July 10, 2005

Cloud Cult

For the last few weeks I've been carrying around the new Cloud Cult album with me. I don't just mean in my iPod, I mean "in" me. You know that feeling of not being able to shake a really good movie? It's kinda been like that times ten.

I am very passionate about music, and from time to time I'm tempted to talk about bands I'm into here on the site, but I've avoided it because I personally don't like reading music reviews and I try to keep things here as fun as I can. But that being said, I haven't been this excited, and moved and generally made crazy like this by an album in years, so I'm hoping you'll indulge me a little bit. (On top of that, Sarah, the cellist in the band, wrote to let me know she liked Steve Don't Eat It, so if that's not a reason for you to at least give them a chance, I don't know what is.)

The album is called "Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus" and it's an eclectic mix of sound from orchestral passages to super funky beats, samples, hand claps, live tracks, and even the occasional country twang, but all securely rooted in Craig Minowa's supremely crafted indie guitar rock.

Craig's voice is heartfelt and fragile, but he can still easily take it over the top when he wants to. (And Sarah's celloing totally kicks ass, just because I say it does.)

The backstory on Craig and Cloud Cult isn't the happiest. A few years ago Craig lost his 2-year-old son and his marriage dissolved soon after. These tragic events have been a recurring musical theme ever since. Having little boys of my own, I realize it's part of why Craig's music has hit me like a truck, but the album deals more with an issue that affects everyone: mortality. And it doesn't do so with doom and gloom. The message, to me at least, is to embrace life. (Yes, I'm still the same guy who made wine with his socks. Relax, I'm almost done.)

These guys are even doing all of this on their very own record label, and trying very hard to save the planet at the same time.

When I listen to "Advice from the Happy Hippo" I feel like I have a secret, and I'm just waiting for the rest of the world to find out. Go find out for yourself.

The track "Living on the Outside Of Your Skin" can be heard here.

Or listen to samples of the whole album here

The offical Cloud Cult site is here.

And you can buy the album directly from them as well. It's also for sale at other places like Amazon (not iTunes as of yet), but more profits go to the band's label if you buy from them directly.

(And thank you for indulging me.)



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