Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 25 Musical Happenings of 2012

It's that time again.  Every year I pick out my most favorite moments from the previous year.  It isn't necessarily a song or an album but something that has happened in the world of music that I feel has a quantifiable effect on the world in one way or another.  There has been a tremendous amount of news this year from the passing away of many beloved artists to formations of new groups and winners all across the board in various musical competitions.  This list is my way of wrapping up the year and giving a nod to everyone that made a difference in my life musically. Without further fanfare, here are the top 25 events in the music industry that have left an indelible mark on my life forever.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hurricane Love - Only Human

I've said it before but there is something about Sweden that cranks out amazing pop.  I don't know if it's the climate, the water or the politics but something has the ability to shape and craft groups that will just blow you away.  This six piece indie band from Malmö hasn't been posting music online for very long but what they have put online is incredible.  If you go to their soundcloud, there are 4 tracks available for streaming and their YouTube channel has 2 of those songs, "Only Human" and "Deep Under Water". Both the acoustic versions of the songs and the versions with the full production are brilliant.  They are so full and just fill up all the space with this incredible sound.

One of my most favorite elements a band can have are multiple vocalists and to have a male and a female vocalist adds so much interest because of the harmonies they can create or the stories they can tell.  With this track, "Only Human" the song is sung from the perspectives of the people involved in the relationship and there is so much emotion and power behind it.  It's an incredibly honest song and doesn't try to glorify the idea of a relationship, it's stripped down and bare and by the end of the song, you are just exhausted.

I highly recommend this group because they are simply, amazing.

Hurricane Love on the Web
Twitter: @HurricaneLoveHL

Thursday, December 13, 2012

MNDR - Feed Me Diamonds

I became a fan of MDNR when Amanda Warner was featured on Marc Ronson's "Bang, Bang, Bang" with Q-Tip.  I quickly bought their EP titled E.P.E and have waited patiently for more and more music from them so it was no surprise today when they released the second single off the album of the same name, "Feed Me Diamonds".  The video features Raven getting ready and then performing in a fantastic outfit and gorgeous wig. The song is incredible and the video is a perfect compliment to it.  Not gonna talk too much, I'll let Raven and Amanda do that for me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

HAIM - Don't Save Me

Sisters Danielle, Alana, Este Haim are creating a super cool vibe that would stand up beside so many other indie artists. A little Juice Newtwon, a little Ladyhawke and a whole lot of cool makes this trio a group to watch out for. Their harmonies are cool and their vibe is a bit Boho chic. Again, another thanks goes to The Middle Eight for the heads up on this awesome group.

HAIM on the Web


Twitter: @HAIMtheband

Lexy and the Kill - Rope Swing

It took less than a minute of this song before I was immediately hooked.  Lexy's voice is stellar and the song just has this really awesome vibe to it.  I have to give massive credit to the blokes over at The Middle Eight for turning me onto this up and coming Indie Pop group from Scotland and I am damn glad I took the time to listen to the song.  I think that they are going to be huge in 2013 and you should get in now so you can ride with them to the top.  Even better is that they are offering the track as a free download from their SoundCloud.  Go and like them on Facebook, twitter and all the other social media sites to let them know you want them to be massive in the coming year.

Lexy and the Kill on the Web
Twitter: @lexyandthekill

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jinx Titanic and the Ladykillers - Mister Cassanova

Jinx Titanic has never been one to mince words.  You never ever had to wonder where you stood with him, musically speaking as it were.  He has always been open and honest about his wants, needs and desires.  With the evolution from Super 8 C*m Shot to The Ladykillers you are privy to a more playful side of Jinx.  You still know where you stand but now, its to a more shagged out beat.  Throw in a little bossanova and dress it up with a mod sensibility and you're getting close to the new sound.  For those in need of a visual, think what what would happen to Don Draper and crew if they knew no one was watching.

It's one part Old Fashioned with a twist of burlesque.  The sex appeal just drips off this album but it never ventures into the realm of smutty or trashy.  It's sexy.  It's smoky. It's sultry.  It's probably one of the most enjoyable albums I've picked up in a long time.  The songs are all cheeky and will make you just have a good time.  For me, there are some stand out tracks even though they are all outstanding I am a huge fan of "What Turns You On" and "Dirty Little So and So".  I am also partial to "You Drive Me Wild" because I love surf rock and this track makes me want to be on a beach blanket bingo somewhere.

Jinx on the Web
Twitter: @JinxTitanic

DJ Chris Spear - Clarity (Remix)

I think what makes a remix special consists of 2 things.

1.) Paying homage to the original
2.) Bringing a new point of view to the track while breathing new life into it.

DJ Chris Spear has this ability to sound like he's been doing this for far longer than he actually has been.  In an electrohouse remix of Zedd's, "Clarity" he doesn't stray to far from the original arrangement  but what he does is fill out the track to give it a much larger sound.  He has added additional interest and has definitely made a case for his point of view that after you listen to his version against the original, you go..."Ok, I see that he did need to add that additional reverb there" or "Yes, you are correct.  There did need to be a little more added to this eight count to make it more robust".  He does have something to say and if you go through his catalog you can see that he is evolving into quite a producer and it would be really cool to hear him working with artists in the near future.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mike & Cody - Climax (Usher Cover)

When you start a cover with a sample from "Pure Imagination", you are immediately going to hook me.  Cover songs were what I got my feet wet with Mike & Cody and this one is incredible.  I love the spin they've put on the track while being honest and staying close to Usher's original arrangement.  Then they get all crazy and have this sax solo that is super sexy and cool at the same time.  Both of their vocals are great and the slight synth undertones just add another dimension of flavor to this incredible cover.  Just another reason why they are one of the best bands around, not just the D.C. area but all over.  If you aren't grooving along by the middle of the song then there's something wrong with you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Doug Baron - I Can't Wait For The Miracle

Today is World AIDS Day.  It's a day that should have more pomp and circumstance surrounding it because I don't think there is nearly enough awareness.  In the 80s and 90s when people were visibly ill and were dying at an astronomical rate, people took notice but now that people are living longer and healthier lives it doesn't seem as if there is enough of a fire under people to stand up and take notice.  Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  I am glad that people are experiencing longevity in the face of this horrible pandemic, but I don't think the public has enough understanding and enough of a sense of urgency to do something about it.  To honor the people that I've known that have died at the hands of this terrible illness, I would like to share one of the most amazing songs ever written.

Doug Baron is an American Singer/Songwriter from Louisiana that has this incredible gift for not necessarily how things are said but how they are written to best make the most out of the emotion or feeling he's trying to convey.  He says about this song, "I wrote this in a Chapel at the hospital of someone very dear to me. This is what was in my head, in my heart."  Listening to the song, there is no doubt how much of himself he poured into it.  For those of us that have lost someone, this song strikes particularly close to home but at the same time offers hope and an understanding of something that may not directly touch your life.  It's a song that makes you  stop what you're doing and listen to each and every word.  You pay attention because it and Doug deserve you're respect and attention.  Buy the song.  It's $2 or whatever you want to pay over that.  I think it's beautiful and heartfelt and deserves all the money.

The Overtones - Higher

The Overtones are one of those bands that will probably never garner commercial success in the United States because they are very difficult to classify.  Doo Wop, Pop, Acapella, Barbershop. It seems they have the ability to do it all.  I am a fan and think they are one of the classiest acts in pop music today.  They are always dressed to the nines and they have yet to release a video that was less than fantastically visual.  This song is just a high energy romp that will have you bouncing along in no time.  They sound amazing and look even better.  You can order their album, Higher now at all reputable media outlets.