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:

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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 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.