Tag Archive: Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers


That wasn’t actually a question.  Prime numbers are sexy, and indie music is sexy, and our Best of 2009 THUS FAR lists are sexier than Paste’s.  Also, more interesting.  Anyway, so, I read Eric’s list and decided perhaps I should make one of my own, because we do, of course have slightly different tastes, and although 4 out of my 13 picks are by artists he also picked, my song choices are different.  So, you should probably just combine our lists and make one massive playlist of wonder.

1) “Cradle” - The Joy Formidable Yes,  this song is number one on my list for a reason.  I love it with all my heart, and I watch the video over and over again wishing for her hair, and a see-saw, and my childhood back.

2) “You’re  Not Coming Home Tonight” – First Aid Kit These Swedes speak to me.  Good luck buying this EP.

3) “Because We’re Dead” – Slow Club This was a really difficult pick for me, as there are so many incredible songs on Yeah, So.  Maybe it isn’t so predictable a choice because of its pace and sparsity, but that’s exactly why I picked it. 

4) “Troll Nacht” – The Dodos You just heard this a couple days ago when they began streaming the album online…I guess there was an album leakage, so why not stream it for everyone’s enjoyment?

5) “Some Day” – We’ll Make It Right Another tough decision, another glorious album.  “We’ll Make It Bright” was a close second.  I like when they say “you better run no matter who you are”–it’s so cute!

6) “Dance Serene” – The Hard to Get I know, I know!  Eric and the producer both say “Good at That” is the best song on the EP, and yet, I can’t help saying that “Dance Serene” is the best, and not only that, it is also one of the best songs of the year, beating out all of Paste Mag’s crap.  (I don’t mean crap in a bad way, promise).  It’s catchy, French, and fits Melissa’s and Tim’s voices in a really unique and charming way.  So, “Dance  Serene” it is.

7) “Serve Them Well” – Swimming in Speakers I swear I’m not trying to argue with Eric.  Some of these artists have reached such a degree of quality that it’s really truly difficult to pick a “best” song.  Although, I am right, and “Serve Them Well” is the best.

8 ) “Songs in the Night” - Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers Samantha Crain is so wonderfully sincere and vulnerable in her music.  This is a brilliant album.  Go see them live if you can.

9) “Young Adult Friction” – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart I like their sound, and their angst, and I think this song is fabulous.  I’m only just beginning to get a grasp on life in my twenties, and they help me.  Also I will review them soon, if you want.

10) “On My Usual Catch Up with Cecilia” – Hari & Aino Okay, Eric, I agree.  Adore these guys.

p.s. I think Chris Graham should do my wedding photography

11)  “Step Off the Map and Float” – Library Voices My new obsession.  I’ll be reviewing their EP soon, I hope, even though I did sort of already rave about their myspace page.  Whatever!  p.s.  I think Chris Graham, who did these headshots, should most definitely do my wedding photography.

12) “Snow Room” – The Secret Life of Sofia Okay, I’m kind of guessing about the release date for this one, and I apologize if it’s not a 2009 song.  But these things are difficult to find sometimes.  Anyway, I love it for its ethereal qualities, and I’m waiting to see The  Secret Life of Sofia become bigger and bigger.

13) “The Trapeze Swinger” – Iron & Wine It might be cheating because it’s a compilation album, so the song was not, you know, first ever heard in 2009.  But the song is one of my favorites, with the most strangely beautiful lyrics you may ever hear, backed by Sam Beam’s classically, expectedly rapturing acoustics.

And there’s my list, love it or hate it.  (Just kidding, I know you’ll love it).

On Saturday night, I saw Thao with The Get Down Stay Down at the Boot in Norfolk, and it was way cool.  I have to be honest and tell you I did zero pre-show research so I had no idea who was opening for them.  Openers are such an interesting thing, there is so much hope and so much room for disappointment.

Thankfully, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers (and Sister Suvi, but I’ll get to them later on) did not disappoint.  I would dub them as the up-and-coming artist to watch, as Hampton Roads hasn’t really caught on to the indie music scene, but Paste and Rolling Stone have already done that, and so I think we can all agree that the rich, dark folk rock band is already here.  Actually, this is another instance where I am beating myself up for not having listened to them earlier, and I’ll beat you up too if you don’t listen now.

The band’s twangy guitar and touch of tambourine and harmonica give their music a definite country roots feel (read Steinbeck as you listen!), but the depth of form and sound deny association with the country genre as we know it.  For instance, is that muted trumpet on “Bananafish Revolution”?  Despite the moodiness, which is actually quite therapeutic (for me at least, but maybe many things are therapeutic for me), it isn’t so dark–the catchy “Rising Sun” has been stuck in my head all day, and “Get the Fever Out” may be better described as playfully dark.  Samantha’s voice, I believe, is what makes this moodiness both therapeutic and contagious, with its strength undiminished by its tremors and lovely sighs.  I must say that at the show, one of my favorite things ever was watching that tiny girl dance around and play  harmonica and sing her guts out.  My new goal is to become best friends with her, stat!

Also, if you know anything about me, you know how much I appreciate lyrical genius.  If you don’t know this, read more of my reviews and you will soon find out!  Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers are brilliant songwriters; their lyrics truly are poetry.  “Traipsing Through The Aisles” contain some of my favorite of the bands’ lyrics– “even shadows sleep tonight/but a bit of orphaned light will/make its home on beds of nails and nightmares/when dust clouds o’er the sun/a web of confusion is by spiders crawling faster towards redemption.”  Also, not to be a lyric whore or anything, “Beloved We Have Expired”–  “accidents happen but you never did/i’m the forgotten change in your pocket/of the old winter coat/the newspapers stackin’, neat fold/oh, to be held again/to be spent or read/put aside again/That would be the greatest thing…”

Gahh it’s so beautiful!!!  Go listen. Buy the album.  Read the wonderful things Paste and Rolling Stone have to say.  Read Steinbeck.  Weep.  Oh also, here’s a video of “Traipsing Through The Aisles” for you.

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