Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hands-On with Spotify

Although it's still in the very initial stages, the much-lauded Swedish music streaming service Spotify has made its way stateside. Boasting a library of over 15 million songs and freshly inked contracts with every major US label (and a quality selection of indies, as well), it's off to no small start. I got myself an invite to see what all the fuss was about, having heard glorious praises sung by my friends and family in the UK who've had access to it for a few years now. With the blogosphere throwing around powerful terms like "next big thing" and "iTunes killer", all eyes are on Spotify, but does it really live up to the hype?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Within and Without" by Washed Out

Within and Without by Washed Out was released on
July 12, 2011 on Sub Pop
Washed Out's Ernest Green was thrust into indie stardom with his debut effort of Life of Leisure, an EP released in 2009 that picked up a lot of steam thanks to favorable reviews from across the board.  Washed Out jumped right into the top-tier of chillwave musicians like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian and now he's right back at it with an even bigger and more aurally adventurous project, his first full length Within and Without.  Released on Sub Pop, Within and Without shows that Ernest Green continues to grow musically along with the rest of his early front running peers in the chillwave movement.

It's easy to just fall into habit and keep making the same records over and over, especially in a genre as subversive as chillwave where if you're not paying attention to the subtle nuances of the music then one could easily get lost in the sounds and simply dismiss it as 'another generic chillwave song'.  I've heard it before as a complaint and it can be deemed as legitimate amongst the majority of the artists in that genre, there's many who simply believe reverberated vocals and catchy synth lines can equal good and entertaining music, but what truly makes artists like Ernest Green stick out from the crowd are the unique changes to his sounds from Life of Leisure, he's added a plethora of live instruments and has toned down the focus on making catchy and vibrant pop songs in favor of slow-brooding sonic landscapes that can leave the listener floating through this forty-minute album in seemingly no time.