Thursday, October 28, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Hybrid

If you've ever heard the music of Welsh band Hybrid, you should get a sense for their name.

The band plays a mix of electronica and rock that is simultaneously edgy and delicate. Progressive dance beats and dark, cinematic rock are often the underpinnings for strong melodic arrangements.

The group, led by Mike Truman and Chris Healings, has released four proper albums in the last decade, as well as multiple remix albums and singles. The band is known best for remixing the songs of other prominent artists, including Radiohead and U2; however, their work has also been featured in film and television for years.

For Hybrid's 2010 album, Disappear Here, the duo expanded to include the songwriting talents of Charlotte James. James' fragile vocals add an emotional element to the trance and techno roots of the band and often act to contrast the Prodigy-like shouts of her male counterparts. On "Salt" - one of my favorite album tracks - James' bewitching voice echoes over layers of jungle rhythms.

In addition, the group worked with Andrew Skeet and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra to create the rich tonal textures of the album.

The songs, which typically clock in above 5 minutes apiece, are sprawling, yet possess the lush pop sensibilities and structure shifts to avoid becoming wallpaper. On Disappear Here, the group seems to be working more comfortably as a "band" than ever before.

The end result is a midnight soundtrack of songs that are moody and atmospheric, sensual and complex, a la UNKLE or Massive Attack.

Below: Watch the brand new video for Hybrid's upcoming single and title track, "Disappear Here."

For more information on Hybrid, visit the band's official site,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - 'Vocal Chords'

To be honest, the only reason I gave Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. a chance in the first place was because of the band's intriguing name.  Not since Pearl Jam called themselves Mookie Blaylock have I wanted to give a band named after an athlete a chance, and I'm glad I did.

'Vocal Chords' implements the chamber pop harmonies popular of today, while maintaining a healthy doseage of the catchy hook here and there. 

Stream 'Vocal Chords' below:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Vocal Chords .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Social Network Original Score - 'In Motion'

Who knew watching computer nerds write computer code could be so intriguing?  In the Hollywood smash, The Social NetworkTrent Reznor and Atticus Ross score a pinnacle scene depicting actors doing just that.

And it works brilliantly.

Stream 'In Motion' via the Youtube stream below:

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Monday, October 25, 2010

**Contest** - Enter To Win A Signed Tote From Erin McCarley Today!

We've partnered with Stetson to give our valued readers a chance to win some signed merchandise from rising songstress, Erin McCarley.

According to her official website, McCarley draws from such lauded artists as Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, and Greg Laswell to produce her tender sound.

Recently, Erin recorded a cover of the Hank Williams classic, 'I Saw the Light,' in Nashville, Tennessee.  The result is a youthful and energetic interpretation of a time honored Country and Western staple.  You can watch the official video of this performance below:

If you are a fan of Erin McCarley's effervescent sound, be sure to enter our contest for a chance to win a tote signed by the artist herself!

Here are the rules:
  • Participants must have a United States mailing address.
  • Participants must be a natural person (not a business entity).
  • Enter the contest by sending an email to
  • Participants may only enter one time.
  • In the subject line, put the following text:  "Erin McCarley Contest."
  • The tenth (10th) person to send the email, as instructed above, will win the signed tote.
  • The winner will be notified by email, and the winner will be asked to provide their mailing address.
  • Once the winner's mailing address is received, it will be forwarded to our partner, and our partner will ship the signed tote to the winner.
  • The winner's mailing address will not be used by The Lonely Note for any other purpose than to ship the signed tote.
  • The Lonely Note reserves the right to end the contest at any time or to refuse to declare a winner of the contest should circumstances reasonably dictate as such.
  • The Lonely Note assumes no responsibility for the shipment of the signed tote.  
  • Contest offer is good only while supplies last.
We look forward to your participation, and we hope to continue to bring our readers more contests in the future!

***Update - Oct. 26:  The contest is closed.  We will be notifying the winner shortly.***

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twin Shadow - 'Castles in the Snow'

Congruent with the current Halloween season, 'Castles in the Snow' is a slightly menacing, neo-industrial track from Brooklyn's Twin Shadow.

If you find yourself listening to the deeper catalog of Gorillaz (see example here), you will likely enjoy 'Castles in the Snow.'

Stream the track below:

 Twin Shadow - Castles In The Snow .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Starsailor - 'In The Crossfire'

Somehow, I missed this one the first time around. I remember when Starsailor emerged, circa 2002 with their single, "Good Souls," but failed to really keep a pulse on their career after that.

So, when I first heard "In the Crossfire" a few days back, I thought to myself, "Hey, this new Starsailor song is pretty rockin'!"

What I didn't realize was the song was released back in 2006 on the band's third album, On the Outside.

The earnest lyrics and piano-driven Britpop of "In the Crossfire" are balanced well by the strength of the rhythm section. Singer/guitarist James Walsh's weary vocals often compare to those of The Verve's Richard Ashcroft, and Walsh hits some stellar high notes in the song's chorus.

If you haven't given Starsailor a spin in a while, this one's worth the time. Stream "In the Crossfire" below:

Starsailor - In The Crossfire .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rogue Wave - 'Lake Michigan'

2007's Asleep at Heaven's Gate may have received lukewarm reviews, but 'Lake Michigan' was a standout track of the album.

Jaunty and melancholy, 'Lake Michigan' is the perfect soundtrack to an episode of contemplation and deep thought.

Stream Rogue Wave's 'Lake Michigan' below:

 Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Behind The Sample: Lafayette Afro Rock Band - 'Darkest Light'

You've heard it before. That smoother-than-smooth horn loop is recognizable from the very onset of the first note. So indelible, you could probably hum it in your sleep. "Rump Shaker!" you call out with abandon to all decency.

Yes, I am talking about the "Rump Shaker" - that lovably tacky 1992 rap hit from Wreckx-N-Effect. It was a single that climbed to the top of the charts and caused its fair share of complaints. Afterall, the video was basically everything The Grind at the MTV Beach House wanted to be - beach babes in bikinis dancing to funky beats. It was a celebration of the simple things in life.

Wreckx-N-Effect - "Rump Shaker"

But the sexy saxophone that got all those ladies shaking dates back a heck of a lot longer than 1992!

Let's take the wayback machine to 1975 - a time when a group from New York, called Lafayette Afro Rock Band, was struggling to overcome obscurity by pursuing a career in France.

Taking cues from African rhythms and beats, Lafayette Afro Rock Band only received the widespread critical success they deserved years after disbanding. Today, the group is heralded as one of the most influential funk bands of the '70s and their music has become amongst the most heavily sampled in hip-hop. Their song, "Darkest Light", written by band member Michael McEwan, could even be regarded as one of the best break-beat samples of all time. "Why?" you may ask. Well, let me show you.

Lafayette Afro Rock Band - "Darkest Light" (1975)

But the story doesn't end there. It merely begins.

Before ever being picked up as a raunchy summer anthem, "Darkest Light" first had to undergo its most important revival.

When Public Enemy's epic album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, dropped in 1988, it forever changed the hip-hop game. The album's ingenious, biting lyrics were woven over heavy samples, including jazz and funk.

On the interlude track, "Show 'Em Whatcha Got" (via YouTube), Public Enemy take "Darkest Light" for a fresh spin. The horns loop, the bass thumps and Chuck D and Flavor Flav call out, "Public Enemy Number One" and "Show 'Em Whatcha Got!" respectively throughout.

Public Enemy's sampling of the Lafayette Afro Rock Band song created a resurgence for the classic funk band's music.

Below is a list of some other songs that have sampled "Darkest Light." For audio/video links, simply click the song titles:
The song received one of its most popular and high-profile samples to date on Jay-Z's massive 2006 single, "Show Me What You Got."

Besides sampling the original horn loop from Lafayette Afro Rock Band, Jay-Z invokes Flavor Flav's notorious call from Public Enemy's "Show 'Em Whatcha Got."

Now, that's what I call a sample.

Jay-Z - "Show Me What You Got" (2006)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Room - 'Oh Hai: Dubstep Remix'

In this film-to-music collision we have a clever (and very funny) autotune remix of Tommy Wiseau's masterpiece, The Room.

For those unfamiliar with The Room, it has gained cult status in recent years as the "worst film ever made."  Just one viewing of this movie-mistake will instill feelings of rage, humor, and immense perplexity.  It's certainly worth experiencing at least once.

Obviously, if you haven't seen the movie already, this remix will make zero sense to you.  On the other hand, if you've already watched it, this remix will make you laugh and laugh---almost more than the original movie. 

Watch 'Oh Hai' below: 

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Coast - 'Boyfriend'

The ghost of 90's grunge haunts the distant and fragile 'Boyfriend,' a strong track from Best Coast's Crazy for You.  

Like many songs of that time, 'Boyfriend' is paradoxically flimsy, yet firm; dilapidated, but unyielding. Overall, this opposing nature is what wraps 'Boyfriend' into the tight package it ends up playing out to be.

Groove along to 'Boyfriend' by streaming below:

 Best Coast - Boyfriend .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jerry Cantrell - 'Dickeye'

By the time I was really getting into Alice in Chains, the band had been long broken up.

However, in 1998, the band's guitarist provided diehard fans such as myself with temporary relief.  Jerry Cantrell's Boggy Depot contained at least a couple of radio friendly singles ('I Cut You In' and 'My Song'), but it contained some riff-heavy tracks as well.

'Dickeye,' the opening cut, was an assault of grungy guitar and weighty rhythm playing, reminiscent of Facelift and Dirt.  Although it could hold no candle to its AIC antecedents, the song, and corresponding album, were a worthy substitute.

Stream the Youtube version of 'Dickeye' below:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caught On Tape: Gorillaz - 'El Mañana' (Live in Harlem)

Gorillaz have been around for a few years. In fact, Damon Albarn (of Blur fame) and his animated band has scored multiple smash hits, from their very first single, "Clint Eastwood" (2001), all the way up to their current album, Plastic Beach (2010).

The band's 2005 LP, Demon Days, famously delivered "Feel Good Inc." and "Dare" - two of the group's catchiest and most popular singles-to-date. Those singles helped propel Demon Days to sell more than 10 million copies.

But if you're still a casual Gorillaz fan such as myself - one who hasn't followed every nuance of the fictional band's storyline as it's unraveled - it's quite possible you overlooked one of Gorillaz' most well-written tracks, "El Mañana".

Released in the U.K. as Demon Days' fourth and final single, "El Mañana" was accompanied by a stunning, full-budget music video by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett.

The video follows Noodle, the band's guitarist, as her peaceful life on a flying island is suddenly attacked by fighter helicopters. The video is a continuation to the plotline of "Feel Good, Inc." and a precursor to "On Melancholy Hill".

Hewlett's lush animation captures both the melody and pain in Albarn's lyrics and the video is as intense as the original song is understated.

Below is a video of "El Mañana" performed by Gorillaz in Harlem, NYC. The song's original music video can be seen paired together with Albarn and an orchestra of live musicians.

It might just be one of the best Gorillaz songs you never heard.

For more on Gorillaz, visit the band's official website.

Duffy - 'Well, Well, Well'

Here's Duffy's new video.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Temper Trap - 'Fader'

Although Temper Trap's Conditions has been available for a little over a year already, 'Fader' is just now gaining its grip here in The States.

The tune is an urbane cross between the polished rock of Coldplay and the sonic layering of Radiohead.  Certainly, the embelmatic "coo coo cooooo" of the chorus seals the deal on this particular song.

Stream 'Fader' below:

 The Temper Trap - Fader .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wavves - 'Post Acid'

Would it be sacrilegious to declare Wavves The Beach Boys of Generation Y?

Watch the band's fresh single, 'Post Acid', below and decide for yourself:

Wavves - "Post Acid" from GreenLabelSound on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Limousines - 'Internet Killed the Video Star'

Oh, the times, they are a changin'!

Watch The Limousuines' ode to technological change, 'Internet Killed the Video Star,' below:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brandon Flowers - 'Crossfire'

Brandon Flowers' solo foray, by way of 'Crossfire,' doesn't strike a fancy the first time it's played.  Indeed, it fails to make any statement until its sixth or seventh spin.  Perhaps this has more to do with alt rock radio stations saturating the airwaves with it's sounds than it has to do with hidden beauty--but that's mere speculation at this point.

Speculation aside, 'Crossfire's' declaration is a worthy one.  It's an American West-themed tale of darkness and apathy, of despair and paralysis.  Yet, it's also a song sprinkled with a bit of hope.

Stream 'Crossfire' below:

 Brandon Flowers - Crossfire .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Freelance Whales - 'Hannah'

'Hannah' is a buoyant electro-pop song from Freelance Whales.  In the same vein as She and Him, 'Hannah' features playful lyrics, as well as idiosyncratic song stylings.

You can stream 'Hannah' below:

 Freelance Whales - Hannah .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Monday, October 11, 2010

Foster the People - 'Pumped Up Kicks'

'Pumped Up Kicks' is a gentle track by Foster the People that implements distant-sounding vocals, whistling, and repetitive lyrics throughout its composition.  The aftermath is a contagious, lighthearted romp.

Stream 'Pumped Up Kicks' below:

 Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fistful of Mercy - 'Father's Son'

One of the newest supergroups, Fistful of Mercy consists of Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison, and Joseph Arthur.

'Father's Son' is a blues-inspired romp that features Southern harmonies and Gospel, while also displaying a bit of acoustic-Zeppelin flair.

Recently, Fistful of Mercy went on Jimmy Fallon's show and teamed up with The Roots to debut 'Father's Son.' Watch the video of this performance below:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Weezer - 'Memories'

Weezer is probably one of the most polarizing bands on the modern rock scene today.  In fact, one anti-fan is so annoyed by the band, he is currently attempting to raise 10 million dollars to convince Weezer to break up.

The derision toward the band isn't always fair, however.  When Pinkerton was originally released, critics, including Rolling Stone, panned the album as a disaster.  Today, Weezer's sophomore effort is viewed as one of the most important records of the nineties.  (Click here for more information on Pinkerton's rise from initial obscurity to legendary status).

Although Weezer's latest effort, Hurley, may not be Pinkerton-redux, it still shows some critical promise.  Among the decent tunage is 'Memories,' a relatively muscular riff that harks to a more nostalgic time for the band.

Stream 'Memories' below:

 Weezer - Memories .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ray LaMontagne - 'Beg, Steal, or Borrow'

Ray LaMontagne's latest disc may not have inspired as many critics as Gossip in the Grain did.  Nevertheless, there are still gems to be found on God Willin' to be sure.

One such track is 'Beg, Steal, or Borrow.'  It's a rootsy descent into Joni Mitchell, steel guitar, Dylan, and Americana.

"Young man, full of big plans, and thinking about tomorrow" is the aching lyric about hankering youths that truly encapsulates the single's spirit.

You can stream 'Beg, Steal, or Borrow' below:

 Ray LaMontagne - Beg, Steal, or Borrow.mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Joe Jackson - 'You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)'

Joe Jackson is perhaps best known for his 8-bit video game inspired 'Steppin' Out'.  'Breaking Us in Two' and 'Is She Really Going Out With Him?' were other eighties favorites.

One common theme of Jackson's music is his synthesis of Costello thrum and jazz piano with current musical styles of the time.  In 1984, however, Jackson stepped out of his usual paradigm (pun intended), and dedicated an album to a more jazz-heavy sound--an approach rarely heard of in the 1980s.

'You Can't Get What You Want' was one such result of Jackson's fusion experiment.  While echoing the rousing funk of bands like The Time, Jackson still retained his signature new wave hook when it came to the tune's chorus.

Check out the video stream for the tasty 'You Can't Get What You Want':

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - 'Janglin'

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros released the relaxed 'Janglin' in 2009.  With eleven members total, it was not difficult for the band to spawn the lush melody that is characteristic of the song.

You can stream 'Janglin' below:

 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Janglin .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine
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