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.