Monthly Archives: December 2011

End of the Year List: A Quick Hit on Links, Downloads the 2011

Album of the Year: Youth Lagoon’s “Year Of Hibernation”

It’s an emotional, touching powerhouse of an album that doesn’t just discuss insecurity and anxiety as the subject matter, it’s the very essence of the sound. Despite it all, the sound produced is still tremendous and soul-cleansing. Beautiful. All these tracks are incredible. “17”, “Montana”, “The Hunt”, simply stunning these songs.

European band of the year: Those Dancing Days  “Daydreams and Nightmares”

I’ve covered this band enough times already within the calender year. Love them to death, even if they are no longer together.

Rap Album of the Year: Childish Gambino “Bonfire”

Eff Pitchfork’s review, I love this shit.

Runner up M.anifest Coming to America

R&B album of the Year: Frank Ocean “nostaglia / ultra”

Bandcamp band of the year

What is this? We know that not every band has the luxury of having a record label to release phsycial albums. In the reality of today’s music scene, the internet becomes the best opition to get your music across. As a result, I’ve scoured bandcamp for the past year looking for new music, searching for great new bands that I would never have found without. Therefore the bandcamp band of the year is The Smiles…err… the Miracals. Listening to the growth between the first and second EP was astounding at how there was more integration of the vocals and how much tighter the sound was. Lovely. Not to mention these guys are incredibly active in interacting with their fans.

 Bandcamp favorites

Little Jungles “Winter Was Warmer”

Colorfeels “Pretty Walk”

Top Songs

Youth Lagoon “Montana”

Those Dancing Days “I’ll Be Yours”

Milo Greene “Don’t You Give Up on Me”

M.anifest “Suffer”

Walk the Moon “Anna Sun”

MP3: Balam Acab- Oh, Why

Seafarer – Tennis

Note: With Its January of 2011 release, Tennis’ album ‘Cape Dory’ was so early in the year it was easy to confuse it with a 2010 release. However, this one was easily one of the best albums of the year. Like a breathe of fresh sea air, it is from start to finish a whimsy throwback nautical summer vacation in sound, which is funny considering the duo is from Denver. Cape Dory is the ultimate get-away album

The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

San Cisco – Golder Revolver

Dj Fresh “Louder” (Flux Pavillion and Doctor P Remix)

T H E S L O W D O W N “SEX”

DOM “Damn”

Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Teenage Tide

James and Evander “Constellating”

Frank Ocean “Thinking About You”

Sneaky Sound System “Big” (John Dahback Remix)

Sneaky Sound System – Big (John Dahlback Remix)

Tv On the Radio “Killer Crane”

Cults – Bumper

 Coeur de Pirate “Ava”

Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean “She”

Jay Z and Kanye West and Frank Ocean “Made in America”

 

Predicted Breakouts of 2012

Wild Vibes “Molly”

Rizzle Kicks “Traveller’s Chant”

Lazy, but good natured rapping with a nice chill beat. Thanks to rappers like Cudi and Mac Miller, there’s already an established base ready to span it up.

Nikkiya “Nobody but Me”

Pickwick “Blackout”

Local boys making some strides up here in the Northwest, really offering an unique choice for those interested in looking for Seattle artistic sound other than Fleet Foxes and Macklemore.

Red Kite “Montreal”

Only released one song so far, but based on the quality of that song, I am super excited for what’s next.

Mashup artist of the Year:DJ Bahler “Free the Snares”

Remix artist of the Year: RAC (hands down)    Why Even Try 

Katie Herzig – Free My Mind (RAC Remix)

This is a perfect representation of the brilliance that is RAC. Katie Herzig is a Colorado-born folk-rock artist, and the majority of you probably won’t recognize anything about “Free My Mind”; I’d never heard the original before. When RAC gets their hands on something, you don’t need to know the original. They make it accessible and catchy to people who don’t even know what they’re listening to. I can’t think of a better compliment.

Artist of the year: Frank Ocean

MP3: Songs For Women

Who else would it be? I featured the guy so many times, I was basically his cheerleader on this blog. Love.

Molly Lambert of grantland.com sums it up best:

What a perfect name “Frank Ocean” is. It sounds like cheap luxury: glass diamonds, drugstore cologne, a New Year’s Eve banquet at a Las Vegas steakhouse. The seedy/classy Rat Pack crooner connotations of “Frank” (the flatness of morning light and old champagne) balanced out with poetic heft by “Ocean” (in tradition of evocative noun surnames: Billy Ocean, Fiona Apple, John Cougar). Frank Ocean is Christopher Breaux, a 24-year-old songwriter from New Orleans who evacuated to Los Angeles post-Katrina, becoming affiliated with the OFWGKTA crew. His mixtapeNostalgia, Ultra came out in February to critical acclaim. “Thinking About You,” which leaked in July, has floated around the web since then and been covered by Justin Bieber.

While mainstream R&B mostly fell down the Handbag house K-hole to hell (cruise director: David Guetta), alternative R&B swam laps around it on the web. Like all of the new home-studio stars, Ocean is an ambitious songwriter with wide-ranging influences (he recently tweeted about listening to John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”) and seemingly endless reserves of soft-pink bedroom songs that are more reminiscent of early (first three albums) Prince than those The Dream songs that aim to sound exactly like Prince songs (although those are great too).

With Justin Timberlake on movie-star strike, Drake still waffling hard on whether he’s a baller or a romantic, and Robin Thicke doing crazy interviews about how he gives his wife, Paula Patton, double-digit orgasms (EVERY TIME?), the soulful falsetto jam arena was wide open and primed for a rookie like Ocean to hose it down. The analog organ loop in “Thinking About You” is tinged with wedding chapel turned funeral home “November Rain” video melancholy. Ocean’s vocals are like a particularly intimate e-mail or cornered-at-a-party conversation; a dialogue between the play-it-cool-in-public voice and a pleading upper-register subtext. Like a Leonard Cohen song, a hypnotic secret message meant for one specific person is transmuted into a universal hymn to absent lovers. Ocean digs a heart-shaped grave and fills it up with tears.
— Molly Lambert


“Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks)

I’m not one to do this normally. But recent events have encouraged me to contemplate life, purpose, existentialism…

As I sit in my posh Las Vegas hotel room tonight, I recall my afternoon at Big Bear, a California mountain, where I had the chance to process the knowledge I learned this morning, that there was a notable death in the community we’re from. It was a tragedy. It is a tragedy.

Anytime death touches our lives, it’s an opportunity for reflection and improvement. What should we do differently? How does the world change now? And though they are inherently selfish questions, we all ask: What does this mean for me? What should I do now? How does this affect me, if it even affects me at all?

Listening to this song, in addition to a few others, helped me to process those thoughts, answer those questions. Music tends to do that for me.

Hopefully, if you ever reach such a situation, it might be able help you too.

Left-Click To Download

PS: Dixie Chicks and Smashing Pumpkins covered this song quite well. Glee did a decent job as well.


Hey-Oh! What Music of 2011 Meant to Me: Lists!

As this 2011 is winding down, I have come to a conclusion. Music is AWESOME! Yeah pretty obvious, I know, but this year has been different for me. With the help of my friends, I have discovered SOOO damn much. Never before in my life have I experienced such joy through music. Damn this shit is really powerful. Never quite got that notion. I’ve been through a lot and all the music I have been introduced to have helped contribute to it. I saw my first live performances. The sounds and lyrics of songs actually meant something real to me. It has done so much for me, given me so much. I have finally learned to appreciate music for what it is. I can enjoy it, and let it run its course. I will just tag along for where ever it goes and love it. Thank you 2011. You have given so much to me. Now I believe it is fitting for a few Top Lists. However I don’t want to place anything above another because they all meant something to me. So to be fair, nothing is organized from best to worst (of course it’s not actually worst since I am mentioning it). I could go on and add so much more. But I can only remember so much. Most of my lists are composed of back end 2011 music. With apologies to the songs and artists of earlier 2011, and everything else I wished I could add (but couldn’t because the lists would be huge), here is what I enjoyed this year:

Best Song: 

Best Album

  • Camp (Childish Gambino)
  • The Year of Hibernation (Youth Lagoon)
  •  Belong (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)
  •  Cults (Cults)
  • Sidewalks (Matt & Kim)
  • New Heaven (1, 2, 3)
  • Smash (Martin Solveig)

Best Remix/Mashup

Best Discovery (Song/Artist/Whatever else)

Breakthrough Artist

  • Childish Gambino
  • Calvin Harris
  •  Cults
  • Frank Ocean
  •  Foster The People

 Best Live Act

  • Tennis
  •  Macklemore
  •  Sol

Best Mainstream Album or Song 

 Best Remixer/Mashup Artist

  • RAC
  • The White Panda
  • The Hood Internet
  • Calvin Harris
  •  DJ Bahler

Best Dubstep/Electronic/Dance Song

Best R&B/Rap Song


Revolution, Revolution, Revolution. Songs for the Politically Active.

Now I thought Christmastime was a time for peace and joy, not political unrest. While I am watching some good ole NFL football on this day, over in Russia, this is going on. According to the AP Report:

“Estimates of the number of demonstrators ranged from the police figure of 30,000 to 120,000 offered by the organizers. Demonstrators packed much of a broad avenue, which has room for nearly 100,000 people, about 2.5 kilometers (some 1.5 miles) from the Kremlin, as the temperature dipped well below freezing.

A stage at the end of the avenue featured banners reading “Russia will be free” and “This election Is a farce.” Heavy police cordons encircled the participants, who stood within metal barriers, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.”

Is this a case of the power of the people? That got me thinking here, it seems that the protesters have no central leader so I was wondering what else could unite the people, especially since they come from so many political backgrounds and ideas for reform…kind of like the Occupy movement. I was reading an article on matadornetwork that claims that “Music can give people a feeling of unification, understanding, this sense that we share something fundamental, that we can change things if we work together. While not always the intent of the composer, these songs had enormous influence on revolutionary times.”

So in the spirit of protest and political activism, here are revolutionary  songs you should check out, with some of these songs more current than others.  However, all are united in the fact that these songs are manifestations of unrest and hold optimism for progress in name of the people.

The voice of Egypt (Mohamed Mounir)

The Egyptian singer wrote two songs during his country’s revolution earlier this year. Much like the protests and rebellions weren’t televised, his songs were not played on Egyptian radio stations – but they reached an international audience thanks to the Internet.

The two most famous Mounir songs during this time, according to NPR (check out this link, it’s a really cool list of even more specific revolutionary songs), were “Ezzay,” (or “How come?”), which compares Egypt to a lover, and “#Jan25,” named for the trending Twitter topic, which begins with the lyrics “I heard them say the revolution won’t be televised / Al-Jazeera proved them wrong / Twitter has them paralyzed.”

Bread And Circuses

The Brazilian army assumed power of the country in 1964, with Castelo Branco as military president. Brazil would be under military dictatorship until 1985.

Musicians voiced their discontent over these developments through a style of music that became known as Tropícalía. Bossa nova and samba, the popular and traditional styles at the time, were fused with blues, rock, jazz, folk, and many other genres in an attempt to create a “universal sound,” along with politically and socially charged lyrics. It was  first movement to incorporate electric elements to often strictly acoustic Brazilian music.  Gilberto Gil actually went on to become the Minister of Culture in the early 2000’s.

The movement was led by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, who were imprisoned by their government for seven months in 1969 before being released under exile. The two lived in London for four years before returning to their home country.

There was no specific charge for their arrest – we can chalk it up to them generally pissing the government off through their music. Arguably the most influential and famous album of the Tropicália movement was “ou Panis et Circenis,” (Latin for Bread and Circuses), a 1968 collaboration which drew influence from the Beatles’ 1967 album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Other artists featured on the album included Gal Costa, Nara Leão, and Tom Zé. Os Mutantes, a psychedelic rock band, performed the title track, which was written by Gil and Veloso.

The bloody standard is raised (Get outta here, the French do have some spine after all!)

Revolutions are massive by definition; the French Revolution was massively massive. A centuries-old monarchy collapsed in just a few years time. Aristocracy was abandoned for equality. A new type of opera was invented – “rescue opera,” in which the hero (often a political prisoner) is rescued from danger and resistance to oppression triumphs.

The leaders of this revolution understood the power music can play in such times. Composers were encouraged to write songs that would spur rebellion – the most famous of which is, today, the French national anthem.

Composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, “Chant de Guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin” (“War Song for the Army of the Rhine”) was first sung by volunteers from Marseille, and the name was soon changed to “La Marseillaise.” The song was banned by Louis XVIII and Napoleon III, and was reinstated as the country’s national anthem in 1879.

The Cockroach

It’s been done by everyone from Charlie Parker to Speedy Gonzales to car horns to ring tones. But La Cucaracha first became popular during the Mexican Revolution – which is why the song is still associated with Mexico, despite originating in Spain.

There are seemingly infinite verses and versions; in fact, the lyrics were and are often changed to reflect current political or social situations. According to The Straight Dope, this song is the Spanish equivalent of “Yankee Doodle.” One of the more well-known verses:

The cockroach, the cockroach
Now he can’t go traveling
Because he doesn’t have, because he lacks
Marijuana to smoke

Some claim that last line was aimed at Mexican’s president-dictator Victoriano Huerta, rumored to love weed more than Hobbits. Others say Pancho Villa is the cucaracha. Either way – surprisingly political origins for a little ditty about a roach.

There’s a lot of versions to choose from…let’s try Liberace.

Why not take all of me

It’s hard to pick just one song that represents The Great Depression. E.Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney’s tune “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”and Barbecue Bob’s performance of “We Sure Got Hard Times Now” are pretty on-the-nose, while the Casa Loma Orchestra’s October 29th, 1929 performance of “Happy Days Are Here Again” is maybe a bit sarcastic,considering the headlines that week.

My personal favorite is “All of Me,” by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons, and Louis Armstrong is my choice of the many (many many) recordings. Why? Because for years I thought of it as a love song. Then I listened to it while considering the state of the country during that time. The lyrics manage to be both tongue-in-cheek and even more heartbreaking.

No difference in the fare

Speaking of jazz, blues, gospel, and many (most?) genres of American music can be traced back to the spirituals and work songs sung by slaves. While the spirituals have African roots, work songs were often sung at the demand of the captors in their effort to raise morale and improve productivity.

Eventually, these songs became warning signals, coded instructions – secret messages that allowed slaves to communicate to one another without their captors knowing, leaving no evidence behind.

Many were used to share directions on escaping the South to free states and Canada via the Underground Railroad. The code name for the railroad itself was “Gospel Train” – as in the spiritual “The Gospel Train’s a Comin’.”

I do believe

Those same spirituals also played a role in a later revolution – the civil rights movement in the US during the 1960s. Speaking during the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated:

“The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties — and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.”

Of all the songs that were sung at protests, rallies, and marches between 1955 an 1968, We Shall Overcome was arguably the anthem of the entire movement. According to NPR, this work song morphed into a hymn, and was first used politically at the tobacco workers’ strike in South Carolina in 1945.

The other Lady Macbeth (Hey hey, Russia does have a history of music discontent!)

Although he was only a child during the Russian Revolution of 1917, Dmitri Shostakovich was, in my opinion, absolutely a composer both influenced by and who influenced revolutionary times in the Soviet Union.

His opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (not to be confused with Verdi’s opera based on the Shakespearean play), premiered in 1934 to positive reviews. But in 1936, the Pravda (a Soviet newspaper run by the Communist Party) published an unsigned review of Macbeth, surprising the public and the composer by condemning the opera as “the crudest naturalism,” and dismissing its success abroad by stating that it suited “the perverted tastes of the bourgeois audience.”

While the review was published anonymously, many attribute it to Andrei Zhdanov, a close friend of Stalin’s, and some believe the piece was written by Stalin himself. The dictator did indeed attend a Bolshoi Theatre production of Macbeth, at which Shostakovich was also present and witnessed his country’s leader shuddering at the music and laughing at the scenes that contained love-making.

Shostakovich may not have written Lady Macbeth with rebellion on the mind (although his hatred for Stalin was well-known), but this work was the start of the Communist Party’s denunciation of his music. And on a larger scale, it saw the beginning of the “Great Terror,” which claimed the lives of many of Shostakovich’s own friends and family members.

Like I said, perhaps he didn’t create this music with revolutionary intent…but if you’re pissing off someone like Stalin, you’re probably doing something right.

What about the Clash?

Surely one can’t talk about politics in music without talking about the Clash right? Don’t worry, I got ya covered.

Occupy!

Rapper B. Dolan, along with guests Toki Wright and Jasiri X released a new video this week, “Film the Police,” an homage to seminal gangsta rap group N.W.A.’s classic “F*ck tha Police.” The new video uses extensive footage from Occupy Wall Street-related protests and is in clear solidarity with the Occupy movement. Here’s the press release

B. DOLAN’s “FILM THE POLICE” pays tribute to N.W.A.’s infamous “F*ck the Police,” serving as a call to action for the digitized media movement while responding to the recent explosion of police brutality all across the world.

This free MP3, courtesy of STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS, features a reconstruction of Dr. Dre’s original beat, brilliantly reanimated by UK producer BUDDY PEACE. Label CEO, SAGE FRANCIS, opens the song by picking up the gavel where Dr. Dre left it 23 years ago, introducing a blistering, true-to-style flip of Ice Cube’s original verse by SFR cornerstone, B. Dolan. TOKI WRIGHT (Rhymesayers Entertainment) follows up by stepping into the shoes of MC Ren, penning the people’s struggle against cops as a case of “Goliath Vs. a bigger giant.” Finally, Jasiri X (Pittsburgh rapper/activist) rounds out the track by filling in for Eazy-E, reminding us that police brutality disproportionately affects poor people of color.

With the Occupy Movement bringing various forms of injustice to the forefront of people’s consciousness, “Film the Police” is a reminder that cops have been a continued and increasingly militarized presence in public streets. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones and video cameras, along with the popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the power of the media has been put back into the people’s hands as they document the injustices perpetrated by those who have sworn to serve and protect them.

The song is a worthy successor to the original and is a powerful call for citizen journalism and the use of digital technology and citizen activism as a check on abuses by police. The song’s full lyrics are below (advisory: explicit lyrics):

Intro (Sage Francis):
Right about now, the SFR court is in full effect!
Judge Sage presiding in the case of the People vs. The Police Department.
Prosecuting attorneys are: Toki Wright, Jasiri X and B motherf*ckin’ Dolan.
Order! Order! Order! B. Dolan, take the motherf*ckin’ stand.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
(Dolan: You godd*mn right.)
Then why don’t you tell everyone what the f*ck they have the right to do?

Verse 1 
(B. Dolan):
Film the Police. Run a tape for the underclass!
Get the face, name and number on the badge.
They flash, we flash back when they act disorderly.
React accordingly and capture all that we see…
Nightstick, Zip-ties, and Tasers.
Think they’re licensed for type vicious behavior.
Make a tight fist with a video trained toward the Pigs,
Like this. They trip & you make ‘em famous.
Explain to a Judge the bounds you oversteppin’.
2011 time to the change our method.
We aim lenses at the State’s weapon,
‘Til they remember whose godd*mn streets they’re protecting.
They’d rather see me in a cell
Than me and my cell with a different story to tell.
Camcorder by the dash. Next time you get stopped,
Reach for the celly if you wanna shoot a cop.
On a public sidewalk, you can tape what you see,
Or film from your window with a view of the street!
Neighborhood Crime Watch, we police the Police.
They can’t arrest the whole community.
Because the streets clock. These cops occupying blocks,
Harassing the homeless with batons, pulling glocks.
They stop lawful protests and let off shots…
Abuse prostitutes and misuse power they got.
In memory of the victims who are never forgot,
We’ve gotta’ exercise our right to shed light in the dark.
There is an army on the march that doesn’t want you to watch.
You’ve got a weapon in your pocket whether you know it or not.
We, the people, are the only real media we got.
Let’s protect one another from the f*cking goon squad.
Fascism’s coming to the U.S.A.
Eyo, Sage, I got something to say!

Verse 2 (Toki Wright):
Film the police! It’s time to make it our priority.
You see these fools are in abuse of their authority.
Crack a fist or you crack a whip.
But that ain’t power you coward, you beat a man with two shackled wrists.
So put their names up on a list next to an asterisk.
Next time you see ‘em blast a clip, then you flash a flick.
Attach a video and pic to your master list.
Be on the news at 6. YouTube views legit.
The cops watch us, so we gotta have the Cop Watchers.
Been in fear of law so long, so now it’s not awkward.
But what is law when it’s wrong. When you slam us on the floor.
Naw, this ain’t World Wrestling Entertainment Raw.
This is Edutainment, y’all. Got a call from B. Dolan.
You try to squabble with Johnny Law and get your meat swollen.
Why you think Bobby and Huey P. were heat holding?
You better load the footage up and get to key stroking.
And while you at it, send one off to the administration,
It’s indicating, all the physical intimidation.
It’s been too long they said to “bear with us.”
That’s when I run up on your caravan and rip off all your D.A.R.E. stickers.
This here is near Hitler’s; weirder than some mere tickets…
You feel privileged ’til your wife get her brassiere lifted.
You disappear quick as Hoffa if you p*ss a copper,
Off ya’ til you get a Channel 7 News helicopter.
Violence hides in a code of silence, tyrants hide in an alliance,
Quiet or be left somewhere, or get swept inside it.
It’s Goliath vs. a bigger giant.
Got us pulling over so far we ran a curb and hit a hydrant.
It’s systematic how the system has its symptoms,
Of the democratic law that’s been flawed since the pilgrims landed.
So now tell me what you wanna do? Next time you see the boys in blue,
You cock your camera back and point and shoot.

Verse 3 (Jasiri X):
Film the police! I got the Cannon 7D.
Highest definition for when they try to arrest and lynch ‘em,
Then lie and protest the whippin’, not serve and protect the victims.
Their murders, threats and hitmen…observe ‘em and let the witness be
The iphone. Never let bygones be bygones.
Get your flip cam before they get in the whip and ride on.
It’s vital ’cause our survival could depend on a video going viral,
With more viewers than American Idol.
Instead of having to bury a child who…
The cops shot ’cause they thought they carried a rifle.
Then the same cops will go to court and swear on a bible,
And smile to show the teeth that they’re preparing to lie through.
Whether Crips or Piru ,Vice Lords or Gangsta Disciples,
Make sure your camera lens gets an eyeful.
And they liable to try and confiscate it.
Better hold on to that sh*t like you’re constipated.
‘Cause they’ll pretend them injuries are not related,
Like, “When we arrived we saw him dive head first off the pavement.”
So keep the mini cam stashed in the dash of your mini van.
They’ll crash and smash on any man.
Pull out your Blackberry ’cause cops will take a shot at your black berry,
‘Til we see another black buried.
Don’t act scary, ’cause they’ll empty the gat on ya’,
Stand over your body just to sprinkle the crack on ya’.
Police attacking ya’. Don’t want to see they reflections like Dracula.
But camera’s capture ya’.
Too busy using your flashlight to batter us,
To notice John Singleton was my passenger.
So point, click and shoot they ass*s,
It’s the only way to get the real truth to the masses.
Jasiri X, I’m making movies like Spike Lee.
I won’t be a law and order special victim like Ice T.


“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Ingrid Michaelson

Ah, Ingrid Michaelson. My love for her music never ceases. Around this time of year, people always post her fantastic duet cover with Sara Bareilles, “Winter Song”, which she was invited to play last year at the Obama Tree Lighting Ceremony for the President and his family. The President’s usually a fan of jazz. The fact that he chose Ingrid and Sara speaks to just how awesome their music is (or how much Michelle, Malia and/or Sasha love the song).

This year, however, she released a wonderful Christmas cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (from the 1944 classic film Meet Me in St. Louis), a jazz-influenced minimalist ditty that features only Michaelson’s voice and a pulsing, jazzy electric bass accompaniment. A feature of many live shows around Christmastime, she finally, quietly, released it as a single.

I’m a sucker for good Christmas music.

Happy Festivus, readers!

Right-click to download:

Ingrid_Michaelson_-_Have_Yourself_a_Merry_Little_Christmas.mp3

Love love love. Introducing Wild Vibes

So come with me, we’ll take some ecstasy, we’ll make those sad thoughts go adios.

Thus goes the chorus of New York band Wild Vibes, which specializes in electronic and psychedelic rock. Now does that have traces of present minded hedonism in it? Well yes, but if you listen to the song, such behavior sounds so intoxicating (in the best way possible). In a way the chorus has the makings of a drugged out love song, considering there’s the aspect of two people spending time together in a night full of…fun activities.

Zolpidem Lovesick Cover Art

As you are listening to the song “Molly”, be sure to practice something first. Tip your head to the left, then tip your head to the right. Back to the left, and back to the right again. Now that you’ve got it down be sure to keep that head bobbling while you listen to this. Give the track a spin and you’ll feel like you just got a shot of upbeat adrenaline into your system because of the surf rock sound of the guitar and the percussion laying down this chill grove that will get anybody swaying along.

Zolpidem Lovesick and Wild Vibes EP are just previews of their musical sound while they work on a full length album. Looking at the release dates of the those EPs, Wild Vibes is obviously proficient, with those works coming within six months of one another. Can I venture that we will see another EP (or maybe even album?) come spring time, based on the rate in which new works come out? Nevertheless, they are damn fine works that would be selling like hotcakes if it weren’t for the fact that you get it for free! Who knew that psychedelic rock could be so poppy and cheery?

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The Year’s Most Celestial

Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972 is not the most technically accomplished output of 2011, but it just may be the most thought provoking. Yeah, that’s a pretty heavy compliment. Hecker’s album is deserving of the praise. In a year where a transition to synth-based ambient music has reigned supreme in the blog-induced hipster mainstream, no album has stripped away concepts as simple as melody and rhythm as seamlessly as Ravedeath. Indie favorites high on the use of sound obstruction – a term I use to attempt to describe the drone inflected sounds happening everywhere from the hip-hop scene to pop – have not approached the level of complete spaciness, freeness, drone, that Hecker achieves. This may sound bland, but what Hecker provides is a template for thought. He captures a sound that is only comparable to minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage. Following in the trend of these modernist pioneers, he has helped to deconstruct pre-conceived notions of what music can be. Does it have to have melody or a sense of rhythm? Isn’t that what defines music? Not according to Hecker. One listen to any of his songs will tell you that Hecker is a musician, but not in the stereotyped or preconceived sense. Hecker pushes boundaries with music that sounds at first listen like anything but controversial. When it comes down to it, he portrays a mood. His compositions are portraits, or canvases if you will. Like a painter, he approaches the canvas and subtly creates something sublime. The best part – this creation acts as a canvas itself for the listener,  an album that lends itself perfectly to thought and dream.