Saturday, September 29, 2012

More new music-Stars in Stereo and The Algorithm

It's Saturday, Friends.  Time to treat you with some new music we found on the web.

The first item is from a band called Stars in Stereo.  They have a female lead singer who sounds a lot like Demi Lovato, but less poppy.  The music is sort of a melodic rock/metal hybrid that really works.  The song is really hooky and catchy.  It will appear on the band's self-titled EP due out this fall.  This song came with an official music video, but the embedding was disabled so I had to post one without the video.  The Broken is mostly about domestic violence and how frightening it can make the streets for the victim.  Now, when most bands 'speak out' with their music, it comes across as a 'holier than thou' attitude.  I dislike political lyrics, but let's face it.  Domestic violence isn't cool.  Years ago Adema did a song about domestic violence and it was terrible.  I like The Broken much better.  Here is the non-video version:

The second item is a real trip.  The Algorithm creates electronic music that sounds like rock.  This video appears to be footage of a live show.  The band seems to consist of a dude playing with a switchboard and another banging away at the drums (although some of the drum lines are obviously programmed).  I actually found this track to be pretty cheesy, but addictive in some shameful way.  Watching the guy rocking out with a switchboard is awkward.  You just have to see it.  This track fits very much into the realm of techno.  Check out Polymorphic Code below.

As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Place of Owls: The Oceanic Tomes

Brad bought an album the other day that he said I just had to listen to.  He told me that I should write an album review and share it with our readers.  You must know that I am not a strong critic.  I have never written an album review but I accepted his challenge.  So the following post is a review of the album The Oceanic Tomes by A Place of Owls. 

A Place of Owls is a one man post rock band.  This is really quite an accomplishment as you listen to this CD and realize it's just one person playing and recording this music.  This CD is pretty intense.  The title track Atlantis starts out with soothing guitar followed by other electronic sound effects.  Like the title of this track you feel like you are under the water.  This is what music in Atlantis must sound like.  This song is a nice introduction to this album.  It creates this illusion that you are under water in a different world.  As the music continues through tracks two and three you get this sense that something is going to happen and you're not quite sure what that will be.  As track 4 starts you have this intense feeling of suspense and this curiosity for what will happen next.  This album ends with a beautiful number that expresses triumph and peace.  This is a great album to have if you are looking for something you can sit down and relax to without worrying about what is going on around you.  The music is amazing.  It is a little long so make sure you leave yourself the time frame to be able to enjoy all that this album offers.  So I have listed the first track on this CD entitled Atlantis.  Give it a listen and let us know what you think.  Thank you for reading :)

The Oceanic Tomes is available at his bandcamp page with a 'name your price' option.  You can choose zero, or be nice and toss a few bucks his way.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Devin Townsend Project-Epicloud

These days, the word 'epic' is tossed around carelessly in both the blogosphere and in every day conversation.  I find this trend of using 'epic' as slang somewhat annoying.  So, seeing that Devin Townsend decided to title his new release "Epicloud," I cringed. 

Townsend is a very popular musician, particularly in the metal genre.  Myself, I have never been able to understand the collective man crush the public seems to have on him.  After all, a metal musician who decides to name his band after himself doesn't scream "purchase me!"  To that end, I have to admit that I've never given him his proper chance.  Townsend seems to release a new album everytime I sneeze as well, and I actually frown on that due to quality concerns.  Townsend is the former vocalist for the Canadian band Strapping Young Lad, which I didn't really like.

Needless to say, I listened to his newest album anyway.  This album is fantastic.  I will say that again: Fantastic!

The album's opener is somewhat of a yawner, but it is nothing more than a 45-second intro.  After that, Townsend blasts your speakers with an eclectic brand of pop, rock, and metal blend that should leave you breathless after the second track closes.  The album keeps up its intensity throughout. 

It may be difficult to imagine, but in some ways this is a very strange album.  Townsend doesn't seem to care what the public thinks, nor about genre classifications.  He writes and performs the music he wants to write and perform.  Each album he has released has been different, and in turn, has produced a different feel.  While still embracing the metal that most likely defines him as a musician, Townsend introduces catchy pop hooks, interesting hard rock beats, metal drum patterns, swirling orchestral and choral undertones, classic riffing, and more.  This is not to mention he is also a gifted vocalist.

To appreciate this album, you have to set aside any preconcieved notions and unfair judgments.  This album is worth purchasing.  It is available for download at soundcloud, but a fair warning:  Do not do it.  Every song is played in the background while Townsend talks about the track.  The good news is that the entire album is currently streaming here.

I'll also embed one track below.  Take a listen and prepare to be impressed.  As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Losing My Religion Cover

So Brad and I are finished with our top three picks of our favorite genres and so now we will go back to doing our own posts.  I'm still hanging onto my fascination with song covers and so I have another one for you today. 

Today's post is all about Losing My Religion originally performed by the American band R.E.M.  This song was released in 1991 on their Out Of Time album.  This song is R.E.M's most popular song and hit number four on the Billboards top 100 list.  This song is not actually about religion, it's about losing ones temper.  I thought that this was interesting and so I had to listen to this song again thinking about it differently.  It does make a lot more sense to me now that I know what Michael Stipe's lyrics really mean.  This song is unique in that it is played on the mandolin.  You can't say that about very many songs.  I think that it works.  I like the addition of the drums and Michael's unique voice. Here is the classic Losing My Religion below.

Lacuna Coil covers Losing My Religion on her latest album Dark Adrenaline.  You have to give her props for taking on such a popular iconic alternative song.  I think they do this song justice.  I love the beat of this song.  I like that they make it a little darker and so it sounds more like them.  I think the vocals are done well and are just as catchy as the original.  I do kind of miss the mandolin though.  So give this cover a listen and let me know what you think.  As always thanks for listening :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seven Remixes you gotta hear

If you are not familiar with the term 'remix' it is possible you have lived under a rock for the duration of the computer age (just kidding).  For those of you uninitiated, a remix is an original song that another artist rebuilds.  I prefer remixes to covers in most instances because I find that the process of remixing a song is much more creative than just performing a cover version.  Thankfully, there are a lot of great remix songs out there today.  Here are seven of them.

Omega Lithium-This Croatian alternative metal band writes synthy, dancy rock tunes with electronic sounds to add flair.  Perfect target to remix.
Dance With Me (Darkstep Remix):

Active Child-Active Child is an indie electronic musician who specializes in incorporating the harp into his music. 
Playing House (Chad Valley Remix):

Bush-Bush reeased a remix album in the late 90s called "Deconstructed."  Some of the tracks were throwaways, but some were excellent.  Among the better ones was this gem.
In a Lonely Place (Tricky mix)

David Bowie-Bowie dabbled in electronic and synth music himself for part of his career.  As part of the deluxe edition of his album "Heathen", there was a second disc with rarer recordings.  This track was on that second disc.
A Better Future (Remix by Air)

Deadlock-Deadlock is a German extreme metal band that incorporates lots of electronic and dance beats into the grinding metal.  Their latest album "Bizarro World" includes two remixes.  This is the better one.
State of Decay (S.U.N. Project remix)

Natalie Walker-She is an excellent electronic jazz/trip hop artists.  Her EP "Quicksand" contained the original single plus four alternate version remixes.
Quicksand (Bautista remix)
Quicksand (Bautista Remix)

Sybreed-This Swiss metal band is sometimes referred to as deathwave music, which intends to mix extreme metal with new wave music.  I really like this band.  Their EP "Challenger" includes the original version of the track and four different remixes.
Challenger (Voician remix)

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our top Rock bands

Today we are rockin' out at ThinkMuzik.  This is our final 'top' list before we get back to more 'normal' posting (or as normal as it can get around here).  The trouble with rock is that it is such a broad term and can encompass numerous different styles.  Since we already covered alternative, we can rule out a ton of bands.  Today we'll focus more on what we constitute as straight-up rock music. 

All three of my picks could be considered as metal since they rock so hard, but I don't really term them as metal because a) the music isn't especially metallic, and b) the vocals are not in line with what I'd normally consider metal. 

3. Funeral for a Friend. Kristy talked about this band in our top metal bands post.  I'm talking about them here.  This Welsh band combine standard rock melodies with post hardcore riffs and in between melodious singing and hardcore shouting.  Being that there is a lot of post hardcore influence with this band, you get a lot of toned-down, progressive-style riffage and a healthy dose of vocal hooks.  The song I have chosen is the title track off their latest effort, "Welcome Home Armageddon."

2. Chevelle.  I talked about this band in our top alternative bands post.  Chevelle can be considered both alternative and progressive rock.  To me they are more firmly entrenched in the prog scene.  They cite Tool as one of their biggest influences and are compared to Tool way too often.  Though the band plays traditional prog rock, that doesn't mean they don't also create great riffs and amazing vocal melody.  Check out Face to the Floor from their latest effort, "Hats Off to the Bull."

1. Within Temptation.  I also considered Nemesea and Delain because those bands are a lot like Within Temptation.  However, I still think no one pulls off the Within Temptation sound as well as Within Temptation.  This Dutch band is fronted by an amazing vocalist in Sharon den Andel.  She doesn't dabble too much in the (sometimes annoying) operatic singing and carries great range and melody.  They also incorporate lots of symphonic sections playing in harmony with the rock-based guitars and drums.  They have been at it a long time and have never produced a bad record.  Check out Shot in the Dark from their latest album, "The Unforgiving" below.

Kristy's top three follow.

I get to choose my top three rock bands and let me tell you this  is not an easy decision since 80% of my music collection is rock.  So I decided to narrow it down by the artists that I have the most music from.  I am excited to share my list with you.  Let down your hair and pull our your air guitar cause here they come.

3. Matchbox Twenty: Push.  Although these guys aren't hard rockers they can definitely play their instruments.  I have been a fan of this group since they came out in the the mid 90's.  Rob Thomas has the ability to make his lyrics believable and so they have mass appeal.  This song has great vocals, and power full lyrics.  When asked what this song was really about Rob explained in an interview that it is about a man in an abusive relationship.  So give it a listen and see if you like it.

2. Aerosmith: Fallen Angels.  Steven Tyler has been singing rock since before I was born.  He has a unique sound all his own because no one can duplicate that throaty scream of his.  He has so many rock songs to choose from.  He is one of the few artists that I can stand scatting from and he opens this song with it.  Then the music begins and you know it's gonna be good.  Check it out below

1.  Bon Jovi: If I Was Your Mother.  Those of you who know me knew this was coming.  The very first time I heard Bon Jovi was when I was about 8 or 9.  I was at my cousins house and her parents had just left us to go shopping.  She cranked up the volume on the stereo in the living room and played Runaway.  I was in rocker heaven.  Ever since then I have been listening to them with my radio way to loud.  I think that this song rocks.  The drums and the guitar are fast paced and the vocals rock.  Enjoy and thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Country Top Three Picks

Today I am flying solo.  Brad and I are still listing our top three picks in popular music genres and since Country music is definitely not one of his favorites I will just post my top three.  Let me just start by saying that I hated country music growing up.  In fact I used to give my cousins and friends who listened to country a hard time.  I like most of you who don't appreciate this type of music thought it was all about the cliche of a wife leaving her husband for another man and and she took the dog and oh what is a poor man to do.  Well I am happy to say that today's country does not fill this stereotype anymore.  If it is something to twangy or depressing I'm not going to listen to it, but I find that a lot of country music today is fun and upbeat with some great messages of love and patriotism.  Here are my top three choices for this genre.  It was really difficult to choose only three because this music has really grown on my lately.  Prepare yourselves cause this ain't your daddy's country music :)

3. Miranda Lambert: Dead Flowers.  Miranda come into the music scene in 2001 with her hit Me and Charlie Talking.  Now let me tell you that this little lady is full of "gun powder and lead"(ha one of her songs actually) so her music can have really strong country vocals and accompanying music.  I don't like all of her music but the few that I do like; I really like.  Dead Flowers is my favorite from her.  I think the lyrics are power full and her voice is calm and just enjoyable.  I hope you agree.

2. Jake Owen: Barefoot Blue jean Night.  I usually like the slower country songs because the fast ones are usually cheesy but I really like this song.  This song's got a groove to it that makes you jam along.  I think it's fun, its catchy, and it just makes you feel good.  Jake has been singing since 2006.  He's pretty new to the country music scene and that's why I like him.  His music has a little more rock and less twang which makes me happy.  I look forward to hearing more amazing songs from him in the future.  So enjoy this song and jam along.

1. Blake Shelton: Who Are You When I'm Not Looking.  This song is amazing.  I was not a Blake Shelton fan when he first started releasing music.  It wasn't until his single in 2008 She Wouldn't Be Gone that I thought hmm who is this guy?  I started looking into his music and I like a lot of his later stuff I really enjoy.  This is a love song so naturallyI really like it.  I mean this song strikes a cord with me.  It's mellow and romantic and Blake is really dreamy.  I think since meeting his wife (Miranda Lambert) that he is more tuned to the type of music that women listen to and the result is this song.  Please check it out below.  As always thanks for listening and don't judge today's country music by things that Billy Ray Cyrus or Willie Nelson put out 20 years ago.  This genre is changing and it's my opinion that it's for the better.