Tuesday, June 04, 2013
A lot has been made about the sophomore slump, but the third album may be the hardest. Look at Coldplay, their debut was good and improved on their style with the follow. By their third album X&Y, they started to sound like just another Coldplay rip-off band that littered the English countryside by the middle of last decade. Luckily for Coldplay they started to evolve with their fourth album. Vampire Weekend recently just released that tricky third album, Modern Vampires of the City. And though their sound has not changed much from the Benetton anthems from that first album, Vampire Weekend had tweaked their sound enough not to fall prey to the same rut Coldplay did (it may also help that Vampire Weekend has yet inspired knock-off band). The best song from the new album is Diane Young which sound like a sound Vampire Weekend did for a Buddy Holly tribute album except it was not originally a Buddy Holly song. Go ahead and add the song to your summer 2013 playlist now.
Modern Vampire of the City gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Legacy artists have been doing duet albums with modern artists since Frank Sinatra did it over twenty years ago but last year Lionel Richie added a new twist to the concept: do an entire duets album with artists outside your genre. And though John Fogerty’s Wrote a Song for Everyone is not totally a country duets album, half of the guests are pure country acts like Brad Paisley who may not be the best duet partner lately (*cough*Accidental Racist*cough*); most of the others have country and folk leaning. The best here is the trippy version of Long as I Can See the Light with My Morning Jacket. And though the Jennifer Hudson assisted, Bourbon Street version of Proud Mary with Allen Toussaint and Rebirth Brass Band is another stand out, you cannot help but wonder how it would be better if they could have actually gotten Tina Turner to sing the song one more time. There are two new songs her but neither that memorable. But much like the Ritchie duets album, I am content with just having the original versions on my iPod.
Wrote a Song for Everyone gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
The debut album from Eisley was extremely catchy and the band could have caught the indie pop wave of the past decade. Instead each successive album they released has gotten more and more melodic. By their fourth album, Currents, it almost sound like they are recording an Explosions In the Sky album with lyrics over them. I actually like the band better when they strip the sound down a little like when they do on songs like Milestone and The Night Comes.
Currents gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I am a huge Christmas music fan; I just recently downloaded my 500th holiday tune which means I can listen to my playlist for a full twenty-four hours straight without hearing a song twice. Let me amend the original, I love Christmas music in December, the other eleven months I skip it when they come up on random. But there are a few songs from the season I will not skip even when it is ninety degrees outside, one of which is Winter Song by Eisley. It is not really a holiday song per say, there is no fat men or babies born in a manger, but then again neither does Let it Snow, and that even gets skipped come January (probably because Christmas is the only time I actually want it to snow as long as it is all melted by New Year’s Eve).
Monday, June 13, 2011
There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.
After his triumphant triumph of Recovery, Eminem has been quick for a follow up with Bad Meets Evil with his buddy, but I have to say if this were a rap battle I may have to give it to Royce the 5’9’’. But I got a little depressed at the chorus because it is hard not to wonder how better it would have been if Nate Dogg was still around to sing it.
It is a shame that the latest R. Kelly album is not getting as much love as it should be because it is easily his best non-Trapped in the Closet work in over a decade. Speaking of Trapped in the Closet, when are we going to get new chapters Kells, it has been over three years since the last one. I need to know what the package is.
There is no shortage of women done wrong songs in recent years, but this one from Eisley may be the most spiteful with each lyric more biting than the previous one. And the song gets better with every listen because of it.
I remember getting press releases from NBC about The Voice and checking song of the songs I liked being performed, one being Bubbly by Colbie Caillat. When I click on the link to see Dia Frampton I said to myself, “wait a second I know that girl, she’s from Meg and Dia.” I cannot say I was a big fan of the group’s emo rock chick music that ended up being popularized by Paramore. After Dia’s killer performance of Heartless last week I decide to reexamine the group and found this gem that they released earlier this year which is the catchiest pop song I have heard in a while with its Beatle-esque chorus and killer piano breakdown before the bridge which sees the sisters playfully sing against each other and I love the line “I am proud of my temper” which is ironic now that she has been dubbed The Quiet One on The Voice.
I also had a very lengthy post that I was going to post yesterday about The Voice, but I granted the first run somewhere else and they have taken long than I thought to publish it, so I have to wait until they post it first, hopefully I can repost it later today for a rare double post, but here is a little preview that I did not put in the post for the other site regarding Dia’s previous record deal and being on The Voice:
There have been a lot of complaining how many of the contestants on The Voice have already had record contract; seven of the remaining singers by my count seven, almost half of the finale sixteen, have released albums. I say to those who make that complaint: screw you hippies. One of my many reasons why I have never watched American Karaoke is that I believe if you have talent, you would not need a reality show to score a record contract, and considering American Karaoke and its strict no professionals rule is currently batting two for nine, I seem to be right. And though talent may land you a record deal, it does not always equate into stardom, you still need the right marketing. So having a show with season veterans like Dia or Javier Colon who never manage to get that breakout hit, The Voice can be that great marketing tool to get their music to the masses and makes for a better show.br>
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Major labels can be very helpful to a career because they have the money to get your music into the ears of potential fans, but sometime getting releasing the chains the bind from big corporations can be very liberating for a band. The first full length album from Eisley under Warner Bros. gave focus to their independently released EP’s but never sadly caught with a larger audience, then came their sophomore slump with Combinations which was kind of a dud.
Now free of the confines of a major label, the band sounds rejuvenated with the release of The Valley off the independent Equal Vision Records Label. When the band sings “I’m smarter than you think” during Smarter you cannot help but wonder if it is about its former label, but either way it is fun to sing along with. With the crunching guitar, the song also sets a rougher tone for the album.
With that tougher sound come more mature lyrics, gone are mythical themes of albums past replaced by songs based on relationships, some rocky (the band has been a few failed marriages and engagements in the four years since their last album) and you can hear them take those themes right on with songs like Watch it Die, Sad, and Please. But the music still swells with big orchestras, piano and guitars that adds to the weight to the growth of the band.
Song to Download – Smarter
The Valley gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Quote of the Week: We could also stop using the letter “M” but I think that idea is isguided and oronic. (Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory)
Song of the Week: Angel of the Morning – Juice Newton (as “sung” by Gloria, Modern Family)
Big News of the Week: Muammar al-Qaddafi Back in the News: If he wasn’t one of the worst’s dictators, you would almost have to feel bad for Muammar al-Qaddafi. Growing up in the eighties, all us school children hated him and his anti-American rants as he was the reigning craziest dictator but in recent years he has been outshined even crazier rulers like Kim Jong-Il, Saddam Hussein, and the nutjobs in Iran. But Qaddafi came back in a big way this week when his country Libya seems like the next Muslim country to fall which had led to classic Muammar being Muammar moments that leave some nostalgic for his heyday in the eighties. And the cause of the unrest in his country is even more humorous: Mariah Carey. Apparently Libyans are not happy that Muatassim Qaddafi, Muammar’s son, had paid the songstress, as well as Beyoncé and Usher, millions of dollars to perform as little as four songs for the ruthless dictator. So the next time you are downloading one of their songs illegally, do not feel bad because they support terrorists.
Gratuitous Token Hot Chick Picture of the Week:
Free Download of the Week: Blue Skies Again – Jessica Lea Mayfield (iTunes)
Deal of the Week: Save up to 59% on Oscar Nomanees (The Dark Knight, Toy Story 3, Sound of Music)
New Album Release of the Week: The Valley - Eisley (Head over to Spin.com to download to tracks for free and stream the whole album)
New DVD Release of the Week: Bambi
Video of the Week: I have never received any greater advise ever than to never trust a big butt and a smile. And the great thinkers that gave us that pearl of wisdom have recently reunited and we on Late Night this week, backed by The Roots. And since one Bell Biv DeVoe song is not enough, the trio filmed a second performance exclusive to the interwebs and I bring it here for you. You’re welcome.
Bell Biv DeVoe – Do Me!
Next Week Pick of the Week: The Cape, Monday at 9:00 on NBC: Poor Summer Glau, she cannot seem to get anyone to watch any show she is on. Her most successful show to date is one and a half seasons. At least her latest outing The Cape was her first not regulated to the Friday Death Slot. But the show is coming to a close for the season (most likely ever) tomorrow after just nine episodes.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Certainly some of you have already threw a shoe at your radio for playing All I Want for Christmas Is You for the hundredth time or are completely sick of you’re a Very Special Christmas collection, but luckily I have stayed away for those stations and stick primarily to my Holiday playlist that is currently up to four and a half hours worth of cheer. So before you break your radio, here are some suggestions to start your own playlist (feel free to hit me up with suggestions in the comment section):
Ever wanted an island flavored holiday song? Well here is one from Jack Johnson. As an added bonus he even adds a new verse.
A nice little ditty if only because it’s not the song with Sarah McLaughlin.
For you pretentious types there is Sufjan Stevens who has put out an insane amount of Christmas songs. Here is my favorite of the bunch which isn’t as depressing as the title suggests.
Less of a Christmas song than just a wintery song (duh) but if are enjoying a white Christmas or just dreaming of one, this song will do the trick. Unfortunately the EP it is on i not currently available on iTunes.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
When reviewing the full length debut Room Noises from the family band, four siblings and one neighbor on bass, Eisley, I closed out my review, “I expect big things from Eisley in the future.” (see You Humor Me Today) The album then went on to land at number four of the Best Albums of 2005. Since the release of the album, the band has been touring, getting married and completed the DuPree only lineup by replacing the neighbor with a cousin to play bass.
But those expectations of big this is what makes the follow up, Combinations a let down. Where Room Noises was a breath a fresh air with melodic songs as a backdrop of plush melodies of the two lead singers, Combinations is just a rehash of the first album with songs only as good as the middle of the road ones on the debut. Not one song here comes close to the emotional punch of Marvelous Things or Telescope Eyes. Not to mention it is hard to ask put down over ten dollars for an album that barely breaks the half an hour mark.
With that said, Combinations isn’t a bad album. It starts off with Many Funerals, a driving song where the all dudes rhythm section on drums and bass add to the darker theme that the band didn’t explore on previous albums. Taking Control is a bouncing ditty which could be an instant sing-a-long at concerts. While Come Clean concludes with a family chorus.
The group did look like they took a different approach to writing this time around. Where the first album was littered with mythical themes about Sea Kings and bats with butterfly wings, it looks like all the marriages and engagements in the band has taken them in a more personal subject matter this time around touching on death (More Funerals) and a lot about love (I Could Be There for You, the title track). For those that prefer the more out there lyrics, there is Invasion that has a very celestial feel to it.
Even though the band didn’t seem to live up to the potential of the first album, hopefully Combinations is just your patented sophomore slum and the big break out album will be coming shortly.
Song to Download - Taking Control
Combinations gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.
This video was a complete let down if only because it features the least attracted token hot chick Maroon 5 has ever utilized for one of their videos. Seriously, was the chick from This Love too busy to make an appearance? But anyways. It is nice to see even though there are not really any music video outlets left there are still a few artists who are willing to make a big budget video. I wonder with the advent of YouTube and Video iTunes that we will see resurgence in the art form with the extra money they get from both.
Speaking of let downs, I just sat waiting for something interesting to happen in this video. I guess the White Stripes have spoiled us with constantly giving us entertain videos. I’m sure if you ranked the top one hundred videos of this decade, the band would have five or so that would make the list. But this would be one of them.
Fun fact: The very first album review I ever did was for Room Noises by Eisley (see You Humor Me Today). Now the band has their second album, Combinations, coming out in two weeks and the accompanying first video continues their fondness of abstract videos. I’m not entirely sure what is going on, but the song is growing on me by the day.
This summer has sucked massively. We are currently on our second heat wave of the year with barely enough rainfall to fill a swimming pool. I have spent the last couple weeks spending two four hour nights a week freezing in a classroom because some moron has the thermostat set at fifty degrees. Each major sport has dominated the headlines with scandal. But if there are two things that can turn this summer around one is the (albeit short) return of the Let’s Rob
On a side note, this is the very last Don’t Download These Videos. No, I will still bring the most entertaining new music videos ever week it is just after twenty-five installments I have finally realized that the title Don’t Download These Videos could be construed to comment on the quality of the video not the Weird Al reference that it started out being almost a year ago. So be a look out as I unveil the new name sometimes soon.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube (but no (Expletive Deleted) in a Box; when it first aired on SNL it was funny, when you’re the 1000th blog to feature it, not so much). I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.
Okay, I’m a big history guy so whenever you get a video like this I’m watching it over and over again. It hard to quibble with the selections (okay, maybe a little: no Springsteen, Prince, or Beastie Boys). This video just missed the cut off for The Best Videos of 2006 list but it’s already the video to beat for 2007’s list. Now this is where I link the video in iTunes but there is only one problem, you can’t buy the song. Yeah you can get it if you buy the U218 Singles greatest hit package, but the problem is, I already own all the other songs on the album. And record companies wonder why people still resort to staling songs.
Surely everyone has seen what boils down to as a commercial for the cheesy nighttime General Hospital show, but this version is a much better fit for the song (rumor has it the lead singer of The Fray wrote this song after having a talk with a depressed kid who then went home committed suicide one day) and so transplanting hacks with actually people is a vast upgrade.
This video seemed to escape me when it was originally released a couple months ago even though Eisley is one of my favorite bands in recent years with their album Room Noises, which happens to be the first album I ever reviewed on this site (see: You Humor Me Today) and landed at number four on my Best Albums of 2005 list. Some cool effect throughout the video. The band is currently working on a follow up that should be out this year so look out for that and surely it will be reviewed here whenever it is released.
Just a quick story, when I listen to iTunes I usually have it on shuffle which occasionally pops up some great songs that I haven’t heard in a while. Yesterday it shuffled on Santana featuring Musiq with Nothing at All and I forgot how much I loved the song. In fact if I were to ever try out for some lame karaoke show, this would be my audition song. Well either that or When Doves Cry because you haven’t lived until you have heard my drunken rendition of When Doves Cry.
One last thing I forgot to mention during my TV post was that Showtime send me some promo stuff for The L Word which fourth season starts tonight. Unfortunately they didn't let me check out the first episode like they did for Dexter but they did point me in the way of this not all that safe for work video: The Most Awesome Make-Out Montage and it definately lives up to its title. And if you order Showtime now and you can get an exclusive designer top from The L Word collection (retail value $179). Keep in mind this is more of an offer for chicks, but check out that offer here.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Every once in a while I like to compile a list of songs that I’m currently listening to onto a CD to listen to in the car. So here’s some suggestion that you should be listening to. The CD comes in at 78:15.
1. Ohio (Come Back to Texas) - Bowling for Soup
2. I Wish My Doorbell Rang (Sam Flanagan Mix) - Skee-Lo vs. the White Stripes
3. Boulevard of Broken Songs (Dean Gray) - Green Day vs. Oasis
4. Breakdown - Handsome Boy Modeling School (This essentially boils down to a remix of the same song that appears on the Jack Johnson album)
5. Original of the Species - U2
6. Don’t Give Up (Africa) - Bono & Alicia Keys (This is a remake of the old Peter Gabriel song with proceeds going to the “Keep a Child Alive” charity)
7. Adelaide - Old 97’s ( This song was featured at the end of the Veronica Mars episode where Duncan rode off with his daughter into the sunset; you can either buy the song from iTunes or if you are a cheapskate, the band has the song available for free on their website http://www.old97s.com/)
8. O’ Sailor - Fiona Apple (See my album review - I Promise Everything Will Be Just Fine)
9. I Wasn’t Prepared - Eisley (See my album review - You Humor Me Today)
10. Talk - Coldplay (See my album review - All That Noise, All That Sound)
11. Landing in London - 3 Doors Down & Bob Seger (See my album review - If I Get Boring, Would You Still Call Me Superman?)
12. U Been Throwing it Away - Kelly Clarkson vs. Genesis (The great Clarkson mash-ups just keep on coming)
13. Me Plus One (James Iha Remix) - Annie
14. Be Without You (Remix) - Mary J. Blige & Stat Quo (See my album review - Anyone Who’s Ever Loved You Know What I Mean)
15. Heard ‘Em Say - Kanye West & Adam Levine (See my album review - You Gotta Love it Though, Somebody Still Speaks From His Soul)
16. Keep Doin’ - 2 Skinny Dorks (A local band, I even had a class with one of the dorks in college; you can check out their music and download this song at their website http://www.2skinnydorks.com/)
17. Get Out Of My Mind - Hootie & the Blowfish (See my review - State Your Peace)
18. Nice Talking to Me - Spin Doctors (See my review - The Longer We Talk the Less We Say)
19. Lazy Sunday - Chris Parnell & Andy Samberg (Best SNL skit in ages)
Friday, December 30, 2005
Before I go into the granddaddy of my Best/Worst Week, I would like to make special mention of something that really defies category yet was the most entertaining thing I saw or heard this year – R. Kelly’s Trapped In the Closet masterpiece. I didn’t think there could be anything R. Kelly related that was funnier than Dave Chappelle’s skit, Mr. Kelly found a way to top it and Trapped in the Closet is probably the only thing released this year that is a first ballot entry into the Scooter Hall of Fame. Now onto the Top 100 Songs of 2005, and feel free to leave your favorite songs of the year in the comment section:
1. Landed - Ben Folds
2. Gold Digger - Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
3. Breathe (2 AM) - Anna Nalick
4. Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own - U2
5. Mr. Brightside - The Killers
6. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
7. Ordinary People - John Legend
8. The Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice
9. Telescope Eyes - Eisley
10. Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley
11. Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West
12. Breakdown - Jack Johnson
13. Existentialism On Prom Night - Straylight Run
14. Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave
15. These Words - Natasha Bedingfield
16. You and Me - Lifehouse
17. Fix You - Coldplay
18. Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
19. Love Love Love - Tristan Prettyman
20. Ohio (Come Back to Texas) - Bowling for Soup
21. All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
22. Somebody - Bonnie McKee
23. Gotta Get Up from Here - Ellie Lawson
24. I'm Feeling You - Santana & Michelle Branch
25. Work - Jimmy Eat World
26. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson
27. 1 Thing - Amerie
28. Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
29. Club Foot - Kasabian
30. Testify - Common
31. Speed of Sound - Coldplay
32. Heard 'Em Say - Kanye West & Adam Levine
33. Soul Meets Body - Death Cab For Cutie
34. The Mixed Tape - Jack's Mannequin
35. Dreamgirl - Dave Matthews Band
36. Ashes - Embrace
37. Chocolate - Snow Patrol
38. Bullet and a Target - Citizen Cope
39. The Corner - Common, the Last Poets & Kanye West
40. A Lifetime - Better Than Ezra
41. Stars and Boulevards - Augustana
42. Home - Marc Broussard
43. Get Back - Ludacris
44. Sitting, Waiting, Wishing - Jack Johnson
45. Son's Gonna Rise - Citizen Cope & Santana
46. American Baby - Dave Matthews Band
47. Better Days - Goo Goo Dolls
48. Beverly Hills - Weezer
49. When in Rome - Nickel Creek
50. All Because of You - U2
51. Who Did You Think I Was? - John Mayer Trio
52. Some Hearts - Carrie Underwood
53. Trouble - Bonnie McKee
54. The One I Love - David Gray
55. Mind on the Road - Reverend Run
56. My Doorbell - The White Stripes
57. Original of the Species - U2
58. Revolution - Eric Clapton
59. Used to Love U - John Legend
60. City of Blinding Lights - U2
61. Inside Your Heaven - Carrie Underwood
62. Back to Me - Kathleen Edwards
63. Collide - Howie Day
64. When the President Talks to God - Bright Eyes
65. World On Fire - Sarah McLachlan
66. Chariot - Gavin DeGraw
67. Just Feel Better - Santana & Steven Tyler
68. In the Rough - Anna Nalick
69. Pon de Replay - Rihanna
70. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
71. Over My Head (Cable Car) - The Fray
72. O' Sailor - Fiona Apple
73. You Gonna Love Me - Da Backwudz
74. Sugar, We're Goin Down - Fall Out Boy
75. Be Yourself - Audioslave
76. Walk Tall - John Mellencamp
77. Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
78. Bad Day - Daniel Powter
79. Go! - Common, John Mayer & Kanye West
80. Landing in London - 3 Doors Down & Bob Seger
81. One Love - Hootie & the Blowfish
82. The Harder They Come - Willie Nelson
83. Your Time Has Come - Audioslave
84. Let Me Go - 3 Doors Down
85. Be the Girl - Aslyn
86. Right To Be Wrong - Joss Stone
87. Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
88. DOA - Foo Fighters
89. She Said - Brie Larson
90. Talk - Coldplay
91. Perfect Situation - Weezer
92. Who We Are - Hope Partlow
93. Till I Get to You - Nikka Costa
94. 4ever - The Veronicas
95. She Says - Howie Day
96. Everything to Me - Liz Phair
97. Empty Room - Marjorie Fair
98. Dance, Dance - Fall Out Boy
99. I Wasn't Prepared - Eisley
100. Give a Little Bit - Goo Goo Dolls
Preview most of these songs and download them DRM free from Amazon MP3 using the widget below: