Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bad Ass

All I've been jammin to recently.
LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
Excellent song, made even better if you like mustachios.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Muse - The Resistance

I've often described Muse, one of my favorite bands and the winner of the "Stew Cedarleaf Best Show of Lollapalooza 2007" award, to friends as "Queen for the 21st century." With their release of The Resistance, every music writer in the world is using the same analogy.

This album is a rock opera to be sure, with strings and epic compositions all over the place. Matthew Bellamy's voice soars as only he can (I dare you to try to sing along to a Muse song), and the album closes with a three part suite composed like a symphony. What's missing, however, are the blistering guitar riffs that make me love Muse. Older Muse songs like Hysteria, The Small Print, Map of the Problematique, and Exo Politics rock as hard as anything out there on the strength of killer riffs. The Resistance features some excellent guitar work (particularly Uprising and MK Ultra), but its not as consistent, with the band favoring strings and piano more often.

At the end of the day, it sounds like Muse might be reaching a little too far here. I love these guys, and this album is good, but it's not as awesome as Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations, their last two releases. They've got their rock opera, now let's go back to making bad ass arena rock. It is growing on me though, so maybe after a couple more listens I'll put this album up alongside their two masterpieces. Check out the tracks and video below.

Muse - Uprising
Muse - United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blakroc - From The Black Keys

I had to basically hack into Pitchfork to get this link to play, so you damn well better enjoy it. The Black Keys - one of the best out there, went a little nutty and decided to put together a hip hop project. At first it sounds like a crazy/bound -to-fail idea - until you put Mos Def, RZA, Raekwon, Q-Tip, Ludacris, Pharoahe Monch, Billy Danze (the angriest dude from MOP), and Jim Jones - all on one LP with The Black Keys.

They have some good teasers on their website too, check it out:

Here's the sample, it's a song with Mos Def and Jim Jones with The Keys in the back. Just when I was getting down on hip hop again...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Grizzly Bear - While You Wait for the Others Video

An intriguing video for the track that's the clubhouse leader for song of the year. Very Peter Gabriel- or Monty Python-esque. Enjoy your Friday, and play this loud.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Matt and Kim - Daylight (remix) ft De La Soul

From 'that Bacardi commercial' or better yet, really from their second album "Grand," Matt and Kim are blowing up all over the place. Just caught this remix of "Daylight" which De La Soul jumped on, which I have to say is pretty much the coolest shit ever to have De La pop onto your song, especially when your band is as basic as a dude playing a broke synth and a chick wailing away on the drums (not to take anything away from them, they're great). Check it out:

Daylight ft. De La Soul:

Daylight Original:

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Music Friday - Arctic Monkeys, The xx, and more

A lot of good stuff has been released since I left for Europe a couple weeks ago. Some well known acts came out with new albums, and one unknown act is setting the internet on fire with their new release. Let's get into it.

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

The bad boys from High Green are back with their third release. This one was produced by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme (he'll reappear in the blog when Them Crooked Vultures releases their album), and is a decided departure from their first two albums. Whereas Favourite Worst Nightmare and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not were very direct, "this is who we are and how live" masterpieces of English angst, Humbug is much spacier. The band has embraced some more experimental aspects of rock and roll, and their album is a little slower and more introspective as a result. Personally, I think that this is a great album and I'm impressed when bands try different things and succeed. The band knows they're not going to make another "Whatever People Say..." and they're not trying. I like that.

Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone

Matisyahu - Light

A slickly produced new LP from Matisyahu. It's alright I guess, but this is not a reggae album, which really disappointed me. The song styles cover a lot of ground, from hip hop to rock to pop to R&B, but there are very few Jamaican beats to be found. Matisyahu's signature delivery is still there, and his singing is probably at it's best. But I just couldn't get past the lack of dub. Now where do I go to get my Hasidic-Jew-Reggae fix?

Matisyahu - I Will Be Light

Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today...

Mew is a Danish band with several albums under their belt. They typically create long, complex compositions with some very pleasant vocals layered on top. Their new album is more accessible, which is a step in the right direction for the band. Their space pop opuses are still there, but they're four and a half minutes. The time signature changes are still there, but they're not as jarring. Give this band a try.

Mew - Introducing Palace Players

And now for something completely different...

The xx - xx

Similar to Passion Pit a few months ago, we may be the last blog on earth to write about these guys. Stunningly, The xx's debut release is currently the #1 album on, a spot typically reserved for acts like Lil' Wayne and Kings of Leon. Equally shocking is the fact that this band is made up of four 20 year olds. Their music is simple, airy stuff featuring alternating male and female vocals. The instrumentation behind the singing is precise but very basic. This gives the album an ethereal quality that you have to hear to appreciate. Completely different from my usual style, but certainly intriguing and worth a listen.

The xx - Islands

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

When this blog got started, I definitely didn't think I'd ever be writing about an artist featured on The O.C., but here we are. Ms. Heap has a beautiful voice, and rather than using the typical pop formula of simple guitar chords and some keyboards, she utilizes some really interesting electronic soundscapes. The production isn't complicated and allows her voice to remain front and center. And that's a good thing.

Imogen Heap - Swoon

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fruit Bats

Fruit Bats was founded by Eric Johnson in the mid-nineties. The name “Fruit Bats” (a hell of a name) was one of many cryptic monikers scrawled on the early cassette recordings. The first album they released, “Echolation” (2000), sold poorly despite receiving good reviews. In the years that followed, Fruit Bats toured with the likes of Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine, and the Shins. This led to some recognition and eventually to them signing with Sub-pop records, which three of their last four albums have been released under. After a pretty successful release in 2004, the band took a break until working on their most recent offering, The Ruminant Band, which was released back in August.

I picked the album up a few weeks ago, and have really enjoyed it…

- Ben