Tag Archives: babel

Happy Birthday, Babel

by Cherie

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It’s officially been a year since Mumford and Sons released their second album, Babel. Just this month the band revealed that they are going on a (temporary) indefinite hiatus. The break is understandable; they’ve been touring the world for six years and performing at countless festivals and shows. Lead singer Marcus Mumford got married to actress Carey Mulligan last year, and the rest of the band has family and friends off the road who surely miss them as well. All signs point to this being a temporary break, though of indeterminate length, but it’s hard to reconcile the fact that there won’t be any shows or new music for the foreseeable future. M&S have always been one of those bands that leak new songs at their live shows. Many such songs live on only in the youtube videos they are recorded in, without any studio versions existing.

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But let’s be thankful for what we do have. Two fantastic albums, where the band stayed true to themselves and never tried to be something they were not. Countless interviews that will forever live in infamy (including the Ted is jet lagged interview, the Shania Twain appreciation video, and the “it’s a mirror!” incident). Countless live videos of fantastic quality recorded by fans and available to watch at one’s leisure on youtube, as well as full festival sets spanning several years and various festivals. Their Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers were a huge success, bringing together fans, local businesses, and great music. And, as someone who’s been lucky enough to go to two M&S concerts (three if you count the Bull Moose in-store), I’m thankful that I got to see them live in person.

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Let’s not dwell on their absence for the next few weeks/months/years. Let’s be grateful for what we have gotten from the boys. And let’s await whatever the band has in store for us next.

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Musical Sharing, Parental Edition

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by Cherie, contributing writer and editor

Music is my passion; I live and breath it. In fact, I listen to it almost constantly. It makes the forty minute commute to work bearable, and there are very few things I love more than rocking out in the shower. When you love music as much as I do, its only natural that you want to share it with the people you love. And when you are a twenty-three year old who, for better or worse, lives at home while working full time and going to school, your closest audience is your probably going to be your parents. Now, my parents are fairly young but I understand that there’s something of a generational gap. So I try to pick and choose my battles, introducing only bands I think that they will like and not wasting time with others. Even with a careful screening process I find that my luck has been 1/4 when it comes to introducing my parents to new music. As a rule I’ve found that mother despises the banjo, so any band that uses banjos heavily is out (alas, this means she doesn’t like Mumford and Sons, something I still can’t quite comprehend). She also isn’t a fan of mellow music, and that kind of music can be a hit or miss with my dad as well.

My mom tends to be more accepting of younger indie rock bands than my dad. Years ago I discovered that she liked My Chemical Romance and we spent one memorable car ride blasting The Black Parade together. She has recently started listening to fun and The Format (though Steel Train she doesn’t seem to care for). One year I found out that fun was playing a free show in Boston but I had no one to go with so I invited my mom to go with me. I don’t think she even listened to the band atthat point, but like a good sport she tagged along anyways. I think that night probably converted her into a fan if she wasn’t already. I don’t think it hurts that she probably has a crush on the lead singer either (in her defense, he is pretty adorable). The next time the band rolled through town she bought tickets with a friend and saw them again. I recently introduced her to the Lumineers, who, despite their Mumford & Son’s -esque sound, do not have a banjo and thus seem to have passed her approved listening test. Actually, she told me the other day that she is “obsessed with them” (her words, not mine). She actually hijacked my CD of them for the longest time and only gave it back recently. When I was growing up she literally could not stand to have music being played in the same room with her, so she’s come a long way since them. I’m so proud of her (sniffles).

As for my dad, he has more of an eclectic taste like my own. I remember when I was middle school de had a Linkin Park CD that my brother and I were forbidden from listening to because we were too young. Linkin Park went on to be one of my favorite bands of all time, thanks to him. Most of the music I’ve gotten him to listen to is very, very different from Linkin Park though. Unlike my mother, he doesn’t seem to mind banjos and he loves Mumford and Sons. He loved Sigh No More, but I have to admit I haven’t heard any feedback on Babel yet. For his birthday I burned him Daughter’s first album which was just released and he seems to have liked it so far, though only time will tell. I also got him to listen to Tegan and Sara, though the only album he cares for is The Con. And I can kind of understand that, because each T&S album has a completely different sound and they aren’t for everyone. My mother, for example, can’t stand them (in case you haven’t notice my mother tends to have extreme reactions to music; she either loves it or hates it and you can’t really fault her for that).

Despite all the small minor victories, there are two bands that have appealed to both my mother and my father and hence are counted as major victories. The first band that all three of us love is The Airborne Toxic Event. I think my parents fell in love with the band when they did their live CD/DVD. My dad loved the live DVD so much we actually bought him a copy as a present one year, and my mom bought the CD of it and that used to be her go-to album to listen to in the car. The second artist we all love is Laura Marling. I mean, what’s not to love? She’s an incredibly gifted musician and I have yet to meet someone who isn’t won over by her music. I’ve been lucky enough to see her in concert a few times the last few years, and hopefully when she swings back around for the new album I can get my parents to see her live. She is absolutely incredible live. I count the Airborne Toxic Event and Laura Marling as major victories because they are something all three of us can enjoy together. And there’s nothing I like more than to have my favorite people sharing the things that make me happy.

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My Favorite Spring Albums

by Cherie, contributing writer

Ah, spring in New England. It truly is a magical time of year. By the end of April we can finally put away the shovels and winter boots and at least be reasonably assured that we shouldn’t need them for another year. One of my favorite things about spring is the fact that I can finally roll down my windows and blast music on my way to work. It never fails to lift my mood. And while it’s true that I love all kinds of music, there’s just something about some albums that make them better to listen to at full volume with the wind rushing through your hair. Here’s what I’ll be listening to this spring.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
This deserves an honorable mention because, despite the fact that I don’t feel the need to belt out every single song at full volume, its the perfect spring album. There’s something catchy about the band’s music, which is alternately laid back and upbeat, that makes it a perfect spring time listen. Favorite tracks: A-punk, Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Where You Want to Be – Taking Back Sunday
To me, this is the quintessential TBS album. I think this might be my favorite TBS album, even beating out the much loved Tell All Your Friends. The vocal interplay between Lazzarra and Nolan is at its best on this album, and it has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. There’s very few albums I enjoy blasting at full volume and belting along more than this one. Favorite tracks: This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know), New American Classic, Number Five With a Bullet, One Eighty By Summer

The Airborne Toxic Event – The Airborne Toxic Event
When they were first starting out, the music that TATE created was often referred to as “poetry you can dance to.” Try as I might I can’t come up with a better description of their music than that, especially when referencing their first album. Listening to this album at full volume while driving to work is like having an orchestral soundtrack. It’s beautiful and never fails to put me in a good mood. Favorite tracks: Wishing Well, Papillon, Does This Mean You’re Moving On?, Something New

The Family Jewels – Marina and the Diamonds
If you’re looking something more along the lines of power pop to listen to, then look no further than Marina and the Diamonds. Marina’s vocal range is unique and her power and control are remarkable. She’s definitely got a unique sound, and her songs are, without exception, lush creations that will get stuck in your head for days at a time. I highly recommend her to anyone who hasn’t already checked her out. Favorite tracks: Oh No!, Are You Satisfied?, Shampain, Hollywood

Steel Train – Steel Train
I love fun, but some really good bands were sacrificed so that fun could move forward. Unfortunately, Steel Train is one of those bands. The boys of Steel Train were just coming into their own as a band and creating their own unique sound, which makes it harder to see them on an indefinite hiatus. Regardless, their self titled album is an indie rock masterpiece. Antonoff and gang created a unique sound full of full-band vocals, guitar solos, and keyboard accompaniment. Favorite tracks: Touch Me Bad, Soldier in the Army, Bloody Lips, You are Dangerous

Babel – Mumford and Sons
There’s nothing like rolling down the road to the sound of banjos and horns blasting. The banjos are certainly back and louder than ever in Mumford and Son’s second album which is now a Grammy winning “album of the year” masterpiece. The soaring highs and the brokenhearted lows of the album are perfect for spring time listening. Favorite Tracks: Babel, Whispers in the Dark, Broken Crown, Hopeless Wanderer

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard
One of the first pop punk albums I ever listened to, Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue has always had a place in my heart. It will forever remind me of summers spent on our camp at the lake, blasting the album from a boombox on the porch while my parents told me to turn it down. Spring and summer will always be the best time to listen to pop punk album’s such as this. Favorite tracks: Ocean Avenue, Empty Apartment, Inside Out, Way Away

Last Minutes and Lost Evenings – Frank Turner
This is kind of cheating since Last Minutes is a compilation album, but to be honest I couldn’t pick just one album to include on this list. Frank Turner is flawless, and every single one of this albums is ideal for making it onto a spring playlist. But this one is a compilation of some of his best songs. Favorite tracks: all of them but especially The Ballad of Me and My Friends

Every Kingdom – Ben Howard
I honestly think this might have been one of the best albums to come out of last year. The music itself is fairly simply, just a guitar, cello and Ben’s vocals (with some backing from India) but it is simply amazing. I can picture Ben sitting outside in the spring sun somewhere, busking these tracks (point in fact, Ben has done just that). It’s one of my more mellow picks for spring, but it is definitely a spring album all the same. Favorite tracks: Old Pine, The Wolves, The Fear, Keep Your Head Up

Aim and Ignite – fun
While I’m a huge fan of Some Nights, I have to say that nothing can beat Aim and Ignite. It combines the theatricality of The Format’s Dog Problems (Ruess’s previous band) with the more rock based elements of Steel Train (Antonoff). Just an all around feel good album produced by a very talented group of guys. Favorite tracks: At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be), Walking the Dog, All the Pretty Girls, Be Calm.

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