Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Caught On Tape: José González - "Down the Line"

The new José González album, In Our Nature, came out in the U.S. today.

The Swedish songwriter's sophomore effort includes the single "Down the Line" as well as a cover of Massive Attack's classic, "Teardrop."

In honor of the release, I'm posting the video for "Down the Line," directed by Andreas Nilsson. Nilsson previously worked with Gonzalez' wistful cover of Kylie Minogue's "Hand on Your Heart" in 2006.

Beautifully strange and unsettling, the video follows the self-destructive journey of a pig-faced man (apparently modeled after Jim Woodring's "Manhog Beyond the Face" comics) as he rides around on on a 4-wheeler and strips down naked after setting a car on fire. No, I'm serious.

The Manhog story continues in the video "Killing for Love."

José González is on tour throughout fall 2007.

Quick TV Show Plug: 'Chuck'

Here's my quick and cheap TV show plug for the season:

'Chuck', NBC's slacker spy-guy drama debuted last night, and I will say I was pretty entertained. Although it was infused with the requisite network television hokiness in a few spots, overall it was pretty enthralling. The visual affects are cool, and the funny lines dropped by the main characters are effective.

In addition to the comedy, the soundtrack was pretty good. For instance, Beck was featured on last night's episode.

So, if you're bored, and are looking for some dazzling visual effects combined with some tasty music, 'Chuck' may be the show for you.

Music Hits
Non Siamo Soli Lyrics
Eros Ramazzotti
This Time Lyrics
Melanie C (Melanie Chisholm)
My Word Lyrics
One Chance
Love Like This Lyrics
Natasha Bedingfield
System Lyrics
Here We Go Again Lyrics
Mary J Blige
Underneath Lyrics
Alanis Morissette
Diamonds Lyrics
Beyonce Knowles
Put You Up On Game Lyrics
Aretha Franklin
In The Mood Of Love Lyrics
Kylie Minogue
Get your own here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Beginner's Guide to Trip-hop

Trip-hop has for years been one of my favorite sub-genres of music. Formed largely in response to electronic dance music and acid jazz in the U.K., the artists who popularized trip-hop in the early 1990s commonly combined the bass-heavy grooves and breakbeats of American hip-hop music with more ambient atmospherics.

The result was a style of music that could be incredibly flexible and experimental. Artists would often meld downtempo jazz, soul and Latin elements with the rhythms. The chilled-out, hypnotic sound that emerged led to the name "trip-hop."

From the smokey, ethereal textures and sensual vocals of Portishead to the funked-out dub of Kruder & Dorfmeister's "Bug Powder Dust" remix, trip-hop showed us that no style is untouchable.

Below, I've compiled a shortlist of some artists who were essential to the trip-hop movement, as well as some who have taken on its characteristics. What I hope to provide here is an introduction to some of my favorites.

So, whether you're starting the party or just kicking back after a long day, this is one playlist that's begging for a spin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hard-Fi - 'Suburban Knights'

Here's the new one from Hard-Fi. It's called 'Suburban Knights:'

Hard-Fi - 'Suburban Knights'

Across the Universe

Across the Universe is a Beatles-inspired musical about a dock worker from Liverpool who travels to America during the sixties. The film centers around the anti-war movement of that time, with the actors expressing themselves via verse of the Beatles.

Below is actor Jim Sturgess' renditon of 'All My Loving.' In stark contrast to the original Merseybeat production of the song, this film's version is more down-beat and low-fi. But it easily fits into the contemporary corpus that is rock music today.

Stream it and compare it to the original version below:

Jim Sturgess - 'All My Loving'

The Beatles - 'All My Loving'

Saturday, September 15, 2007

'Pop Goes My Heart'

Unbelievable as it may seem, Music and Lyrics is the first Hugh Grant film I'd ever taken the time to sit down and watch in its entirety. I'm not sure what gave me the motivation this time around to check my male dignity at the door and submit myself to the heartthrob's terse wit and boyish charm---although I think a large part may have to do with the fact my girlfriend is a big fan. Either way, I must admit that I was very impressed not only with Grant's deadpan humor, but with the subject matter of the film as well.

Music and Lyrics is a romantic comedy (although more comedic than romantic) that serves as a great parody of all the big eighties music cliches. The movie makes implicit digs at
Frankie Goes to Hollywood, A-Ha, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, and quite obviously, Wham!. Grant's character, Alex Fletcher, is quietly recovering from his exhilarating former life as the keyboardist/vocalist for the synth band Pop!. When his more popular songwriting partner decides to split from Pop! and take all of Fletcher's songs with him, Fletcher finds himself lost in obscurity due to his one crucial song production problem: while he can write moving melodies, he is quite lyrically challenged.

In an odd twist of fate a decade later, Fletcher regains his muse through the introduction to his plant lady Sophie Fisher, played by Drew Barrymore. Barrymore is an idealistic wordsmith who believes that it is the poetic meter of lyrics that gives a song its soul. As she not-so-eloquently puts it in the movie: music is the lust, lyrics is the romance. From this point it doesn't take a genius film critic to see where the movie traverses from here. Obviously, as the two begin working closely with one another to write a song for Shakira-parody Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) a sophisticated romance develops. And at the end of the film the viewer is blatantly hit over the head with the analogous notion that just as music and lyrics complete a song, naive optimism and clever sensibility are sometimes the perfect ingredients to complete a romance.

Below, I've attached the music video for Pop!'s 'Pop Goes My Heart.' This is featured at the beginning of the movie, and had me laughing throughout its entire duration. I'd say the most hysterical part is around the 1:40 mark during the hospital scene.

For those who understand the ridiculousness that was the eighties, you are sure to appreciate this:

Leaked tracks
Throwed Lyrics
Chris Brown
She's On Fire Lyrics
Craig David
Hey Babe Lyrics
Bleeding Love Lyrics
Leona Lewis
Song About Girls Lyrics
Will I Am
Take Me Home Lyrics
Delta Goodrem
Sleeping With The Telephone Lyrics
Reba McEntire
Follow You Wherever You Go Lyrics
Ashlee Simpson
Radar Lyrics
Britney Spears
Hot Stuff Lyrics
Craig David
Get your blog's here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Slow Music Week: 50 Cent v. Kanye

When Kanye West and 50 Cent released their respective albums simultaneously, the two decided on a sales competition. Apparently, if Kanye's Graduation outsells 50 Cent's Curtis, 50 Cent claims he will never make a solo album again. (I'm not sure what Kanye's end of the bargain is if he loses, so if somebody knows, drop a comment and fill me in).

So what is the current sales counts of each? According to Idolator, West is winning 437,00 albums to 50's 310,000.

The beat goes on...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Party in Vegas! A recap of the 2007 VMAs

Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards ceremony could best be summarized by man-of-the-evening Justin Timberlake, who accepted one of his several awards by playfully challenging MTV to "play more videos."

Befitting, considering MTV has gradually shifted in recent years to focus on reality tv and gossip shows more than anything video-related, much less music-related.

The network attempted to amend it's relationship with music on Sunday by unveiling an awards show based more on performances than on actual awards. This year's ceremony was moved to Las Vegas' Palms Casino, where multiple suites hosted the action for the evening. Timberlake and Timbaland, Kanye West, the Foo Fighters, and Fall Out Boy each had their own party suite to perform in throughout the evening. At the main ceremony, newcomer Mark Ronson remixed songs with various artists between awards.
Shortening the usual program length from 3 hours down to 2, the VMAs reflected a more attention deficient show by packing in performances and generally playing only parts of songs before breaking for commerials. However, several interesting collaborations took place, including CeeLo joining the Foo Fighters on their cover of Prince's "Darlin Nikki."

The show opened on the main stage with the highly anticipated return of tabloid punching bag Britney Spears, who proved to have passed her prime. Although her new single "Gimme More" commands a certain affection by reminding listeners, "It's Britney, bitch," her stage show was a bit lackluster. Still attempting to squeeze into her old lingerie, Spears barely went through the motions of her dance routine. At times, she seemed to forget not only about singing, but lip-synching as well.

Arguably, the best performance of the night was from the young Chris Brown, who dazzled with a spot on Michael Jackson impersonation during a medley featuring "Billy Jean." Now a seasoned VMA vet, Timberlake accepted his Male Artist of the Year award with class, applauding Brown's performance.

Curiously, almost all of the evening's award winners were also performers at the event. But, even with a show that has become increasingly more driven by the popularity of singles than the quality of music videos, it was quite refreshing to see the MTV Music Video Awards overflowing with what should be important. Music.

Click here to see full-length videos of the performances and more from the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.

Seether - 'Fake It'

Here is the new single from Seether. It's called 'Fake It.' It's definitely a slightly different sound for the band, but I'm digging it.

Listen to it below:

Seether - 'Fake It'

Song update
What's Ya Name Lyrics
Pusher Lyrics
J. Holiday
Strictly Physical Lyrics
Cry Baby Lyrics
Roisin Murphy
Clear The Air Lyrics
Busta Rhymes
My Dear Lyrics
Eh Hee Lyrics
Dave Matthews Band
Ghetto Lyrics
Snoop Dogg
Killa Lyrics
1 Of 6 Thing Lyrics
Craig David
Get your free list here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Return of Hanson????

Mmmmmmmmmm............Bop is back? Well, yeah, sort of!

Now that I have your attention (and have scared the living bejesus out of you), let me tell you how I listened to a Hanson song for an entire month, didn't know it was them, and sort of enjoyed it.

One of my clinical stops on my 4th year of medical school was to the great city (and Hank's birthplace) of Chicago for the month of August 2007 (this followed a fantastic month of July, living at the abode of fellow lonelynoter Tae in Cedar Falls, IA). While switching cities, I always find within the first few minutes of arriving which radio stations I want to listen to and program them into my FM dial.

Pretty much the only station I listened to in Chicago was an alternative station Q101 (101.1), "Everything Alternative." It is a great station, except I think they play too much Beastie Boys and they have been playing to death a horrible punk rendition of Cindy Lauper's hit, "Time After Time" shamefully done by Quiet Drive (I can only hope for the band's sake that they are better than that). Other than those transgressions, they play sweet music all day long.

One of their gimics is to play a song for a month of a band you maybe know, not tell you who the band is, and let you guess (or cheat and look it up) for the entire month. The song would play several times a day, the dj's talk about the song, careful not to release the identity of the artist. Then at the end of the month they have the band on the show to announce that they have been the mystery artist of the month. Now the bands they pick are not unknown bands you have never heard of, but rather a band you maybe forgot about or a band trying a new sound. Either way, if you are as big of fans of music as we here are at the Lonely Note, you feel like you should be able to guess who it is, right?

Well, of course, big bad 'ol Hank thinks this game should be easy. I listen to rock/alternative music all day long, I'll get it! I hear the song for the first time. Hmm. The male singer on the song has a soulful voice, and sounds eerily like Michael Jackson at times. Could this be the King of Pop's big return? ("You aint seen nothin' yet!") I mean Jacko has been hiding out in Dubai working on his album and MIA for the recent past. This could easily be his big return, and using my logic, he could have a new sound, right? Something more alternative.....

No way. Too many times in the song the singers voice wanders from The Gloved One's trademark wail. And the singer is too reserved -- Michael would not miss a chance on his big comeback to let loose with his pipes.

My next guess was my only serious one, and I thought it was pretty good (although my girlfriend disagrees with me). It has been a while since we have heard any new Train, and I thought that it seemed like a good time for them to make a comeback. The singer's voice is in the same alto range as Train singer Pat Monahan with some of the same idiosyncracies of this voice, but never really completely sold me. But like I said, I used logic: it would be a good time for a Train comeback, the guitars weren't too far off, the beat was a believable Train beat, the timbre of the singers voice could resemble Monahan's, etc. I thought it was a decent guess, although others disagree with me on that one (For the record, my girlfriends best guess was, "Well, I don't know, but I know it's not Train! :-) )

I really couldn't come up with much else. I tried to think of a band I hadn't heard much from in a while who could sound like this. How hard could this game be? You listen to music enough and by the end of the first note of the singer's first word you know instantly who it is and what band. I thought of some alternative acts who might try and make comebacks: Dinosaur Jr. Silverchair. Hell, even Mudhoney. But none of them would sound anything like this. I know their voices. This is somebody else. Little did I know I would have to go back (way back) and think of a band who is as hated as the freakin' Spice Girls.............

Well the announcement day came. 5:30 p.m. on Thursday August 30, 2007. I was pretty jacked but pissed I didn't have a better guess. I had grown to moderately enjoy the song. It wasn't anything fantastic, or something I would seek out, but it was a catchy song and is just had a fresh feeling to it. Well, here's the mystery band, and it is.........

Hanson?? You mean those little blond haired punks from the 90's? With that horrible pop song and that lead singer that sounded like a girl? You mean the band that NO guy in their right mind would EVER admit to liking was this secret, indie, alternative band I had been jamming to for the past month? NO!! I could feel whatever credibility I had left as a music journalist ebbing away. My jaw stayed open for quite a while. I was floored. For a few minutes I forgot about the horrible, eternal traffic I was stuck in on the cursed-to-hell Eisenhower 290 in Chicago. Wow.

But it was true. Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson were back, with a cleaned up, very adult, indie, and alternative sound. Without my predisposed notions to the band, you might think this was a pretty cool song and a band with a lot of promise. Well, that was exactly the point of what Q101 did. If they had announced it was a Hanson song when they first starting playing it, fans would have laughed and never gave it a chance, myself included. This way, listeners like me, who did not have the time to look it up and wanted to be surprised, could be. It was a great idea by the station, and really humbled a guy who likes to think he knows a thing or two about music.

Give, "The Great Divide," a listen. (Or stream it at the end of this post). It's too bad you won't have the same experience as me, and it will be tough to be unbiased, but give it a try anyway. But before you think I am crazy to think it's a good song if you don't like it, do remember I had NO IDEA who these guys were for the first 15 times I heard the song, and had no preconceived notions as you will most certainly have. It's a decent song, and who knows maybe they'll keep up the good work.

As a final note, I do know for a fact that this is not exactly their comeback. They have been back and still doing music for a few years now. But do remember this is their first song that would have been heard on stations that I listen to. Any Top 40 stuff they would have put out would probably have not been heard by me. So as far as I am concerned, this is their comeback.

Just so you know I am not making it up, here is the updated Wikipedia entry of the Q101 game at the very bottom of the wiki page.

Talk to you all soon, and happy listening:

Hanson - 'Great Divide'

Soon to come: Rage Against the Machine concert review (yes!) and a recap of Lollapalooza!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NFG Covers Sixpence

Full disclousre: I am not a New Found Glory fan by any stretch of the imagination. But even if I were, what is this band thinking?

Hailing from their forthcoming album From the Screen to Your Stereo, Vol. 2, 'Kiss Me' is an unexpected cover from a band whose emo-punk sound caters more to the angst-ridden teens portrayed on Superbad than the Dawson's Creek crowd who helped propel original artist, Sixpence None the Richer, to brief stardom with the very same single the first time around.

Is this all just one big joke? Listen for yourself below:

New Found Glory - 'Kiss Me'

Song update
Gimmie More (Remix) Lyrics
Britney Spears
Cold As Fire Lyrics
Britney Spears
Red Carpet Massacre Lyrics
Duran Duran
In This Life Lyrics
Delta Goodrem
Brave Lyrics
Jennifer Lopez
Driving Me Wild Lyrics
Let's Dance Lyrics
Craig David
Everybody Lyrics
Britney Spears
I Am Ready Lyrics
Kylie Minogue
Been A While Lyrics
Britney Spears
Get your blog's here.