Dec 312011

At the mentioning of Icelandic music, most music lovers will probably think either Björk or Sigur Rós. If their American album release in the spring goes well, Of Monsters and Men may potentially be added to this list. I first heard this on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current, which is perhaps the best music radio station in the US. Their album is available in Iceland right now, but nowhere in the US. They recently signed with UMG, so expect a wide release and more albums in 2012.

Dec 262011

I’ve fallen prey to the unstoppable gentle onslaught of Christmas music. Since I’ve caught the bug, I might as well combine it with Dream Theater (and especially their keyboardist extraordinaire, Jordan Rudess). Dream Theater performing O Holy Night/Paradigm Shift live: And from my favorite Christmas album, Jordan Rudess’s 2002 Christmas Sky, White Christmas: and, The Christmas Song:

Nov 022011

It seems like Coldplay has tailored its recent album, Mylo Xyloto, even more to an arena setting than their last album, Viva la Vida. It’s an explosion of distorted glammy synths and I/IV/V chords and steady dance beats and Chris Martin reaching up octaves to belt out eminently sing-along-able choruses with a “oh’s” and “whoa’s.” And it’s great. But let’s just compare and contrast: Then (“Careful Where You Stand” from Parachutes B-Side, 2000): Now (“Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” from Mylo Xyloto, 2011): Huh.

Aug 242011

I heard this song all over Peru, and initially wondered if Peruvians were generally big fans of Simon & Garfunkel. Then I remembered that the name of the song was El Condor Pasa, which was Spanish, and that the condor lived in the Andes, and was a prominent symbol of the Incans. It turns out that El Condor Pasa is was a Peruvian song from 1913, based on Andean folk songs.