Must Hear: Boy Lilikoi – Jónsi

Photo by Lilja Birgisdóttir

Most people with any knowledge of music have by now heard Icelandic band Sigur Rós, which means most people are well-acquainted with Jónsi Birgisson’s fabulous falsetto through their Vonlenska/Hopelandic songs.

Jónsi recently announced the release of his solo album Go in 2010, to be arranged by Nico Muhly (Björk, Grizzly Bear), produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) and released on XL recordings. Through his website, Jónsi is offering a free download of the whimsically titled Boy Lilikoi, a song which I beg you to stop everything you are doing this minute to download and listen to.

Boy Lilikoi starts out softly and slowly progresses into a beautiful, anthem-like explosion of instruments with heartwarming lyrics about the world going aflutter by. Unlike Sigur Rós’s albums, Go will contain songs in English, but it isn’t understanding the language that makes Boy Lilikoi a great song – Jónsi, Muhly and Katis individually create some fantastic music; together, they’ve created magic.

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Happy Birthday to MI

Musically Inclined turns 1 today!

I started this blog a year ago to showcase music that I believe to be underrated and under-appreciated and in the hope that my readers are exposed to music that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to listen to.

Thank you to all the readers who have stayed with the blog in this past year and hopefully enjoyed some new music.

Happy birthday to MI and Happy 2010 to you all!

Must Hear: Strange Love – Koop

If you live in Asia (and apparently Egypt or Puerto Rico), chances are you’ve already heard Koop’s Strange Love in the cute yet slightly creepy Coca Cola Open Happiness ad where two young doodlers in a library exchange the cola through their veins.

That’s where I first heard the song, and I Googled it to learn that Koop is a Swedish electronic duo comprised of Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson who create music exclusively by putting together hundreds of clips to create the final sound. A genius yet extremely time consuming process sounds fantastic but takes years to create.

The vocals on their tracks are, however, not sampled but entirely original. Lending her lovely voice to Strange Love is Norwegian singer Hilde Louise Asbjornsen.

I strongly recommend that anyone who likes music that’s easy to listen to (and fans of the afore blogged about Noouvelle Vague) listen to Strange Love. Just not as a soundtrack to the Coke ad though. It really is a little creepy.

Must Hear: Femme Et Enfant – Rob feat. Sébastien Tellier

My knowledge of French doesn’t exceed much beyond Comment allez-vous? and Je m’appelle Shivani (which I know is not the answer to the former question), so trying to figure out who ‘Rob’ is wasn’t very easy. Thankfully, my detective skills are a lot better and, with last.fm’s assistance, I learned that Rob is none other than Robin Coudert, keyboardist of my very favourite French band Phoenix. One of France’s most famous musicians – Sébastian Tellier – on the other hand, needs no introduction.

The good news is that you don’t have to actually understand French to be able to enjoy Femme et Enfant. Tellier’s vocal contribution consists of humming at all the appropriate moments and, therefore, there are no lyrics. I must admit that I’m not usually a big fan of instrumental songs unless they’re really fantastic, and Femme et Enfant is more than that – it’s simply brilliant. The six-plus minute song doesn’t falter for even a second.

Femme et Enfant is the fourth installment in Courdet’s Dodecalogue – records dedicated to studying the Gospels and the apostles – dedicated to Jude Thadée (St. Jude). You can listen to the song on YouTube and, if you like what you hear, find an mp3 on Lookout.

Grammy 2010 Nominees

Grammy nominees for the 2010 awards are out, and three MI featured artists have some reasons to celebrate!

Phoenix earned a much deserved nomination for Best Alternative Music Album for their stellar release Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

MGMT bagged two major noms – Best New Artist and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for their standout track Kids.

But the guys with even more Grammy love are Kings of Leon, who earned an impressive four nominations and are competing for two of the night’s biggest awards – Song of the Year and Record of the Year, plus Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals – for Use Somebody.

As much as I love music, when it comes to the awards shows I much prefer the Oscars than the Grammys for many reasons. This time, however, it looks like I’ll be waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the show’s live broadcast. Now if only I could get to watch Kings of Leon perform live…that’s one show I would not want to miss!

Pitchfork v. Owl City

Much has been written online about Pitchfork’s review of Owl City’s Fireflies. Before I add to the ongoing debate, let me state three facts that hopefully show I’m unbiased:

(a) I blogged about Owl City back in December 2008 when I first started MI, and I’ve never been ashamed to say I like his music.

(b) I have not yet heard Fireflies.

(c) I’m a big fan of The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie, and Ben Gibbard.

But I do have to say that I’m disappointed with the Pitchfork review, not because the writer doesn’t like Owl City, but about the way this review is written.

I’m a firm believer in promoting music that I think is good and people should listen to, but I also believe that just because I don’t like a certain song or artist (and believe me there are plenty to fill these categories) doesn’t mean that there aren’t others out there who do like them.

The goal of Musically Inclined – and what, in my opinion, music blogs should strive towards – is to encourage musicians and promote their music and not to be a diatribe about music that is allegedly terrible and how people should not subscribe to because it either sounds like a poor version of someone else’s songs/is just plain terrible/whatever other reason the writer hates it.

There is too much good music in this world that isn’t being heard for a variety of reasons to waste time on focusing on the “bad”. Rather than tell people what they should not be listening to (and hoping that they actually don’t listen to it), it might be better to point them towards something and let them decide for themselves.

Some music trends aside, the average music lover is more intelligent than we give him/her credit for. There’s enough hate in this world already; let’s focus our energy on something positive.