Thursday, December 31, 2009

Song of the Day (And Last of 2009)


The Bird and the Bee - Polite Dance Song

------------Manners never go out of style, and dawning upon a new decade, you'll want to start things off with some sweet-talking please and thank-yous (especially if your New Year's antics require an apology for making a *ahem* mess of things near the vicinity of a toilet).

If Inara George and Greg Kurstin make any manner faux pas while welcoming 2010, at least the L.A. duo has "Polite Dance Song" to sweetly encourage us to rock out while the ball drops. "Polite Dance Song" sways slowly between a smoky cabaret tease and a contently-smiling party cool down. Get it from the album that's overflowing with courtesy Please Clap Your Hands.

Happy New Year, everyone! Celebrate with sparkling cider (you under 21-ers who are stuck with mom and dad), copious amounts of loved ones, and a big enough TV to watch the ball drop in Times Square.
Tracks That Will Make You Say "Thanks a bunch!"
Diamond Dave, Ray Gun, My Love
Take care!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Song of the Day


Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

--------------It's December, and the western hemisphere is afflicted with this thing we call winter that brings in catastrophically chilly temperatures that force me to bundle up in seven hoodies and 12 pairs of socks.

Maybe a little dramatic, I know, but nothing so dramatic as my enjoyment of Neon Indian. Alan Palomo, the brain behind the beats, produces a great medley of buzzes and snaps through what sounds like an eighties-vintage atmosphere. Take a little Depeche Mode and the quirkiness of Metric. Antiquated yet thoroughly modern, shall we say?

"Deadbeat Summer" sounds like something hipsters at Columbia would throw into their playlist of Vampire Weekend and keyboard heavy dub-step while they sip top-shelf liquor whatevers. There's a playful pop element to it, but a sophisticated chicness gives it a certifiable coolness. Get it from Psychic Chasms.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Song of the Day


Jeff Kummer - Write Me Off

----------------Guidos and guidettes around the northeast may be boycotting The Jersey Shore, but at least they've got more than cheeto-tans and spikey hair to be proud of. That piece of pride comes in the form of Jeff Kummer.

Kummer pattered on the drums over four albums with The Early November, and two more with the band's side project Your Sweet Uncertainty. But he's put down the Vic Firths in favor of a solo project with a promising release, Your Best Alternative. Will TEN fans take on to Kummer's pop-rock driven beats and nodding harmonies, or will Jersey just turn up the house music? I'm leaning towards the former.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Song of the Day


Drive A - Can't Sleep it Off

-----------Hope everyone had a magical Christmas, filled with tasty fudge, loved ones and a pony underneath the tree. Personally, I'm thrilled to finally have an ipod that can fit all of my music, and I've been re-checking album after album to get on my 160GB Titanic of mp3 storage.

Welcomed to my library is Drive A, a snarly bunch of punks that revive my faith in dirty, pissed-off SoCal punk. After a listen to Drive A's "Can't Sleep it Off," you won't be able to quash the impromptu rush of anger that made you break a lamp or table or something made of glass. Who doesn't want to hear a band that has melody AND impulsively commands you to disrespect your surroundings?!

Get ready for Drive A's tour with The Used, taking off in San Diego for a January/February circuit. Get "Can't Sleep it Off" from Drive A album, Loss of Desire.

Key Tracks for Breaking Furniture with a Smile on your Face:
Everyone's Alone, Are You Blind, Out of Focus

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Few Thoughts On This...Book?!?!

No, OK, calm down - it's very unusual (in fact it's the first time) that I talk about anything longer than a set of lyrics. But let's be real - just because most of us would rather watch the Star Wars marathon going on FX than pick up a book, it doesn't mean ALL of us are flying away with Harrison Ford in a Millennium Falcon.

Which brings me to Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America.
The brief history and influence of hip hop as told by Bakari Kitwana explores the source of hip hop magazine, The Source, takes a look at the controversy routinely surrounding the career white-boy-rapper phenomenon Eminem and how record labels find out what Cds we pull from the shelves and downloads we click on Itunes.

There's even a little foreshadowing tidbit on a certain Black Senator's influence in Illinois, and his appeal to a white demographic (take a rhymes Barack Obama). And for a book published in 2005, Kitwana presents the reader with an accurate look at who voted for whom even in the 2008 elections.

You'll like this book even if hip hop only relatively grabs your attention. Though the question of why white kids love hip hop doesn't have a straight answer, Kitwana gives the reader something to consider the next time you come across a tiny white girl blasting Get Rich or Die Tryin' from her Honda.

By the way: shout out to the new followers (Hey, embebe!).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Song of the Day


Summerlin - I've Got a Future and You're Not In It

----------------The primary colors. The band tees with mummies, robots and splatters painted on the front. The synth-pop rock melodies so catchy, they shake your tushy for you. So is the successful formula for Summerlin, a U.K. powerhouse for punk rock lovers everywhere. They've got SPUNK and I like it, darn it! Why these guys haven't been signed is beyond me (Get on it, A&R!).
"I've Got a Future" is the theme song for your breakup mix, the lyrics you'll quote in your Facebook status and the anthem for the newly and perfectly single.
Even when I'm a batty old woman with christmas lights strung in my front yard yearround and a pile of furniture by the mailbox, I'm gonna love this type of music. I'm pleased as punch to have heard Summerlin, and I hope you'll be happy as a clam with their album, So Make Your Move.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Song of the Day


Rise Against - Savior

-------------It's felt like time travel the past couple of days. Saw the opportunity to listen to some albums I haven't picked up in a while (loooove Christmas break), and Rise Against Appeal to Reason found out how to beat my eardrums the right way. For those unaware, Rise Against shreds like Shinedown, only better. Their single "Savior" shouts with a punky angst at the way love gets people stuck, whether you want to save them or you're too scared to let go.

Dang, human beings are terrible at this whole "relationship thing," am I wrong? Bleechh...that's all I have to say to it. Thank goodness for songs like this. Get "Savior" from Appeal to Reason.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Song of the Day


Reinventing Your Exit - Underoath

-------------This song definitely gets a thumbs up on my Pandora playlist. I never used to pay any lick of attention to Underoath because I, like many others, discounted their credibility as real rockers due an old mantra of mine: "If they scream, in your dreams."

But then I saw the Florida rockin' out for Jesus at Vans Warped Tour, and I couldn't turn away from thier absolutely dees-gusting energy. "Reinventing Your Exit" examines the anxious desire we have to go somewhere, to be someone bigger than ourselves and admitting we aren't invincible. Get it from the band's 2004 album, They're Only Chasing Safety.

Underoath are currently on tour with August Burns Red and Emery. Their latest album is Lost in the Sound of Separation, released in September 2008.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Song of the Day


The Horrors - Scarlet Feilds

---------------British bands and their colors and landscapes! Coldplay made violet hills dark and morbidly pretty with thundering guitars and Chris Martin's sireny echo (not to mention those brightly shining yellow stars). And now on their 2009 album, Primary Colours, The Horrors are smearing the landscape in a flushed scarlet. Am I complaining? - course not! Makes me want to grab a bucket of paint and drench the azeleas my front yard...too bad I'd be screwed....

While they may not have the same pop attraction as Coldplay, The Horrors are a seriously spooky rock group all their own. With the low drone of Faris Badwan and the echoing, underground dungeon rock, The Horrors sound like The Smiths dropped the moping and picked up some moody, more penseive attitudes. Get "Scarlet Feilds" from The Horrors 2009 album, Primary Colours.

Colored like a rainbow from "Scarlet Feilds?" Check out the electro-head bopper "Whole New Way" and the gritty "Who Can Say."

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Holiday Buzz of Straight No Chaser

Before you run away from this post about Christmas carols (you knew I'd do one, c'mon!), listen carefully. Nary a trumpet or sleigh bell in hearing range, Straight No Chaser is solidly a cappella and anything from watered down.

Straight No Chaser puts the zest into classic Christmas tunes, with a fresh, rousing take on songs such as "The Twelve Days of Christmas," "Aud Lang Syne" and "Jingle Bell Rock." And these guys aren't a bunch of barbershop bums. Backed by Atlantic Records and followers old and young, SNC brightens up retro and modern music with their angelic, manmade melodies.

SNC's Christmas Cheer is the perfect holiday album for those who still haven't replaced their Miriah Carey Christmas album and are looking for a very new, delightful spin for the season.

Still don't care for carols? Check out the group's outstanding mashup of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." If it doesn't put a smile on your face...Grinch...all I've gotta say.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Song of the Day


The Wonder Years - Melrose Diner

-------------Alright you Generation Millenium kids - don't you remember the days of The Wonder Years? The whitebread Kevin Arnold who's sitting just north of puberty could've used the leverage of pop-punk angst from The Wonder Years to throw him a small shred of coolness back in the day.

The band calls it a collective-breakup song, but "Melrose Diner" would be Arnold's crazy-drunk prom date who may turn him off sometimes, but he refuses to get rid of because, well, she's the only girl who'd go with him. Get "Melrose Diner" from The Wonder Year's The Upsides, available for pre-orders for January 26.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yes,that is my left foot propped ever so dangerously and nonchalantly on top of my vent. I wouldn't recommend this stance for new drivers...JUS sayin'. I'm trying out some nifty new tricks with Paint (yes,yes, guffaw and point at my meek efforts), but the point is that I went on a short-ish trip today, and here's the list of what I jammed to on the way to and from:

1. Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

Good for the girl or guy who enjoys more rennegade heartland-ish music. Phair's low moan fits the often eyebrow-raising themes in Guyville like a Dunkin' Donut and Coffee.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

With adventure ready songs such as "Around the World," "Emitremmus," and "Road Trippin'" as well as the more contemplative "Scar Tissue" and "Porcelian," this funk rock album was made for the road.

3. Jay Z - The Blueprint 3

The oddball in the bunch, right? Correct, but HOVA's run-this-town raps are ideal for feeling like you're driving a Murcielago instead of a...ahem....Honda.

4. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

Back to the rock, and back to the roots with wailing guitars and pavement-pounding rock n' roll. By far the best Kings album there is.

Told you it was a short trip! I have just begun a long-extended and desperately needed vacation, but I'll be back with more new songs soon.

Take care!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Song of the Day


Rock Kills Kid - Hideaway

-----------------Pandora, Pandora, Pandora - every time I open the lid to another boxful of musical magic, I am nothing short of satisfied. The online radio website made me particularly joyful today when Rock Kills Kid snuck into my Nada Surf themed playlist. Rock Kills Kid was an artist to watch waaayy back in 2006 and have often been compared to The Cure and U2. Maybe Jeff Tucker's voice echos sound a little Bono-ish, but judging by the lyrics sour with insincerity and lost innocence, I sense a bit more of The Cure's Robert Smith. Will Rock Kills Kid release an EP anytime soon? It's all up in the air, but for now you can enjoy "Hideaway" from the album Are You Nervous?

Other top-shelf songs from my Pandora playlist:

1. Ok Go - Maybe, This Time

2. The Strokes - Reptilia

3. Matt Pond PA - Emblems

4. Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost

5. Nada Surf - The Plan

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Song of the Day


David Reed - Better Be Careful Now

--------------"I wrote these songs for the both of us." Hmmm...a good or bad connotation from that indecipherable dedication? I'm left to scratch my head and sip on some cinnamon coffee as I listen to David Reed, a singersongwitermusician from South Carolina. Listeners are able to get a glimpse of Reed's private life, and oh, don't we love snooping around! Reed should drive his bag of love-complicated-by-trial speedbumps to the set of One Tree Hill (which doesn't have Payton Sawyer on the show anymore! Worthless!)

Oops, ha, sorry...still trying to let that one go. Anyways, Reed's music sounds like a solo project from Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba, meaning if you enjoy contemplating serious thematic elements such as intergalactic lifeforms or that girl who denied your friend request, David Reed should be blasting from your ipod earbuds. Get "Better Be Careful Now" from Reed's album, Missteps and Miscommunications: The Private Life of David Reed.

Ghostland Observatory

Mind Elixer opening for Ghostland Observatory (above)

OK...can I just get started on how unexpectedly fantastic the show was? If you, like many, have never heard of G.O. or followed my request to attend the show with the question "What is that", let me tell you that Aaron Behrens and Thomas Ross Turner are on an electro-rock mission to bring their party everywhere. Therefore, you're not gonna be oblivious to their music for much longer.

The show was as much about the lasers, lights, and strobes as the duo's music itself. You would imagine correctly that from the pictures, focus was no picnic to achieve. Still, (or not still), it was fun to shoot.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Song of the Day

One for the Team - A Better Job
---------------One for the Team doesn't have an "I" in it, but they certainly have a sound that is so selfishly sunny and bright, you can't help but think they did it all for themselves. These guy-and-girl indie troubadours are superduper excited about moving to Brooklyn, getting stoked for low-grade apartments and being neighbors with Manhattan. "A Better Job" is cutesy, but still maintains enough keyboard and guitar power to rough it up a bit. Get it from One for the Team sophomore album, Build it Up. The band will release their next album, Ghosts, on March 16 of next year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Song of the Day

Sienna Skies - Sea of Smiles
-----------Never doubt for a second that hard-hitting rock can't be paired with surprisingly sweet and, dare I say, mushy lyrics. Maybe hardcore isn't your thing because you think it's all about cry-sob "slit-my-wrists-til-I-bleed-on-your-soul" immature banter - baaaaeeeehhh!!(buzzer noise indicating you're wrong). Just take a look at the chorus to today's song, "Sea of Smiles:"

Cause when it comes down to the crunch
I will always be there
A tidal wave of your sea of smiles
These perfect moments shared
And all these moments shared
They will be shared right and true
Nowhere is perfect
Except, here with you

Daawwh! You can't deny the lyrics to "Sea of Smiles" are absolutely swimming with feel-good vibes, and if a beloved reader could open up his or her ears to a different sound, the Sydney, Australia band will be in business.

Speaking of the biz, Sienna Skies released their album, Truest of Colours. Other tracks from the album I'd hit up posthaste are the earth-rocking "Heartquake" and "Daylight Through the Nightlife."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Song of the Day


Artist Vs. Poet - Gateway

--------------I heard the music of Artist Vs. Poet the second I saw the band's Purevolume picture. The fresh faces of Fearless Records have their EP, Damn Rough Night, now streaming on the music megasite. Tarcy Thomason sounds like the love child of All Time Low's Alex Gasgarth and The Rocket Summer's Bryce Avary with squeaky clean vocals.

Yeah, you're thinking "I've heard this sound a million times before," right? Does it still make your head bob, your mind go back to stupid and fun nights with your besties, anxious to get the hell out of town the next time mom gives you gas for the hand-me-down minivan? Mission accomplished for this pop-punk group. Get "Gateway" from Damn Rough Night, available now at SmartPunk and MerchNow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Song of the Day


The Courteeners - That Kiss

-------------I'm convinced that my laptop is going through its annual PMS, so I apologize if within the next two weeks or so, the posts are a touch scattered. But if the posts are a little spread out, I can assure you I'm leaving your ears with a fantastic artist. The Courteeners may as well be a 2009 reincarnation of The Smiths, though with a little more pep in their indie-pop step. Fronted by the dashing and smooth voiced Liam Fray, The Courteeners formed in 2006, releasing their debut LP St. Jude to an impressive #4 spot on the charts in 2008.

Even in songs with slightly melancholy themes, the songs are as buoyant and catchy as a Pepsi commercial. "That Kiss" dreams through a sequence of distracting glances and body language doing all the talking without uttering a word. Get "That Kiss" from The Courteeners album St. Jude.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Song of the Day


Kelly Clarkson - The Trouble With Love Is

--------------Let me just declare for the whole world wide web to hear: If you dislike/hate/haven't seen the movie Love Actually, you have no pulse or haven't experienced absolute holiday happiness.

Not kidding, kids. The collection of stories about love can't help but warm your heart, especially when Sam squeals "Let's get the shit kicked out of us by love!"

Love is like a 2-battery component. Without both a positive and a negative side, it's not gonna work out. We're all familiar with the positives, but Clarkson emphasizes the agony and deception of it. A bold and disarmingly (favorite new adjective) pessimistic move for a pop diva, but Clarkson is going just far down enough with honesty and matter-of-factness. Get "The Trouble With Love Is" from the Love Actually Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

**The clip below isn't today's song, but it's a damn adorable clip from the movie.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Song of the Day


Jamie T - 368

--------------Don't worry if at first you hear "368" and think it's a little goofy. The tick-tack percussion and the smarmy and eloquent flow of Jamie Alexander Treays sounds slightly kooky and playful, though still maintaning a solid slow-punk backup. Jamie T and The Pacemakers may have cancelled their U.K. sellout tour, but that didn't stop the release of T's 2009 album, Kings & Queens, which hit #2 on the charts. Jamie T and The Pacemakers sounds different from your conventional jolly-good punkers from across the pond. There's less focus on rah-rah choruses and catchy guitar licks and more emphasis on intricate rap lyrics and being messy in a good way.

If you're trolling Youtube for more Jamie T, I would skip the cover of Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy," but definitely hear "Sticks and Stones" and "Sheila."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Song of the Day


Citizen Cope - Sun's Gonna Rise

--------------Aahh! I only have 9 minutes to post before a new day dawns! I apologize for my sluggishness for this post - got caught up in tons of shenanigans that took me away from my laptop.

Citizen Cope is one man (Clarence Greenwood) from D.C. The Washington Post did a feature article on his music, and even after an initial drop from Capitol Records, the songwriter found himself performing Coachella Valley and acquiring an outstanding following. "Sun's Gonna Rise" drives slowly and smoothly to optimism from his second release The Clarence Greenwood Recordings.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Song of the Day


Ghostland Observatory - Midnight Voyage

-------------Brainstorming bands to bring in for the spring season is always a turbulent hurricane of opinions. Someone could nominate a perfectly terrible group and find out from their colleagues that whomever they thought was totally rad is totally bad.

Sticking my neck out for the duet from Austin, Texas, I voted a big "yes" to Ghostland Observatory. These guys seem to fill their jackets better than most electro-bands on the circuit right now, incorporating a montage of laser-swished guitar melodies to their Daft Punk-influenced beats. "Midnight Voyage" boasts a funky and slightly unexpected rebel-pop guitar riff that carries through dreamlike keyboards and Aaron Behren's vocals. Get "Midnight Voyage" from the Ghostland Observatory album, Paparazzi Lightning.