Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Listening - Wyldlife

Those of us that are obsessive about music love a lot of it and love a lot of different kinds of it- but we are also very picky about it.  So when something comes across my ears that makes them perk up, I pay attention.  I also want to share.

This week my obsession is a new band out of New York called Wyldlife.  Their sound is Strokes, JET, and Hives- esque, garage-rock, unabashedly punk with poppy melodies, beats that won't quit and an energy that can permeate any blah mood and turn it on its head.  And that's just the first song on the album.

The strongest track on the album is this first track, City of Inbreds.  Listen at your own risk, because this hook is going to permeate your brain for the rest of the week:

The sound is stripped down yet somehow fills your ears, forcing uncontrollable head-bopping and a sudden urge to be in a bar on the Lower East Side.  Something tells me that seeing these guys live would be an insanely good time.  Their unembellished sound tells listeners that what you hear is what you get.  This album is the real deal.  In today's auto-tuned, lip-synched, over-produced music market, its also incredibly refreshing.

Suggested listening:
Sidewalk Queen
Lit Lounge

You can buy Wyldlife's debut album HERE.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cool Music Stuff on the Internet - REM, Coldplay, Laura Marling, Van Morrison, Best Songs of 2011

By now everyone has heard the news that REM is calling it quits, which is sad to think of the end of such an amazing band who's made such amazing music over the years, providing the soundtrack for our lives (Nightswimming, anyone?).  REM's reach is such that even giant rockstars are saddened by the news- provoking Chris Martin and Coldplay to do a bittersweet and lovely cover of Everybody Hurts during a performance in Georgia. You can listen to it HERE (via We All Want Someone to Shout For).

Laura Marling played at the world famous Troubadour in LA recently, and Rawkblog has some great footage of her performance, HERE.

Song of the Day has a lovely version of Caravan by Van Morrison.  Van changes the tempo ever so slightly and we are left to hear a song that sounds quite different from the original. Check it out HERE.

Now that fall is here, We All Want Someone to Shout For has posted the Best Songs of 2011 So Far HERE.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stuff I'm Digging - Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie is by no means a new band, nor is their latest and seventh album, Codes and Keys, new.  But the mark of a good album, song, or artist is one that you can listen to over and over- well after its initial release.  An album's release is a good excuse to ooh, ahh, and gush over a particular band and whatever crop of new songs they are peddling at the moment, so I'm going to ooh, ahh and gush over a not-so-new band and their not-so-new album.

Codes and Keys is typical Death Cab...which is to say that the album doesn't sound like anything else out there...except perhaps previous Death Cab for Cutie albums.  Death Cab's sound can be hard to pinpoint, as can comparisons to their sound.  Indie rock.  Indie pop.  Alternative.  Even Emo.  In general, they have songs that are slow and melodic.  There are uptempo songs that make for a good running soundtrack (Little Bribes).  There are songs that are ethereal and otherworldly (Transatlanticism).  There are songs that are pop-py and high spirited.  And there are songs that are melancholic and full of wanting (Cath..).  This album has all of the above.

Here are some of my favorites from Codes and Keys, which was released in May of this year.  In other words- I'm still listening to it 5 months later.

Stay Young, Go Dancing

Monday Morning

St. Peter's Cathedral

This song is by far the most beautiful on the album, in terms of tickling your senses.  If there is an umami of emotion, this song captures it.
Unobstructed Views

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Austin City Limits

We all know how profound live music can be, and somehow, although I've not gone, I sense that seeing any artist live at the Austin City Limits festival has to be epic.  While I was not there this past weekend, and I suspect many of you were not either, there is plenty of footage for us to pretend we were.

A new song by Coldplay, Up In Flames, live at Austin City Limits this weekend (via Idolator) can be viewed HERE.  This song is much slower and much more chill than all of the other songs they've recently performed from their upcoming album, a welcomed difference since many songs from the forthcoming album sound very much like they could have been on Viva La Vida.  Which is fine by me, but its nice to hear something a little different.

Again via Idolator, lots of great, amazing high quality footage from Austin City Limits, featuring Coldplay doing Paradise, Viva La Vida and Charlie Brown.  Idolator's Austin City Limits footage also includes Foster the People and Cee Lo.  All found HERE.

You can also view Kanye West's performances here, although the footage is from the audience.  That said, the audio quality is better than your typical "Random guy in audience recording the show and posting on YouTube" footage, so check it out.

Austin City Limits You Tube Channel
The festival has posted lots of great, high quality, well produced footage from the festival on its Youtube channel at the above link.  Footage is available from:
The Head and The Heart
Fleet Foxes
Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horse
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Ray LaMontagne
Smith Westerns
The Walkmen
Yellow Ostrich
Delta Spirit
Young The Giant
J Roddy Walston & The Business
Mariachi El Bronx
Brandi Carlile
Iron & Wine
The Antlers
Foster the People

Austin City Limits was kind enough to post a wide array of artists and videos for us to enjoy and pretend we were all there.  Here are a few of my favorite live performances:

The Head and The Heart, Down in the Valley

Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horse, Bread & Water

Ray LaMontagne, Beg Steal or Borrow

This performance is what live music is all about. Check it out:
Young the Giant, My Body  

Iron & Wine, Walking Far From Home  (its pouring rain during this performance. making it all the more poignant. With Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season singing backup)

Coldplay, Charlie Brown
A natural extension from Viva La Vida.

Coldplay, Paradise

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Listening - Lady Antebellum

Some people seemed a bit baffled and surprised at the success of Lady Antebellum last year, with their hit Need You Now, but it seems pretty simple to me.  Listening to Lady Antebellum is like listening to yourself when you were 16 and in love/lust/breaking up/growing up/moving on/holding on for the first time.  Who hasn't been there? Everyone has.  Then you take a song like Need You Now where you add in a dash of drunk dialing, and come on, who hasn't been there?!

Lady A released their much anticipated new album this week, Own The Night.  Listeners won't be left aching for more angst, there's plenty of it.  Lady Antebellum works because they have an incredibly simple yet underutilized formula- a guy and a girl singing together, or to each other.  Instead of having just one singer, this formula takes the listener into the moment, as if we are watching these two tortured people in a room together singing these raw and true emotions to one another.  Just a Kiss is a continuation of this winning formula:

While there are lots of great tracks on the new album that cater to Lady A's country-specific side (check out Friday Night & We Own the Night) they don't abandon what's helped get them to this point.  The winning formula comes full circle on this album.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Listening - Lindsey Buckingham

Last week I heard rumblings that a Fleetwood Mac reunion may not be too far off.   While one can hope for a reunion, we can currently be sustained with solo albums from band members.  Earlier this year, Stevie Nicks released her latest solo album, In Your Dreams, which many critics seemed to believe was her best solo work yet.  While I enjoyed some tracks on the album, I found myself going back to the first track, Secret Love, most often, in order to find that 'true Stevie-ness'.

This week, Lindsey Buckingham released his latest solo album, Seeds We Sow.  Once again I find myself going back to the first track (the title track, also called Seeds We Sow).  Each song on the album is unmistakably Buckingham, complete with fierce and furious picking and that recognizable Second Hand News voice (check out the track Rock Away Blind), but the first track is the most unobscured Buckingham to me.

Maybe I am just a Fleetwood Mac purist.  I'm a big fan of the solo works, but its hard to capture into solo works all the emotion and volatility this band has gone through.  It's near impossible to miss it in a Fleetwood Mac work.  The behind the scenes drama of Fleetwood Mac has been well documented (divorce of two members, breakups of the others, substance abuse, all while recording some of the greatest albums ever), and while it is staunchly in the past, you can't help but think of the history as you listen to them perform as a band.  Even more remarkable is that their journey as a band has continued despite these tribulations, adding to the allure of a reunion.

Until this supposed reunion occurs, however, we can enjoy Buckingham and Nicks. Just not together.  Check out Lindsey Buckingham's Seeds We Sow and some other tracks from this album HERE.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cool Music Stuff on the Internet- Laura Marling, Temple of the Dog, Bon Iver, The National

Have you ever discovered a new artist, only to find they are not only NOT new, but also suddenly ubiquitous? This is what's happening with me and Laura Marling.  I've only recently discovered her, so perhaps that's why she seems to be everywhere at once, or maybe it's because of her new album's publicity machine.  Either way, I'm glad of it. Here are a couple of spots she popped up this week:

Live in-studio performances (video) via twentyfourbit HERE 

A stream of her third album is currently available (also via twentyfourbit) HERE

A bit of a Temple of the Dog reunion with Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell doing "Hunger Strike" (via Ultimate Classic Rock) video HERE

Bon Iver on NPR's World Cafe HERE with a piano version of "Beth/Rest"

Awesome footage of The National at Reading (via A Heart is a Spade) HERE