Sunday, October 5, 2008

The American Analog Set - Know By Heart

Around the time of my 20th birthday I was repeatedly sick all winter. I had bronchitis then I had strep and I just couldn't seem to stay well. At that same time, I wasn't working and I was taking a semester off school so I was just sitting around my house constantly sick. It was awful. I didn't do anything and it became a real bummer. For my birthday, my good friend Robin mailed me a card and a CD of a band called The American Analog Set. I'd never heard them before, but we have comparable taste and I figured if she sent it to me, I would probably like it. We were both right in our assumptions and I listened to it all winter. It has since gone on to become one of my favorites and has a lot of personal significance outside of moping around my parents basement.

In my opinion, Know By Heart is one of, if not the greatest Indie-Pop records of the millennium. Vocalist and primary songwriter, Andrew Kenny has an incredible knack for composing interesting, gentle melodies within beautiful arrangements. He has a unique ability to carry a song with his restrained voice, singing just above a whisper. Though the songs are lo-fi and personal, they are still incredibly catchy and beautiful without dragging on the way some bands of the genre do. While all of their records are great, Know By Heart definitely is the most focused of their material up to that point. Unlike previous efforts, the songs follow more typical pop song structures and don't segue into lengthy repetition ala "The Magnificent Seventies" off From Our Living Room to Yours. I've always felt they epitomize the term "bedroom-pop," with memorable songs that feel like they are being played right before you in your own bedroom. The American Analog set is the perfect music for late nights through headphones or on a dreary Sunday afternoon in the middle of Fall when the leaves start to turn.

The American Analog Set - Know By Heart


Tim said...

1. "Bedroom pop" is such an incredible term. I am instantly overcome with emotional relationships when I hear that term, some good and some bad, some related to music and some not.

2. In an effort to try and get you to review more records, I'm suggesting that you have some type of theme, be it regional or alphabetic or even chronological. Actually, it should be some type of relational tangent.

Ex: Do like a musical web so today you did AmAnSet and tomorrow you do Explosions in the Sky (the link being Mark Smith) then the day after, do Young Widows (the link being TRL) and so on. The challenge is to find a large enough gap to keep the musical choices varying but keep that connection going.

I dare you.

I'll even help you.

Stephen said...

yeah I enjoy the term bedroom pop as well. Something about it has always seemed very personal to me. That style that is.

I've been thinking about doing themes actually. Now that we are in the thick of fall I want to do a push of my favorite fall records, etc. As far as the linking/connection/region thing I could definitely do that as wel and think it would be cool, esp for the dudes in hc bands that continued playing music outside that realm but were good at it. Maybe we should collab?

matt said...

I dug this record, I'll give it a psin a half a decade later and see how it stands up to memory.

ryan said...

i am a fan of this record which fell victim to "being sold to a record store so i can pay rent" syndrome. thanks for posting it.

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