Sunday, July 25, 2010

Young Galaxy - Long Live The Fallen World

Young Galaxy is a Canadian alternative band.  Really, their style of music is hard to explain.  At times it's very synth-ridden, but it can also be heavy.  They often have a light and airy feel to their music.  The band is made up of Stephen Ramsay on the guitar, Stephen Kamp on the bass, Liam O'Neill on the drums, and both Catherine McCandless and Max Henry playing keyboards.  You'll hear vocals from not just one of the band members, but three.  This sounds interesting enough.

The opening track of the album takes advantage of the many vocalists.  McCandless takes on the lead position while the rest of the band sings backup.  Depending on which song you hear from the band, the lead vocalist may switch off between McCandless and Ramsay.  When a band has both male and female vocals, it adds so many more possibilities to the music.

The highlight of the song is the massive change in rhythm during the ending.  With about one minute left, the beat starts to increase faster and faster.  The song then changes completely.  With beeping synths and a new beat the track is finished.  When hearing this change in pace for the first time, it's a pleasant surprise.

Young Galaxy will have a US release of their newest album, Invisible Republic on July 27.  Until then, you can check out their single "Long Live The Fallen World", for free, here.  You can also stream and download their other single, "Queen Drum", below.  Both songs are great.  I would definitely download them and see if it's your kind of music.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Maine - Inside Of You

The Maine is a fairly new pop rock/pop-punk band.  They released their debut album, Can't Stop, Won't Stop, in 2007.  It was very similar in style to the slew of other young pop-punk bands.  Fast and catchy songs about love, with vocals in the upper register is what they did best.  This time around, they released Black And White.  The first single off of the album is "Inside Of You".  It's actually a big step up for them in terms of maturity.  The vocals have a rougher sound to them, and it's overall less "novelty" sounding.

The one problem with the song is that it really isn't memorable.  After hearing it, the thought of it won't last. "Inside Of You" needs something more to stand out.  Either a solid hook or improved songwriting, just a little more to keep it in the mind of the listener for more than ten minutes.

I much prefer the rougher tone of, singer, John O'Callaghan's voice.  With that extra tone, the song has emotion and a more desirable rawness.  It's an entire new level for the band compared to their previous work, but if they manage to find the perfect in between of smooth and rough, then they'll find their ideal sound.

"Inside Of You" is a solid song, but I think it'll be hard for the band to attract a broader audience with the single.  I would check it out if you enjoy the general pop-punk bands that flood the Warped Tour.  If you're already a fan of The Maine, then I doubt you'll be disappointed.  They kept their basic style while still maturing to a certain degree.

Many thanks to Quiet16 for the request.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harmony Muzik - The Masquerade

The album starts with a spoken intro.  On "What Is A Mask?" a conversation of identity and hidden persona's is overheard during, what sounds like, a candle lit dinner.  It's very intriguing.  The Masquerade is the debut album from the rising artist, Harmony Muzik.  She describes her music as "urban pop", and rightfully so.  Many of the tracks on the album have heavy hip-hop beats, but the vibe can change to dance pop instantly.  With a wide span of genres and influences, some listeners may find that they enjoy one style over the other.

"Take A Bite", featuring Madam Madon, Divinity, and Prhyme, sounds like it should be on hip-hop radio right now.  Like many of the songs on the album, "Take A Bite" is heavy on the bass.  The elegant and mysterious intro to the song really caught me off guard.  The intro is a small loop of classical guitar, strings, and ambient chirping.  It gives the track such a great flow.  "Take A Bite" is definitely one of the standout pieces on the record.

Immediately after "Take A Bite" is "Temporary Heartbreak".  As I mentioned earlier, this album flips genres quickly.  "Temporary Heartbreak" is filled to the top with synths.  You can hear a slight electro tone to Harmony's vocals.  The soaring chorus of "Falling in love with you." will leave you humming long after hearing it.

Fresh names are always welcome in the music industry.  I wouldn't be surprised if I turned on the radio and heard Harmony Muzik.  The beats are current and the featured artists add some variety to the mix of songs.  Notable tracks include "Take A Bite", "Broken", "Behind The Mask (Still Here)", and "Temporary Heartbreak".  The Masquerade is released on July 20th.  I would check out The Masquerade if you want to hear a new artist that blends hip-hop and pop to create an album of catchy hooks and beats.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Florence + The Machine - Heavy In Your Arms

The collection of films based on the Twilight Saga are immensely popular.  While the movies seem to be aimed towards the teenage girl population, the soundtracks for the series are incredibly varied.  The albums consist of mostly indie rock bands with a few major names mixed in.  The "big name" tracks are usually the songs chosen to be the lead single for radio play.  Muse's "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" led the release of the Eclipse soundtrack.  Although it wasn't chosen for radio play, I feel that Florence + The Machine's "Heavy In your Arms" is the true standout song on the album.

Florence + The Machine is the stage name for Florence Welch and her always changing band.  Their song on the soundtrack is infectious.  It has a thumping beat and a chorus that every artist should be jealous of.  Florence's voice is extremely powerful.  You can hear the pure intensity of it during the final chorus of, "I'm so heavy, heavy, heavy in your arms.".  I love the dark feeling in the song.  It has just enough echo to complete the vibe.

Florence + The Machine released their album, Lungs, last year.  The album does not contain this song.  The only way to obtain "Heavy In Your Arms" is to buy the Eclipse soundtrack.  I say it's worth the purchase.  The album also features many other great songs by bands of the same genre.  The first time I heard "Heavy In Your Arms", I was stunned.  Give it a listen, you'll be captivated.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire

The song starts with a piano melody and a lonely synth.  Then, vocalist, Jake Shears sings the verse with a tune that's so memorable, that you'll wonder why it had never been written before.  The chorus repetition of "Fight fire with fire - desire, through your desire." has the perfect power ballad feeling.  The lead single from their new album, Night Work, is simply a great pop song.  You can sing and dance to it, yet it also has that big anthem sound.  Shears' vocals have incredible clarity and are delivered with emotion.  They actually have enough emotion to be the standout element of the song, especially during their live performances.

"Fire With Fire" is sure to be a club hit, but I would love to see it break into the Top 40 charts in the US.  It would be a fresh alternative to the staple artists of mainstream radio.  Sure, it may be a bit cheesy and overwhelming, but it's fun.  Their third album, Night Work, is out now.  I would check it out if you like pop music with a flair of 80's synth.  You can download "Fire With Fire" for free on iTunes (US) until next Tuesday.  I would, without a doubt, give it a listen.  Scissor Sisters have an addictive song in "Fire With Fire".