Thursday, September 20, 2012

My favorite new band of 2012

Of Monsters and Men

Normally, picking a favorite new band from an entire year would be a tough endeavor for me. But I think I can say that I would definitely pick Of Monsters and Men for this year. I know I raved about Arcade Fire in my first post, but perhaps a little honesty is in order. I do love Arcade fire, but only like 50% of their music. I think about half of it is completely bad ass, while the other half is a little experimental and not fitting for every day or every mood. Of Monsters and Men's album My Head Is An Animal is good through and through without exception. Granted, a couple of songs took me a few listens to fully appreciate ("Your Bones", "Sloom"), but that's only a couple. I learned to love them quickly. 

Of Monsters and Men are from Iceland. In 2010, they won a famous battle of the bands competition and were signed a year later. I'm not sure if that means I was just asleep in 2011 or if they hadn't hit the US yet, but I came to know of them at the beginning of this year and I'm pretty sure that I listen to at least one of their songs every day.

If you haven't heard of them yet, watch the video below. If you've only heard of this song, get your ass on Spotify.

Go ahead and say it..."Megan was right."

If you didn't like "Little Talks", then I doubt that you and I will agree on very much. Not liking this song would be like voting for Mitt Romney - it lacks all reason. (Don't worry, I vow to keep this from being a political blog!)

But seriously, how pretty are their voices? The guy has such a surprisingly sweet voice and the girl's is so pretty and unique! (Notice the lack of name-dropping? He's Ragnar and she's Nanna. Their last names look like a pile of scrabble letters and the rest of the band's names are way out of my league!) The drummer looks so steampunk and cool. I'd want to have a beer with him. And come on, if you know anything about me at all, you know I love trumpets. Just a couple of days ago I found the sheet music online for "Little Talks". Unfortunately, I live in an apartment and can't exactly blast on my trumpet, but I did blow air and play along with it -- just with no actual sound other than me pressing the keys and hollow-sounding airflow. Haha, wow, now that I'm reading that in black and white that kind of sounds a little pitiful. I need to move in to a house, enough of this goddamn no-trumpet-playing-in-apartments shit. But I digress.

Go ahead and skip to 1:30; there's an obnoxiously long intro at the beginning of this concert.

That song was "Dirty Paws". And yes, it's from the same concert as the first video. It's from a show this past Spring in New York City. It was the first live footage I watched of them, so if my first impressions of the band were that good, hopefully yours will be too. 

"Mountain Sound"

Now that I think about it, it's kind of funny how the order of my first three posts have gone. Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men. I was just saying the other day that I think Of Monsters and Men is a perfect blend of the other two -- they have that awesome, epic, arena-ready, crowd participation feel just like Arcade Fire (who doesn't like yelling "hey!" or "ahhhhh oooooohhhh" or clapping at concerts?), but they have the look, talent, sound and overall consistence of Mumford & Sons. 

If these three songs kept your boat afloat, then step to it with getting the album. Listening to it makes me really wish I could be in a band like this. Come on, I can play trumpet, I can do auxillary percussion stuff, I wanna play for thousands of people!

Also, I don't know if anyone has noticed Nanna's interesting haircut...

Who walks into a salon and says "Hey...shave the side of my head, please"?

Does it remind you of anyone?

Think about it.

I'm convinced he was probably a raging nerdy kid in high school.



I'm baffled why there aren't better live versions of this on YouTube...

That one, "Lakehouse", is my current drug. I've been listening to that one a lot. Including this morning, on the way to work, windows down, smelling the beginning of Autumn, singing "la la la la" at the end of the song. Try it out sometime.

At this point, they are only making select appearances in the US. They have some festival appearances (Sasquatch! in Seattle, Outsidelands in San Francisco, Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas), and a few concerts pop up here and there, but for the most part they are way too elusive to be as good as they are. I've noticed them in the Billboard Top 20 Album's on the back page of my last several Rolling Stone magazines, so they're obviously getting up there. They need a big ass tour. They are at their best live.

Having said that, a few days ago I did my weekly stalking around various music venues close by and guess what I found? They're doing a show at The National in Richmond, VA at the end of November. Somehow, by the grace of God, I happened to look at the website the day that the tickets went on sale. Go figure. I've never felt so good about spending $25.

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