Spring Fever: The 10 Best Spring Albums

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spring

For any Midwesterners out there, spring is almost certain to be one of your favorite seasons.  The summer is sweltering hot and humid.  Winter (not this year fortunately) can be cold, wet, and depressing.  Fall is probably my favorite season, because more often than not the past ten years it means I get to watch post-season Cardinals baseball.  But spring means the birds are starting another long season, and the anticipation is at a fever pitch.
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Spring Fever: The 10 Best Spring Albums

The 10 Best Uses of Pop Songs in Commercials

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Who watches commercials anymore?  I certainly don’t.  Unless it is a live sporting event, there is just no reason to subject yourself to them.  Luckily though, when we are a captive audience, there is once in awhile a commercial worth watching.  For the list this week, we decided to celebrate the return of Mad Men with a top ten list of pop songs used in commercials.  So, let’s celebrate Harry Crane’s commercial magic and delve right in.  As always, let us know what we missed.  Enjoy!

10. Volkswagen:  “Pink Moon” – Nick Drake

The vehicle in this commercial is the only thing remotely dated.  Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” is a lovely accompaniment for the midnight drive portrayed throughout the beautifully filmed ad.
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The 10 Best Uses of Pop Songs in Commercials

LxL’s Best Albums of 2012

Top 20 Best Albums of 2012 including El-P, Jack White, and Fiona Apple

2012 turned out to be a pretty great year in music.  I think all three of us would agree the offerings in 2012 were deep in really good albums, without many albums rising to the level of true greatness.  That being said, I think I would rather have a pool of 60-80 really good albums come out in a year than 9-10 great albums.  Around here, we like variety, and we certainly got it this year.  There was a surprisingly surge of good hip-hop released in the second half of the year (Killer Mike, Nas, Meek Mill).  There was the long-awaited return of all-timer female singer songwriter types (Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor).  And there were also several much-anticipated sophomore wide releases (Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Beach House, Twin Shadow).  All in all, there may not have been a lot of perfect albums this year, but it was still a great year in music.  Enjoy the top 20.
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LxL’s Best Albums of 2012

LxL’s Best Songs of 2012

Songs and Artists of 2012

Well, after a short Holiday hiatus, we are back! And our end of year coverage continues with the most difficult list to assemble: our favorite songs of 2012. Why is a songs list so difficult to construct you say? Because there is so friggin’ many of them, it’s very hard to reach a consensus. For example we may absolutely love two songs on an album fairly equally, like First Aid Kit’s “Lions Roar” and “EmmyLou”, but we might split our vote causing neither to make the list. But even with the challenging aspects of making this list, it was a blast to make and look back at all the songs that colored our year. Here are our favorites:

20. AlunaGeorge – “Your Drums, Your Love”


New London electronic duo AlunaGeorge, consisting of singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid (naturally), hit the electronic field by storm in 2012 with an EP and hopes of a full-length to come in the upcoming year. “Your Drums, Your Love” wrings of the slick, wry, and pretty production that Lilly Allen brings to the table, but with an added dimension of electronic touches and an unshakable chime of voices repeating “your drums” to take it over the top.
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LxL’s Best Songs of 2012

Grizzly Bear Review: Shields

Grizzly Bear

Shields

Grizzly Bear Shields album cover art

Beautiful harmonies are back in vogue. While the move towards a more DIY independent music scene has led towards less and less classically beautiful vocalists, there is still a small pocket of indie musicians that when coupled together sound pleasant to any ear. Artists like Fleet Foxes and Feist have gotten love for their purity of pitch and wonderfully elaborate harmonies, but Grizzly Bear among others (Dirty Projectors, Dr. Dog, St. Vincent) have wrongly missed their due for their beautiful chorale of voices. The three-part harmonies of Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, and Chris Taylor – 3/4ths of Grizzly Bear with drummer Christopher Bear being the final piece – makes for a swirling symphony of sound, especially when mixed with the imaginative arrangements composed by Droste. Shields, the Brooklyn band’s fourth release, continues their track record of strongly crafted pop records but without the level of dynamics and exploration that the band found on the previous two records, Yellow House and Veckatimest.
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Grizzly Bear Review: Shields

Alanis Morissette Review: Havoc and Bright Lights

Alanis Morissette

Havoc & Bright Lights

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For some reason 2012 has become the year of the powerful female singer-songwriter releasing an album after a long hiatus (Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Sinead O’Connor) or trying to come back from a disappointing effort (Regina Spektor, Norah Jones).  Alanis Morissette is trying to capitalize on this trend with her first album in five years, Havoc and Bright Lights, and I fully expect Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan to pile on as well.  In all seriousness, I haven’t listened to an Alanis record since Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (her sophomore album), and was shocked to learn she has released three albums in the interim between Junkie and Havoc.  Alanis recent work has literally been more of a part of my consciousness through her appearance on a couple of seasons of Weeds, than she has been through me listening to any of her recent music.

This is strange, because I’m not sure Alanis ever did anything to lose me as a fan.  I still revisit Jagged Little Pill, and the magnificent “Uninvited” quite often.  I think more than anything, her past three albums have not gotten any singles press, and she just kind of faded out of my view.  That is all about to change, and I am going to lift my blinders to Alanis Morissette for better or for worse.
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Alanis Morissette Review: Havoc and Bright Lights

LxL Fest: 3 Days, 33 Acts, 1 Stage

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LxL Fest: 3 Days, 33 Acts, 1 Stage