Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Walk The Moon - Tightrope

Cincinnati's Walk The Moon does a helluva job explaining why I don't go outside in their video for "Tightrope".  Simply....the outside is out to get me.  I know it is and this video is a manifesto as to how it would do it.  But seriously, it's a super fun video for a super fun track.  This was the first song that I heard from them which led me to get the album and I was instantly hooked.  Spin Magazine says they are "Art-Rock" and if that's the case then I am a fan of this genre.  The album is what I consider to be the perfect blend of Synth Pop and Indie Rock.  The lyrics are fun and the choruses are catchy but more than that, the songs are well put together and crafted impeccably.  Take a look at the video and see if you aren't immediately hooked. 

Edit: If this how they sound live....count me in.  I mean hot damn!!!

Daniel Bedingfield - Secret Fear

If anyone other than Daniel Bedingfield recorded this video, the nudity would have been done just for sensationalism but it's well documented how Daniel feels about his body and how this video is nothing more than an extension of the song and of him.  I think it's an incredible video that hows how the secrets he's been keeping from not only his lover but himself have created nothing but tumult in their lives and how if he continues to keep them locked away it's going to lead to disaster.  I think it's a beautifully shot video and the concept is great.  Watch it now on youtube before it gets taken down for the nudity.  This is one of my favorite tracks off his EP, Stop the Traffik/Secret Fear and I think the emotion it is able to evoke is amazing.  What do you think about this video?

Delta Rae - Dance in the Graveyards

Here's what I learned today from Delta Rae.  Do not watch a potentially emotionally charged video at work on your cellphone because when the emotion hits (and it will), you may break down and cry a bit.  This video struck me right in my gut.  In 2010, I lost the love of my life to pneumonia and this made me think of him so much.  Ian's attitude toward death is very similar to my own.  After Sean died in a time of perpetual self doubt and heartache, I had to come to the realization that there's no way in this world that I was going to walk it alone.  He is with me in everything that I do and I know that I have felt his hand driving me to better myself and to honor the life we had together.  So I know that when it comes time for me to say my goodbyes to this world, he will be there waiting for me to dance and celebrate everything that we had and everything that we are.

The video is a celebration in the style of Dia de los Muertos with the band donning sugar skull makeup and bringing the loved ones of the dead back for one more dance.  The make up is done incredibly and I hope that there are stills of them floating around the internet because they are awesome.  When Ian lowered his staff and summoned the widow's husband, I lost it.  Tears streaming, I had to get up from my desk and make haste to dry my eyes.  This video is clearly inspired and I will watch it with joy in my heart because it will be a happy day when I get to see all those that have gone before me.  Watch the video and see what I mean.  They are an amazing group with so much to give and I am eternally grateful for this gift they have given me today.

Much love, guys and gals.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Mix - DNA

Say what you will about Little Mix. When it comes to solid pop tracks, these girls have created two amazing songs that show off each and every one of their talents beautifully. I love their voices and harmonies and they all play so well off each other. I am very impressed with Perrie on this track. Her voice is so mature and full it just fills up the whole space. It's a great pop track with a driving bass line and a massive chorus. I am a fan and can't wait for the album to come out. I want to see where they go next and how a they really handle a ballad or two. If you want to hear an amazing cover, their arrangement of Katy Perry's E.T. from The X-Factor (Link) is just crazy.

Shiny Toy Guns - Fading Listening

My obsession with Shiny Toy Guns is becoming pretty severe. Like they are rapidly becoming a huge part of my musical go-to-artists, you know the ones that no matter how crappy you feel, as soon as you throw on a track; things start to look up. So their new album III came out today and from what I've heard on my first run through, the band is back to being the amazing group they were with We Are Pilots. When I initially started writing about them, I wanted to ride the fence between Carah Faye and Sisely but as time has gone on, it is clear to me that Carah Faye is the only way to go.  Season of Poison wasn't a horrible album but it was too different from their first outing and getting back to (what I feel they do best) what they do best, III is nothing but pure Synth Pop to the absolute max and I love every minute of it.  Here is a bit of a sneak to tide you over until I come back with my full write up.

It's a super cute concept for the video using the kids in place of the band but sometimes I need to see that band I am watching.  Carah Faye sounds amazing in this song.  She is channeling some serious Christine McVie meets Stevie Nicks and there is just a bit of Bryan Ferry in Chad's vocals.  I love every minute of this track and there are even more amazing examples of how this group has grown and matured.  I am so happy that Carah Faye is back behind this microphone where she belongs and I will have a full review of the album as soon as I am done with my second pass through.  Until then, enjoy "Fading Listening" and get ready for some amazing music from these guys.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rodney Noffsinger - Here I Am

I don't have a lot of experience with pop rock comparisons. So I can't say that Rodney Noffsinger sounds like so-in-so or I can hear an influence of whatshisname in this track. What I can say and know for a fact is that this is a solid track that has huge potential for massive airplay.  It's commercial enough to make you want to hear more but not cookie cutter.  And that's what I've done.  After listening to a ton of tracks on his youtube and reverbnation, I want to see him live and buy his albums.  They are a Nashville based band so you can hear a bit of Music Row influence to their music. If I had to make a stab at saying where I would place them, it would be somewhere in the vicinity of Shinedown and Staind. I don't know if that is an insult or a compliment but that's where my ear leads me.

Rodney is the son of a preacher and has spent his musical life running the gamut of styles and influences from Garth Brooks to Hip Hop to Grunge.  His voice has this gritty edge to it that helps create this cool vibe and you can really hear him shine on his cover of Godsmack's "Voodoo" (Click here but then come right back).  I think that with the combination of quality writing, his voice and good looks; they really have a strong shot of  being something great.  I would certainly buy their albums or vote for them on one of those talent shows.  If you're looking for something a little more rock than what I normally feature, then this is totally where you need to be.  Rodney Noffsinger and his amazing band have a great shot at being something big.  Take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments.

Rodney Noffsinger on the Web

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Imani Coppola - Ava Maria

"Whose shirt is this?  Is it his or mine or mine or his?"

Imani Coppola has been a musical pioneer for almost 20 years now.  When she wanted to do things her way, she released her albums independently with no backing from a label and now she has a new album coming out soon called The Glass Wall and from what I've heard so far, it's going to be crazy.  The third track to be released is "Ava Maria", a sort of tongue-in-cheek play on whether or not the potential man of her dreams is gay or European.  A mystery that has set the world on fire for years.  It's a great track with all the trappings of an incredible pop track.  It's got some bite to it and I think it's going to get a tremendous amount of club play.  The heavy guitar riff plays right off Imani's vocals and forces the song through while the hand claps make it super easy to just bounce along with.  It's cheeky enough to stand on it's own two feet without being cheesy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

P!nk - Try

This is one of my favorite songs off the new album.  I think the emotion in the song is only matched by Alecia's vocals.  I appreciate how much she's come into her own artist as the years have gone by.  From her work with Linda Perry to all of the other stops along the way on her journey, she has never left us out of her life, as it were.  This song to me is all about being responsible for carrying your own weight in a relationship.  Because if it is a partnership then it needs to be 50/50.  No ifs-ands-or buts about it.  The choreography is amazing and her partner, Colt Prattes does a helluva job supporting her when she needs it but she is amazing on her own and holds her own in this piece done by The Golden Boyz who have done amazing work with artists like Madonna, The Spice Girls, Brittney Spears and apparently every disco routine on America's Best Dance Crew.  So watch the video and hit me up with your comments.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Delta Rae (Live at 3rd & Lindsley)

I've been to a great number of concerts in my life and it takes a helluva show to crack my Top 5 and it takes an even greater show to make it into my Top 3 and after last night's live show at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, Delta Rae are now in that coveted position.  It's no secret that I am a fan of this band and I have been more than anxiously waiting to see them live because even though there are dozens of YouTube videos, the experience of seeing a live show will hands down beat any prerecorded broadcast.  The concert was sponsored by Lightning 100, Nashville's Independent Radio and Yuengling.  It was part of a program that Lightning 100 does where they broadcast concerts live on Sunday nights so both Wild Feathers and Delta Rae were simulcast to radio listeners.

Brigitte DeMeyer, a local artist lit up the venue with some amazing blue eyed soul mixed with a little bit of everything.  She threw in some folk and some Alt. Country and a healthy dose of New Orleans influenced soul. She has a similar vibe as Emmylou Harris so if you are a fan of her particular brand of music then you will no doubt enjoy Brigitte.  She played for about an hour and did a helluva job showing off what she's about and what to expect from an album.  Here is a video from SXSW of her song "Say Big Poppa" and it was as amazing last night as it is in this video.  Her voice is just so full of experiences and character you want her to sit around and tell you stories all night.

Up next was one of the most dynamic groups I have ever seen.  I believe they would fit into the Americana genre with a heavy twist of Alt. Country.  Wild Feathers is a band that has a unique take one what is classified as Rock and Roll and what isn't and throws it out the window in order to make up their own rules along the way.  What struck me as most awesome about this group was that they had 3 singers (Taylor, Ricky and Joel) that all shared duties on lead vocals.  And when these guys come together their harmonies are just mind blowing.  The vocals ranged anywhere from subtle and slight to straight on rock and roll.  By the time they played "Backwoods Company", I knew I was hooked.  My only question was where did I need to throw money at to support them.  I needed to buy a CD because they are that damn good.  I found out about them yesterday and I immediately wanted to buy the record.  Their set was loud and full on and didn't stop (well until it did).  I think that with the success of bands like Drive-by Truckers, The Avett Brothers and others that fall into this genre because no one else knows where to really put them, Wild Feathers is going to do exceedingly well for themselves.  If you go to their website and sign up for their mailing list, you can get downloads of "Backwoods Company" and "The Ceiling", both songs that will just make you stop what you're doing and pay attention.  Their set was an hour and by the end of it you needed a break from just partying.  Here is a video of them doing "Hard Times" (Not from last night but another show where the person recording did a bang up job)

After a quick breakdown and reset, our headliners were introduced to thunderous applause.  They do this thing when they are all on stage together that just fills up the entire room.  They have such stage presence and they don't even have to try.  It was really cool to watch them as one vocalist would sing, the others would stand quietly with their head bowed and it almost seemed a sign of respect and reverence for their fellow singer as to not draw attention or focus from them.  When it came time to harmonize, then they would do their part and go back to just being still.  We were sitting maybe 10 feet from the stage on Ian's side and with each song in the set, we were pulled further and further into the magic that is their music.  From where I was sitting, I could watch each member (sometimes Grant disappeared behind Ian, especially when he was playing the Upright) and I can honestly say, I  have never seen a drummer play with the intensity  that Mike McKee does.  There were times that it looked like those drums owed him some money and he was gonna get it back. lol.

From the minute that Eric started singing "Morning Comes" until the last bar finished on "Hey, Hey, Hey" you were just swept up in the experience and time just seemed to stop.  I've said repeatedly by now that I am a huge fan.  And as a huge fan, I sat and sang along to every song (not loud or obnoxiously or in a karaoke style - mostly I lip synced so that I never sang over top of them in my own head).  This turned out to be an act that I would later find out that did not go unnoticed.  Ian actually told me that it was cool that I sat up front and sang along because it helped with the energy in the venue and he appreciated it. I immediately became self conscious because he actually saw me singing.  From my experience watching their videos on youtube, I was ready for them to talk between songs and build rapport but because the set was being broadcast live and they only had an hour, I think they had to cut that out.  They still talked a bit but not as much as I had seen.

A friend asked me if they sounded as good live as they did on the CD and I told her that they were even better because you got nuances that just don't come across on a recording.  You could hear breath sounds and inflections that weren't necessarily apparent when the tracks are mastered.   They also played two previously unreleased tracks, "Cold Day" and "What You Thinkin Bout, Baby" which were just incredible.  Both of these tracks, like all of the other songs, have the ability to tap into your emotions and just hit you right in the feels.  The cover of "The Chain" is the absolute best version of that song next to the original and no one should ever sing it aside from Delta Rae and Fleetwood Mac.  "Bottom of the River" is the gateway drug that gets everyone hooked on them but if you want to hear Brittany need to hear her wail on "Fire".  That song should come with a warning label because it will knock you out.  My most favorite Delta Rae song is "Chain on Love" because of the message it holds and what it means to me and my life.  It makes me swell with pride to know how many allies we have in the fight for what should be so trivial and I had the opportunity to thank them for writing and recording that song and got choked up talking to Ian about it because of how important of a message they are sending with it.  I think I would have been a puddle of mush if they would have done it and I nearly made it to that state with "Is There Anybody Out There" - which is a very close second for favorite song of all time.  The rest of the set was incredible and they never once missed a beat.

They held the audience in awe for the entirety of the set and I was sad when it had to come to an end.  What I learned about  them last night that you can't really learn from CDs or videos is just how honest and genuine they are.  Humble doesn't begin to describe them.  Each and every member of the band was so grateful and thankful for us being in the audience.  They took the time out to thank up profusely for coming out and it amazed me because I did the same to them for bringing their music to us.  We got to hang out for about an hour after the show and talked to them and I am so glad that we did.  It might be a while before I see them again but I have a feeling they'll remember me.  That type of relationship between artist and fan can't be faked and is totally organic.  They are thankful that there are people out there that want to hear what they have to say.  I told the best friend that I was wish I had so much inside of me that in order to properly express it, I had to do it through song.  I am just so in awe of anyone that can do that and when they do it was well as Delta Rae does, I consider my self lucky to be in the presence of such amazing artists.

We left with a hug from Brittany and a 'Goodbye, Wes' from Ian and I think I at least made it to the car before I just became a babbling idiot about the time we just had.  I cannot express just how much of an incredible time we had.  It's a situation that I can talk about all day long but until you're inducted into the fraternity of people that have experienced them live, you just can't fully grasp the magnitude of their message.  This experience is hands down one I will be talking about to anyone that I can make stand in one place or any given amount of time.  I am honored to be a fan of this amazing group and I am certainly one that "enjoy's their song".

Delta Rae Set List

1. Morning Comes
2. Holding on to Good
3. If I Loved You
4. Is There Anyone Out There
5. Forgive the Children We Once Were
6. What You Thinkin Bout Baby
7. Unlike Any Other
8. Bottom of the River
9. The Chain
10. Cold Day
11. Fire
12. Dance in the Graveyards
13. Hey, Hey, Hey (Encore)


Brigitte DeMeyer

The Wild Feathers

Delta Rae

Photo Credits: Charles Cornett II
Delta Rae Set List provided by Ashley Mizell of the Unofficial Delta Rae Street Team (as my phone was dead and my waitress had stolen her ink pen back)

Ellie Goulding - Halycon

I fell in love with Ellie's ethereal vocals and amazing pop sensibilities way back when I heard "Starry Eyed" on the Chris Moyles show in 2010 and have been a huge fan ever since.  Both versions of her debut album, Lights and Bright Lights have a place in my music library so when I found out Halcyon was coming, I was very pleased.  After listening to it, I am able to say that this year has another great album to add to the best of the year.  She has taken chances on some of the tracks and has expanded her repertoire to include more experimental sounds like "Only You" or "Figure 8".  There are tracks that pair her with heavy drum and bass style beats and never once doe she get lost.  She commands attention and the producers do an amazing job of showcasing that.  "Halcyon", "My Blood", "Joy" are all very Ellie type tracks and do not disappoint.  "Explosions" is brilliant.  The choral style backing vocals and the strings in conjunction with her amazing voice create this atmospheric track that is so compelling it almost takes your breath.

I am a huge fan of what she has to offer and she has a knack of getting me to where I need to go.  The people she works with to craft this amazing music know how to make her shine.  Music is a very important part of my life and when you are able to have music like this as part of your life, it makes things better.  I think there is something very powerful in the quietness and stillness that Ellie can harness but at the same time, she has a subtle power that you can't deny.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ninthwave Records - Kiss My Lipstick Off (Track-by-Track)

This album does something incredible.  It takes these 11 songs that shouldn't work together and by the sheer nature of the project they all come together into this amazing compilation of anthemic empowering songs that will have you bouncing along before you know it.  This album could easily be imagined as a fall fashion line.  All the tracks have their own individual style and work great on their own but bring them all together and you have something more powerful and the individual parts.  I am a fan of everything about this album; the songs, the track order, the selection of artists... all of it.  I don't think a better album could have been created.

1.  "Kiss My Lipstick Off"
Georgia Haege of Liquid Diet kicks off this incredible compilation with the scorching title track, "Kiss My Lipstick Off".  It's an incredibly cheeky single and the perfect way to let you know what's to come in the next  40 minutes.

2.  "You Can Always Come Home"
England's Synthpop duo, Spray pick up the reins next with "You Can Always Come Home", an awesome reminder that no matter where you are in your journey there will always be a place for you.  The song kind of lampoons itself with a bit of sarcastic wit and self deprecation that adds a sense of honesty and it doesn't matter if things are the way they should be or if life has just given you the boot, there is a place for you.

3.  "Twisted"
Producer extraordinaire Stormby is up with "Twisted" featuring the vocals of Roz.  This is his second release with Roz and it's brilliant.  Much like "In Dreams" both producer and vocalist use their amazing talents to produce a track that for lack of better words, leaves you twisted.

4.  "XTC"
Liz Primo takes the album up a notch with this track.  The bass line throbs and pulsates behind her super sexy voice.  There's no way you're not moving along with this track.  It's a helluva dance track that adds a sense of danger to the album.  I have come to believe that's Liz's middle name, Danger, because she has a quality to her music that is a bit unsafe, like a bit of rough trade.

5.  "Next To Me"
The song that I want to play for the person I decide to spend the rest of my life with brings the album back from being dangerous follows Liz and reminds us that even a 20 year hiatus can't stop the magic that is Nathalie Archangel.  Her voice is as solid today as it was in the 80s and I feel as critically acclaimed as ever. This song is the musical equivalent of sitting on a porch swing with your love drinking coffee on a Sunday monrning.

6.  "Make You Sorry"
In what starts as a ballad-y type of track, Swedish rocker Teresia quickly throws that notion away and cranks up the revenge machine.  Karma is a bitch and now so am I because you pushed me to it.  The lyrics are as sharp as the blade she used to pop your tires and you better just back away slowly before you make it worse.

7.  "Baby, Run! Run!"
Another entry into the "Get the hell out of here" section of the album, Carina Lirola  is just giving you a friendly piece of advice and it's to your benefit to just run.  The amount of synth in this song is incredible.  It's Dale Bozzio meets Julie Brown and it's gorgeous.  Probably one of my favorite tracks on the album.

8.  "Rise of Venus"
Girl power reigns supreme on this track.  It's one part new age meets one part synth with a bit of astrology wrapped up in a neat little package.  This is Chelsea Chavis' first commercial release and if she continues this way, it shouldn't be her last.  With artists like Sky Ferreria, Grimes and Charlie XCX paving the way, Chelsea has an awesome place waiting for her. I could easily see her sharing the stage with Neon Hitch, in a very gypsy style concert like Nomads across America.

9.  "Frozen People"
We'll take a bit of gypsy pop and throw some glitch and wub in it to create something new with Doomsday Affair's addition to the album.  It's a bit dub and it's brings a bit of darkness with.  I am a fan of Darkwave and Olivia has a bit of Ellie Goulding to her voice that is totally set off by the strings and the electronica.  I am a fast fan of this group.

10. "Yesterday's Tomorrows"
My favorite chanteuse is up next and it's gorgeous.  I love Jane Badler and this mix, "Stormby's Drama Mix" takes a brilliant single and amps it up to Alexis and Crystal levels of drama.  Jane has such a presence to her that just draws you in and demands your attention.  When she takes the stage, you will watch her because she is dazzling.

11.  "Bubblegum"
The album comes to a close with Jamie Lovett's ode to being done wrong.  But it's not a cry in your drink song.  It's empowered and it's a bit angry and it's a great way to close things out.  I really dig her voice and want to hear more from her.

Kiss My Lipstick Off is available at all major music outlets or you can pick up the individual singles on Amazon or iTunes.  I say get the whole damn thing because you will be entertained from start to finish.  This is probably going to go into heavy rotation in my library because it all just works together in an incredible way.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Niki & The Dove - Somebody

Somebody (album version)

I just stumbled upon this track and I am ever so glad that I did.  This is one of the most infectious songs I've heard in a long time.  I immediately liked them on Facebook and then did a wiki search and surprise, surprise... They're Swedish.  That should come as no shock because it's great and I have yet to be disappointed by anything to come out of Sweden.  Niki & The Dove are a trio from Stockholm comprised of Malin Dahlström (vocals), Gustaf Karlöf (keyboards) and Magnus Böqvist (drums).  They finished 5th in BBC's Sound of 2012 poll and have since released their debut album, Instinct.  

This track sounds like something that Prince would have produced, like they are secretly a member of the Revolution and hang out with Vanity and Apollonia.  The vocals are amazing and the production value is super high.  Malin has a vulnerability to her voice that draws you in on her first lyric and holds you there for the entire song.  The middle eight is so Prince it's not funny and I love it!

I am going to listen to more and probably fall head over heels for them.  When I learn more, I will get back and let you know.  They are massive and it's going to be an intense love affair, I believe.

Niki & The Dove on the Web