Friday, July 29, 2011

Song 'O' the Day: Double Dose

Since today is my parent's anniversary, I thought I'd do something special and share their songs.  Both of them are kind of old and one is a little cliched and sappy but, hey, they've made it through 25 years of marriage so I think that deserves a little acknowledgement.

My Best Friend
by Queen


Like my dad, I am a big fan of Queen because it was damn good music.  He told me that this song always reminds him of my mom because she is his best friend and has been for longer than their marriage.  This taught me an important thing about romantic relationships -- you can't love a person unless you like them.  You'd think that would be common sense but I can't stress how many people tell me that they don't like their significant others as human beings, let alone as comrades.  I consider The Boyfriend one of my best friend's and -- had we not become a couple -- I think we still would've been friends, despite the fact that our interests and values are a little like mixing oil and water.  Even though we have a lot of "debates" and heated "discussions", whenever something good happens, he's the first one I want to call.  And whenever something bad happens, he's always there to listen to my angry rants.  Of course, vice versa applies.  It's the same deal with my parents.  Personally, I think it's best that way.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Android and Internet Radio

I just recently took a giant stage dive into the 21st century early this month -- I recieved a smartphone for my birthday.  And not just any smartphone, a Droid X2, which has a dual processor as well as the Android OS.  Naturally, the first things I did when I got my new toy were:  set up my Facebook, create a Twitter account, and of course, find an Internet Radio app.  The latter has been a less than fruitful endeavor, so to help out y'all, I'm going to breakdown what I have discovered about the music apps I've been experimenting with on my phone.  This is an ongoing process (much like watching the entire series of "Numb3rs," which has also been taking up inordinate amounts of my time), so this will probably not be the last time I post on this.  To keep things short and simple, I'll just be commenting on three of the most popular apps:  Pandora, last.fm, and Jango.

Song 'O' the Day

Je Suis Jalouse
by Emily Loizeau


For my nonfrancophone friends, the song title means "I am jealous" in French....and, just for fun, if you replace the z in her name with an s and put an apostrophe after the L, her name translates into "the bird."  Oh, linguistics....simply hours of entertainment.  Anyway, this video has a sort of steampunk feel to it (the cinematography is similar of Coldplay's "Trouble" video) and the storyline is pretty straightforward, but with some quirky twists that only the French can dream up.  I love Emily Loizeau's voice but when I first heard her, it was really difficult to find more samples of her work.  Luckily that has changed -- not alot but you can at least find some more songs on Youtube.  I checked her website and I was rerouted to a page with a bunch of Russian--otherwise, I would've included it.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: The Milk Carton Kids

Prologue
By The Milk Carton Kids

Impression:  While the band hails from LA, the music they produce sounds like it comes straight out of the hills of West Virginia.  With only the use of a guitar and their voices, the duo weaves folksy ballads reminiscent of Woody Guthrie.  For the most part, the freshman album is relatively slow and melancholy but ends on a high note with "I Still Want a Little More."  The lyrics are thoughtful and carefully written and the harmonies are perfect -- at moments, the voices are amplified in a multi-tonal wave of sound, underscoring the inherent beauty of the human voice.  The guitar is skillfully played, using a fingerpicking style rather than strumming -- in this way, the listener is hearing actual notes instead of chords, which provides a nice contrast to the harmonizing in the vocals.

If I had money, I would buy:  "Michigan" and perhaps, "I Still Want a Little More"....Folk music is one of the genres my ear isn't particularly tuned into--the only folk artist I've gotten into is Joni Mitchell.  Though, I enjoyed the music, but I'm not sure it's something I would listen to on repeat and I didn't feel the album is diverse enough to warrant buying in it's entirety.

Sounds Like:  Folk-tinged Americana

Song 'O' the Day

Shoelaces
The Submarines


I wanted something from this week's haul today, so I chose The Submarines because they remind me of California and I'm still desperately wanting a beach getaway.  This is the first song on their new album, Love Notes/Letter Bombs.  Like other songs I love by this band, it combines electronic background sound effects mixed with with sweet, simple guitar melodies and beautiful harmonies.  Falling in love with lyrics that are about the hard knocks of falling in love. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fuel for 6-Mile Treks across the Desert

There are few days when I'm as exhausted as I am today.  I had to wake up at 5am to take my dad to the airport which is -- you guessed it -- just under 2 hours away.  That, and I couldn't sleep because I've been reading about serial killers and my unconscious mind was serving me up platters of cryptic nightmares last night.  Fun stuff.  Anyway, most of my days are filled with working on The Novel, the unending-and-fruitless job search most college graduates are going through, facebook stalking old friends, and running ridiculous distances.  I am a big runner -- it's my zen time.  It's my time to tune out the world with some daydreams and thoroughly wear myself out with physical exertion.  Thus, it has become borderline impossible for me to run without my iPod.  Nope, can't do it -- running without music is weird and almost pointless from where I'm standing.  Among other things, it motivates me to run faster and harder and it provides welcome accompaniment to my imaginings, which are always in the back of my mind.  Thus, I've picked a playlist of my favorite songs to run to -- from upbeat dance tunes to kickass power ballads -- that keep me going when running 6 miles in the Arizona heat is the last thing I want to do.  I run about an 8-minute mile so this list lasts roughly 50 minutes.
  • "Too Young" Pheonix -- I love Pheonix but this song in particular never fails to energize me.  You may remember it from that scene in "Shallow Hal" when Jack Black is whipping out his meth-addict dance moves with three "ugly" girls.  I'll admit, it's hard not to dance like that to this song -- reminiscent of disco but with better lyrics.  Favorite line:  "I guess I couldn't live without things/that made my life what it is."  True story.

  • "American Boy" Estelle w/ Kanye West -- Another tune that gets me pumped up.  Estelle is amazing if you've never heard any of her other stuff.  And Kanye -- despite his increasingly asshole-celebrity public antics -- can write a good rap.  And this one is, for the most part, free of obscenities. (personally, I think if you need to say "f*ck" every other word, you lack linguistic creativity -- and that's from someone who has an incredibly foul mouth.)

Music Geeks Representin' in Films

I thought this was a cool list over at Spinner.  It lists the Top 20 Music Geeks in Films.  Now I don't consider myself a music geek -- I think I have more geek points in the Literature and Obscure Horror Films categories -- but I do think I'm more of a music geek than people who actually come out and say they've mastered music geekdom.  As for the list, I think William Miller (Almost Famous) should've come before Nick & Norah and possibly even Juno and I'm not even sure Dewey Finn counts because it's basically Jack Black in a school uniform --don't get me wrong....music-wise, Jack Black is amazing but I cannot say the same for his movies.  Overall, okay ratings considering they mostly stuck with movies the average person has seen.  Check it out here and see if you agree. 

"High Fidelity" Touchstone Pictures


In other words--About F**king Time

Well, Gene Simmons finally bit the bullet and asked Shannon Tweed to marry him.  After 28 years.  Holy sh*t, that's a long time for any couple to even be married, so I'm wondering why he waited so long if he was content to stay with her.  I guess too late is better than never.  Anyway, in true celebrity fashion, he asks her on their show, Family Jewels -- a favorite in my reality TV line-up-- and audiences have to wait until the next episode to see if she says yes.  I can't fathom why she wouldn't -- although, I'm pretty sure they've been enjoying the tax/legal benefits of being a married couple anyway since they've been living together more than 7 years (which constitutes a common law marriage in most states, for those of you who didn't know). 
Read more at Spinner.
Frazier Harrison/Getty Images

Song 'O' the Day

"G-"
By Vanaprasta


This is the second song/artist I said you needed to check out from last week's weekly haul.  This track is heavily reminiscent (at least in my view) of music from the late 60s-early 70s -- definitely has that whole "just jammin' out in the garage" feel.  I vaguely compared it to "I want you (She's so heavy)" from the Beatles Abbey Road Album in that the music -- the guitar, the drums, the bass-- floods over you.  If I went to opium dens (do they still exist? I don't think so), this song would be on the playlist -- somewhere in the middle, after the hallucinations had set in.  And, perhaps it's just me, but I felt something a little jazzy about the vocals -- not Broadway jazzy, Memphis and New Orleans jazzy.  Whatever it was, I liked it.  Anyway, I've checked out their website and am seriously loving the rest of their music (a couple downloadables there, I think), so I am urging you to listen some more.  They are doing a short tour next month, hitting the big spots -- LA, Vegas, Portland, etc. (No AZ, though...not even Pheonix ::tear::).  If you want this song, you can still download it for free at Fuse, which is in the links.

Update:  I was misinformed....Vanaprasta will be making a stop in Pheonix, along with Stone Foxes, sometime in September.  I'll update with venue info when that draws near. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rivers Cuomo and His Pinkerton Diaries

Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo, is going to release a companion book to go with the re-release of Weezer's second album, Pinkerton.  The album was more personal than some of their other works and Cuomo wants to give a peak into the thought process behind its creation.  The book will be comprised of journal entries and other writings/memorabilia during the period between '94-'97.  Being a big fan of Weezer and of reading personal diaries (something voyeuristic about that), I hope to check this out when it is released in January--which may be exclusively online, which will be the same for Alone III, the third volume in the Alone series.  Rivers also recently recorded a duet with Miranda Cosgrove and, while I'm cautious, I have an inkling that song is going to be hilariously tongue-in-cheek and atypical of an emerging pop starlet.
Read more at Pitchfork


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Song of the Day: In Memoriam

Back to Black
Amy Winehouse


I had another song picked out for today, but that was before Amy Winehouse died and it felt fitting to have a little tribute to her memory.  I picked this song because of its somber melody.  I also feel her voice is showcased beautifully.  Her life and its end is such a tragic story.  I know how addiction and mental health issues can plague artistic circles -- esp.  writers and musicians, the groups I gravitate towards.  And while hard knocks can provide an artist with a reservoir of inspiration (it has in my personal experience--gave me a reason to write), many times, they just catapult an artist down a slippery slope.  It always saddens me when I hear of talented people succombing to their demons -- it's such a waste of human potential.  Anyway, enjoy this song and pray that Amy is at peace now. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Weekly Haul: July 24, 2011

Hey Music Sluts,
You'll be happy to hear that this weeks list is alot more manageable, but on the flipside, I must admit that my downloads this week disappointed me greatly.  I'll explain my process for finding the Weekly Haul --
  1. I go to my various sources and look for songs and artists that catch my attention.
  2. If they have a preview, I give it a quick listen -- miniscule, 20 seconds max (I have quick ears).  If it still interests me I download.  (On sites that don't have a preview, I read through the artist bio and look for a "sounds like" reference so I know what I'm getting into)
  3. I review the songs at least twice before I begin to write so I have an impression already formed.
  4. While writing each little tidbit for the selected songs, I am listening to it, so it is fresh in my mind and so I can describe what I'm hearing accurately.
I will be the first to admit that I go into this wanting to like each and every song I listen to.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  It's not that the artist is terrible -- usually it's just the song that they've chosen to put out for free.  Either the vocals are off or the lyrics are kind of elementary or possibly (very rarely) the soundmixing doesn't do it justice.  Naturally, this process is subjective, so I highly recommend that you search for new music on your own as well as checking out my recommendations.  And then we could swap!  As I predicted, I did found some hometown bands I'm excited about and will, hopefully ::fingers crossed:: be checking them out live sometime in the near future.  Weekly Haul after the jump.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse, Dead at 27

Amy Winehouse, troubled singer of such hits as "Rehab", was found dead today in her house.  She was 27 years old--barely the age of my older sister.  Although I doubt this surprised anyone, it's still sad.  Aside from her talent as an R&B singer, she was perhaps more commonly known for her alcohol and drug addictions and mental health issues, jumping in and out of rehab centers and psychiatric facilities.  The cause of her death is cited as unknown right now, but we all know what will eventually be reported.  No link for this one; I'm sure it's all over the Internet if you want to know more. 
Amy Winehouse
1983-2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winding Down for the Weekend

Hey fellow Music Sluts!
Although I will continue the blog pimping throughout the weekend, I'll be taking a short writing break on Saturday and will be posting the Weekly Haul on Sunday.  If you're following me already, I consider you Early Adopters and I salute your foresight.  If you don't understand what that means, I'll explain next week, so you'll have that to look forward to as well as these upcoming tidbits:
  • My thoughts on the Riot Grrrl movement and its' impact on the music scene and society.
  • A playlist that keeps me running.  Literally.
  • Comparison of Internet Radio Apps for Android
  • Vanaprasta, Emily Loizeau, and a very special double edition for Song of the Day
Until then, have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Reviving Nostalgia in a Taco Bar

Now that I'm a college graduate, I find that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  I miss the days when I was simply a college student -- when going out to a show or hanging out in a garage/cramped storage room to listen to a friend's band was a weekly occurance in my life.  This is the state of mind I was in when, on my way back from taking the FSOT, I heard 92.9 The Mountain advertising their Studio C5 release party, starring Hanson and realized that I wanted to go -- desperately and with no concern for cost.  Not that the cost was bad --$10 is pretty good to see an internationally known band -- I'm just cheapass who clings to my buffer like Gollum clings to The One Ring.  You heard right my friends.  In my youth, I was a major Hanson fangirl--a Fanson if you will.  And, to my surprise, I still am.  Read about my adventure after the jump.

Wildwood: An Indie Bedtime Story

I guess writing a children's book is a popular trend in celebrity side-projects.  Just look at the Samuel L. Jackson narrated "Go the F*ck to Sleep," the genius of which lies in its overt candor.  Colin Meloy, Decemberists frontman, has written a young adult novel titled "Wildwood," which was illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis.  From the description, I can picture a successful film possibly being under consideration -- something dark and fanciful like "Coraline" or even vaguely reminiscent of 80s animations like "The Last Unicorn." Don't ask me why I like to dream up movie versions of already amazing books -- it's a problem I have and I'm seeking treatment.  Meloy, as a companion to this book, has compiled a playlist to go along with it and, although I doubt I will read the book until I become a baby mama, I'm curious to see how well the music follows the story. 
Read more about "Wildwood" at Rolling Stone.

Song 'O' the Day

I Don't Know How to Act Here
by Teletextile


As I promised, this week's song of the day comes from last Sunday's weekly haul -- One of two that I said you absolutely had to check out.  I downloaded this from RCRD LBL last week.  I'm not sure if it's still available for download but, if you are as enthralled by this track as I am, feel free to look.  I suggest doing a search on the site because if you try to comb through the endless posts on the homepage -- which is fun and interesting in its own right -- it will take you forever to find this specific song.  As for the track, I love how it progresses from the light beginning to the rich meaty-ness that starts midway through the song.  Pamela Martinez' outstanding voice, within this one song, ranges from a breathy whisper to a soulful powerhouse.  And don't get me started on the percussion -- brilliant in its simplicity, the drum beat provides the perfect backbone to emphasize how this song evolves over time.  The polyphonic bells add an ethereal and light-hearted element to the beginning, their usage gradually decreasing as the drums take over.  The lyrics are sincere and are gorgeous in their execution.
 Favorite lyrics -- when I call you near to the perfect place/'cause you've got a sacred face/And I call you near though your kingdom's away/'Cause I think we might be the same.
Man, how acutely have I lived those words?  Too much so, but I digress.  Reflector came out beginning of last month.  You can check out more songs here.  This album is one that is topping my list for when I get some cash.  And that's my rather verbose (sorry, I got carried away) two cents.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ReverbNation

One goal -- perhaps the main goal -- of this blog is to make as many legal downloading resources available to you guys as possible.  If you check out the links on the side, I've added a new one -- ReverbNation.  I'm not exactly new to ReverbNation but I haven't been on it for a while because I forgot how valuable it could be.  If you were wondering -- yes, it features free downloads, usually for artists who are really trying to gain a following.  This site is especially good for locating/advertising local bands, looking for shows/concerts/venues in your area, and allows members to search by hometown.  Needless to say, the upcoming Weekly Haul might be a bit Arizona heavy -- actually, I'm hoping it will be because southeast AZ isn't widely known for its' music scene and it'd be fun to change that perception.  Anyway, check it out, find some great music, and tell your friends.

Groupies, Band-Aides, and Music Sluts: An Angry Rant

In the new Woody Allen film, "Midnight in Paris", Owen Wilson's character asks Ernest Hemingway to read his manuscript and give him some suggestions.  Hemingway replies something to the effect of "I never critique another's writing.  If it's bad writing, I'll hate it because I hate all bad writing.  And if it's good writing, I'll be envious and hate it all the more."  I've never heard anything more honest or true about the pitfalls of peer review.  I even find myself subconsciously despising writers because they've written what I percieve as better work.  That's why I don't blog about books -- I would be way too harsh.  What follows after the jump is a tirade about my frustration with the pettiness of human behavior.  Feel free to read if you wish and I promise, this won't be a regular occurance.

Song 'O' the Day

Make Me Wanna Die
By The Pretty Reckless


For those of you who haven't heard The Pretty Reckless, it's the band fronted by Gossip Girl alumnus, Taylor Momson -- or, if like me you never watched that show, Cindy Lou Who from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."  I know....it's amazing how a few years will morph a person.  Anyway, I stumbled on this song during an iTunes giftcard spree and liked it so much that I felt compelled to buy the full album when it came out a few months later.  It's a pretty good starter album with a good variety of songs -- and the scale that I judge good variety on is the whether or not all the songs sound similar.  I'll expound later on the virtues and vices of their first album at a later date.  As for the song, I'm digging the vampiric-theme and have decided that if/when I get cast as the title character in an Anita Blake television series, I'm going to recommend that this be the theme song.  Don't you just love the little snippets of my rich fantasy life?  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Fall of Borders

In an article posted by one of NPRs affiliated blogs, it is suggested that, with the end of the book-selling giant will come a blow to the sales of classical music.  Borders, in spite of it's erratic purchasing behavior, was still a major player in the distribution of classical music to the masses.  As a compulsive bibliophile, I had my own bout of sadness that Borders was closing for many reasons but, after reading this, I'm plunged into new depths of depression about the liquidation of the bookseller's assets.  My dad and I were those people browsing through the classical music bins for good finds but as I see the CD sections of other stores shrinking to nil, I do wonder how the sale of classical music will be affected.  When I download off iTunes, I'm usually looking for new music--stuff I hear on the radio or that my friends are recommending.  I know other people my age are doing the same thing.  It's something to consider for the future -- whether or not we'll only be able to hear Mozart and Bach in a museum.  I'm not sure I want that for my children.
Image by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Fantasies Flashbacks and Remix Tracks

Metric is putting out a deluxe vinyl version of 2009's "Fantasies."  It's basically everything on "Fantasies" plus remixes--not very exciting since a lot of the songs on Fantasies already sound like remixes to me but perhaps that's because I lack imagination.  The article explains that the vinyl box-set is a group of 10 7-inch singles with the original on one side and a remix on the other.  Sounds cool as a collector's item but, as much I like Metric, I don't think I'm that much of a fan.  But, for those uberfans who will buy the set, you will get a Playbutton Digital musicplayer filled with all sorts of awesome shi*t that will make it worth your while.  The most important thing I gleaned was that Metric is working on a new album and that the release might be coming sooner than we think.  And that's what I'm down for.
Image by Justin Broadbent

Check This Out: Jordi Clapes-Bot

A little back story:  I just joined twitter because I threatened to do it as soon as I bought a smartphone and I never go back on my word.  Well, I do, sometimes...but you get the point.  Anyway, Jordi Clapes-Bot was one of my first followers.  When I clicked to see who the hell he was, I noticed he was an artist and decided to check out his stuff.  Thus, our story begins.  Well, it's where this post begins, at any rate.

I'll be honest -- it is really hard for me to listen to instrumental tracks.  I miss the human connection that vocals provide and, as a writer, I find a wealth of beauty in the written lyrics.  That being said, when I do find instrumental music that I like, I enjoy it for one of two reasons -- it involves the use of the harpsichord or it ignites an emotional spark.  The songs I consider my favorites are listed as such because they either remind me of someone or I can picture a story behind them.  They inspire me to write or even just imagine them in a scene from a movie.  The music that fills my daydreams will always have a special place in my heart and on my iPod.

So, when I say that the music by Jordi Clapes-Bot is enchanting, I'm not just saying that to be nice.  The music swells up beneath you and envelopes you in this wonderful place--personally, I can envision myself walking through rainy Parisian streets....although I've never had the pleasure of experiencing that in real life.  Not to mention that the artist himself is immensely talented, being equally deft at playing the piano and layering that on top of the other instruments he plays.  The music makes use of a wide variety of mediums, from guitars, banjos and flutes to bells and synths.  The overall effect is one of calming peace at moments to intense reflection.  A moment that put me in a place of awe during "Right Sides" begins at about 2 minutes 20 seconds in, when the music just overwhelms your senses.  Definitely listen for it. Check out more at http://jordiclapes-bot.bandcamp.com/.
Note:  Thank heavens for YouTube.  The embedded player from the website wasn't showing up right, so I switched to plan B.   

Song 'O' the Day

One More Minute
by Authority Zero


My boyfriend introduced me to Authority Zero about 6 years ago, when we first started dating.  He used to play this song all the time--not that I minded.  Every time I hear "One More Minute," I feel a deep, insistent longing to go to the beach, specifically in Monterey, California which is my birthplace -- a notion I have often explained to my friends as "spawning."  (If you don't get the reference to Rocko's Modern Life....well, you suck)  Anyway, the band is from Mesa, AZ, and being stuck in this wasteland myself, I can sympathize with daydreaming that you're in a cool oasis somewhere, sipping daquiris and lounging by some body of water, man-made or otherwise....Las Vegas is one of my favorite fantasy spots, as are New Orleans and Paris.  Anyway, I love the ska sound and have been entranced by the scene every since I participated in my first heathen dancing circle -- aka "skanking" -- my first weekend at university. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Young Von Prettylips

Young Von Prettylips
By Young Buffalo

Impression:  This short album from Young Buffalo opens up with "Only We Can Keep You From Harm" which, in the beginning, reminds me of Native American trible chants, like from a very serious spiritual ceremony.  These rhythmic vocals continue throughout other songs, each one developing into a faster tempo.  The Spinner short introduction describes the album as mixing power punk with indie rock, but I hear the power punk side the loudest during "Full Metal Whacket," which sounds slightly more chaotic as the track moves on, reaching a crescendo before returning to the chipper melody from the first few bars.  At the beginning of "Catapilah," I detect a hint of rockabilly in the guitar which is promptly drowned out by a clattering of cymbals and---my oh my -- a tambourine, if my ears serve me correctly.  The album ends with the somber "Bury Me," bringing it full circle.  On the singer -- in my opinion, he hearkens back to Second Wave bands in the 80s, if/when they did more acoustic stuff.  I'm cool with that....

If I had money, I would:  I'd probably buy it.  It's a short album, so I doubt it costs more than $4 on iTunes or Amazon.  But, since I don't have money, I'll be honest -- it's not at the top of my (exceedingly long) list.  However, it's not at the bottom either.  I'd say in the upper third of my list of songs/albums I need to download/acquire.

How the artist describes their sound:  Primitive indie rock that yearns for a simpler time but is gripped by obsession....that's my not-so-accurate summation based on the ramblings from their last.fm page.  I told you I heard tribal chanting!!!




Song 'O' the Day

1977
by Ana Tijoux


Today's song du jour comes from French-Chilean singer Ana Tijoux.  I picked it up on iTunes when it was the Free Song of the Week.  I decided to give it a try, even though it was in a language I don't know.  Ana Tijoux actually began rhyming (i.e. rapping) in French and then moved on to Spanish.  Ironically, if this song had been in French, I might've been able to follow along somewhat.  No such luck.  I don't know Spanish (and that's my bad considering I'm a half-Mexican who chose to study French--I know....such a traitor) so, even though I have imagined that she's rapping about the social injustice in Latin America, for all I know she could be talking about pullin' a train in the Amazon or slaying anacondas.  I just don't know.  I can say that I like it though, especially because -- like all good rap -- the words flow like poetry and you don't have to know the language to hear that.

Quick Note:  Personally, I think she looks a lot like a less girly version of Kim Kardashian on the cover of 1977....Is it just me?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Check this Out: Blake Sennett and The Elected

If you don't know who Blake Sennett is....shame on you!!!  He was the guitarist for Rilo Kiley (I say was because they split after "Under the Blacklight" -- much to my dismay) and if that doesn't ring a bell, you might recognize him from his acting days as one of Harvey's goons--Joey "the Rat" Epstein -- on "Boy Meets World" among other things.  After the Rilo Kiley split, he kind of stepped away from the music industry to take stock.  And then he stepped back in and pumped out 2010s 'Bury Me in the Rings.'  If you love Rilo Kiley's indie sound, you should definitely check out Blake Sennett's other band, The Elected.  Read more at Spinner and check out the video below.

You had me at "Psycho-Opera"

Apparently, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman, Karen O, is collaborating with The Creators Project on a performance known only as "Psycho-Opera."  Now, I have no f*cking clue what it's about but, from the bare bones I got from the Pitchfork article, it sounds crazy awesome.  I've deduced that it must be an artistic mindf*ck of epic proportions just based on the press release's enigmatic-and-totally-useless summation of the project. Playwright Adam Rapp will be directing and the Studio are slated as the producer.  Check it out at Pitchfork.
Photo by KK Barrett

Song 'O' The Day

It's My Life
by Talk Talk

I heard this on the radio on my road trip to El Paso and thought "Hey...I like this song.  I should look it up."  Then I realized I heard it before but I couldn't remember where.  After listening to it for a couple minutes, it hit me -- No Doubt covered it a few years ago.  Being a complete dunce, I had no idea it was a cover.  I love the No Doubt version but you can't escape the 80s awesomeness of the Talk Talk original.  At least, not in my opinion.  The music video is nothing special -- not a cinematic story like No Doubt conceived -- just a series of pretty landscape/nature shots.  Welcome to the infancy of MTV.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Haul: July 17

This weeks list of new music is going to be pretty long, due to...um....my overexuberant downloading behavior.  Usually, I download about 15-20 songs and out of that bunch, I may be really excited about 6 of them.  However, this week, I got really excited for some reason and just went apesh*t with the new music searches and ended up with 31 songs to review.  And it turns out that a good amount of them have me really intrigued....which, I'm not going to lie, is a good thing.  Part of the downsides of picking up any old song off the internet is that a fair portion of them aren't going to when my apetite.  In fact, in most cases, I find myself screaming "This is taking up how many megabytes on my external?!!!"  So, even though it's slightly more work to extol on the virtues of a truckload of excellent new music, I'm delighted--nay, privileged--to do it.  Some I have more to say about then others.  Take note. The Weekly Haul is after the jump.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I wonder what's on Snape's iPod...

I saw this link on my twitter feed and I had to share it.  The article combines two of my greatest passions -- Harry Potter and music.  And the playlists are pretty spot on and well-composed.  Lovin' it.
Read it at Songs of the Sorting Hat.

Song 'O' The Day

For Our Elegant Caste
By Of Montreal

I l-l-lurve Of Montreal!! --which is why this jaunty tune is the song of the day.  Of Montreal is an indie pop/rock group from -- coincidentally -- Athens, GA and not Montreal.  The name evolved when frontman, Kevin Barnes, ended a relationship with a woman "of Montreal."  The band has actually been around quite awhile -- 1996, to be exact -- but I first heard them about three-ish years ago, when I downloaded a playlist from Nylon.  Honestly, everybody has probably heard a song or two by Of Montreal because they've been used a lot for commercials.  Understandable.  The song is quite upbeat, considering the chorus is "We could do it soft core if you want/But you should know I take it both ways." Interpret that however you wish.  All the lyrics are brilliant in a quirky, prosaic way but--for some reason I cannot describe--I'm drawn to the following:  "I was wrapped in discourse with the magazine reader/the mutual conclusion was I'm not worth know 'cause I'm probably dead/So I'm exposed but no solution." 

Amazon aka The Greatest Thing Ever

Well, I feel stupid, ridiculous, and even a bit embarassed.  I don't know why it never occurred to me before -- I mean, I habitually check out the sh*t that iTunes is offering for free, why wouldn't I scuttle over to Amazon to see what they have?  True, only recently have I discovered their bounty of free eBooks-- most of which are written in German, but, hey, I'll take what I can get.  Little did I know that they also had a stash of free music, too.

Last night, I was looking at Neo Geo's website -- Neo Geo is a band that I downloaded off Fuse and was interested in hearing more.  On their website, they had an ad for Hardliner Entertainment's compilation CD, which was free on Amazon.  Sure enough, I go to Amazon and the page lists 10 songs that are there for the taking.  Good bands, too!   Bands I recognized like Authority Zero and Lionize...I'm super excited to listen to all of them and I'll point out the really good finds in my Weekly Haul. 

Anyway, it occurred to me that compilation CDs are a fantastic way to hear new music without spending a lot of cash.  Most record labels produce them as a way to advertise new artists on their label.  The hope is that you'll hear something you like and you'll buy more, either in CD form or off Amazon and iTunes.  It's a win-win situation.  And I'm ashamed I didn't capitalize on it sooner.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh, Season Opera Tickets, How you elude me....

One thing I want to make manifest in my life -- when I get a stable source of income, that is (which will hopefully be soon ::fingers crossed::) -- is to have season opera tickets.  They don't even have to be good seats....I just want to be in the auditorium!  True, perhaps it's a little old-fashioned and maybe even odd for a 20-something to love opera and actively want season tickets but....f*ck that....I love it and it would make me ultra happy. 

This year has a good line-up, too.  Not as good as last year's (which I will always regret not having tickets for) but still pretty solid.  The 2011-2012 Tucson Opera Season is as follows:
  • Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci - Oct 1-2 - A double-bill!  A tenor from the Met is even playing the title role in Pagliacci, which is exciting because the original players never come to Arizona.  Out of all the shows in the line-up, I would like to see this one most.
  • Faust - Nov 11-13 - I've seen Faust before but it's such a brilliant story and such an influence in modern horror (another love of mine) that I wouldn't mind seeing it again.  My best friend even named one of her birds Mephistopheles aka Phil for short. 
  • Madama Butterfly - Jan 27-29 - I've seen this one before as well.  I wasn't too crazy about it, so, personally, once is enough.  Of course, the actor playing Pinkerton is reasonably attractive....I could be swayed to see it again under those circumstances....
  • Aida - Mar 3-4 - I've heard a lot of good things about Aida.  It takes place in Egypt, which opens the door for some fantastic sets and I'm a sucker for anything involving Egyptian culture.  Also, if you want to pay $100 extra, you can even play a walk-on character during the show!  Seriously!--They'll fit you out like an Egyptian soldier or an Ethiopian captive and toss you onstage.  Sign me up!  I'm glorious to re-live my glorious acting days!
  • Orfeo Ed Euridice -Apr 13-15 - The tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of my favorite greek myths.  So much so that I've contemplated writing a screenplay for it (which will be accomplished one day.)  And this is the first time it's being featured by the Arizona Opera!  It almost makes it a must see feature of the season.  Another point to be made is that this particular opera was written by Christoph Willibald Gluck, who was the official court composer appointed by Maria Antoinette.  If you didn't know before, you do now -- J'adore Marie Antoinette!  And, for me, there is something very enticing about seeing a play that was written expressly to be enjoyed by her.

Song 'O' the Day

Milkman
by EMA


I believe I downloaded this one free from either RCRD LBL or Fuse.  I'm thinking RCRD LBL.  Regardless, it sounds like a kickass street jam session, with Erika M. Anderson making up the lyrics as the proverbial "milkman" goes about his business.  What's really cool about this track is that the beat is made by clanging trash cans and their lids together...reminiscent of that one episode of "Doug" when Doug & Skeeter make a music video.  Don't look at me that way....You know exactly what the f*ck I'm talking about.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Album Review: Locksley

Locksley
by Locksley
Impression: I'm trying to decide whether the sound has a California beach vibe with Rockabilly influences or a Rockabilly vibe with California influences.  I'm thinking the latter, because the songs get blues-ier as the album progresses and a few even include the deft use of a rockin' harmonica in the background.  This album reminds me of a set list that might be used by a band playing at a prom in a flashback, like in "Back to the Future."  In fact, I could very clearly picture a pretty blonde dancing with her high school sweetheart encased in a terrible confection of taffeta and chiffon while listening to "Away from Here."  How could I describe that in a more succinct way?  The album was nostalgic without sounding dated.  And while the lyrics weren't particularly poignant, they were catchy as hell. The majority of the songs were also pretty bouncy and upbeat, making this an excellent album to dance around in your underwear to....not that I do that, of course.  I'm just saying.

If I had money, I would: Contemplate buying the whole album, because it's definitely music I would listen to on my own time.  However, if I only had a few bucks to ration out, I would spend them on "Darling, It's True," "Don't Make Me Wait," and "The Way That We Go."

How does the artist describe their sound:  Punk Doo-wop --I would agree with that summation.


Song 'O' the Day

The Way We Get By by Spoon


You may recognize this as the opening song from "Stranger than Fiction," a film favorite of mine.  I was listening to this on Jango during my run (and by run, I mean a 6-mile long b*tch) yesterday and it got stuck in my head.  Enjoy the peppy existentialism!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Music Slut, A Definition in Terms

Mus-ic Slut

[myoo-zik sluht]
1. An individual who will listen to any and all music, regardless of genre, artist, popularity, style, lyrics, historical context, or mode of creation.  Naturally, the individual's standards are almost laughably low and a recognizable taste level is all but non-existent.  Thus, the music slut's iPod is eccentric and contains many forms of music that music connoisseurs would consider "guilty pleasures" and songs/artists that no one has ever heard of ...ever. The traits most distinguishable in music sluts is a profound inability to function without the presence of music and an overwhelmingly voracious desire for new music, although "new" is a subjective term.  "New to me" is a commonplace saying for an individual such as the one described above.

Example:  She listens to that radio station?  What a music slut?!

::Note:: If you couldn't tell, I totally just made all that bullshit up.  The point is that, if you are an unapologetic lover of music in all it's glory (whether others would describe it as glorious or not isn't the issue), you've come to the right place.  If you have an appetite for novel tunes and are looking for better ways/websites to find 'em, you've come to the right place.  If you love listening to everything and don't give a f*ck if people agree with your taste...well, my friends, I needn't repeat myself....a simple welcome should suffice.