Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Favorite Songs Part 2

Okay so it's finally time to finish off the list of my top ten favorite songs. Let's get right into it shall we?

5. Avenue of Trees - Parenthetical Girls

This song is least like the others and my most recent addition to the list. Parenthetical Girls put together an immensely ambitious and ear floodingly complex orchestra album called Entanglements about four years ago. Every song is artfully experimental but also full of the same soaring beauty you'd expect from any team of string instrumentalists. This song, Avenue of Trees, is actually one of the prettiest of the bunch--meaning it isn't as strange and jarring as some of the others. It's got a drifing non-repetitive structure that takes you from one section to the next, guided so gently by swelling violins and thumping concert percussion that you don't even realize by the end that you've ended up somewhere completely different from where you began. Listen to the track using Spotify, if you can:

4. Sound it Off - Mates of State

Another through-composed masterpiece packed into the standard radio-cut duration of a song. This organ blaring gem is so full of life and energy that you might find yourself getting dizzy. There are about 4-5 distinct sections in this tiny song, all full of keyboard punch and belted vocals. The opening verse has a really memorable chant to it as well that I think is pretty catchy. This band has lost a little of their edge over their years to more pop-friendly structures and instrumentation, but almost all of their old songs from this era have the same vitality as Sound it Off. I guess as we get higher on the list, the songs get less widely popular, because I couldn't find this one online either. Listen on Spotify if you have the program!

3. Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse - Of Montreal

This one I know I can find a video too, because it's one of the most popular songs from the most popular band on my list. This track is the one that made me fall in love with art/funk/avant-garde band of Montreal, especially for the infectious sound of the chorus "Come on chemica-a-a-als. Come on chemica-oh oh oh oh oh oh als." An amazing blend of dark psyche subject matter with screaming electric melodies. If you haven't heard this song yet, you owe it to yourself.

2. Water Curses - Animal Collective

Animal Collective can be a little hit and miss, because so many of their songs drone on like dance tracks and others are just stretched out noise. But lately they've been on fire. Their last release Centipede Hz was one of the best albums I've ever heard, ever. And Water Curses is along the same line. It's like a carnival ride, this song. Split into two stunning sections, giving you double the music for the price of one! Water Curses is full of bouncy, slippery synth sounds, bubbling, slurping sound effects (which AC are kind of famous four) and irrestistibly catchy vocal lines. The vocals are also mixed delightfully low to a breathy, happy hum so that you can enjoy the winding majesty of the distorted atmosphere and anonymous instrumentation. Listening to this song is like eating a piece of flavor-changing candy. Laced with some kind of hallucinogen.

1. Chris Michaels - The Fiery Furnaces

Okay, here it is. The rock opera-style epic we've been waiting for. Fiery Furnaces hit their peak on their second record with their impossibly long masterwork Blueberry Boat. This is easily the best track on the album. It's got rock and roll kick thanks to the electric guitar that rolls throughout the seven minute song, but it's also filled out with quirky keyboard blips and xylophones. I can't even count how many movements this song has because they're too many and they're all stuck together with some kind of super-adhesive, invisible music glue. The shifts happen suddenly enough to give you shivers but not so quickly that they throttle you. The song, I think, is about deliquint children or otherwise basic criminal credit card theft--but it sounds like the grand anthem to the life of a sci-fi hero. If you're a fan of schizophrenic rock opuses and can take the over-stimulation, give Chris Michaels a listen.

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