July 22, 2011

Summer Playlist: 13 Songs That You Should Like

by felipeowen

 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. | It's a Corporate WorldM83 | Hurry Up We're DreamingThe Rapture | How Deep Is Your Love?Michoacan | In The Dark of Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep telling myself that I’m going to start blogging more regularly, but I’m still trying to figure out how to put that into practice. Until then, here is a chunk of solid, mostly new (aside from “Young Blood”) tracks from my go-to iTunes playlist. It’s a nice little mix, perfect for the pool, beach, or kicking it with amigos. Enjoy.

Listen:

“Midnight City” – M83

“Young Blood” – The Naked And Famous

“Sorry 4 the Wait” – Lil Wayne

“The Rip Tide” – Beirut

“Tablasaurus” – Bear Hands

“In The Dark of The Night” – Michoacan

“I Am Not A Robot (Penguin Prison Remix)” – Marina & The Diamonds

“Shangri-La” – YACHT

“The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Lighthouse” – NewVillager

“Morning Thought” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

“Perth” – Bon Iver

“How Deep Is Your Love?” – The Rapture

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June 24, 2011

If you like good music, listen to YACHT’s “Shangri-La”.

by felipeowen

YACHT - Shangri La

Listen: “Holy Roller” – YACHT

“Utopia” – YACHT

Okay. Maybe, just maybe you think you like good music, but you’re not really into “electronic music” (Although, very little of today’s music isn’t “electronic music”.) If that’s the case, YACHT might not be for you. However, if you think of yourself as a connoisseur of fine tunes, do your Primary Auditory Cortex a favor; immediately go to iTunes, download their latest masterpiece Shangri-La, and enjoy.

YACHT Shangri-La Cover

Shangri-La is, top to bottom, their best album to-date. Its predecessor, See Mystery Lights, was a doozie of an album. This one is even better. As Claire L. Evans has a more prominent role on this one, it seems like frontman Jona Bechtolt and Evans have perfected their dynamic since coming together in 2008. Her snazzy vocals fit seamlessly into the tracks while Bechtolt seems to be developing his composing skills beyond just “good”. In fact, I’d go so far as saying that he could be the next James Murphy. If you’re an LCD fan, that could sound like a preposterous claim. But really, listen to the disc through a couple of times. If someone told you Murphy wrote the music and you didn’t know any better, it wouldn’t be hard to believe. It’s rhythmic perfection. Layers upon layers of drums, cowbell, claps, snaps, (yeah, I see the irony there), clicks, pops, slap sticks, cymbals, snare, bass and synth. Timbre this rich is rarely this catchy. That’s why I think YACHT is the next LCD Soundsystem. And it just makes sense. LCDS is done. YACHT is on DFA Records, Murphy’s label. So, why not? I mean, it’s on the same level of This is Happening.

I love this album and so should you.

I give it an A.

June 22, 2011

Album Review: My Morning Jacket – Circuital

by felipeowen

Photo Credit: Richard Gintowt

I first started listening to My Morning Jacket when their album Z came out in 2005. It was absolutely incredible. It changed how I listen to music. I used to manage a restaurant in college. On days when I’d have to open, I’d plug in my iPod and play that album over the restaurant’s stereo system. For the 2 hours before we opened, I was alone and completely consumed by the music. Thinking about boiling pasta noodles and trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to sing along with Yim James, makes me miss those days. It was the perfect combination of ethereal sounds and monster jams. Tracks like “Wordless Chorus” and “Gideon” made me appreciate music in a whole new way.

Naturally, I went and got their older albums. “One Big Holiday” stuck out. Their older, more guitar-oriented sound made me understand what my hippie friends saw in jam bands. I had found a band that could do it all, one that I would respect as one of my generation’s best.

In 2008, they released Evil Urges. I pretty disappointed and let down. I listened to it a bit, but never really got hooked. I figured they might be headed into the “post-boom” lull that many bands hit after a handful of good and great records.

So, admittedly, I wasn’t very excited for this album. However, after recently giving Z a spin and reading the review by my fellow Kansas Citian bloggers over at The Undercard, I decided to give Circuital a chance. I’m glad I did. It’s far better than I expected. It reminds me what created my love for rock music in the first place – great guitar – and combines that with everything else MMJ does well – ethereal vocals, strong sounds of emotion, and carefree attitude. Mixing these into one album, it’s easy to see how they might lose a few fans, but it’s also easy to see why they have such a strong following. I give it a solid B+.

Circuital - My Morning Jacket

Here’s a quick bit on each track:

1. “Victory Dance” –  This track hooked me within 30 seconds. It sounds as victorious and triumphant as it does creepy and eery. It sounds like an opening track. Like an opening track to a good movie.

2. “Circuital” – Though it’s rarely the case, I feel like an album’s title track should be its best song. In this case, it just might be. A playful palm muted guitar riff starts the track and opens up into layers of Yim James’ howl, acoustic guitar strumming so happy that it might make you skip, fitting keyboards, and the necessary screaming guitar solo.

3. “The Day Is Coming” – The first chill song of the disc, has the feel of a song sung in round, without being an actual round. It compliments the first 2 tracks as a retreat from the jamming.

4. “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” – Acoustic arpeggiation and Yim’s vocals make this one sound antique. If you’re in the mood for a Donavan-like song, this one will make you feel wonderful. Like you’re in a sunny meadow in a dream. I could see this being played at the end of an episode of True Blood.

5. “Outta My System” – The theme: youth, drugs and finding yourself. It reminds me of Modest Mouse’s “The Good Times Are Killing Me”. If you’ve been through it, I’m sure you can find a connection to the song. Musically, it’s not one of their best.

6. “Holdin On To Black Metal” – Most people like this one. I’m not a big fan, but I can see where people like it. The funky riff and bizarre aesthetic make it sound like it could be a Queens of the Stone Age song. If you like QOTSA, you’ll probably like this one.

7. “First Light” – A return to the jam, this one mixes fuzzy guitar and Ringo-like drums. It’s an unexpected 70’s feel.

8. “You Wanna Freak Out” – I like this one. The steal guitar gives subtly gives it that MMJ southern feel and it explodes with a simple, yet solid guitar solo.

9. “Slow Slow Tune” – The title describes it quite accurately. It makes me picture a destroyed hotel room after a night of youthful shenanigans and booze. But then again, it also has the feel of a high school dance in the 1950’s.

10. “Movin Away” – Falsetto. Yim James perfects it. His voice and the slow piano might make you miss something from the past.

 

If you’re a fan of My Morning Jacket, get over to iTunes and buy this album.

 

June 16, 2011

Some Good Summer Tunes

by felipeowen

It’s been way too long since I’veFoster The People posted. Too long since I’ve even logged in to my blog. BUT, I’ve found some good tunes as of late. So, here’s a quick post on some songs you should enjoy…

“Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

Indie pop rarely gets this catchy. Although there’s a very good chance you’ve already heard this song more than once, it’s too good not to ‘pump’. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

“Pumped Up Kicks (Gigamesh Remix)” – Foster The People

If you need a little more dance in your music and the original just isn’t your style, this rendition should do it for you. It’s rare that a remix is as good or better than the original. I think it’s safe to say that this Gigamesh fellow has some serious DJ skill.

 

 

 

Bear Hands Album Art“Tablasaurus” – Bear Hands

This song is fantastic. I’m not really sure why it’s not being crammed down our ears on alt rock stations. Well, maybe I know why. Anyway, you may have noticed how similar it sounds to MGMT’s first record. No, they didn’t rip off MGMT. They went to school together. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

 

 

April 8, 2011

Best Party Songs | “You Can Dance (Edwin Van Cleef Remix) – Chilly Gonzales

by felipeowen

"You Can Dance" - Single CoverI have to give credit and a “Thank You” to Schitz Popinov. I haven’t stopped listening to Chilly Gonzales now for the last 24 hours, especially this tune:

Mp3: “You Can Dance (Edwin Van Cleef Remix)” – Chilly Gonzales

I really can’t remember liking this “type” of song this much since The Knife’s “Heartbeats”, or perhaps Felix da Housecat’s “Ready 2 Wear”, which is strange because it’s almost a combination of the two. Equally strange is the fact that the Robotaki Remix is loved on hype machine 17 times the Edwin Van Cleef version. I guess, at first listen, Robotaki’s mix is catchier. Plus, fist pumpers staggeringly outnumber us regular folk.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy a song that can mix piano, cowbell, steel drums, and 80s synth. And the vocals. I’m not a voice kind of guy. But these vocals are reminiscent of MGMT a la “Kids”, but in a happier key. So I really, really dig.

So if you like dance tunes, give it a listen. The guy’s name is Chilly Gonzales.

April 2, 2011

Slick Tune: “Greenleaf” – Generationals

by felipeowen

Mp3: “Greenleaf” – Generationals

I’ve been pretty busy lately so I haven’t posted anything in a while. Here’s a quick little post with a decent song I’ve been spinning lately. Give it a listen.

March 18, 2011

The Most Beautiful [Irish] Song Ever

by felipeowen

So I obviously didn’t get this up in time for St. Patrick’s Day. But I figured I’d do it anyway.

Mp3: “Bad” – U2

Since U2 hales from the land of green, Guinness, and Jameson Whiskey, I figured I’d post about my favorite song of theirs – “Bad” (from their 1984 release The Unforgettable Fire). The song is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I mean really, I doubt any fan of rock music would argue that it at least deserves to be top 5. You can’t play this song loud enough. I have to put on headphones to soak it all in. It’s layers upon layers of interwoven, delayed guitar. Guitar so beautiful that it has made The Edge one of the most respected and easily recognized guitarists of all time. Most people recognize “Where The Streets Have No Name” as his magnum opus, but I’d argue that this song is just as good and just as important to his résumé. It’s subtle and perfect. Simple and elegant.

The Edge

 

It begins with The Edge’s perfect riff. The delay. The high notes, almost harmonics, but not quite. Bono’s voice comes in, “If you twist and turn away. If you tear yourself in two again…” Queue drums and bass. Mullen practices perfect restrain in his drumming – just enough to build on the increasing tension with his beloved toms and the hissing cymbals that fade from speaker to speaker. The song continuously builds upon itself – The Edge’s arpeggiation and Bono’s voice crescendoing in unison throughout the song. And then, just when you think the song has reached its apex, it begins a brief descent with Bono singing, “If you should ask then maybe they’d tell you what I would say. True colors fly in blue and black. Blue silken sky and burning flag. Colors crash, collide in blood shot eyes.” Then the song turns upward again. Mullen’s beating of the tom gets louder than ever, Bono bellows his “I’m wide awake. I’m wide awake.” Then, quickly and just as subtly as it began, fades away.

 

I love songs that build and build into an explosive climax. This is a perfect example of one. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

March 15, 2011

Best New Music | “Death As A Fetish” – Starfucker

by felipeowen

 

Mp3: “Death As A Fetish” – Starfucker

 

I can’t write or talk about this band, without mentioning their name – Starfucker. I know. Wow. What a cry for attention, right? No, I thought that too, but nope. Actually, the name of the band is more mitigating than irritating. Apparently they just wanted to see how long they could get by with such a ridiculous name. And, as it turns out, they have come a long way with it – too far to up and change it now. Don’t think you know them? Yes you do. Remember that Target commercial last year with that catchy, Apple iPod-esque tune? That was them. The track is called “Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second”. Even with such a good tune, I honestly thought they’d be about as good as the fellow Apple client duo Ting Tings. You know, a band with some very solid pop songs, but nothing beyond 3 or 4 tracks deep on one of my playlists. I was wrong. Starfucker is better than the average band in their category (I’m not sure what that’d be). This track – my favorite from their recent Reptilians – is proof of that. The vocal and lyrical work make it an easy song to listen to, while the  upbeat synth riff fights off the sleepy tone of their vocals with pure happiness. It’s electronic, but it feels organic. So forget their ridiculous name and try em out.

By the way, notice how fantastic their album art is? I sure did. You can’t go wrong with giants and pterodactyls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 14, 2011

Free Track – “Caffeinated Consciousness” – TV On The Radio

by felipeowen

Mp3: “Caffeinated Consciousness” – TV On The Radio

 

As the title suggests, this energetic, anthemic rock tune is a straight-forward tooth grinder. While it’s easy to infer that TVOTR were drinking copious amounts of coffee when they wrote this hard-hitter, the chorus beautifully contrasts the energy, and then seamlessly flows back into the energetic riffs. I think what makes this song, and the band for a large part, is Tunde’s incredible voice. He brings such a unique vocal aesthetic with fascinating diversity of skill. This song is a perfect example of that.

[Although TVOTR had released a widget for the free download, I was having some technical difficulties with it. So I just put it up the old school way (right click/ctrl click the MP3 to download) below the album art.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2011

Best Party Songs: “Young Turks” – Rod Stewart

by felipeowen

Mp3: “Young Turks” – Rod Stewart

In preparation for the weekend, I think it’s good to add to the “Best Party Songs” list. This one is an old one from 1981, released 4 years before I was born. It’s a classic. The opening horns and keyboards are enough to make any day Friday. Not only is the music good for rug-cutting, the lyrics tell a story of youth in revolt and a yearning for freedom. What’s more party than that? It makes me want to be 18 again and feel free. It’s uplifting and fun. And while I have to fight off thoughts of Rod Stewart’s promiscuity and sexual ventures with his fellow band mates, it’s good enough for me to get past all of that.

Give it a listen. If you don’t, you’re missing out.

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