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M&T Best Tracks of 2011: #4

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Made up words, veiled meanings, and obscure references: the Bon Iver discography is not an easy one to analyze. What’s left for us listeners to do but just take it all in? On “Perth,” Vernon puts forth his pithy lyrics towards gorgeous harmonies and a militial snare-drum, and creates an amazing opener to his sophomore album. Without even understanding all the lyrics (wtf does “fide” or “fane” mean, anyways?), we can all agree that Perth is successful in telling a …

M&T Best Tracks of 2011: #6

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The lyrics of M83’s “Midnight City” couldn’t be simpler. Over and over, Anthony Gonzalez repeats the phrase: “waiting in a car/ waiting for a ride in the dark.” But rather than emphasizing monotony or boredom, M83 turns this everyday action into an ecstatic exclamation about city living. By distorting his vocals for the unforgettable opener, and piling on almost too many synths and drums, Gonzalez doesn’t need intricate lyrics. The euphoria he wants to express about the daily life in …

M&T Best Albums of 2011: #7

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A highly flawed individual can often produce incredible art. And Christopher Owens of Girls is no exception to this rule. Owens, the singer and songwriter behind Girls, gave us a truly fulfilling rock album this year with Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and he bared his soul in the process. As a kid who grew up in (and eventually ran from) a religious cult, Owens knows a thing or two about sinning. His sins pop up and recur throughout the album: …

M&T Best Albums of 2011: #9

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  Is less really more? M83 makes a strong case for the contrary on their heavyweight album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The album, clocking in at 74 minutes, cuts no corners: intros, outros, interludes and crazy, weird beats are all part of the plan. M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez certainly used the “more is more” mentality when it came to filling out each track. From the distorted vocals on “Midnight City,” to the ’80s spaceship beeps of “Steve McQueen,” to the …

M&T Best Tracks of 2011: #11

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#11. The Belle Brigade- “Losers” On “Losers”, the brother-sister duo of Barbara and Ethan Gruska tell you that, “You’re the best…Don’t care about being a loser!”. And… They actually don’t sound stupid. The Belle Brigade gives us the most uplifting anthem of the year without chanelling Raffi. They start small, and slowly add layers on their patented CSNY style harmonies. The song builds to staggering heights, with a booming chorus that features Ethan and Barbara listing off all of the …

M&T Best Track of 2011: #18

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#18. St. Vincent- “Surgeon” A lot of critical and blogosphere buzz has surrounded St. Vincent and her album, Strange Mercy, over the past few months. But the buzz all began with the first fuzzy hums of Strange Mercy‘s lead single, “Surgeon.” Annie Clark seduces her way through the first few minutes of the song, clipping along at a leisurely pace. But before Clark gets bored “spending the summer on her back,” the tempo picks up, and layers of weirdness begin …

M&T Best Albums of 2011: #19

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#19. TuNe-YaRdS- w ho k i l l TuNe-YaRdS’ w ho k i l l is a whirlwind of an album. It rushes by, changing pace and direction, always teetering on the edge of crashing completely. Merrill Garbus’s androgynous voice is integral to the band’s signature sound. It is capable of creating everything from police sirens to yodels. It’s the most interesting instrument I’ve heard in a long time. Garbus uses her tool to enhance the mood of every song …

Movers and Shakers and Those Darlins at the Middle East 10/15

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  The Middle East isn’t exactly known for being a pristine or pretty music venue. But that fact only enhanced the gritty sounds of The Movers & Shakers and Those Darlins at last Saturday night’s show. The combination of these two unique bands resulted in a one-two punch of noisy, impassioned country rock. The Movers and Shakers came on first, with guitarists Matt Price and Marc Valois and bassist Dan Wallace aligning at the front of the stage. The three …

Apollo Run: Runnin’ Shit at Nor’easter Festival 2011

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At this year’s Nor’easter Festival, I had the opportunity to bro out with all three of the Apollo Run boys after their killer set.  The trio brought the noise to the Nor’easter stage, tearing through tracks with so much energy that it could have sent my lazy ass up the Nor’easter pro climbing wall with the greatest of ease.  Not only did John, Jeff and Graham bring an arena-style presence to the venue, which was a feat in itself, but …

Nor’easter Festival 2011: Apollo Run

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  The Nor’easter Festival has got a lot going for it.  We’re looking forward to the waterfront entertainment, some outdoorsy sporting action, a cornucopia of food and drink, and lyrical compositions by the one and only Mr. Charlie Sheen.  Wait, what?  You heard us right.  Just when you stopped caring about Charlie, the Nor’easter-bound trio Apollo Run have made the ultimate celebrity car crash relevant once more.   “Charlie Sheen’s Got Tiger Blood, Man” is a tune written and performed by …