We Are the Tide

One of my favorite releases in recent memory is most definitely the latest album to be released by Blind Pilot. You’ve probably noticed me referencing them a lot, as they make my top five most weeks. They’re an indie-folk band based out of Portland. Originally, there were only two members, Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski. They went on a bike tour in 2008 carrying their instruments down the west coast on custom-made bike trailers and made around a dozen stops. A year later, they released their first album, 3 Rounds and a Sound and then added four members to fill out their sound.

Their music is filled with a wide array of instruments, such as acoustic guitar piano, organ, horns, dulcimer vibraphone, and various others.  I got their first album back in summer of 2009 and I loved it.  That following Fall during my first year at UVa, I went to see them when they came through Charlottesville at The Southern downtown. It was an awesome concert and I remember particularly enjoying a song that they played after telling us that it was a new one and wasn’t on their album.  I had not heard it before and I loved it, especially when Israel (the lead singer) turned around and began playing percussion along with the drummer.  Afterward, they said that the name of the song was “We Are the Tide.”  This past September 13th, almost two years after that concert, they released their second studio album named after that song.

Now eight member strong, Blind Pilot’s sound is much more full.  Sure, some of that can be attributed to the heightened production value of We Are the Tide with comparison to 3 Rounds and a Sound, but the quality of the writing as well as the quality of the lead singer’s voice has vastly improved and come to allow a fantastic album.  It immediately jumped up to the top of my list, which is amazing because I hardly ever enjoy something on the first listen like that.  Every song is great.

We Are the Tide

1. Half Moon

2. Always

3. Keep You Right

4. We Are the Tide

5. The Colored Night

6. I Know

7. White Apple

8. Just One

9. Get it Out

10. New York

I can’t even really pick out one or two as my favorites.  I would say, however, that they started off the album perfectly by putting Half Moon first.  It’s a perfect first song.

The studio recording of the song that I so much enjoyed at the concert two years ago also did not fail to impress.  It’s really cool imagining the performance as I listen to it.  I love the way that the percussion drive this one.

The Colored Night might be the biggest accomplishment of the album for Blind Pilot.  It is a perfect blend of so many styles and instruments and is all executed to perfection.  The harmonies are beautiful, and the way that they are interwoven into the remainder of the song is fantastic.  Also, the overall build of White Apple is really well orchestrated.

Alright so I could literally sit here and type praise word after praise word about everything having to do with this album and could post each song and tell you why I love it, but I think I’ll spare you.  My life advice: get this album!  No matter what music I listen to throughout a day, I always comes back to We Are the Tide.  It’s just so good and easy to listen to at literally any point of the day and in any situation.  They are easily my favorite current artist, and this is easily my favorite album.  Here is a gem from their first album.



New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  2011 was a great year, but I’m feeling that 2012 just may end up being the best  year yet!  I have a handful of New Year’s Resolutions that I am pretty darn motivated on keeping, so I’m hoping that I can keep them up and really make this a great year!  I have a bunch pertaining directly to this blog, and then some that are unrelated but still important!

1. First and foremost, I really hope to start eating breakfast this year.  This is something that I have never really been in the habit of doing, but recent visits to the doctor have brought me to the conclusion that I really need to start.  I have this thing where I fall asleep literally all the time, most often right after I eat, and I went to the doctor and found out that I’m completely healthy.  He recommended eating more regularly, more balanced, and in smaller amounts, so I really want to start eating breakfast to keep up with that!

2. Directly related to number #1 is my goal to get a regular gym schedule going once the semester starts.  That same doctor suggested a regular exercise routine.  This past semester was insanely hectic and I barely even got over there to play basketball and I’m a bit out of shape!  I’m hoping to maybe alternate days going to gym to  lift and play basketball with days on which I go for a run or something like that.  The last time I tried this in college was first semester of first year and it lasted roughly 1.5 weeks, so let’s hope I do better this time around.

3. PRACTICE PIANO MORE AND GET BETTER.  This might be the most important one.  I tried to take lessons last semester, but it didn’t work out as far as lesson timing with the instructor I was talking to and my class/work schedule.  This time around, I’ve contacted him before I have submitted my sheet for my work availability, and I’m calling him tonight to set a time in stone so I should be good to go!  I’ll finally be putting my beautiful keyboard to the use that she deserves.

4. Compose more and work with my recording equipment more.  I really want to get going so I’m writing something fairly substantial every few days, and I also want to make sure I’m being varied in what I’m working on so that I can develop my skills in many areas and keep myself versatile.  I plan on getting my Soundcloud account back up and on its feet, as I haven’t posted anything in a few months.  I let myself get too busy!  I’ve also gotten infinitely better at singing over the last six months, so I feel like the overall quality of everything in that respect will be much better.

5. Directly related is that I would like to go back and revisit a few projects that I started quite long ago and finish them.  After I did Dancing Crazy, I set the goal to record all of the songs that I arrange for AVP that don’t end up on a studio album myself.  I got about halfway through Cake’s The Distance (my first arrangement for the group) and then got busy with other things and never finished it.  I probably won’t go back and do all of them, but definitely at least that one and maybe a few others.  I also have a few chord progressions or licks that have gone unused as well as beginnings and frames of choral settings.  I also wouldn’t mind going back and finishing a piano sonata that I wrote for Music Theory III class this past semester (post coming soon).  We were just supposed to write the exposition section, so I may go back and finish it out.

6. Hand in hand with the last three is that I want to post in this blog at least once every two days!  I think that will keep me spurred in my efforts to continue writing and discovering great music.

7. I would like to keep better in touch with my friends, most specifically my friends from back in Northern Virginia.  I barely ever see them, but still cherish our relationships and don’t want to see them fade.

8. Balance my life better in general and not let some things overtake the others.  I have a fairly light course load, but am still involved in a lot of other things and I don’t want to let up on these goals.

There are more, but they’re smaller and less important, so I don’t really need to share them.  Yay!  Anyway, here is a Top 5 for the past week as well as a list of artists I’m looking into at the moment thanks to a Pandora playlist based off of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos.

Top 5 for Week #5 (we’ll go with that):

1) Blind Pilot

2) Muse

3) Maroon 5

4) Lord of the Rings soundtracks (and movies.  also awesome)

5) The Civil Wars

Artists that I’m looking into:

City and Colour, The Civil Wars (thanks Nichy), Iron and Wine, Coconut Records, Arcade Fire