I'm going to be honest, there hasn't been a lot of exciting music in my world this year. There's probably two reasons for that - I'm focusing a lot on my reading and I had that whole wedding thing go down in August. I used to do most of my music listening on my subway commute, but now I read. And wedding planning cut into "finding new music" type research or really paying attention to what I was listening to: I had bigger things on the brain.
Also, nobody really put out an album I could get behind. Well, actually, the only album I can recall really getting into this year is Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh, and that was completely unexpected. For sure, there were albums I enjoyed, but maybe I haven't listened to them enough to be called favourites yet - Phoenix, M. Ward, Metric, Neko Case, Lily Allen, Passion Pit... (They all had albums out this year right? My timeline is totally off pre-wedding, I hardly paid attention to music in the first half of the year. Most of my music listening was picking out wedding music and our cd favor music, thus regressing to past musical choices, not current.) And there are albums I have that I have to listen to more than once - Nightmare of You, Mew, Bat for Lashes, Rodrigo y Gabriela, etc. I just need to get back into it.
I am highly anticipating the end of the year because there are releases from Dragonette, Tegan & Sara, Dashboard Confessional, and Paramore. Oh, and I have to get the new Muse album. Plus, Say Anything has a new album coming out, but I'm not really anticipating it based on the sophomoric single "I Hate Everyone." I think my own personal year in music (yeah, I'm a bit late) started this week with releases from two of my favourite bands: Monty Are I's Break Through the Silence and Brand New's Daisy. For the past two days I've been listening to the albums during work and parts of my commute. I should probably take more time to listen to them, and my opinion may change based on my continual aural study, but we'll see how this goes. I actually paid attention!
FINALLY! Finally Monty Are I are back, and though I'd heard some of the early mixes this summer, I was really looking forward to hearing it in my headphones. Plus, this album was a long time coming. Their last album, Wall of People, came out three years ago in 2006, and I'd already been listening to most of those songs a couple years before that. More than anything, my curiousity was heightened by their obvious talent and their boldness. I knew this release would have some surprising sounds uncharacteristic of a young, Warped Tour band. The thing is, I can't stand most of those bands. I can't listen to a note of their songs because I get queasy with what's being passed as "musical talent" sometimes. I find Monty Are I's non-formulaic approach refreshing.
And here they are with Break Through the Silence, still armed with horns ocassionally (let's not forget they were borne out of a high school ska band), rearin' guitars, and what I'm sure is a bevy of interesting electronic devices...along with a zitar or two. Like I said, non-formulaic. That's not to say it isn't catchy. The album sounds polished, much like the design asthetic of the cover. It's sleek, epic rock. The guitars mostly sound huge, the drums can get intense, and there's a lot of different sounds mixed together. Fortunately, it never gets too overwhelming: it's just surprising to hear it all come together sometimes. It may be a little jarring at times, but I'm thoroughly loving it now. Steve, the lead vocalist/guitarist (and my longtime friend), has definitely brought his talents to the next level with this effort. Frankly, I've never heard him sound this good. The band as a whole has something to really be proud of, and I'm excited to hear these songs live as well as congratulate them in person.
My favourite songs that have gotten stuck in my head: "The Stand," "One in a Million," and "Kaleidoscope"
Please support these fine young men - buy the album and tell me what you think - here on ShockHound.com for $7.99! (Also available on Amazon & iTunes)