Thursday, May 31, 2012

Junior Wells and Buddy Guy - In the Wee Hours

Sometimes classics are necessary to refresh the ears. Today's tune might not be as much of a classic as some other tracks from the album, but just the same I feel it necessary to be brought back.

You know, for those less fortunate who never got to hear it in the first place.

The track I picked for the day is a bit slower than most of its neighbors, but it's exactly what my mood is feeling. Something practically instrumental.

Give it a listen.


Some people would dare say that it's boring, that the song is empty and simply missing something. I understand, really I do. However, you'd be missing the point. The absence and simplicity is what sets the tone for this song.

There are layers of sadness, an ultimate melancholy that not everybody will be able to understand. A connection with a certain feeling that's so strong that it turns it inside out and ascends it to something else entirely.

The way Buddy's guitar whispers sounds between the feel of Junior's harmonica.. It's perfect.

Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

Hoodoo Man Blues is Junior's debut and best selling album, and yeah, it was good enough to be considered a classic. The whole Buddy guy aspect might have helped a little, but just a little. Buddy was in a ton of Junior's other albums.

It'll start off with Snatch It Back and Hold It, which is a lot quicker than today's song. Think James Brown meets Muddy Waters and gets toned down.

The upbeat Chicago Blues is exactly what you should expect from the rest of the album, with occasional stops to cater sadness. I recommend giving it a listen if you're unaware of it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jurassic 5 - A Day at the Races

I'm in the mood for Hip-Hop. The good stuff, with lyrics that not just anyone could create. Scratch that, with lyrics that not just anyone could sing along to. If my brain needs to catch up, it's good.

Now, you can't go wrong with J5, so I went for them. This piece, along with being verbally ridiculous to pronounce, also has some some of the catchiest beats on my Hip-Hop library.

Give it a listen.


Just.. listen to that amazing sample. That winning bass riff comes straight off the best few seconds of David Axelrod's Urizen. Give that a listen.

What's awesome here is that it's just a song about being good. Now usually I strongly oppose such a generic message, but since this is good Hip-Hop, they take something average and take it above and beyond with talent alone.

Fortunately for you, if you enjoyed the lyrics half as much as I do, there's an entire album not lacking in talent at all.

Album art
Buy: CD | mp3

Power In Numbers is their third release of four, an definitely worth checking out. It's got more music involved in the songs than their previous efforts, but there are still times where they fluke out.

For the most part, A Day at the Races is my favorite song on the album. The only thing it's missing is a more serious topic, but with that funktastic fresh beat? It's too much to ask for. The rest of the album delivers, though.

If you're not yet sold, check out the rest of their talents with songs like If Only You Knew, or check out the strict Hip-Hop beats on tracks like One Of Them. They can be hit or miss, so give them a shot if you haven't already and you like yourself some quality rapping.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dr. John - Getaway

When an artist from comes from the 70's with new material, I get a little skeptical. Santana released an album just a little while ago that I refuse to properly mention, and so on and so forth goes a giant list. Talented musicians who went through a decline.

Now, I'm not saying Dr. John hasn't gone through some decline of talent, but he's sure adapted to it all quite well.

Give him a listen.


I like the transition from the simple piano sound to the use of the whole band. Dare I say that cowbell adds a special flair right off the bat. There should be more of that in there.

This is also a great song to introduce old fans of Dr. John to his current self. It doesn't take much to understand that while his ideas of molding together his favorite genres is still intact, there's something extra going on this time.

That something extra would probably be the producer, Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys. He also plays his role on the album. You'll notice him after the false ending at the 3 minute mark. It's that detail that completes the song for me.

Album art for his 2012 release
Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

Locked Down is his most recent studio release, and it's a very fun listen. For the effort put into it, its running time of just over 40 minutes is perfect.

It can get a little repetitive sometimes, there's a basic idea that's applied to most of the songs and that might bore people, but there are occasions like in My Children, My Angels where you can feel a switch in emotion. It's refreshing.

I just wouldn't want him retiring any time soon. Actually, I wouldn't mind him and Mr. Auerbach getting together more often. The Dr. Auerbach Experience has a ring to it, doesn't it?

If you're still not sure the album is for you, I recommend giving it a listen. It only takes a few tracks to realize if it's truly to your liking or not, so give it a shot.

Monday, May 28, 2012

4-Tissimo - Tico-Tico no Fubá

This one's a real treat. How does the thought of a Russian guitar quartet playing a Brazilian Choro sound? Well, you'll see in a bit. But in a word, beautiful.

The quartet will be nothing short of amazingly talented, but a nice way to make that obvious is by mentioning Dimitri Illarionov is in it. If you don't know who that is, you'll be learning soon.

Give it a listen.


This is their version of Tico-Tico no Fubá, a famous piece written by Zequinha de Abreu. And it's fine if you don't know who he is. Again, you know now and that's what matters.

The cool thing is that Choros are supposed to be happy and uplifting just as this one is, but the way they handle the instruments and represent their vibe is wonderful. They take something classic and give it just the slightest twist for our benefit.

If you really loved what you heard, you're out of luck. I really hate to tease the ears, but I've found no way to legally download any of their music. I'm sorry.

Russian female string quartet with Dimitri Illarionov and his girlfriend

What I can tell you is that Dimitri wasn't an original member. 4-Tissimo was originally a full female guitar quartet, and they were fully capable of holding their own weight.

I can also tell you they've not released a single album, EP, or single. Absolutely nothing to legally acquire. It's frustrating.

If you're looking for more, you might want to take a closer peek at Dimitri. But if you're up for more along the lines of today's post, with just as much eye-candy as ear, check out the Duo Siqueira Lima's interpretation of the same song.

Mind you, they only use one guitar.. and interchangeable hands. Literally just found the video writing on this, and will have to do a bit of a background check on them as well. It's a lovely find. Check it out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Port St. Willow - Tourist

Lately I've been really feeling this more Indie/Electronic fusion of sounds. Some of you may have noticed, and some of you may have just called it noise.

Today's track will be pretty easy to listen to though, so maybe toning that noise down will make it pleasurable for you.

What you'll be hearing is considered 'Ambient Electro Folk', gently wrapped together with soothing vocals. This particular track has some pretty nice percussion in the background too.

Give it a listen.


The percussion is what brings you in at first. It sounds like pots, pans, and barrels, and that sound is different, in a good way. Organic. Add the bliss of those following organ-like keys, and mix it in with that beautiful voice-of-angel.. Where are the words?

And before you go as  far as to agree that her voice is beautiful, I'll let you know that's a male voice. The quality of that falsetto alone is enough to stun into submission, but couple it with the inner peace of his music? Nothing short of wonderful.

This track might be a little easier to follow than the rest of the album, but if you could make the most out of the song, I recommend the album. It's a very complete listen.

Listen/Buy @ Bandcamp

Holiday is an album that started off decent, and ended in all sorts of audio-awesome. What at first seems like just your regular old chillax music, ends up being a relatively powerful performance when put on the appropriate pedestal.

I would pin it on the way it evolves. As you start listening the percussion is much more obvious, the sounds aren't too discreet. Everything pretty much happens. Peacefully.

As it goes on, though, it becomes a little more intricate. It's always simple, but the details build it up. The melancholic sounding songs transition into something more than a feeling you can put words on, until finally you get to the end. The climax of the album, (for me), and a happy ending.

I could spoil it, but I'd rather not. Part of the beauty is getting there. Giving the album a dedicated listen is your step. I just encourage it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fresh Body Shop - Jessica's Notebook

Some of my followers might still be a little confused with yesterdays dive into Alt-Rock. I have no apologies for those of you. I do however, have something very different.

Today's track will be more worthy of radio play. A fun piano, popped percussion and quirky synths. It's just a fun track.

Give it a listen.


Sure, it can drag a bit, but it's short. It does a job of entertaining the ears. It's a good filler song, to be played between other happy/catchy songs.

Massive heaps of points to anyone who could guess the band is French by now. Yeah. What.

I could tell you to give the rest of the album a listen for a similar sound, but I don't advise that. Actually, it'll be enjoyable for many of you reading this, I just can't deny my opinion.

Album art of a baby doll for Fresh Body Shop's 'Let You Know'
Listen/Buy @ Bandcamp

Let You Know is not an amazing album. Quite to the contrary, my initial notes are nothing short of terrible. It's short, but it drags on, the monotony transcends through different tracks, and there's the occasional song here and there that I can't even finish.

It starts off promising enough with the title track, it actually lifted my mood during that first listen. From there what happens is a steady decline. They switch up from Pop Rock to synths to more machine-ish sounds, and it really doesn't work on a single album. Given the way it's all placed and the redundancy of certain beats, it just doesn't do it for me.

Now if you just skip the worst songs... Maybe shave the album down in half, then it's worth it. With a low starting price of $1, it's a decent price to pay for decent music. Nothing stunning, just quick, over the top, fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Ocho

I don't know if many people realize the genres of the music they listen to, but often Alternative Rock is placed upon Rock that isn't all that Alternative. Your everyday Pop Rock will classify themselves as Alternative because they use one instrument that isn't "normal". That doesn't sit right with me.

It's because of that that I sigh happily when something like this comes along. Omar Rodriguez Lopez bending music to something the masses simply aren't used to.

I won't spoil it until after the player. Give it a listen.

Listen/Buy @ Bandcamp

It took me a while to really enjoy this, but once I did I made full use of it and got in touch with my twisted side. Between vocals and the weird sci-fi/Industrial feel that Omar managed to pull off, what I ended up feeling was a very dirty type of refreshing.

Now, I'm aware that the sound is odd to many. I just won't expect all of you to do the following.

See, giving this a second listen, I realized it's a bit like some kinds of movie. Sometimes you need to watch it another time to get it. With each watch you see something new, and in that sense and this song, with each listen you hear something new. Subtleties in the differences of tones, an instrument just barely noticed because of all the other instruments that overwhelm it. It becomes so much more stunning.

But of course, this is just one song. The result is much greater when applied to the entire album, and for that reason alone I recommend it.

Album aart for the latest ORL release
Listen/Buy @ Bandcamp

At first listen, Un Corazón De Nadie (A Heart Of No One or Nobody's Heart depending on context) was a cool album, but by no means worthy of the measly $7 it asks for. Now, 3 or 4 listens later, I'm starting to doubt that initial reaction.

It's just one large piece. One song may seem a little monotonous, but the details are supposed to avert your attention. I started off listening the wrong way.

Now the album can get pretty dark at times, the machine-at-work sounds and the spacey synths can really drag on until the point where it sounds like an alien is probing you, in a mean way (here), but it all ends well. Not too bright, but realistic.

Again, it might sound like splatters of nothingness at first, but if you're willing to let it creep through your ears a few more times, the result can be quite pleasing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rebelution - Sky Is The Limit (Acoustic)

Someone once asked me what it is about the acoustic versions of songs that make them sound so much better. My reply was short. "Simplicity is key".

Normally there's nothing much more to the fact, but in today's case we'll be listening to an acoustic Reggae track. And last I remember, the bass in a reggae song is what makes it Reggae.

What's left.. doesn't sound like Reggae. It sounds good though. To me.

Give it a shot.


There's definitely something off. It's jumpy but not too Pop-y, and his voice moves a certain way that wouldn't ordinarily fit with the acoustic feel. 

I think it sounds cool. Nothing too stunning, but a sweet track to relax with. Positive lyrics, good vibes. The epitome of a good Reggae song; oddly enough.

If your attention has been caught, you might want to look into the album. If you like the sound of Reggae with an American accent, or the sweet tinge of up-beat Dub, you might still want to look into it.

Album art

Check yourself out for their Peace of Mind album. You might want to get either the 3-CD Box Set or the mp3, both of which contain the very same album in 2 extra genres. There's the original recording, acoustic, and Dub. All of which you can listen to in their entirety for free via Bandcamp. Just click their respective links.

There's a problem I have with the 3 versions. I think musically it would have been in their best interest to unite their Dub sound with their acoustics. The lyrics are just fine, but sometimes they go unheard with music just a little too loud for my tastes.

A good example of that is Lady in White. I love the lyrics, and while I appreciate the different musical approach, I think it could do without.

That's just my opinion though. I'm picky with my Reggae. If you want to hang back and chill, Peace of Mind is still a worthy listen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

R.I.P. Donna Summer | I Feel Love

My father was a dancer. Not a professional, though he probably could have been. He just loved to dance. It's because partially of him that my tastes are so varied, and it's probably because of him that I have such respect for Donna Summer.

Now, the song I'm remembering her with today isn't her best when it comes to talent. She was a fine singer and this track displays her at her simplest. The music is also less than amazing than on some other tracks, but it does show a lovely transition from 70's to 80's style in music that she adapted to really well.

Give it a listen.


Of course, I also chose this song because I've already written on it. Back on my early blogger days when I would actually pay attention to blogging awards and didn't bother to mention things like "Oh and this is a cover, the original is by Donna Summer".

It's embarrassing, but it's here.

And of course, I just had to dig the sound of this particular track. I later realized that it was adopted as a gay anthem. Despite my sexual preferences, I choose to continue enjoying this track.

Maybe not the album, but it's probably a better album than most "Best Of"s that'll be coming to light shortly.

Album art
Buy: mp3

But really, I'm only giving this a listen because I woke up with news to her passing. Once again, not the best news ever to wake up with, but it sets the way to celebrate the rest of the day. Much like her family celebrates her life, I celebrate it also. Her music. Her love.

It's just sad to see another good one go.

R.I.P. Donna Summer

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tachdé - Lotus Eaters

Usually I take this opening paragraph to prepare my readers for what's in store. For today's post however, that's not a fair thing to do. Sure, it will be out of tasting reach for many a set of ears, but those who will enjoy it will thank me for not spoiling Tachdé's magic.

Keep an open mind. Give it a listen.


It'll start off innocently enough. Nothing really to expect, no real build up. Just a simple melody and mumbling vocals, but once the guitars really define it starts to take shape.

What I love is how much it goes through in so little time. It gets dark, it fades in and out of genres, it basically keeps you on your toes. Needless to say I like that, but it can be a little creepy/boring for some. I get it.

If you can make it through all 4 and a half minutes.. with an emphasis to what happens at around the 3 minute mark, the album will probably be to your liking. Just scroll underneath the album cover and click the link to give it a listen.

Don't let me spoil it.

Tach.dé's album art for Deluge
Listen/Buy @ Bandcamp

Deluge is a nice and raw listen. Many sounds of things together with the melancholic strum of a guitar and the narrowing vocals make it one of those albums to put on for Halloween when you don't want trick-or-treaters.

Listening it through, it has key moments that make it just a little bit more special as an entire listen. A great example is The Closer You Get. Just listen to how that suspense builds up; allow yourself to indulge in that feeling.

Or not. I mean it's not exactly pleasant to everybody, but it's worth trying. That's what the album is made up of, and if you can reach within yourself deep enough to enjoy the odd moments, the end result can be pretty satisfying.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nile - Iskander D'hul Kharnon

Sometimes I like to put music on to set mood for the calm before the storm. Other times I like to have music for the storm itself. Today is feeling like one of those days.

Now I've heard of these guys before (and thanks) but the song that caught my ear was found elsewhere. I don't remember where, exactly. All I know is that this wasn't the ordinary Death Metal, and it all made more sense when I discovered it can be considered Technical Death Metal. Sweet.

That being said, there's growling and yelling involved. If that's a turn off, just step away right now. I won't mind, I promise.


It can be a bit over the top, but that's where all the technique goes. It's definitely tolerable here, and that may not be the case for the rest of the album for many of you.

This song is a perfect introduction because it shows how the album plays out. The way it flows and weaves its songs together makes it seem like a concept album. For all I know it might be, I can't tell what that guy's trying to say. Not clearly, anyway.

Oddly enough, this is the last song on the album. But the whole thing kinda plays out the same. If you really liked it, Those Whom the Gods Detest might be for you. Yep.

Album art for Nile's 2009 release
Buy: CD | mp3

In addition to constant amazing technical ability you'll have the occasional intermission, sometimes greatly composed, but in the end it all leads back into perfectly timed percussion playing off heavy riffs with fingers of gold.

Honestly, it's got a few amazing tracks in there. I applaud what's been done, and I definitely appreciate the talent put into it. I just don't like that it never rests. An intermission here, the sound of a civilization screaming in agony there, it's just not enough. I want a more relaxed song every once in a while, for the sake of balance.

But hey, that's just me. If you could stand a bit under an hour's worth of great talent, go for it. You will love it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Steroid Maximus - Aclectasis

A mix of two worlds can easily  be a good thing. then again I'm writing it, so the odds are I really do dig it.

For those of you unaware, Steroid Maximus is the side project of Foetus, which is a project by J. G. Thirlwell,  who is also known for his compositions on Adult Swim's The Venture Bros. Which.. I don't watch, but hey, it seems the music is good.

What he'll be doing is mixing a sweet laid back vintage Jazz sound, with some nice Electronic bases. It's a pretty decent listen if you don't mind the genres.

Give it a shot.


Now this is special. It starts off reminding me of some Fusion Rock, but after those synth keys get by me and the minute mark gets closer, I hear the darkness and my original opinion is put on hold. I think everything is well introduced here.

The switch up and into alien/UFO/sci-fi movie vibe just barely catches me by surprise, and it does nothing but thrill me for the remainder of the song. Sorry if I spoiled that bit. Oops.

If you like the feel of aged movies score that this track sometimes brings, you should definitely look into the album. It's an easy one to find.

Album art for Ectopia, third album by Steroid Maximus
Buy: CD | mp3

Ectopia is the latest release, but that's not saying much. It was released in 2002 and with The Venture Bros. and Foetus going so well, I'm not sure I should expect any more from Steroid Maximus. Though granted, Foetus has a similar sound, but with vocals.

The album is an instrumental work of beauty. It doesn't always pull through the most stunning compositions, but Thirlwell knows how to put your moods in one place. In this case, that's a late 60's sci-fi/suspense flick. And all it takes is the opening (The Trembler) to start to understand that.

What I love the most is how out of place things can be. It takes just a few seconds to get you jumpy, and only a few more to relax you. I prefer to listen once in a blue moon, just because it's not best when you know what's coming. But if you're interested, you'll find that out on your own.

If between Aclectasis and The Trembler you're not convinced, maybe wait a while before you get this one. It takes a while to appreciate how the instruments weave in and out of each other at these different frequencies.

All the same, definitely worth a listen. Even if just once.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Audible Mainframe - Curtain Call (Free Download)

Not everyone can be into Hip-Hop. I've recently mentioned my admiration for true MC's that can actually rhyme coherent sentences about more than just the shake of well built hips.

Today's band will have enough talent to push a song through, and a rapper good enough for me to admire. Of course that would happen when they've been together for 8 years, 5 of which they spent very together in LA.

It won't be for every crowd, but if you like your Hip-Hop you should definitely give your ears a taste.


The lines are crisp, they get to their point with little shown effort, and the music does its job. It's not too monotonous, it's all the greatness of having a band. I love it.

It's always nice receiving little gems like these in my email. I was found by the band and asked to give their work a listen. My satisfaction lies within the post being made, but it's sad to know I'll never get to see these guys live.

Their front man, Expo (Victor Pontes-Macedo), recently lost his battle against gastric cancer after an 8 month struggle. In order to keep his name alive, they spread it in his works. Today's song comes from Volume II of a collection of EP's.

Download via: Soundcloud

Volume II of their VICtory Sessions was just recently released; it's the first volume to be released after his passing.

Being only 6 songs in length, it's an easy listen. It goes down smooth with subtle changes in musical style and delivery. Again, it's best for the Hip-Hop fan, but many who can appreciate the little things will be in for a pleasant surprise.

I recommend giving a listen to Pennies, Dollars and Life if you're considering the download. It's a very well made 7 minute live tribute mash-up thing and it settles really nicely on the ear buds.

The first volume (also free, listen/grab it here) is also full of gems. Right from the start you have the lyrical beauty of Ready to Fly which does a great job of preparing you for what's to come. It might have a bit of a cheerier vibe than the second volume, but that's open to interpretation.

There might be up to 3 or 4 VICtory Sessions in total, all of them spacing out between a few months of time. Their purpose is to keep Victor (Expo)'s legacy alive through the music they were able to make in all their years together. Donation is optional for those of you kind enough.

You can check with Audible Mainframe at their Facebook or Twitter to see when the new volumes are up, or you could compulsively stalk their web page too. I'm sure any recognition would've made Victor happy.

Victor Pontes-Macedo

R.I.P. Victor  Pontes-Macedo
Through your family your music will live on

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pretty Lights - You Get High (Free Download)

I'm feeling for a fun song right now. Something that doesn't require me to acknowledge it too much, but can still stand on its own as far as talent goes. This works perfectly, I'm glad I found it.

Now it's gonna start a little weird. Some odd use of samples followed by some more synth-y samples make this into some Glitch Hop that's not too difficult for new ears to get used to. The progression is nice.

Give it a listen.


The vintage-ish intro mixed with the thought of keys almost gives the impression of Bro-Step, but there's never a real drop. Just more samples and deeper synths. It's good for maintaining a crowd pleased. Just as I expressed earlier, nothing you need to acknowledge, but not bad at all either.

You Get High is Pretty Lights' latest single, and so it's a little more difficult to acquire. The current download link is sponsored by Grooveshark. I send them a half-pleased nod.


Why just half a nod? Well because they like to glitch out.

They offer the track plus 2 bonus tracks and a video. That link however, does not work. It's a minor detail and it's not too important because all the other songs (and the video) are all readily available, free, at his website.

The bonus tracks are amazing displays of diversity and a great way to reel the future fans in. You listen to We Must Go On and you get this happy relaxed everything-is-gonna-be-alright vibe. It's a wonderful listen, and the free video for it is just as joyous a watch.

Then you get hit by I Know The Truth and even though the transition is slow, it's an obvious change to party-starting levels. Not the best use of Dubstep, but it's a fine way of learning of all his talents.

If for some reason the free download link above doesn't work, I'd recommend checking to see if it's up on his site yet. Go here to get directly to the free downloads (everything is free!) Maybe consider a donation while you're at it.

And if you want more eye-candy (there's lots of it) check out his Youtube (or Vimeo) channel. It'd make a great way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Balance and the Traveling Sounds - Something About Us (Free Download)

Sometimes I'm a just a big emotional blob with music. If I truly respect someone's work, I'm very hesitant to go out in search for covers and remixes because often they're disappointing. I just don't like associating negativity with the music I love most.

A few days ago a friend of mine showed me a video where a band just happened to be covering one of my favorite Daft Punk songs.. ever. It was a scary moment, but this was a true gem of a find. Thank you, Ian.

If you're not sure which track it is, or just haven't heard it before, give Something About Us (from Discovery) a listen before checking out the cover below.

Enjoy.


The first version I heard was recorded in 2009, but it was shown as a live video. It had more mistakes than this version, and the first verse had very little to do with the song's subject. If you'd like, give it a watch. It'll be worth it just to see artists at work, but the years of practice, synchronization, and remodeling have made the studio version much better.

Though, even in the studio he'll invert "It might not be the right time" and "I might not be the right one". I forgive it because they really make the song theirs in the end, and they deserve to switch it up a bit.

If the first verse in Hip-Hop steers you away, don't let it. It's the only Hip-Hop verse in the song, and everything else is just smooth vocals flirting with true musicians.

This version is one of the very few cases where I truly believe that the original artist composed a song for someone else. It took me about a week to admit it, but Daft Punk's version has finally slid to second place. I almost feel like a bad fan for feeling it.

Album art for BTS' Departure EP
Listen/Donate/Download: Bandcamp | Free Download: Mediafire

Departure EP is their first release as far as I'm aware, and it's just long enough to keep and hold my attention while keeping me patiently waiting for more. It's a pity I could have had this 8 months ago, but now that it's mine I'll rejoice in the wonderful Funk/Soul/Hip-Hop it provides my ears with.

The album is satisfying for a variety of tastes. The intro track, Growth Spurt, is just the track that lets you know there's talented individuals to be heard through the rest of your session.

Then there's some more Hip-Hop tracks like Hey Lady, that has a beat Dre would approve of, and Won't Do, which is tribute to the late great J Dilla. 

And of course Jazzy Funk Soulness like today's track. It helps me love them to know that they're active with guitar, saxophone and trumpet solos. How could that not make someone happy?

If it sounds interesting, give it a quick listen at their Bandcamp! And by all means, if you're willing and able, give them a sum for their works as a token of appreciation. They readily hand out their music for free, surprise them with a gift if you can.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Jun Miyake - Lillies of the Valley

I saw Pina yesterday. It's gonna be an experience to stick with me for a while, so I'm glad I was able to see it on the big screen. If you're interested in the arts half  as much as I am (in this case music and especially dance) I implore you give it a watch.

What does that have to do with a post on a music blog? Well today's song comes from the movie. It's the track used on the trailer, and for good reason. It's one of the catchier songs on the playlist, and it's a pity the trailer doesn't run for longer because the evolution of the song makes for an amazing listen.

Give it a try.


I like this track for the same reason that I like acoustic version songs. Because simplicity strips it to its bare beauty. What makes this one extra special is the detail. The shaking percussion, the gentle guitar riffs screeching along with the piano, the not so subtle creek of a door.

You just try not to bop your head as this trumpeter/composer makes a piano breathe life. Go on.

If it feels a bit unnaturally long, the Youtube video is about 2 minutes longer than the actual song. If you'd like the original at around 5:30 in length, check the Grooveshark link below the video.

But if it's already done a nice job of convincing you of good music, maybe checking out the rest of the soundtrack is a good idea. I'd tell you to give the movie a watch first, but that's a hard goal to accomplish for many.

Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

There are two more Jun Miyake songs on this soundtrack, both of which stand out as inspirational pieces. My other favorite would have to be The Here and After which features the lovely vocals of Big Sir's Lisa Papineau.

We also have a series of shorter "interlude tracks" by Thom Hanreich, which to the best of my belief were made for the soundtrack. They work well as audible bookmarks, allowing songs like Bahamut to flourish.

While most songs are what the average mind would expect after seeing the musical course, there's also a track in there to throw you off. Its existence makes me happy, so I welcome Cujo's Fatass Joint with open arms.

If anything here has been to your liking, I'll just re-mention how there's a movie out there with stunning choreography and all of today's music. It's worth a watch for the art loving mind.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lotus Plaza - Jet Out of the Tundra

I'll start this off by saying that for those of you who don't know, despite how awesome a band name Lotus Plaza could be, it's actually a solo project by Lockett Pundt, guitarist for Deerhunter. Ring any bells? Yes? No? We'll see.

If you're alright with decently long tracks (over 6 minutes) with sweet barely surfacing Psyche-Chill vibes all wonderfully wrapped in an Indie Rock container, today's track might be for you.

Or if you're not sure, you could give it a listen anyway.


On my first listen to this song I wrote down on my notes about a beach-y entrance. Not soon after that the lyrics kicked in with 'High above the sea'. That smile was enough to get me to begin enjoying it.

I couldn't have guessed that such a long Indie based song could grab my attention though, but it did. The subtle changes in the keys, the almost unnoticed pauses in musical instruments, and the way he carries his voice to fade perfectly when the music reaches a peak are all details that make the song excel. I happily snugged my earphones on, leaned back, and gazed into the ceiling in a moment of happy day dreams.

In my opinion this is one of the better tracks. But then, I know well that everyone's taste is different. If you have any kind of positive feelings towards the Indie side of Rock, I'd definitely recommend you give the album a listen.

Album art for Lotus Plaza's "Spooky Action at a Distance"
Buy: CD | Vinyl

Spooky Action at a Distance is his second solo project album release, and it is a beautiful way to continue his career. The tracks found on here usually keep the same vibe of happy times and droning peaceful thoughts. It can definitely set the mood for a smile.

There are a few mold-breaking tracks though, as versatility will keep the hour-long listen interesting. Songs like Eveningness show off a creamier side to vocals than the album will lead you on to expect. It's pretty refreshing.

We've also got a screechy track on there that takes a while to get used to, but once your ears have accommodated White Galactic One is actually a pleasant break in the album.

Overall a very sweet listen. Just scraping at Psychedelic tendencies while sliding his voice along the rail of Indie smoothness. It's made compact for your listening pleasure. I'm sure he's pleased, and I hope you will be too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walter Trout - Lonely

If you haven't heard of Walter Trout before, you're only missing out on a pretty sweet Blues guitarist and songwriter. As a singer he's not my favorite out there, but he's got his strong points. The guy was  part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for a few years. He should have your attention.

Today's track isn't the best on the album, but it's the song they're promoting and some of the easiest to find a stream for. This doesn't mean it's a bad track though, it's got a slow but modern Blues dug deep into it that might get you bobbing your head in soulful sympathy.

Might.

Give it a listen.


Again, I wouldn't say vocals are his strong point, especially considering the age and exhausted use of his vocal chords. Even so he puts up a good tone. Now his writing, his writing can be a lot better than this.

This is an excellent track for promotional use. It's short and much more socially acceptable than some other harder hitting topics like Turn Off Your TV, or Money Rules the World.

And this all without mentioning that he refuses to leave a song without a guitar solo. All 15 tracks have some form of varied solo, meaning that even if the track is boring to you he will spice it up. If that's appealing, give Blues for the Modern Daze a shot.

Album art for Walter Trout's 2012 release
Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

Now I'm not saying the album is perfect. The very first track (Saw My Mama Cryin') while beautiful, doesn't have the most interesting percussion behind it. Granted, sometimes you need to tone things down in order to let some other aspects shine, but it can be taken just a bit too far on this album.

All these details aside, I find the album worthy of our money. I'm not a huge fan of the Southern twang on about half of the songs, regardless of how light of a detail they may be. The rest of the songs, however, with his Classic Rock and heavy Blues fusion, make for a great listen.

What I really love is how well he's adapted to time. Most artists get to their prime and either refuse to change too much, or try to change without success. Walter Trout doesn't let this happen to him; he keeps with the times and does it well. The title track and all of the fine musicianship that goes into that piece is probably his way of saying he's not done with music yet, and it makes for a fine listen.

I will warn that it's possible some of the reason I enjoyed this album so much was out of respect for him as a surviving artist. I think all that aside though, I'm just happy to have heard an album be better than I expected.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sabac - Shift of the Earth

My Hip-Hop moods don't strike too often, but when they do they hit pretty hard. I like the good stuff. If you can talk about more than just booties and know more than one way to rhyme, you're already halfway there to my list of talent.

Given my current mood, I decided I'd give Sabac Red a listen again. It's been a while, so everything seeped into my ears as if it was a first time. It was amazing.

Today's song won't have the best musical composition ever, but it'll be better than the average underground Rap beat. To make up for that, Sabac will be throwing some lethal darts at the system.

Give it a listen.


The music is hard for me to get past. I appreciate good verbal skills alongside some true music, but there are specific lines here that make it not so bad a listen. The rhymes at 1:32, constant attacks at major fast food companies like a rifle at war, it's just beautiful.

Now sure, maybe not everyone agrees with his point of view, but that's what rapping is about. He gets to express himself, you get to give him a listen. If that's not your thing, stay away from the album.

However, if you like a well rhymed opinion, giving The Ritual a try might be a great listen.

Album art/cover for Sabac Red's 'The Ritual'
Buy: CD | mp3

By all means, not a perfect album, but when it comes to good Hip-Hop that's pretty hard to find. If you like quality in your rhymes, I'd say a bit beyond 3 quarters of this album is more than decent.

It starts off with The Commitment, a track that in its own is enough to spark interest for the rest of the album. It takes a while to get stale after that moment, and right when it does we've got songs like Reality Tell-A-Vision with beautiful use of vocals to bring us back.

It can still get a little boring if you're not too used to the repetition (like what is slowly happening to me). If you can truly enjoy a good emcee though, be sure to check it out. If you haven't already, anyway.

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