Monday, February 25, 2013

Musical Monday: Electro-Pop Dance Party

Someone close to me has a birthday coming up (TOMORROW) and so this post is in honor of her 27th year and the dance party we'll have!
I'm switching it up a bit and including some more mainstream songs in this post. I sometimes have to counteract my hipster instinct and convince myself that just because a lot of other people like the song, it is no less worthy of my own ability to like said song. Also, I'm highlighting a genre I have not typically posted about in the past: electro-pop, techno, house, dance-tastic music!

Swedish House Mafia: Don't You Worry Child
Probably one of the most upbeat songs out there right now, I can't hear it without wanting to just bust out into a dance party, which is why I can't normally play it during work hours. It just puts a smile on my face and sometimes that's all I need a song to do.

Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch: Sweet Nothings
One of my current favorite songs to dance to, although it usually just devolves into either a lot of jumping or lip synching. I just want to be Flo!

Memory Tapes: Sheila
(ignore the model face, & just listen)
The lead track off the new album Grace/Confusion, coming in at just over 8 1/2 minutes, this song is enough to kick-start any party. Somehow this electro-pop manages to stay interesting, keeping the same chord progression, but creating different variations on the motif. It knows when to build and when to ebb and how to get your feet a'tapping.

Florence + The Machine: Spectrum (Say My Name) Calvin Harris Remix
Did I mention that Flo is awesome? I know we just heard this combo but right now they cant go wrong, especially when it comes to getting me dancing!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Musical Monday on Thursday: Anti-ValenTunes

So today is Valentine's Day. Which means a Special Musical Monday (I didn't want to spoil the surprise early)
To be ironic and all hipster I figured instead of a bunch of love songs I'd post Anti-ValenTunes. And this has nothing to do with that fact I've been single every Valentine's Day ever (*wink*), it's just that I prefer the sentiments of love, peace, one-worldness, and happiness of Christmastime over the  manufactured "here's-the-day-you're-supposed-to-express-romantic-love-to-last-the-whole-year" sentiment of this holiday.

So here are the most Anti-Valentunes I could think of:

Linkin Park: Valentine's Day
Don't let the title fool you, this one's all about being depressed after a breakup and being alone on Valentine's day. It's definitely dark, but lyrically quite beautiful in its metaphors. Unfortunately, one year I was consoling a sister after a break-up (in early February) and I still kick myself that I didn't immediately change the song when it came up on the CD, thinking it would just be background noise, and we were using Linkin Park to channel angry feelings. Needless to say, it was one of the more heart-wrenching moments when she suddenly realized what song it was and the lyrics were saying.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Thin Line (feat. Buffalo Madonna) (lyrics NSFW; rated-R for expletives)
The musicians of the moment definitely deserve all their success, and I hope people actually listen to the full The Heist album cause seriously each song is awesome.  I can't imagine this song was written about his current relationship, cause homeboy Ben Haggerty just proposed and his lady said yes!! (Although, I am basing all this off a pic of the ring on Instagram so keep that in mind).
This song about a failed relationship really stands out to me lyrically, some of my favorite lines are below:
"The greatest trick that the devil ever pulled was convincing women that they look better in their make-up"
"Bought a one night stand just to bootleg, a duplication of something authentic"
"My mouth is a sawed off shotgun ready to pop off, how's the truth taste? My job comes with a complimentary toothpaste"

Damien Rice: Rootless Tree (lyrics NSFW; rated-R for one particular & repetitive expletive)
The ULTIMATE post-relationship/wallowing/angry song. Quite cathartic to sing/play when dealing with leftover emotions post-breakup. Also, in the mist of all the "eff-yous" there's one "I love you" that is heartbreaking each time you hear it because honestly, if you have to play this song it's because it isn't over for you yet...(no I'm not speaking from past experience *wink* again)

Gotye: learnalilgivinanlovin
Because this can't be a completely downer post, let's remind ourselves that unlike the commercialized message behind Valentine's Day, we can take it another way and decide that we don't have to reserve all our love for just one person on one day but we should take our joy, happiness and brotherly love and goodness and "share it round" to make the world and ourselves a lil better for it.

And then just because we're on the topic of Gotye and unromantic songs, and homeboy won a few Grammys the other day, for STIYTK in particular (*ahem* *cough* RECORD OF THE YEAR!), here it is, the breakup heard round the world:

Gotye: Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Musical Monday: Drift into the Atmosphere

Sometimes you want music to speak to you, sometimes you want it to jar you out of an mood, or assist your descent as you wallow in one.  Sometimes you want to lyrics to surgically reveal your outlook, cutting deeply where you think you've hidden something too far within yourself. Sometimes you want it to lift you, propelling you higher than the clouds. But sometimes you want music to just carry you away, to be there almost insubstantially in the background, slowly drawing you in until you realize you have lost yourself in it, until you yourself are adrift in the atmospheric sounds, floating aimlessly. That's the music this week is dedicated to.

Explosions in the Sky: Postcard from 1952
You can't talk about atmospheric post-modern rock without talking about Explosions in the Sky.  This track is off of Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, released in 2011. The band did something new with this album and gave filmmaking friends small bits of money to create music videos (something Sigur Ros is also doing now, which you should check out as well... maybe that'll be another theme), which the band hadn't created for any songs before.
The almost achingly slow movement throughout this video it exactly what their music inspires in my own inner eye, moments turned infinite through musical expression.
If they sound familiar it's because they did the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights (the movie the show was based on), and their echoey guitars have seeped into other areas of pop culture as well.

Nosaj Thing: Eclipse/Blue feat. Kazu Makino
I initially found this video on a music blog called Dead Horse March (you can see their post here). It is a Creators Project backed piece with enchantingly complex light show (think about a conceptual art piece that inspired the Beyonce mega/mirror/floor/wall thing) and slow steady vocals.
It is directed by Daito Manabe, takcom, Satoru Higa, and MIKIKO, and you can see more about the creative process on the Creators Project YouTube channel.

Oliver Tank: Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion
I found this through KEXP's Music That Matter's Podcast. Oliver tank is a music producer out of Sydneym Australia (big surprise, I like more Australian music). The electronic clicking percussion propels the violins through their melody and the minimal vocals create a chill vibe to escape into...
until it ends too soon.

Hammock: (Leaving) The House Where We Grew Up
Another KEXP find. I really depend on them for a lot of my new music mostly because I find that I like a lot of the stuff I find there.
From the album Departure Songs, released in October 2012. The two-man band out of Nashville, TN definitely has an Explosions in the Sky vibe and I don't flatter myself into thinking that's a groundbreaking assessment at all. I think their ambient, post rock sound is best experienced when driving long distances as the musical montage/soundtrack to your life, try it sometime.

Jonsi & Alex: Atlas Song
I used the album Riceboy Sleeps in my yoga class numerous times. It was wonderful, and you should definitely try stretching to the music, even if you aren't a yoga person. It definitely puts you in a place where you can relax and calmly enjoy whatever the task at hand is, although a few people did fall asleep during Shavasana so maybe it worked too well.
If there's one thing the Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Ros, and his partner Alex get, its gentle atmospheric melodies, created with conventional instruments and unconventional sounds, with swelling orchestras and choir voices, leaving the listener with a paradoxical feeling of contented longing.