I always assumed that Editors were just a poor man’s Interpol (in the same way I strongly believe that Muse is just a poor man’s Radiohead and thus refuse to listen to anything by Muse). Because of this egregious assumption, I disregarded any and all Editors’ tracks I briefly came into contact with. However, I have come to seriously regret my ignorance. In the past two days, I heard “Smokers Outside the Hospital Door” on KEXP twice. It was a sign. It was a sign that I must give Editors a chance. And I did.
And what I discovered was that they are a carbon copy of Interpol, except in a good way. They do the morbid and moody tones, except with a bit more English flair. The voice of Editors lead-singer Tom Smith could be mistaken for that of Paul Banks (lead singer of Interpol), except who doesn’t love a singer who embraces the fact he can express emotion through monotone vocals. Still, that is no reason to disregard their music all together. They are a tight band that rocks out through each song.
As a band, Editors have been around since 2002 and hail from Stafford, England. They have released two albums, “The Back Room” in 2005 and “An End Has A Start” in 2007. The title track off the latter album does not miss a beat and is reminiscent of Interpol’s “Slow Hands.” Currently, the band is working on a third album, which promises to be influenced by “scores composed by the man behind The Terminator soundtracks, Brad Fiedel, as well as the expected Depeche Mode, Talking Heads-type art rock,” according to this article from the UK’s XFM.
The similarities can basically be attributed to the way both bands present their lyrics in a monotone yet emotional way. The guitars riffs are as important as the lyrics. This band has style. This band has grace. This band is one of my new favorites.
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For this week’s installment of “Word of the Week” I am going to explore one of my favorite words, “myriad.” This word originally came into my repertoire of words when I was listening to Interpol’s “Antics.” Interpol is known for a unique brand of morbid but intelligently worded songs. Their lyrics are laden with five-dollar words. For example “stealth,” “salacious,” and “cadaverous” appear in “C’mere,” “Length of Love” and “A Time To Be Small,” respectively.
Etymology: Greek myriad-, myrias, from myrioi countless, ten thousand
- Function: adjective
- Date: 1765
(definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster)
Synonyms: countless, endless, heaping, immeasurable, incalculable, multitudinous, no end of, numberless, oodles, slew, uncounted
Antonyms: limited, measurable
Used in a sentence: When Catherine entered Marcus’s apartment, she noticed a myriad of records stacked in milk crates lining the walls.
Used in a song: “But I am married to your charms and grace./ I go crazy like the good old days./ You make me want to pick up a guitar/ and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you.” Interpol “Slow Hands” mp3
Spring has arrived! (At least for now). It is time to put away the wool sweaters and take some light blazers out of storage. It is time to trade the fuzzy ugg boots for converse sneakers and ballet flats. It is time to bust out the sunglasses and the straw bags and, in due time, the bathing suits and flip flops.
In addition the many wardrobe changes associated with the beginning of over-50 degree weather, I find that when the first spurt of spring arrives so begins a shift away on my recently-played list. I exchange my Ray Lamontagne and Fleet Foxes records for something more whimsical and light, like a Camera Obscura or a Noah and the Whale.
So in honor of that, I have complied a list of some spring “trade-ins” – meaning replacements for those bands that really only fit into the cold blustery days. Bust out your sunglasses, it is going to get bright in here…
From Fleet Foxes to Noah and the Whale
Fleet Foxes is one of my favorite “mountain-y” bands, as I have stated before. The fact that their sound emits certain ‘snow covered mountain’ imagery is unmistakable. So when the sun is out and the snow has melted, trade in your Fleet Foxes for your Noah and the Whale. NATW is pure joy and features ukulele, piano and clapping. Like Fleet Foxes, NATW has choruses and verses of enchanting harmonies. “Five Years Time” even has whistling! Delightful!
From Joshua Radin to Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers
Both of these male singer-songwriters have a certain amount of mainstream charm but have been largely unable to cash in. Radin
, on one hand, is the perfect fall/winter artist. He even has a song named “Winter.” His vocals are quiet, yet powerful. Kellogg is a lighter version. Even though he is from Massachusetts, there is a certain degree of Southern twang in his voice. He is a great lyricist who departs wisdom on his listeners. He captures how it feels to be young and innocent in songs like “Summer” and “Blue Jean.” “Milwaukee” (from 2007’s “Glassjaw
Boxer”) is all about growing up and dealing with the changes of life. Throughout the song he repeats “I guess I learned that too” as a response to all of the experiences that occurred in his young years.
From Interpol to Spoon
One of the major characteristics of “spring” bands for me is the use of lighter instruments, like ukuleles, tambourines and percussion shakers. In creating their own signature style, Spoon utilizes these tools. 2007’s “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” is an excellent example. It includes Britt Daniel’s charming vocal style and melodies. “Don’t You Evah” and “Rhthm and Soul” both feature light drums and could be inserted into any road trip mix cd.
From The Frames to The Long Winters
, front man of The Frames, has a strong presence and a stronger sense of how to construct interesting lyrics. John Roderick, the front man of The Long Winters, also shares this talent. The Frames are much heavier than The Long Winters and that is why TLW
are one of my favorite spring band replacements. The acoustic nature of many of their songs lend themselves to a feeling of airy goodness. One song, “Hindsight,” wonders what happens when the snow melts: will things be the same? Of course, TLW
use some electric guitars (“Rich Wife,” “New Girl,” and others) but Roderick’s vocals, harmonies and acoustic sounds are the most noticeable. Overall, when listening to this band, you will imagine open fields and crave the sunshine.
From Ryan Adams toLimbeck
is one of these bands that I believe more people should know about. Hailing from Orange County, California, they are an alt-country rock band whose influences include The Beach Boys, The Replacements and Old 97s (according to their wikipedia
page). The great part about Limbeck
is the way they play – with pure enjoyment. Their songs are geographically aware and touch upon experiences that are incredibly universal – like hanging out with friends, trying to decide what to do (“Everyone’s
in the Parking Lot”), feeling frustrated (“Trouble”) and being home (“Let Me Come Home”). Their use of tambourines
and hand claps is unmistakably interesting. “Honk and Wave,” one of their best tracks, is kind of about a road trip and kind of about a broken heart. The version on “Hey, Everything’s
Fine” (an acoustic/live recording of the songs found on 2003’s “Hi, Everything’s
Great) features banter and hand claps. It is as if the band is reliving the experience via a sing-along with all of their fans and friends.
The snow is a beautiful thing, especially when it lets you stay home from work and/or school. It is like a mini-vacation from life where you can sleep late and stay in PJs all day long. Even though it only lasts a day, it is a wonderful time to take a moment away from the daily grind and lay back. Here is a list of 5 songs perfectly suited for that type of wintery day:
1. The Arcade Fire “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” mp3
“And if the snow buries my neighborhood/ and if my parents are crying/ then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours.”
Arcade Fire are originally from Montreal and have some pretty wintery songs. Win Bulter’s roaring vocals along with the violins set up this song that conveys that “snowed in feeling” of childhood (or adult-hood). It is that feeling where all you want to do is meet up with friends at a local hill and sled down over and over again. With wind in your hair and frost on your face, it is a time to make everlasting memories.
2. Interpol “Obstacle 2” mp3
“I’m gonna hold your face and toast the snow that fell/ because friends don’t waste wine when there’s words to sell.”
Typically Interpol is one of those “rainy” bands and not in the “snowy” bands category. But this song reminds me of that type of snow that happens in college: classes are canceled and friends gather to take advantage of the mid-week snow day by, often, enjoying a few cocktails. Paul Banks seems to be no stranger to those wine-filled days. And his voice is a perfect match for the mood of the song which is mysterious and devoid of all responsibility.
3. Honorary Titled “Snow Day” mp3
“Please let the snow swallow the streets whole./ Keep the bus from coming./ Let us stay home/ so we can avoid the daily drudgery.”
The night before the possible snow day is often the hardest. In sleep, you hope that the snow will be enough to cancel whatever plans you have for the next day. Hopefully you will be able to stay in bed all day and drink hot chocolate as you watch the snow slowly falling outside your window. This song holds on to that hopeful feeling.
“You disembark the latest flight from paradise./ You almost turn your ankle in the snow./ You fall back into where you started/ make up words to song you used to know.”
Stars is another Canadian band that has so many songs about love and winter, but this is one of the strongest. The dual vocals are just like two hopeful lovers meeting on a snowy evening, engaging in conversation that in the past never seemed to match up. But suddenly they get it and realize they really are “still in love” with each other. All it took was one snow-flaky evening.
5. Jimmy Eat World “Crush” mp3
“Faintest snow keep falling, falling/ Yeah/ Hands around your waist./ Nameless, standing cold, standing cold…My lungs are so numb from holding back.”
Jimmy Eat World really knows how to write and execute songs that hold on to a specific feeling. It was never done better than on 1999’s album “Clarity.” This song has always been one of my favorites. It outlines the evening where the slow snow is the main characteristic of an evening. It always makes things more magical. As the cold air seeps into the lungs, words are harder to come back and every sentence must be chosen carefully as not to waste one breath on pointless words.