Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 10 of 2011 Contenders

I've narrowed it down to these albums:

The Strokes - Angles
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Foster the People - Torches
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
Bon Iver - Self Titled/Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Black Keys - El Camino
Bright Eyes - The People’s Key
Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
Red Hot Chili Peppers - I’m With You
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Still have to listen to Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers again before I make a top 10.

What album was your #1 this year?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Album Review: The Black Keys - El Camino (2011)

First off, let me just say that the fact I’m writing an album review for something that just came out yesterday should say a lot. If you’re an avid reader, you know how late I am with these things.

The Black Keys have come back strong with El Camino. There was a lot of pressure for Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney to come back with something bigger and better than the powerhouse of 2010, Brothers, their major label debut and sixth disc of their career. And they did just that.
The album starts off with a typical Black Keys song and their debut single, “Lonely Boy”: high energy, with Auerbach’s gritty guitar and Carney’s crashing drums. Not to mention, women woes in their lyrics: “So you tore my heart out / and I don’t mind bleeding / any old time to keep me waiting, waiting, waiting...” “Lonely Boy” is a great choice for a single and a great song to start the album off. When I heard it, I thought it was so good, I feared El Camino could be one of those albums where only the single was good and the rest was kind of “eh” because they’ve put so much energy into making the debut so good - I’m looking at you Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo, Jimmy Eat World’s Chase This
Light
, Interpol’s Our Love to Admire and anything else they’ve done after that. It’s not just the artists I’ve mentioned though, it happens to a lot of Rock acts these days, especially if it’s an album releasing after a huge hit.
They then continue on with some songs that have potential to be classics: “Dead and Gone,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Little Black Submarines” and “Run Right Back.” Seriously, the first half is just back to back with really amazing songs - creatively and technically. All of them I’ve just mentioned (and I feel the same way with a lot of songs by The Black Keys,) sound like something not created in this time period - it really feels like it’s the 1960’s or even 1950’s Blues. The Black Keys are so important to current music, I think, because of that - they’re doing something that’s on a completely different level than most bands out there. Popularity and being “well-liked” doesn’t influence them at all - it all comes from within them. The other band I also strongly feel that way about is Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s - very different sound from The Black Keys but they seem to have very similar views on making music and etc.

Anyway, I digress, as I often do.

Other songs to look out for include “Sister” and “Nova Baby.” I’m not sure yet since it only just came out yesterday, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Black Keys album yet...and I know since it’s so new, I might get flack for saying that since Brothers and Rubber Factory are the end-all, be-all of the Black Keys discography. But give it a couple listens and then get back to me. You might start to see where I’m coming from. The thing is, there are a couple of songs on Brothers where I’m like, “okay, I can listen to this once or twice and then I’m tired of it,” such as, “The Go Getter” and “Unknown Brother,” but El Camino NEVER ceases to loose it’s steam. Every track has something really interesting about it and something to get you hooked. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - A Song that You Listen to When You’re Sad


Now that I think about it, A LOT of Fiona Apple.


Also the wonderful and truly missed, Amy Winehouse.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Andrew Bird announces New Album and Tour

Pitchfork just reported that Andrew Bird has announced a new album for March 2012 titled Break It Yourself. Sounds kind of angry for Andrew Bird, no?
He's also going on tour later this month with one of his opening acts being Laura Marling...unfortunately there aren't any New York dates with her so enjoy it for me, West Coast! Check the story out HERE.Photo from SweetLyrics.com

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - A Song that You Listen to When You’re Happy

Honestly, when I'm listening to music, I'm generally happy so this is kind of a loaded question (as cheesy as that sounds). So I'm just going to go with two songs that I've been listening to a lot lately...

The Black Keys "Gold on the Ceiling"

This song is amazing!! One of my favorites on the newly released today, El Camino.

The Flying Burrito Brothers "Sin City"

I've been listening to A LOT of Flying Burrito Brothers/Gram Parsons lately. I saw this documentary Lost Highway Records released: The History of American Country - here it is on YouTube - and when they talked about Gram Parsons, they basically said, "No Gram Parsons = No Ryan Adams" so obviously, I was intrigued. My boyfriend also really likes him so I knew that there was something there I would probably like. And it's very true, no Gram = no Ryan. It's such a bummer that Gram died so young because he would have been probably still making great music.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What did I just watch?

Check out The Killers' new single, "Cowboys Christmas Ball." Yeah, you read it right. I still can't believe they actually released this and thought "This will totally sell! No one's gonna think we're loony tunes, they'll think we're geniuses!" I have news for you, Brandon Flowers, it's the former. And P.S., I think he's had a little work done since last time I've seen him...

Watch the video here on Stereogum. (And thanks to my friend Melissa for bringing it to my attention!)

A lot of news about The Black Keys!



I am so excited for El Camino. The album comes out next Tuesday and from what I've heard, it's pretty amazing. It seems like they definitely haven't let their fans down.
Listen to five new songs here on their website and check out their tour dates! I know I'll have to go see them. Photo Courtesy of Last.fm.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 20

Day 20 - A Song that You Listen to When You’re Angry


Descendents "Suburban Home"
(so happy there's an album version of this on Youtube now. If you remember when I started this in May, it was listed as one of my favorite songs and I couldn't find it on Youtube.)


Against Me! "Baby I'm an Anarchist"
When you're angry, Reinventing Axl Rose is the best way to go.
Misfits "Astro Zombies"


Suicidal Tendencies "Institutionalized"
ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI!!!!
I also like how Mike Muir is obviously not a teenager in this and he's all "What's up, I still live with my parents and that's totally legit..."


I do also adore the version of "Institutionalized" Senses Fail did for the Tony Hawk: American Wasteland soundtrack. I might even like this better than the original. Probably the only thing Senses Fail has done that I've ever liked. (My Chemical Romance also did a cover of Misfits "Astro Zombies" for the same soundtrack, by the way. Which is also worth a listen...I know it's MCR but, trust me.)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 19

Day 19 - A Song from your Favorite Album



Correction: Day 19 - A Song from ONE OF your Favorite AlbumS!!

I've said this many times before. I just don't have ONE favorite album of all time. I have commitment issues with that, it seems. I can never just pick one. And I'm an album person so I think it's especially hard for me. You know how sometimes people are like, "I'm just going to buy ONE SONG from Nightmare of You" - that doesn't work for me. I need the album and I need to listen to it in its entirety before I listen to specific songs. But anyway, on to Margot & the Nuclear So and So's...

I love this band more than Kim Kardashian loves her $18 million dollars she got paid to televise her fake ass marriage.
They haven't been the same since their breakout, The Dust of Retreat but they're due for another good egg and it'll come sure enough for them, I think. "Quiet as a Mouse" is one of my favorites from the album, aren't you surprised I didn't choose "Skeleton Key"?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 18

Day 18 - A Song that you Wish you Heard on the Radio


Jack's Mannequin "My Racing Thoughts"

Every so often, I'll hear one of my favorite bands who aren't "radio-friendly" on the radio...Rilo Kiley, Ryan Adams, even! But I've NEVER heard Jack's Mannequin on the radio. Why is that?! I feel like he would be all over alternative rock radio.

Oh well, he doesn't even need radio - he has a pretty substantial fan base without it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

There's always money in the Banana Stand...

Not music related BUT I'm so overjoyed by this news I really can't help posting this...and it's also my blog...SO I'LL DO WHAT I WANT!

Arrested Development creator, Mitch Hurwitz was at the New Yorker festival today along with the cast. They announced that they will be filming a FOURTH SEASON for television AND a movie, both set for a 2013 release. Read more about it here.

Seriously, is it 2013 yet?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blink 182 - Neighborhoods

Oh and by the way, Neighborhoods comes out tomorrow. If you're an old school Blink fan, like Cheshire Cat/Dude Ranch era especially, I would suggest giving yourself AT LEAST 2-3 hours of alone time so you can cry into your pillow after listening.

Ashes and Fire streaming on NPR right now!

Listen to Ryan Adams' October 11 release, Ashes and Fire on NPR's website! Unfortunately, I can't listen to this now but I'm SO excited for this.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 17

Day 17 - A Song that You Hear Often on the Radio



Foster the People "Pumped Up Kicks"

This song is a monster on the radio because now it's popularity has crossed genre's so not only is it being played on rock radio stations, but pop stations as well. "And that was Rihanna with 'S&M,' here's that kooky rock band that no one has heard of until now, even though this single came out in March and has been overplayed to death on rock radio, Foster the People!" Sound familiar?
Even though I am kind of sick of this song and am digging "Helena Beat" way more, I still enjoy it when it comes on the radio. It's kind of impossible for me not to love it...I mean, come on...back in the day when Reebok pumps were cool?! I see what Foster the People did there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Lament for Music Critics

Please stop overthinking everything. Thanks. I don't mean to single this critic out but I was reading Joshua Love's review for Laura Marling's new disc, A Creature I Don't Know, on Pitchfork and his focus of the review seemed to be very trivial. Then I read the Pitchfork review by the same author for Alas I Cannot Swim, which released in February 2008 and he focused on the exact same things! He said in both reviews that because Laura Marling writes lyrics that are so "beyond her years," it's a possibility that her charm as an artist will dissipate after "those years catch up to her" - when she gets older. Another theme that seemed to be present in both reviews is the fact that when you listen to Marling's lyrics, you're not sure what time period it is because she never mentions pop culture references or "clues" to determine when this song is taking place.
Exhibit A:
"Laura Marling's music feels timeless. I don't mean "timeless" in the sense that people refer to, say, Adele or Duffy as timeless, when really they're really just evoking a very specific time that happens to be distant. Marling evokes other artists, too, but they're spread out over the past five decades of pop and rock, from Joni Mitchell, Fairport Convention, and Leonard Cohen to Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, and PJ Harvey. Still, her songs feel divorced from time, lacking clues or signposts to indicate whether her stories and scenes might be set 500 years ago or yesterday."
While I wholeheartedly agree that the artists he mentioned she's "evoking" is dead on, I really don't get why he continues to focus on these points I've just mentioned. I know that he's a CRITIC and of course he's going to be bias and mention the things he feels is important but I know that when I'm reviewing something I try to keep my focus on one thing: THE MUSIC and what I feel about THE ALBUM YOU'RE WRITING ABOUT. I'm not going to write about how this artist MIGHT BE in the future, if they'll flourish or squander, I write about how this specific album is and sometimes, I'll compare it to their previous works because I think an artists' discography shows their progression as an artist and if they've learned anything from previous albums, just kept it the same, etc. But I don't think it's necessary to be like, "I don't know, this chick is doing well now, with that Mumford & Sons tie and everything, but her time is almost UP! JUST YOU WAIT!" Come on, now.
It's not just this guy who does it though and if he ever see's this, I'll feel terrible but I couldn't help myself! It's more than half of critics out there who focus on their hang-ups with the artist rather than the album they're supposed to be writing about. It's annoying. I'm just getting tired of seeing it everywhere. It's okay to talk about it a little bit but don't make it the focus of your review. Write about what you're getting paid to write about - if you want to write a feature on this issue, feel free to do so LATER.
Fin.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 16

30 Day Song Challenge Day 16 - a song that you used to hate but now love.

I remember listening to my mom's vinyl of Magical Mystery Tour (which I've now inherited,) when I was really little and how afraid I was of listening to "I am the Walrus." I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the "HA HA HA OH OH OH HEI HEI HEI HA HA HA!" parts and the whole ending of the song in general. A few years went by after listening to it for the first time before I said to myself, "okay, I can listen to this now..."
Walking down memory lane aside, this song is pretty epic and I've grown to really like it throughout my years of listening to Beatles albums on repeat and dissecting everything about them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Have you seen the cover art for Jack's Mannequin's new album?

I kind of love it!



People & Things comes out October 4 on Sire Records.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Album Review: Bon Iver - Self Titled (Jagjaguwar, 2011)

The fact that this album is self titled is really surprising. A self titled album usually represents and displays everything the artist embodies. Their most predominant musical characteristics, if you will. For Justin Vernon, Bon Iver is not his standard modus operandi. It’s way better than that.
The album starts off with “Perth,” a really powerful introduction to the journey you will be taking to find a side of Vernon you didn’t hear on For Emma, Forever Ago. “Perth” starts off slow and ends with a big finish. The brush drumming effect throughout the song gets louder and louder, adding trumpets, electric guitar (gasp! That’s almost like Dylan going electric! Almost.) and crashing symbols. You feel like a marching band is going to bust into your room listening to the song and to Vernon’s credit, it isn’t cheesy, he makes it work.
The album then flows right into songs like the more funkier “Minnesota, WI,” a psychedelic and vivid “Michicant” and “Calgary” (“Skinny Love”: 80’s style,) all of which are not only key tracks on this album, but also should be considered musical accomplishments to Vernon. Also like “Perth,” they’re relatively out of his comfort zone and to experiment on a sophomore album, is downright ballsy and should be respected. (In fear of the dreaded “sophomore slump,” a sophomore album can basically turn into their first album, part deux.) The winteresque atmosphere he possesses on For Emma, Forever Ago is still apparent in his music, Bon Iver is just a more intricate and busy version of it. It’s more apparent that Vernon worked harder to find different instruments to use for a more interesting sound. Organs, bangos, various horns, he’s got it all here. He even uses a little autotune on “Wash.” (which he also used on “Woods” on the 2009 4-track release, Blood Bank EP) Eat your heart out, T-pain!
I’m saving the best for last. This review wouldn’t be finished without mentioning “Towers,” which has now got to be tied with “Skinny Love” as my favorite Bon Iver song. It’s one of his most catchiest songs he’s released and hands down, the most beautiful song on the album. The song’s core elements are definitely folk, where Vernon usually shines and therefore, the most traditional Bon Iver song on this album. I guess that goes to show that even if Vernon can kick ass experimenting with different sounds, he’s still always going to deliver with that signature back woodsy folk and his eminent high pitched murmur.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.org)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hiatus! I'm sorry!

I'm in the process of moving and will hopefully be finished soon but until then, I'm going to go on a mini-hiatus...I know, I don't like it either but I literally have no time to write. I'm trying to bang out a Bon Iver review for Scene Point Blank at the moment so look out for that while I'm gone from the blog! Have a great week! And here's a little Tears for Fears for you:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ryan Adams covers Vampire Weekend's "Mansard Roof" and "Oxford Comma"

These are a few of my favorite things.

Ryan Adams and Vampire Weekend!

Adams posted the videos on his facebook and I can't seem to find an embedding option so I'll just link them. Watch here! And here!

I personally like his version of "Mansard Roof" better than his version of "Oxford Comma." "Oxford Comma" is really hard to pull off though, in his defense.

Can't wait to hear some new music from Ryan Adams. He's working on an LP right now with producer Glyn Johns who has produced...well, a shitload of albums. He's also Ethan Johns father, a very good friend of Adams who has worked with him a lot in the past (He produced Heartbreaker, Gold, 29, Demolition and Whiskeytown's Pneumonia.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's talk about Blink 182 for a Second, Shall We?

First of all, what the hell is this? It sounds a little like Blink 182. You can totally hear Travis Barker's unmistakable drumming in the background but...no! They must be Blink imposters.

Yeah, that's it. Imposters.

No? This is Blink's NEW single, "Up All Night" from their new album that they've been working on for like, three years now?

Really?

Are you sure?

Cause it's really bad!

And no, I'm not going to pull a "they sound like Angels and Airwaves" argument which seems to be what a lot of people have been saying about it, from what I've been reading on the internets. Which I totally get, but it's not the heavy AVA influence that bugs me the most, it's the fact that it seems like they just aren't trying...or they just don't care anymore. The nonchalant-ness is just seething through the speakers as I listen to it. If you don't care, why get back together? Just let us have our Tales from Beneath Your Mom stories and our internet rants about how they were so good when we were 14 and how they should get back together (of course, we wouldn't have known what the product of that would be in a perfect world).

UGH.

Are you really sure that's Blink? Like, cross your heart? I don't want to believe it.

In honor of them sucking, here's one of my favorites, "Josie":


This is also pre-Tom not being a douche bag and that's quite refreshing, don't you think? Sometimes I forget that he wasn't.

And I know I was pretty mean but they need some tough love, I think. Cause they totally read this blog.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 15

30 Day Song Challenge
Day 15 - A Song that Describes You



No Doubt "Just a Girl"
Pretty self explanatory.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 14

A Song that no one Would Expect you to Love


Jay-Z "99 Problems" Because you know I think most rap music out today is a sick joke on the music industry! But I actually really like a lot of the stuff Jay-Z did on The Black Album. He should have retired FOR REAL that time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 13

Day 13 - A Song that is a Guilty Pleasure


Ke$ha "We R Who We R"
I can't help but love this girl. And yes, I realize I'm going over the line and might loose any music cred I have admitting that I do...I guess that's the ultimate guilty pleasure!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 12

A Song from a Band You Hate



Hot Chelle Rae "Tonight Tonight"
I think it's the Zach Galifianakis line that gets me the most.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 11

A Song from Your Favorite Band
Rilo Kiley "Papillon"



Here are some other songs by some other favorite bands(or solo artists) of mine:

Ryan Adams (And the Cardinals) "Sweet Illusions"


Margot and the Nuclear So & So's "Skeleton Key"


Jack's Mannequin "Lights and Buzz"


The Black Keys "Next Girl"


The Smiths "There is a Light and it Never Goes Out"


Against Me! "Baby I'm an Anarchist"


The Ramones "Judy is a Punk" (Not the entire song but this video is awesome.)


Sufjan Stevens "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti"


Say Anything "Admit It!!!"


The Beatles "Two of Us"


Vampire Weekend "A-Punk"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some Recent Thoughts on Of Montreal's "Gronlandic Edit"



Here's one of my favorite songs by Of Montreal, "Gronlandic Edit." I was just listening to it again last night and realized how true some of these lyrics are for me...especially now-a-days. (The video is mad weird though, I know!)

Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys (Atlantic, 2011)

With a prolific band like Bellingham, Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie, (Codes and Keys being their seventh studio album release), it’s impossible for fans not to speculate how their newest album is going to sound.

“Maybe it’ll sound like Transcendentalism with some Postal Service influence!”

“Maybe it’ll be like Narrow Stairs... but better!”


“What The Open Door EP started, Codes and Keys will finish! Yeah! I’ve got that Ben Gibbard all figured out.”

Anyway, I am no exception to this and also wondered how Death Cab for Cutie would come back after my personal favorite album of theirs, Narrow Stairs. I thought Narrow Stairs, while at a glance might not seem very different, was pretty experimental for them. Most of their songs were fast-paced with surprisingly dark scenarios (and if I’m pointing out how dark the lyrics were and I’m talking about Death Cab, then you know they had to be pretty messed up,) which was an interesting combination. It’s very hard to make “She holds a smile like someone would hold a crying child" catchy but they most certainly did. Drums and bass were also more present on that album, i.e. “I Will Posses Your Heart,” which had a nearly five minute bass groove intro with no lyrics.

There are bands that are all about the lyrics and there are bands that are all about playing their instruments. On Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie were both, which is what the goal should be when making an album.

Okay, now on to what I’m supposed to be writing about: Codes and Keys. Is it worth a listen? Absolutely, it’s Death Cab for Cutie! While Codes and Keys isn’t their best, you can always count on Death Cab to give you some new music to listen to. That fan ruminating if Codes and Keys will have a Postal Service influence in the beginning of this review? Nailed it. (It wasn’t me, for the record.) Death Cab for Cutie of course, are always going to have a Postal Service influence, the project being lead singer Ben Gibbard’s baby and all, but I think Death Cab fans know what I’m talking about. There are songs like “Grapevine Fires” on Narrow Stairs and then there’s “Home is a Fire” and “Unobstructed Views” on Codes and Keys, which exude Postal Service’s sound front and center.

I have to say, even though it does have an overtly obvious Postal Service influence, it’s probably the most unique album the band has produced together. The lyrics are the most different from their other albums - they’re actually pretty happy. In their first single, “You Are a Tourist:” “When there's a doubt in your mind/ ‘cause you think it all the time/ framin' rights into wrongs/ move along.” Um, what?! The Ben Gibbard I know would not just “move along” from that. He’d over-analyze the doubt in his mind, go over to the girls’ house, do something stupid and then over-analyze the shit out of what he did! He usually doesn’t just move along—this isn’t the All-American Rejects—but, hey, perhaps wife Zooey Deschannel has mellowed him out. I could get into that, I guess.

Something I thought was interesting when I was doing some research about this album was that Alan Moulder mixed this album for the band. Moulder has produced albums for many powerhouses such as Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Against Me! While all are great artists, they are completely different from Death Cab’s sound. You don’t really hear Moulder’s influence too much, however there are some songs where I could sense a tinge of Smashing Pumpkins on “Unobstructed Views,” “Some Boys,” and “Home is a Fire”—but that could be because I’m looking for it.

I also want to take a minute to mention the songs “Some Boys” and “Doors Unlocked and Open,” two of my favorite songs on the album. They sound a lot like old school Death Cab for Cutie, so don’t fret if you don’t like this new sound. They seem to still be in touch with their roots. Even the lyrics sound familiar (from “Some Boys”): “Some boys are sleeping/ some boys are sleeping alone/ Some boys don't know how to love.”

Ah, yes. Much better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Key Tracks: "Some Boys," "Doors Unlocked and Open" and "Unobstructed Views"

(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.org)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 9 & 10

Day 9 - A Song That You Can Dance To
Beck "Timebomb"


Day 10 - A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep
Matt Costa "Astair" (Not necessarily a bad thing!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Days 5-8

Day Five: A Song that Reminds you of Someone
Bright Eyes "First Day Of My Life"

This video is fantastic too. Oh my god, this song get's me every time I listen to it!

Day Six: A Song that Reminds you of Somewhere
Hellogoodbye "Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn"

Old school HGB always makes me think of the good ol' days at Dutchess community college.

Day Seven - A Song that Reminds You of a Certain Event
Gwen Stefani "Hollaback Girl"!

Because this shit was bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s when I graduated high school!


Day Eight- A Song that You Know All the Words To
The Beatles "Happiness is a Warm Gun"

That's a very broad challenge - I think everyone knows the words to A LOT of songs so I'll just go with a Beatles song by default.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day Four: A Song That Makes You Sad

Can't really think of too many...I'll have to go with a classic, Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here":



Another one could be Gwen Stefani's "Wonderful Life"

New Releases for the rest of May

Since there's been a little bit of a dry spell lately, I'm going to finish the rest of May releases in one post:

May 10
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
The Cars - Move Like This
The Lonely Island - Turtleneck and Chain

May 23
Lady Gaga - Born This Way

May 31
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys

There aren't any albums I would skip but make sure you especially look out for Lady gaga and Death Cab for Cutie.

Monday, May 23, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day Three: A Song that Makes You Happy

Currently, this song is "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele (even though the song itself isn't really happy.)


But of course, there are some others:

-Lady Gaga "Just Dance"

It's really hard to remember the days when Stefani was just eccentric and not a complete looney tune.

-Arcade Fire "We Used to Wait"


-Against Me! "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong"


-LuLu "To Sir with Love"


-Daft Punk "Digital Love"


-Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros "Home"


-The Beatles "Two of Us"


-Modest Mouse "Float On"

Listen to Death Cab for Cutie's New Upcoming Album on NPR!

Listen Here!
Codes and Keys comes out May 31.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day Two: Your least favorite song

This was a lot easier deciding than yesterday. Nickelback "Photograph" without question.


Here are some of my other least favorite songs (I hope this goes without saying but, no offense to anyone who likes these songs. You're allowed to like them if you want to! Except for maybe Nickelback.):

-U2 "Vertigo"

Uno, Doce, Trece, Catorce. Do I really need to elaborate?

-Dave Matthews Band "What You Say"

Why? You all are such talented musicians, why do you choose to play this crap!?!?

-Britney Spears "Hold it Against Me"

For her first single off this year's Femme Fatale, Britney said to herself, "Ya know what? I'm gonna try to sing the flattest that anyone's ever sounded. Yeah...that'll wow 'em!" and she most certainly succeeded.

-Anna Nalick "Breathe (2am)"

Have hated this song since the very first time I heard it. I remember watching the video on VH1 in the morning while getting ready for school and just getting more and more annoyed as the song went on. The lyric, "Cause these words are my diary, I'm screaming out loud," annoys me enough to strongly dislike it, let alone her voice and lack of authenticity.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day One: Your Favorite Song

I'm going to go with "Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens.


But of course are some contenders:

-Against Me! "Don't Lose Touch"


-Descendents "Suburban Home" (Could only find a live version on Youtube)


-The Beach Boys "God Only Knows"


-The Beatles "I'm Looking Through You"


-Buzzcocks "Ever Fallen in Love With Someone (You Shouldn't Fall in Love With)"


-Coconut Records "West Coast"


-Ben Folds "The Luckiest"


-Rilo Kiley "Science vs. Romance"


-The Rolling Stones "Paint it Black"


There are plenty more but I think you get the idea...

Born This Way receives Mixed Reviews

Some of the ones I've seen are a little harsh but the Gaga love train had to stop at some point I guess. Still not really sure about Born This Way and if I like the direction Gaga's taking. Here are some for your viewing pleasure:


Washington Post

The Quietus
NME

Rob Sheffield reviewed the disc (with a more positive review, also the only one I've seen so far that I agree with, of course! Rob Sheffield is the man,) for Rolling Stone but also wrote this interesting article.

On an unrelated note, of course the first song in the 30 Day Challenge has to be "Your Favorite Song"! I don't think I'm EVER going to be able to answer this question! There are a good five or six songs I consider to be my favorite. I guess I might as well try to answer before the Rapture!

Friday, May 20, 2011

50 Songs in 50 Days Project axed, 30 Day Song Challenge? I'll accept that instead!

So I wanted to do this 50 Songs in 50 Days Project because I thought it would motivate me to blog more...it didn't! So I think I'm going to officially axe the project and start the 30 Day Song Challenge. I figure 30 is probably more manageable than 50...right? Right?! It's gotta be! Don't look at me with that judgmental scrutiny, it's hard to blog for 50 days straight when you're going to school and working (practically) full time, okay?! I wish you wouldn't look at me like that...just you wait, I'll make it to 30! I will!

What should I write about!?

Because I've been away from this blog for so long, there's so much I want to write about and it's kind of overwhelming me right now! But where to start? There haven't been too many album releases lately except for Lonely Island's Turtleneck and Chain and Manchester Orchestra's Simple Math so I can't really start there. Lady Gaga's Born This Way doesn't come out until next week so I'm not supposed to have heard it yet...I just don't know! I'll get back to you guys, I guess...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Album Releases of the Week: 5/1-5/7

Love? - Jennifer Lopez
Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 - Beastie Boys
In Your Dreams - Stevie Nicks
Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes
Now That's What I Call Music! 38

I'm going to list three artists, two from the list you really should get and the other one, you really should pass on. Guess which one! Beastie Boys, Fleet Foxes and Jennifer Lopez. One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong...

(I can't believe how much I've been lagging in music news lately. It seems like just last week I heard about the new Fleet Foxes album!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

MTV's Coachella Photo Gallery

Check it!
Apologies in advance are in order. I don't know why they chose to start with that awful pic of Kanye but I promise you, it gets better.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taking Back Sunday album title, release date AND track listing. It's like Christmas in Spring for former 16-year-old emo kids everywhere!

(e.g. Me!)

BAM!

Taking Back Sunday are releasing their self titled (because they're serious now, right?) fifth studio album on June 28. This is the first album since Tell All Your Friends WITH John Nolan and Shaun Cooper so honestly, it will probably be epic.
Here's the cover art (courtesy of wikipedia.org):

Album releases for the week

Hey remember when I used to post albums that were releasing every week back in '09? I'm going to do that again. (And by the way, I'm aware that I posted a hiatus and am now blogging more than I was before. Procrastination is a funny thing, my friends.)

So here's the list for this week:
Wasting Light-Foo Fighters
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues-Between the Buried and Me
So Beautiful or So What-Paul Simon
Paper Airplane-Alison Krauss
Share the Joy-Vivian Girls
Nine Types of Light-TV on the Radio

Album You should really get on this list: Foo Fighters Foo Fighters Foo Fighters! TV on the Radio and Alison Krauss are worth a listen too.
Album You should really skip: Between the Buried and Me. Just a personal preference.

Coachella!

The Coachella festival is this weekend in Indio, CA with headliners Kings of Leon, Kanye West, Arcade Fire and The Strokes! Other artists playing include: The Black Keys, Interpol, Bright Eyes, Mumford and Sons, Duran Duran, Jimmy Eat World, Crystal Castles and Gogol Bordello with many, many more! Trust me, it was hard deciding from the line up who was going to be in this blurb.
Anyway, click here for the website where they'll be giving updates all weekend and live videos!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2 New Death Cab for Cutie Songs

From their upcoming seventh LP, Codes and Keys. Out May 31! They sound very Postal Service-y to me.

"You Are a Tourist"


"Home is a Fire"

I'm still alive!

Fear not, I'll be coming back within a few weeks. I'm just in finals mode right now and trying to get through it! I promise after April 27 there will be so much music news and etc. on here, you won't know what to read first! But anyway, yeah, just an fyi. Also, just recently I've been hired as a contributing writer for this awesome music site, Scene Point Blank. Check it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Fiona Apple Release in Spring 2011

Kind of old news, I guess, but I'm a huge Fiona Apple fan so I'm really excited about this! Click here for more info. (Great news but I think Billboard could have picked a more flattering picture of Apple. Come on now! It's REALLY hard to make that girl look bad.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rolling Stone SXSW Coverage

Click here to check out Rolling Stone's "essential guide" for everything SXSW related including concert reviews, photo galleries and musician interviews.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Cover Art for Beastie Boys Eighth LP

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org.
Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 comes out May 3! Kind of reminds me of the cover for Angles, no?

Pepsi Music Index

Pepsi has released a list of 100 emerging artsts they think are worth noting. I'm not sure when Pepsi decided that they're music reviewers but, I'll go with it. Artists included on the list are Matt & Kim, Fang Island and Cold War Kids. Take a look at the list here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Angles now Streaming on The Strokes website!

Click here to listen to the entire album. Angles releases March 22.

SXSW

The South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX. kicked off last Friday. Keep up to date with breaking news and live footage at www.sxsw.com!

Friday, March 11, 2011

13/50: Arcade Fire "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Arcade Fire "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"




I know you're probably so over Arcade Fire right about now that your thinking of clicking off this page and going to see what's happening on Ain't it Cool News instead! If you give me some time, I promise you will remember why they deserved that measly little grammy in the first place.
First of all, before I talk about "Sprawl II," I just want to talk about the grammys (or grammies? Both look so weird!) for a minute. So let's re-cap: not only did Arcade Fire win album of the year but The Black Keys also won three (GASP! I still can't get over that...) and Justin Bieber didn't win a damn thing. What's wrong with that scenario? Absolutely nothing! But usually, let's face it, it's the other way around with Train trailing right behind Bieber (I know "Hey Soul Sister" won "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" but AT LEAST they didn't win multiple awards...that was nice of them, giving them a pity award. When you write a song for yourself out of your own key, it can be quite embarrassing).
Anyway, that feeling when you know that this person (or band, in this case,) completely deserves the honor and everything about the situation is justified - that's very uncommon so when it happens, it's a huge deal for me. I think a lot of people, myself included, would like to think it happens all the time but it's very rare. I think that also has a lot to do with why people were so overjoyed on election night when Barack Obama won. For people in their early twenties, it was the first time we could remember someone actually winning the Presidency because they won the popular vote and therefore, ACTUALLY DESERVED IT! When Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, it was pretty much the icing on the cake for a lot of people. Twitter and Facebook blew up and it was good to know I wasn't the only one feeling this way. Okay I'm done talking about the Grammy's...that was more like ten minutes.
"Sprawl II" is the light at the end of the glorious tunnel that is The Suburbs. This album is so great because of songs like this, where Arcade Fire experimented with different sounds and different genre's. It's like a 70's disco song with a twist...and that twist is, if 70's disco was good. Also a great choice on the band's part, using RĂ©gine Chassagne's voice rather than Win's. Win Butler's voice is great, don't get me wrong, but I feel like this song needs to have a more upbeat and sweeter sounding voice to make it really good and that's what Chassagne delivers.
The lyrics, of course, are also something to take note of. Lyrically, The Suburbs in general has this oppressed dystopian theme to it, that we're all just sheep living to "just punch the clock," as the Chassagne sings so beautifully.
Not only do you hear 70's disco, but also some Blondie/The Human League/Talk Talk action as well. The rhythm I think is what reminds me most of these bands.

Do you remember yet? I know there's a whole "Arcade Fire is selling out" bandwagon now after the Grammy's but please for their sake, don't join it!

30 Day Song Challenge

Now, this is what I should do after my 50 songs challenge...if I ever finish.

Rules and more information can be found here!

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Monday, March 7, 2011

News on Of Montreal, The Strokes, etc.

May is creeping up pretty quickly and that only means one thing to me: graduation. So I'm totally doing that "I'll never get a job and I'm just going to be a failure, why can't I just be Rob Sheffield already?!" thing to myself and then I realized that I need to update this damn blog...because then I'll never be Rob Sheffield.

Anyway, remember when I posted about Of Montreal's new EP? Apparently, with that EP, they're also releasing an Art book called "What's Weird?" (Kevin Barnes and this new direction Of Montreal is taking, that's what.)

The Strokes performed on SNL last Saturday with host Miley Cyrus. Unfortunately, the inevitable "Miley Cyrus Show" skit was lack-luster, I was really excited for an epic showdown between Vanessa Bayer's hilarious impression of Miley and the "salvia" scenester herself. They performed two songs, "Under Cover of Darkness" and "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight," from their upcoming album and probably the most anticipated comeback of 2011 (in the alternative rock genre at least,) Angles. I'm really hoping for a successful comeback for this band. I pretty much thought they were long gone, it seemed like they were just one of those bands who did great work during their time (excluding First Impressions of Earth, of course,) and were very influential but disbanded so soon because the band knew they were finished with their work together and were ready to do new things (Albert Hammond Jr. especially, it seemed). There didn't seem to be any regrets or nostalgic feelings about it either, from any band members. So for me, it was a big surprise but also a pleasant one.
These songs aren't bad but not the best they can do. However, I'm starting to like them more and more as I listen so maybe it'll turn out to be THAT kind of album for me. I'm hoping for the best. Watch their performances here:





In other news, another member of Interpol bites the dust (what's going on, guys!?) and Broken Bells are releasing a new EP later this month!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are you kidding me?!

So I've been hearing a lot about this Spiderman musical and was definitely skeptical at first like I'm sure many others were. Because, let's be real, Spiderman...singing? Doesn't really seem to go together. I decided this morning to read a little about it on the internetsss and I know this is probably old news but take a look at who wrote the music & lyrics:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
Oh look, it's Bono and The Edge from my favorite band in the world...on opposite day!
All I have to say is...

"really?"

Now I'm really not so sure about this Spiderman musical, folks.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Remember that time I said I was going to blog for 50 days?

Yeah, that obviously didn't happen! Oh well. Maybe I'll try it again in the summer. But I still intend to finish 50 songs for this time around, at least. To check out the songs I've previously blogged about for this project, check the tag "50 songs" and all the entries should pop up.

In unrelated news, what is going on with LCD Soundsystem?! Talk about a shit show. Too bad the added shows at Terminal 5 aren't the same week as my spring break.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What happened last week...

- On Wednesday, The White Stripes decided that they wanted to pull a publicity stunt and announce their break-up. I mean, really. Everyone knows they're going to make at least one more album together whether it be three days or three years from now. To me, Jack White just seems like the type of person who needs variety and needs to play and experiment music with other people or else he gets a little bored. That might be how he is in general, which is probably why his relationships, including his marriage with Meg, didn't work out so well. Speaking of Jack's relationships, I discovered a couple weeks ago that Karen Elson is trying to have a music career. Um, what?! Anyway...
It could also be the fact that he tends to have these stages where he becomes obsessed with one particular female musician and has to create with that person at that moment. Maybe. Personally, I think he should just stop wasting his time with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather and focus on The White Stripes. I think that's where his creativity and talent is displayed the best. All I know is, I'm really going to miss this if they really are gone:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Photo courtesy of Photo Musical Group
- James Murphy unfortunately is disbanding LCD Soundsystem! And if you're asking yourself, "are you serious?!" Yes, dead serious. Sad day. Murphy's reasoning is so that he can take more opportunities to work with other people he wouldn't be able to otherwise due to his obligations to LCD Soundsystem. Whatever.

- Atmosphere announced they will be releasing a new album this April titled The Family Sign.

- Those are pretty much all the highlights I can think of. I'll be back with a song review within the next couple of days, I promise! And on an unrelated personal note, The National and Best Coast are my newest music obsessions. Who knew The National was so amazing? Err...I guess...everyone, actually? Definitely not what I expected. Once again, I was very very late with that one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

12/50: The Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun"

50 Songs in 50 Days
The Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun"



If you're not in the Northeast or the mid-west today, consider yourself lucky. I've been snowed in all day and will be tomorrow as well however it does give me some time to rediscover some songs that I haven't listened to in a while, one of them being The Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun" (Good segue, right?). You might already know this but, I'm pretty much one of those "The Beatles can do no wrong and if you don't like them it's just because you're jealous" kind of fans, so expect more songs by them being chosen for this project in the future. "I'll Follow the Sun" is one of those gems that was an underground favorite amongst hardcore Beatles fans from the US in the 60's, the song only appearing on the UK's release Beatles for Sale, until it became accessible to the American masses on Beatles '65 (which strangely enough, released in 1964...how does that work?!).
Anyway, despite the fact that it hasn't been a song that only the secretive Cavern Club society knows about and has therefore lost it's enigmatic aspect to it for quite some time now, it's still a fan favorite because of the simple fact that it's a really good song! Even though it was recorded way back in the day, (it's unknown when it was initially written/performed however, the earliest recording of it is 1960,) it definitely mirror's the sound they had during the time it became popular, 1965, right before Help!, Revolver and Rubber Soul, personally my favorite time for the group. Right in between kitschy-"I wanna hold your hand"-Ed Sullivan Show-matching outfits Beatles and taking LSD-Hare Krishna-long hair-straggly beards-"Helter Skelter" Beatles. A very good time in Beatles history indeed.

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Fleet Foxes Song & Cover Art!

Fleet Foxes just released a song, "Helplessness Blues," off their upcoming album with the same title coming out May 3. The song is streaming here on SoundCloud.

The cover art has also been released. Courtesy of Prefix Mag:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thanks for existing, NPR.

You can listen to Bright Eyes' upcoming album The People's Key on NPR's website here!

The album will be released February 15.

Sufjan Stevens "Futile Devices" Chicago 10/15/2010



This sounds better than the recording! Brilliant. It would probably be one of the best experiences of my life to see him live...I really have to make it happen.

Speaking of Sufjan, Pitchfork just published an extensive and pretty interesting interview with him today.

11/50: Dusty Springfield "Wishin' and Hopin'"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Dusty Springfield "Wishin' and Hopin'"




I don't know what the hell is up with this youtube video I embedded but it was the only one that I could find! Anyway, this song is a classic. Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien (WHOA!) otherwise known as Dusty Springfield (good call on changing the name, Dusty,) released this top ten hit in 1964. It was first recorded by Dionne Warwick however, Springfield's version is way more widely known and in my opinion, way more epically awesome. Apparently, Springfield also recorded German and Italian speaking versions of the song, which I think is pretty unique since that isn't really done anymore by American pop stars. The song became an international hit for Springfield, one of the reasons are probably because of her recordings in different languages, reaching the top ten in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Dusty Springfield is very underrated, in my opinion. If you haven't listened to too much of her music, definitely give it a shot. Jack and Meg White covered a song of hers, if that helps. If they covered a song of hers, you know she's got to be at least a little awesome.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

10/50: Sleigh Bells "Infinity Guitars"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Sleigh Bells "Infinity Guitars"



Okay, I realize that it's been a VERY long time since I've posted a song so I'm trying to get back into doing it again every day. And what better way to re-boot this project than starting with Sleigh Bells! Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss are Williamsburg's latest wet dream these days, but unlike the other acts that have held this title (Animal Collective, Ratatat,) they're actually really inventive, creative and have an aesthetic.
Anyway, "Infinity Guitars" is the song I'd tell someone to listen to if they've never heard of Sleigh Bells because it perfectly exemplifies their music. Sick beats, loud guitar, fast-paced, questionable but endearing lyrics. All there. The video embedded above is pretty awesome too...blowing shit up in a catholic school girl uniform! Now, if that's not marketing towards guys then I don't know what is but nonetheless, girls can still find this awesome too apparently.
You might have heard Sleigh Bells' other key track "Kids" on the advertisements for MTV's literal shit show, Skins (don't get me started,) which has been great for them, exposing their music to a completely different audience. One would hope though that because of that, they wont sell out too hard. I'll be okay with a car commercial here and there but if I hear "Riot Rhythm" on the newest Ashton Kutcher chick flick trailer, it will definitely be a sad day. Like hearing "Lisztomania" on the Valentines Day trailer status.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cochella 2011

Cochella has released their line-up for 2011 with Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West and The Strokes headlining. Other notable acts include The Black Keys, Interpol, Bright Eyes, Sleigh Bells and Jimmy Eat World. The event will take place April 15-17.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

8/50: Jenny and Johnny "Big Wave" / 9/50: Say Anything "Cemetery"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Jenny and Johnny "Big Wave"

I just started listening to Jenny and Johnny and yes, I know I'm really late on this! Their debut collaborative album, I'm Having Fun Now, released August 31 to steadily mediocre reviews. But "Big Wave" is definitely something special within this twelve track so-so hipster song fest. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, there is "My Pet Snakes" and "Scissor Runner." It's basically a Rilo Kiley song and who doesn't love that? The only thing that sucks about this song is Johnathan Rice. Jenny, on the other hand, can never do any wrong. However, get ready for this because I'm only complimenting Johnathan Rice once, his voice with Jenny's DOES fuse very nicely and can sound at times almost as one voice, which is pretty cool. I guess.

Say Anything "Cemetery"

This song shows a more serious side of Say Anything and Max Bemis: the romantic! Who knew!? Anyway, I know a lot of people have beef with Say Anything, I don't really know why that is but they've always been one of my favorite bands, at least in my top ten. I feel like they're what a goth band from the 80's would be if they existed right now, with a little bit of the "beat generation" mentality. (I know that obviously their music sounds nothing like that and people are probably looking at their computer screen in shock but if you listen to their lyrics and read a little about Max Bemis, I think you'll know what I'm saying.) Bemis' wife Sherri Dupree of the band Eisley, joins him on vocals making this song even more romantically morbid.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

7/50: The Black Keys "Never Gonna Give You Up"

50 Songs in 50 Days
The Black Keys "Never Gonna Give You Up"

From one of my favorite albums of 2010, Brothers by a band that are slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite bands, The Black Keys, "Never Gonna Give You Up" is one of the very last gems on their best album yet. Dan Auerbach has channeled all of the 70's soul and Motown greats into this, giving everything he has musically, lyrically and vocally. And let's not forget Patrick Carney too! He's just as cool as Dan Auerbach and those drums are tight!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

6/50: Madonna "Ray of Light"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Madonna "Ray of Light"

I'm usually not into the "diva" music. You know, Whitney Houston, Cher, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion...but I have always had a little soft spot for Madonna. What I really like about her as opposed to the other "divas" I mentioned is she isn't fake...she has that comportment that says, "Yeah, I'm Madonna, just doin' my thing, what of it?" Her Ray of Light stage has always been my favorite Madonna stage and I feel that it's a very underrated one in her music career...everyone just can't get enough of 80's Madonna, it seems! Which I guess I can understand to a degree, I mean, Desperately Seeking Susan? Brilliant. I got that. But Ray of Light Madonna was so much more creative, mature and she seemed very at peace and secure not only with herself, but with her music as well. Ray of Light, released in 1998, also received the most critical acclaim Madonna has ever gotten in her career. Take that, 80's Madonna!
Anyway, this song embodies Ray of Light Madonna perfectly. I also can't help but love the video, (embedded above,) commenting on the fast paced, sometimes unfulfilled lifestyles people live. And the message the song conveys is very important yet very matter-of-fact - that people, society, emotions and pretty much anything life throws at us can move quicker than a ray of light and before you know it, it's done. Existential post over.

Friday, January 14, 2011

4/50: The Smiths "Big Mouth Strikes Again" / 5/50: Crystal Castles "Untrust Us"

50 Songs in 50 Days
The Smiths "Big Mouth Strikes Again"

Wow, it's only been three days and I'm already falling behind! I really hope this wont happen again but to make up for it, I'll blog two songs today. My first choice is by probably my favorite band to come out of the 80's, The Smiths. "Big Mouth Strikes Again" is what John Mayer's "My Stupid Mouth" wishes it could be. On their third disc, The Queen is Dead, this song has always been the perfect Smiths song for me because it incorporates everything that The Smiths were really good at: fast paced, catchy choruses, the dark and mysterious vocals of Mr. Steven Patrick himself, smart references in their lyrics ("and now I know how Joan of Arc felt") and best of all, self loathing! Here's a fun fact I picked up from Wikipedia; apparently that high pitched voice in the background singing along with Morrissey is also Morrissey but in a higher pitch. The vocals are credited to an Ann Coates which is a reference to Ancoats, an area near their hometown in the United Kingdom, Manchester.

Crystal Castles "Untrust Us"


Sampling from a song by fellow Canadians Death From Above 1979, Crystal Castles have mashed together some of the best minuets of music they've created in their career, so far. Since it's the first song on their 2008 self titled and major label debut, this has inevitably been the song many fans have listened to first when they're introduced to the band and I feel like if you don't like this song, you probably won't like anything by this band, so they definitely picked a good song to start off with. Ethan Kath and Alice Glass really are on a level that most electronic bands aren't and I'm really glad they're getting recognized for that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Black Keys on SNL

The soulful duo were the musical guests of the night last Saturday on Saturday Night Live (with host Jim Carrey,) and they were amazing! Dan Auerbach sure is some whistler.

3/50: Yellowcard "Ocean Avenue"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Yellowcard "Ocean Avenue"


I revisited this song a couple days ago after hearing that Yellowcard had a new album coming out in March. My first thought was "Yellowcard still makes music?" and then it was "Damn, I loved Ocean Avenue when I was sixteen...and that song! Aahh!" I found out after some research that they went on a hiatus and just recently reconnected. Their new disc is titled When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes.
Anyway, back to "Ocean Avenue." This album along with Deja Entendu, Tell All Your Friends, Pinkerton, War All The Time, All Killer No Filler, Dookie, Crimson, pretty much every Blink 182 album and etc. gets me feeling nostalgic and thinking about the scene kid I became in high school and the beginning of my love for music and talking about it constantly. Even though I was also really into classic rock at the time, (Led Zeppelin, The Who...I still am but in high school it was a lot more present in my life,) the music that was coming from bands signed to Victory, Drive-thru and other record labels in the same vein also really appealed to me.
"Ocean Avenue" is a ridiculously catchy song that isn't exactly strong lyrically but they'll do for a kitschy, teenage love affair and sneaking out at night just to get to second base. There are a lot of really great songs on this album that are just as catchy and happy as "Ocean Avenue" but the title track is really the powerhouse and the glue that keeps this album together. It also pretty much explains what Yellowcard is all about in a nutshell. Love. Teenagers. Florida. There's not much else to them but at least we know what to expect. Normally, I probably wouldn't have chosen this song for this project but thanks to Absolute Punk posting a release date for their new album, you get a three paragraph rant about a song you probably forgot even existed. You're welcome.

Of Montreal Announce New Tour, EP (and some other news)!

Read about Of Montreal's Spring tour and EP here.

To be honest, I can't really say that I'm anticipating this EP. Recently, I was listening to The Sunlandic Twins and Satanic Panic in the Attic and I've come to the conclusion that they haven't been the same since Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? It just seems like they keep experimenting and it isn't working so I'm hoping this EP might be good but unfortunately, probably not.

Green Day apparently are releasing a Live album in March called Awesome As Fuck...even though it probably won't be, let's face it!

Also, even though this is pretty old news, I'm stoked for the new Beastie Boys album. Why they decided to release part two before part one, I have no idea, but it's kind of weird.

On Spin's website, there's a really cool feature story showcased on their main page right now, 27 Winter Albums that Matter Most, which include some of the best music that's coming out within the next few months including Iron and Wine, Lupe Fiasco, Lykke LI, The Streets, Adele, The Get Up Kids, The Decemberists and most importantly, The Strokes comeback album due out in March.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2/50: The Beach Boys "God Only Knows"

50 Songs in 50 Days
The Beach Boys "God Only Knows"

I think many of us know, that Pet Sounds has been ranked on many lists in music magazines as the number one greatest album OF ALL TIME! Of all time, I tell you! So why aren't we more familiar with this album? I feel like a lot of music lovers kind of brush this one off to the side until they hear "Wouldn't it be Nice" or "God Only Knows" and think to themselves, "Wow, I forget how brilliant Pet Sounds is!" Here's a reminder to you all, maybe you should listen to Pet Sounds once in a while. Unlike some other albums that are praised in this way, it's number one on all of those lists for a reason!
After listening to The Beatles' sixth studio album, Rubber Soul, bassist and lead songwriter Brian Wilson felt "challenged to do a great album," as he put it in an interview in 2007 with Robert Stevens from WSWS.org. I'm usually not too enamored by The Beach Boys however, the stars aligned for them with Pet Sounds and especially with the first track of the vinyl version's Side B, "God Only Knows."
I love it because while it's a love song, the lyrics aren't cheesy, they're very upfront and honest. Carl Wilson even starts out by saying, "I may not always love you," and in the second verse, "If you should ever leave me/though life would still go on, believe me," which basically explains the gist of the song: "Right now, I love you and if you left me it would totally suck but I guess I would have to move on. But I wouldn't want to." I think that's a common stance in a lot of relationships which gives the song a relatable aspect as well. In my opinion, THE best work The Beach Boys has ever done.

Monday, January 10, 2011

1/50: Neon Trees "1983"

50 Songs in 50 Days
Neon Trees "1983"



Neon Trees' second single "1983" off their major label debut, Habits, is pretty much "Animal: Part Two" (both having almost the same introduction, listen for it,) but is a great single nonetheless. I first heard Neon Trees on the radio, of all places. It's a shame how unusual it is now to discover new music on the radio but sometimes, I guess it can still happen. (Perhaps we need more radio stations like this one. They aren't perfect but pretty much the best local radio station I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.) I'm glad I listened to Neon Trees before I actually saw what the band looked like because honestly, I would have probably thought they were trying to hard and immediately would have been turned off. (Here's a gem for your viewing pleasure. Just a suggestion, shave the mohawk! Some people can pull it off, he unfortunately can not.)
Anyway, I excuse their "trying to be 80's but not succeeding" look however, because they are talented as fuck. There's really no other way to put it. Tyler Glenn is probably one of the most talented singers fronting an alternative rock band right now and drummer Elaine Bradley is very impressive as well. "1983" lyrically is a love song but can also be interpreted as an homage to the 80's, especially in the chorus, "Me and you/You and me/
Let's go back/Let's go back/1983 is calling/I've been on my knees and crawlin'/Back to you/It's coming all back to me" and the video, embedded above, will also attest to that interpretation. For some reason, I feel like this song would thrive even more had it been released as a single in the Summer, it seems like one of those anthems you would never be able to get away from (Oh hey, "California Gurls"). Overall, this song is pretty much impossible to hate. I'm really hoping that Neon Trees' next album will make it past the sophomore slump because they have a lot of staying power and are ridiculously talented musicians. The only thing about them that doesn't have staying power, if anything, would be Tyler Glenn's mohawk...once again, ya know, just a suggestion!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

50 Songs in 50 Days Project

So my New Years Resolution for the past two years have been that I'm going to blog at least once everyday. See how well that turned out for me? So instead, I've decided that instead of trying to blog for 365 consecutive days, I'm going to go for 50 instead. For fifty days, I'm going to pick a song, post the audio if it's available through Youtube or other means, and review it. Wish me luck! If you have any requests, please e-mail me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Community Radio Act

On December 15, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell wasn't the only progressive thing Senate did that day, they also passed the Community Radio Act which will give many more radio stations the ability to reach out to communities further away from them who right now, aren't getting strong enough signals to listen to them. Read more about it HERE on the Huffington Post. This is not only important for talk radio but it will also give people more music options to listen to on the radio.