Best Song I’ve Heard All Day — Llama Edition

(part 687 in a 1001 part series)

I’ve really been enjoying the new album by Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca. It’s a complicated and challenging record, but the complexities are rewarding if you spend some time with these songs.

Take a listen to one of the highlights “Stillness Is the Move” and watch this great new video directed by Matthew Lessner.


*Note: You may or may not recall that I first covered Dirty Projectors in 2007 in this Song of the Day review.

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: Reminds Me Of Flotation Toy Edition

The Antlers

(part 611 in a 1001 part series)

The first thing I listen for when I put on a new John Vanderslice album is the production. Sure Vanderslice is a great songwriter, great arranger and all that, but his sense of crisp pop production is phenomenal… he’s one of the best out there. Vanderslice’s new album Romanian Names — his first on Dead Oceans, after six on Barsuk — very well could be his best. It’s full of catchy melodies, swirling analog synths and computerized beats and yet still fairly melancholy.

This song here really reminds me of a great band we haven’t heard from in a long time, Flotation Toy Warning.*

“D.I.A.L.O.” by John Vanderslice

*Note: This is NOT, as our very own Aryn Crowley thought, Flotation Toy Warning, but John Vanderslice. The song just had certain qualities that reminded of the other band. For those who did love Flotation Toy Warning’s 2004 album, they reportedly are set to finally release a followup later in 2009.

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: Best Known Unknown Edition

The Antlers

(part 567 in a 1001 part series)

Last week I was introduced to a great new unknown band called The Antlers. The new album Hospice is a dark orchestral and electronic pop album that recalls Arcade Fire’s bombast and the quivering and mannered voice of Antony. The song that sold me was the opener “Kettering.” But this one below really blew me away this morning while eating breakfast and reading the news; it’s much more joyful and upbeat musically, though of course a hint of sadness in the lyrics.

“Two” by The Antlers

UPDATE 3/11: Just saw The Antlers perform live tonight at The Black Cat for probably 35 people tops. We were taping the show for NPR Music to put up at a later date, but all I can say is wow. Going in, didn’t know what to expect: For as intricate and full a sound they have on the album, I was curious if they would be able to recreate it live, or if they would adapt the material. Many bands like this often end up a tad underwhelming or pale in comparison.

But The Antlers — with only 3 members (guitarist\vocalist, drummer, keyboardist on a Fender Rhodes) — managed to capture the songs but expand upon them in new ways…usually in a wash of guitar feedback and heavily distorted Fender Rhodes fed through a myriad of pedals and a Korg mini synth. Although the set was quite short, it definitely was pretty great. They’ll be a really good band if they keep it up. I shall post a link to audio when the concert goes live on NPR Music.

Here is the one photo I took:

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: Wintery But Warm Edition


(part 512 in a 1001 part series)

This morning while walking to work, a particularly dreary and cold day in Washington, a great new song by Papercuts caught my ear — “You Can Have What You Want” from the upcoming album of the same name. This new record was recorded with no computers and with all analog gear and you can hear it in the warm retro atmosphere. It’s a bit mopey, but quite nice for a wintery album.

2009 already has quite a few great albums out, so this is a nice addition. You can read what I thought of the previous Papercuts album here.

“You Can Have What You Want” by Papercuts

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: Computerized Pulsing Beats Edition

Fol Chen

(part 458 in a 1001 part series)

This is another record I just dug out of my giant mail bin full of unlistened discs… one that I had overlooked until I read about a song on NPR’s Second Stage and thought I’d give it a once through.

Not sure what it is about this song… the computerized pulsing beats, the synth lines, the ominous and dissonant vocal melodies? But this song by Fol Chen (from their album Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made) is really working for me.

“The Believers” by Fol Chen

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: The Bad Plus Plus One Edition

The Bad Plus

(part 436 in a 1001 part series)

The Bad Plus, along with a singer named Wendy Lewis (who is known on the Minneapolis alt rock scene) are set to put out an album of cover songs called For All I Care. The album features songs by Flaming Lips, The Bee Gees, Wilco Pink Floyd etc.

Skeptical? Don’t be… check out this version of “Lithium” by Nirvana. wow.

“Lithium” by The Bad Plus

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: Largo Edition

Grant Lee Phillips

(part 307 in a 1001 part series)

So I wrote that blog entry about Jon Brion, which led me to the Largo website, which led me to the Largo documentary website, which led me to the videos section, which led me to a clip of Grant Lee Phillips (formerly of Grant Lee Buffalo)… and I really enjoyed that 30 second blip of music he was singing.

So I tracked down his latest album (in my giant mail bin full of unlistened cds), and sure enough that song was on there… called “Raise the Spirit.” I like it.

“Raise The Spirit” by Grant Lee Phillips

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day: David Byrne Edition

David Byrne

(part 253 in a 1001 part series)

This song is from the new David Byrne\Brian Eno album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. While there a few clunkers on the disc, as a whole it’s much better than I expected. A few songs are downright great and up there with some of Byrne’s best music, not to mention fantastic production and collaboration with Brian Eno.

“Life Is Long” by David Byrne and Brian Eno