Tallest Man On Earth’s “There’s No Leaving Now”

Kristian Mattson’s new album came out recentl. It is titled There’s No Leaving Now. Kristian, who is better known as the Tallest Man on Earth, spent five months recording Leaving in the comfort of his home. The leisurely approach he took to writing this time around, translates in the album’s more relaxed sound. In essence, all the urgency of The Wild Hunt (which reminded many of Dylan) is no longer conveyed but instead dropped for some good old laid-back folk tunes. This change is most apparent when comparing his new single, “1904” to his previous “King of Spain.”

Mattson’s career as a folk singer has always been simple, a man and a guitar. With a voice as unique as his combined with his natural musical talent, he hasn’t needed or even wanted to add anything else to the mix…until now. Leaving is Mattson’s first venture into multi-tracking. He has added woodwinds, drums, and additional guitars to create a different sound, but one which is still very distinctly Tallest Man. His guitar picking has continued to be imperfect and relatively messy but this is something fans love about his style. It’s his voice, however, that has evolved. On Leaving, he has begun to experiment with what his voice can do rather than sticking to either extremely soft or extremely piercing notes.

Whatever he does, he always clearly conveys his emotions through his lyrics especially on the tracks with dark subject matter such as “Revelation Blues”, “1904”, and “Wind and Walls.” The sometimes dark lyrics however are usually uplifted through his upbeat strumming and chord progression. This type of subject masking has been a trait of his since his first self-titled EP in 2006, specifically on the track, “The Gardner.” He has also managed to stay in tune with nature over the years which he always conveys through his lyrics like in “Bright Lanterns.”

I was lucky enough to see the Tallest Man perform live at Pitchfork Music Festival in 2010, a few months after The Wild Hunt was released and I was blown away. The most memorable moment was after he had played “All is Love” and two birds flew up from below the stage as he hit a crucial note in the song.  Mattson’s seemingly effortless guitar playing and incredible stage presence makes this Swedish soloist a must see at Lollapalooza this August in Grant Park. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to purchase or stream There’s No Leaving Now either.

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Lana Del Ray, From Internet Star to the Big Time

The first time I heard Lana Del Ray’s incredible voice was oddly enough through something not so incredible: a cell phone speaker. Admittedly, technology is progressing faster and faster all the time and I shouldn’t complain of the slight static emitted from such advanced devices but any music lover will tell you, quality matters. In this exceptional case, I must say it didn’t. A substandard speaker is no match for Lana’s soft but evenly modulated croon that grabs ahold of your thoughts, dreams, desires, and emotions and steals you away into a world of her own creation. Most fans can relate to this after being lured in by her hit singles “Blue Jeans” or “Videogames” both of which went viral in the summer of 2011.

If you haven’t checked her out already, I recommend you do it soon. With over 10 million views on her “Videotapes” video on YouTube, she is anything but undiscovered yet somehow avid music lovers such as myself hadn’t discovered her music until fairly recently. Surprisingly enough, she has been around in the music world since 2009 when she released an EP titled “Kill, Kill” under her real name, Lizzy Grant, but it did not receive such broad recognition as she has already achieved with her new single and upcoming album both titled Born to Die.

Another interesting thing about Lana is that she is not recognized solely for having fantastic lyrics and a catchy beat. She could sing words of nonsense and still manage to be successful with the immense amount of talent she possesses. But with lyrics such as “Heaven is a place on earth, where you tell me all the things you want to do…” even the most pragmatic people can be turned into hopeless romantics. With few official music videos, we can only catch a glimpse of this mysterious performer but the “Videogames” video will be keeping us coming back for more for a long time.

Overall, there is no comparison that will describe her music quite right since she has such a unique sound but the Brooklyn based singer is destined to become more than an internet sensation with her raspy and raw voice at times sounding similar to Nancy Sinatra and the late Amy Winehouse.  In fact Lana has described herself as a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” assumingly because of some racy lyrics on her new album that previously read “let me f-ck you hard in the pouring rain, you like your girls insane” before being changed most likely by her manager(s). Gangster or not, she gives off an aura of class and sophistication mixed with a funky fresh personality that when put together are utterly irresistible!