to be the same, but with this as the lead single, my hopes aren’t particularly high.

Relief, Vacationer’s sophomore effort, will see the light of day on June 24th through Downtown Records.

Connect with Vacationer // Facebook | Twitterweb

[stream] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // Eurydice

pinit fg en rect gray 20 [stream] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // Eurydice

the pains of being pure at heart eurydice cover [stream] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // Eurydice

I suppose its somewhat fitting that I am lured back to blogging by a song titled “Eurydice.” If your grasp on Greek mythology is rusty, here’s a short take:

Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus, who died after being bitten by a viper. Distraught, Orpheus traveled to the Underworld and played music so beautiful that Hades agreed to let her return with him, on the condition that he walk in front of her and not turn back to look at her until they reached the upper world. Of course Orpheus, being impatient and untrusting of Hades (who could blame him), turned back to see Eurydice prior to her crossing the threshold from the Underworld to the upper, and she was taken back.

Now, I’m not saying that this “Eurydice,” the second single from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s upcoming third album, is enough to make Hades change his mind about a dead significant other, but it’s enough to warm the cockles of this jaded blogger’s heart. And that’s plenty good enough for me.

Days of Abandon is due out on May 13th through Slumberland Records, just in time for all your summertime road trips.

Connect with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // Facebook | Twitter | web

[listen/download] Slow Animal // The Other Side

pinit fg en rect gray 20 [listen/download] Slow Animal // The Other Side

Slow Animal band [listen/download] Slow Animal // The Other Side

The first notes of “The Other Side” lull you into the belief that, perhaps, a few extra years in age have softened the edges of Slow Animal’s familiar lo-fi punk sound. It doesn’t take long to shatter that thought. There is an added layer of maturation on a new track entitled “The Other Side,” but the rough, ramshackle effervescence of youth has not been lost. Familiar constructs are retained: melodic guitars held to a steady upbeat pace, with muddled diatribes affirming the efficacy of illicit substances and enduring pleasure; but all that doesn’t mean they’re stagnant.

Listen, I adore this band, and their set at our last ill-fated birthday show was the highlight of the evening for me. Just about anything they’ve created has been more pleasing to my ears than a luxurious q-tip insertion, and a much healthier decision to boot. They indicate this is the first single off an upcoming EP of the same name, and that a full length should be in the offing as well. One can only hope.

Slow Animal // Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

[listen] Jimi Goodwin // Oh! Whiskey

pinit fg en rect gray 20 [listen] Jimi Goodwin // Oh! Whiskey

Though he was likely the driving force of the overall sound of Manchester’s Doves, if it hadn’t been evident prior, it’s obvious now with new track “Oh! Whiskey” that Jimi Goodwin was principally responsible for the band’s folk-centered jaunts. That aspect was never my favorite, but with such a varied base of styles it provided a well earned change of pace throughout the band’s catalogue – a catalogue which any long time reader of tympanogram should be aware I am a great admirer. Despite having been released nearly 14(!) years ago, “The Cedar Room” remains in the conversation (perhaps its totality depending on the day) of my personal favorite songs of all time.

It’s been quite some time since there’s been new music from the on-hiatus Doves, so it was with great pleasure that I learned of Goodwin’s debut solo album, Odludek. “Oh! Whiskey” exercises those folk muscles at the onset, with an extended harmonica solo, familiar rolling guitars, and Goodwin’s rough around the edges vocals centered on heartache and drinking. I’ve yet to listen to the remainder of the record, but Goodwin has described it as a “mad mixtape” and “eclectic as fuck,” meaning it’s surely as deftly varied as I expect.

While I hold out hope that Doves will reunite and give us another effort on the level of “The Cedar Room” or “There Goes the Fear,” I’ll be happy to take in the rest of Odludek for the time being.

[random] On 2014 So Far

pinit fg en rect gray 20 [random] On 2014 So Far

It’s amazing how quickly time slips past us; I’ve posted on the blog literally ten times since the calendar turned to 2014. Considering that we’re already ninety-some days into the year, that’s not a great average.

But it’s been a great year to this point: I’m newly-engaged and learning to not call my fiancée “my girlfriend.” Old habits are truly hard to break. And with that engagement comes all kinds of busyness: scouting locations, deciding on what food 180 people will be allowed to eat, what we want to listen to throughout the reception, colors, flowers, ties, dresses, etc. There are myriad things available for which I never knew there could even be options.

Bringing things back to music, I’ve been spending 2014 looking backwards, in part because of the engagement, so I’ve been looking for specific types of songs – old soul in the vein of Freddie Scott’s “You (Got What I Need).” That’s led me down rabbit holes into a lot of Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley and into my live Van Morrison bootlegs and recently into Simon & Garfunkel. My time with new music has been limited, and I’m enjoying thumbing through old records at the shops for albums I never would have dreamed of previously, or discovering The Mad Lads, or needing to listen to all of Stevie Wonder’s output with fresh ears.

It’s been rewarding to tap back into this great wealth of music that so often goes unnoticed by the bleeding edge blogosphere to discover this vast expanse of new-to-me music. I mean, I’ve listened to Howlin’ Wolf’s “Moanin’ at Midnight” two dozen times this year. It’s likely that my most played list for 2014 won’t have much representation from the twelve months that preceded it.

And that process has been doing me so much good. I’m losing some of the jaded veneer that I’ve so snarkily cultivated when it comes to what I like. Music should be enjoyed, and dredging up all this great stuff from the past has enabled me to do exactly that again.