Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kim Smith - Shooting Star

Kim Smith has been one of my top picks for "Artists that everyone should know but doesn't" for a very long time.  From his voice to his stage presence to just the general way he makes everything he touches sound effortless and easy, Kim has the ability to just be.  I think that's something that so many artists struggle to find.  They spend so much time trying to find their place that they forget to just experience life and Kim exudes that.  He just looks like he's feeling every word he utters and you know exactly where he stands with his music and how it impacts the emotion he's conveying.

This song is one of my absolute favorites off of "Nova".  It's full of hope and it longing but it's presented in a way that you don't feel as if he's pining for his "shooting star".  He's talking about knowing him before he meets him and how he knows that everything will work out the way it needs to.  He just has to look to the sky to be reminded that he's out there and things will bring them together one day.  He's living his life and fate will bring them together one day but until then, he'll be content to wait because he knows that goodbye isn't forever.  Kim's vocal delivery is beautiful and mostly intoxicating as you are just drawn into the lyrics and you're filled with the same sense of hope and expectation he's feeling.

I've been a fan of Kim's for a very long time and I want him to gain the recognition he rightfully deserves.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Homer Marrs and the Excellent Adventure - Fun Size

Homer Marrs has been a long time friend of the blog and it's been amazing watching him grow into the artist he is today.  At first glance, he could be taken as a comedy act but if you look deeper and actually listen to what he has to say, he's irreverent and he lampoons social conventions and norms with his music.  Fun Size is a 5 track album (plus a remix of "It's Amazing") and each track has this amazing ability to be exactly what you need out of a song at the moment you need it.  I've made vocal comparisons of his music to acts like Flaming Lips, They Might Be Giants, and The Violent Femmes.  Those are not comparisons I make lightly because each of those groups have the ability to transcend their proposed genres and be something larger than they were intended to be.  I feel very strongly about this EP as well.

The social commentary in "It's Amazing" and "Smile. You Have Depression" is incredible.  They're songs that actually challenge you to take a look at how we deal with this situations.  Whether it be how vapid the world feels or how ameliorated we are supposed to feel through modern chemistry, these songs make you think about how our society is skewed on either axis.  "We're Wild" is yet another example of intelligent song writing as it tells the story about meeting his in-laws for the first time at a zoo.  You have to listen to the song to get the full experience so I won't ruin it but any song that makes a reference to Dario Argento is an absolute winner in my book.  "Destroy You Whole" is probably my favorite track on the album because there's something about it that I can relate to on a very personal level and I think that most people who are of dating age can find some part of it that touches you (for better or worse).  While "Candy & Demonology" is the dichotomous sister "Destroy You Whole" - where "Destroy You Whole" is an illustration of the ending of things, "Candy & Demonology" is full of hope and the wistfulness that a new relationship has.

There is an undercurrent of humor to all of Homer's music but I think there's much more to him than just a comedian.  I feel that by layering the irreverence over his message, it makes it a bit easier to take.  A spoonful of sugar, if you will.  Some of the topics he addresses are pretty heavy so if you can take the sting away just a little with a verbal prestidigitation, you don't realize that you've experienced something profound until you've had a bit of time to digest it.  Emotional Wine Coolers.  You don't realize how you've felt things because the fruity nature of the beverage hides the alcohol.  It's actually very clever and well thought out if you look at it.

Support this Chicago based artist because he's amazing and has a lot to say even if you don't know that he's saying it.

The Excellent Adventure on the Web

Twitter: @homermarrs

Monday, July 13, 2015

Philip Bonneau - Brave New Secrets Redux

I've spent the better part of two weeks engrossed and enmeshed in the world that is the mind of Philip Bonneau.  Philip is a visual artist that I have written about before as he has taken his art to a new level and becoming more of a mixed media artist by adding soundtracks that has has painstakingly crafted to his art shows.  His latest project, Brave New Secrets has been something of a transcendental process for Philip as not only have the circumstances of his art changed but on a fundamental level, he has also changed.  When he set out to create this project, he created the soundtrack that would interweave it's way through his photography with the purpose of where he stood in his life at that time.  Now that he is geographically different as well as intrinsically different on a creative level, his vision behind the project is different as well.

In the first iteration of the soundtrack - which was created at the start of the project, there is an overall sense of deep melancholy punctuated with artists like Florence and the Machine, Faithless, Above and Beyond and Placebo.  The direction of the piece has a listless quality that lazily pulls you along with it and it feels as if that can be translated to where he felt creatively.  It feels like all the pressures from the outside world to create something bigger and better than what he had previously done was weighing on him and stifling his creativity.  There are portions thought the journey where everything seems too heavy; too much of a demand to be the artist he needed to be, not only for himself but for everyone else as well but there are glimmering moments of hope peeking through as well.  It's the idea that through all adversity, there can be triumph in which ever form we need.

The second of the two mixes; "Birth, Death, Resurrection Redux" was made sometime later and has a completely different aesthetic to it.  Philip had an opportunity open before him and he took the chance and uprooted his life and moved to a new state, a new experience and a new chapter and all of that is reflected in the choices he made when laying out the musical progression from start to finish.  You are still privy to his thoughts, emotions, and ideas in this version of the soundtrack; there's just a different underlying message and meaning of how the story is told.  His intention has a different merit but it still expresses where he's been and what he's gone through to make him the man that he is now.  There's less strife and turmoil and there is a much more expressive voice to his experience.  Don't misunderstand me, he still as a full range of expressions that are being put out before you, he's just approaching his life and his journey with a different set of eyes and external stimuli this time.

In each of the versions of the soundtrack, he's having a conversation with not only the purveyors of his art but himself as well.  He has laid himself bare for us to see.  His insecurities are out for the world to not only see, but to judge him by as well.  There are stories about disastrous relationships, the kind that you know better from the beginning but because our heart never listens to our head, we still dive headlong into the toxic cesspool of people that aren't there to help us be better people.  We get to hear his successes and his hopes on top of his anxieties and fears and you really get to learn so much about who Philip is without ever uttering a word to him.  He has taken his experiences and combined them ever so carefully with the music that will get you not only to where he needs you to go but to where you need to go as well.  I dare you not to listen to these two mixes and not learn something about yourself in the process.

This man continues to amaze me as he shows continual growth and a desire to seek the truth in the art that he creates.  For someone who's primary medium being visual be produce these mixes in such an elegant way speaks volumes of his understanding of the message he wants to impart and I think that it's one of learning from who we are and being at peace with where we've been and were we are going.  To not rest easy on our laurels and to challenge our own expectations of what we feel is or is not part of our experience.  To make sure that each day we step one foot in front of the next, we are doing it not for anyone else but for ourselves because at the end of the day if not for our own reflection, who are we?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Emily Bell - Hey Baby

This track is just pure fun. It makes me smile and tap my feet with each line, Austin based Emily Bell spits out. From her rapid fire delivery on the verses to the absolutely infectious chorus, Emily slays this track.  It's got a delicious retro vibe on the chorus that just makes me fall for it even more.  Not going to do a lot of talking about it, because it does a fantastic job of doing it itself.  I hope she gets a ton of recognition for this track and the whole album that's only $9 on Bandcamp.  It came out 2 years ago but it's an amazing example of Rock and Roll, the kind that we aren't seeing much of in today's music scene.  She reminds me of ZZ Ward and Amanda Marshall and Serena Ryder as she just owns the hell out of her art.

Brenda Bennett - Guiltier

Longevity isn't something that is the norm in the world of pop or dance.  And now with home studios across the world, there are new artists popping up like their being churned out of factories so when you actually get a cut from a an artist that's got some history and staying power to their career, it's pretty fantastic especially when that artist is none other than 1/3 of 2 of the most loved girl groups of all time, Brenda Bennett.  You may know Brenda from her time with Vanity 6 or Apollonia 6, both groups created by Prince but what you may not know is that she has had a prolific career as a recording artist throughout the past handful of decades.  She's not stopped recording music and as she's matured, she's only gotten better and better.  Her voice is strong and powerful with a conviction that you don't get out of mass market, over produced, throw away pop stars of today. 

Guiltier, one of her more current singles, is a fantastic confrontation song about a relationship gone bad.  It's amazingly catchy and easy on the ears.  It's got great production and it does an awesome job of showcasing her vocals and her prowess as an artist.  It's a message that, unfortunately, is timeless as we all have had instances in our lives when we may or may not have had cause to think something just isn't right in our relationships and what a better way of expressing those feelings than through music.  You see the changes.  You know the warning signs are there and it's time to do something about it.  You may be angry about the situation, but this song will help express those feelings in a much more energetic manner.

It's a pleasure to hear Brenda singing and I look forward to talking about more of her music in the very near future.

Bean - Wildfire

Nashville raised, Noelle Bean has released one of my favorite inspirational anthems of the summer.  Her voice flows easily across the track as she sings about rising up after being knocked down and going higher than you'd thought you previously thought you could.  Whether it's reinvention, like a phoenix or it's just proving to yourself and others that you aren't one to get pushed around, it's always awesome to have the idea reinforced that the things in our lives that make us stronger are nothing more than bumps in the road.  I think it's easy to forget that the small stuff is just that, small stuff and we get so bogged down in it so often that we forget where we've been and where we're going on our journey.

Bean does an amazing job of reminding us of that in this infectious pop track that it's not about how hard the fight is, all that matters is that you showed up for the fight.  I adore this song and can't wait to hear more from this amazing artist.

Bean on the Web

Friday, April 3, 2015

Kat Graham - 1991

I had the pleasure to see Kat perform back in 2010 when she was promoting "Put Your Graffiti On Me" at Nashville Pride and from that point going forward, I've loved and supported everything she's done musically and theatrically.  I fell in love with Bonnie Bennett and wanted more and more of her each week on The Vampire Diaries but it really wasn't until she released "Power" that I knew she had the potential to be a megastar.  She has a voice that's built to inspire you to great heights and she's got charisma that draws you in so close that you feel like you're talking to an old friend.  Her smile lights up the room and she's got stage presence for days.

I think that the ladies in TLC would have been amazed to play beside and with Kat if this was the 90s.  I feel like she and Left Eye would have been great friends and they would have collaborated on some amazing music so I think that it's very cool that she sampled, "What About Your Friends" on this track.  It's a powerhouse of a song and the rap in the middle eight really brings that Left Eye influence to the track.  I want this woman to do amazing things and blow up bigger than many of the artists you're hearing on the radio right now.  I mean, come on.... have you listened to her kill it on "Wanna Say"? That is, hands down, one of my favorite songs of all time.

Support this amazing artist and show her love because she's worth all of it.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - A Monster Like Me

Another example of international music that is simply mind blowing.  Eurovision seems to be able to capture that American Idol and other American competition shows are lacking.  They attract the best and brightest entries and have so many artists that are simply at the top of their game.  I am not familiar with these two individuals but I know they hail from Norway, as this is the Norwegian entry in the contest this year and I know they create some of the most beautiful harmonies I've heard.  The song is rich and full of passion.  It's a darkly drawn version of a duet that traps you and holds you close.  It's got a pungent feeling of sorrow that permeates through the vocals and the production is stellar.  I will be keeping track of this song to see how it does in the competition.

The Knocks - Collect My Love ft. Alex Newell

Alex Newell has become one of the hottest properties in music lately. Working with super groups like Blonde and Matvey Emerson, he is easily bound for superstardom.  Now with New York producers/artists, The Knocks, Alex has provided the vocals on one of the smoothest tracks I think I've heard in a long time.  I can't stop listening to this.  The build up is gorgeous and the chorus goes non stop.  I cannot express how amazing The Knocks are at crafting music that just gets you where you need to go.  I've had the privilege of seeing them work their magic live and I am a lifelong fan.  As long as they continue to make music, they've got me.  This song is just so amazing.  It's fun and it's funky and it's going to go a long way.  Alex's voice is so gorgeous and it makes me happy to see how much the industry is supporting him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ultravillain - I N V U

There is something exceptionally special about the debut LP  from Vancouver's Future Pop duo, Ultravillain.  The overall production of the album has a dark and edgy quality that's created from the breathiness of  Chris' vocal delivery against the primal breakdown of the beats and bass line created by Tobias.  Each track is crafted in such a manner that everything that Chris does, vocally, is fully supported and never trampled on.  I've said it in other reviews of their previous works that these two gentlemen know how to create music that is going to stimulate every part of you.  They know exactly what buttons to push and how to bend those rules to the point of breaking without ever doing too much.  It's a very fine line they walk because male driven electronic music generally doesn't have as large of a following as say a female fronted group would but these guys know exactly how to pull it off.

I think the work that an electro rock or synth driven producer puts into the creation of a song tends to be much more intensive than just laying down a guitar or a piano because the melody has to be crafted from scratch with electronics.  Each part of the track has to be looped and created utilizing an exceptionally creative hand that has a depth of understanding in how all of the pieces are going to come together as a melody.  It's building a machine.  It's making sure that each and every piece adds up to the whole as a unified sum total of the parts.  Tobias has a deft hand at making sure that there isn't anything out of place and that it all works.  Without the creation of the rhythm and structure of the track, the song doesn't work and there isn't anything for Chris' vocals to ride on.  And ride they do.  They are fluid and they are precise.  Each and every syllable is given the utmost care as he puts them out into the universe for consumption.  Without harping on the idea that there is an inherent overall sex appeal to this album, the guys have again created something that's primal and visceral that just settles into you that feels so good.  I think a lot of it has to do with the slow, methodical, purpose driven beats that never seem rushed or overdone.

So let's talk about the album.  Mostly importantly, it's not left repeat for about a week.  If I'm in my car, it's playing.  I've dug into these tracks and I honestly say, I N V U is the coolest electro album I've listened to in a very long time.  First and foremost, the tracks are gigantic.  With an average running time of about 4.07 minutes, these 13 tracks are pretty beefy.  You are absolutely getting every ounce of their talent and desire to make the best possible music they can.  Each song fits so perfectly with the entire album that you don't even realize you're over halfway through the album by the time you reach, "Human".  I can't decide which song is my favorite because they are all so good.  Whether it's what's being said as a social statement in, "Believer" or the super sexy lyrical delivery from "Garden"; each song could easily stand on it's own as a single and there aren't any that I want to skip over when it comes to them in the line up.  Leading off with "Talk About" was a fantastic choice because it sets the tone of the album.  You quickly get an idea of what's to come and the bar is set pretty high and I don't feel as if they ever let you down.  "Get Invisible" is this crazy atmospheric track that just fills you up when you close your eyes and let the song just kind of wash over you. "666" has this funky retro vibe to it but the story it tells is this cautionary tale of not getting involved when you know you want to but it's the worst idea ever because you know how bad it's going to turn out in the end.  If something a little more aggressive is your speed, "All We Get" fills that nicely.  It's on the primal end of the spectrum with a more raw and edgy beat.

If you can't tell by now, I am an unapologetic fan of this group and I want to see them do amazing things.  I want huge collaborations. I want their music to be featured in television shows and on soundtracks. I want a lot for them because more than anything they create amazing music and they are genuinely nice guys.  I don't think this album will go too far from my heavy rotation playlist.  I really hope they are able to get what they need from the public from this album because it's a solid album and I am seriously in awe of the talent that went into making it.

UltraVillain on the Web

Friday, March 6, 2015

Johnny Stimson - Hypnotech

This song.  This song. This song.  This is far too funky for it's own good.  Johnny has summoned all the power of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Morris Day and the Time.  This song has so much going for it that it is simply too hard to put into words how crazy good it is.  It's a massive song that has so much personality and it just makes you feel good.  I want to get out on a dance floor and move through the whole thing and then do it again.  From the funky bass line to the punctuation of his syllables, this song is built to get you up and active.

Watching Johnny grow and mature as an artist has been an ultimate joy.  Hearing him metamorphosis into the artist he has become has been like a brilliant trip through the late 60s through the mid 80s and it's so clear to hear how music, all music, influences him and how he draws so much inspiration from so many different artists.  His voice is so silky that it just floats above the track and never gets overpowered or bullied.  The production of this song is so "New Power Generation" and makes me want to hear him singing with Prince and Apollonia or Wendy and Lisa.

I can't wait to see where he goes from here because he can slide any genre on and make it work with so much ease.  It's almost as if he never even has to try because it all sounds so freaking effortless.  It doesn't matter if it's a ballad like, "One More Minute" or something more stripped like, "So Good."; Johnny takes the tracks and makes each one of them express exactly what it is you need to feel at that exact moment in time.

Midnight Boy - Don't Say No

Sweden is a magical place.  I've talked about it for years as they have a seemingly endless supply of amazing pop stars in the wings.  I don't know if it's the water or the climate but something continues producing these brilliant singers and performers.  In this years Melodifestivalen, which is Sweden's annual competition to determine who goes on to represent the country in Eurovision, Midnight Boy's entry titled, "Don't Say No" unfortunately failed to make it through his semi-final but the song rocketed to the top of the iTunes chart showing the fans really loved what he did.

"Don't Say No" is one part magic, one part excess, and an all out amazing representation of what an homage to the 80's club scene is all about.  At first listen, there's a bit of Dead or Alive but that's not now, nor ever has been a bad thing and I think there's definitely some Pete Burns influence to not only his aesthetic but this song as well.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with paying tribute to a specific artist of a time period and I think that as long as you're honest to the source material, then it stays an homage and doesn't filter over into the realm of parody.  This song has the glitz, the glamour, and the cheekiness level is over-the-top to make sure that it's a proper representation of all things 1980s.

Midnight Boy has an impressive back catalog of tracks as well that prove that he's not simply a flash in the pan.  I feel that his appeal has the ability to move beyond the boundaries of the Retro Future genre because the performance is solid and the production is solid.  The song is built exceptionally well.  It's catchy and gets into you before you know what's hit you.  It's definitely a song that you want to hear in a club being pushed through a massive sound system and I think to hear him perform it live would certainly be a pleasure.  I am going to stick close to him as I think he's going to be a fan favorite across the genre.

Delta Rae - Run (Tarquin Studio Sessions)

One of the coolest songs Delta Rae has released is "Run".  It's got a wild abandon to it that makes you just grab Britney's hand and try to keep up as she's leading you on a twisting path through the song.  Her voice is clear and crisp and purposeful and to add the strings to the song in this manner give it so much more depth than the original recording.  You can hear every breath she takes along side the quartet and it's simply stunning.  With the live recording in the video, each part of the song is highlighted and brought gorgeously to life as they work their magic.  It's simple and elegant and makes me love this song even more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kit - No Mercy (Acoustic)

What blows me away is this man's vocal range and control.  When you have what appears to be 2 distinct vocals coming from the same human being, it's difficult to grasp the complexity without seeing it happen in person. That's exactly what Kit Walters has done in their latest video, he's stripped this song down to it's bare essentials and somehow has taken a song that's full of angst and rage and traded all that in for a sultry, swagger that reeks of sex appeal.  The acoustic version of "No Mercy" hits all the places in your brain that are stimulated by the idea of power and control but it hits them in a much more careful manner.  This time, it's not hardcore violence that's being triggered in the brain, it's something more dark and vivid.  Something primal that we all have hidden deep inside that we only let out when the lights are out and we're all alone but secretly we want to share it with the world.  It's that primal area of the brain the controls the same flight or flight instinct that both versions of this song trigger.  In the original song, you get the aggression that makes you want to rage and take the power back whereas this version of the song, you want the same thing but the manner in which you do it is much more subversive.  You're more controlling and full of dark directives with this version than you would be with the full out version of the song.

Kit Walters knows exactly how to handle his instrument and his fans.  He is giving you all the gateway you need to get hooked on his brand and then he reels you in tighter and tighter.  This quality of pop music doesn't come along very often and when it does it generally flys under the radar for a bit until someone stumbles across it, realizes how it makes them feel and then does something with it.  I guarantee within the next 2 seasons of Teen Wolf or The Vampire Diaries, you will hear Kit on the soundtrack and it'll catch the world off guard but those of us in the know will be standing there waiting to tell the world, "I told you so".

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lucian Piane - Maybe They Know

Most people only know Lucian Piane as the man behind the lyrics of RuPaul and they may not know that he has recorded some of his own tracks as well.  Way back in November of 2010, Lucian released, "Maybe They Know"; an EP that has 2 tracks on it "Maybe They Know" and "Tell Me, Tell Me".  Both of these songs are gorgeous and could easily stand up to any artist on the pop charts.  Neither song sounds dated and both have an exceptionally timeless quality to them.  They are brilliantly structured and just have an ease of purpose to them.

"Maybe They Know" is a languid traipse through a relationship and how it's perceived that just gently brings you along with it.  The song makes absolutely no demands from the listener, only that you're there as it draws you from start to finish.  Lucian's vocals over the verses are set about the same volume as the track which allows them to simply become part of the whole.  It's not until the chorus where the vocals are a bit louder and you pay attention to what he's saying a little more than you had previously.  Programming like this can be tricky if it's not done right and you can cause listeners to pull away from the track but this is done just right and builds the right amount of drama into the track.  It makes you lean into your speakers/earbuds a little deeper which makes you become more involved in the track.

"Tell Me, Tell Me" is vaguely reminiscent of a song that would have been released alongside a Beatles track.  There's something a bit mod about it and the overall quality of the song is just this dreamy romance of a song that I get lost in every single time I listen to it.  I've written entire movies in my head around this song and have cast it with every conceivable cast known to man.  The instrumentation in the song is so strong, the strings, the percussion - hell even the xylophone is carefully used in the song to fill it out into this gorgeous number.  It starts as two lovers are talking about what the future holds and turns as they run into each other after an extended time apart and while there's not an immediate rush of emotion, there is a build up of feelings about how long they've been apart and how things have changed over the years.  I think it's a song that talks about not taking for granted the relationships you have because in the blink of an eye, you'll be standing on a street corner after you've run into that person you haven't thought about in years and you'll be awash with years of "could haves".

I wish there was more of his catalog out there because he not only has a brilliant way with words and the crafting of music but his voice is simply gorgeous.  I hope he reads this and sees that there is a want/need for him to step out on his own every now and then and let his voice be heard.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ed Sheeran & Rudimental - Bloodstream

Ed Sheeran can really do no wrong. His voice is nearly flawless in my opinion and then to pair him with uber-producer, Rudimental is just a genius move.  The track has every quality of an Ed Sheeran song so all of his fans that know and love his voice will appreciate it but with the addition of the hardcore electro beat, it takes the song to a much deeper place.  It's got more body, more depth and more bite.  I think it makes for a more interesting song because of all the layering that's been done.

Not a whole lot to say other than I am a fan and think this is a massive track.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Charli XCX - Shake It Off (Cover)

You know how I feel about Charli XCX. You may or may not know how I feel about Taylor Swift's pop album (it's very good, in case you didn't know). Take both of them together and you get just about the best combination you could probably ask for. Charli has this exuberance to her performance and the way she looks at songs amazes me. There's a bit of the Runaways in this and I think that's an amazing thing. I think Charli would have made and amazing punk singer. I am a fan of the cover series on Live Lounge because it gives way to some amazing music.

Check this track out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

KIT - No Mercy

With punk sensibilities and a track length that is all business, KIT's new single, "No Mercy" starts off with a very introspective lead in and then fires into this blistering rapid fire rant letting you know just who and what you're messing with.  I think where this song draws it's power from is that part of you and your life that has just had it, officially.  You've said and done everything you can to avoid a conflict but you've been pushed further than you care to be and now, it's time to let them know what's up.

We've all been there.  We've all tried our damnedest to be civil but there's that one person that just pushes your buttons.  You've explained that your calm has been damaged and that you are at the end of your rope but try as you might; they just keep coming for you.  And now, as you stand over them and see their broken form; they'll realize.

Kit Walters is one of my favorite male vocalists in the past 10 years because there is just a stripped down honesty to his voice and how he knows exactly to use his instrument to get every bit of power or emotion out of his lyrics.  He's thoughtful and exceptionally giving as an artist because you know what he's feeling as he sings.  You can hear every nuance and subtle moment in his delivery.  The first time he utters, "No Mercy" - I'm sold.  Hook, line and sinker.  The man knows how to give us what we need.

Debuting the song on Diffuser was a stroke of genius as it's going to reach even more people and expose them to what Kit has to say.  This track is a bit of a departure from their "Through The Fire" EP but it's an amazing example of his range and versatility.  Electro Rock is awesome and I dig the hell out of it too, but there's something genuine and real about some down, home guitar rock that hits you right where you live.  I think there is a universal appeal to this track that they may not have received if it was more synth heavy.  Don't get me wrong, I love synth pop/rock/dance etc etc; but there are times when I just need raw vocals and powerful guitars and this track certainly delivers all of that.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Crozet - I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

I really feel like someone out there is doing great things specifically for me because "I'm on Fire" is my absolute favorite Bruce Springsteen single and now there have been 2 bands in the past 2 months that have covered it and put their own stamp on it.  This track is by the New Jersey, synth group Crozet which I am not exceptionally familiar with but am going to be doing a lot of research into in the next few days.

What they've done on this track is take something that had an initial melancholia to it and punch it up with their use of upbeat synth and that saxophone.  If you want my attention, throw a sax into a song and you've won me heart and soul.  The vocal isn't as potentially creepy as The Boss' version because his could come across as a bit aggressive.  Crozet's version is much easier as a whole and has less of an unchecked longing that could lead to a restraining order in it.  There's still an ache of loneliness that is built into the track but that comes with the territory.

I mean how many times in your life have you been left with just an overwhelming sense of need because you care about someone that much?  I think it's a normal feeling when you want to be with someone to need them in your life.  This track fully encapsulates that in a pretty incredible way.

Crozet on the Web
Twiter: @WeAreCrozet

Highway Superstar - Skylines

One of my biggest complaints with the Retro New Wave movement is that the ratio of pure instrumental tracks to tracks with vocals is far in favor of the instrumental.  I understand why, it's far easier for a producer to make a track on their own without needing a vocalist and when it comes to Highway Superstar, he doesn't need a vocalist.  His tracks are smooth and elegant without being overproduced.  He knows his genre and knows exactly how to make the best of it.

In this track, it's easy to imagine yourself just lazily driving around being wrapped up in a cool spring afternoon checking out all the sights.  There's nothing rushed about this track and it just takes it's time to get you where you need to go.  What you do have around the two minute mark is the introduction of a gorgeous sax track that just elevates the whole piece.  Again, it's about knowing the song and knowing just what the song needs and Alex is definitely a master of that.

This is a great way to start off any laid back drive or just an evening in.  And the best part is that it's currently a free download so get it while it's still free.