Wednesday, June 30, 2010

VIP Seat: Beyonce: I Am...Yours

It's pouring rain and it's been cloudy all day. This usually means I'll post up with my 50-song "Rainy Day" playlist and call it a sweatpants day, and of course, loads of TV.

Went to E! instead of True Life: I'm a Bisexual only because Beyonce Revealed was on. Those who know me best know that I adore Sasha Fierce more than words can express (she replaced my longtime love with JLo, don't ask). As I watched the behind the scenes of "Bills, Bills, Bills" I remembered "I Am...Yours," an exclusive, Storytellers-style concert in Las Vegas.

The concert begins with an acoustic set featuring a slowed-tempo knockout of "Sweet Dreams" and "Halo," among others. She dives into her B-sides as if they were her all-time hits, wailing and jumping through vocal gymnastics as easily as blinking. The acoustic "Irreplaceable" is more of a sing along, which is cool if you're in the audience, but I'm not about to scream "to the left, to the left," when I'm the only loser doing it.

Act two involves a more lively, uptempo story telling journey through the life of Beyonce. She sings some Destiny's Child classics with a remix of "No,No,No" and clips of "Say My Name" and "Independent Woman." There's even an interlude tap dance routine(?).

The finale is predictably "Single Ladies," but since the entire performance is catapulted by an all-female band, the pop hit embraces more of the big band and less of the MacBook.

If you're a big Beyonce fan or even a little one, you must watch or hear the performance. It's a near flawless, fabulous exhibition of her talent, and I'm not just saying that because I LOVE HER IN ALL CAPS!! Ahem, yeah.

Song of the Day

Crosby, Stills & Nash - A Long Time Gone
--------------As we're getting closer to the fourth, I'm pulling back from the future and trekking back to the past for some apple pie, Levi's and bandanas type music. Not to mention I'm a little jaded by artists who describe their music as "plucked from Saturn's rings or a meteor belt."

That being said, "A Long Time Gone" is the shirtless outlaw song that couldn't feel more right than at Woodstock. The footage from the video below reels through the 1969 festival's stage construction. It's wonderfully American, and will probably be part of a little series-type thingy of my favorite classic rock bands who made rock what it is. Get "A Long Time Gone" from their 1969 self-titled album.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Song of the Day

Stacy Clark - Matter of Time
--------------As a self-taught, sort-of-ok guitar player, I think Stacy Clark has major chutzpah for teaching herself well enough to perform folk music at 15 and killing it enough to be considered "the next Ani DiFranco." She saved up her record store wages to create her first solo project and toured and toured and toured. Lately she's been singing backup vocals for Jack's Mannequin ("Crashing" and "Spinning") and hearing her music on MTV-insert-dramatic-real-life-situation-shows.

"Matter of Time" is less guitar and more machine, but Clark's lyrics remain pop-friendly and pleasant when carried by her songbird voice. Thanks to the popularity of her 2007 debut, Apples and Oranges, she's worked with Phantom Planet, Copeland and many more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Song of the Day

The Rest is Up to You - Miss Jealousy
-------------I met TRIUTY frontman Brian Fried in a class entitled "Rock Lyrics: Society and Culture" (also known as "Megan: Here's Your A+"). He sat on the other side of the room, but I could tell he had a knack for some great tuneage when he used Brand New's "Seventy Times Seven" for lyrical analysis.

I came to find out that Brian was recording this summer, and asked him to send me a little of whatever he worked on, be it rough cuts or final drafts. This weekend he sent me "Miss Jealousy," a pop punk pledge of trust and throwing jealousy to the side. Bereft of synthesizers and motherboards that belong in NASA, "Miss Jealousy" makes power chords and effortless instrumentals cool all over again.

Fried's myspace page is on the way, once more recordings are done, including a cover or two. I promise to post the link once it's up. Here's a free download of "Just Dance."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Song of the Day

Aaliyah feat. Timbaland- Try Again
---------------In 2000, Y2K fans were fortunate enough to welcome the new millenium with this track by the stunningly, it's-not-fair-beautiful Aaliyah. She made the Grammy-getting single for the soundtrack of Romeo Must Die, one of her final projects before her tragic death in 2001.

Since her death, Aaliyah has been named "The Princess of R&B" selling over 32 million copies of her albums worldwide.

And to spare sounding like Wikipedia, I'll get into the video: sleek, shiny and spacey, Aaliyah hits the dancefloor and the walks on walls gravitated by Timbaland's voice. Thankfully the video doesn't strain towards the bizarre, keeping Aaliyah in the spotlight in her usual GORGEOUS self. Am I jealous? Duh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Song of the Day

Europe - The Final Countdown
-----------------I'm in the middle of a vuvuzela, disallowed goal-filled mess called United States vs. Algeria. With overanxious kicking and less than stellar officiating, my tastes for music has become a little sarcastic and overly-heroic, just like Europe's "The Final Countdown."

K'NAAN created a World Cup playlist (Myspace promo much?) that includes kitschy tracks like Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and Queen's "We are the Champions." Not all that creative, considering those songs are blaring in every middle school sporting game in America.

"The Final Countdown" has all the elements of a guts and glory hero-story. Of course there is a dramatic horn hook, but listen further into the song and you'll hear an 80's-fueled Footloose guitar face melter (I use the term loosely).

Take a look at this band promo-shot of Europe. These would be the guys to write this song.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Song of the Day

David Gray - Fugitive
-----------This weekend I had my fair frustrations with technology. It seems as if I need a degree from M.I.T. to be able to place a "Like" box on my Facebook Page and I'm assisting a friend in starting up his blog. For an idiot in web design (myself), this has been quite the challenge.

While I'm battling the details of the blogosphere, David Gray can walk around knowing he had the best selling album in Ireland ever, with 12 million copies of his album, White Ladder. "Fugitive" is from his album Draw the Line, and revels in contemplative rock the likes of The Fray.

Other songs such as the title track "Draw the Line" and "Kathleen" lean toward a more morose and tough-subject set of lyrics. Gray is currently promoting the 2009 album and touring in the U.K.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Song of the Day

Asleigh Stake - Cheap Shots and Broken Dreams
-------------It's fun to see friends make a big ass change in their music. In a few short months, Asleigh Stake has become one of Atlanta's must-hear hardcore bands. Some members of Asleigh Stake have moved from hardcore band A Path Less Traveled, and a few that have replaced their Canons and Nikons for microphones and major studio time.

Working hard for the month, Asleigh Stake have premiered two tracks on their Myspace, "Cheap Shots and Broken Dreams" and "Apartment Girls." There isn't much word about tours yet, but they are looking forward to releasing their debut album Another Fall Alone this fall.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Song of the Day

Bassnectar - Teleport Massive (Bassnectar Remix)
--------------Today the Gorillaz apparently released a video for their song "Melancholy Hill," which I blogged about a few months ago. I have yet to find it, but did find an alternative post with just as much heavy dub-synth and smooth lyrics. "Teleport Massive" is a mesmerizing trip that will make dub step electronica-jam lovers go crazy.

Bassnectar have no problem citing Nirvana and Metallica as two of their biggest influences. Not something you'd guess from Lorin Ashton's creation described as "omni-tempo maximalism"...whatever that means. Ashton collaborates and does whatever is necessary to create the most bizarre and appealing noise mashups for their fans to enjoy. Get "Teleport Massive (Bassnectar Remix)" from the album Timestretch.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lah Dee Dah...Mondays

Soo...Monday nights. For the collegiate scholar such as myself who has suspended her scholarly duties for the summer solstice pleasures, the night's can get a little dull.

And when the collegiate scholar is relieved of serving chicken and fish for under $10 to upper-middle class Dr. and Mrs. Douchebag, these Monday night's are even more bland.

All I see for my entertainment is a Pamprin commercial and a pre-recorded ABC Family teen sex drama. I don't see how fifteen year olds talking about oral sex and abortions tie into the "family" thing, but it's the 21st these days.

I'm kicking it old school, with a little music from the Jack's Mannequin album Everything in Transit. Normally I don't spill about favorites, but this album hits inside the Top 10.

There's nothing better than an album full of cryptic messages that you can interpret into your own life. The soul who's so far gone and feels like they can never return can feel the pain in "Bruised" or the longing for the one that got away in "The Mixed Tape."

Under any circumstance, the album identifies with the lonely, the confused and the chronically frustrated. And sometimes you don't have to feel anything - you can just enjoy the piano.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Phoenix at the Music Factory

Humility is something you hardly see in bands as popular as Phoenix. Some frontmen have been diagnosed with the "I am God" mental disorder and expect the crowd to kiss their most holy feet.
But that wasn't the case Saturday night. Thomas Mars was gracious and thankful for the fans' enthusiasm, which translated into an unforgettable show. Here's the set list:

  1. Lisztomania
  2. Long Distance Call
  3. Lasso
  4. Consolation Prizes
  5. Fences
  6. Girlfriend
  7. Armistace
  8. Love Like a Sunset
  9. If I Ever Feel Better
  10. Run, Run, Run
  11. Rally
  12. Countdown (Sick For The Big Sun)
  13. Rome
  14. Funky Squaredance
  15. Encore:
  16. Everything Is Everything
  17. Playground Love (Air cover)
  18. 1901
During a concert-extended version of "1901," Mars called upon the crowd to join in the fun proclaiming, "the stage is yours!" Needless to say I took off like a middle-aged soccer mom at WalMart on Black Friday. The stage was taller than I was, and I hoisted myself up just enough to flash the entire world my bright pink underthings.

Got a couple of scrapes on the left arm and tons of sweat all over me, but it was absolutely worth it. Those at Bonnaroo are going to see them today, but if they have a set even close to last night, I'll be surprised.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Passion Pit at the Fillmore

Here are the photos from Passion Pit, a.k.a the BeeGees circa 2010. There is not one girl in the band, even though it sounds as if Michael Angelakos was in a former life. Assumptions were false for this one, and I had a great time letting the dance pop music swirl around my ears.

I heard from an employee of the Fillmore that he was tired of this type of music and that we have low standards for our generation. I don't blame him - everyone's got a problem with today's music, and believe me I have one or two.I still think this music is a phase. It's the disco of our generation, and just like emo music, it'll pass.

For now, an old homeless man is standing outside of EMI and Atlantic with a cardboard doomsday sign and wailing, "the eennd is neeearr!!" And anyone who has the money, the networking, and chutzpah to tour for basically an entire year is going to survive. Passion Pit are just doing what it takes without the huge label, so props to them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Quick Hello...

Thankfully, I don't have this guy's seat. I'm excited for tonight (obvious) and the good people at Blogger gave me some fancy new layouts to try on for size. This is a minor test for now, and if the feedback is positive I shall keep it!

Expect some photos from the show tomorrow!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Song of the Day

Diana Vickers - The Boy Who Murdered Love
-----------Once my ears were treated to a dance party from Brit-sensation Diana Vickers, I sprinted (literally, I left in front of the TV...lazyass, that I am) to this post page.

Nineteen year-old Diana Vickers was a finalist on British TV-show The X Factor, and even though she didn't win (the f*ck?) she did snag a #1 on the UK Billboard charts. No big deal.

If you've ever wondered what Daft Punk's massive hit "One More Time" sounded like with lyrics, here it is. Whoever decided to mash this song with her vocals is genius. Though I'm biased to almost all Daft Punk, I think you'll agree that miss Vickers does the techno-track plenty of dancefloor justice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Song of the Day

Suckers - A Mind I Knew
------------The weekend of June 11 and 12 will blow my ears away, with Passion Pit added to the concert ensemble. In lieu of the festivities, I want to say safe travels and great times to those of you attending Bonnaroo this weekend in Manchester! Though my weekend will be fun, the festival experience is one of a kind. Just don't be like these bros over here --------->

In other news, Suckers are streaming their new album on Myspace, and oodles of fans are ready to hear it. The song "A Mind I Knew" floats on like Modest Mouse and gets down with organic noise effects like Yeasayer. The Brooklyn quartet will make it's summer tour and work into fall promoting Wild Smile.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Song of the Day

Styrofoam - Ticket Out of Town
--------------Just ordered my tickets and fed the beast that is LiveNation to see Phoenix this weekend. Very excited! Unnecessary exclamation point because it's Phoenix!!
In a brief prediction, it will kick major tush. To celebrate the suprisingly complicated process of acquiring this delightful voucher, I chose Styrofoam's "Ticket Out of Town." If I had to pick two words to describe the song it would be 'space' and 'exploration.' "Ticket" follows the ever-popular digital symphony format, though it's not obnoxiously different and pretentious, like certain hipsters*. Get it from Nothing's Lost.

*All hipsters.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Song of the Day

The Space Pimps - The Guide to Ruining Your Life
-------------Shallow admission: I am posting about The Space Pimps simply due to their name. I find it wonderfully immature yet endearing, and you've probably guessed correctly that their style of music belongs on or the latest issue of AP. "The Guide..." points to the ones waiting around for love to come around, and the annoyance of singlehood in it's entirety. In a troubled teen-angst barrage of Day to Remember-like riffs, The Space Pimps are hoeing up the pop-punk galaxy in their new album, Stuck Here Forever.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song of the Day

The Young Veins - Change
-------------Flipping back and forth between a movie about a smartmouth pregnant teen in stripes and a superhero family in spandex. And with munchies and fighting a tremonsterous headache from last night, there's nothing much better on a Saturday night.

Getting my schleppy rear-end in gear for this post was made easier when I had to look no further than The Young Veins. Formulated by ex-Panic at the Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, punchy folk-tinged tunes are the forefront of this project. Their debut album Take a Vacation! arrives in three days.

"Change" belongs to anyone with a love of The Hold Steady or Avett Brothers, with each verse sounding more and more like a weekend at Bonnaroo. It sounds like the missing track from Rubber Soul, posessing a pissed-off Paul and John quality to the lyrics and jarring guitars. But if your music reminds me of the Fab Four, you're in good shape.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Song of the Day

Mayday Parade - Kids in Love
-------------If anyone wants to explain to me why the All-American Rejects are headlining the 2010 Warped Tour, please let me know because I am utterly clueless. Tour founder Kevin Lyman must have struck some kind of throwback to 2003 deal with the reject's label. But I'm not gonna yawn myself back to bed overthinking the details.
There are plenty of fresh faces and old friends on Warped Tour, as tradition to bring the next generation of tour tots and welcome back the veterans. Mayday Parade have made the Warped circuit starting in 2007 and will make another appearance this year to promote their new album, Anywhere But Here.

On Anywhere, "Kids in Love" athems its way through a video montage of two members and their girlfriends going on crazy roadtrip adventures that most kids dream about taking. The classic Florida-punk-rock instrumentals are all the guitars without the synthesized complexities of hardcore bands. Mayday will attract the old school pop-punk diehards and the new faces in the Warped crowd.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Song of the Day

Magic Man - Daughter
----------Though you may think that I am the sole creator of my love of music, I can actually admit that I was not the reason behind my passion. A dear friend of mine saved my soul from Scorpion and Guns n' Roses in favor of The Starting Line and Ratatat.
Upon meeting with her today, she showed me Magic Man, a duo of Tufts students who created their album Real Life Color by emailing and forwarding samples and pieces back and forth across the country. Sound a little Thievery Corporation? Funny you should think that - if you're a connoisseur of all things electro-indie or Ben Gibbard, Magic Man is perfect for you.

And no, there's no cover of "Such Great Heights," which seems like the obligatory cover for anyone with a Mac Air, Electribe and Twitter page. With vocals reminiscent of Bon Iver and beats like Thievery, Magic Man is a duo of wonder.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Song of the Day

Lil' Flip feat. Lea - Sunshine
-------------Anyone in the Charlotte area knows there are two stations that play the same eight songs on the radio: Kiss 95.1 and 96.1 The Beat. Driving to work on a rainy day, I heard a song that's not on the Billboard Top Ten, and hasn't been since 2004. It was Wesley Weston, a.k.a. Lil' Flip's hit single, "Sunshine," and I immediately bumped that beat in my Pilot like the cool kid that I am. The soft-funk guitar single is Lil' Flip's most successful to date, but the rapper hasn't quit. He'll be releasing a new album, Ahead of My Time, this month.

...and as a side note, I'm not feeling the cover of U Gotta Feel Me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Song of the Day

Kelis - Milkshake
------------New month, new music - usually. I was perusing Perez and I found a *gasp!* new Kelis track! I was thrilled to see what the Boss was going to bring to the yard. Gimme some raunchy diva hip hop magic!
Alas, when I expected grungy hotness recalling the epic 2003 hit, it was not the case. Her new single "22nd Century" from her upcoming release Fleshtone has a case of Gagavitis. And while I love her royal Monsterness, I like some variety.
In retaliation, I'm serving some "Milkshake" for today's song. After watching the video, you can clearly understand how the classic diner dessert became music's sweetest sin.

Completely gratuitous: