Tag Archives: The Decemberists

Vocal Duos in Music – Throwback Thursday

Following up from last week, here’s the next in my “Listening to Music Without Understanding It” series! This one originally sparked some good recommendations, and I’ve found some new ones since. But if you have more recommendations, definitely pass them along!


Recently we went to see The Manhattan Transfer in concert. Not a band I had known, but we took the opportunity to go see some live music! It was a great concert, and they definitely still have their skills.

Early on in the concert, they introduced harmony, and how it works, demonstrating as they added one each to the combination. It made me think about harmony, and groups with multiple singers, and how maybe that was something that there used to be a lot more of – but for a while there wasn’t as much. And I feel like it’s coming back.

I really like bands that have multiple people singing, and am really enjoying some of the groups doing more of this. Not like the boy bands or girl bands, where maybe they each do some singing, just to highlight each of them and show them as a personality – to try to spin off solo careers. No, no. The bands where the point is that there’s more than one singer. And the best, in my opinion, is when a man and a woman are both singing, back and forth.

The Raconteurs

I think the band where I really picked up on this and noticed it, and noticed that I really liked it, was with The Raconteurs. This band was made up of a number of artists pulling together to make a band that only lasted two albums. Most notable were the two lead singers, Jack White – formerly of the White Stripes – and Brendan Benson. These two, before and since, have done quite a bit of music, and I like their solo work. But this was my introduction to both of them.

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The Story Song (with 5 favorites)

Something David and I have not discussed too much is our love of music. I personally like a bunch of different music, but one of the more interesting types of music is the story song. This is not limited to any specific genre or artist, it is what the song ends up saying.

Some songs end up just being about emotions, a break up, an empowering situation, etc. – but then there are other songs that tell you a story about a situation. These songs will often present a story in a short period of time, although some go longer than others. I think my love of story songs comes from growing up listening to Harry Chapin. Almost every song he did were story songs. It painted a picture of a person and a situation, bringing out the strong emotion in sometimes simple situations.

I have discovered some other artists that at times have definitely given us some story songs that  compare to Harry Chapin, but every artists works it out differently. With some of them it is about a whole album that takes you along a journey, but there is power when you can take a single song that encompasses an entire journey. Continue reading

The Music of Life

I have written a whole series of posts on the Definition of Science Fiction, as quoted from Frank Herbert. However, in doing so, I have skipped the opening clause, but not intentionally. Let’s talk about that now.

Frank Herbert's Definition of Science Fiction

 

Poetry as the apex of human language. I’ve read some of Herbert’s poetry; and there’s of course some scattered throughout the Dune novels. However, how prevalent is poetry today? Do we have our cleverest folks penning the apex of human language?

I would argue that, while there is of course still poetry being written today, the main poetry of today is in song lyrics. That’s where our poets are going to work; it’s where they can make money and a living. So today I wanted to share thoughts on a few of my favorite concept albums, where the whole album is trying to tell a story – yet this still happens abstractly, poetically, and leaves me still often wondering what is going on, unpacking and learning more every time I listen.

 

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5 Geeky Bands

We did a lot of yard work this evening, and while picking music to play on my iPhone as we worked, I was thinking about geeky bands. Side note, the iPhone playing music like a speaker is one of my favorite things.

I tried to think of a list that did not include bands that are just built on and in geek culture, so this rules out bands like The Black Mages (who are amazing). I also didn’t want to include bands that are just beloved by geek culture, like Daft Punk, the stars of Tron: Legacy.

So, here are five geeky bands. For some of these decisions, the music videos help. Enjoy! Continue reading