Saturday, April 25, 2009

Album Comparison: Sufjan Stevens

So here I am again.

Comparison. Which album is better?

Sufjan Stevens' Michigan or Come On! Feel the Illinoise!?

You've probably heard Sufjan (pronounced Soof-yan) before. He's been feautured on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, he's been on Austin City Limits (he's the guy with his entire group wearing wings), and has seven albums dating back to 2000. He decided that he was actually going to have an album for all 50 states, but, only Michigan and Illinois came out of the idea. He also has Avalanche!, the outtakes from Come On! Feel the Illinois!
Frankly, all of his albums are great, with a soft, folk/indie-like sound and some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. His songs are a little odd, but his charming collaboration with a gentle, yet upbeat chorus and numerous instruments never fails to get stuck in your head. (The l
yrics are a little hard to memorize though. Be prepared to simply hum.)

So, we'll start with Illinoise.
On the album, there's a variety of songs, the popular Chicago, to the sad and
poetic John Wayne Gacy Jr. (really depressing, yet beautifully put together.) Several of the songs on the album are very happy, though; each instrument getting its time, all being placed in each song, at just the right moment, to come up with an inspiring and thoughtful musical experience.

In my favorite song off the album, Vito's Ordination Song, Sufjan does an incredible job
of putting the song together, coming up with just the right amount of each instrument included, pulling the song to a nice, simple beat, with smooth, light vocals. The majority of the songs on the album are much calmer than on Illioise, and, though sweet, can easily be tuned out if you're focusing. Michigan (the album, not the state.) is a great listen, but can easily be placed in the background music. Don't let that fact stop you, though. The album also includes For the Widows In Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilianti, which, though still a little quiet, is unique in it's folk-y, eclectic instrument choices.

So, after returning to the albums, I've decided that Come On! Feel the Illinoise is probably a better listen, with its ability to both inspire and keep you listening through the entire album. Michigan is great, don't get me wrong, it's great to have a calmer listen every once in awhile, whether it be while you're working or just for pleasure.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Decemberists

New Post!!! Finally, right? And... Here. We. Go.

The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love

I have yet to listen to the entire album, but from what I've heard, it's great. In fact, the Decemberists have managed to pull me into their songs many a time, yet, I have to say, the Hazards of Love might just be one of those few CDs that manages to get you singing along or tapping your foot less than a minute in.

If you have yet to listen to the Decemberists, I highly suggest you pick up The Crane Wife. The Hazards of Love is good, but, in my opinion, the Crane Wife beats all others. In the album, you'll hear songs on the Japanese folktale upon which a man falls in love with a crane/woman, gets married, and eventually betrays her. (That was a terribly summary- why don't you read the story here.)
So anyways, the Decemberists have a very folk-y sound to them, think Death Cab For Cutie meets the Mountain Goats. The lyrics are amazing, very meaningful, if you like that stuff; the vocals don't take up all the songs, though. The other instruments also get their time, don't worry.

So, check them out.

I'll be back soon with another post, it might be awhile. Until then, watch this for me? It'll make you feel better, really.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Birthday Books, Music, and U2!

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I've saved up some great stuff for this post. So, here we go!

It's my birthday! Hooray! Anywho, back to the reviews.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:

I'm sure several of you have already heard the great things* on Suzanne Collins' science-fiction adventure romance (oh, so many genres you could identify this with...), the Hunger Games. I was recently pulled into reading it after my book club decided on
researching it and checking out reviews. We searched site after site, blog after blog, and ended up finding that all the reviews published were raving about everything inside this book. It's won numerous awards for young adult literature, and, quite recently, a place in my nerdy, bookworm heart.
I'm not much into sci-fi, (I still haven't finished the Otherworldlies...) but as I flew through the pages of the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' never failed to remind me exactly why I love reading.
In the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' covers numerous topics as she creates a world so creepy, mysterious and vicious, you can't help but start whispering "Look out!" as you read. (Does anyone else do this? Or is it just me? Seriously- I did this. No joke.) The characters are all tough, since they are forced to supply food for themselves after they are placed with 23 others in a forest full of danger. And as I placed my book mark in my stopping place for the day (I didn't do this much, I finished reading it after staying up till 1 in the
morning reading two days in a row.) I was full of thought at what the main character, Katniss Everdeen, would venture into next.
I loved the Hunger Games, and- get this- it's the first book to a series! (Series? Really? More to come?! *cheers*)

*If you haven't read much about it, I'm probably not gonna say much about the plot, but here's a link to my favorite review that covers all of it.

On the music side of things, I've discovered Florence and the Machine. With only 2 singles
out, the band has racked up quite a following. After hearing "the Dog Days Are Over" on iTunes Indie Spotlight, I decided to check them out. Each single includes two songs full of vocals that will not let you go from their sweet, soulful rock'n'roll grasp. I really enjoyed the first single, so I decided that the band was by far worth my other 2 dollars, so I bought the other single, "Kiss With A Fist," which is so good, it kind of gives you a feel that you've been rocking out on a music-high for hours, and you're just getting started. Thoughtful, well-written lyrics complete my new love for the band, which I highly recommend, and will be listening to for a long time. Check 'em out. Now. It'll change your life.

Also, I'd just like to point out how Kelly Clarkson is currently holding the top spot on itunes for albums. Her newest, All I Ever Wanted, is above U2's (U2!!!) latest, No Line On the Horizon, which is odd, but that's just me. Leave your comments on the matter, if you want.

I leave you with this.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lots of Joy from "Little Joy"

You'll quickly get sucked into the constant beat and guaranteed-to-get-stuck-in-your-head three to four minute songs that are sweet and calm, but beware, Little Joy's easy listening is only part of it. The band, consisting of Los Angeles' Rodrigo Amarante, Binki Shapiro, and Fabrizio Moretti (of the Strokes), is sure to have you even more in love with the light, breezy feel of the sitting-around-the-bonfire guitar and the vocals you can sway to.

Other songs by other artists that you should try before the weekend and possibly pass on to others:

*Everything Turns to You- Lonely, Dear.
*Never Had Nobody Like You- M. Ward
*The Howling- the Phantom Band
*Xavia- the Submarines (Also check out the soundtrack to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, this song is featured on it!)
*Sugar and Song- Thieves Like Us
*That's Not My Name- the Ting Tings
*Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.- Faunts

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quick Update- Dark Was the Night

So it's been awhile since I've updated my few followers, so here's a quick recommendation, then I'll see when I can get back to posting more often.

So it's called Dark Was the Night. I have yet to listen to the full album, which includes 32 tracks from varying artists, but from what I've heard so far, I can easily say that it's well put together, and the songs are beautiful and all fit together in a nice, calm compilation. It features incredible bands and artists on the mix, which include Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie); Feist; Cat Power; Iron and Wine; the Decemberists; Sufjan Stevens; and Spoon.

The compilation's profits also go to AIDS/HIV awareness fund. You can find the album on itunes, for $15.99, or on, for $9.99.

On books, I'm extremely behind. It's been an extremely busy week. I have yet to finish any of the books mentioned in the previous posts, but I'll work hard on completing atleast one by my next post.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Swimming... in a Pool of Books.

Hey everyone, sorry it's been forever since I posted something, (It's really not Friday, it's actually Saturday, Feb. 7) So I'm here to update y'all on my surprisingly busy life now.

If you look around my blog, somewhere I posted that I was going to read Jennifer Anne Kogler's The Otherworldlies, unfortunately, I STILL haven't finished reading it. I'm currently on a ridiculous page 68. That's right, I was only capable of reading a mere 68 pages in 2 weeks. (More?) So I have to get on that.

I'm reading a whopping 5 books all at once, which include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (page 184) The previously mentioned the Otherworldlies (68), my homework, Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, which I haven't yet started, but I have to read a hundred pages of by Monday, then at school, I'm rereading New Moon (382), which is seriously depressing, and I can't bring myself to read any more, even though I know what's going to happen, and John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson's creative compilation of somewhat love stories all set in the same town during the winter. Although I'm only 5 pages in, it's pretty good, and I've had a couple of people recommend it to me, followed by them saying "You have to read it NOW, it's amazing." Which adds on to the current book jam, and I can't even find time for the poor Chris McCandless in John Krauker's Into the Wild. I promise you readers this: I will finish all of the books within the next few weeks, have some patience, please.

But I have had time for music! I recently got my copy of Hank Green's So Jokes, which is specifically intended for nerdfighters, partially because it includes numerous inside jokes, which several normal people would certainly NOT get. But if you are a nerdfighter, this CD is golden!

*the picture featured was taken by me, please note: I am NOT a photographer.*

The biggest news in the music world at the moment is revolving around pop artist Kelly Clarkson, who has a talent for sucking you into every song she sings, even if it sounds just like her other one that you remember ever so vividly because you had been sucked into it as well.
I understand your pain. In the American Idol winner's recent album, My Life Would Suck Without You, the singer/*cough* clone *cough*, let's her vocal chords reign, and I eventually quit. Breakaway was great, Since U Been Gone was okay, My Life Would Suck Without You is boring.
I mean, Kelly can sing, her voice just gets old. Fast. But if you enjoy listening to repeats of the same sound, you'll love it. I don't, so I pulled my brain out from the upbeat pop song, and moved on.

On the Alternative side, here are a few songs to consider as always:

I'm Outta Time- Oasis
Wonderwall- Oasis
Skinny Love- Bon Iver
Crack the Shutters- Snow Patrol
Brandy Alexander- Feist
My Beloved Monsters- The Eels
How to Save A Life- The Fray

Fast and Full:
Troublemaker- Weezer
Sweater- Weezer
Where It's At- Beck
Once In A Lifetime- Talking Heads

Somebody Told Me- The Killers
Sex On Fire- Kings Of Leon
We Didn't Start the Fire- Billy Joel (Heck. Yes.)
Let It Die- Foo Fighters
Vertigo- U2
My Girls- Animal Collective

What I'm Listening to While Doing Homework:
Phantom Limb- The Shins
Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois- Sufjan Stevens
Piano Man- Billy Joel
The Scientist- Coldplay
Lost- Coldplay
Let's Dance- David Bowie (Cause for Celebration)

I've mostly been listening to random playlists, so I don't really have much else to share with my readers in this post, but I do have one radio recommendation. Enjoy, and I'll post soon!

If you have itunes, and it includes the radio feature, I recommend you try out KRock2 under the Alternative tab. The New York station includes songs mentioned here, and many more that relate to the bands listed in several other posts.

*Sign up for my e-mail list! Get the latest post notifications fast! E-mail thealternativegirl@yahoo for your subscription today! Just include your name and e-mail, and you'll be added!*

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Emails and Death Cab.

Hi all.

First off, I've decided to start up an e-mail list for anyone who's interested in being notified of the newest post. You can e-mail me at if you are interested, just tell me your name and email. I'll probably start sending notifications next weekend. So be sure to email me if you're interested! Thanks! Now on to the post...

So, everyone knows I'm a sucker for Death Cab For Cutie. One of the most popular alternative genre bands, Death Cab leaves me satisfied after every album released.

Most songs are calm and consist of sweet lyrics that are incredible and by far beat out all my other favorite lyrics in other songs.

Guaranteed to get stuck in your head, make you think, and all together make you press the 'repeat' button. All the CDs are amazing, though "Plans", is by far my favorite. With songs like "Crooked Teeth", "Marching Bands of Manhattan", and "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", you'll be taken away with the incredible imagery in every song, and a feeling of peace after listening.

On their newest CD, "Narrow Stairs" (shown above) the band features the hit song, "I Will Posses Your Heart" Which starts with an amazing intro., and also includes "Cath..." (Which is incredible live).

Also, the album cover is one of my favorites. :)

Happy listening! See y'all next weekend!

Peace, Love, Nerdfighters, and Twihards.