Archive | April, 2012

Shark Sandwich: How About Some New Music?

30 Apr

SPRING 2012

Springtime is here. The weather is warming up. The plants and trees are back in bloom and  the grass is growing. The animals are crawling out of the ground from hibernating. And it’s time for you to open your ears up to some new sounds. My philosophy on tunes is that diversity rules. Sure, I have my favorites like punk, indie, metal but it’s not unusual to find me checking out a country song from time to time, or a blues jam, or a jamming low calorie club mix. It keeps me from getting bored. I love it when (and by love I mean “hate”) someone tells me they like all kinds of music, yet every time you get into their car the radio is stuck on that crappy country station with the morning DJ’s that constantly cackle at their own lame jokes, and play the same ten songs over and over and over….

So what I’m saying is open your ears up variety won’t kill you. Some would even say it’s cool. Check out different radio stations, definitely check out your local publicly funded station the DJ’s there have great taste and they don’t annoy you with bad humor. Sniff around Itunes. They make it easy to find new and amazing stuff. As a matter of fact all the major music services do!  Try this old school nugget out: GO TO A RECORD STORE and peruse the bins. Ask the employees about some new sounds, sure they look funny, have weird haircuts, maybe even an attitude, but they know what’s up.

People always ask me where I find all these songs and bands. Here’s my answer it’s not hard at all. As a matter of fact the looking and finding is the best part. So let me help you out this time in this fresh new season. Let’s see if we can find you some new sounds to go along with it.

I have a motto that goes “I’ll listen to anything once.” Open up those ears, just because something sounds “different” doesn’t mean it’s bad. Listening to the commercial radio stations all the time is what’s bad its like sending your ears to prison, the same routine every day. You know you’ve been listening to the radio and thought to yourself that you wish they would just play something new once in a while. Well,I’m here to help with that.

The first link takes to the song, the videos are posted mainly of performances and the audio quality sometimes isn’t that great so you have two choices, your welcome.

NEW ROCK SOUND DEPT:

Band of Skulls-“The Devil Takes Care of His Own”

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First of all, awesome band name. Who doesn’t like to rock? No one right? This song definitely rocks. The guitar straight out front tells you that. I like this song. It’s got power chords, you can air guitar to it and realize that life is good. Standard, straight, and simple rocking just like it should be. Great video to go along with this song as well, it features a kung-fu battle!

COOL COUNTRY SONG DEPT:

Dawes- “Little Bit of Everything”

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Dawes is of the Alt Country genre. That genre is where artist don’t follow the mainstream idea of what a country song should be i.e. the “rock with fiddles and a deep fried accent, predictable common man lyrics” motif that is currently the style on the radio dial these days. Nashville pumps out music like McDonald’s pumps out “hamburgers.”

Dawes doesn’t play any of that game yet as soon as that piano riff starts you know it’s going to be a country stinging ballad. The lyrics stay in the hard times vein. Telling snippets of how things don’t always work out. Everyone has felt this way sometimes. That’s what makes this song so  good, it’s a little bit of everything.

BAND THAT I LOVE THAT I’M FORCING ON YOU DEPT:

The Jezabels– Endless Summer

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There’s a lot of things this band has going for it. They are from Australia. Their sound is big and full with a shoegazy guitar sound reminiscent of the early 90’s. The lead singer is volcanic hot. That last part is just for me! Cool cryptic lyrics. It has that warm weather sounding bass line. Their album”Prisoner” is out now and all the songs on it are good. High recommendation. Run do not walk to your nearest record store or download service.

SOUNDS LIKE DYLAN DEPT:

Ezra Furman- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

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Ezra Furman is the leader of Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, a great band you should also check out. This tune comes from his solo release, “The Year of No Return.”  We say it’s Dylanesque  because the songs writing is good and the vocal pitch is in that Dylan range. But Ezra’ got his own thing going on here. Take a listen and check out his work with the Harpoons.

DJ YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT DEPT:

Pretty Lights- Out of Time

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I’m not big on the DJ set or the Techno crowd. But I will defend that they can be called an artist. DJing on this level takes time and practice and a certain amount of skill, just like learning the guitar does! You can’t just step up to the decks and be awesome.  That being said, I can’t say enough about this kid. Pretty Lights lights is Derek Smith a DJ from Colorado. I guess you’d classify this music as “Dubstep” the same genre that Deadmau5 and Skrillex belong to. But my money is on this guy.

There’s a depth to the sound here that gets a little deeper almost like it’s sad and tragic. You may not like it at first but future listens will sink in. This fellow always digs up great samples as well. This song samples from Gladys Knight and the Pips “All I Need Is Time” and Eyedea & Abilities “Pushing Time.” This song comes from the album “Glowing in the Darkest Night.”

80’S RETRO SOUND DEPT: Moonface- “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips”

Great opening line here, “Teary eyes and bloody lips make you look like Stevie Nicks.” Uh, I don’t know how Stevie would take that? Is that a compliment or a putdown?  Then they follow it with “We never knew that being cruel was such a cool thing to do.” Stop the presses! I’m in, I want to be cruel and cool. Oh, and this song has a cool synth line in it to go with the dark gothy vibe it’s got going on, so bonus points for that.

GREAT BRITISH BAND DEPT:

Wild Beasts- “The Lion’s Share”

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From the Northern England town of Kendal come this sufficiently grey sounding band. Be careful I wouldn’t put this song on the next mix you cook up for your girlfriend. Vocalist’s Hayden’s slicing lyrics like, “Cause it’s a terrible scare, but that’s why the dark is there ..” may scare her off for good. What we see here is that we’re not here for fun. Later he exclaims that he took the lion’s share, not because he didn’t care, because he knew it was there. So don’t let that falsetto voice fool you, there’s daggers behind it, Ouch! Check out their album “Smother” out now.

WELCOME BACK, HOPE YOUR STAYING THIS TIME DEPT:

Refused-“Liberation Frequency”

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Ahh, Sweden you give us so much. Those Dragon Tattoo books, IKEA, ABBA (you love ’em don’t deny it!) A whole slew of great rock  bands including The Hellacopters, The Hives, and this brutal punk band. The closest thing you could call them was the Swedish Fugazi. Refused wanted to dominate America back in the late 90’s with their raging brand of anarcho punk but America was to busy being into Limp Biskit and Korn and boy bands to care. Shame on you America! You missed out on one of the raginest hardcore punk shouts ever.

Refused reunited for the Coachella Valley Music Festival this month and obliterated everything during their headlining spot. We need this kind of music to keep us sharp and ready. The screaming refrain “We want the airwaves back!” is a call to arms indeed.

GREAT COVER SONG DEPT:

Richard McGraw- “Ain’t No Cure For Love”

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Man I love cover songs. I have a theory that it is hard to destroy a good song. You could make “Eleanor Rigby” a death metal tune and it would still be great. But you should start with a great song first and taking anything out of Leonard Cohen’s catalog is an excellent start. None of the emotion is lost here as McGraw handles this songs vocals with grace and ease bringing us along for the ride. This comes from McGraw’s cover album project “Popular Music.”

OLD SCHOOL/NEW SCHOOL COMBINED DEPT:

First Serve “PushinAside, Pushing Along”

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Is there anything better than old school Hip Hop. The correct answer is NO! Old school rules!  On this nugget we get the best of both worlds. First Serve is a side project from two members of De La Soul.  Seems the boys just want to be rap stars, but Momma has other plans and Dad just puts them down. Parents just don’t understand is the message. C’mon Mom and Dad just let the kids be…

MIND EXPANSION DEPT:

Amon Tobin- “Goto 10”

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Now to give you a challenging experience and one you must take I offer you the warped sound of Amon Tobin. Amon is a Brazilian “experimental” musician mainly using electronic music as his format. Amon expands the term and form of music by arranging sounds and collages into unique sounding “stew.” It may not stick at first but keep listening and I promise it will sink in and you will start craving more from this artist. “Goto 10” comes from the album “Isam.” I’ve included a video clip of Amon’s live show which further blows mind’s and subwoofers.

ANOTHER DJ FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT DEPT:

DJ Shadow- “Give Me Back The Nights”

There’s not many DJ’s that I race to the record store to get my hands on their latest but DJ Shadow is one of them. You can spot a DJ Shadow track coming a mile away and you can’t wait for it to get to you because you know it’s going to be good. Shadow’s lazy sprawling mellow sound sits really well, and he’s rediscovered it after a few albums of getting slightly away from it. So dig in to this tasty slice.  This is from the latest album “The Less You Know, The Better.”

AWESOME REMIX DEPT:

Oasis- Wonderwall (Figure Drumstep Edit)

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The kids are all about this dudstep phenomenon. The BPM’s are slowed down to below 100 and the bass is jacked up to wreck the subwoofers. Then they toss in that whaaaamp sounding thing and I absolutely love it. Kids come up with the darndest things!

RIPPIN’ METAL DEPT:

Ghost- Ritual

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Firstly, it’s taken this long for a metal band to name themselves “Ghost?” Really? But on to the tune. It’s a good old school metal rocker. About all the things that used to scare you about metal when you were younger, rituals, fallen angels, ancient scrolls etc. these fellas are having a good time! Bonus points awarded because they wear costumes and makeup. Although I suspect that these guys wearing all that get up wouldn’t last five minutes walking down main street in my town. But,  I’ll allow it, rock on!

That should get the ball rolling and keep you all satisfied for a few. Remember new tunes are not hard to find. Go to the store, peruse your favorite music site, read a mag or just check back in with me from time to time, I won’t steer you wrong.

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