Friday, February 29, 2008

Random Track of the Day: Angelfish

If you're a fan of Garbage, then you need to have Angelfish in your life. A year before Shirley Manson joined Butch Vig and Co to form Garbage, she was the lead vocalist for Angelfish, an industrial-sounding rock band behind halfway between Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. The music stands up alone without the usual goth-cliches that often go with this kind of music. It's not as good as Garbage at their best, but it's still damn good 90s rock.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Remixes: Blursabian

Mashup time! Today we're posting a mashup of Kasabian's vocals from "LSF (Lost Souls Forever)" mixed into an old Blur instrumental. It's an old remix from Party Ben, a DJ that's responsible for a lot of the most buzzworthy mashups that have popped up across the blogosphere in the last couple years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Music Videos": "Feeling Good", "Six Feet Under"-style

I just accidentally ran across one of the coolest TV ads to ever exist. I don't have HBO, so I had never seen the ad that they ran to promote the 4th season of "Six Feet Under". It's a dream-like music video set in a grocery store, and the song is Nina Simone's "Feeling Good". It's wickedly cool if you know the show and the characters, and still neat even if you don't. Below that, I decided to also include the music video of the Muse cover of the same song, just because it's the best old-school-soul-to-modern-alt-rock cover to ever live.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Music: Goldfrapp's "Seventh Tree"

Goldfrapp's new album was released today, and it's not bad at all. It took me a little while to get used to their new down-tempo, semi-acoustic sound, but now I really like their evolution. They've mastered a new sound, which was the best move that they could have possibly made because "Ooh La La" and "Strict Machine" were about to trap them in a creative corner. Here's "Monster Love", the closing track and one of the few tracks left on the album that haven't been circulating the internet for weeks.

Also, a playlist of samples from the album to get a sense of their new sound:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Live Music: Brit Awards '08 Recap

Being from America and all, I didn't see the Brit awards last night, but I absorbed all the Youtubes from the show, and I'm officially ready to talk about them. This is gonna take a while, so let's hurry up and get started:

Kaiser Chiefs. "Ruby". It's fine. I like them, but to completely honest, I think they need to stretch their boundaries a little more. They're starting to play it way too safe.

Rihanna... FEATURING THE KLAXONS! The Klaxons are 98% of the reason why I care about this video, and they delivered. The performance plays like a really surreal mashup of "Umbrella" and the "Golden Skans" video, with the lasers and all. They play really well together, and the Klaxon's arrangement of the song makes it feel like a really cool studio remix. I just wish Rihanna had enough of a voice to really belt out the song.

Amy Winehouse. "Love Is A Losing Game". Kinda a letdown-- some of her best live performances have been of this song, but she just didn't bring it for this. She sounds nervous as hell the whole time. It'll be interesting to see how much her live performances improve after she's done rehabbing.

Second-best performance of the night: Mika. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't really like the way this performance of "Love Today" started, but everything was forgiven as soon as Beth Ditto popped onto the stage OUT OF NOWHERE. Together, the two of them put on probably the absolute best rendition of "Standing In The Way of Control" that I've ever seen. Really, it even kicks the ass of the original studio version.

And for the best night, Mark Ronson featuring Adele AND Daniel Merriweather AND Amy Winehouse. Dan and Amy nicely perform their usual Ronson covers, but Adele's the real highlight here. The idea to have Adele do the missing vocals for Ronson's cover of "God Put A Smile On Your Face" was brilliant, and I actually clapped a little when I realized what was happening.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Covers: Patrick Wolf version of "Running Up That Hill"

Placebo's version of "Running Up That Hill" (Originally by Kate Bush) is one of my favorite covers of all time, and this afternoon I found a Patrick Wolf cover of the song that rivals Placebo's. He completely changed the track's arrangement and made the song unrecognizable, but the original's soul is still very present.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Covers: Sia makes "Gimme More" classy

I have no idea why indie covers of Britney Spears songs fascinate me as much as they do. Maybe because it blows my mind the way that musicians can take a song that's an over-produced piece of trash and make it sound like something of substance. That's what Sia did with "Gimme More" a couple months ago (and if someone can tell me where this came from, that would be great). Here's Sia's super-indie take on the song that is the absolute polar opposite of the original.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Classic remixes: Jay-Z vs The Verve

Mashups are still very underground at this point, and get very, very limited distribution because of copyright issues. So, it's very rare for a mashup to become so renowned that it attains "classic" status among people who listen to them. Classic mashups include but are not limited to: Freelance Hellraiser's Strokes v Aguilera remix, the mashup that started it all; "Rapture Riders", the Blondie-Doors remix that was one of the first mashups to be distributed on an official album; "Smells Like Teen Spirit" vs "Billie Jean", required listening in Mashups 101; and Eminem's "My Name Is" vs "Back in Black". Here's another classic: "Bittersweet Symphony" vs "Dirt Off Your Shoulder". It's so seamless that it makes the original songs sound wrong the next time you hear them.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Random Track of the Day: The Maginot Line

Here's another unknown act that's better than 90% of mainstream radio right now. Today we're talking about the UK's Maginot Line, a band that specializes in mile-thick walls of sound and Oasis-y melodies, with some unknown factor that sets them apart from everyone else. You can't find them on iTunes, but Myspace has four of the songs available for streaming, and arguably the best of the four is "Tucked In Sleep", a song that effortless builds an epic, widescreen surround-sound quality carried by vocalist Jonny Galloway soulful vocals.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Music videos: New Kanye ("Flashing Lights")

My third-favorite song on "Graduation", "Flashing Lights", is the new Kanye single. The new video is incredibly simple, but is making huge waves because at the end Kanye is stabbed to death with a shovel. Spoiler alert!

By the way, the radio edit of the song is only 2:48, but the full version pushes 4 minutes and is far superior. So if you like the video but never bought/heard the full album, pick up the original cut of the song on iTunes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Covers: One Republic does Jeff Buckley (well)

Jeff Buckley covers are dangerous. He had a very soulful distinctive voice, and most covers of his songs fail by comparison. One Republic, who are currently sidestepping the one-hit-wonder curse, released a cover of "Last Goodbye" on their new EP, and it's really not that terrible. I found a live acoustic version that they did of the song, and it's actually better than their studio version. This version actually holds up pretty well to Buckley's version, even though nothing will top the original.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Covers: The "All Along The Watchtower" Playlist

I listen to too much music to have a favorite song, but if I was forced to pick one, the Jimi Hendrix cover of "All Along the Watchtower would be a definite contender. Dylan writing and Hendrix performing might be the greatest collaboration to have ever existed in the music industry. I went through iMeem and dug up the best covers of the song, and here's the top six: Dylan, Hendrix, Paul Weller, The Fratellis, Eric Clapton and Lenny Kravitz, and U2. There are plenty of other brilliant covers out there, but right now I'm just working with the best of what's available.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Live Music: West, Winehouse, Keys, and Underwood @ the Grammys

First of all: Yayz to Amy Winehouse for taking home the most-deserved 5-win haul since Alicia Keys. Now let's get to the important part: the live performances.

I don't really care about country. Actually, I'm pretty sure we have post labels for every mainstream genre except country. But even I can't deny how amazing Carrie Underwood performed last night. I don't care if country's not your thing, you WILL cheer on the inside when she says "The next time he CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEATS... you know it won't be on me..."

Online Videos by

Amy Winehouse took home some much-deserved awards, but her performance was really disappointing. It was probably the most talked-about thing of the night though, so we're posting it so you can judge for yourself if you missed it last night:

Kanye West's performances completely owned, and we tried to post "Stronger", but for whatever reason the videos keep getting taken down from streaming video sites for Copyright claims. We'll post a working link as soon as one comes in.

And now, for the best performance of the night, at least in our opinion: Alicia Keys (with some help from John Mayer), singing the hell out of "No One". "Back to Black" was a better album than "As I Am", but Alicia Keys has always been able to do something that Winehouse probably will never be able to: Keys performs so much better live than she does on her album. She really pumped some new life into this song, and gave it an epic sound that I never heard in the original.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Live Music: Damien Rice

I don't just love Damien Rice because he's an amazing musician who makes the most emotional music with the most minimalistic production. I also love him because I have never once seen him give a bad performance. Ever. Here's "Rootless Tree" from French TV last year:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Covers: Kaiser Chiefs, Dan Merriweather, Stephanie Kennedy cover Klaxons

The Klaxons' "Golden Skans" was one of last years most addictive singles that too many people haven't heard of. A ton of people have covered it recently, so here's a best-of post to brief you on the highlights.

I know this is my second post in a row to feature both Daniel Merriweather and Mark Ronson, but oh well. It's a damn good cover. I actually have no idea where this came from, all I know is that it showed up on iMeem somehow. Their version is a little more understated, a little more soulful, and of course, includes Ronson's signature trumpets.

Next up is Kaiser Chiefs, who bring the expected acoustic-indie dynamic to the song when they covered it on Radio One.

Finally, we got Stephanie Kennedy, an indie-acoustic performer from the UK, we slows the song down to give it a down-tempo-jazz feel that works better than expected.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Covers: NEW AND IMPROVED Daniel Merriweather White Stripes cover

OK, so that little acoustic cover that Mark Ronson and Dan Merriweather did of "You Don't Know What Love Is" (originally by the White Stripes) was more than just a spur-of-the-moment whim on Mark's radio show. We posted the audio from it, and we still get more search hits from that post than anything else we've written about. A full-scale studio version of the song is now in the works, and the official demo track was played on Mark's show a couple weeks ago. I have some issues with it, but I'll save final judgements for when the final track surfaces. So far, I'm gonna say that it has a lot of promise. I heard the demo track of the Winehouse cover of "Valerie" on Amy's last B-Sides album, and it was several shades weaker than the borderline-classic final product, which gives me hope that this can grow into a kickass single later this year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New Music: Nada Surf and More Duke Spirit

It's a spectacularly uninteresting week for new music, but here are two cool new releases to hold you over until next Tuesday. Nada Surf just released "Lucky" and The Duke Spirit just released "Neptune". Neither is perfect, but they're still really enjoyable. My favorite from Nada Surf is "Beautiful Beat", the ultimate representation of the album's pure, simple, genuine pop-rock euphoria. Expect Pitchfork-style music elitists to turn their back on the whole album before even finishing the 30-second samples on iTunes, but meanwhile you can still love the hell out of this album. God knows I will.

Elsewhere, The Duke Spirit is holding on to their title of "Best Psychadelic Indie Soul Band in All The World" with their latest album. Aside from "Lassoo", which I've already posted two forms of, my favorite track was "The Step And The Walk". It's got a bassline and backing vocals that create a phenomenal partnership that really makes the song, a dance-along combination of indie-soul and indie-pop. LOVE these guys.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Live Music: The Methadones

God bless The Methadones. They are one of the very, very few bands that aim for modern punk-pop-rock and actually succeed really well. I haven't really figured what makes these guys seem so much more exiciting and genuine than all the pop-punk bullshit infecting our radio waves right now, but whatever they're doing is working for them. Here's them performing "Say Goodbye to Your Generation" at a Chicago show a couple years ago.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Music Videos: The Duke Spirit

Honestly, this isn't the best music video in the world, but this song is just so fucking awesome and I wanted an excuse to post about it again. It seriously was one of my favorite songs of '07, and it sorta angers me that no one's heard of it. Here's "Lassoo". Tell your friends.