Noah and the Whale

Who is your favorite band?

I know, I know, it’s a tough question. You can fiddle and faddle and hum and haw and say that you can’t narrow it down to one. But, you can. I understand–I get it, the answer is complicated. You like a lot of different bands, and so much of it depends on your mood or the period of your life. There are workout songs, break-up songs, summer night songs, get-pumped before a date songs, and songs to blare when you’re baking. But, if you had to pick, I think you could single out one band that owns a part of your heart.

Mine is Noah and the Whale. They replaced Coldplay as my favorite band, and are currently competing against Johnny Flynn and the Decemberists for the title. They cling to the epithet of “favorite band” feverishly, their main advantage being that if I made music, it would sound like this. My music would have tambourines, wailing, warbly voices, whistles and violins, love cliches, and orchestra accompaniments. Noah and the Whale makes music that is rare in today’s age. They make music that directly reflects their lives. No lies, tales, generic blockbuster topics or compromises.

These guys put their heart into their music and it shows and I appreciate it so much.

“Why do you bring it up, Mark? Wouldn’t you only mention something like this if they were say, performing in concert in Austin? And if you had tickets? And if it was the only date at the beginning of summer that you knew you had to request not work on?”

Yes, all good points, hypothetical Mark. Noah and the Whale is coming to concert tomorrow, Wednesday the ninth, at the Parish in Austin. And, I have tickets.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, and now I finally understand what people mean when they say this, is that they are playing their new stuff. Their new stuff stinks. Noah and the Whale is promoting their newest album Last Night on Earth.

Ya, it’s ok. And yes, of course I’m going. But if they play explicitly their new stuff, I will be heartbroken. Noah and the Whale is a Scottish band and rarely do “North American Tours.” This may be the only time in my life I will see them in concert, and they might be playing the only music they play, that I don’t like.

Regardless, I have tickets for tomorrow night at eight p.m., and I will hopefully be able to take some pictures. If not, you can ask me about it and I”m sure I’ll have a lot to say.

Their first album, and crucial to their development. This album is popesque, upbeat, happy, very folksy, but never over-the-top or disingenuous. The key is that there is a girl who sings in this album. I do not know names, but the girl was dating the lead singer when they made this album. She sang on the album and gives the soundtrack an unmistakeable something.

I was going to use this line to recommend songs from the album, but I literally like every single song on this entire album. But, if you twisted my arm, I would say listen to “Shape of My Heart,” “Give a Little Love,” “Jocasta,” “Rocks and Daggers,” and “Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down.

 

 

 

This album is something else. It helped get through a break-up with a girlfriend, mostly because that’s what the album is about itself. The lead singer and the girl he was dating broke up, and you can tell in this album. It is bitter, suicidal, whiney, morose, sad, and the most emotional music I have ever heard compiled on one album. I have always said that I love good happy music, and I love good sad music. But the songs that stick with me the most, and really, really affect me, are sad songs. They stay with you more. I think anger and bitterness translates better into music than happiness, but that’s just a suggestion. Despite its sad nature though, you can listen to it anytime. It is uplifting, and has the most instrumentals I have heard on a pop-album. It is deep and I mean this–it is beautiful. It is unlike any other album. You listen to it, and you become best friends with the band.

Recommended songs: “Blue Skies,” “Stranger,” “The First Days of Spring,” and “Our Window.”

 

 

I love them because they try, but this was a misstep. They attempted to make the same sound as the first album, but without the girl, and without the sincerity. It sounds too generic, and the lyrics don’t really ring home like they did in the first two album. Still, there are bright spots.

Recommended songs: “Waiting for My Chance to Come” and “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

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Noah and the Whale

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