Thursday, October 29, 2009

A "Swell Season" for Love Songs..

I found myself in an all too familiar place tonight. Target. I was wandering around like I usually do with a cart full of useless items, when I stumbled into the music section. I went to the new releases, looked on the shelf and almost fell over. There staring me in my face was one of my favorite duos new albums, the Swell Season (aka the two from the movie Once). How could I have missed this, how did I not have it on pre-order. So many questions, so little time. I left my cart in the aisle. Marched straight to the counter. Paid cash. Was too excited to even open the CD in the car. Came home. Listened cover to cover. Happy.

Okay now that I have my composure, let me back up for a second and explain. The two people (pictured) are Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard, also known as the Swell Season. If you are not familiar with their work on the movie Once, you need to stop reading this and go to Blockbuster right now and rent that movie. Essentially its a love story told through music. In the simple yet magical independent movie, guitar playing boy meets a piano playing girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl make beautiful music together. The soundtrack to the movie is easily one of my top 3 soundtracks of all time (Almost Famous, Garden State the others). Filled with tracks about love and loss, layered with beautiful harmonies, each song outdoes the last. The title track "Falling Slowly" even won the duo an Oscar. Nobody was more surprised then the Irish singer-songwriter Hansard and Czech singer-pianist Irglova, who were virtually unknown to US audiences. The two who had fallen in love during the filming of the movie, decided to make the band Swell Season and start to tour with the soundtrack to great success.

Now onto "Strict Joy" their latest album. Since we heard from them last the couple decided to break up, but not thankfully didn't end their musical relationship. I wondered how this would play out on their new album, how songs would sounds like, and I was right. These songs are laid out perfectly. They weave together the things that we all go through, the risks we put ourselves in when we enter a relationship. The ups the downs, the hurt, the sorrow, the joy and the happiness. There are high moments, some Van Morrison like upbeat songs like "Feeling the Pull", and then there are the more fragile songs like "Loved You Wrongly". Cover to cover this cd is worth the $9.99 price tag.

I guess the best way to sum up this music is it made me want to come inside sit on the couch and just be thankful that there are still people out there making good music like this. It is the year of indie music. Mark my word.

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