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.