Infinite Shuffle

February 6, 2011

62 – Annuals

Filed under: A, Raleigh NC — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Of all the different ways I’ve discovered new music, the most bittersweet is when I find a band on my iPod that I either didn’t know was there or simply forgot existed.

It’s great to find good music to listen to, but it’s kinda disappointing to think I easily could’ve been listening to it for the past couple of years.

I recently went to iTunes and, not having anything specific I wanted to listen to, just sorted the songs by “Play Count” and found something that had zero listens.

And that is the story of how I became reacquainted with the band Annuals.

I listened to the group’s debut album, 2006’s Be He Me, and immediately downloaded its next two discs.

It’s hard to really pinpoint the band’s sound. It’s as if the six-piece from Raleigh, N.C., compiled all the best elements from a bunch of popular indie groups, yet it never seems derivative. It melds everything together into a rich, smooth cacophony that is pleasurable to the ear.

Annuals – Complete or Completing

Some of the bands the music conjured up include Modest Mouse, Mutemath, Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Pinback and Death Cab for Cutie.

Reading the customer reviews on Amazon of Annuals’ various albums, there are a lot of wide-ranging influences listed, including: Beach Boys, The Cure, U2, Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene, Neutral Milk Hotel and Badly Drawn Boy.

When listening to Annuals’ three full-length releases consecutively, you do notice a transition between each album. On 2008’s Such Fun, they take their folk-pop sound and infuse it with some electronica. Then on 2010’s Count the Rings, they speed things up and add more layers to make things even more radio-friendly.

The latest album is probably their best. They really seem to be putting things together and coming into their own on these 11 tracks. While the first two releases didn’t really have any standout songs, Count the Rings has several worthy of the repeat button.

In fact, it looks like the band hit the ole repeat button a few times itself, as three songs on the most recent album — “Hot Night Hounds”, “Springtime” and “Hardwood Floor” — all appeared on Such Fun originally.

Annuals – Hot Night Hounds

It’s difficult to find out any new information on the band since its second release. In fact, I only knew about the latest album because it was mentioned on the group’s Wikipedia page. Count the Rings is listed as an import on Amazon, and iTunes doesn’t even offer it.

The band’s official URL redirects you to its MySpace page. There’s no current tour information, but you can listen to a few songs there.

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