Raw, unfiltered soul rather than synthesizers usually tend to win me over but Passion Pit always manages to hit me right in the money spot. Similar to “Sleepyhead” (and many of their other jams), the background beats of their new single “Take a Walk” are what really garner my support and tapping toes. It clears your mind…just like a good walk.
Thought I’d stick with the nineties vein of my last post (even though this song specifically is from the Out of the Vein album released in 2003)and share a gem from a band I can never get enough of. I actually own all of their albums and songs, which is not very common in my massive library of one-offs. Yes, I even have their rendition of “Scooby Dooby Doo”. And if anyone can organize it so that Stephan Jenkins and I would be locked in a boudoir for an hour or two with nothing but our thoughts and clothes/no clothes, I would be forever in your debt.
Jenkins’ voice is chock-full of passion, angst, and competing indifference. It’s swoon-inducing. Check out “Bonfire” from their most recent 2009 album, Ursa Major, for an idea of why I fought my way to the front of their Freakfest concert in Madison during my senior of college. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You know you’re a product of the nineties when you’re watching Monica in a music video on BET and ask out loud, “Where’s Brandy?” Lucky for me, Brandy was not far behind as the two vocalists reunited for a little less hostile duet in “It All Belongs to Me”. No longer are they attitude battling over who the boy belongs to. These days, they join forces to claim ownership over everything the boy believes is his post-breakup. With age comes wisdom.
This is not a song that will last for ages, especially with it’s beating-over-the-head of pop culture (i.e. MacBook, Facebook, etc.). However, this duo takes me back to a time when a small, dweeby white girl just wanted to gain some kind of street cred by memorizing sugar-coated R&B songs. And that, folks, is as cool as I get.
Give me harmony or give me death I always say. And by ‘always’ I mean ‘never’. If I had to choose between my own existence and the pairing of these magical voices though, I believe the voices might just win. It’s fair to predict the musical creations of these two would probably grab your attention better than I ever could.
A bio on iTunes describes their music as reminiscent of ‘Appalachian folk’, which probably explains why I gravitate towards their sound. The way my eyes light up with the sound of banjos and washboard-strumming is almost unnatural every time my favorite street band hits Madison during the summer months. What grabs me about this song however, is the pain that hangs throughout. It’s as if it hurts to sing each word. The conflict of emotions, the passion, the desire to persevere, the agonizing feeling that everything about a relationship is so right and so wrong at the same time, the love that could never cease to exist - this song embodies it all.
I’m getting a little too intense for my own liking.
Even though I enjoy this song, I’m still in the process of deciding whether I like Lana Del Rey. Watching her SNL performance a couple weeks ago was painful and awkward, if not painfully awkward. ”Born to Die” however is beautiful and sexy in a Chris Isaak - “Wicked Game” kind of way. And as someone who watched Chris Isaak music videos far too often for anyone’s comfort, I would know.
"Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)" - Gotye
This song grabs me in a way I haven’t been grabbed in a long time. Australian; instrumentals similar to the sound of Bloc Party; vocals echo the tone of Panic at the Disco’s lead singer, Brendon Urie, with a more gentle alt edge; rugged facial hair. Making Mirrors is the name of his newest album and I’m ready to dive in. The correlating music video and piercing green eyes aren’t too shabby either.
Riddle me this: What’s worse than a poorly written blog lacking in substance? Answer: A blog that is hardly (if ever) updated. Since my blog would clearly never fall into the first situation, it seems the lackluster of material I am contributing to the world wide web is a result of no material whatsoever. *Slap on the wrist!* ”Bad Katie!” I’m not one to make false promises so I’ll refrain from making any at all. However, this has got to change starting today…or tomorrow…or next month.
Anyways, I could devote this blog post swooning over new Coldplay or I could be more productive and talk about Frankmusik. He’s a lovely chap both in appearance and musical capabilities. His newest album release, Do It In The AM, overflows with much of what he’s good at - easily accessible electronic pop. Pairing up with artists of growing popularity like Natalia Kills and Far East Movement helps his cause. By the way, am I the only who didn’t realize all the members of Far East Movement are of Asian descent? Their band name makes much more sense now but “Like a G6”…really? I digress. If you’re a fan of Ellie Goulding, Frankmusik pairs up with her on a version of “Wish I Stayed” that’s fairly enjoyable. For now though, check out “No Champagne” and put a pop twist on all those times you are feeling “useless”.
By this time, what hasn’t been said about Nicki Minaj that I could possibly contribute to the world of sick beats? All I know is, after seeing her open for Britney Spears last night in Milwaukee, I’ve got nothing but respect and admiration for her talent, drive, and ultra thick booty. I have a [mostly] secret sailor’s mouth at heart so the amount of swearing in her jams is probably what draws me in most but even her sensitive numbers like “Save Me” manage to hold their own.
When I post about the same artist more than once, things are getting serious and perhaps this isn’t too original a choice seeing as Adele’s newest album, 21, is the talk of the town and then some right now, but I just gotta. And that’s that. It’s been a while since I’ve found an album I could play from beginning to end without skipping a track so I welcomed 21 into my life with open arms. ”Rolling in the Deep”, “Turning Tables”, “Set Fire to the Rain”…they’re all great, but “Someone Like You” hits me at an entirely different level. My excessively imaginative mind and ability to fall head over heels for someone at the flash of their smile might be what draws me to outpourings of pure agony and wishful thinking. You can’t help but ache at each breath, pause, and pleading chorus line this song delivers. After all, in terms of pain, heartache is about as bad as it gets but if it means recovery through doses of Adele, it’s not necessarily an ache I’d want to go away.
It seems like I’ve been walking a road filled with women and heavy dance grooves on this blog as of late, so to change up the flavor a bit I figured I’d whip out a folksy gentleman ditty. The summer soundtrack has begun to compile itself and “Sydney (I’ll Come Running)” is sitting at the top in all it’s throw open the windows, pop on some annoyingly large sunglasses, and whip out your most jerky, lighthearted dance moves that emerge as a result of the purest of happy feelings glory. It brings me to a Ben Kweller, “Penny on the Train Track” kind of place, which is something I’ll never try to fight. I personally tend to lean more towards the redheaded grit of Kweller than the redheaded granola of Dennen but at this moment the heart knows what it wants. And when you’re me, you always cut redheads the most slack.
Group fitness classes succeed at either working you out, making you feel incredibly awkward, or allowing you to marvel at a plethora of awkward people as they feel incredibly awkward. While I’ve probably experienced each of those outcomes, this Agnes Carlsson song now featured in one of the routines of a BodyCombat class I frequent does nothing but pump.me.up. I never thought being able to punch to the beat of a song would ever be the deciding factor in whether I’d actually enjoy listening to it but I guess you learn something new about yourself every day.
It was early afternoon on a Friday when I found myself enjoying a glass of wine and complimentary tapas in a small bar in Madrid. The television on the wall dealt out a continuous stream of music videos and had been going somewhat unnoticed until a minx with spikes protruding from her lips took charge of the screen. Little did I know that a month later I would be blog bragging about my trip to Spain along with my infatuation for the sharp lady I first heard of while there named Jessie J. One of her popular songs at the moment is “Price Tag” featuring B.o.B. but I must say, “Do It Like a Dude” is the jam that’s stolen my heart. It makes me want to brush my shoulders off and throw around my ‘tude like it’s going out of style. For a more heartwarming ballad, which can indeed even be heard from a woman who flaunts the fact she can grab her crotch and hold her own in a brawl, check out “Who You Are”. Gentle and tough can walk hand in hand. Ya hear me ladies? Ya hear me.
In the midst of my 5.5 hour wait for Robyn on Saturday, this saucy lass by the name of Natalia Kills fiercely stomped onto the stage and musically turned me on. Lady Gaga clearly has a big influence on her persona minus the whole lotta crazy. She seems much more approachable…even when clad in nothing but black leather with two killer, stern-faced, and toned dancers at her side. Her full blown album to be titled The Perfectionist is supposed to drop sometime in March or April of this year but for now, “Mirrors” is a good place to start (check the music video for the song while you’re at it for a little tough, S&M action). ”Love is a Suicide” a’int too shabby either.
I have family in Minnesota and my drives to visit them entail stopping at the nearest PDQ to stock up on Smarties (which, FYI, can now be found “King Size” style) and a Starbucks energy drink, and driving off into the sunset blasting my newest mix CD. I will spend the four hours on the road hyped-up and killing it in front of all my fellow driver fans. My concerts are always sold-out. Always. I made this exact trip over the past weekend and let’s just say, my performance of “Rolling in the Deep” brought the house (or car) down at least 17 times. I’ve always been an Amy Winehouse girl (new album from her in January - gah!) but when she let all the drugs and hair teasing go to her head I had to find another soulfully smooth voice to move me. Adele has helped in filling that void ever since her first album 19 hit the scene and this new song will have no problem doing the same. It makes me want to angry strut. And for additional strutting, check out “Set Fire to the Rain”.
On this Thanksgiving day, let’s be thankful for the flavor that is Shakira. My thanksgivings (this year aside) are usually played out in the presence of my family, which includes the Colombian “uncle”. Thus I figured posting a song from the Colombian songstress herself would be fitting. The fact that “Gordita” translates to “little chubby one” seems to fit as well seeing as that is what I will indeed feel like once this day is done. I’m really feeling the rap segments Shakira seems to be experimenting more with on her new album, Sale el Sol. I didn’t think the woman could get any more spicy.
If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, show thanks for non-American musicians, hip-shakin’, and naps. Yum-o.
My, my, it has been a while since we last spoke but let me assure you…just because the blogging temporarily ceases doesn’t mean the flow of incoming delicious tunes does. Cee Lo is so hot in my world right now. Even though “F**k You” has reached its brink with number of plays in my library, there are others to choose from the repertoire making up his newest album, The Lady Killer. A real winner would be “Old Fashioned”, which is just that - a smooth, old fashioned love song. It makes me feel like I should be sporting a little red dress as I’m pulled in tightly to my handsome man on the dimly lit dance floor. Throw in a few choice moves inspired by Dirty Dancing and this baby definitely won’t be found in the corner. Har har.
I’d also recommend “Bright Lights Bigger City”; a song perfect for the background of those “girls going out on the town” montages done so well by The Hills.
If I had to choose one Mormon man to ravage (and share with his assortment of other wives) it would be the lead singer of The Killers, now turned solo act, Brandon Flowers. A sexy man who dishes out sexy music? Too much sexy! I haven’t gotten through the entire Flamingo album as of yet but with a love of The Killers under my belt and “Crossfire” piquing my curiosity, sampling of the new solo album is on the agenda. ”Only the Young” is up there amongst the faves so far along with “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts”. Flower’s voice comes across so genuine and raw, even sounding borderline off-key at times. In my mind though, I’m sure he really has no problem hitting all the right notes when it counts. *Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.* Yeah. That just happened.
If you could bottle up spunk, shake it, and then release it into the world you would have this lady right here. I first heard this song on an episode of Gossip Girl (one of my many guilty pleasures), which is not surprising since that show has one hell of a Music Supervisor on staff despite it’s petty plot lines. Having this playing over and over in my head lead me to check out her 2008 album Fortress ‘round My Heart and upon doing so, I had about four more songs on repeat in my noggin’…simultaneously…woah. ”I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” is another one of my favorites. It’s blunt, saucy, and overflowing with energy, which are qualities in a song I’ve never complained about. Plus she says “naked” a lot. That’s kind of fun.
So remember when Kelly Rowland dished out moderately “deep” songs that were too intense in subject matter to really listen to over and over “Single Ladies” style? ”Stole” anyone? 2002 was not such a good year for second-in-command of Destiny’s Child. Or was second-in-command Beyonce’s mother? Hmmm. Anyways, girl was on to something with her album Ms. Kelly in 2007, which dished out “Like This”, a song with either a positively infectious or annoyingly repetitive chorus, depending on the listener. Though the road has been long, I feel Rowland has finally earned a place in my heart after pairing up with David Guetta in “When Love Takes Over”, “It’s the Way You Love Me”, and “Commander”. In my mind, anything that man touches turns to gold. And yes, I even rocked out to some of “Sexy Bitch” featuring Akon before it turned up in all the bars around town in the most unappealing, girls-squealing-and-dancing-on-tables kind of way.
Whenever the day is sunny (and scorching hot), this duo always makes it even sunnier with their lighthearted, folky jams. Their newest album, Be My Thrill, is set for release on August 31 and the song above is the first single off it. I just found out these two are married, which makes me want to let out a major “awwww” and find a hunky hunk to write little melodies with. The fact that this song makes me want to canoodle with someone something fierce just further adds to that fantasy. All in good time. Check out “Gotta Have You” off their Say I Am You album and/or “Hideaway” off Hideaway for some equally head-nodding favorites. Stay cool.
I came across this song after hearing one of DJ Earworms mash-ups. It was paired along the likes of Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” but on its own it delivers so much more than those two diddies could ever dish out. Tempah is an English rapper and though I’ve yet to really dive into his full musical repertoire, “Pass Out” is certainly a good place to start. The back beat is unforgettable and the song flows so smoothly you can’t help but feel super BA as you’re driving around town with the windows down.
Damn you Katy Perry and your catchy, catchy pop songs. ”Teenage Dream” has been on repeat, people and the end to that is nowhere in sight. At least it replaces “California Gurl”m which when played now makes me want to assume the fetal position while rocking back and forth praying, “Please God, make it stop!”
For Lovers, Dreamers & Me is a beautiful album. It is a little less recent than most of the stuff I try to cover (released in 2006) but I have found myself revisiting it frequently throughout the years. When I started DJ-ing for the campus station back in 2007, my co-host and I found her album sandwiched between a number of new trendy releases. We popped it in and dealt out the song “Dream” over the airwaves. From then on, she was a regular. Her voice is intense, hearty, and incredibly soothing…like a bowl of spicy chili. I always excelled at similes. She manages to convince me that everything is going to be okay. The song I posted best exemplifies this persuasion. I mean the lyrics include the line, “Everything will be okay” so, there you go. I hadn’t even give this song much of a listen until a friend of mine brought it up a few weeks ago and now it’s my favorite one off the album. The build-up at the end, it will get you every time.
Woah, woah, woah…Kelis? Is that you? Didn’t your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard? Aren’t you bossy? Girl be switching things up and this girl, right here, is all up in it. Her new album is titled Flesh Tone and deals out some serious Eurodance, close-your-eyes-and-lose-yourself beats. It’s definitely a 180 from her previous raunchy, throw-down raps (which I appreciate just as much as this new stuff, trust me) but it’s refreshing when an artist can change up their sound so drastically and still hold their own. I guess having a baby will do that to you. Besides the above song, I’ve been really feeling “4th of July (Fireworks)” and “Brave” something fierce. And if you’re looking to reminisce with the “old” Kelis but have had enough “Milkshake” to last you a lifetime then may I recommend “Blindfold Me”? A friend brought this song up in conversation recently and it really is a gem…if you’re into that kind of stuff.
This is what’ll happen if you ain’t giving your girl what she needs…
First off, can we all say “bombshell”? I think my goal will be to look more and more like Kylie Minogue every day. We all need to reach for something. Second, I’ve seriously listened to the posted song twenty times in the past two days. I know my neighbors are loving me. Her newest album, Aphrodite was released here in the States just last week and putting in three years of waiting definitely seems to be worth it. Her songs exude confidence and a kind of playfulness that deserves a wink and smile. I’ll withhold from the winking seeing as the act contorts my face to its least attractive state but smiling is something I definitely can do as I play through this album twenty more times.
The gang released their new album Night Work a couple weeks ago and as a girl who appreciates all things “saucy”, this sound delivers. I was all about “Take Your Mama” off their 2004 self-titled release and now my ear is turned on to “Whole New Way”. It’s sexy, it makes me feel like dancing, and dare I say, may even make me feel like dancing sexily. Oh girl, behave.
I dug this girl when she first hit the scene with “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What It Takes)” back in the mid-90’s. She’s pumped up her sound since then and taken out a bit of the sugar. What’s left is nothing but gold. Her new album Body Talk, Pt. 1 was released this week and it’s slammin’. Check out the above single if you feel like throwing those elbows.
I don’t know about ya’ll but I am in the midst of a wonderful week. There’s nothing in particular responsible for making it so “wonderful”, nothing happening to distinguish it from weeks that have recently passed. Everything just feels good.
And keeping my chipper mood company has been a British man of many talents, referred to within the musical world as Lightspeed Champion. He released a new album this week titled Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You. and my ears have most certainly enjoyed meeting his enchanting sound. The harmonies found in a number of his songs give off a Bright Eyes-esque feel, which may not be surprising seeing as the multi-talented Mike Mogis (producer for the Saddle Creek label and member of Bright Eyes) produced his first album, Falling of the Lavender Bridge. ”Marlene” was the first single released off Lightspeed Champion’s newest album. While it is catchy, I must say “There’s Nothing Underwater” comes in as my top pick. When those strings prance in at the chorus I am sold.
I’ve included an edit of his song “Midnight Surprise” from his first album released in 2007. Go back to the beginnings, fall in love, and let it grow.
Sidenote: The fact that pictures of Amy Winehouse appeared in the image search results for Lightspeed Champion may or may not have further contributed to my love and acceptance of this exceptional fellow.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, it only seems fair to blog praises about an artist who is most certainly in love or at least really loves singing about it. I was recently talking to a friend of mine about the power of music in terms of revelation. For me, it’s fascinating how an album can serve as a window into the emotional experiences of an artist at a particular point in time. Artist going through a rough break-up? Boom - you get songs that either mope about it, deal out a major “F” you, or act oblivious. ”Oh…we broke up? Totally already forgot we were even together. My bad.”
Or maybe, as is the case with V V Brown, the artist is completely wrapped up in love thus leading a majority of their songs to deal with rainbows, unicorns, and all that is sweet. Brown does manage to squeeze a few so-over-this-bullshit songs into her love-filled repertoire with “Leave!” and “Game Over” sporting lyrics like “And I don’t give a damn, my heart made me drunk but my mind is sober.” For the most part though, Brown is holding onto her man and pretty darn happy about it and I can’t really complain. She owns her sugary ditties, with a style that mixes modern indie vibes, soul, and a 50’s sock hop into one pleasant little package.
On a day like today, whether you’re macking-it-up with a significant other or eating an entire box of chocolates you bought for yourself from the drugstore down the street, celebrate love and bring a little V V into your life. Tomorrow those sweeties can burn in hell while all that Valentine’s candy goes on sale.
When I watched this lass perform two years ago on the stage of the High Noon Saloon, I was sold. Maybe it was the way she reminded me of a Canadian version of my younger sister or the effects of a sort of secondhand alcoholic intoxication. I was 19 at the time and distinctly remember proclaiming that fact to the man checking IDs at the door. Cool? No. Helpful and efficient? Always. Attempts at humor aside, what I think the universal sticking factor with
Basia Bulat seems to be is the genuine sincerity found in her distinct moments of vibrato and swelling phrases.
She controls her voice and one can actually pinpoint a person sustaining the music as opposed to the other way around. Heart of my Own is Bulat’s most recent album and so far, I can find no disappointments to gripe about. While a majority of her songs best accompany those meaningfully gentle moments in your life, she seems to really hit her high points on songs like “Go On”, “Gold Rush”, “Heart of my Own”, and “Walk You Down” where her voice builds into instances of soul-lifting intensity. Soul-lifting intensity? Who says that?
In an effort to be the least pretentious music blogger around, let me just say that if wholeheartedly pure folk is your cup of tea then this brew will keep your tummy nice and warm. My efforts towards non-pretentiousness may indeed lead me down the path of cheese and moderate creepiness. Onward I say!