Friday, January 30, 2015

Courtney Barnett is also releasing an Album in March!

So 2015 might be one of the best music years for me in a while. 2014 was pretty good too but between Sleater-Kinney, Sufjan Stevens, Laura Marling, Modest Mouse and now Courtney Barnett releasing an album (not to mention the concerts that are coming to my area,) it's like, who's next? Will Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis pull an album out from under everyone too?

Barnett's new album is called Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Classic her! It comes out on March 24 and the first single is "Pedestrian at Best". If you click the Pitchfork link I added above, you can watch the video for the single (don't watch it if you're afraid of clowns though,) and you'll also see that the tracklisting is completely different from The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, which I'm happy about. Since this album will be considered her "debut," I was thinking they might use a lot of the songs from the EP, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. If you want to listen to the music on the EP, it's very accessible and available to us, we can just buy that album. A Sea of Split Peas was originally released in Australia on a label via digital download. Then, Mom+Pop Records in New York City signed her and re-released the album. This is why Sometimes I Sit is being dubbed as her "debut", I guess. This tends to happen in the United States, especially if the artist is from a different country. Whatever, the music industry is weird.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Taylor Swift Trademakes a Phrase that People have been saying way before she used it in "Shake it Off"

So first the whole Spotify thing happens and now, Taylor Swift decides to trademark the phrase, "This Sick Beat". Really, Taylor Swift? This is why people find it really difficult to like her. Either her or her manager/record label are going drunk with power lately but either way, that's quite enough.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oh Yeah, about that whole Sam Smith/Tom Petty thing...

So yesterday, I posted this article on the Preston Beat facebook page since I was at a bagel shop when I found out about it and couldn't exactly post a lot - but I wanted to post something. Basically, Tom Petty and his camp claimed that Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" sounds like "Won't Back Down" and is infringing copyright. Petty is now getting 12% of writing credit for the song which means he also gets part of the royalties from the song as well (ya know, conveniently, one of the biggest songs of 2014). The chorus definitely sounds the same, however both songs sound so different, you have to really sit down and sing both songs at the same time. I can see why he won the case but my question is, is it really necessary?

The thing is, pop music only uses a handful of chords - it's definitely possible that the same chord progression will be used at some point. Yes, Smith's chorus sounds very similar but if people are going to nit-pick, there's a lot of pop music out there that sound the same. Maybe Tom Petty should sue the Red Hot Chili Peppers for "Dani California" too, since it sounds very similar to "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (I even picked that up the first time I heard it). When it's deliberately stealing (*cough* Katy Perry "Roar" *cough* Sara Bareilles "Brave",) then I could see why people would pursue legal action. When every beat, chord and melody sound exactly the same. Or even if people sample their song without permission, yes, they could and should pursue legal action. But the two songs that are in question here sound so different. Does Tom Petty have copyright of that chord progression? Because maybe his camp should get on that if they care so much.

Album Review: American Beauty/American Psycho...on Occur

I did an album review for Occur - check out here what I have to say about Fall Out Boy's American Beauty/American Psycho. Evidently, I have a lot to say.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Top 5 Post Punk Bands...and really, what is Post Punk anyway?

     A couple weeks ago, I wanted to do a "top 5 post punk bands" list since I normally don't focus on old music on this blog and I thought damn it, they need some representation too! I mean really, no Joy Division, no Interpol. No "Big Mouth Strikes Again", no "My Stupid Mouth"...we might be able to go on without the latter though. Anyway, I was talking to some co-workers about this and we got into this discussion about genres and how they're pretty arbitrary. I have always been a fan of this idea, that genres are put in place only to categorize music and artists and it tends to do more harm than good. There are pros and cons to the idea of categorizing music and artists. It's good for data and for musicologists, it helps them construct their ideas in writing and in their mind. It also tends to be linked to the lifestyle and trends these musicians with said label created. For example, goth rock. When I mention that, you have an idea in your head what a fan of goth rock looks like. Same with pop music. Same with rap. But for the artists, it can put them in a box they can't get out of and possibly stifle their creativity, if they think too much about it.
     Also, let's be real, it's all relative. One person can think Talking Heads is post punk, the other can think they're new wave. So to link a definitive genre to a band or artist is kind of pointless because everyone is going to have a different opinion about it. Even though this is in fact kind of pointless, people do it anyway because they need to have some categorization in their heads. I can understand it to an extent, especially since in music now, there are so many different sounds and bands coming out. It's just an interesting, continuous debate I find myself in all the time. Feel free to give me your opinion on this in the comments.
     And on that note, here are the top 5 post punk bands I was originally going to list!

5. Violent Femmes For a while, I wanted "Good Feeling" to be my wedding song. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's Marshal & Lily's song in How I Met Your Mother? But I realized what the song is about and then I was like "yeah, I'm good, Violent Femmes, thanks."

4. Talking Heads David Byrne? "Psycho Killer"? Come on now.

3. The Cure I don't think I need an explanation.

2. The Smiths Again, I don't think I need an explanation.

1. Joy Division Again, again, I REALLY don't think I need an explanation.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

No Cities to Love - First Impressions

Like I said last week, No Cities to Love, Sleater-Kinney's eighth studio album and first in a decade since 2005's The Woods, is on NPR's First Listen and available for streaming. The album releases this Tuesday so in honor of that, I thought I would give my initial reactions to all of the new songs because why not?

"Price Tag" This is a key track. I love the change in tempo mid-song and I also really like the use of piano (I think it's piano?) in the background. Also very good song for Janet Weiss (drummer) - she commands that rhythm section like it's her own (and actually, it is, since they have no bass player...)

"Fangless" When I hear this song, I think of two words: ONE BEAT. This song could easily be on One Beat. And speaking of, my favorite Sleater-Kinney album used to be Call the Doctor but recently within the past year, it's all about One Beat. Also, this article about One Beat from Stereogum is awesome.

"Surface Envy" "We win, we loose. Only together, do we make the rules." Yeah, that sounds about right.

"No Cities to Love" Oh, this could easily be on The Hot Rock or All Hands on the Bad One. It's late 90's Sleater-Kinney. Plus, I love it when Carrie sings. I also love how she says "no ci-TAYS to love" in the chorus! Also, um, THIS LYRIC: "I went it through the thought of you/ I went it through the void of me/ I've grown afraid of everything that I love". Love it.

"A New Wave" Another song that really stands out for me. They just performed this flawlessly on David Letterman last Thursday night. Great chorus and great guitar tit-for-tat from Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker.

"No Anthems" Oh, this sounds very dark, very Call the Doctor. Plus, Tucker's diction in this song sounds a lot like the self titled song from that album, or even "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone".

"Gimmie Love" One of my favorites. The "gimmie love, gimmie love" part???? Man, can they write.

"Burry Our Friends" This was the song that was included in their remastered discography box set, Start Together, they released in October. It was on a 7" record that was also released as a single. It's a solid song, love the chorus and the feel of it. Also very Call the Doctor.

"Hey Darling" Oh, it's kind of like this album's "Modern Girl"!

"Fade" Good. But it's no "Jenny". No, really in all honesty, this is a good song. "Jenny" is definitely the feeling I get from this. I do really like the middle of it when they get all trippy though.

So yeah, get this album when it comes out! And if you haven't listened to any other Sleater-Kinney, do that immediately. Like, why are you even reading this still? Go right now and start with Call the Doctor and One Beat.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sia is the musical guest on tonight's SNL

Kevin Hart is hosting but I think the musical guest will be what to watch - Sia just recently had a lot of drama over the controversy of her newest video, "Elastic Heart" (check out the video by clicking that link,) which features Maddie Ziegler (yes, the same girl from "Chandelier") and Shia LaBeouf fighting each other in a birdcage. The controversy arose due to their age differences and the "possible link to images that may induce triggers to victims of pedophilia." Sia apologized publicly on Twitter for the possibility of these images offending anyone.

Anyway, I'm sure they're going to do some kind of spoof, since they did one for "Chandelier." I'm guessing Taran Killam is playing Shia.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Sufjan Stevens Album out March 31

Wow! This came out of left field. Sufjan Stevens is set to release Carrie & Lowell, his first album since 2010. More details here from The AV Club.

First Listen - No Cities to Love

Listen to Sleater-Kinney's new album here on NPR:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top 10 Cartoon Soundtracks...on Occur

Since I've last posted, I've become a contributing blogger to, thanks to my friend, fellow music blogger and writer, Melissa! Here's my first article posted on their site, top 10 cartoon soundtracks. It was really fun to write.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

Since most of 2015 releases still are "TBA" (some that I'm looking forward to that are still TBA include: Adele, Beach House and -gasp- Gwen Stefani - I'm a sucker for her, it's probably going to be bad though,) I'm going to focus on albums that have a concrete release date because it's possible TBA's will get pushed back to 2016. I learned that the hard way when I listed my #1 for 2013 Turn Blue (see: Stephanie's pick's for 2013) and it ended up coming out in 2014.

Laura Marling Short Movie
Marling's fifth studio album, Short Movie, releases March 24. This is Marling's first record since her highest spot on the billboard chart, Once I Was an Eagle, reaching #3.

 Mark Ronson Uptown Special

I've been listening to "Uptown Funk" (featuring Bruno Mars) and "Feel Right" (featuring Mystikal, of all people!) non-stop lately. Ronson always has a great way of blending music genres together and combining old influences with new. Very excited for this album, coming out January 13.

Of Montreal - Aureate Gloom
Of Montreal is back doing their thing with Aureate Gloom, coming out in March 2015.

 Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves
Modest Mouse is back after SEVEN years of releasing new material. This album comes out in March and all eyes will be on them. I'm hoping for a good album, they've always been a consistently good band but that doesn't mean anything (see: The Shins Port of Morrow).

 Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
Very excited for Sleater-Kinney to come back with new material, as well as a reunion tour (which I will be going to)! The album is out January 20.

Fallout Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho

I might loose some music cred for liking NEW Fallout Boy but I don't care (lol), Save Rock and Roll was actually a really good album. To me, this album validated how the pressure to be "fill in the blank" from the media and record labels can really effect a band. Also, from what I've heard of this album ("Centuries"), it sounds very reminiscent to Rock and Roll. This album comes out January 16.