I love podcasts. Especially the ones that give you free music every day (KEXP, KCRW, and MPR, I love you all.). But, what I like even more, being a budding literature critic, is the All Songs Considered podcast, where experts and critics get together to talk about music, make recommendations, and argue good-naturedly about Carrie Brownstein's love for metal, or Bob Boilen's dedication to quiet indie-folk sounds. And, since I started listening to this podcast and learning more about the bands they feature, I've also wandered over to the NPR site for All Songs Considered. On the podcast, Bob Boilen had mentioned the First Listen series NPR started, and since I've gotten kind of bored with my own music lately, I decided to check out the NPR media player and see what new stuff I could listen to. Now, apparently we've entered into a new era of The Single -- after all, with most people buying their music in mp3 form, and the CD dying, many are declaring that The Album is D-E-A-D, Dead. But the great things about the First Listen series is that it totally ignores the nay-sayers and determinedly offers up full, brand-new albums for listening. They stream such fantastic releases as The Decemberists' The King is Dead in full for a limited period of time right before the album goes on sale. It's a fantastic way to get beyond The Single, especially for bands that really do make albums that tell a story or build in a careful way. For me, it's a nice way to balance the podcasts I download that deliver only singles, with no context. And I get to try a new album out without committing financially, which is a huge plus, considering my distinct lack of extra money.
Today I listened to the excellent new Bright Eyes record The People's Key -- it's an odd one, but there's gems in it. Now, Bright Eyes I had heard of before, though I don't think I've ever listened to a whole album of their music, as I am very much one of those who listens to her whole ipod on shuffle about 99% of the time. But after that I listened to another album, which was even more to my taste, and from a band I had never heard of: Telekinesis is the band, and 12 Desperate Straight Lines is their album.
So, if you want to be all retro and actually listen to albums, check it out! Then buy the album on vinyl..... and mp3, so you can mix it in with the other 1000 songs on your ipod.