Friday, July 31, 2009

Artist of the week: Chester French! (July 26-August 1)

Photo courtesy of Last.FM

Little did Daniel Chester French know when designing the John Harvard statue at Harvard University, that two students at the school would name their band after him. Chester French consists of Andrew "D.A." Wallach, originally from Milwaukee, W.I., and Maxwell Drummey, originally from Boston, M.A. With their debut album Love The Future and the ongoing tour with Blink 182, Fallout Boy, Taking Back Sunday and Weezer, the duo has had quite a busy summer.
Their sound, almost impossible to describe, is very reminiscent to The Beach Boys and Soul music from the 1960's, which is what brought these two Harvard freshmen together when they realized they shared the same passion for that type of music.
The band is currently signed to Star Trek records, created and managed by one half of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D., Pharell Williams. Playing at 2008's South By Southwest in Austin, Texas and promotion on MTV during commercials helped gain interest in their music even before Love The Future released. They were also included in the Artists to Watch list in Rolling Stone's March 2008 issue, which also gained a buzz for them.
Key tracks on Love The Future include "She Loves Everybody," "Sleep," "People," and "Bebe Buell."

Here's the video for "She Loves Everybody" (Embedding was disabled)

Chester French Official Website
Chester French Official Blog
D.A. Wallach's Twitter

Friday, July 10, 2009

Artist of the week: Regina Spektor! (July 5-11)

***So I've decided to try a weekly column called "Artist of the Week." I'll pick an artist and write a little bit about them, their sound and other various anecdotes about them. I'll also include any websites/twitter's they have and youtube videos. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this going weekly!
(Pictures from

Regina Spektor was born in Moscow, Russia to a very musical family. Her father, Il'ya Spektor, is a photographer and violinist while her mother, Bella Spektor, was a music professor in a Russian college of music, and now teaches in Mount Vernon, NY at a public elementary school. The family left Russia (then it was called The Soviet Union of course,) in 1989, when Spektor was nine and when Soviet citizens were permitted to leave the country.
As a child, Spektor already became fascinated by piano and started playing around her early childhood. After leaving Moscow, the family settled in the Bronx, where she began to write songs and be exposed to singer-songwriters such as Ani DiFranco and Joni Mitchell. This was when Spektor created her style and found her creativity as a songwriter.
Spektor attended SUNY Purchase College in Westchester County (Represent!) and was enrolled in the Conservatory of Music. She completed her degree in 2001.
After Purchase, Spektor gradually achieved popularity in New York City through performances in the East Village area, most importantly at the Sidewalk Cafe, the Living Room, Tonic, Fez, the Knitting Factory, and CB's Gallery. She also performed at local colleges, including Purchase and Sarah Lawrence College, with other musicians. She sold her self-published albums, 11:11 and Songs, at performances during this time. In 2004, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers' record label Sire Records to publish and distribute her third album Soviet Kitsch, which was Spektor's breakthrough album.
Soviet Kitsch is like if Gogol Bordello was a girl and wrote lyrics like John Mayer. In fact, I think that might describe Spektor as a whole, perfectly. Key tracks on Soviet Kitsch include "Us," "Ode to Divorce," and "Carbon Monoxide." When asked about her music style, Spektor has said that she works hard to ensure that each of her songs has their own musical style, rather than trying to develop a distinctive style for her music as a whole.

On June 13, 2006, Spektor released her second and best album on Sire called Begin to Hope. The album was certified Gold, the single "Fidelity" became Spektor's first Billboard 100 entry and is her most successful track to date. Key tracks for this album include "Fidelity," "Better," "Samson," "On The Radio" and "Hotel Song." (Can you tell I really like this album?) Begin to Hope also received strong critical acclaim and made Spektor a more popular singer-songwriter to the public.
Just recently, on June 23, 2009, she released Far, her third album with Sire. The album has already peaked at number 3 on the Billboard music charts and is just as creative and quirky as Begin to Hope and Soviet Kitsch. Key tracks include "Folding Chair," "Machine," "Dance Anthem of the 80's" and "The Calculation" (featured on The Preston Beat's playlist!)
Spektor's lyrics are sometimes inspired by the literary works of F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway and William Shakespeare. Spektor is also known for sometimes deliberately using a strong New York accent in some of her songs, which is due to her love for New York and its culture. In Spektor's early albums such as Soviet Kitsch, many of her tracks are a lot less experimental. However, Spektor's more recent albums, particularly Begin to Hope, have incorporated more emphasis on song production and are more experimental, with instruments as well as with vocals.

Video for "Fidelity"

Video for "Laughing With" (from Far)

Video for "Us" - Regina Spektor official website

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Streaming on Facebook: The Dead Weather's Horehound

To listen to the entire album, CLICK HERE! Thank you, ilike application on Facebook!

Horehound will be released next Tuesday, July 14. They're also playing Terminal 5 in New York City July 16&17.

Iran is poppin' today
I've been getting pretty much all of my information from the Huffington Post regarding the protests in Tehran that are emerging today. These are the first demonstrations since the "crackdown vow" from the Iranian government.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Panic lose two members.

Ryan Ross and Jon Walker have left Panic at the Disco, confirmed today.
The rest of the band are still making music and are scheduled to be one of the opening bands for Blink 182's reunion tour this summer.

MJ's Memorial

Picture: Michael Jackson's children, Paris and Blanket, (not pictured: Prince Michael,) with Jackson's sisters, Janet and Latoya. Image from

Michael Jackson, who passed away on June 25, 2009 due to cardiac arrest, was honored today with a Memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 17,500 free tickets were available to the public. Recipients were chosen from an online lottery. Guest speakers included Smokey Robinson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Brooke Shields. Here's an article from Spin magazine Online about the service.

Taking Back Sunday: New Again (Review)

(Picture from
The fourth studio album by one of the original Long Island emo rock bands, Taking Back Sunday, bring their new sound to full circle. Combining their original sound (fast guitars and witty, vocal banter between two parties,) with the sound they've been experimenting with for the last few years (still fast but a little less emo, a little more alternative rock,) with Where You Want to Be and Louder Now, New Again seems to be the album Taking Back Sunday have been wanting to write for some time now.
It is the first album to include their new guitarist, Matthew Fazzi after the departure of Fred Mascherino in mid-2007. Lead singer Adam Lazzara has been quoted saying that the band chose the album title New Again because they felt like they were transformed into a completely different band because of their musical growth. "We kicked around a bunch of different titles, but that one always remained the top of the list, and that’s because it really does feel like a new band," Lazzara said.
It is definitely recommended to get their bonus tracks on the iTunes version of the album. It includes a jazzy, contemporary dance version of one of the best songs on the album, "Carpathia." Some of their other key tracks on this album include the single "Sink into Me" (which kind of reminds me of a modern day-new Taking Back Sunday version of "You're So Last Summer,") "Everything Must Go" and the original version of "Capathia."
This new album isn't Tell All Your Friends and I know that many fans want that sound back from the band (I do too, to be honest,) but if this album will show us fans anything, it's that Taking Back Sunday still got it, no matter how different they sound.
With Louder Now especially, it seemed like the band wasn't very sure how to translate the direction they wanted to go in as a band. However on this album, it seems as if their progression as a band and different sound has become a little more familiar and comfortable for the band.

4 out of 5