August 31, 2009

BB Brune - Dis Moi

Its French pop rock and I like it, a lot. It sounds gritty and edgy and the guys sure know how to dress...

Also check out Le Gang.

The Lovely Feathers Album - Fantasy Of The Lot

Once Canadian indie darlings, the Feathers disappeared after their sophomore album Hind Hind Legs in 2006 due to a band mate falling in love, and other personal issues. They have now returned to a slew of critical acclaim. The album is a solid release with a few pitfalls. The first track on the album is Lowisa, announcing the Lovely Feathers’ glorious return to the indie scene after a brief hiatus. Lowisa is a great song that builds to an explosive climax, describing a man dissatisfied with his life and relationship. Other songs, however, should have gone a bit further. For example, some of the songs take too long to build or never reach their desired path. "Fad" is somewhat dull and drawn out. The song Fantasy of the Lot (the album title) is another song that I waited to build but never went anywhere. It seems as though all the right ingredients for a great song were present: the acoustic guitar and the lead singer's voice were good—but The Feathers stopped short of moving forward with the instrumentals. However, the good songs on this album outweigh the mediocre. Other album highlights include "Gifted Donald:" a collision of synthesizers, guitars, and drums with some twee pop thrown in for good measure. The result is a wonderfully fluid musical concoction. Ossified Homes has a very folk rock vibe. It’s quirky, fun, and has a sense of humor. However my favorite song on the album was Agrotaker: a song that sounds like it was imported from Eastern Europe. The album concludes with an alternate version of "Family Doesn't Know The Game" which I actually prefer to the original version (song 7 on the album). I think it sounds grittier, more haunting, and more passionate when it’s done acoustically. All and all, Fantasy of The Lot is a valiant effort and a decent comeback record.

Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass

Came out two years ago, but its a great specimen of indie hip hop. Quirky, edgy, smart and catchy I am enjoying it.

Elephant Parade - For You

This is one of those songs you either love or hate with a burning passion. This is the realm of uber indie, if this was a PH scale with 14 being mainstream and 1 being the indiest of indie they are a 2...I'm a science student it comes in handy sometimes.

August 30, 2009

Asobi Seksu - Thursday

A really under appreciated work of art. I have mentioned the song Me and Mary in a previous blog post, however I think this song is even better. I have it on repeat and I just can't stop listening.

Friendly Fires - Kiss Of Life

A rad band with a very strange sound, part dance, part African tribal, part brit pop.

Also check out Paris

The Postmarks - Let Go

Pretty decent song, call me skeptical but I heard they performed on Yo Gabba Gabba so I didn't have high hopes, its my inner pessimist she's a real bitch. Although usually its the pessimist that I let do all the talking, what can I say? Either I am right or pleasently surprised, and in this case its the latter.

Does it really make any sense to release an "Album" anymore?

Really, in this day and age when more songs are purchased on the Internet as "singles" and record stores are closing in record numbers, does creating an "album" really make any creative sense? When artists put all their creative energy into a record, only to have one or two songs purchased on the Internet are the days of the album numbered?

Take Estelle, her single "American Boy" was last year's summer success story selling millions of singles on itunes. However she was still unable to move copies of her debut album. This became so worrisome for her record label, that the company even withdrew her first single from music downloading sites in the hopes that it would motivate people to go to record stores to purchase the entire thing. This actually led more people buying the new version of "American Boy" off of itunes sung by an Estelle and Kanye West impersonator. People didn't care about Estelle's album, they just wanted her single.

Furthermore, The Smashing Pumpkins were recently interviewed on The Hour, a Canadian pop culture and news talk show hosted by ex 102.1 radio DJ George Stroumboulopoulos. They mentioned something quite interesting. Billy Corgan (one half of the remaining members) said they were finished with albums, there was no point anymore: no one was sitting down and listening to an entire record. So what was the point of sitting down taking up hours of studio time and creating a bunch of songs no one would listen to. It makes much more sense to release a few songs at a time, instead of a huge artistic opus the masses will not appreciate, or purchase.

Maybe that's Radiohead's idea as well. It's widely known by now that the band has announced they are not creating a follow up to In Rainbows, and yet new singles continue to be leaked on the Internet. Maybe its the new era of empowerment for musicians: if they are not tied down with studio time and the daunting task of writing many songs for an album, they can release material whenever they want. This also saves money on promotion campaigns for records, as well as lengthy and costly touring time. It gives artists a flexibility they never had before: to release music whenever they want. This also eliminates the middlemen: the large record companies, the promotion campaigns and so forth.

However, does this also mean that experimentation and creativity have also died with the album? Some of the greatest songs of all time were B sides, or songs that were never meant to become singles. The Smiths song "How Soon Is Now?" was a B Side the band was thinking of throwing away, but in a last minute change was added to an album and became one of their biggest hits, and one of the greatest alternative rock anthems of the eighties. Albums for me have always been like books, tangible items with intangible meaning that you can flip through and revisit again and again. Album art has already taken a hit from the digital transition, no longer can you page through drawings and album covers, something being an artistic person myself I really miss. Album art was usually the concept of the music put on paper, it was music without the notes and now its just a tiny icon on the screen on Windows Media Player.

The economics of the album are also controversial. Does the elimination of an album really make artists more experimental or will there be a drive to become more marketable; make songs for the public that will sell and break away from making cutting edge music that would have been placed on a record. I have mentioned ring tone rap in a post I did about Spencer Pratt, but what about indie bands and alternative acts, will there be a drive to sell singles or experiment more? The record industry has been hit hard by the recession (although it was suffering before the recession) will moving singles on itunes take precedence over making great music? And if it does what will the next generation of artists sound like? Every generation has their "generic pop bands" but usually there is a movement of performers who push the envelope, and who test boundaries and those individuals are usually the ones who define the music of a decade or era. However with the elimination of the album, will those artists still exist, or will they be pushed out of the market, by the cutthroat ring tone and singles industry? Or will there be a new "do it yourself" generation of musicians who sell their music through social networking sites like myspace and youtube? Creating a musical niche and avoiding the claws of the record label? Is musical experimentation dead or just beginning? You tell me.

Auto-Tune Fail

Wow...I didn't have high expectations when I started playing The Stereos song Summer Girl, but I had no idea how awful it was going to get. First of all their style is so wrong, they want to be an Rn'B group but they have guitars and look like Fall Out Boy rejects so they decided to combine their lame sound with some Auto-Tune and really terrible lyrics. Then they added an awful music video with lots of Malibu barbie plastic girls, plus some bad outfit choices and hair cuts and you have one very messed band. I have no idea what musical direction they are going in and I don't think they do either. The only thing I will say is this band makes a perfect example of how NOT to use Auto-Tune...and also when its really ok to hire song writers (seriously guys I won't hold it against you but you can't you write for shit).

Lost Songs From my mp3 part 5

Maria Taylor - Song Beneath The Song
A really mellow song with a great romantic vibe even though "It's not a love song."

Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
A bit creepy, and Collins sounds like a stalker but the song is still a great throw back.

Watchmen - Stereo
One of the greatest Canadian bands ever! I know some people would say The Guess Who and Rush are better, but this song is so well written, its nineties pop rock perfection.

Girl Talk - Too Deep
Best mash up ever, I almost saw Girl Talk in Ottawa but ended up not being able to go...bummer.

Projet Orange - Tell All Your Friends
A great Canadian band that never got it's due this was their big hit before they faded back into obscurity.

August 28, 2009

Anjulie - Boom

A pretty sexy song, from Toronto based singer/song writer Anjulie. She will be performing for FREE at the UTSU Frosh Week Concert next Friday, with Talib Kweli and The Arkells. They always have good concerts, last year the headliner was Tokyo Police Club and my freshmen year it was Stars.

Another 2NE1 Post

I am actually really growing to like this group, I know they are really manufactured pop fluff, but they all generally have strong voices and they have a toughness that a lot of other Korean girl groups lack. They aren't cutesy and they are sexy in a strong instead of Pussycat Doll slutty way. They remind me a tiny bit of TLC (but TLC wrote almost all their material) or early Destiny's Child circa The Writings On The Wall if Beyonce actually let her other group members sing. I even like some of their get ups...but I wouldn't have the balls to wear them in public...

New Song - I Don't Care

The Morning Benders

Singer, songwriter, producer, sound engineer, Chris Chu does it all...and he's cute...very cute.


One of the only bands I know with a kick ass female drummer (I'm not a fan of Meg White...or The White Stripes). They have a grungey lofi infused sound.

Strung Out have a new single

Ehhh its ok if they weren't metalcore/punk legends I may just call it generic. However they were the ones who really created the gold standard for the metalcore/punk sound so calling them generic is kind of like calling a Leonardo DaVinci painting unoriginal.

Scroll down to listen here you can also download the mp3 for free.

their myspace best song is "calling."

August 27, 2009

Ezra Furman and The Harpoons - Take Off Your Sunglasses

Kinda weird, a tad neurotic he's so indie and totally screwed up...just a tad. I like the harmonica and the strange message about how diluted the concept of "love" has become.

Play That Funky Music White Boy

Spin just did an article about the "white soul trend." And all I can say is I don't care what skin color they are as long as they are making decent music. I basically summarized all the various artists below but the article is here.

Mr Hudson - Supernova
Blond Englishmen croons with a little help from his friends (Kanye West and Auto-Tune). Although the vibe of the song is pretty decent.

Daniel Merriweather
- Change
More philosophical than Hudson just as experimental this time backed by Wale and Mark Ronson. Definitely more old school feeling, I think he's my favorite soul singer thus far.

Mathew Santos
- Superstar
This time an American versus an Aussie (Merriweather) supported by Lupe Fiasco. However its really Lupe's song.

Colin Munroe
- I Want Those Flashing Lights
Better than Kanye's version by a mile.

Mayer Hawthorne
- Just Ain't Gonna Work Out
Woah is this 1964 or 2009...I can't tell anymore.

Fitz And The Tantrums
- Still Looking
Another seriously old school band...but I dig.

Dan Black - Symphonies
Mentioned this man on my June Playlist seriously check this guy out he does amazing things. I'll put money on him blowing up in the next two years he's just too good to remain obscure.

Another artist I have featured recently and another act doing amazing things (also a guy who wasn't featured on Spin's list). I have this post and this post about him. Check out VV Brown on the July Playlist as well.

White Lies - Death

An epic sound really digging this.
Check this OUT

TheMusicGeek Blogs for Charities

This is going to be slightly different from my other blog posts. I know a lot of blogs have ads that the blogger uses to pad their incomes or make a little extra money on the side. As of now I don't have any ads on my page, but that may change very soon. I am not going to make money off of the advertisements but would use the cash I generate to donate to organizations I deem worthy. These organizations would include domestic as well as international not-for-profit groups aiding women and children. After pouring over The New York Times Magazine's issue on women in developing countries and the hurdles they face, especially the article on the all girl's school in Afganistan, I think I am definitely going to put some of my future earnings towards the education of girls in developing countries. The rest will probably go towards organizations fighting the spread of tuberculosis, polio, and other illnesses in the developing world. The article on the assault of girls and education really moved me and made me realize how fortunate I am to have completed high school as well as go on to higher education when most women in other parts of the world never see the inside of an elementary school. Once I have decided which organizations to which I will donate, I will post them in the side bar as well as keep a tally each month of the amount of money that went to each group. The only issue which I am trying to work out is I am not yet approved for Ad Sense I am waiting on that, and getting a bit impatient...if I am not approved I will find another way to use this blog to help others. I'll just have to be a bit more creative.

look here for more info.

Muse and other bands I like when I'm pissed off

So today was not one of my better days. For those who don't know, I have clinical depression (I'll try not to talk about this too much). I don't mean for it to sound trendy or cool because it seems as if depression has recently become a badge of honor for celebrities and the disenfranchised, but I'm serious. I have had it most of my life since I was about ten, and today I didn't feel like getting out of bed. It sounds dumb and lazy but its true, there are some days when you just don't want to face reality and just want to stay lying underneath blankets almost to hide from the outside world. I hope I don't sound to sulky or prepubescent, moving back to Buffalo has been hard on me. I was happy for the last two years I was in Toronto after a long fight with the illness and now I'm back again, and although I'm trying to look towards the future and to get on my feet again everyday is hard. Anyway music has become my refuge, I know it sounds cliche but I sometimes use my mp3 like armor. Its my protection from old classmates, places I don't want to go, and boredom. I created the blog posts Best Angry Albums a few months ago and I'm just adding to it. And don't worry I'm not going to make bitching about my depression a normal thing. I don't wear it on my sleeve, it just happens to be something I have to deal with everyday.

- Time is Running Out
From the Album "Absolution" Muse infuses as much classical and opera in their sound as punk and metal. The great thing about Muse is they are one of the only modern bands I know of that appeal to a large range of people, everyone from indie kids, scene kids to metal heads seem to appreciate them.

Our Lady Peace - All For You
I like Our Lady Peace's older stuff (basically Gravity and anything that came before it). This song is off of Gravity and is great for blasting through head phones on the bus when I want to be left works wonders.

Refused - New Noise
Mentioned these guys in a July blog posting one of the greatest punk bands from the nineties who may have single handedly started the screamo (they are not screamo more like hardcore punk) movement. Not a huge fan of all, but Refused is a great band.

Garbage - I'm Only Happy When it Rains
I think the song title says it all. I loved this band in high school and they really were quite comforting on my most bitchy days.

August 26, 2009

Eve 6 - Think Twice

Mr X contacted me recently or tried to but I wasn't having it I lied and told him I had to go. Anyways this song made me feel better, its kind of old, me and a friend used to go driving and blast it from her car good times. Its a really hot song...the video isn't bad either (the one below isn't the original vid).

Lost Songs from My mp3 part 4

The Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic
One of the best make out songs ever created! However I have yet to use it...I haven't exactly had that much luck with guys lately...

Tegan and Sara - Speak Slow
The coolest singers/song writers lesbian identical twins I know...or the only ones I know.

Bright Eyes - Lover I Don't Have To Love
Another awesome make out song...even though the lyrics aren't exactly cheery...

Tapes 'n Tapes - Omaha
Once an indie "it" band this was from their wonderfully over-hyped debut album The Loon.

NOFX - American Errorist
NOFX is an artifact from my punk music phase lasting between the ages of 12 to 14. I listened to a ton of Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, Bad Brains, and Clash at that time...I still do but I no longer have any desire to dye my hair cherry red and get a mohawk...phew.

Mark Ronson - Apply Some Pressure (Maximo Park remix)
I really like the original version but Ronson almost makes it a completely different song with the remix.

Nine Black Alps - Unsatisfied
One of the random British indie bands that sprang up after The Libertines love fest and slowly fizzled as the British revival died down...they may still be around like The Subways but they aren't getting much press coverage at the moment.

The Strokes - What Ever Happened?
The Strokes is one of those bands indie snobs should "disown" because they are semi mainstream, but you just can't. They are too fucking good to dislike and too good looking not love. I get giddy like a 13 year old girl every time I hear the name Julian Casablancas...oh hormones.

Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffany's
An older song (not as old as Black Metallic that's from '92) about the unraveling of a relationship.

August 25, 2009

Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, J Dilla - House of Flying Daggers

This is why Raekwon is one of the best rappers in the game. Raekwon, Method and Ghostface own the mic all over a vintage J Dilla production. This is some hardcore gangster rap finally making a come back? You decide. This new Raekwon album may just shake up the hip hop community.

Under-Appreciated Band: The Go Team

One of the weirdest and most creative bands of this decade. They started off with a base rooted in hip hop and indie pop and turned it into something funky, electronic and experimental, and it works. They will never get played on top 40 radio but for the eclectic listener they are musical gold.

August 24, 2009

The Harlem Shakes Cover The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Harlem Shakes cover Y Control. I actually like this version better than the original. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's version is edgy and the Harlem Shakes make it beautiful.

Memory Tapes

Indie darlings Memory Tapes just released their debut album. I'm still a bit skeptical about their band, its quite experimental stuff and there is nothing wrong with that but just like Passion Pit is getting all this unnecessary praise for being artsy and weird I think the same can be said for Memory Tapes. I am always wary of bands that get too much coverage from the indie music press...St Vincent!...however I like them so far. I'll wait to see what they do next.

August 23, 2009

2NE1 - Fire

2NE1 is another manufactured pop group from one of South Korea's biggest entertainment companies YG. YG Entertainment also manages Big Bang (who are now branching out into Japan) as well as Se7en, YG is more hip hop oriented than other labels like competitors JYP and SM Town. This song is something I shouldn't like...but I end up listening to a billion times anyway. I'm not sure if I would still enjoy it if I understood Korean or they were singing English...mostly because I'm afraid of how stupid the lyrics actually are. The great thing about Korean pop is if you are a non speaker you never feel too lame listening to it, because if the lyrics are really horrible you have no way of knowing.

J Futuristic...Chingy called he wants his career back.

I played J Futuristic's new song "1st Name, Last Name" and I don't know how many ways I can say it sucked. He's basically a horrible Chingy rip off who you can barely understand except for the repetitive chorus of "Whats Your name? ber nang last bleee blah swag! blah club! blee blur blah I ball! Baby girl I ball! bleee bluh blah" honestly I thought he had a speech impediment...I mean I know he's from the South and all but my god I couldn't understand anything. The video is generic and predictable some scantily clad girls, some cars, a shot of his McMansion a stupid white cop/ security guard, shots with him and his crew so we get J Futuristic you're a bad ass. If I were Chingy I would start working on that come back album soon. I was never a Chingy fan but if rap is endorsing Chingy rip offs the real thing is always better (or worse depending on how you look at it). I have to say I am disappointed, I mean J Futuristic is supposed to be the next "big thing" so much for his name because he seems too wrapped up in the early 2000s with his lame music video and style to be considered "the future."

After listening to the track again...I have concluded that he sounds more like Boomhauer from King Of The Hill than Chingy...although I can't understand either one so it doesn't really make a difference.

For further entertainment purposes...see if you can understand him here...oh man.

Ra Ra Riot

I have been gradually catching on to what all the fuss with this band is about...and I finally get it, they're good!

August 22, 2009

Under-Appreciated Band: Nada Surf

One of my favorite bands of all time and so underrated. Most people only know them for their 1996 hit "popular" before they got dropped from Electra records and faded once again into mainstream obscurity. However, no one pays any attention to the four great albums that followed their debut High/Low. The Proximity Effect their sophomore release did very well in Europe (review wise) and got almost no attention in the States, and their newest release Lucky was barely covered by mainstream or indie press. I never understood why they could never be as big as Death Cab.

Nada Surf Popular:

Imogen Heap - First Train Home

I DIG...its really good. It sounds a bit like her last album (Speak For Yourself -- get it its great) and strangely a bit like Bloc Party, maybe that's why I like it.

I have played this song five times already.

Buffalo Band Profile: Unwelcome Guests

If The Replacements ever decide to pack up and move to Buffalo, they may sound a bit like these guys. They take as much from punk music as they do from country and folk, resulting in a sound that seems rooted in the nineties (in a good way) with jangly guitars, and a pop punk mentality.

How long have you guys been a band?

Micah: In the summer of 2004 I started writing songs and playing them at shows with my friend Colin, we called ourselves Unwelcome Guests. Long story short, people came and went but the current lineup came together when Steve joined up with the rest of us in the fall of 2005

Steve: It’s true. I joined last, I’m like the sprinkles on this delicious musical cake called Unwelcome Guests. Micah is the Red Velvet Batter, Zac & Chris each are ingredients in a scrumptious butter cream frosting

Zac: Forever.

Chris: Since 1995

What influenced you to form a punk band in particular?

Micah: In the beginning I definitely just wrote songs without much care of what genre they fell into and I suppose that still holds true. We try to play louder and faster because it’s more fun that way and Zac really enjoys hitting his drums hard. Also the definition of punk can be debated forever and never really come to a definition that everyone agrees on. The aspect of “punk” that I truly love is DIY, for all arguments for or against it no one can disagree that it’s a great thing to experience when it works.

Steve: Micah definitely wrote shitty, boring country songs in the beginning which eventually morphed into punk-like songs. We’ll cover this more in question 9.

Zac: I hit things hard!

Chris: My friends in High School wanted to start a band but that never worked out so I joined this band.

What drew you to this genre of music?

Micah: In high school some friends of mine played in a band called The Young Ones and they played shows at the nearest DIY venue called the Cobra La. I went to a whole bunch of their shows… they played Clash covers, it was fun and then I decided that I wanted to do it too.

Steve: Micah. I only listened to annoying core and ragtime before joining the band.

Zac: Same story as Micah, different town one hour away.

Chris: My older brother is the one who introduced me to punk.

How do you think you have grown as a band (musically/artistically) since you have been together?

Micah: At first I’d write songs to sound like other songs, if people said something like: “sounds like a song I’ve heard before” I took it as a compliment. Now I’d like to think I’ve gotten past that a bit, though I don’t go out of my way to hide my influences (i.e. the Replacements). The biggest step forward for us was simply when Steve joined the band, he rips.

Steve: I prefer the term “shreds.”

Zac: My biggest step as an artist was actually learning how to play drums.

Chris: I have developed a drinking problem.

How do you think the Buffalo music scene has changed since you've been a band?

Micah: Some venues have gone away and others have sprouted up, people have come and gone, but somehow it really hasn’t changed at all.

Steve: Many great bands have gone, but plenty new ones have sprouted up to take their place. Like flowers germinating (is that a word?)

Zac: Less hardcore, more indie, more drinking, less straight edge.

Chris: It is still the same, lots of drunks and sporadic show turnouts.

"Warm Soon" seems to pay homage to the Replacements a tiny bit. What are your biggest musical influences?

Micah: The Replacements and Uncle Tupelo are the most obvious comparisons and I love that but we all listen to very different things:

Steve: As I mentioned before, I really love the Annoyingcore (Micah coined that term). I also love the cardigans.

Zac: I’ve been hypnotized by Micah’s Wilco-esque propaganda.

Chris: My influences range all types of genres and bands.

I really like the song "Walking is Tough" what is it about exactly?

Micah: It’s basically just me being grumpy… my expression of how life’s a bummer but I try to make the best of it. The “I’m gonna write all my lines so they rhyme” line is in reference to modern song writing. So many people try hard to sound sophisticated or progressive with their writing and end up with a song that people can’t relate to, so that’s me saying “meh.”

Steve: OMG Micah is always grumpy, except on 50 cent wing night.

Zac: A night after several beverages formerly known as Sparks (with caffeine).

Chris: I agree with Zac.

The song "Waiting" sounds a lot different than your newer stuff.

Micah: That song was actually written while we were writing songs for the album, we were asked to do a split 7” and that and “Diddle” were the two that were most ready to record. The main difference that I notice is simply the recording being raw, recorded analog without much polish. We did that at Hi-Lo with Matt Smith… he’s awesome.

Steve: Hi-Lo Studios was great fun! By “different” do you mean “different good” or “different bad” ?!

Zac: Beer and cigs in the room we recorded in.

Chris: I’m still “waiting” for Micah to write some good songs.

What caused the musical shift in direction that is demonstrated on such tracks as "Put Down Your Gun?"

Micah: I’m not really sure if there’s any shift for that song in particular… though it is one of the cases in which Steve and I wrote a song together. I had a really shitty, boring country song written but I liked the lyrics… he came up with the verse chord progression and we took it from there.

Steve: Basically Micah had a really shitty, boring country song and then I made it better…. J/K Micah! Kisses!

Zac: We were really pissed!

Chris: I don’t know why but everyone got angry when I brought a gun to band practice.

Where do you see your careers as musicians going in the future?

Micah: Haha... Failure? Nah… I think we’re all on the same page of how we’re never going to make enough money to live off of with music. So we’re trying to figure out some kind of job or career in which we can take care of ourselves and also go on tour. I could never stop doing it because, well… I’d become incredibly depressed and bored. Doing both is a simple concept that is terribly difficult to pull off. Right now we all hate our jobs and it seems when people find a job that they don’t hate, it takes up all their time and they give up on music. If we could financially pull it off to just be on tour all the time, I’d be down… but financially we can’t seem to pull it together.

Steve: Relegated to the miseries of open mic night.

Zac: Simply playing in an alternative cover band in weddings and pig roasts.

Chris: I’m going to hit it big in Nashville.

Check out their Myspace page