Mellowed out

Mid-winter in the great PNW means storms. Wind, rain, temperatures that feel much colder than they actually are…fun times. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a book and a cup of hot cocoa. Sometimes I even slap on my headphones for some mood music:

In Our Nature Jose Gonzalez – Junip’s front man had a more than decent solo career going for him before Junip finally got around to releasing Fields. Nature, Gonzalez’s second album, is an acoustic wonderland, giving you heartbreaking melodies and quiet lyrics. His cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” is amazing, as is “Cycling Trivialities”.

These Are The Vistas The Bad Plus – A friend of the BF’s is a big fan of this jazz trio. It’s not hard to hear why. They take jazz and turn it on its ear, much like Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and the end result is something that I, who would much rather listen to rock, would actually enjoy listening to. Their cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has pretty much set the standard for jazz musicians covering rock songs today. Awesomeness. Pure awesomeness.

House With No Home Horse Feathers – I cannot stop listening to this album. Seriously. I can’t. It’s so damn good. Sure, I’ve raved about Horse Feathers before, but you’ll just have to deal with it. Every single song on this album is lovely, but my absolute favorite is “Heathen’s Kiss.” It may even be my favorite song. Ever.

Sigh No More Mumford and Sons – Forget that “The Cave” and “Little Lion Man” are grossly overplayed. You remember the first time you heard those tracks? How different they sound from the dance-pop crap cluttering modern rock radio today? That’s what the whole album is like. However, if they ever release “Dust Bowl Dance” as a single, I may have to hurt someone. It’s the best song on the album.

Lamb Lamb – Lamb makes some damn good trip-hop. Their beats are complex, the melodies ranging from intriguing to haunting, and that’s without the vocals. When you add them in, it just explodes. Lamb’s self-titled debut has a lot to offer, particularly “Lusty” and “Gorecki”.

“The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” (Acoustic) Brand New – You may be able to find an acoustic version of “Quiet Things” floating around the interwebs, but I found mine on Endsessions Volume 4. For me, the mark of a good song is when it sounds compelling either way, plugged in or not, and “Quiet Things” takes on a whole new dimension when Jesse Lacey doesn’t scream.

“Dreamworld” Rilo Kiley – I’m not a big Rilo Kiley fan. Something about this song, though, has me making an exception. It’s catchy, understated, and, well, dream-like, in its own, off-beat way.

And because simply posting a picture of the album cover isn’t enough, here’s a YouTube video of Horse Feathers performing “Heathen’s Kiss” live. Sigh. I love these guys.

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