Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Songs of the Moment 6/15/10 - Summer Ballads

My playlist for last summer was epic. I recently looked at it, remembering the good times that went along with the tunes included, and decided it would be extremely hard to beat. Over the last week, with new music coming at me from all directions (my dad getting 4 new albums, me getting 6 new albums and 4 new EPs), I've been able to create an impressive mix. Is it better than last year's? Only time will tell, for it's the upcoming memories that will be made that decide it all. One thing's for sure, it's got the potential. I've got tunes for the bright days, tunes for the mellow sunsets, tunes for the exciting nights...Check them out if you've got the time and feel free to add them to your own summer tune collections! Highlights this week are Waiting, Black and Gold, and Closer. (Embedding is disabled on a couple of these so check the links too)

1. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
"If you're not really here, I don't want to be either. I want to be next to you."
Huge thanks to Casey Bingham for this one! Sam Sparro...I honestly thought he was black before seeing the music video, and he's Australian to boot...further evidence of just how amazing and unique his voice is. The bass foundation/treble syncopation in this song create something so infectious, I love it. I dare you not to tap your foot! Awesome lyrics here as well...
don't miss out the grooviness Sparro has to offer.

2. Clap Your Hands - Sia
"This is life and we only get one chance."
This is the single from Sia's album, which comes out in exactly a week. I can't tell you how excited I am. In the crazy, disturbing female pop artist category, Sia has the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry beat by a long shot, just watch this insanely awesome music video and you'll understand. I've been enjoying this song since my first listen and I love the more electronic approach that Sia seems to be taking with it, which she seems to be doing much better than some of my other favorites recently have (curse you Keane and Gorillaz!!!). So yeah...listen, love it, clap your hands to it. It's that easy.

3. Closer - Jars of Clay
"I'm the O and the E, you're the L and the V. Am I speaking clearly?"
I'm super happy with this find, was just doing some exploring via YouTube's related videos column and BAM!...a super catchy song that's stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Don't you just love when that happens? Well no worries because I chose this song to welcome you to my blog hoping that the same will happen to you! Uber devious...I know. I'm a huge fan of the mix of conventional instruments with electronic sounds. Jars of Clay pulled it off so well that I actually bought this EP and I'm quite pleased. Let this song get closer to you.

4. Daylight - Remedy Drive
"Hold on 'til the sunrise."
So my dad let me pick up a few summer albums for all of my hard work maintaining for 4.0 and all. I ordered 5 albums off of Amazon and have throughly listened to all of them except for the one from Remedy Drive, which mysteriously is the only one that didn't arrive. So, as I suffer through the anticipation, I'll let you enjoy the song that convinced me to choose this album. I never get sick of . "Daylight is coming" ---the makings of a true summer song right there. Check it out.

5. Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic) - Metric
"I can feel it in my bones."
Gimme Sympathy was THE summer song for me last year. For those of you who keep up with my blog, you might also remember that this song snatched 3rd place in my favorite songs of 2009. I've honestly gotten some happy tears out of that one, so yeah, it's a big deal...and now, at the dawn of a new summer season, I stumble across the acoustic version on Metric's fabulous new acoustic EP. Perfect! I kind of want to say I like it better than the original, but I know I can't...it's hard to explain, but each version seems so independently fantastic to me for separate reasons that they just can't really be compared. Gimme sympathy by telling me what you think.

For those of you interested, here's the original.

6. Hannah - Freelance Whales
"Please don't play the matchmaker. Please don't be a player hater. If you dig her recent work, then you should go congratulate her."
This was a free discovery download on iTunes a couple weeks back, for those of you who missed it (probably everyone), I'm terribly sorry. I actually would have missed it myself if my good bussy Trevor Wilson hadn't have given me the heads up. I always paired this song with Closer in my mind, it's got a similar, yet very different alternative/electronic mix. The quick-moving voice also makes for a very catchy melody. See what you think about it. (We've also got a nifty fan-created music video here for you...dang I wish I could draw.)

7. I Am Not a Robot - Marina & the Diamonds
"Better to be hated than loved for what you're not."
This song was the featured free single of the week on iTunes the same week that I picked up Hannah. iTunes made some pretty brilliant selections that week...When I picked out my five albums, Marina & the Diamonds came real, real close. For now, I'll enjoy I Am Not a Robot, which I have continually been reminding myself when times are tough. (Don't worry Kyle! You are not a robot so it's all good!). This one's got an excellent, groovy mix of instruments all outshined by a wonderfully unique voice. On top of that, it's got the sort of quirkiness I often find myself craving. Enjoy!

8. Infinite Arms - Band of Horses
"...and my thoughts drift to you."
Band of Horses, I've enjoyed their previous stuff for sure, but many of the songs were just too folky for me. Their album that came out last month has drawn me into the folk vibe and made me love it. This song, which shares it's name with the album itself, is on the less folky/more outstanding side of the new songs. The chorus is so overwhelming and the lyrics so fitting for me personally...it would be too much if there were such a thing as too much, but that isn't the case when it comes to musical excellence. Let this song fall into your infinite arms. (They are ripping this one off the internet left and right so you'll have to enjoy a live version)

9. Inhfsa - Kyte
"Thank you for the best time."
I just spelled the title wrong about eight different ways when searching for it on YouTube so yeah, don't even ask me what it means. I've recently found myself being converted about it the realm of electronic music, and I particularly love this band because of how close their name is to mine and because of how well this style fits into my unique taste for music. I downloaded their latest album via iTunes (these guys are so abscure that I found no way of getting a hard copy) and the whole thing creates this fabulous mood that will work perfectly with some of the memories I know I'll be making soon. I hope you think of this song next time you inhfsa your inhfsa. (haha, these song reference jokes are great)

10. New Morning - Alpha Rev
"Have you heard who you are?"
Geez, talk about a powerful summer ballad...here's a near epitemy of the summer experience. The acoustic guitar, the orchestral backing, the super sweet voice and lyrics...it's all right here. This album came out only a few weeks ago and it's the second of the five I recently picked up. It includes a lot of similarly summer-suited songs that those of you out of the hunt might be interested in giving a shot. Remember: I really don't want you guys to limit yourselves to these songs. If you like a song, chances are you're going to like a lot of other stuff from that artist, so be adventurous! It pays off! I would know...

11. Numbered Days - See The World
"Live for this moment one day at a time."
This is one of my more mellow summer tunes. I picked up this six-song EP just before school got out and I really hope to get more time to listen to it soon (rushes of new music do have their disadvantages). This song particularly attracted my attention with its cool, meaningful lyrics and nice beat. The piano addition and bass guitar prominence are also commendable features behind it. It's artists like these that I wish had more of a chance out in the musical world because they deserve to get out there. Maybe you guys can help me out with that, but first: listen.

12. On A Good Day - Oceanlab
"How I wish I knew me better."
This is from the third of my five albums, which is completely different from the four other (all alternative) albums. This is my nighttime driving music, my soft electronic jams. Oceanlab has me shouting "Trance!" at random times throughout the day. I'm falling in love with it! Every song from their album gives a really cool and unique feeling, but I'm sharing this song because it's the one that convinced me to make the purchase. I can't get enough of struggle between the serene voice, delightful piano, and powerful bass beats. I'm looking forward to exploring some more trance on a good (summer) day.

13. Swans - Unkle Bob
"I want you to know that I can't let you go."
In a recent blog post, I shared another song from these guys as my "newest addiction". That addiction led to this, my fourth of the five albums. Unkle Bob's name is a bit misleading. This is some of the most mellow, down-to-earth stuff you'll ever hear. It's definitely some of the best acoustic stuff I've ever come across, and the addition of strings completes the mix to make an incredibly beautiful song. Ooh when that cello part comes in...I get the chills every time. Then it all comes back 'round for the slightly heavier finale...awesome. Check it out!

14. Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells
"All the kids these days...do you really want to be that way?"
Hahaha...this song. Just heard it yesterday after I remembered seeing the album on the iTunes top ten a couple weeks back. Strangely enough, I heard it only because my dad got the CD...weird, I know. After about a dozen playthroughs, I still can't decide if it's amazing or annoying. This is one for passing on to your friends. Tell 'Em Kyle sent you. (Those faint of heart should not listen...I'm not kidding)

15. Waiting - The Morning Of
"You're everything to me."
Ah The Morning Of, the last of my wiesly selected five new CDs. I've loved tunes from these guys from before, but when I saw they had a new album come out last month, it was an instant yes. My newfound admiration and passion for these guys is best expressed in a few easy-to-understand words: new favorite band. The male/female vocal duets (my favorite!), the perfection of each and every song, the feel-good summer vibe, the powerful, heartfelt, sincerely expressed lyrics, the spectacular piano parts, the lone trumpet solo...it all makes me a bit speechless. I'm already "waiting" for their next release! Do me a favor and check this one out, if any at all.

16. Walking On Stones - Stellamaris (renamed New Frontier)
"For too long I have been in a dream."
So I have been keeping an eye on this Stellamaris group for a while and finally decided to buy their EP, which was the only thing I had ever been able to find from them. Turns out they've given themselves a new name and now stir up the musical scene as New Frontier and have much more to offer. I just barely found that out...no joke. Despite how much that frustrates me, I've really enjoyed the six songs on that EP. Unfortunately, I haven't listened to them all that much simply because they didn't shine quite as bright as all of this other new stuff. Now that I go back and really give them a focused listen, I regret not noticing the beauty earlier. Walking On Stones is the perfect example of the talent behind this group (call them what you will).

17. You And Your Heart - Jack Johnson
"You and your heart shouldn't be so far apart."
Oh boy, here it goes: Jack Johnson, round 2. My dad got the new album without me knowing it had even come out. I immediately placed myself in the mindset that I was going to find a way to grow to love Jack's music no matter what and after a few listens I was convinced that Jack Johnson had fully converted me to his style. Then, after a few more focused, critical listens, I went right back to my same viewpoint. I'm trying hard for you guys, but I'm failing. The simple style is just too...simple. The words are (dare I say) amateur. I know that's how Jack Johnson wants to be and he succeeds that way, but I'm not buying it when one of his songs is centered on the lyrics "pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures...". Don't get me wrong, with this album I am starting to like him a lot more and it offers a few more excellent tunes. I guess that the fact that I continue to include in my blog...despite my disappointment, is a sure sign that he's growing on me. Only time will tell, but for now enjoy You And Your Heart, a surprisingly brilliant mix of vocals, guitar, and piano. Wait, maybe he's trying to tell me something with these lyrics...

So there it is, one of the best playlists I've ever put up here and undoubtedly the most massive blog post I've ever completed (it took me 3 1/2 hours so be grateful). For those of you who made it this far, I commend you. Now get out there and enjoy your summer. Find some summer tunes of your own and you'll be surprised how much more memorable it will end up becoming!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Songs of The Moment 6/8/10 - DJ Hero Mixes

I recently took the time to listen to a few of my favorite DJ Hero mixes outside of the game and was surprised when I realized how much cooler they sound when you're not worried about pushing buttons and scratching the disc. These ten are some of my favorite mixes from the game, enjoy! This 'songs of the moment' post is a little condensed; I won't comment on any of these mixes individually, but will, instead, let them speak for themselves. I just thought they are worth including here. I will have another round of tunes coming very soon! Oh I will say that my very favorite mix in the game is Hollaback Girl vs. Feel Good Inc., check that one out for sure!

1. All Eyez On Me vs. Bittersweet Symphony (2Pac vs. The Aranbee Pop Orchestra)

2. Boom Boom Pow vs. Satisfaction (Black Eyed Peas vs. Benny Benassi)

3. Disturbia vs. Somebody Told Me (Rihanna vs. The Killers)

4. Hollaback Girl vs. Feel Good Inc. (Gwen Stefani vs. Gorillaz)

5. I Want You Back vs. Semi-Charmed Life (Jackson 5 vs. Third Eye Blind)

6. Ice Ice Baby vs. Straight Up (Vanilla Ice vs. Paula Abdul)

7. My Name Is vs. Loser (Eminem vs. Beck)

8. Paper Planes bs. Lookin' At Me (M.I.A. vs. Wale)

9. Robot Rock vs. We Will Rock You (Daft Punk vs. Queen)

10. Technologic vs. Cars (Daft Punk vs. Gary Numan)