If you are looking for good study music, look into the unaccompanied Bach Cello Suites. There is a fantastic recording by Yo-Yo Ma. That music got me through my studying for my hardest college course; it's non-distracting, but at the same time, beautiful music in its own merit.
And no- it doesn't get any better than Ludwig Van. :)
I have a burned cd from a friend who saw Ray in Seattle. The cd is currently in the US while I am in Ecuador, but I'd be happy to send a copy your way when I make it home. It is a fantastic cd with songs I have definitely never heard Ray sing or heard on a cd.
Curious about the cd with three or four unreleased songs (cupcake). I saw Ray play in 2000 and at the time he had one cd which seems to no longer be available. There were definitely some songs on that cd that aren't included on Trouble or Til The Sun Turns Black. Would love more info.
To be honest, I've probably put more effort into listening to these tracks than I would have if Peter didn't give them to me, but I'm glad I took the time to explore their sound. The duo has really grown on me. Here's my shiny nickel:
1. I think this song best showcases the dichotomy between sound and lyrics that seems to be characteristic of the duo. While I am bopping along to my favorite sound on the cd, I catch myself singing the morbid lyrics aloud. Oh well.
2. Ah, Jon Jon. Yes, I know several of them, and I love how the song has him meeting his Jane Jane who acts as reckless as he. Puts a romantic spin on this upbeat tune.
3. Paz Suay has such a sweet innocence to her voice in this song. It doesn't require much thought to enjoy it, but putting in the extra effort to listen to the lyrics makes it that much better.
4. I second the "carefree summer feeling" comment. In fact, this song makes me want to float in a pool while sipping a margarita. Ok, well I usually feel like that. But whatever, it's a good tune.
5. The depressing lyrics and search for answers/identity coupled with a slight disco beat make this song a prime contender for use in a Zach Braff movie. Maybe that's why I like it.
I really enjoy the few songs of his that I have heard, although none have showcased his speaking rather than singing tendency. VH1 has really pushed his music by making him a "You Oughta Know" artist which can sometimes turn me off--they tend to shove it down viewers' throats. Still, I'd like to hear the rest of the album to give him a chance.
He's unique in the fact that he's from Maine. How many famous people do you know from Maine other than Stephen King? Not many. His voice is unique, but not unique as in like Johnny Cash was before Joaquin. I just don't think you can or should compare artists, that is all. Plus, he's not weird. Also, I can think of a few as well (e.g. Ani Difranco), but that isn't necessary. I just used weird in reference to Peter for the sake of comparison. I think we can come to a conclusion by accepting Ray's music for what it is and by agreeing that we all kind of like him.
You can compare any semi-mainstream musical artist to at least one other. Ray is not THAT unique. He's basically a folk singer with a tragic twist. If you want some examples of "weird" artists, I give you Deerhoof, The Flaming Lips, and Bjork.
Let me clear my good name here. I said the *best* comparison I could come up with, trying to give Joker an idea of what to expect. I challenge you to come up with a better comparison for the uninitiated.
Ray is obviously a distinct artist, and his Trouble album is one of my favorites from the last few years.
I disagree with the Van comparison. I love Van but I love Ray more (shocking, I know). I also consider myself an expert on the two musicians. Van, for the most part, is more upbeat. Ray has little more depth in a tragic sort of way. He used to work at a shoe factory in Maine. One day he quit his job to sing. Both singers belong in the same genre of music, but don't sound the same. I believe I told you to buy Ray's album two years ago (but what do I know). His new album is coming out next month. I also have a cd with three or four unreleased songs, if anyone is interested.
You're on a roll man! Great song... I discovered it as well, I think it was last summer. Check out "Brooklyn is Burning", and "I Shot William H. Macy" (the first is a good song, the second is a good song title) as well. These guys aren't too genre-friendly (hardcore singer + Gorillaz beatmaster). I've been wanting to build a mix with either "Beating" or "Brooklyn", but I am having the same problem you are. Unfortunately I'm at work and can't browse my music collection for suggestions for you... I'll try to get back to you cause now I'm itchin' to make my mix.
Great call on Kings of Convenience man. I got hooked on them through a song called "Love is No Big Truth". Just like "Dance", it's catchy without being annoying, and it always makes me smile. Check it out if you haven't already.
GREAT REVIEW, love the format!
A word of note: "All On Me" was actually produced by Sean's younger brother Jason Alexander. I guess his first effort on the international scene. Still a below par song though as you stated. Who knows if they release it as a single it will probably tear up the Billboard Hot 100 though. Sean can do no wrong Stateside.
This band is going to be with about 130 others at lallapalooza in Chicago in Aug. I think they are going to be fun live. If you do like this album you might also like Jack Mannequin. I know Amazon links them also...thought I would share :)