Saturday, May 10, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

Lanterns on the Lake, "This Year"

Lanterns on the Lake list influences including Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire, Joni Mitchell, Reindeer Section, Low and The Album Leaf. I can hear bits of each of these artists in this song: the lilting loveliness of Joni Mitchell, the reverberated feedback of Reindeer Section and the searing, soaring violin, reminiscent of the ultimate cacophonic (word? not a word?) band, Arcade Fire. I hear the ease and steadiness of Low, the lightness and calm of The Album Leaf and the heartbreaking beauty of Sigur Ros. Even the slightly downcast tone of the lyrics ("well, I'm still here. Made plans to get out, said I'd leave town this year") can't displace the pleasantly hazy gauze it throws over the listener. Instead it makes me want to lie on my bed and stare up, out of the window at the clouds and the piercing blue sky and wonder if there's anything out there looking back at me. Yes, this song reminds me of almost every day I spent in the early 90s.

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Go to for more of their songs

No lanterns, no lakes. What's up with that?

Anna Ternheim, "To Be Gone"

"Leave the body, leave the mind". This isn't hard to do--the hypnotic quality of the melody and Anna's dark, rough-edged voice uges us through a dense, moody maze constructed of a sparse, kind of wicked piano line, rat-tat-tat type drums (that's the proper musical term) and Anna's eerie, distanced vocals--both immediate and evasive at the same time. I can almost see her sitting on a piano, microphone in hand a la Jessica Rabbit. The song sounds like the Velvet Underground doing a particularly daring James Bond theme. You could also say it's in the vein of Portishead--moody and tense, with a gravitational pull that brings you right in. (By the way, Portishead has a new album out).

Video for "To Be Gone"

Anna Ternheim. What pretty and creepy imagery. I think that's the magic potion--creepy and pretty together.

The Old Haunts, "Volatile" (thanks to Fingertips for the link)

What? You think old Lola only listens to haunting, enchanting songs? Okay, maybe 80% of the music I listen to is "haunting" and "enchanting". Some of it rocks out, too. This song is close to the rock of the 70's--Led Zeppelin with a little Elf Power thrown in. The vocals are un-in-tell-i-gi-ble, but I love the way his voice trills. It's most definitely showy, but it's not supposed to be subtle. The energy of the song is kept up by the vocals and the instruments: the guitars wash over the other instruments, crashing into the other parts of the song like an errant, strong current. The drums strengthen and steady the song--grounding the song so that it doesn't fly away like so many untethered things can. "Volatile" is a good way to describe it, but in only that it's unpredictable and uncontainable. It's also exciting, jolting you out of whatever sleep you had fallen into.

Label page

The Old Haunts wonder why it's so drafty where they're standing.


Nine Inch Nails' new album is completely free. They don't even let you pay for it! (Well, unless you buy the physical CD or vinyl.) I haven't downloaded it yet, but I will soon. I guess I'd better now, in case the offer goes away.

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