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Genrefication has Moved!

August 1, 2010

Please check out the new site; Genrefication.net!

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Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway – 2003

July 29, 2010

I experienced this album in a unique way. I was on a plane, my senior year of High School, on my way to Costa Rica to visit my sister who was studying there. A friend of mine had suggested Mark Kozelek’s newest project at the time to me, and I took the chance to check it out. I was never sorry. As I sat through the flight, I was immersed in Kozelek’s drowning voice, full of melancholy and regret, but existentially beautiful. The album is haunted by a sense of the Central American way of living, with songs that dance in and out of thematic congruence, centered around characters such as Panch Villa and Salvador Sanchez. So, in the midst of my quest, I was exposed to the beautiful melodies that seemed to perfectly coincide with the excitement and rustic adventure of my journey. I’m sure that anyone lacking the same pretense of experience can still get fully lost in Kozelek’s beautiful way of invoking empathy and wonder in his listeners. This one is as good as he gets, in my opinion. Have a listen:

Si Paloma – Sun Kil Moon

Carry Me Ohio – Sun Kil Moon

Official Site

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Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More – 2009

July 29, 2010

I don’t honestly know where to start with this one. Sigh No More came out in late 2009, and the first time I got to hear them was a few months later. The song was “Little Lion Man,” one of the more popular tracks off of the album. It blew my mind. The personal nature of the lyrics, along with the driving folky layering of acoustic guitar and banjo and stand up bass, had me captivated. I quickly purchased the entire album, and was taken back. It is a worship album, at its heart, full of spiritual lyrics, other-worldly refrains, and a sense that lead singer Marcus Mumford feels every word, every dramatic bridge, every chord change, deep down in his Irish soul. The quartet is currently receiving praise and recognition across the globe, and will no doubt be an Indie folk powerhouse for some time to come. Have a listen:
Awake My Soul – Mumford and Sons
Little Lion Man – Mumford and Sons

Official Site

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Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass – 2007

May 24, 2010

Aesop Rock has long been one of my favorite rappers. It starts with his story; a Jersey-born Hip Hop kid pedaling his self-financed and produced records on a street side table in downtown New York. He was picked up by a label and given space and support to further develop his art. His beat and production is as good as anyone that I know, but his lyricism is by far his strongest talent. In a world where Hip Hop is characterized and identified by asinine, idiotic babbling about how clean the rappers’ shoes are, or how big the tires on their cars might be, Aesop Rock comes through in an impressively intellectual and thoughtful way. His vocabulary is one of the most vast of anyone I have ever heard, period. And, the way that he interjects and makes four, five, six syllable words rhyme with each other is nothing short of impressive. His lyrical complexity and depth has earned him praise, scrutiny, and everything in between. In his words:

My entire approach to writing lyrics these days is based around a vision of being the old man who eats beans out of a can and tells folk tales around a fire to the wide-eyed youth, tall tale style. So my target audience is that youth, and old people with similar stories.

Aesop Rock has consistently reinforced my faith in Hip Hop as an art form, and not merely a means for insecure children to make themselves quick fortunes. None Shall Pass is his most recent studio album, and my favorite of all of them. He gets better with each effort, and this one is supreme. Check it out:

The Harbor Is Yours
None Shall Pass

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David Gray – Live in Slow Motion – 2005

May 17, 2010

I first happened upon this album in California. Streetside Records in Santa Cruz had a used copy of it for 6.99. I had heard a lot of good things about Mr. Gray from a few people, and had heard cuts off of White Ladder some time earlier and liked it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. So, I took a chance. As soon as I put it on my white brick of an ipod and listened all the way through, I loved it. As the initial track, “Alibi,” pans in through the beautiful harmonies of the full orchestra accompaniment, David Gray comes in with a sultry, scratchy British accent proclaiming, “Tonight, I’m running wild.” And from there, he dives head first into his all-too-common insanity in the face of change and love and loss. It’s a beautiful collection of songs, each one an artistic prize of self-realization. And, one thing that I adore about David Gray is his unabashed, unashamed exploration of the things that dominate his mind. In “Ain’t No Love,” he remorsefully sings, “Maybe that it’d do me good if I believed there was a God out in the starry firmament… This ain’t no love that’s guiding me.” He courageously explores the depths of his own loss of faith and doubt in the things he wants to be true. And we, the listeners, get to sit intently by and follow him on his journey of self-discovery. This album has blown my mind time and time again, and is nothing if not highly recommended. My favorite track, by far, is the conclusion of the album, entitled “Disappearing World.” It’s simplicity and truth is beautiful. But, don’t take my word for it:

Disappearing World
Slow Motion

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Jackson Browne – The Pretender – 1976

May 9, 2010

This is what music should be; the drowning drone of innocence and heartache, the silky siren voice of love and loss, the heartfelt proclamations of the inner turmoil that lies within. Jackson Browne knows how to make love and life and losing come to life. The layered harmonies and slide guitar give a smooth and soulful feeling that give the listener a feeling of empathy. It’s an intoxicating sound that lays the setting for his greatest attribute; his words. He has such a beautiful way of expressing the deepest parts of all of us and the struggle we all know amidst story lines of love and loss. He paints empathetic pictures as he croons;

Now to see things clear it’s hard enough I know
While you’re waiting for reality to show
Without dreaming of the perfect love
And holding it so far above
That if you stumbled onto someone real, you’d never know

His terrific ability to express feelings and emotions that I myself feel and empathize with have placed him in my list of favorites for years and years. Have a listen:

The Pretender
The only child

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Waterdeep – Pink and Blue – 2008

February 2, 2009

wd_pb_coverLast December, I went to see Derek Webb at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA. I have been a DW fan for quite some time, so I was excited. I had heard of the opening act, Waterdeep, but didn’t really know what to think of them. They seemingly started off as a Christian praise band, and while they had some undeniable talent, the product of their music just wasn’t something I was in to. All I really knew was their worship music of the 90’s. So, when I saw them play with Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken (they ended up playing a split set, side-by-side) there at Eddie’s, I was blown away. Their music was pure and real. Don Chaffer and his wife Lori combine in both musical and spiritual harmony and create something unique. Their music has an underground, independent feel to it, which allows for some expirimentation that pays off in the end. They are masters of unabashed layering throughout their mixes, which adds detail, and makes their music strikingly interesting. Their latest, Pink and Blue, is by far one of my favorite albums of this year, and has set the bar pretty high for the remainder of 2009. Below is a cut from P&B.

Waterdeep: Life of the Party