Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Mixer #2: Driving Music is Up!

Hey all! Week 2 of the Monday Mixer up on The Metropolitan Jolt! It's another great collection of tracks, this time with a theme: driving music. Check it out, and be sure to check out all the other blogs involved. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm particularly proud of my contribution this week.

Listen on MetroJolt
Listen on 8tracks

Or check out last week's mixer here.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Childish Gambino's "Freaks and Geeks" is Damn Fun

I like musicians in tuxes. I blame Janelle Monae.

Childish Gambino is the musical moniker of Donald Glover, best known as Troy from the NBC show Community, which I will admit I have never watched.

Seeing as he is a comedian, as well as a writer 30 Rock, it is no surprise that Glover's lyrics are clever, funny, and very entertaining. The lyrics are casual, he sounds like he's just shooting the shit, talking about his buddies and bragging about sexual exploits. That relaxed tone makes a nice contrast with the very epic feeling beat, another highlight of the track. It combines strings, xylophone, trip-hop drum machines, martial snare drum, and stadium chant vocals. Altogether, its one of the catchiest, most appealing hip-hop tracks I've heard in some time.

Freaks and Geeks - Childish Gambino

Update: It's got a pretty sweet video too, check it out.

Freaks and Geeks from Donald Glover on Vimeo.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

First Monday Mixer is Up!

Hey all, Listening to the Song in My Head just became a part of something very cool, a weekly multi-blog playlist called the Monday Mixer. Everyone involved is really fantastic, and this is gonna be a great way to find a ton of awesome music every week. This first one has no theme, but there will be a theme from here forward. So head over to Metropolitan Jolt for the Monday Mixer #1. Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Alexander and Middle Brother Update: The Anticipation Builds

Made that sweet Middle Brother collage myself, on Microsoft Paint no less.

As you should all well know, March 1st is going to be a very exciting day, as it will see the release of Alex Ebert's solo album Alexander and the self-titled album from supergroup Middle Brother (originally addressed here and here respectively). Anyway, both groups have released a second track from the upcoming albums, and I thought I may as well discuss them together.

The Alex Ebert track is entitled "In the Twilight", and stays right in the same hippie-folk vein he's been in, but with good results. It's not quite as interesting as "Truth", but it definitely keeps my hopes up for the album.

Middle Brother's title track, "Middle Brother" is very standard up-beat alt-country. Sure it's a bit generic, but I don't think that anyone could do classic alt-country better than these guys. It's catchy, it's up-beat, and above all, it's just plain fun. If this is what the whole album is going to sound like, I will be thrilled. Enjoy!

In the Twilight - Alex Ebert
Middle Brother - Middle Brother

PS: Look out for something cool coming tomorrow morning!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Javelin - Mossy Woodland

Though not new, this track recently came my direction by way of the wonderful Downplayer. It's a rather pleasant combination of Disney strings, synthesizers, and percussion which manages to be much more interesting than that description would lead you to believe. It's from their debut, No Mas, which came out last year. Check it out.

Mossy Woodland - Javelin

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

10 ft. Ganja Plant - "Let the Music Hit"

As part of my continued mission to bring some sunshine to those of you snowed in this winter, I give to you a track from my favorite roots reggae crew, 10 ft. Ganja Plant. "Let the Music Hit" has got a wonderfully relaxed ambiance, some great horns, and the best reggae singer you've ever heard wanting to know "how the music makes you feel". Let that riff wash over your body like the warm sunshine.

Let the Music Hit - 10 ft. Ganja Plant

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lisandro Meza and La Murga (de Panama)

You know you can't say no to that face.

Sorry about the missed post, and about the short length of today's post, things have gotten very busy lately, and I haven't had much time to find or listen to music. Things should be fully back on track soon.

Since I have to be rather brief tonight, I thought I would share with you one of the catchiest dance numbers I've heard lately. "La Murga (De Panama)" was originally released in 1971 by Willie Colon, a Nuyorican (that's New York + Puerto Rican) salsa musician, and has been covered countless times. My personal favorite cover was done by Lisandro Meza, a famous Cumbia musician. His version speeds up the song significantly, replaces the trombone riff with accordion, and adds some cowbell. The original is pretty damn good as well, but just doesn't move your feet quite like the Meza version does.

La Murga (de Panama) - Lisandro Meza

La Murga (de Panama) - Willie Colon

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lord Echo's Melodies

Note: I originally wrote this for Silence Nogood, where it appeared last Sunday.

Quick, come up with 3 countries you think would be most likely to produce 2010′s chillest album. Was New Zealand on your list? Didn’t think so, but it’s time to change that.

Lord Echo is the solo moniker of New Zealander, Mike Fabulous, a veteran of the Wellington music scene and member of the reggae band The Black Seeds. Melodies is his first solo release, and damn has he nailed it. He has taken a full complement of synthesizers, keyboards, guitars, basses, and horns, provided by both himself and a variety of other Wellington musicians, and crafted a masterpiece which blends reggae, dub, soul, afro, disco, funk, and jazz. The album is wall to wall brilliant, 53 minutes of pure sunshine and bliss. It’s hypnotic, it’s relaxing, and it is pure musical genius.

Fabulous doesn’t have any sort of web presence, and in fact, I cannot find any place to purchase the album unless you happen to live in New Zealand (in which case you can do so right here). That being the case, I don’t feel too bad telling you that a Google search of “Lord Echo Melodies” will turn up plenty of places where you can download it for free.

The album’s highlight is the 11th and final track, a cover of the Sister Sledge song “Thinking of You”, featuring Lisa Tomlins on vocals. It has been particularly helpful in getting me going on foggy, cold days this week.

If winter is getting you down, here is your antidote. Remember, right now, it’s summer in New Zealand.

Thinking of You - Lord Echo

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

RIP White Stripes, I will love you guys forever

Today, The White Stripes officially announced that they are breaking up. On their website, Jack stated that they reached this decision "mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way." Jeff Weiss memorialized them far better than I ever could in one of the most well-written, moving pieces of music journalism I have read in a long time. If you're a fan, you absolutely have to read it, and if not, maybe you will be converted.

The Union Forever: R.I.P White Stripes (1997-2011) on Passion of the Weiss

As my own tribute, I will just provide my favorite White Stripes performance of any song of all time, a cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", live at Blackpool Lights. It perfectly sums up everything I love about them. Listen to Jack's banter before the song and witness his pure genius. And the song itself is so raw, played straight from the heart and full of his soul.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lord Huron's Mighty EP: Sunrise Music

Lord Huron have been on my radar for a while, but after experiencing their mind blowing performance last night at Odd Fellows Hall and giving my shiny new 12" of the Mighty EP several listens, I realized that I absolutely need to bring these guys to your attention.

In studio, Lord Huron is just LA singer-songwriter Benji Schneider, but when he hits the road, he takes a full, very talented band with him. They gel so perfectly, it's hard to believe that they haven't all been together since day 1.

The music has drawn a lot of Fleet Foxes comparisons, but the driving calypso beat makes it so much more than that. For me, there's much more of a connection with Animal Collective in the way that they create enthralling soundscapes with driving beats. Comparisons aside, I just love to wallow in the glory of it all. If there was ever a perfect soundtrack for watching the sun rise over the ocean, this is it. This is sunrise music.

All four tracks on the EP are brilliant, with the third, "The Stranger", definitely being my favorite. Hit up their beautifully designed website to listen to the rest of the EP, and click through to Bandcamp to download. I would encouraged pre-ordering the vinyl, which comes out Tuesday; it sounds absolutely gorgeous.

Honestly though, no matter how much I encourage you to buy the music, I encourage you all the more to go see them live! The show they put on is beyond fantastic, technically, everything sounds amazing, and you can just see and feel the energy and love being poured into every moment of it. They've got a couple of dates on the West Coast coming up in the next week or so, so if you live in any of those cities, go see them.

Mighty - Lord Huron

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The true Monsters of Folk have arrived, and they are Middle Brother

Not to knock the Monsters of Folk in any way, but they just never quite did it for me, and I've never really been into any of their individual bands much either. These fellows here, these are the true monsters of folk. Middle Brother is composed of John McCauley of Deer Tick, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit, and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes. That's just about the best Americana super-crew you can put together, short of throwing Scott and Seth Avett into the mix.

Judging by the first taste we've gotten of the album, "Me Me Me", Middle Brother does owe a good deal to MoF sound-wise. It's a toe-tapping alt-country tune, full of three part harmony, and rollicking piano and guitar lines. Have a listen.

Me Me Me - Middle Brother

The album drops March 1st on Partisan Records, so good luck decided which to listen to first, this or Alexander. Check out their Myspace for tour dates, because there's no way these guys aren't gonna absolutely kill it live. They've got 13 dates up so far, but hopefully they add some more, because currently they aren't coming anywhere near me.

As a bonus, here's a clip of them playing the song live:

Middle Brother // Me Me Me [live] from Brandon Tauszik on Vimeo.

And as a bonus bonus, here's them playing the album opener, "Daydreaming".

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Alex Ebert's Alexander

I would consider myself to be a very casual Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros fan (i.e. I like "Home"), so news of a solo album from front-man Alex Ebert didn't particularly excite me at first. That was before I listened to the lead single, "Truth". Say what you want about his early career, this man has got soul, and knows how to pour it into a song. The song kicks off with a minimalist background composed of acoustic guitar and brushed drums and a nice little whistled melody. Ebert then kicks in with a captivating vocal line, well delivered in his grizzled, folkie voice, and to top it all off, a very well executed clarinet solo.

Truth - Alex Ebert

The album, entitled Alexander, is due out March 1st, and promises more of the whistling and clarinet, as well as some violin. Just in case you weren't convinced of Ebert's talent, he plays all the instruments on the album, as well as handling the vocals. After hearing "Truth", I have very high hopes for the rest of the album.

Thanks to Indie Shuffle for the tip.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Great Show Coming Up in Downtown Davis!

Saturday January 29, Sophia's Thai Kitchen is putting on a great show at the Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Davis (click for map). The show is $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. The show starts at 8pm and features three awesome bands.

Geographer are an electro/indie group from San Francisco. Their songs range between synth-pop and synth-folk, but there are always great hooks.
Kites - Geographer

Lord Huron hail from LA, and make upbeat, cinematic music inspired by African/Caribbean rhythms.
Mighty - Lord Huron

A B & The Sea are also from SF, and craft upbeat, catchy, beachy pop tunes.
Bone Dry - A B & The Sea

It's sure to be a very good show, so don't miss it! Advance tickets can be purchased here. And if you still need more convincing, you can check out different descriptions and songs from the bands on the Sophia's website. Also check the website for information about the bands playing this coming Saturday, the 22nd. That looks to be a good show as well, but one that I will not be able to attend.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Couplet (Young Galaxy and Gorillaz)

Hey everyone. I've got a functioning keyboard, holidays are over, and I am back in business.

To get back into the swing of things, I've got another one of what I like to call a couplet, a nice back to back combo, a mini-mixtape if you will. Today's is composed of "Cover Your Tracks", off of Young Galaxy's upcoming 3rd album Shapeshifting, and "Amarillo", off of the new album from the Gorillaz, The Fall. Both have a nice brooding, atmospheric feel, and they have some sort of intangible similarity that makes them flow together perfectly. See what you think.

Cover Your Tracks - Young Galaxy
Amarillo - Gorillaz

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