Saturday, September 22, 2012

New Music!

Hello, everyone!  Today I have some new music to share with you!  A few tracks have caught my eye (ears) recently and they are worth sharing with you.  Three new tracks from thre different artists and all of them seem to be standouts in their respective genres.

Io Echo: This new track is a sensational dream pop tune that offeres layered and echoing vocals with synthetic, looping reverb noise.  Check out the new track, Carnation, here:

Mvnich: Space Rock may sound like a cheezy genre, but I find it to be intense and satisfying.  It is similar in some ways to Art Rock and Shoegaze, but, well--spacier.  What it boils down to is vast, echoing atmospherics backing up alternative rock beats.  Mvnich are a Spanish band.  It is wierd but in a good way.  Below are tracks from their latest album.

Victories at Sea:  For this song, I'm including a video.  This is an interesting shoegazing rock tune.  Check it out, as it is worth listening to.  That's all I can say right now without listening to it multiple times and allowing it to sink in. This song is entitled Poles Apart.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My top Electronica artists

Hello everyone!  I'm flying solo today, mostly because Kristy isn't a fan of this type of music and doesn't know of enough artists to have any opinion one way or another.

The first thing you may imagine when you think about electronic music is cheesy, synthesized dance beats over a tapestry of record scratching and noodling 'bleep' sounds.  But these days, there is so much more you can do with electronic music.  Electronica music can be moody, disjointed, dissonant, ambient, and soulful just in the matter of how samples are mixed.  Some DJ's or artsists can do the job better than others.  If you haven't explored the realm of electronic music, there is a lot of great music you have been missing.  I love exploring new music and have only really 'discovered' electronica in the last year, so naturally, there is a lot I am missing.  My top three artists are as follows.

3. The Luna Sequence.  Similar in style to Celldweller or Blue Stahli, The Luna Sequence (aka Kaia Young) produce a rock-fused blast of hypnotic, dancy music that is really fun to listen to.  As with most electronic music, you have to go into it with an open mind or you will find yourself judging it before the sound registers in your brain.  Rock beats merge with higly distorted guitar sounds, loops, and samples to create a dazzling effect.  Listen to Sanctuary in Dying light from "This is Bloodlust" below.

2. Trentemøller.  Anders Trentemoller is a Danish producer and electronic musician who has been on the scene since 2006 with his album "The Last Resort."  This album is a fresh take on electronic music with twists of atmospheric ambiance bleeding through the rich texture of the music on most of the tracks.  Especially for a debut album, Trentemoller puts out an impressive array of sound that you really must hear to believe.  The track I have chosen is Always Something Better from "The Last Resort."

1. Ulrich Schnauss.  Over the years, German producer Schnauss has performed under various pseudonyms such as View to the Future and Ethereal 77 to name two.  He produces a musical downbeat variety similar to chillwave music on most of his projects.  In the music you hear lots of looping reverb with samples that sound much like acoustic guitar.  He has two albums under his real name, one with Jonas Munk and the other with Mark Peters.  Both are interesting listens, but the music on "Underrated Silence" is stunning.  Take a listen to Gift Horse's Mouth from "Underrated Silence" and see for yourself.
Thank you for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our top 80s bands

Hair.  Lots of hair.  And ridiculous outfits.  That's what dominated the rock music scene in the 1980s. And, despite having grown up in the 80s, I'm not a huge fan of much of the 80s music.  Therefore, finding a few good ones seemed to be a daunting task.  Today is our list of the top 80s music and/or bands.

My list:

3. Depeche Mode.  Synthrock is different than your typical hair group.  That's why I like them, other than them being a major influence to countless modern rock and metal bands.  How can you not respect that?  Remember Strangelove?  Revisit it below.

2. Scorpions.  I have always loved the Scorpions' mega hit, Rock you Like a Hurricane.  This is easily their most identifiable song, although they have put together several memorable hits.  The Scorpions are an exception to my rule of no hair bands.  You know the song I picked.  You're already singing it in your head.

1. Bon Jovi. For my next track, I'm going to post not one, but two tracks.  The first is the the original version of Livin' on a Prayer.  For some reason, they were not fans of the letter 'g' in the 80s.  I mean, think about it.  Have you ever seen a song title from the 80s spell out present tense verbs?  No.  They always use that last character on a needless (and in my opinion mindless) apostrophe to take the place of the 'g'.  Ok, I'm done with my rant.  The second song I'm posting is the rerecorded version put to disk in 1994.  I perefer the '94 version, but posting only that wouldn't be fair to the 'g' deficient original version.

Kristy's list is as follows.

Ah the 80's.  This is where some of my favorite music comes from.  I as opposed to my husband loved the 80's hair bands.  I grew up listening to bands like Bon Jovi, Poison, Alice Cooper, and Motley Crue.  Ha ha oh the memories.  But there was a lot of other great music coming out of the 80's as well like Madonna, Tears for Fears, Janet and Michael Jackson, and countless others.  We decided we were going to try and lump all of this music into one genre.  It's been difficult since I love so much of the music from this decade but her are my three favorite 80's bands.

3. Alice Cooper: Hell is Living Without You.  Although Alice Cooper started his music career in the late 1960's I believe his greatest music came out in the 80's. In 1989 Alice Cooper released the album Trash.  This is a great album full of many of his chart topping hits.  Hell Is Living Without You has a great guitar intro.  It has strings, it has drums and great back up vocals.  This is just one of those songs that I have to crank up and sing along with.   Revisit Alice Cooper's Hell Is Living Without You below.

2. Roxette: So Far Away.  I love Roxette.  They are a Swedish rock band who found popularity in 1986.  You might recognize them from hits like Joyride and It Must Have Been Love.  I chose the song So Far Away.  There are a few different versions of this song out there.  This is the 1986 version but you can hear another version of this song on their Tourism album.  This song fantastic. It just reminds me of the 80's with the drums and the whimsical keyboard effects.   Marie Fredriksson has an astoundingly melodic voice.  I can't help but listen to song after song once she gets started.  I really enjoy her music.  Check it out below.

1. Def Leppard: Love Bites.  Those of you who know me personally knew this was coming.  This is my favoritest song in the whole word.  I loved it the first time I heard it and it's still my favorite song to this day.  Love Bites was this bands first and only number one hit.  It appeared on the 1987 album Hysteria.  How do I put into words why I love love love this song?  I think that the intro to this song is powerful.  It has great lyrics and even though Joe Elliot doesn't have the clearest voice it just adds to the song.  I believe that he knows what he is singing about.  The lyrics combined with the guitar and the drums as the chorus begins sends goosebumps up my arms and makes my heart tighten.  I know that doesn't sound good but it's amazing.  Please listen to this song below.  It could change your life, it did mine. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our top Jazz/Blues artists

Greetings, everyone!  Today we look at our top jazz and/or blues artists.  I know that jazz and blues are not necessarily hot musical genres in this day and age, but many artists have, over the years, written and released timeless pieces that defy age.  Still, plenty new artists bring back the jazz by incorporating hints of other genres and meshing them into other styles.  The styles of jazz music are more plentiful than one might imagine. 

Here are my top three.

3. Gene Harris.  Harris is from Boise, Idaho, so he gets immediate props.  Not only that, but he is a skilled musician who can play multiple instruments such as jazz guitar, saxophone, piano, etc.  He plays what I would deem cool jazz, with plenty of soulful melodies and grooves. Check out Dear Blues below.

2. Contemporary Noise Quintet. Who knew Polish electro-jazz could be so fun?  They use copious amounts of electronic noise to create a smooth jazz experience like none you've ever experienced. Electro-jazz, often referred to as nu-jazz, is a funky subgenre built from electronica.  Check out P.I.G. below.

1. Fiona Apple.  Ever since "Tidal" was released in the late 90s, I have been a fan of Fiona Apple.  She may not be primarily known as a jazz artist, but the music she writes and performs is very much jazz and blues-oriented.  She is perhaps the most famous modern jazz singer.  Her style is bluesy vocal jazz geared toward a more mainstream audience.  Listen to Love Ridden from her album "When the Pawn..." below.

Kristy's list follows.

Hello everyone.  So as you know we are listing our three favorite jazz/blues artists.  Again this is a category where I had to really search my collection to come up with something.  As usual I was surprised when I started doing a little research and found out that some of this great music resides on my I-pod. 

3. Etta James: At Last.  Etta James is not a name you hear very often.  She was born in 1938 and she started her musical career in the 50's.  In 1961 she released At Last.  This became her signature song.  Most of you know this song once you hear it.  It's interesting because as I looking at the different sites to upload this song I noticed that many many people have made covers of this song.  I think that Miss James does it the best.  Her soul full voice is one of a kind and therefor hard to duplicate.  Here is her classic At Last.

2. Michael Bubl'e: Feeling Good.  Michael Bubl'e came onto the music scene in 2005 with his chart topping album It's Time.  I had never heard of him until I watched the movie The Wedding Date.  He sang two or three songs on the soundtrack including his hit Home.  That song really stuck with me for some reason and I have liked him ever since.  This came as a complete shock to me because he is the first jazz musician that I have really liked.  Below is his version of Feeling Good.  I love how this track starts out with his voice and some strings.  After a few moments you get the rest of the big band joining in and you can't help but sway to the music.  Check it out.

1. Norah Jones.  It was really hard for me to choose just one song from her.  I really enjoy her music.  I like it because her bluesy voice sets the mood for her songs as soon as they begin.  It doesn't take very long to become a fan.  I chose Turn Me On because this sing is HOT!  This song is sexy in a good way. The combination of the  smooth jazz with Norah's voice is amazing. It doesn't take vulgar lyrics and obscene references to set to mood.  Listen to it below and let me know what you think.  Thanks for listening and enjoy :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our top Pop artists

Today we are looking at our top Pop artists.  We believe that pop is a wide, sweeping genre of music that can include various styles.  It can also be vague as to what you might consider to be pop music.  I'm not a huge fan of pop music overall, but that doesn't mean there aren't occasional artists or tracks that I enjoy.  Here are my three favorites, whith an honorable mention shout out to the Lemonade Mouth sountrack.

3. Selena Gomez & The Scene.  Yes.  Odd choice.  I get that.  I will also admit that I was watching the Disney Channel when I discovered her.  What, a guy like me can't enjoy a little good-natured humor, even if it is aimed at teens?  This song I have chosen is incredibly catchy and includes a beautiful changeup two thirds of the way through the track.  This track is from "When the Sun Goes Down"

2. Airiel.  Just because an artist is considered pop music does not mean it has to be played on your favorite radio station seven times an hour.  Airiel put together an elctronic blast of reverb-laden dream pop that is both accessible and otherworldly.  That may seem like an odd adjective, but how else do I put it.  This artist loves looping keyboard and vocal lines.  They incorporate shoegaze elements to a good extent.  Check out Funerals from their EP "Kid Games" below.

1. David Bowie.  Bowie has embraced many styles throughout his long and storied career, meshing synth pop sensibilites with electronic experimentation and the occasional stint of glam rock, particularly early in his career.  The track I have chosen to share with you is from "Heathen".  It is an amazing piece.  Listen to Slow Burn below.

Kristy's list follows.

Today I get to write about a genre that I know a little more about.  As I was browsing the music on my I-pod I noticed that a fare share of them come from pop music.  I did have to laugh and some of the artists that I-tunes listed as pop, but I have chosen some of my favorites.  I am also excited because this is the genre where my ladies shine.  I'm not saying that men don't write great pop music I just think that the ladies are a little more popular and so without further ado here is my list.

3. Kelly Clarkson: Sober.  I've liked Kelly Clarkson ever since she won American Idol in 2002.  I think that she has a rich tone to her voice and she is one of a few artists who writes her own music.  I love this song.  Anyone who has ever dealt with an addiction can relate to this song.  When I first heard this song my addiction was for this guy that I had a crush on and I played this over and over again.  I just think that the melody is beautiful and the lyrics are so powerful.  This song is featured on her album My December.  I hope you like it.

2. Pink:Mean.  I love this song.  First of all I think that Pink's(Alecia Beth Moore) music is awesome.  She can be bad a$& if she wants to or she can write a song that can move you to cry your heart out.  Mean appears on the album FunHouse.  This song has powerful lyrics and beautiful vocals.  I think that this song is meaningful and so it appeals to many different people.  Enjoy. Oh I do need to warn you that this song has a few explicit lyrics.  There is a warning label on the cover of this cd.

1. Avril Lavigne:Hot.  Canadian singer Avril Lavigne broke out onto the music scene in 2002 with her single Complicated.  I have been a fan ever since.  Over the years her music has evolved and become more appealing to larger groups of fans and not just those interested in pop music.  I chose Hot because this song is fun. I love the beat of this song.  I think the lyrics are relateable and it's very catchy.  Plus towards the end of this song the music slow down and we get to hear how sweet Avril's voice actually is.  Check it out below. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our top contemporary artists

Let me preface this post by saying that in my opinion there is no such thing as bad classical music.  Naturally, I enjoy some pieces more than others, but there is none that I cannot stand.  Today we are looking at our top contemporary composers/performing groups.  What we consider to be contemporary music is as follows: Classical, opera, live performances of symphonic music, recordings of symphonic music, and film scores.  Here at ThinkMuzik, we love film scores particularly, but also enjoy performances from across the spectrum of Western Classical Music.  This is my list of the best contemporary composers/performance groups.

3. Nicholas Hooper.  He is a Brit who has an impressive selection of film scores to choose from.  Hooper's scores are soaring, emotional pieces rich in soulful, contemplative brilliance.  His pieces are as soothing as they are invigorating.  The following track is Dumbledore's Farewell from "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."

2. Crouch End Festival Chorus and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.  Crouch End is a northern suburb of London and is the home of the Crouch End Festival Chorus.  This is a masterful choir.  All voices blend perfectly and they perform some uplifting pieces.  I was not able to find a track from them to share anywhere on the web, but you can listen to previews on Amazon here. The Greatest Cinema Choral Classics is a collection of symphonic choral pieces from 25 of the best film compositions.  Take a listen to Battle of the Heroes (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith) or Kyrie for the Magdalene (The DaVinci Code).

1. Hans Zimmer.  Zimmer is in my opinion, the best film composer in the history of the genre.  Time and time again, he composes incredible scores for great films.  Zimmer is one of the oldies, but is not afraid to try out new ideas and incorporate melodies from unconventional sources.  Listen to One Simple Idea from "Inception" below.

Kristy's picks are as follows:

I am excited about this post.  I am a huge fan of film scores and since they are a part of this genre they are what I am going to be sharing with you.  You know how sometimes you are trying to find the right thing to say and you just can't come up with the words; that's why I love scores.  The composer writes music that you can't put words to.  And so without further ado her are my top three choices.

3. James Newton Howard.  I think that he is a great film composer.  If you look at his list of scores they are quite impressive.  I chose a song off of the Tourist soundtrack.  It's entitled Bedroom Dreams and if you have seen this movie you know why I chose this song.  It's beautiful, its passionate, and it's addictive.  I think the violin towards the end of this track is amazing and makes you want more and more. Check it out below.

2. Moulin Rouge Soundtrack: Come What May.  This is one of those moments in a film where whatever has to be said is perfect through song.  This is an interesting musical because the composer has taken modern songs and puts a spin on them.  Then they are combined together to create most of the music in this film.  Come What May is different because it is one of the few tracks written for this movie.  It's perfect.  This track was written by David Baerwald.  I've never heard of him but this music is fantastic.  I think it might be a stretch for this genre but I think a song that is written for and performed in a film counts in my book.  So give it a listen :)

1. Hans Zimmer.  What can I say my husband and I have great taste and when it comes to contemporary music we completely agree hands down that Hans Zimmer is the best.  All of the music that he has written for the various films is unbelievable and each with it's own sound.  I chose And Then I Kissed Him from the Pear Harbor Soundtrack.  This track it hauntingly beautiful.  Yes sometimes I break into tears just listening to it.  This track has so many different layers to it.  The music is flawless.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading and listening everyone :):)