Friday, October 28, 2011

Colton Ford - Let Me Live Again

Yes, Colton Ford is smoking hot. Yes, he was a former porn star. Good...we've gotten that out of the way. Moreover, Colton Ford is a hell of a vocalist. I've been a fan of him ever since his single Everything. I own physical copies of both of this CDs and they stay in heavy rotation in my library. His covers of "Ashes to Ashes" and "With Every Heartbeat" are in my top 50 songs of all time. I love to hear his voice and I think he can do amazing things.

However, I want to hear his voice. I understand that some digital clean up may be needed every now and then but I want to hear him, One of my most favorite videos has done was for his cover of Alicia Key's "No One" because it is stripped down and pure. I get that in the music industry you have to make yourself marketable and the tracks that have been pumped up with super energy and bigger than life dance beats are going to give him a place on the circuit scene but I want more for him. I want him to be more than a dance artist. I want him to be an artist that can flow easily from the shores of Ibiza to a quiet evening at home. I know that he has the vocal talent to pull it off, I just wish his production team felt he same way.

"Let Me Live Again" is a super danceable track that actually has a point of view and some clear cut emotion behind the throbbing base.  It's intentions are there and it makes you want to get up and dance but it's actually a super sweet song that you want it to be sung to you.  It reminds me a bit of "Music Again" by Adam Lambert in that it is a song of empowerment that can only be realized through someone else's eyes.  How many times have you had a moment where you wish someone could see themselves the way you do.  That's the vibe I get from the lyrics.  Things were going ok, but now that I've met you...I have something to live for.  I love the energy of the song and I hope that it gets a ton of airplay and club play and maybe people will be able to judge Colton as an artist not as a commodity.  Again, super freaking sexy....but he's so much more and I am glad to see the inner parts of him that he lets us see through his music.

Osvaldo Supino - When I Think About Sex

I have truly become a fan of all music from all over the world.  Some of my most favorite bands are Swedish or Australian, so when I get the opportunity to open up a new country and have a new experience, I do so with the same excitement that I did as a kid on Christmas.  This was the same kind of energy I had when I came across Osvaldo Supino who hails from Italy.  I haven't gotten to add an Italian artist to the mix and this is a pretty awesome place to start.  The majority of his website is in Italian and I don't speak it so it's hard to learn about him from there.  What I do know is he is generating some steam and has a bit of controversy in his bag of tricks.  I like that because it makes him a bit unpredictable and exciting.

The track that I picked up on youtube (and is featured below) is a teaser for the release of the full song on iTunes.  I however came late to the party because it was released today and I didn't get much teasing. (ah ha, you like I threw a sexual innuendo in a review of a track about sex)  I think that when I get to hear the whole track I am going to be giggling like a school girl because the teaser is fun and full of promise.

The lyrics are so cheeky and just make me smile ear to ear because they are not only tinged with a bit of naughtiness but there is an innocence that comes through his voice that gives the song an added layer of sex appeal. And plus who doesn't want to be the object of someone else's sexual fantasy.  I think the validation that you are that person has enough universal appeal that this song could be a huge club hit.  Not only that but there is enough bass pounding through the track to vibrate you in places you hadn't thought about.  I can't wait to hear the whole track so that I can talk more about it because I think you are all going to like it.

It always amazes me when artists that use English as a second language sing in English because when it's good and they are on most of the time it doesn't sound like rote memorization or muscle memory.  This is the same with Osvaldo, you can hear his accent bleeding Sergey Lazarev or Maja Ivarsson from The Sounds and it gives the track another added layer of flavor and dimension.  Give the video a shot and let me know what you think.  I want to hear more from him and I hope his career is taking off in Italy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kids at the Bar, K.Flay, The Limousines and The Sounds at The Mad Hatter in Cincinnati

Last night was possibly one of the most amazing concerts I think I've been to.  I've not been to a lot of concerts but a wide variety so this is another amazing entry in my book.  First and foremost; the venue, The Mad Hatter was one of the best I have ever been in.  All 4 acts were heavy on synth and electro so by nature of the beast the bass was going to be heavy all night long and the speakers and the acoustics in the building never once felt overwrought or full of distortion.  There was enough room for everyone and I really didn't feel too crowded.  We stayed right around 20-25 feet from the stage at any given time so we were able to be right near the acts.  Drinks were priced about the same as any other venue that caters to live bands like this type of show.  So now onto the show itself...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Alex Clare - The Lateness of the Hour

I was curious when I read a tweet from Blake Lewis about this amazing album was so I immediately started researching him.  This man is one of the most talented artists I have found in quite sometime.  If you take a soul singer and give him some of the most powerful lyrics I've heard in some time then you give him producers like Switch and Diplo and you have a style of music that is new, innovative and thought provoking.  Alex Clare, a native Londoner has brought a level of sophistication and style to the musical community that I haven't experienced in a long time.

The album comes out of the gate swinging with a Dancehall inspired power anthem in the form of "Up All Night".  The song is a raucous adventure that builds and swells through the entire 3 minutes and leaves you exhausted at end of the track.  This song has some pretty amazing use of Alex's voice as it is fast and shows how he can keep pace with the ragga feel laid down by the producers.  The rest of the album is a showcase of where he can go and what he can do.  "Treading Water" is so full of passion and remorse of a man confronted with his past indiscretions when he sees a woman that reminds him of an ex.  The beat throbs and pushes the song forward at almost breakneck speeds that only add to the over all feeling of being overwhelmed.  Hummingbird is another example of how versatile Alex's vocal range can be.  For me, this song is actually an auditory illustration of  a Hummingbird in mid air, it darts and weaves all over the place and everywhere the song goes, you have to follow it.  I think other shining examples of the range on this album come from the super sexy, "Hands are Clever" which is a totally different vibe than anything else on the album.  This track is more of an earthy, doing your thing kind of track that would make Earth, Wind and Fire proud to call it one of their own.  It's more on the funky side of soul and it's not out of place on the album at all.  "I Love You" is a stripped down vocal exercise in tenderness that Alex belts out with ease and effortlessness.

The album is outstanding and the only problem I have is that it's not actually available for purchase in the United States without buying an expensive import.  It's my issue that I wish would be corrected.  I think because of the internet, the music industry needs to realize that they really aren't dealing with a localized national market and from the go they need to make the music available internationally because that's the influence the internet has created.  Watch his videos on youtube, fan him on Facebook and maybe they will open up the records sales to America so that I can patronize him and give him my money as well, because I want to support him and his endeavors.

Track Listing

1. Up All Night
2. Treading Water
3. Relax My Beloved
4. Too Close
5. When Doves Cry
6. Humming Bird
7. Hands Are Clever
8. Tight Rope
9. Whispering
10. I Love You
11. Sanctuary
12. I Won't Let You Down

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fitz and the Tantrums - Pickin up the Pieces

Sometimes you need to throw an album on and groove.  You don't need high energy beats or melancholy moods, you just want to sit in a chair and get grimey with it.  Just get down and let the music handle all the hard business for you.  In their debut release, Fitz and the Tantrums do just that; from the opening bass and organ salvo of "Breakin the Chains of Love" to smokey, sultry laid back forlorn vibe of "Tighter" the over all feeling on Pickin Up the Pieces  is one that will just let you float along bobbing your head.  Some things that impress me the most about this album is the use of the organ, the lack of guitar and the baritone sax.  These instruments aren't necessarily forboden in the world of pop music but they just aren't your standard go to instruments.  I think that if you take everything that was great about the Motown sound, wrap it up with the sensibilities of Daryl Hall and John Oates and spin it with a modern message, you will have everything that Fitz sets out to do.

I think that they haven't reinvented the wheel, just added a much needed injection of soul into it.  Today's music scene is so littered with samples and overwrought production, that when something like this comes along, it makes you feel good.  It's like a palate cleanser that takes all the excess junk and washes it away.  I don't really think there is one song on this album that I don't like.  And it's one of the handful of records that I have gotten my hands on lately that I am damn glad I bought.  The combination of Michael Fitzgerald and Noelle Scaggs on the vocals add so much depth of character and flavor it just gives the album a ton of body.  I don't think the band would do as well if it were just Fitz or Noelle, it has to be both of them in order to work properly. And work properly it does.  The singles that have been released are "MoneyGrabber" and  "Don't Gotta Work it Out".  Both are perfectly fit to be singles and they have a similar enough vibe to make them a cohesive unit off the same album but different enough for them to stand on their own.

Just to prove they are awesome, here's a live version of MoneyGrabber with Daryl Hall. I mean how much cooler can you be. It's an awesome album when you need a break from all the other chaos and noise that the music industry is throwing your way. I've said it before with other albums, do yourself a favor and pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Aqua - Meglomania

So before there was a Katy Perry or a Lady Gaga there was Lene Nystrøm and the boys in Aqua.  Their brand of feel good, up tempo, quirky pop has filled the airwaves for over a decade and they have a super strong international following to prove it.  I feel like a total tool because they released an album this year and I had no idea until this week.  I am a fan, have been, always will be and I was super pumped to listen to this project.  I ran to youtube first and searched for videos from the album and found 2, How R U Doin and Playmate to Jesus.  They are the first 2 singles released from the album and I sat and watched enthralled because again, I am a huge fan.  I was not let down by either video and felt they were both worthy editions to the Aqua discography.

How R U Doin is in the same vein as the majority of radio type songs that Aqua has released, a super catchy pop song with back and forth vocals between Lene and Rene.  The video is a post apocalyptic car chase between Lene and Rene and it's a pretty awesome companion to the song.

Playmate to Jesus was an outstanding choice for a second single because it is in direct opposition to the video for How R U Doin.  Not many people think of Aqua as being a band that makes music that is thoughtful and even.  If you look at songs like Turn Back Time you would know they can make music that isn't poppy and bubbly.

Track Listing

Playmate to Jesus
Dirty Little Pop Song
Kill Myself
Like a Robot
Viva Las Vegas
No Party Patrol
Come n' Get It
Sucker for a Superstar
Be My Saviour Tonight
How R U Doin?
If the World Didn't Suck (We Would All Fall Off)

I love all the songs because they all have a point of view.  Lene's voice has never been stronger and the production values are on par with any other pop album released today.  The only song on the album I wasn't totally in love with was Viva Las Vegas because I'm just not a fan of songs like this that are more like a song that was created by the Nevada tourist board to get people to come visit beautiful Las Vegas.

Like a Robot, Playmate to Jesus, If the World Didn't Suck (We Would All Fall Off) are my favorite songs and I think they have the biggest point of view.  Like a Robot totally took me by surprise and I won't spoil it for you if you take the opportunity to listen to it.

It's a great pop album and an outstanding addition to their discography.  I wish everyone liked them as much as I do because they deserve to be respected as a real group and not just a novelty act that released Barbie Girl.

Son of a Kid - Destroy, Destroy

Destroy, Destroy by Set Fire Run

Every so often I have to post a song by Son of a Kid.  This was created back when they were still Set Fire Run but it is an amazing song.  Probably one of my most favorites.  I think you should give this a listen then you should follow them on all social media outlets possible.  Their music has so much depth, not only in the melody but in the artistry behind it as well.  The vocals are always top notch and the quality of the recordings are spot on.  This band needs to be signed by a record label so they can tour and bring all this amazing energy to the world.

Yes, I am a bit biased because I love everything they do.  An act with this much passion for the creation of art should be on the top of everyone's list.  Listen to the track, you'll dig it....I promise.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Young Professionals - 9:00 to 17:00, 17:00 to Whenever

I come in from school one day to see a media mailing envelope on the table for me with a return address of Tel Aviv. That's in Israel for those of you that may not know. Israel, man. I At first I didn't want to open it because I was so excited and I didn't want to destroy the envelope. But I wanted the CD inside more than not opening it. So open it I did.

Concept albums can either go one of two ways. They can be amazing and leave you awestruck or they can just be horrid wastes of time that no one but the artist get. 9:00 to 17:00, 17:00 to Whenever is the former. This album is so amazing I can't begin to fully express how awesome it is. The album takes you through the day of a young professional. The official release says, "The album sports an original concept, with each track designated to accompany an hour in the day of a Young Professional - from barely awake email check, to morning coffee, a drive to the office, lunch break to dinner, straight through to the bar, club and after-party."

The first two singles off the album (D.I.S.C.O and 20 Seconds) come from the 17:00 to Whenever portion of the album and as soon as the album makes the switch from work to play, you can tell. The beats are harder, the tempo is faster and there is a no holds barred attitude that come along with the tracks. Ivri Lider has an amazing grasp of the English language and I think it was a bold move on their part to release it as an English language album. There are more notable tracks on the album than forgettable. With Me is clearly the best choice to open the album and it is probably my most favorite of all the tracks. It is a slow, melodic track that eases you into the day in the life of a Young Professional. "I know I might take you home and watch you fall asleep", Ivri says as he is opening himself up to a chance at love. Dirty Message is a cheeky take on sexting between Ivri and his boyfriend as he sneaks off to the bathroom to take dirty pictures. Fuck off Berlin is a bawdy track that took me by surprise and I love it.

I think what amazes me the most is how honest this album is. I think I was naive about what this type of album would sound like and each and every expectation was shattered. I have since researched Ivri Lider and he makes some of the most amazing music. I don't know how much the cultural difference plays on my enjoyment of his music because I know there are sentiments and values that are different when dealing with what I have been exposed to and what he has been. This is probably one of the best albums you'll purchase. That I can guarantee. Support the independent artist because they are amazing and you will not be disappointed.

Drive Soundtrack

It's been a long time since a movie soundtrack encompassed everything set forth in a movie and the soundtrack to the movie Drive does just that.  I don't know if this movie will be up for Oscar contention but I think it is hands down one of the best movies I've seen this year.  I had an expectation of what I thought the movie would be about and I was totally wrong in the best way possible.  The movie is gritty and dirty with a Spaghetti Western type of feel.  Ryan Gosling plays The Driver and like other protagonists from films of the genre, he is a man of few words but much more action. The album is both the soundtrack and the score in one disc.  The first 5 tracks are the songs used through the movie and the remaining tracks are the score.