Here we are – about half way through another year. It’s hard to believe we’re almost done with the first decade of the 21st century!
What a great time to be a music fan though. The pseudo-mainstreaming of indie rock has catapulted non-bubble gum pop/rock to the forefront of MTV time and time again. TV dramady writers love to showcase songs by their favorite indie bands on their shows, and of course Garden State made one band change the lives of millions.
I want to share a couple things here: first, my adoration of what I’ve dubbed Pastoral (Indie)Rock. New-ish bands in this subgenre consists of, but is not limited to:
- Grizzly Bear
- My Morning Jacket
- Fields of Industry
- Iron & Wine
- Bon Iver
- Fleet Foxes (Currently the 24th highest selling Amazon.com music download!)
Each of these bands or musicians share a penchant for singing or playing about earthy things, or taking more modern thoughts and spinning them in a hymn-like web, in a very beautiful way. The instrumentation is always so intricate, and often includes banjos. I’m a big fan. There are more bands (Wilco, M. Ward for instance), but these are the ones taking it on now.
Secondly, I’d like to highlight my favorite releases this year so far. You can vote for yours at All Songs Considered.
- My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges: I cannot stop thinking about this music! As I Twitted, to me, much of it sounds like a lost collaboration between Paul McCartney and George Harrison from 1976. I normally can’t stand music from the 1970s, but MMJ are making me change my mind.
- Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes: Although not as strong of the “Sun Giant” EP, this album is full of engaging melodies and delicate playing. Pastoral indie rock at its best.
- She & Him – Volume 1: This is almost Pastoral Rock because it features one of its inventors, M. Ward. However, at least one member is required to have a bushy beard, and Zooey’s huge hair doesn’t count.
- Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend: I ain’t too proud to say I still like ‘em.
- Magnetic Fields – Distortion: I hope this doesn’t get lost because it was released so early in the year.
There are other albums (Shearwater, Stephen Malkmus, R.E.M.) that are really good, but haven’t really stuck to me. I’ve been listening to an interesting mix of old and new this year. My favorite album for the past three weeks has been Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue Live 1975 (Bootleg Series Vol. 5). So passionate.