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May 8th, 2010

Saturday, May 8th, 2010 11:58 am
I'm sure we've all noticed by now that the iTunes free track of the week is usually a hot, steaming pile of crap. When it's not the place where shitty music goes to die, it can occasionally be decent. Now and then, someone at iTunes Canada slacks off and actually lets a really, really awesome track slip through.

This isn't one of those tracks, but it is how I found this band - Said the Whale.



[Pictured: Said the Whale. Not pictured: actual whales.]


In mid-October 2009, the free track of the week was the band's The Gift of a Black Heart. I downloaded it like I always do and I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, I have musical ADD and forgot about them fairly quickly. Every now and then I'd 'rediscover' them on shuffle, but it wasn't until Genius recommended their 2-track The Magician EP two weeks ago that they became a band I really, really wanted to learn more about. I guess it's kind of funny that it was the single B-side that I went so crazy over. Carmelo (The Magician) is a good song, but the real gem is Love is Art / Sleep Through Fire. The lyrics are pretty and the melody is sweet and flows very nicely. It doesn't necessarily sound like eight other songs I could name, which often happens when you listen to a lot of a certain genre.

Said The Whale formed in 2007 as a collaboration between songwriters Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft. The pair’s debut EP, Taking Abalonia, featured sunny west coast indie pop, with breezy harmonies, shimmering guitars, and lyrical tributes to their home city of Vancouver.* In 2008, the album was rereleased as Howe Sounds/Talking Abalonia, featuring seven additional tracks that stretched the band’s stylistic palate to include bubblegum folk (”The Light Is You”), thundering hard rock (”Last Tree Standing”) and gentle ukulele ballads (”The Real of It”). After several personnel changes, the group settled upon a five-piece lineup that includes bassist Peter Carruthers, drummer Spencer Schoening, and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown. The quintet embarked upon a rigorous touring schedule, crossing Canada numerous times and landing high profile gigs at V-Fest 2008 in Calgary and the nationally televised Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill.

-Source



[*Sorry, I was just excited for a second there.]


Here's a clip from a live version of this song. I couldn't find a full, streaming version of the studio track, which is one of the downsides to unsigned bands.





Love is Art / Sleep Through Fire can be purchased through iTunes for $0.99, or as part of The Magician EP for $1.98.


So, in conclusion:



[Pictured: Said the Whale. Also pictured: cutie in white shoes.]


Links:
- Official Site
- Facebook
- Myspace
- Twitter
- PureVolume
- LastFM [with videos]
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 12:48 pm


This is Imagine Dragons. I have waxed poetically about them in my personal journal a few times before, but I really, really want more people to find them and love them too. :D

Imagine Dragons is an unsigned band located in Las Vegas, Nevada. I found them thanks to a Google Alert for Panic! at the Disco (who they sound nothing like really). So far they've recorded two EPs. The first one is available on iTunes: Imagine Dragons - EP. The second one, Hell and Silence, is now (as of 6/5) available on iTunes.

You can preview pretty much all of their music on their ReverbNation page, but I've included the player behind the cut-tag:
hear it, love it )

One thing that impresses me about Imagine Dragons is how polished they sound. The songs sound just like they were recorded by a major studio, not rough at all. They have a synth-rock sort of sound and a manic energy for most songs, but they can do lilting ballad types as well. Good range.

They are the "go to" band for out of town bands who want a local opening band in Vegas. They mostly tour right around Nevada and California, but they also performed at South by Southwest this year.

Here's an interview with them by a local Vegas music vlog. And here is some video from their performance at the Neon Reverb Music Festival where they just fucking slayed it.

You can get two of their songs for free by joining their mailing list which is VERY low traffic. In fact, I think the only thing I got so far was an email from them offering me another free song. So it's no hardship.

sign-up for free music! )

They've got a retro flair to their style, but updated and made fresh. A nice balance between what was and what is. Though the main vocalist is male, their female keyboardist provides backing and it really fills out the sound nicely.

Links:
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Fan Club (lots of good info there)