I know there are plenty of different schools of thought when it comes to production of indie music; some people prefer the DIY, recorded-on-a-fisher-price-tape-recorder sound, while some people prefer shimmering, glossy production. I generally like a happy medium. I don't like production to take center stage, but at the same time, I like to be able to hear music over the tape hiss.
One of the albums that really benefited from spectacular production in 2006 was Band of Horses- Everything All the Time. Check out the album's first single, and incidentally our favorite track, The Funeral.
To say that this album benefited from great production isn't to take anything away from the music itself. This is a great band, writing very good songs. The production took the album to another level, though. The production made these songs glow.
The reason I bring this up... The other day Trost showed me the band's tour EP, a short collection of demos and live songs. At first I was excited, but after a few quick listens, it was clear that these songs could not hold up next to their counterparts from Everything All the Time. If you would like to see what I am talking about, check out the live version of The Funeral from the EP, here entitled Billion Day Funeral. The song is still great, but it kind of falls flat. The production from the album version truly adds a new dimension.
Do yourself a favor and listen to Everything All the Time through some decent headphones or quality speakers. Your laptop speakers are not going to do this album justice.