It’s time for a little music, that most subjective of all loves.
First off is a band whose influences include Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, and Johnny Flynn (i.e., good company). It’s Matthew and the Atlas, whose EP “To The North” is difficult to describe with words other than “refreshing,” “lively,” “evocative,” or “affecting.” Though the band is from London, their lyrics and harmonies are universally appealing, both wholly natural and seemingly familiar.
And then there’s Jose Gonzalez, the Argentinian-turned-Swede who has a longer track record of beautiful tunes. Still, his contribution to the soundtrack of the undeniably artistic Red Dead Redemption game is of particular import, not only for those players who experienced its haunting debut upon their inaugural venture into Mexico. The visceral, lonely feel of the dusty west, the struggle for survival amidst indistinct shades of right and wrong, and the pursuit of fleeing, once-lucid dreams are all embodied by his simple ballad. It is adeptly set to in-game footage in the following music video, which I reluctantly embed in hopes that more might watch – still, I highly suggest downloading the high definition version before viewing.
Some anticipated releases in 2011 (hopefully): Bob Schneider, The One AM Radio, Coldplay, Lisa Hannigan.