Tuesday, December 2, 2008

From the BOTG Mailbox: Matt Kanelos + Peasant

One of the really cool side benefits of writing a music blog is that all these up-and-coming artists (and, let's be honest, some that aren't going much of anywhere), send us songs. They send us links to their MySpace pages, or to their YouTube videos. Best of all, sometimes they send us their actual music. And they beg us to post it and brag about it.

We've chewed on how to properly handle this for a while, and here's what we're doing.

If we like stuff, we'll probably get around to using it. If we get enough of a taste of an artist and are intrigued, we'll probably even add some extra commentary. If we don't particularly like it, or if it's beyond unlikeable and into the "not good for anyone's ears" category, then we're not gonna post it. We're not gonna poop on people who were hoping we'd do them a solid.

When You Walk It Makes No Sound - Matt Kanelos (mp3)

Garden State. I think of Garden State. You know, the Zach Braff/Natalie Portman movie that people love or hate, with an ending that either ruins the whole experience or merely confirms aforementioned hatred? Really, almost any movie by Focus Features or Fox Searchlight that centers around the stilted romantic adventures of teens or 20somethings would be a fine and dandy place for this song.

That's meant to be a compliment, by the way.

I want to see someone put this in a movie. Hell, I can think of at least two handfuls of scenes in my head, six of which would star Zach Braff, where this song would be like BASF or Clorox Color-Safe Bleach. This song would make a good scene better. It would make the yellows yellower and the blues bluer. Although I'm really awful at this, when listening to Kanelos' songs -- and I've only heard four -- I think of a sunnier Iron + Wine. Maybe younger and therefore less disillusioned. His song "Deerfield" definitely gives me a little Ben Folds feel, but only slightly. If you dig stripped-down, slightly off-kilter singer-songwriter material, keep an eye out for this guy.

The Wind - Peasant (mp3)

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I was envisioning Kanelos' music in a movie? Well, these dudes would be on the same soundtrack. But where the first song might be used during a particularly romantic moment, or when the heartsick protagonist is staring out the classroom window while the object of his affection goes to the parking lot to smoke a joint with his best friend, this Peasant song seems to require a driving scene. One person in the car. Flashing back through prior scenes in the film, or maybe just staring straight ahead, trying not to cry.

Peasant reminds me a little of Band of Horses, another band I'm only just discovering. Maybe these guys are a little bit simpler, but there's something alluring about that high-pitched tendrill voice. None of the four songs of theirs I've discovered go longer than about 3 1/2 minutes. They like to float on a cool acoustic pop breeze, one that dies down before it gets too cold.

BONUS CHRISTMAS SONG! (Because Bob said so)
Make It Home - Juliana Hatfield (mp3)
Sure, it's kind of a downer (which, incidentally, never hurt the Greatest Depressing Holiday Song Ever, Joni Mitchell's "River"), but it's about remembering that just having a home is a blessing in and of itself. Besides, it was used in My So-Called Life, which automatically requires me to love it.


Billy Bob said...

Good to hear these songs again, this time in the light of day. Your assessments legitimize them. Good stuff, William, both songs and thoughts.

Alex said...

Thank you for posting that Juliana track! I've been looking all over for an mp3 of it ever since I first saw that episode of MSCL a few months ago.

It's a christmas miracle.

Billy said...

Alex, happy to do some accidental Jesus work on BOTG. I realize it's a stretch to call this a Christmas song, but your comment seems to provide me ample excuse for making it such, so thanks in return!