Monday, April 26, 2010

Song of the Day: Under Me Sensi by Barrington Levy

Here is a little known fact about me: I am a sucker for good reggae music. I love me some Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, mon'. No matter how you feel about the content of the lyrics (a lot of talk about ganga), you cannot deny the groovy-ness of the beats and how catchy a brilliant reggae singer can be. This is the first I've heard of Barrington Levy even though he has been a big Jamaican star since the 1980's. It appears that this song, along with a few of his others, has been mixed and modernized since its' original release and posted on myspace for people to stumble upon. Therefore exposing the fantastic "WAAAOOOoohh"'s to a younger generation. Amen to that! This is definitely the kind of song that I could play on repeat. In fact, I think I'll go do that. ;)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Song of the Day: Plastic Girl by Jason Runnells

I think everyone has met what Jason Runnells refers to as a "plastic girl". Maybe, you've even "killed" yourself for one. And if you can't relate to the plastic or girl bit of the song, then perhaps you can relate to wanting someone who drags you on. The best way to deal? Hip bass lines, sexy vocals, and killer guitar parts. In fact, it's the best way to deal with any problem. :D Well, that and maybe some chocolate. Listen and feel cool. It's like my guarantee.

Song of the Day: Take to the Seas by Take to the Seas

What does the sea symbolize to you? To me, it is an escape from normalcy. It is quite literally "diving into" the unknown. Like the sea, life is filled with unexpected twist and turns, ups and downs. It's easy to say when life takes a turn for the worst, that nothing is worthy or helpful but I strongly believe that everything is neither good or bad, but what we make of it. Perhaps a flat line life wouldn't suite our overactive minds. So I believe in taking the dive and the risk.

That's what the title means to me. To the band, Take to the Seas, it is a song that symbolizes what they are all about. They are from the very cool music scene of Sheffield, England which has bred acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard, and Pulp. So take to the seas (if you're American like myself), head over to Sheffield, and give this band a go.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Song of the Day: Wrapped Up In Love by Marie Hines

Sometimes you just need a good pop song. Like I've said before, I believe every day has its' own mood song. I love the most recent movement in music with female singer-songwriters who are allowed to be sweet but smart as well. In my own experience in writing songs, sometimes it's the most pure, love songs that can be the hardest to write. But everybody needs one. :) So sing along to this beauty.

p.s. It's especially nice to visualize the words of the song. 'Cause who wouldn't want to be wrapped up like a bow? :D

Monday, April 19, 2010

Song of the Day: Gnat Years by Absofacto

I love it when artists take risks and decide to break the rules a bit. Who ever said that a song had to be verse/chorus/verse? I love it when a random guitar part is spun or new words are implanted or an artist decides to go into left field with vocal parts. If every song was put together the same way, no matter how many were written, we wouldn't be able to represent everyone's emotions. And I believe everyone deserves to have a song they can relate to. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Song of the Day: Sunday (It's A Chrome Tide) by Hello Kavita

Isn't it amazing how even during the worst of days or weeks or heck, even months a great song can lift you up? Music is a huge part of my life, quite obviously, and I believe that is has the power to heal.

This song makes me feel like I am riding in the most beautiful country scene in a convertible with the top down. It's a song that is free of worries or at least decides to take a vacation from them. I believe that music serves as a great connector for all people. I've met so many people who I thought I'd have nothing in common with and we start talking about music and there always seems to be common denominator. It reminds you that though we're all very different, we still can relate. That's the power of music.

This song expresses all of that. Just the opening guitar hook to "Sunday (It's A Chrome Tide)" will quite literally reel you into the peaceful atmosphere of Hello Kavita. It's one you're not going to want to part with.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Song of the Day: Sloth by Katy Rose

I don't know if many people remember an artist who came out in 2004 named Katy Rose. Her song "Lemon" was used in the movie Thirteen and "Overdrive" was featured in Mean Girls, nudging it onto the MTV and VH1 countdowns. At the time, her album was "Because I Can". After that release, she ended up self-releasing an album called Candy-Eyed which is more experimental than her first. It's a shame that due to the nature of the music business more people probably know about "Overdrive" than any of her newer, and arguably better songs. But believe me, if you like something a little left of the airwaves, try this on for size. She weaves words in a way that is truly rare and tosses out unused metaphors like they weren't a sight to be seen. She's truly one of my favorite female artists. On top of all that, it's just a downright catchy song. Check it out and go hear more on her myspace:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Song of the Day: Huh What? by Gliss


One of the best parts of seeing your favorite band live is it brings back all of the memories you've made with their music and reminds you of your former self. It opens up the floodgates to all the other songs and bands you were into at the time. I remember several years back I was looking for some new music and stumbled upon Gliss. I had to listen to a total of 2 seconds of this song before it became my new favorite. Even though the last time I heard it was at least a year or two ago, I still remember all of the lyrics and still feel very cool while singing it ;) Possibly when I'm touring in a band one day, we will get to cover this song. I call lead vocals!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Arctic Monkeys at The 40 Watt Club

There are few bands that I truly love as much as Arctic Monkeys. To me they are consistently good, put on an outstanding live show, and write songs that leave a mark. They never try to be big, bad rock stars. They are just a group of guys who love music. In the current times, that is definitely to be respected. But, more to the point...I got to see them in concert for the third time. :D

The 40 Watt is located in Athens, GA which hosts the biggest university in the state- UGA. It is the quintessential "college town" in both the looks and atmosphere. The 40 Watt has witnessed the performances of great musical acts such as R.E.M and The B-52's and holds an important spot in the history of Athens and its' music scene. To me, it was a perfect size allowing for a more personal show than a bigger venue in Atlanta would've allowed.

My group of friends and I arrived at the watt at about 7 and there was already a line. The band's buses were lined up beside the building and you could hear the last bit of sound check. While we were waiting two girls started squealing, left their spot in line and ran behind the buses making their way to the back door. Alex Turner apparently was the lure. He ducked out pretty quick, obviously not relishing in the attention, preferring to keep to the stairs and his cigarette. It's like I said, they have no desire to be big-shot rock stars. In fact, it's very clear that they just want to play their music without the pressure of fame.

When the doors opened me and mine made our way to the front of the stage, opting not to stop for t-shirts or beverages of any sort. We have all been Arctic Monkey fans for a while and didn't want to miss our chance to get the best "seats" or rather "stands" since no sitting was involved. We stood there for about an hour, laughing at the mix of crowd that had come together and enjoyed the moment. Finally around 9 o' clock Sleepy Sun, the opening act, fell from the sky and onto the stage. Or at least that's how it felt.

I like psychedelic music and I do believe that Sleepy Sun was talented but it was hard to get into them after waiting so long for the Monkeys. There were definitely some unique aspects to their performance. There was this plant they seemed fixated on and dancing was mildly interpretive. We were even let in on a clapping game that some members of the audience deemed too difficult. Certain concert-goers were caught up in the moment and the smell of skunk pot wafted in the air. Sleepy sun ended with a cymbal and a recorder solo. And then the night descended...Okay, I'll drop the corny sun metaphors.

After a long set change and of course a fog machine intro, the monkeys finally made their way to the stage...

I had the best spot ever and boy did I have to fight for it. I was right below Alex and had a good view of Jamie, Matt, and Nick. I actually heard these guys behind me say amongst themselves that my spot was the spot to have. I braced myself for attack when A.M. started playing. The crowd started moving instantly, fairly harmless but very pushy group of people. Luckily, I have hips and can hold my ground. My friend Richard definitely helped and I was in front of some fairly respectful guys.

The set list was a nice combination of all of their albums. Some people in the crowd were screaming to play their favorites, but when you have so many good songs it's understandable that you have to pick and choose. At least four people crowd surfed and made it on stage only to be dragged away by security. One guy put his hands up victoriously and even got a laugh out of Alex and Jamie. At one point the mic stand fell over and the guy behind me grab the mic and screamed, "Arctic Monkeys, Arctic Monkeys, motherf**king, Arctic Monkeys!" When the mic was returned to Alex, he had a smile on his face and repeated the chant, obviously getting a kick out of it, as did the rest of the band.

The crowd went insane to old favorites, "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor" and "The View from the Afternoon." "Brianstorm" was also particularly rousing. "Crying Lightning" from the viewpoint of the crowd felt like we were plopped into the music video, the crowd being the ocean, the stage was the band's boat and of course the crowd surfers were the giant versions of the band. At one point the audience got so wild even Alex remarked that it was time for a breather, opting to skip the more energetic songs like "Dangerous Animals." Which is a shame because it would've fit the theme.

They played some of the greats from "Humbug", of course. "Secret Door" resonated especially well live and as I sang "Fools on parade conduct a sing-a-long," I couldn't help but sing it passionately to the guys behind me that arrived late, but were determined to make it to the front. The same guys decided to go a bit old school and whip out their lighters for the slower songs. It made me wish I had been able to get a picture but my hands were too busy securing my spot.

After a set that seemed to fly by, the monkeys made their exit. Immediately the crowd roared "Monkeys, Monkeys!" and the guys came back for an encore that included "Fluorescent Adolescent" and "505". "505" left me in a very zen-like state but still hungry for more. One by one the monkeys left the stage, throwing picks as they went. And it was over...

There are hardly words worthy enough for describing A.M. live. Each song is undeniably bursting with energy. Alex makes every word count, every syllable has a life of its own. Nick is very calm, almost as though he is listening for his bass to communicate with him rather than forcing it. Jamie remains in a zone of what I assume to be his guitar haven, playing every part with heart (no rhyme intended). And Matt most definitely acts as a lightning rod of energy, allowing for the band to maintain the focus and energy. Whether they intend to or not, they have stage presence and they let the music speak for itself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Song of the Day: All the Way by Leslie Hunt


Here is the reason I dislike American Idol. American Idol seems to me to be so obsessed with finding the next Christina Aguilera voice that they miss out on finding the kind of voice that will continue to grow and work for many different kinds of songs. I was surprised to find out that Leslie Hunt was actually on American Idol and of course in true Simon fashion, he focused on what he felt were her weaknesses. It's very depressing to live in a culture that seems to focus more on technique than artistry. Personally, I would rather listen to this song than half of what the American Idol winners produce. Just listen to the beginning guitar part. It's addicting. Leslie has a nice way of blending rock and jazz. She's a true artist and what I definitely consider to be a "music gem".

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Song of the Day: Moscow State Circus by Eugene McGuinness

If you have not heard of Eugene McGuinness, then you have been seriously deprived. He is one of the most creative and talented artists I've heard in a while. This song and video have been one of my favorites for months. It'll make you want to find some fencing buddies so you can steal their gear and emulate what the dancers in the video are doing.

Not to mention it has the phrase "we're tumbling down the rabbit hole" and it is Easter. I say it's fate that this was our song of the day. ;)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Song of the Day: Rachmaninoff Prelude in G Minor by Valentina Lisitsa

I have a healthy respect for classical music, but I don't wake up every morning listening to it. I was studying this morning, which always requires classical music (any music with words would make me sing). I you tubed Beethoven's 5th symphony and found this incredible pianist named Valentina Lisitsa. First, I couldn't pull my eyes away from her bright colored dress (red is my favorite color). But then I focused on her playing. Just like the texture of the song, she was gently sliding her fingers across the keys, like she was stroking a pet cat and not once did she glance at sheet music. I believe there are a lot of artists who can play classical music with good technique but to able to do that and put such heart into it is enough to make me a fan! You'll see what I mean.