January 11, 2010

Is T.V. Really Garbage?

I had a conversation with my dad about the "brain rotting" power of television. The image of a slovenly, overweight, pathetic, Americans didn't come by accident; there's little denying that television has a stupefying effect. Psychologists claim it's robbing our generation of creativity since it does the job for you. Fair everything is true thus far. However, what about the redeeming quality of television? In the past turbulent 60 years, would people have believed their ears if television cameras weren't there to capture what radio can't even aspire to touch and what pictures are far to inadequate to convey. I came across a piece a art by happenstance on YouTube today. This is a snippet of a film that was a part of what was a multi-sensory theatrical multi-media experience from director Adam Curtis.

(Caution: Contains Disturbing Images)
It shows how television and motion pictures, for better or worse have brought us some of the most important moments of the last half century. It scares us, scars us, and yet rivets us. It takes those unforgettable moments and intersperses them with seeming random scenes that convey subtle themes. The clever editing coupled with music that seems to perfectly suit each moment.

January 4, 2010

People You've Never Heard Of II

Tonight's "People You've Never Heard Of" features artists who make music that falls into my own made-up category of Electronica/Chill. Because quite simply, these artists defy convention categorization.

Washed Out aka Ernest Greene was one of my favorite artists of 2009. He has a fun, hazy, "washed out" by the sun sound. It sounds modern yet very vintage. Look for more from Washed Out and other vintage 80s and surf pop inspired artist this year.

"Belong" Washed Out [MP3 link]
"Olivia" Washed Out [MP3 link]

Discovery is a little bit harder to describe; it consists of Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles from Ra Ra Riot. Some would call it a preppy/indie take on R&B club music; but this is only a half-hearted description, you just have to listen to fully understand it.
"Orange Shirt" Discovery [MP3 link]
"I Want You Back" (Jackson 5 Cover) Discovery [MP3 link]

December 30, 2009

Best Of 2009: Rock Song/ Album of the Year

2009 was the year of Obama, against Obama, auto-tune, Tiger Wood's sex scandal, Brett Farve not retiring, every rapper went to jail, Kanye vs. Taylor Swift, Rihanna vs. Chris Brown, DJ AM survived a plane crash only to overdose, O.J. got his, the Camaro, and the realization that world was coming to an end. Here's the best of this year, 2009! So who had the best rock song/album? One guess it ain't Coldplay.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and "Lisztomania" from Phoenix of course. Sprung from the same root as Air and Daft Punk, this French rock meets electronica band finally got the attention they deserved after nearly 10 years together. Catchy-as-hell and yet still substantive, "1901" may have gotten the most attention, but "Lisztomania" was more fun. Phoenix showed us the French can rock out just hard as us; "Lisztomania" is full of hard driving riffs and has a funky elecrtonic background. That being said, the entire album is amazing, there's not a bad song; in fact there's not a song on the album that won't have you humming by the end. Plus that might just be the most clever album name this year. "If you have the means I highly suggest picking one up" on your trip to Guestroom.

"Lisztomania" Phoenix [MP3 link]
"Rome" Phoenix [MP3 link]

December 29, 2009

Best of 2009: The Biggest Thing in Music

2009 was the year of Obama, tea parties, auto-tune, Tiger Wood's sex scandal, Brett Farve not retiring, every rapper went to jail, Adam Lambert, Rihanna vs. Chris Brown, Glen Beck, O.J. got his, the Camaro, and the realization that world was coming to an end. Here's the best of this year, 2009! In this crazy year what was the biggest thing in music?.

The Mixtape! Drake and Kid Cudi had huge debuts before they even had albums; mixtapes have long been a way to "get your foot in the door", but Drake and Cudi blew the doors down with their mixtapes. Both rappers had three or four Hot 100 singles and accompanying videos just from the buzz created by their mixtapes. Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) had one the biggest anthems of the summer "Day N' Nite". Cudi's smooth flow, amazing production, and the saavy to collaborate with the likes of Ratatat and MGMT made him the best new artist of the year.

Close on his heels though, was Drake. Aubrey Graham went from playing wheelchair bound Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi to one of the hottest names in rap; he appeared on everyone's hook (an after an accident on stage was wheelchair again for a while). Drake's ability to spit incredible lyrics and then harmonize on his tracks earns him the second best new artist of the year.

A Kid Named Cudi Kid Cudi [ZIP file link]
So Far Gone Drake [ZIP file link]

The runner-up for the biggest thing is music this year was the mash-up. Greg Grillis aka "Girl Talk" turned the mash-up into an art; The Hood Internet also gained some notoriety from the blogosphere. So here's the top 25 songs of the year in less than 5 minutes.
"The United States of Pop: Blame It On The Pop" DJ Earworm [MP3 link]

December 28, 2009

Best Of 2009: Popular Artists of the Year

2009 was the year of Obama, tea parties, auto-tune, Tiger Wood's sex scandal, Brett Farve not retiring, healthcare rallies, Adam Lambert, gay marriage successes, gay marriage failures, Glen Beck, Lady Gaga's fashion, the Camaro, and the realization that world was coming to an end. Here's the best of this year, 2009!One had the most anticipated album of the year; the other proved to be the biggest pop star in the world.

Jay-Z released the Blueprint III this year to rave reviews. The album has already produced three hits and he's not finished yet. He had the guts to challenge the now rap industry standard "auto-tune" in "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune). "Empire State of Mind" (see this review) just might be one of the most beautiful rap songs ever. I've long thought Jay-Z was the greatest rapper, this year he just proved it.

This year was great for Lady Gaga proved she wasn't just a flash in the pan. After the smash party hit, "Just Dance", that turned into a #1 Billboard song, she released "Poker Face" another #1 Billboard song. After two more dance hits, it was the lead single from The Fame Monster, "Bad Romance" that proved Gaga is a serious artist. The song had a synthy, hard-hitting 80s-inspired base that worked perfectly with the dark, almost Gothic lyrics.

"Forever Young" Jay-Z feat. Mr. Hudson [MP3 link]
Unreleased Tracks
"Kandy Life" Lady Gaga [MP3 link]
"Filthy Pop" Lady Gaga [MP3 link]

December 25, 2009

Tis the Season #7

Its the last "Tis the Season". Rock out; because today IS Christmas. Here's Julian Casablancas of the Strokes with "I Wish It Was Christmas Today"

December 24, 2009

Even More Covers

Blackstreet's "No Diggity" is nearly a classic now. I remember listening to it elementary school. The English electro pop, punk, sci-fi rock group, The Klaxons best known for thier song "Golden Skans", put an interesting new spin on it. You can tell they add a little punk attitude to the song; but they still keep it funky.

The Noisettes, led by Shingai Shoniwa's soulful yet oh-so-perfect-for-punk-rock voice, have long been on my radar. This summer's "Never Forget You" scored rave reviews and recieved 1.5 million views on Youtube. The released an incredible cover of The Killers' "When You Were Young"; Shoniwa tones the song down and adds some soul to cover.

"No Diggity" (Blackstreet Cover) The Klaxons [MP3 link]
"When You Were Young" (The Killers Cover) the Noisettes [MP3 link]