Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Sounds - Crossing The Rubicon

The Sounds are a Swedish New Wave band that are making an impact on the US.  At first listen, you might recognize, singer, Maja Ivarsson's voice.  She was featured in Cobra Starship's song "Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)".  Aside from that single, they recently toured with No Doubt and Paramore.  As you might have noticed, they're becoming a name to notice.  They released their third album, Crossing The Rubicon, in June of 2009 and have released two singles from it.

I'm a little late in discovering them.  Crossing The Rubicon is actually the bands third album, and my first.  The song "Dorchester Hotel" (featured on this album) was my first exposure to them.  Their music is filled with enough keyboards and synths to make the leading New Wave acts of the eighties jealous.  Almost every song has a solid synth line.

After a couple listens, there are definitely some stand-out tracks.  The first single "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" is one of them.  The title track is also one of the best songs.  It starts with a very haunting piano which then evolves into a full blown epic, and then creeps back down again.  Although the song is short, that doesn't hold it back at all.  All together, some of the songs can be forgettable.  The second single, Beatbox, is actually one of my least favorite songs on the album.  It's just not as solid as it could be, they have great potential.

My favorite tracks at the moment include:

No One Sleeps When I'm Awake
Dorchester Hotel
Crossing The Rubicon
My Lover

You should check out The Sounds if you like No Doubt or Paramore.  I can definitely see why they teamed up for the tour.  Also listen if you want a throw-back to the New Wave genre.  Artists such as Blondie, Talking Heads, Cyndi Lauper, Berlin, and a-ha can be seen as influences.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Miracle Of iTunes Home Sharing

If you're like me, you love your music library.  I organize every single song down to its genre, date of release, track listing, etc.  Example: "That song isn't rock, it's alternative.  This one isn't punk, it's ska."  I freak out if a song doesn't have its correct album artwork.  Some people say I have "Music OCD", maybe I do.  Either way, when I got my new MacBook, one of my biggest worries was transferring my iTunes library.

First I tried connecting an ethernet cable between the two computers.  That didn't work.  The computers said it worked, but it didn't.  What the heck.  Next, I tried external hard drive.  Here's a little hint, if you have over 1GB of music, don't transfer it with a 1GB hard drive.  That would have taken several more hours than I had already spent on this seemingly impossible task.  I was fuming by this point because I followed several step-by-step tutorials on this task, they failed.  I started getting mad at people and it all went downhill.

Finally, I discovered my savior, iTunes Home Sharing.  I was able to use Home Sharing to copy every single song from one computer to another over a wireless network.  This practically saved my life.  If you ever get a new computer, you need this.  If I had known about this before, well let's just say I wish I had.  Anyways, follow these words of wisdom if you ever need to transfer a lot of music.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's the day after Christmas and everyone has opened their presents.  Everybody had that one thing they really wanted.  Wether it be a Christmas sweater or something, well, better.  What did you get?  Me?  Lots of music...and a MacBook.  First post from a Mac, time to celebrate!  Anyways, there will be a lot of new music being played around the house.  Here's a list of it all.  Take note that it's not all mine, some my brother's and some my sister's. But still, you know I'll hear all of it in the end.

Muse - Absolution
Weezer - Raditude
Norah Jones - The Fall
Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted
The Black Keys - Attack & Release
Lady GaGa - The Fame Monster

So far I've listened to Muse, Weezer, Lady GaGa, and part of Kelly Clarkson.  I have to say, they're all really good.  I already had the two most recent Muse albums.  This one is a little more piano based.  I think I prefer that.  The Weezer album is interesting.  I really like older Weezer music (Hash Pipe, Buddy Holly).  This album is kind of random.  None of the songs really flow into each other.  They're still good separately, though.  Lady GaGa's album was solid dance-pop.  Extremely catchy.  What surprised me the most was that there was zero filler.  Every song was strong on its own.

I still need to hear the rest of the albums to make my final assumptions.  I hope everyone got whatever music they wanted.  I still have plenty of gift cards to spend on what else... but music.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Best Of '09"

Okay, so I've been looking at several "Best Of '09" lists that are posted on various websites, everyone makes one.  They're the popular thing to do at the end of any year, you know that.  It's very strange because, after seeing them, I've determined that I either...

A. Don't listen to any "good" music
B. Noticed that every list focuses on unknown hip "indie" stuff
C. Read bad "Best Of '09" lists
D. Need to expand my musical horizons
E. Am obviously the one who listens to good music, they just don't know it

...or a mix of several of those answers.  I read over these lists with a confused look on my face.  What is this stuff?  Some of the lists I've read are Amazon, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone.  I'll show you some of my thoughts on each list.


Out of all the albums I've heard 5 of them in their entirety.

Muse - The Resistance
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
Imogen Heap - Ellipse
Yeah Yeah Yeah's  - It's Blitz!
Not too impressive.  I've also heard bits and pieces from plenty of the others.

Song list score: 23 out of 100...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Playlist - Alicia Keys, Band Of Skulls

Alicia Keys - The Element Of Freedom

Alicia Keys' fourth album was released this week.  I've been a listener since The Diary Of Alicia Keys, and this album is just as good.  The album includes a duet with Beyoncé and an alternate version of Jay-Z's song Empire State Of Mind, which already featured Keys.  The single, Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, is one of the standout tracks along with Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down.  The version that I purchased included two bonus tracks (Through It All, Pray For Forgiveness) and a bonus DVD.

Band Of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey

This is the debut album from Band Of Skulls, an upcoming alt-rock band.  It's been out since April of this year, but I'm just now getting around to listening to it.  I already had the songs I Know What I Am and Blood, and now have the complete album.  They're sound is quite similar to The White Stripes, yet it doesn't sound like they're copying them.  Overall, a great album.

Plus a few singles...

Vampire Weekend - Horchata
Paramore - Where The Lines Overlap
Flyleaf - Swept Away

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2000 - 2009: Part 3


If you ask anyone you run into on the street if they have an iPod, chances are they will. Even if they don't own one, they'll know what it is. The iPod was introduced in late 2001, and since then has become the most popular portable media device. Sure, others have competed, but none of them stand a chance against the iPod. The machine, which started as a basic white mp3 player, now comes in a rainbow of colors and even includes a video camera. The iPod line also expanded with the iPhone in 2007, taking the sensation to an entirely different level.

Examples: iPod, iPhone, Apple's Business Empire


Oh, T-Pain, what have you done. This last decade, one of the biggest and probably worst trends of music started. Auto-Tune became "The Sound" for mainstream pop and hip-hop music. The once minimized and shameful tool is now in almost every current radio hit, and it's noticeable too. Once Auto-Tune is used, the singer can screech and moan all they want. They'll still sound either good or like a robot. But, this is perfectly acceptable apparently. Using devices to manipulate or duplicate your voice can be extremely creative and suitable. For example, Imogen Heap's "Hide And Seek" is great. It's just become overused and abused recently.

Examples: T-Pain, Ke$ha, Kanye West, Lil' Wayne

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2000 - 2009: Part 2

American Idol

This. Is. American Idol. These words are announced at the beginning of Americas' favorite TV show. The phenomenon started in 2002, and since then has become the No. 1 television show in the US. The reality singing competition has jump started the careers of countless artists. The most successful would be Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Recent artists such as Adam Lambert were first seen on this show. Next year the program will return with its ninth season. The show is best known its grumpy judge, Simon Cowell, who started as a judge on Pop Idol. Pop Idol then became The X Factor, and currently Cowell still appears on both shows. Will this show ever end? Who knows...

Example: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert.

Indie Music

This is mostly about the music labeled "indie rock" or "indie pop". This word, which actually means being signed to an independent record label, became commonly used in this decade. When you think of indie you might think "underground"or "not mainstream". In this decade indie bands were exposed to the world through various media outlets. Websites such as "" focused on this genre. Along with "emo", this genre is extremely hard to define. Really, just as "emo" has, "indie" has become a term to describe a bands overall style, image, or sound.

Examples: Arcade Fire, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Feist, Passion Pit

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2000 - 2009: Part 1

It's less than three weeks until 2010. It may seem weird, but it's coming. Once we enter this new decade, how will we look back upon the last decade? Music has changed so much since 1999. The nineties were the peak of "boy-bands" and grunge. Both of these trends disappeared in the next decade, or they were disguised as something new. In a series of posts, I'm going to recap the best and worst trends in music of 2000-2009.


Before I start, I want to say that these are actually two different genres. I put them together because during this decade they were commonly used together and almost became one. These genres can have various meanings, so I'll focus on "emo". There is a common definition that this genre is made up of angry, or mostly depressing, lyrics set to punk-like music. Some music in the genre is often merged with "screamo" style vocals. Although that's what the genre is today, the technical definition is "melodic music with deep emotional lyrics"; or emotional-hardcore. This genre is one of the hardest to define, and will probably never have a "true" definition. Often, the term is just used to describe the style or "look" of the band. Many acts labeled "emo" and "pop-punk" became immensely popular in this decade.

Examples: Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Paramore, My Chemical Romance

Disney Pop Stars

If you haven't noticed this trend, then you've been living under a rock. In the last decade, the Disney Channel has created numerous artists who took over the entire tween population. This probably started with Miley Cyrus, or "Hannah Montana". The "still child star" became a hit off of her Disney Channel television series. She has had several hits on the radio, including her most recent, "Party In The USA". This caused a chain reaction and many more followed her. Some of them even became nominated for Grammys.

Examples: Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, High School Musical

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Music

That time of the year is here once again. It's time to break out the music filled with sleigh bells and cheer. Usually, when choosing Christmas music, you can pick the classics or the "contemporary artists singing these strange new songs that don't have anywhere near the lasting appeal of the classics". I choose the classics. Some of my favorites include:

Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock

Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

Along with these, there are numerous Andy Williams songs that are great. I also love any version of "Carol Of The Bells". Some songs by newer artists have becomes "classics" of their own. For example, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and Wham!'s "Last Christmas". Awesome songs. So gather 'round the Christmas tree, bake some cookies, and put on your favorite holiday songs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Playlist - Flyleaf, Phoenix, and more

It's been a long time since I've done one of these. If I remember correctly, the last one was all the way back in September. As I promised, another Grammy post is coming, just a little later.

Flyleaf - Memento Mori

I picked up this album on its release day, so I've had some time to listen to it. I bought the deluxe edition which came with a second CD of songs. Definitely get the two-disc version. A very good album, and very different from their debut. The stand out song for me is "Swept Away". It's completely different from anything they've ever done. The intro has full on screaming and the verses are half spoken half sung.

La Roux - Bulletproof

I wrote a post about La Roux here. Catchy dance-pop music pretty much sums it up. I predict they'll be a hit in the States as well as the UK, in which they are already popular.

Phoenix - 1901

Ever since the commercial with this song started coming on, I've been listening to this over and over. This is my first song from them. I felt that they should have been nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy. Oh well...

Tegan and Sara - Hell

If you look at the column to the right of this post, you'll see that I'm playing this on my guitar. I find that every time I play, I play this song first. It's awesomely catchy and upbeat. It should be a hit on Alternative Rock radio.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

52nd Annual Grammy Awards Nominees

The Grammy nominees were announced tonight, and I'm confused. Some of the categories make perfect sense. Take Record Of The Year for example. All of these songs were huge hits within the last year. The same goes for Album Of The Year. On the other hand, some of the choices are unbelievably... bad. In the Best New Artist category, the Silversun Pickups are nominated. I know that their latest album, "Swoon", was very popular, but they already had an established fan base of great size. The definition of the category is...

"For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist."

They had two singles break into the top ten of the Billboard Modern Rock charts, both from their debut album. I'm not saying I dislike the band, I think it's cool that they're being recognized by the Academy, but still. Also, Keri Hilson's first major recognition came from the 2007 single "The Way I Are", featuring Timbaland. It seems to me that the Academy is very loose on eligibility rules.

I just think that a lot of the choices feel like they are the same as last year's nominees. Almost as if they had trouble finding more current music, but plenty of fitting music was released. I'll write another post about the topic later this week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

American Music Awards Recap

Well, last night the AMA's were on, and last blog post I predicted several winners. The results turned out pretty good, except for the two biggest awards. I missed Artist Of The Year and Breakthrough Artist. But hey, who could predict those shocker results. Taylor Swift beat Michael Jackson for Artist Of The Year and Gloriana (Who?) beat Lady GaGa For Breakthrough Artist. This just shows the intensity of Taylor Swift's following. Eight out of ten isn't that bad.

As for the performances, most of them were... questionable. The show started with a performance by Janet Jackson. She sang a medley of her songs, not Michael's as I previously stated. I was incorrectly informed. The show then continued with Daughtry, Shakira, etc. There were several acts that caught my attention, some for the wrong reasons. My favorites were Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, and Alicia Keys (without Jay-Z). My least favorite was Rihanna. Her performance was a mess. I couldn't tell what she was saying at all. Many of the acts were very suggestive, such as Shakira and Adam Lambert. Lady GaGa also took her weird factor to a new level. She wore a flesh colored bodysuit with bone-like coverings.

The AMA's were overall decent. The problem is there were too many performers that focused on dancing and strange on stage antics. I guess some people prefer that and call it "entertainment". Still, I would prefer the artists doing less of a stage show and more of a concert.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

American Music Awards Predictions

Tomorrow night is the evening of the 2009 American Music Awards. The American Music Awards, or AMA's for short, started in 1974. While not nearly as popular as the Grammy Awards, they are still televised every year. This year, to honor Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson will perform an opening medley of his songs. Michael Jackson is also nominated for many of the top awards of the night. I thought it might be interesting to predict winners of each major award, and see how accurate I am.

These four categories seem to be the most significant besides Breakthrough Artist and Artist Of The Year. I predict Michael Jackson will win everything that he's nominated for.

Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist: Michael Jackson
Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, Or Group: The Black Eyed Peas
Favorite Pop/Rock Album: Number Ones - Michael Jackson

Here are four more random categories...

Favorite Country Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Favorite Alternative Rock Artist: Green Day
Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist: Beyonce
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist: Jay-Z

and finally, the two most important awards...

Artist Of The Year: Michael Jackson
Breakthrough Artist: Lady GaGa

Overall, I think Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift will take most of the awards. I also think that, although they have several nominations, Kings Of Leon will leave the show empty handed. We'll see the results tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

La Roux

Here's one of my latest finds. La Roux is an English electropop duo led by singer Elly Jackson. English pop music has always different greatly from American pop, but I'll take La Roux over Lady GaGa any day. Their music reminds me of the 80's. They sound similar to Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, and maybe even Prince. The music consists of incredibly catchy beats and synths, while Jackson sings even catchier melodies. I've listened to three of their songs, Tigerlily, Bulletproof, and a remix of In For The Kill. Tigerlily is my favorite of the three, with Bulletproof as a close second. While I've never heard the original version of In For The Kill, the remix (Heartbreak Remix) is a little to long for my liking. I could definitely see Bulletproof becoming a Top 40 hit. I'm actually surprised it isn't already. I guess mainstream radio in the US isn't quite as friendly to electronic and dance music as Europe is. If you like upbeat pop music with a dance/electronic twist, then check out La Roux.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Greatest Hits

Have you ever discovered a new band and thought to yourself, "How do I not have any of their music?"  But what happens when the band has over five albums with their hit singles spread across each record?  This is where a greatest hit album or singles collection comes in.  Many well known artists releases these.  Some of the most recent being Fall Out Boy, Britney Spears, and Madonna.  They are usually considered the artists "very best".  The question is, do you buy it.  I always have a problem with this decision.  When I acquire a sudden interest in a band, I face the dilemma.  The problem is, what if I do buy this compilation but then want more of their music.  I'll already have bits and pieces of their catalogue, causing me to buy songs that I previously bought.  I don't want to buy the same song twice.  With this being said, I do own several "Greatest Hits" albums; artists such as Nirvana, The Ramones, and The Clash.  I guess the answer to the question is another question.  "How much do you really like their music?".  Can you live without all of their music, or do you need all of it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rah Rah, Ooh La La?

Today I signed into Blogger, and realized that it's been almost a month since my last post. Sorry, I've been neglecting my blog. Anyways, I'm back. I thought it would be fitting to return with something new. Instead of just one review, this post will have three. I know, I know, it's exciting - isn't it? The theme for the reviews will be "Upcoming Hits". Now that's catchy. These will be songs that I think have a pretty good chance in becoming radio super hits. I'm not saying the artists need to be new, only the songs. Let's see how this goes...

Switchfoot - Mess Of Me

I think that this song could go to No. 1 on the rock and alternative charts. Switchfoot have already established a pretty decent radio reputation with "Meant To Live" and "Dare You To Move". This might actually be my favorite song of theirs. It's more exciting than their previous singles.

Ke$ha - TiK ToK

This one is very unfortunate. As much as I dislike this song, I fear it will shoot up the Top 40 chart. The song's chorus seems like something stolen from Lady GaGa, and the verses... wow. She sings about beer and "swagger". The song could be seen as a fun party tune, but I see it as trashy.

Lady GaGa - Bad Romance

I probably gave this one away in the blog title. Bad Romance is going to be No. 1. She's already done it four times in a row. I don't know why everyone is fascinated with her. I guess she's just something different. I have to admit, her songs are catchy. (Check out the music video, whoa creepy.)

There they are, my predictions. I know, Lady GaGa isn't a very risky guess. By the way, what do you think of Owl City? Fireflies has taken over. Who else thinks that Owl City is here to stay? Fireflies just sounds so... happy. Well I'm going to try to update the blog on a regular basis now that I'm back. See ya next time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Single... Or Two?

Whenever a single that peaks my interest is released, I buy it from iTunes. I have no record stores located anywhere within my area. Even with the recent raise in price (29 cents), I'll buy it if I'm interested in the upcoming album. I have no problem with the fact that I'll buy that same exact song on disc later. That's just the way it goes. But when the artist releases a single several months before the albums release date and then releases another, I have a problem. The artist may even release half of the album in the form of digital singles. Why would I buy these songs if I have the intent of buying the full album? This new money making scheme occurs mostly in very mainstream pop artists that I don't listen to, but every once in a while, it will hit one of my favorite bands. The most recent would be Flyleaf. One event that confused me the most was when Jason Mraz released several digital EP's containing songs from his newest album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Almost the entire record was available digitally before the physical album was released. I only bought I'm Yours. I guess this is just another business move to make more money. The one thing that record companies don't realize is that they are risking a lower amount of sales when the album is released. Oh well, I'll just continue buying the first single and waiting a little longer for the rest.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paramore - Brand New Eyes

In late 2007, I discovered what would soon become one of my favorite bands. I was listening to your everyday top 40 radio station when Paramore's biggest hit Misery Business came on. The song caught my attention immediately. My initial reaction was that the song actually stood out between the usual pop and hip-hop that's played. It was something that I wouldn't usually expect to break the into the regular radio rotation, aside from alternative and rock stations which are non-existent where I live. Soon after hearing the song, I bought their 2007 album, Riot!. Then, soon after that, I discovered their debut, All We Know Is Falling. I just bought their third album Brand New Eyes, and it's being played constantly.

The lead single, Ignorance, was featured in my very first playlist. It's as close to Riot! as you're going to get. The rest of the album is more mature than their sophomore release. Paramore goes deeper with more complex lyrics, and even a couple acoustic songs. Riot! was a bundle of energy, fun, and anger. Brand New Eyes takes some of that energy, but at the same time slows down for the moments which stand out the most.

The Only Exception and Misguided Ghosts are stripped down ballads. I feel that they are some of the strongest lyrical content that, singer, Hayley Williams has produced. Misguided Ghosts is an almost-folk song which is comprised of mostly an acoustic guitar, played by guitarist Josh Farro, and vocals. The song comes right before the album closer, All I Wanted. All I Wanted truly proves the power of Williams' vocals.

I always found it hard to name Paramore's best album, and with Brand New Eyes being released, it's even harder. Each album has it's own style. All We Know Is Falling is the most raw and distorted. Riot! is their most energetic album and was their break into the mainstream. Brand New Eyes is Paramore's more mature and defining album. Their previous albums almost seem like steps leading to Brand New Eyes. If you're unsure, I would definitely check out this album. If you thought Paramore was too poppy, they've changed. Brand New Eyes introduces the new, more mature, Paramore.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Muse - The Resistance

On the 14th of September the British rock trio, Muse, released their fifth album, The Resistance. The Resistance is the follow-up to 2006's Black Holes And Revelations. The singles Supermassive Black Hole, Starlight, and Knights Of Cydonia made "Black Holes" a hit not only in the UK, but worldwide. The question that critics have been asking is, can The Resistance top Muse's prior success? Let's find out...

First off, The Resistance resembles Black Holes And Revelations much more than their previous works. If you disliked "Black Holes" and loved Absolution or Origin Of Symmetry, then you may not love this album. But if you were fine with their sound evolution, then brace yourself for another step in the process.

The opening song on The Resistance is Uprising. Uprising is also the album's first single. If you want a review on this particular track, then click here. After hearing the full album, I actually feel that Uprising is one of the weakest songs of the set. It doesn't have as much depth as the other songs. One song that may surprise long time Muse listeners is Undisclosed Desires. It sounds as if it was produced by a mainstream pop artist and Depeche Mode. This results in a catchy electronic based song. Although it is the most mainstream sounding song of the bunch, it doesn't bring down the overall quality of the album too much. It just sounds very... out of place. I feel that the part of the album that stands out the most is the three part symphony, which closes The Resistance. Exogenesis: Symphony is separated into three parts, Overture, Cross-pollination, and Redemption. They time in at almost fifteen minutes total. Muse has successfully fused classical with rock.

I have explained in previous reviews that some albums are best listened to as a whole. This statement applies to The Resistance. You should definitely get the entire album, and not just the single. I can't imagine listening to Exogenesis: Symphony in separate parts. I don't think that The Resistance quite tops Black Hole And Revelations, but it sure does get close. The Resistance is a great album, but it has just a few too many flaws to be Muse's best album.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Playlist - Santigold, MGMT, and more

It's that time again. Last week in my music playlist I talked about Imogen Heap, The Clash, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and more. Check it out here if you missed it. This week will feature another set of great songs. They're all a bit lighter and danceable. I'm not going to feature Muse's new album in the playlist, because I'm going to write a full album review about it. You can look for that sometime during next week. Now remember, this playlist won't have any rock. It's a poppy one. That's about all you need to know, let's get to the playlist.

Santigold - Lights Out
As I said in the introduction, this song has a light feeling. The chorus is especially smooth. Santigold sounds incredibly different from her previous single L.E.S. Artistes.

MGMT - Kids
I actually wasn't fond of this band when I first heard them. Time To Pretend was my first exposure. It still isn't my favorite song. Kids is much better. If you like Kids, then listen to Electric Feel, it's even better.

Kate Earl - When You're Ready
I wrote about Kate Earl earlier this week. I reviewed Melody here. This time it isn't Melody. When You're Ready is another cool pop song.

The Whip - Blackout
Here's an electronic song that's pretty good. I don't usually like long and extended electronic/dance songs, but this one is an exception. Although it clocks in at over six minutes, it doesn't seem to drag on and on as others do.

If you want a couple more songs, then here they are...

Depeche Mode - Wrong
Scissors For Lefty - Lay Down Your Weapons
Chester French - She Loves Everybody

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kate Earl - Melody

Sometimes pop music can get tiring. You either turn on the radio and hear a song that you wouldn't want your parents to hear you listening to, or it's some Disney product that only your little sister could enjoy. Some kind of in between is needed. Kate Earl is an upcoming pop singer. She released her sophomore album, which is appropriately named Kate Earl, last month. Melody is the first single from the album, and it just might fill the empty gap in pop music.

Her debut album, Fate Is The Hunter, had a less produced sound than this song. It had the sound of adult contemporary radio. This song adds a beat, which will open it up to a younger audience. While it may be considered pop, it's sophisticated enough to keep those who dislike the bubbly mainstream sound from running away. When I first heard the song, I thought she sounded somewhat like a female Jason Mraz, minus the acoustic vibes. The verses have that same flow that he has. She has also been compared to Fiona Apple, Cat Power, and Jewel, which is a pretty big accomplishment for someone so new to the industry.

Melody has the potential to boost Kate Earl into pop stardom. She would also put some fresh air into the small group of female pop stars that are out there today. It's a simple song with, as the title states, a nice melody. Listen to this song if your tired of Lady GaGa, Miley Cyrus, and everything else that sounds almost identical. Every now and then you want a break from the questionable music that floods the air waves. That's where Melody comes in...

MTV's Video Music Awards

Ok, I had to write something about this, it was just too crazy to ignore. The VMA's have always been a huge event for the media. They tend to bring controversy. From Madonna to Britney Spears, it's never boring. This year was no different. If you missed it (like I did, I had to watch the second showing) then here's a little recap on the craziness of it all. I'll also give a couple comments on the subject. I was a little prepared for it, seeing as I knew some of the major events already, but I was still shocked by parts. Brace yourself...

1. Kayne West's Attack On Taylor Swift's Speech

I had heard about this a couple minutes before I watched the repeat. Here's what happened. Kanye West stormed on to the stage after Taylor Swift beat Beyoncé for Best Female Video. He then expressed how upset he was that Beyoncé didn't win. Wow. I knew he had a massive ego and was crazy stupid, but wow.

2. Lady GaGa's Act

This is just about her in general. I always knew she was weird, but I thought it was just a quirky eccentric weird. From the costumes to the "performance" she did, I'm still in shock. First she's wearing a neck brace, then it's a full body red leotard/gown complete with crown structure, then she has a straw basket on her head. To top it off, her performance of "Paparazzi" was filled with chandeliers, wheelchairs, and fake blood... lots of fake blood. She wound up hanging herself in the end. Yeah, that could probably offend a couple of people.

3. Lil' Mama

Why hasn't she disappeared yet? The finale performance of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys was going perfectly, until she came. The singer known for her "poppin" song Lip Gloss and an Avril Lavigne remix did a "Kanye West" and jumped onto the stage. She then proceeds to fold her arms and bob her head. She topped it all off by frantically dancing around the stage. What?!? Why couldn't she just be satisfied with being invited there in the first place? I'm sorry, but if that isn't begging for attention then I don't know what is.

All of the chaos overshadowed the true entertainment. Green Day and Muse's performances were great, but I don't think many people will remember them. It's kind of sad really, that someone as stupid as Kanye West can become that famous. I think the lesson we all learned from this is that MTV needs to hire more security...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Set Your Goals - The Few That Remain

Set Your Goals is a pop-punk band from California who gained most of their popularity from the Vans Warped Tour. Like many of the other bands on the Warped Tour, they play fast aggressive punk music. They released This Will Be The Death Of Us earlier this year. On the album is The Few That Remain. This song features Paramore's lead singer, Hayley Williams. The song resembles something that New Found Glory or Blink-182 would put out. It's a little different than the massive swarm of generic pop-punk acts out there today. It doesn't lean too much on the pop side. One thing that's kind of different is throughout the song there are little bits of talking. For example when Hayley Williams pops in, the song is interrupted altogether. After her and the band have a small chat the song picks back up even bigger than before. The Few That Remain is a solid song and gives a great idea of what the full album is like. Honestly, the only reasons I even found out about it was because Hayley Williams was in it. I'm glad I found it. You should listen to it if you like New Found Glory, Blink-182, Anti-Flag, Hit The Lights, or Paramore.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Hanuman

Today I'm going to review something that's a little different than my usual stuff. Rodrigo y Gabriela is a duo from Mexico City. As the name states, the members are Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero. They play fast paced Latin music on two classical guitars. Rodrigo is usually the soloist while Gabriela plays rhythm. I had never listened to their music before Hanuman. The song is off of their new album, 11:11, which was released last Tuesday. Hanuman is exciting and catchy. The rhythm guitar supplies a steady beat while the other guitar provides a melody. The song is really something different than what I usually hear in the genre. World music can be kind of boring at times, especially flamenco and salsa. This song fits into each of those genres, but it's exciting. It has a great vibe and you can dance to it if you want. If you need some Latin culture in your music library, but don't want a mariachi band, then download Hanuma. I haven't listened to 11:11 yet, I'll try to when I get a chance. If it's good I'll let you know in my next music playlist.

Friday, September 11, 2009


You might have noticed the SocialVibe gadget on the side of the blog. If not, then it's located under the What I'm Playing section. Anyways, SocialVibe has teamed up with Blogger to raise awareness for various organizations. The organization in my SocialVibe bar is Music For Relief. Music For Relief helps with disaster relief and raises awareness about global warming. Musical artists such as Linkin Park, No Doubt, Disturbed, My Chemical Romance, 311, and more have partnered with them. Each of the subjects the group focuses on is very important, and you can help raise money for them. By clicking on the gadget and interacting with the sponsor's message, YOU raise money for the selected cause. So go spread the news and help today...

New Playlist

Once again, it's time for another one of my awesome music playlists. In case you didn't see my last few, two to be exact, this is basically just a list of music I'm listening to. But now, I have an official poster for it (look to the left)! Some of it might be new and some may be old. No restrictions at all. Maybe you should try listening to some of it, or all of it. Previous playlists have included artists such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Paramore, All Time Low, Bon Iver, Regina Spektor, and the list could go on and on forever. Anyway, that's enough explaining, here's the awesome music playlist.

The Clash - The Singles

Here's an album I picked up about a week ago. It's a compilation album of the Clash's singles. From hits such as London Calling and Rock The Casbah to some songs I had never heard (Hitsville U.K.?). The CD ranges from the punk side to the poppy side of the band. I'm really enjoying White Riot and Clash City Rockers. The album even came in an eco-friendly case, if you care about that sorta thing...

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

I've already been praising this album. If you read my review, you'll know this by now. I'm still listening to it every day. I've found that Tidal and Between Sheets have become some of my favorites on the disc. The thing that really catches my attention is all of the layers in every song. It takes several listens to catch every sound.

Now that I have the albums out of the way, here's some singles...

Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Heads Will Roll
Almost as awesome as Zero. Strange lyrics, though ("Off with your head - Dance 'till you're dead").

IAMX - My Secret Friend (feat. Imogen Heap)
If you enjoyed the Imogen Heap album, then you should check out this song. It's off of IAMX's album Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction. It's a cool song with an awesome beat. Plus, it's featuring Imogen. There's kind of an eerie feeling to it, but in a good way...

She And Him - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
This song is from the (500) Days Of Summer soundtrack. I honestly have never seen the movie and have no idea what the movie is about, but the song is good. It's really short and simple. She And Him is a duo made up of actress Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward. The song is actually a cover of The Smiths song by the same title.

...and that wraps up another awesome music playlist. Hopefully, you'll like some of the stuff I listed. It's a fairly varied list. It has some punk, electronic, alternative, and uh... whatever She And Him is considered (Maybe indie pop, leave a comment if you know).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

AFI - Medicate

Medicate is the first single to AFI's upcoming album Crash Love. As the follow up album to 2006's Decemberunderground, Crash Love has high expectations. Decemberunderground is most known for the single Miss Murder, which won a VMA and was voted #15th best song of 2006 by Rolling Stone Magazine. The album also gave the singles Love Like Winter and The Missing Frame to modern rock radio. The album disappointed some fans. They altered their sound from hardcore punk, to what most listeners like to throw into the "mainstream emo-rock" category. Medicate abandons some of this "mainstream" sound, and partially returns back to their Sing The Sorrow style.

If you enjoyed the sound of Miss Murder you won't be completely let down by this single. The verses resemble each other quite closely, it's just missing the incredibly catchy bass. This single was a little underwhelming overall. When compared to the leading singles of their two previous albums, this one is definitely my least favorite. That may be a bit unfair though, because Girl's Not Grey and Miss Murder are very solid tracks. But shouldn't all lead singles catch your attention? Medicate is still a good song, but it just lacks energy and feels a little too mellow. It sounds like a song that you may grow to love over time.

If you love AFI and stuck with them through their Decemberunderground transition, then you've proved your loyalty. Download Medicate. If you didn't like their hardcore punk sound before, but like your rock with less attitude, then you should try it too. They've changed to a more "rock" sound, instead of punk. Don't get me wrong, I still consider AFI a punk band (maybe alt/punk or pop-punk...), it's just a little different. In the end, the outcome of Crash Love is still kind of a mystery. Will the entire album sound like this? You can find out for yourself on Sept. 29. In the meantime, listen to Medicate.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk

Whoever thought of the comparison of being in love - then breaking up with a girl, to being drunk - then hungover, needs to go back to the drawing board. This comparison is what Boys Like Girls' new single, Love Drunk, is based on.

Boys Like Girls is a band who dominated the radio with three hit singles off of their self-titled debut album. Released in 2006, Boys Like Girls spawned The Great Escape, Thunder, and Hero/Heroine. Although The Great Escape gained the most recognition, I always felt that Hero/Heroine was their strongest single. Thunder was too bland to really catch my attention. The album went gold, and now their back to try for platinum. Their new single is unlike all three of these songs. It transforms the Boston "pop-punk" band into a "POP-punk" band.

Boys Like Girls caught on to all of the current radio trends. It's danceable, it has a catchy melody, and the lyrics in the chorus are easy to memorize. It's pretty much a song created for tween girls to swarm over. The lyrics are the one thing that sticks out. Tween girls shouldn't be singing about comparing "love" to, of all things... alcohol. What? Really? The best part of the song is the key change during the final chorus. This really stands out musically and keeps the song from being repetitive.

Unless you're the tween girl I was talking about earlier, I would definitely pass on Love Drunk. It's a song that might make people give you strange looks if sung in public. You can check it out if you're desperate for a catchy song that isn't Miley Cyrus, but there really isn't that much of a difference. It's a step up from 3OH!3, but instead I would just listen to All Time Low... or any other pop-punk band.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Flyleaf - Again

Flyleaf, the "alt/metal sometimes Christian rock" band, is back with the leading single to their sophomore release, Memento Mori. Known by the casual listener for their single All Around Me, Flyleaf had a strange mainstream success. Their self titled debut album was released in 2005, but didn't gain momentum until 2007. The merging of A&M Records and Octone Records and a re-release of their album may have something to do with this. After radio play outside of modern rock stations started, All Around Me climbed the Billboard Hot 100 to #40. In the end, Flyleaf went platinum and was recognized in the alt/rock and even pop community. While this boosted their appeal to new listeners, previous fans knew them to be a heavier band than All Around Me. Singles such as I'm So Sick and Fully Alive had already established a fan base of different kinds. Again leans more towards the sound of All Around Me than I'm So Sick. This may satisfy the listeners who know of them from their radio success, but it could also cause a lot of fans to be worried for a lighter sounding record.

Flyleaf has never been a band to release long songs full of complicated solo's. Their songs usually time in at the three minute mark, with a few exceptions. This song is the same. I feel that this is the one thing that really holds it back. It isn't developed enough. The verses seem cut off short, leaving the chorus to be repeated three times at the end of the song. Sure, each time the lyrics differ slightly, but it still feels repetitive. Other than this issue, it's smooth sailing. I was hoping for a heavier lead single, but it makes sense to release a more radio friendly single, especially if their looking to the follow the success of All Around Me. You won't find any of the "screamo" style singing as found in their previous work such as I'm So Sick or Justice and Mercy on this single. Still, I suggest giving Again a listen, even more so if you like All Around Me. If you only like the "rock" side of Flyleaf and are a little apprehensive, then you might want to wait for the release of Memento Mori.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

On the 24th/25th of August (region specific dates), Imogen Heap will release her third solo album. Ellipse is the Grammy-nominated artist's follow up to Speak For Yourself, which gained success through the song Hide and Seek. You may also know of this English singer from her work as half of the electronic duo Frou Frou. In this post, I'll take a look at Ellipse in its entirety, a week before its release, and tell you if it's worth listening to.

Heap's music has always been hard to classify. Some may say it's electronic, but it isn't all computerized beats. Her music still contains real musical instruments, I mean she is a classically trained pianist...

The first single, and opening song is First Train Home. It's a strong opener and gives the listener a good feeling for the rest of the album. Most of her songs are very ambient and atmospheric. Piano and various orchestrated instruments fill the majority of the songs, but the main attraction is Imogen's voice. Her voice is an instrument in itself. Many harmonies consist of bum-bums, oohs, ahhs, and hisses instead of musical instruments. With the different tones and distortions on her voice, she creates a signature sound. Once you hear her unique voice, you'll most likely recognize it immediately on any other occasion.

There are definitely some stand-out tracks among others. Wait It Out is one song that stuck out the most. The song builds up from a quiet ballad with a chime-like melody to full blown "Imogen Heap electronic beat", and back down again. The Fire is a piano instrumental, complete with a fire crackling in the distance. It's very calm and mysterious at the same time. There isn't really a "filler" track on this album. Each song adds its own touch and plays an important part.

I highly suggest listening to this album in its entirety, but if you only download a couple songs, then pick these...

  • Wait It Out
  • Little Bird
  • First Train Home
  • Aha!
  • Half Life

As I said, if you have the chance, then listen to the album as a whole. Each song on Ellipse is beautifully composed in its own way, and connect the album. If you follow Imogen Heap's music, you will not be disappointed. If you're unfamiliar with Imogen, then you should still give it a try. I know I'm going to pick up a copy when it's released...

Listen to the album before it's released...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Upcoming Releases

I have a few highly anticipated albums coming out later this year. Some of them have no set release date, so I can't be sure how much later this year they will be released.

Paramore - Brand New Eyes

This one might be the album I'm most excited about. I still listen to Riot! on a regular basis, and the single is a good sign. Brand New Eyes comes out Sept. 29.

Vampire Weekend - TBA

This album has no determined release date or title, but it's coming this year. I'm listening to their debut album as I write this, and I hope their next release will have a similar sound.

Flyleaf - Memento Mori

Here's another album without a definite release date. It seems to be flopping back and forth between Sept., Oct., and Nov. Anyways, a single is scheduled for this month.

Muse - The Resistance

I reviewed their single, Uprising, in another post. Read the review if you want to know about this album. The single kind of has me on the edge. I'm not sure if I like the synth focused style. The three part symphony at the end of The Resistance should be amazing. The Resistance is released on Sept. 15.

I'm sure there will be more albums announced later that I'll pick up, but these are on my "buy it on release day" list.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Playlist

Here's some more awesome music that I've been listening to. It's mostly alternative, but a couple of the songs are a bit different.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a pretty dominant rock group right now. They have some great songs like Gold Lion and Maps, but Zero is a little different. Their newest album, It's Blitz! (which includes Zero), has more of a dance feel. Some people even say it has a touch of disco. That's a decent stretch from their alternative-punk sound.

All Time Low - Weightless

All Time Low is a pop-punk band, they're similar to the other bands in the new wave of pop-punk (Hey Monday, The Maine, Anarbor, etc.). When I say pop-punk, I strongly stress pop. Their previous album has less of a pop sound than their new release, Nothing Personal. Warning to young listeners: explicit content. It's just once, but that's enough for a radio edit.

If you want a couple more songs, then check out this list. I might go into detail about them in another post...

  • The Sounds - Dorchester Hotel
  • Bon Iver - Skinny Love
  • Bayside - No One Understands
  • Band Of Skulls - Blood
  • Anarbor - Let The Games Begin
  • Owl City - Fireflies
  • Chiodos - Life is a Perception of Your Own Reality
  • TAT - Pessimist
  • Regina Spektor - Eet

Remember, some of these are fairly old and not quite brand new. Also, a few of them are kinda way out there in terms of musical styles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Muse - Uprising

The British rock trio, Muse, is back with thoughts of revolution. Earlier this month they released their new single, Uprising. This is the lead single to their upcoming album The Resistance.

The band's previous album, Black Holes and Revelations saw major success with singles such as Supermassive Black Hole, Starlight, and Knights Of Cydonia. The lyrics were very political, focusing on war, leadership, and as their new album title says, resistance. Uprising has a very similar lyrical style. Musically, it has a stadium rock feel, complete with a shout-along chorus. The beat is more stomping and clapping than anything. It also has much more synth than any of their previous work. Keyboards and pianos are extremely common for Muse, but not synths. Overall, it still has that Muse feel to it. Matt Bellamy's vocals sound no different than their previous albums. If you like Muse and have followed their career, then definitely check out Uprising. If you're new to them, I would listen to Black Holes and Revelations or Absolution first, then listen to Uprising.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cobra Starship

Tomorrow, the dance-alternative oriented Cobra Starship release their third album, Hot Mess. While their newest single Good Girls Go Bad, featuring Leighton Meester, is climbing the charts, what about their previous music? Almost unknown, other than to fans of the Fueled By Ramen signed bands (Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, etc.), they actually had several hit songs under the mainstream radar. In light of the release of Hot Mess, I'll review two songs from their 2007 album, ¡Viva la Cobra!.

First up is the opening song of the album, The City Is At War. If you like synthesizers, then you'll definitely like this song. It's filled to the top with synths, courtesy of keytar player Victoria Asher. The City Is At War is a fast paced song that you can dance to. It's not metal, but it has enough of an edge to satisfy those who dislike to much pop.

The second song is Guilty Pleasure. This song has more grinding guitars included with the synthy package. The chorus is just as catchy as The City Is At War, something Cobra Starship seems to be good at. They clearly know how to satisfy those looking for some dance focused pop-punk. If you are uncomfortable with swearing, then you should definitely choose Guilty Pleasure over The City Is At War.

If you're a casual listener, you might get lost in the swarm of music which is similar to Cobra Starship. The only thing that sets them apart is the overload of techno-like synthesizers. Their older music has less of a pop sound than the new single Good Girls Go Bad. This could be good or bad depending on your tastes. It could also be the one thing that held them back from mainstream success prior to "Good Girls". If you want a current band that can make you dance, then check out Hot Mess when it's released tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

White Rabbits - Percussion Gun

If there's alternative music with a slight poppy sound to it, I'll usually listen. Especially if a catchy beat is included. You can count me in. Percussion Gun is exactly this. It's a catchy alternative song, with just enough of a pop taste to satisfy both ends of the spectrum

Percussion Gun can be found on White Rabbits' second album, "It's Frightening". The main attraction of the song is the constant beat. It's not a digitally created beat you might find on your usual Flo Rida or Black Eyed Peas song. It's pounding drums, piano, muted guitar, and bass. The beat makes you tap your feet without realizing. The only problem is if you take away the beat, there isn't that much left. Hence the name "Percussion Gun". The vocals are good, but not amazing. They're enough to complete the song without leaving any major flaws. If you're into alternative or pop with an indie flare, then give Percussion Gun a listen, it's something you wouldn't hear on your average radio station.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas

Once again, the controversial pop star, Katy Perry has a number one hit. Her newest single, Waking Up In Vegas, follows the footprints of her past hits, such as I Kissed A Girl and Hot N Cold, by climbing the charts. This comes to a total of three number one singles on the Billboard Pop Charts.

Her blueprint for a hit seemed to be "dance beat and catchy melody", with no concern when it comes to the lyrics. "Vegas", from her album "One Of The Boys" is a bit lacking when it comes to most of those categories. Her previous singles were implanted into your brain, making you hum throughout the day, even if you hated them. This single doesn't stick. You might remember it for fifteen minutes after hearing it, but then it will fade. Unless you follow everything Perry does, Waking Up In Vegas will be no more than a guilty pleasure song. One you would only listen to when you're alone, with your car windows rolled up. If you want some shameless pop music you can dance to, you might be better off listening to Lady GaGa...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Recent Finds

Here's a list of some music I've been listening to lately. Some of it's fairly new, while others have been out for a quite some time...

Haste The Day - Mad Men

First, let me say that this is a bit heavier than what I tend to listen to. With that put aside, I don't know why this song stands out. This song is from their album Dreamer, which came out last year. It's just an awesome metal song to head bang to.

Metric - Help I'm Alive

This song is from Metric's newest album, Fantasies. The song has a great beat to it. The beat kind of mimics the lyrics, "Help I'm alive. My heart keeps beating like a hammer." Overall the song has a pounding feel to it, which makes me keep coming back to it.

Anberlin - Feel Good Drag
Awesome Song. The verses are very smooth, and then BOOM, the chorus comes in. Feel Good Drag has an unusually catchy guitar riff which pops up through out the song. I had heard of Anberlin previously and was never really interested, but this song is great. It's from their newest album, New Surrender.

Paramore - Ignorance

I'm a huge Paramore fan, and their most recent single does not disappoint. Ignorance is from their upcoming album Brand New Eyes, which is released on Sept. 29, later this year. The song picks up directly where Riot! ended, with angst and emotion. The song is a combination of Fences (the chorus) and Misery Business (the verses), from their previous release.

There you have it, my list of recent finds in music. If you're interested, download a couple. You might even want to pick up an album. Hope you enjoy. If you feel like it, leave a comment with your opinions on the playlist and what your recent discoveries are.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Welcome To The Soundtrack Of My Life

Hello, Music Lovers...

This is my brand new blog about everything musical. Yep, that's right, everything musical. From punk rock, to hip-hop, to classical and all the way back, no genre will be left out. I'll be reviewing albums, singles, and anything that touches music. This blog will tell you which artists to look into, and which ones might make you cringe in pain. I will also update this blog with playlists. These playlists will contain my current favorite music, or "must hear" tunes. Who knows, you just might discover your new favorite band. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the soundtrack of my life.