Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blending Your Thursdays: Van O

It's been a really long time since I last featured some dubstep/electronic music, but for all you glitch junkies, this one should make up for it. I guess I've fallen off the glitch bandwagon, but I'm still a sucker for dubstep that features soulful greats, like Marvin Gaye...DJ Van O completely remodels Ain't No Mountain High Enough by implementing the classic womps, booms, and wobbles. If you like glitch production, then this track is one you need to have in your library. Enjoy
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Van O

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Chamberlin

Acoustic/folk group, Chamberlin, recently debuted an E.P. titled "Cabin Covers." This is the first I've heard of the group, but I assure you, it won't be the only time I do. They showcase a simple approach to each song and deliver outstanding vocals (especially with Pumped Up Kicks, Giving Up The Gun, and Go Outside). If you have $4.95 to spare, then this five track E.P. is a must purchase. I guarantee you'll enjoy every minute, especially if you need study music or to simply relax. Each original track is known for either their upbeat tempos or electronic shootouts, but Chamberlin spins each on its head and turns them into folk renditions that demand to be listened to. Do it; best $4.95 you'll ever spend (or at least until I find an even better album for the exact same price), or if you want to pick and choose, you can download individual tracks by clicking on the song titles. Enjoy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band

Clearly a mouthful, enjoyably an ear full: The Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band is a roots/jam/rock band playing loudly out of their dorm rooms at Syracuse University. Despite being extremely unhappy with Syracuse's addition to the ACC (Go Duke), I'm not holding a grudge against this talented group of guys. Think of them this way: they're The Dirty Guv'nahs garnished with a little bit of Dank Sinatra and Perpetual Groove. These guys have the right formula and they're working it via "boisterous live shows and musicianship." If you like the following track, Clay, then head on over to their BandCamp site and name your price for their three track EP titled "Ackerman." Thanks to Adam Cohen for the song submission! 

Clay - The Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm an American

I know Macklemore is extremely deep with the messages he conveys in his songs. That means the following song is most likely poking fun at that guy that waves his confederate flag, bongs a beer, and fills his pickup truck with jet fuel hoping it will take off. Frankly, though, I don't give a damn because there is, or at least should be a little of that in all of us. Believing that, I feel as if it's appropriate to say that this is quite possibly the greatest song ever created, which is appropriate because Macklemore is quickly becoming one of my favorite rappers of all time (even though American is more country than hip-hop). So, go ahead and shot gun that beer, scream hell yeah, and salute everything American by blaring this song for everyone to hear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blending Your Thursday: wait what

This mashup album has officially made it as my favorite to date (boom). Notorious B.I.G. and The xx - two polar opposites. Mashup artist and DJ, wait what, gives the finger to that statement with this album. Even though the project is small (only 11 tracks made the cut), "The Notorious xx" makes up for its lack of size with some of the most unique takes on Biggie's best.
"The marriage, if you can call it that and really, you can't, given that it's about 43 minutes long, so he's more aiming for a really solid connection between two people just trying to feel something--is admittedly unorthodox. Biggie's music can make anyone at the club feel like they're a rapper, and gets a dance floor going at most any party, whereas The xx are mostly consumed in iPod ear buds on public transit, sitting in isolation at home, or driving alone--in many ways, the combination of the two is the extrovert meets the introvert. 
Despite the clear differences between The xx and Biggie, their union--err, encounter--works. While their music comes from different eras and genres, both have one undeniable quality in common: when they speak, you can't not listen. As soon as Biggie's verses start, you want to hear more about his Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, just as you want to hear how the story concludes when The xx exchange lines asking each other to please not go when they're not finished. This need to hear what both artists have to say makes them a compelling match- the introvert and the extrovert from whom you can't take your attention away."
Stream and download the entire album below; you're going to want all of them unless you don't have a good ear or soul. So make a good musical decision tonight and sit back with "The Notorious xx." 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Tyler Ward & Megan Nicole

I am officially hooked on Spotify. For those of you that don't know what it is, click here and find out - I'm not trying to compete with their video explanation. At first I thought it was just another version of iTunes, but now I'm discovering what it has to offer. I discovered Tyler Ward and Megan Nicole's cover of Mumford & Son's The Cave via Spotify and I couldn't be more excited knowing that I'll continue to find great music this way. Megan's voice is silky smooth and I love hearing a male-dominated and performed song by a female. I've heard numerous covers to this song, but this has quickly become my favorite as it's refreshing and simple. The duo sticks pretty close to Mumford's original, but damnit it's something about hearing a woman tackle it that draws me. Listen below and see (hear?) for yourself

The Cave - Tyler Ward & Megan Nicole

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reviewing the Un-Reviewable

Note: all quotes from SuperHeavy band members are credited to USA Today. If you are one of those that always skipped reading instructions in school, then you might think I pulled an interview with the band out of my ass, which is alright with me... 

"As much as we love buying an album of rap tunes with this guest and that guest, we know it's all rap. This record goes in other areas..."

Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, AR Rahman, and Dave Stewart - five incredibly talented musicians from four different countries that have united to create one of the most difficult to explain albums, no movements, of this decade. Appropriately named SuperHeavy, the group debuted their first album earlier today, and it already has press and bloggers boggled. We were already aware that their combination would be unique and ultimately be a combination of island tin drums, instruments from Asia we've never heard of, badass vocals, and of course the powerful kick drum that is Mick's neck vein. So despite anticipating some sort of surprise, we're still blown away by this project. Welp, here's my best shot at this decades most un-reviewable album...

Miracle Worker is by far the best song on the album, and the band seems to know it. The song serves as the subject matter for their first music video and has been talked about by everyone for weeks. Incredibly diverse in sound, Miracle Worker is the poster song for the groups effort to create "more than a group," Dave Stewart notes, "It's more like an attitude and a movement toward a new way." Watch the music video below, and witness not just a ridiculous, yet predictable wardrobe choice by Mick, but also some of the coolest sounding noises ever put together (Warning: don't fall victim to Damian Marley's outrageously captivating hair. Well, maybe you can for just a little while; I estimate his average shower length at 45 minutes, and that's sticking strictly to grooming). 

There are only a few other tracks that stand out and make a positive step towards the group's goal of creating a new musical movement - Unbelievable, Beautiful People, Rock Me Gently, and Satyameva Jayathe. Well either they're better songs, or I can't listen to Mick's iconic voice for 53 minutes straight. Both are very likely, and are probably related. It's my feeling that after the previously mentioned songs, the rest don't incorporate that wholesome quality that results from a culmination of culturally varied music. On half the album, Marley's "propulsive reggae-meets-hip-hop sensibility dominates the overall sound," and on the other half, Mick's legendary vocals lead the way. There's not nearly enough of Joss Stone. That girl is flat out sexy, and in my opinion, is what makes the band worth listening to. Although Slumdog Millionaire's AR Rahman draws curious ears in, it's Stone's bluesy voice somehow pulls each culture together. 

So here's the deal: Go ahead and purchase Miracle Worker, as it's simply a great song. I would hold out on SuperHeavy's debut album. If you have Spotify, stream it and keep it. If this band sticks together, wait for their second album before forking over any credit card information; it will be finer tuned, worth the wait, and Damian Marley's hair may make for an epic sophomore album cover...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Album Review: Will Shine's "Here, There, and Everywhere In Between"

I'm giving credit to Cover Me for discovering Will Shine and his badass cover of AC/DC's Back In Black. I liked it so much that I went and bought his entire album right after my first listen. The guy has a funky jazz, rock feel that is just flat out awesome. His latest album, "Here, There, and Everywhere In Between," showcases that great sound for the most part. For example, Please, Be Yourself, and Back In Black are what I can only describe as a storm of acoustics, trumpets, and drums. It's really, really cool - not many can argue that. Then I'm thrown some curve balls - some good, others not so much (at least for my taste anyways). What If? (New Romance) takes a sharp turn from the previous tracks' acoustic jazz vibe and heads straight toward Jamaica. The song has nothing to do with the small island, except that Shine implements a little reggae. It's not my favorite from the album (it's currently ranked 4th, actually), but I can dig the guy's attempt to mix it up a little. After this track, however, my stomach starts to hurt and I feel like I've been forced into a youth group with a questionable talent call. Nothing against youth groups, but any time music is incorporated, it tends to be cheesy, queasy, and over-easy. Will Shine, unfortunately, enters this realm for the remainder of the twelve track album...No hard feelings, Will; I needed material to write about and you had me over-the-top-excited with Back In Black

I feel like I'm ending on a sour note, so here's my attempt to sugar coat it: purchase Back In Black, Please, and Be Yourself. They're funky, original, and simply awesome. Replay them over and over, although that's implied after you finishing listening for the first time. If you're feeling a little wild, go ahead and pick up What If? (New Romance), and get your easy feelin' fix. If somehow I have completely misjudged my followers, and you're all for the gospel, acoustic vibe, then purchase the entire album on iTunes


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blending Your Thursday: Mochi Beats

Although Mochi Beats is no more, he left behind some of the greatest mashups I've ever heard. This track is no exception, as the mastermind fuses Biggie Smalls with some Neil Young for a gem named "Hypnotize Gold." This is the first mashup I've heard that features Mr. Young, and it's leaving me wanting more. Obviously if I recieve anything with the godfather of rap featured, I will love it - that's no secret anymore. There's not much to say about this track other than it meshes perfectly, it's laid back, and it's a must download. Enjoy 

Hypnotize Gold - Mochi Beats

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Pat Buzzard and Busby Marou

I've had this song in my library for a while now and have been on the fence deciding whether or not I should feature it. Here was my thought process: It's a rock & roll version of "Wagon Wheel," everyone will love this. Immediately after thinking that, I thought it's a cover of "Wagon Wheel," a song covered pretty damn regularly. I'll be honest, there's nothing too special about this track. Besides the fact that Pat Buzzard makes the song less twangy and more enjoyable to rock fans, it's fairly predictable. Here's the fun part though, and I'm doing this and running the risk of being judged by my peers at the same time: I'm including another cover that is basically the complete opposite of expected. Busby Marou tackles "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" with a soft acoustic touch. The original is considerably annoying, but with Busby's voice, I can dig it. Enjoy


Monday, September 12, 2011

A Throwback Monday

I made my way down to Clemson University on Saturday to cheer on my T-Dogs with a group of my friends, and on the way found myself struggling through a CD we found - Now 5. To give you an idea of what I had to suffer through, Now 5 features songs by N-Sync, Destiny's Child, and Aaron Carter...From the time I left campus to when we arrived at our tailgate, my blood pressure had probably skyrocketed. I consider myself lucky, however, because I can say that this shit was not part of my child hood (well I did go to a Backstreet Boys concert when I was younger, but feel that it shouldn't count as I fell asleep 30 minutes into it). Instead, I was raised on quality music, and to be specific, Robert Cray. To be even more specific, Cray's hit "Bouncin' Back." One of my favorite memories was driving back from the pool during the summer, my dad blaring the blues, and my wet back sticking to the leather seats. So while the average ten year old sat in the back seat with his disc-man listening to 98 Degrees and looking like a complete jackass, I sped by with the sun roof open, and Robert's soulful voice booming. This is more or less a thank you to my dad for setting me straight and providing me with real music. Enjoy 

Bouncin' Back - Robert Cray

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blending Your Thursday: DJ Reflex

The summer's indie-anthem gets yet another makeover thanks to DJ Reflex. What's even better than just remixing the highly addictive track? Adding rapper, Kendrick Lamar, to the mix. Everything about this song flows with ease; before you realize it, you're foot is tapping, your head is bobbing, and your waist is swinging. Not much of a revision of the original takes place besides Lamar's input, but that's blatantly alright with me. Kick back tonight and enjoy this remix; it's a must download. Enjoy 

Pumped Up Kicks Remix ft. Kendrick Lamar - DJ Reflex

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Covering Your Wednesdays: Stephanie Lauren

This could be the prettiest voice of the summer. For those of you that slobber over Adele and Florence + The Machine, don't think of Stephanie Lauren as competition, but rather an inclusion into the same, epic vocal league. On top of having an incredible voice that conveniently sounds like the previously mentioned artists, Lauren has released a cover EP called "Masquerade." She covers Adele's "Rolling In The Deep," Florence + The Machine's "Dog Days Are Over," and even Coldplay's "Yellow." A lot of artists will release cover projects, but I'm willing to say this is one of the best I've heard, and definitely the prettiest. Stop everything you're doing and listen to this angel's voice - the songs mentioned before are showcased below, but definitely visit Lauren's website where you can download the entire project for free. Enjoy 

Yellow - Stephanie Lauren

Rolling In The Deep - Stephanie Lauren

Dog Days Are Over - Stephanie Lauren

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heard It Through The Italian Grapevine

You don't hear many instrumental covers of songs that drastically alter from the original in such a way that completely takes over your headphones very often. Although it's not Wednesday, I thought I would go ahead and share this cover with you, and then post another one tomorrow. It's my first week back in school, and I'm already in the library and starting to crave more music that you can successfully study to. Well, I'd say I'm off to a great start with Antonio Forcione's incredibly crafty cover of Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through The Grapevine." Forcione's Italian style on the acoustic guitar is completely charming and has consequently granted him the title of being the "Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar." Although the Italian stallion doesn't utter a word, I'm willing to say this is one of the best covers of Gaye's classic that I have laid ears on. This man's skill level on the guitar is jaw dropping (the 5 minute mark and on especially).  

Heard It Through the Grapevine - Antonio Forcione

If you want to hear more from Forcione, check out his website here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

MTV's music award for best new artist should have gone to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Screw Tyler The Creator; ever since I saw him eat a cockroach and throw it up, I can't take him. I have been hearing song after song from this hip-hop duo and I continue to be blown away. The production value stemming from Lewis is quickly becoming nothing short of legendary, and Macklemore is showcasing some of the best lyricism I have ever heard. The pair just released the above music video for their track, "Otherside Remix," that features Fences. Besides creating emotionally driven hip-hop that speaks and relates to listeners, they are also creators of equally dramatic music videos.

Besides the obvious reasons I mentioned above, here's why Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are my favorites and should be yours too: It's a story, not an anthem. There is no mention of how hammered Macklemore was the previous night, nor how he is a better artist than Tyler The Creator (he is, a lot better). Instead, these guys are producing stories that are incredibly emotional. This song, for example, speaks about artists' influences on listeners. He mentions Lil Wayne's addiction to cough syrup and how, instead of being shunned, became part of the norm as fans followed suit. Watch the video above, or just listen below, and enjoy.

Otherside Remix ft. Fences - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blending Your Thursdays: The Hood Internet

I love the picture above simply because it's incredibly accurate. Mashup artists are glued to their computers; it's an instrument with unlimited possibilities and has the potential to create some of the interesting mixtures we, the listeners, consume. The Hood Internet, a mashup and remix dou consisting of Aaron Brink and Steve Reidell, has a knack for producing tracks featuring unconventional mixes. A lot of their stuff combines indie with hip-hop and electronic, and strangely, everything they throw together works. This track, "Save Me Concubine," is one of their older projects, but I heard it for the first time earlier this week and couldn't stop playing it. Ghost Face Killa (with a name like that, you automatically limit yourself to hip-hop and punk rock. Not a smart career move if you ask me) and Beirut, an indie god, are blended together in this one to make a fun, old school tune filled with chimes and organs. If you like what you hear, see potential, or just want to learn more about The Hood Internet, visit their website and gain access to hundreds of free tracks and mixtapes... 

Save Me Concubine - The Hood Internet