Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to Twenty Ten...

Here are a few tunes to welcome in the new year...


In honor of Girl Talk, the Super Mash Brothers, E-603, White Panda, the Hood Internet and all those Disc Jockeys out there who make a name for themselves by taking (sometimes the most random) music and mixing it with other music, I am going to post a set of legit mash-up songs. Not always do they mash-up good songs but once you hear a good mash-up you will know it. White Panda and the Hood Internet take the harder route by just taking two songs and mixing them together while Girl Talk, the Super Mash Brothers, and E-603 take multiple songs and parts of songs and each song. Enough talking, lets get to the tunes.

Mash-up artists weapon of choice:    Macbook

There is one good thing about these mash-up artists, they give away their music for free basically.
Super Mash Bros. - Fuck Bitches, Get Euros and All About the Scrillions
The Hood Internet -
White Panda - Versus
E-603 - Torn Up
Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

The Hood Internet - Two Weeks of Hip Hop (Dead Prez vs. Grizzly Bear)
The Hood Internet - Billie "Wildcat" Jean (Ratatat vs. Michael Jackson)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Most Important Albums of the Year 5-1

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
The strong guitars throughout the album turn every song into an anthem. It’s hard to place a definitive genre on these guys and I think that is a major part of why I like them. On “Anchors Dropped” and “Masquerade” they could easily be a edgy alternative band (borderline punk maybe) but on “Going On a Hunt” and “Dull Reason” they could be an indie band. I listened to this album more time than I could tell you; it is an absolute great piece of work. For goodness sake, the drummer is FOURTEEN years old.

Passion Pit
This album is a demonstration of pure musical talent. The guys voice isn’t the most appealing once you hear it but once you appreciate it, Manners begins to get better and better. Though it isn’t a thorough performance by the band because the latter songs (MINUS “SLEEPYHEAD”) lack the synth-pop feel the album starts you off with. “Sleepyhead” is the one of the best songs, if not the best, put out on an album that came out this year. Passion Pit’s defined sound set them apart and above what else came out this year.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
It’s Blitz
Who would have thought that a synthesizer would have been a step UP for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Not me. While Nick Zinner threw his guitar in the trunk and picked up a synthesizer, Karen O and company set out on a different direction with It’s Blitz. They were most certainly heading in the right direction with this revolutionary genre-bending album. The changes that they made could have had set them on a straight shot to a reality TV show. Both Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones are alternative albums and It’s Blitz combines their alternative roots with a new, catchy electronic side. The band’s evolution almost completely removes them from their sound on Fever to Tell. This is Karen O’s best performance on a YYYs album so far. The different altitudes her voice reaches, from “Softshock,” up to “Dragon Queen” and culminating in “Heads Will Roll,” show how diverse and one-of-a-kind musician she is. Every song on this album has a different sound, which makes the YYYs evolution and It’s Blitz so noteworthy.


Dirty Projectors
Bitte Orca
The main voice of the Dirty Projectors threw me off when I first heard the album, but after listening to the album on repeat while studying I really started to dig this album. The backing harmonies added by the girl may be what help his voice sound appealing, or not, I don’t know exactly what it is. No matter what, the vocals are quite outstanding. On the first go-round of the album it is definitely appreciated more for the music than the vocals and lyrics mainly because it’s hard to figure out what they are saying. The changing rhythms and beats in the middle of songs is not an easy task, nor is switching them up multiple times in a 2 to 4 minute span. The Dirty Projectors are able to flow from one rhythm to another in such a smooth fashion; it’s hard to not give them such high praise. The Dirty Projectors have a sound all their own and Bitte Orca showcases this from beginning to end.

The Avett Brothers
I and Love and You
These North Carolina boys got cleaned up by musical genius Rick Rubin and make you “ill with want” for more. Meaningful lyrics along with a new sound, from added drum and electrical instrument emphasis while downplaying the banjo and acoustic guitar, creates a brilliant album. These guys have been pumping out music like this for years and now they are finally recognized for it; it’s great to see this for a band from my area. As you can see from the screen shot of my iTunes account, every song on this album is good. I never give a band this high a rating. I have written more on this album and the brothers in an earlier post.

The Delta Saints

Haven't heard anything about these guys before, just this video. And I unfortunately have some bad news. I can’t find much about them in the blogosphere that I currently reside. But this video is really good. These guys look like they have some potential. Kind of follow the blues sound of the Black Keys with somewhat softer vocals and a backwoods sound as well, at least in this song. If you check out the stuff on their MySpace you'll be pleasantly surprised if you are a Drive-By Truckers fan, or like some good Southern Rock. They are putting out an album in 2010. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that. Check out their MySpace.

Close But No Cigar

Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Real Estate - Real Estate

Filthy Dukes - Nonsense in the Dark

The Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print

The Hood Internet - Mixtape Vol. 4 (free download)

These aren't in any special order, but just a few albums from 2009 that weren't important, but deserving of some type of credit. I know there were many other albums out there, but there are only so many minutes of the day that a student has to listen to music for the sake of listening to music. The Top Five are going to be rolling out soon, check back before the year's up.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Novels EP

This EP is a collaboration of numerous artists from blossoming alternative and indie bands. Back in January these guys met up in a studio and composed the whole EP in ONE day. This is quality music here and they did it all in one day, amazing. Makes me wonder how long it takes bands to produce full albums. Anyways, check out the website. Free download of the 5 song EP as well as pictures and about 35 minutes worth of videos.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Random Assortment of Throwback Ballads

The Drums

The newest band from NYC to make its round on the blog world. They sound like a revived Smiths. They remind me of Vampire Weekend. The way Vampire Weekend had a unique college rock sound that seemed to be an instant classic. Seems pretty promising right? RIGHT. The Drums released their Summertime EP in October. The first single was "Lets Go Surfing." Here's a free download of it. Follow the link then there's a large download button. There are a few links to free downloads of remixes to the song, I didn't check those out.

                        The Drums - I Felt Stupid

She & Him - Volume Two 3/23/10

She & Him, Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward, have announced a follow up to their critically acclaimed 2008 debut Volume One, which is fittingly named Volume Two. These two have really made a name for themselves in the past year. Ward put out Hold Time, his second solo LP, in February and then collaborated with Bright Eyes and Jim James to put out Monsters of Folk's self-titled album. Deschanel starred in the movie 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. These two both have very distinctive voices and together are an amazing group. Not until Xmas season did I realize that Deschanel is the blonde from Elf, never would have recognized it, her dark hair is part of her persona now. Volume Two is set to be released March 23rd, 2010.

She & Him: Volume Two Track list:
01. Thieves
02. In The Sun
03. Don't Look Back
04. Ridin' In My Car
05. Lingering Still
06. Me And You
07. Gonna Get Along With You Now
08. Home
09. I'm Gonna Make It Better
10. Sing
11. Over It Over Again
12. Brand New Shoes
13. If You Can't Sleep

The stars of 500 Days of Summer made a video to She & Him's - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, off Volume One

Album Review: Yeasayer - Odd Blood

       Yeasayer is releasing a new album on Feburary 9th, 2010 entitled Odd Blood through their label, Secretly Canadian.  So obviously it has leaked if I am writing about it, but go ahead and preorder it. (the price will go down before it comes out if you preorder it now, it does on all but 1 cd I’ve ever pre-ordered from Amazon) The foursome’s new album is much heavier on the synths giving them a more psychedelic sound than their 2007 debut album All Cymbals Hour. You can liken the transformation that Yeasayer has taken from ACH to OB like the one the Yeah Yeah Yeahs took from an alternative Show Your Bones to a synthesized It’s Blitz. They have much more of a definitive sound, a mix between Animal Collective, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and TV on the Radio. After listening to through the album numerous times it sounds like Merriweather Post Pavilion was their favorite album of the year and a major influence to Odd Blood.
       It starts off with an almost creepy computerized voice over this dark synthesized beat that would go great on a Halloween ’10 playlist. Luckily “Ambling Alp” swoops in and saves the day from the direction “The Children” were taking the album.  I could swear that “Madder Red” is straight off of Miami Vice or Baywatch. It reminds me of the early 90’s, late 80’s music, with lots of added harmonies to distinguish it as a 2010 Yeasayer song.
      “I Remember” has a very Dan Deacon ring to it, kind of like his song “Of the Mountains,” hmmm…. “ONE” starts off with a video game tune, it has to be, I recognize it from somewhere.  This song builds up just like a game of Jenga, before you start pulling the blocks out. (just when you build it up slowly from nothing)The next song, “Love Me Girl,” is a smoothie made from organic TV on the Radio, European trance, and a little V8 juice.  “Rome” is much better than the Phoenix song with the same name, just for clarification. This song reminds me of Fatboy Slim’s song “Weapon of Choice” (known best probably for its video which has Christopher Walken flying around) Nevertheless, it’s a quality track.
      “Strange Reunions” has a tribal psychedelic sound going which they make work for them, much like Animal Collective does. “Mondegreen” caps off the album with an unusually fast beat, for this album at least, heavy guitar, then leaves you with a one minute cool-down/space odyssey for you to recap and reflect on the great album which you just listened to.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guess Who's Coming...

the basic Christmas necessities

A post on the eve

The Canon Logic
I heard these guys over at Suspicious Sounds. SS listed Vampire Weekend as a similar artist, so I had to check them out. The piano is a big part of this group's sound and might I venture to compare the singers voice to that of Freddie Mercury of Queen? I think it is a fair comparison. They have very catchy tunes that will make you anything but sad. Have a listen. (if you know how to work rapidshare, you can download their 3 EP's at SS)

Update on Broken Bells
Found an mp3 of the song for your enjoyment.
Broken Bells - The High Road

Late of the Pier
If you didn't catch their debut album in 2008, you missed out on a rarity. I read in an article in SPIN that if they thought it sounded right, then they needed to change it. Obscure guitar riffs and synth beats satiate every song, which can turn a song on a needle to one that is unrecognizable to its beginning, a trend which is completely opposite for just about the whole music industry. Here is a new song that I found by them. You'll know what I mean with unrecognizable parts of songs when you think it cuts off as a 30 second sample. Great song, hope an album follows.
Late of the Pier - Blueberry

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Most Important Albums of the Year 10-6


Hopefully these boys won’t be leaving town anytime soon, because this feels like the beginning of something very special. This debut album exceeded my expectations when I heard the first single “Young Hearts Spark Fire” a while back. They have a very Wavves feeling about them, the lo-fi recording, it isn’t as lo-fi as Wavves, so I guess mid-fi. From the first guitar riff and beat of the drum on “Young Hearts Spark Fire” you know this album has to be good. Then there is their ode to French kissing French girls, classic.
Key Tracks: “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Wet Hair”

Kid Cudi
Man On The Moon: The End Of Day

There isn’t enough I could say about this rapper. He is a lyrical poet who raps on only the best beats out there. This album is not the best that he has put out by any means but it is still a work of art. A Kid Named Cudi and Dat Kid From Clevland are full of songs with samples including Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, and Outkast, which you can listen to and download for free by clicking on the links. Teaming up with Ratatat on two tracks and MGMT on another is off-beat from other rappers today, going alternative and not gangsta. He tells the story of his introverted childhood and marijuana-smoking days of yore on Man On the Moon:The End of Day. He could have done without sampling “Poker Face,” but other than that this cooled-down, on the rocks album is a grand accomplishment for this
up-and-coming rapper
whiz kid.

Key Tracks: “Pursuit of Happiness (feat. Ratatat and MGMT)” and “Soundtrack 2 My Life”

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This is the best product France has spat out since the beret. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the greatest composers of all time and fitting is the name of this album. Having composed one of the best songs of the year, “1901,” this album deserves a top 10 spot. The English of this Frenchie is outstanding. The use of synthesizers synthesizes a set of ten great songs. Besides the fact that at some points “Lasso” and “Listzomania”sound similar, the album is great.
Key Tracks: “Listzomania” and “1901”

Harlem Shakes
Technicolor Health

This debut album is phenomenal. This strong performance is unmatched this year in versatility and quality in a debut album. The singer sounds much like Lonnie Walker’s which sounds much like Bob Dylan and through deduction you understand what I’m getting at. With lyrics that speak to me and a cowbell (pretty sure it’s a cowbell) on "Unhurried Hearts" this album is my prescription to a great album this year. This album was on repeat in my iTunes all Spring and is worthy of the 6th spot on this list.
Key Tracks: “Sunlight,” “TFO,” “Strictly Game,” and “Niagara Falls.”

Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about it. It is a new side of Animal Collective that is pure brilliance. The illusion on the cover isn’t just some random thing they decided to put there to be indie, it is the lead in to the album, a trippy, magic carpet ride of eclectic tribal sounds, boisterous synthesizers, and the lyrics of a true classic. Oh Yeah, I forgot, they also released the best LP of the year, Fall Be Kind. That is all I have to say about them.

from Fall Be Kind

from Merriweather Post Pavilion

Most Important Albums of the Year 15-11

Port O'Brien

I saw this band in the fall at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill. It’s a small venue with couches and usually draws small crowds. But Port O’Brien and Sea Wolf packed this place and got everyone on their feet. They put on a good live show. The album contains a plethora of superb songs. The lead singer's voice is one of the best indie rock voices out there today. I do prefer his voice to the girl's (who plays banjo) but when singing together they are quite a dynamic duo. This album is better than All We Could Do Was Sing, and that was great album.
Key Tracks: “My Will Is Good” and “Leap Year”

Grizzly Bear
The build-up of this album was beyond any other disc I have ever seen. With such high praise, as the possibility of being the album of the year and the decade before it came out, it was hard to not check this album out. It wasn’t as musically wholesome as I imagined it to be, I don’t know, I just didn’t see the light when I listened to this album. They are such a chill/mellow band you have to crank the volume when you’re listening to them, or you just might fall asleep. This album contains two incredible songs that make the album, as a whole, quality.
Key Tracks: “Two Weeks” and “While We Wait for the Others”

The Heavy
The House That Dirt Built

The Heavy is a blues band infused with a punk guitar and an ensemble of horns. Minus the guitar, they could easily be mistaken for a band straight out of the 40’s. Their sound is slowed down and more bluesy than that of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. Their sound is few and far between these days. The lead singer will remind you of prince or a less enthusiastic James Brown. I had to go with three key tracks on this album, you know they’re getting good now.
Key Tracks: “Short Change Hero,” “How You Like Me Now,” and “No Time”

Lonnie Walker
These Times Old Times Master

Saw these guys at Local 506 in Chapel Hill in early December. They played an hour long set at the Daily Tar Heel’s Diversions Party. It was a good set, seemed like they got in a good amount of songs. I found “Compass Comforts” on Ear Farm’s Top 10 NC Bands You Should Hear Now back in August and recognized that song at the concert but didn’t recognize anything else except that it was all good stuff. Just about everyone compares Lonnie Walker with Bob Dylan, which YES, it is a good comparison. I feel like his voice is a little reminiscent of the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America with a kind of folk twang to it. This album isn’t well known outside of NC but those that have heard it, praise it.
Key Tracks: “Grape Juice,” “Compass Comforts,” and “Summertime”

Empire of the Sun
Walking on a Dream

It’s very hard to put words to this music. I will say that this was one of the first songs I found on MOKB. The costumes (well I hope they are costumes) are great and fit well with this music. This eclectic duo put out a great synth-heavy album which received higher praise overseas than the US. This is not surprising because it is great in all its pop/electronic glory. The group governs the synthesizer and uses it in such different manners if you compare “Swordfish Hotkiss Night” an almost techno/trance track and “Standing on the Shore,” a pop anthem. Overall a great album from a clever group of musical dudes.
Key Tracks: "We are the People" and "Walking on a Dream"

My Afternoon Jacket

Broken Bells

This is a new collaboration between famed collaborator Danger Mouse and the Shins’ lead singer James Mercer. This sounds like a very promising twosome. Kind of reminds me of the Shins infused with a little of the Roots, maybe a smidge of Modest Mouse, and slowed down TV on the Radio. Mercer has such a recognizable voice it is hard to not attribute the Shins to the single. The single “The High Road” is streaming on their website. There is nothing on their website and I don’t want to start spreading rumors but I have seen on a few blogs where the Shins might put out an album in 2010. I sure hope this is true.
Broken Bells – The High Road follow link to their website

Creep Cover
I’m sure most of ya’ll have seen this video already. If you haven’t, you’re truly missing out. My roommate linked this to his facebook a few days ago. This homeless man puts more emotion into this song than Thom Yorke. Remarkably touching video.

Cloud Cult

This is a pretty interesting song. It tells a nice little story as well. It is pretty catchy, check it out.
Cloud Cult - Fairy Tale

Cool Catz

These guys seem like they are the real deal. Saw a post on them over at AM last night. The title drew me in. If this group is being tossed around with Chiddy Bang and Xaphoon Jones they gotta be good. Tried to get a good amount of songs to full gauge. I'd have to give them a thumbs up. They rap over one of the best songs of the decade, "Heartbeats" by The Knife, in their song Molly. Head over to their website for a few free downloads and interesting stuff (one of the songs is a RATATAT remix)
Cool Catz - Molly

Cool Catz - Funk Soul Kitty (KeyLowD Winter Rhymez Remix)

j. period and K'naan

Bob Dylan and rap. Never thought you’d hear those two in the same sentence did you? Well you did. K’naan and j. period tie in Bob Dylan to this song and somehow it works beautifully. I think because K’naan is an intelligent rapper with good intentions and does it in a nonchalant way, kind of how Bob Dylan is in this song. It could lose the blah blah blah before and after the song but nevertheless the uniqueness of this track makes it interesting.
j. period and K'naan - Don't Think Twice (Messengers Remix)

Dark Side of the Moon

The Flaminng Lips are not necessarily the Pink Floyd of today, but different from everything else out there in a sort of psychedelic/Pink Floyd kind of way. Yesterday they released Dark Side of the Moon, their take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon by remaking every track on the album plus other Pink Floyd favorites. If any band out there was to remake one of the best albums in history, this is the band that should do it. Here is The Flaming Lips version of Money, my favorite track off the original. I also include a reggae version of the song by the Easy All Stars and while I was at it, just decided to include the original.

Easy All Stars - Money

The Flaming Lips - Money

Pink Floyd - Money

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

YTE's Top Songs of '09

The Avett Brothers
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band