Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Music Alert: E-Mute

   If you like smooth vocals, incredible musicianship, and creative melodies, then you need to check out one of my favorite singer-songwriters from England. E-Mute, the project of singer-songrwriter Theo, is a project that is cross between Dommin, Panic! At the Disco and old-school Thirty Seconds to Mars. He recently just put out a new song that features some of the most beautiful piano playing in a while. Now, I've been a fan for about a year, ever since I heard the song "Clocks Move Forward." I was drawn in by the almost vaudevillian sound of the whole work and have since been following his progress. I was sent his latest song, "Miracle."

    The vocals have come a long way since "Clocks Move Forward" and it seems Theo's found the range best suited to him. Singing at a lower octave than normal, Theo is showcasing more power and range than ever before and it fits the dramatic piano playing. 

  Check out the new single above and pre-order it here. You can also follow E-Mute on Twitter.

Monday, March 17, 2014

XTRMST is Davey Havok...and JADE PUGET!!!

     Remember how I mentioned that Davey Havok had a new side project? Well, I was kind of bummed that he wasn't forming it with his partner in crime, guitarist Jade Puget. Ever since Jade joined AFI for Black Sails in the Sunset, it's seemed like the songwriting duo couldn't be parted. And for good reason. Anything those two write turns out to be gold. When I listened to XTRMST, I thought it had a very Jade vibe in terms of guitar work but everyone was talking about Davey; I thought that Havok had left my lovely Puget behind.

  But Jade just confirmed that XTRMST is, in fact, he and Davey's new band:


"More to come"? Ummm, if that means album and tour, I'm so on that. 

 What's really cool about these two is that they also have an electronic side project, Blaqk Audio, which has also been successful. So, really, they can change up their hats to any style and make it work. Not many can do that but, then again, Jade and Davey are definitely a unique songwriting pair. 

 Check out XTRMST here and here. You don't want to be the one kid that missed out on this.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Davey Havok Side Project?

  I'm not saying it's definitely a Davey Havok side project but listening to XTRMST's music makes me think it's almost definitely Davey Havok's side project. Only Havok has the voice that is powering these very old school-AFIesque songs and, not for nothing, it's the best AFI music put out by a non-AFI band EVER (does that make sense?)

  Reports about this band sprung up March 15th across social media sites and I liked the Facebook page when they had 125 likes. It now has 779 and I'm pretty sure that once people actually give this band a listen, the likes are going to rise rapidly.

  Their music is available for a listen and free download here and, if you're into old school, All Hallow's EP/ The Art of Drowning/ Black Sails in the Sunset era AFI (or hardcore in general), you're going to want to give it a listen.


Concert Review: HIM

   H.I.M returned to New York City on Friday to play Irving Plaza in Union Square. They blitzed through a set of fourteen main songs and two encore tracks and dazzled the audience with their personal brand of unassuming stage personas and stellar musicianship.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blaming Labels: How Musicians Try to Get Away With Terrible Music

     Just recently, Lily Allen was called out by one of her fans and told that her music was "rubbish". She agreed but blamed her label and the radio stations for the problem. "All I can do is my best, the labels and radio stations won't play the better stuff," she tweeted. It's all well and good to blame the radio stations and the labels for poor taste in music. We all know that labels and the stations only play cheesy, poppy music that really isn't any good at all. But why is any of your music bad? Why aren't you proud of all of it?

     This seems to be a recurring problem with artists; when the fans don't respond positively to their music, they blame someone, anyone but themselves.

    Here's some advice. If you can be "badass" enough to get in trouble with the law, give the middle finger every time a camera comes near you, and use expletives liberally, then you should be a big enough person to take ownership of your sound.

    It's not just limited to pop acts. My Chemical Romance blamed their label and feeling rushed and tired after the Black Parade when fans criticized their 2010 release Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Black Veil Brides' lead singer, Andy Biersack, also blamed pressure from the band's label when fans questioned their sophomore release Set the World on Fire. It begs the question: if you knew it was bad, why release it?

   Yeah, there are label politics and such but why even make the music that way?

    I can understand boy band pop acts having their hands tied. But, ironically, One Direction has been allowed to mature from bubble-gum, Brit-pop infused music to a much more rock oriented sound. Their latest release, Midnight Memories, was not only a huge commercial success, but was also a massive critical triumph. Looking back on their discography, they have never bashed what they put out or blamed their label. They have just said that, as time has gone, they have found their sound and matured.
   So, if a band of a bunch of twenty-somethings can stand by their music, most of which they didn't even get to write themselves (this excludes their latest release for which members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne wrote more than half the tracks), then why can't artists who are supposed to care for their work and put their best effort into it stand by their music? If it's bad, admit it's bad and move on. Don't blame the labels, even if they do share the blame.

   In regards to Allen's new work, I'm actually okay with it. It doesn't have the same Brit-pop vibe the other albums have had but there's still something inherently Lily Allen about the new tracks. They're not songs that should be abandoned and laid at the feet of the labels and radio stations. While I'm not the biggest fan of "Hard Out Here", "Air Balloon" has an almost "LDN" vibe to it.

    Either way, when you create something and share it with the world, be prepared to take ownership of it whether there's praise of criticism. If you don't, you're just going to look weak.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birthday Mix!

It's my birthday! To commemorate the occasion, I put together a list of my twenty four favorite songs from bands that you should know. It's a nice mix of old and new and I'm sure there's something for any serious music lover. See, I'm entertaining and educating you. Thank me later.

Check it out here: Playlist

Track List:

1. Girls- 1975
    Fun, upbeat, poppy song- just the kind of track to make you forget about your growing number of years.

2. Get Free- The Vines
     I always loved the energy The Vines had.

3. Pretty Vacant- The Sex Pistols
    This was the first song I ever heard by The Sex Pistols. I can still remember being thirteen years old, gaping at old images of the band playing, assaulting the audience with songs just like this one.

4. Disparate Youth- Santigold
    Mellows the mix out a bit and gives you a breather.

5. Recover- CHVRCHES
    My favorite song by these up and coming indie faves.

6. Agenda Suicide- The Faint
   I really hope this makes you all get up and dance.

7. Midnight Rambler- The Rolling Stones
    Quite possibly the song that captures the very essence of the Rolling Stones, this will forever be one of my top three Stones songs.

8. We Own the Sky- M83
     There's something really enchanting and beautiful about this track. There were many nights where I would walk back from main campus to my dorm just listening to this track (it was a fifteen minute walk. I think the song clocks in somewhere around five minutes).

9. Die Romantic- Aiden
    Off Aiden's second album, this is the song that made me fall in love with them. For my sixteenth birthday I got to see them support Thirty Seconds to Mars and met both bands. It was a rather magical night.

10. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da- The Beatles
    I feel like I don't give the Fab Four enough love but I do like them and this is the song that gets me the most energized.

11. Topsy Turvy- Family Force 5
      This song was featured on the 2010 Alice in Wonderland soundtrack. My entire twentieth birthday was Alice in Wonderland themed and, considering it's my second favorite story ever (second only to Peter Pan), Alice in Wonderland is quite special to me. The song itself captures the whimsical feel that Alice in Wonderland has without encroaching into the Jefferson Airplane spectrum.

12. LDN- Lily Allen
    This picks the mix up a bit and gives it a bit of a spring/summer feel.

13. Five Years- David Bowie
      No mix is complete without BOWIE! Five Years has always been one of my favorite Bowie tracks because its melancholic air of finality juxtaposed with its almost hopeful tone.

14. Personality Crisis- New York Dolls
      I love the fast-paced, straight in your face ethos of the New York Dolls.

15. Transmission- Joy Division
       I'm a huge Joy Division fangirl so they're always playing when I get ready to go out.

16. Jet Boy, Jet Girl- The Damned
     It's the Damned. They have to be on here.

17. I Against I- Bad Brains
       If there's one band that, to me, really encapsulates the New York City punk sound then it's the Bad Brains. They have that never-ending energy that the punk movement was known for but, instead of preaching anarchy and nihilism, they tried to get their fans to try and change the world for the better.

18. Mama Do the Hump- Rizzle Kicks
      I shamelessly dance to this song all the time.

19. Beautiful Ones- Suede
      Upbeat tone and depressing lyrics? Perfect.

20. Graffiti- Maximo Park
      I just love Maximo Park and felt that this was the perfect song to introduce you all to them.

21. Comeback Kid- Sleigh Bells
      I love the energy of this song (or of any Sleigh Bells song).

22. The Boys are Back- Dropkick Murphys
      My birthday falls right near St. Patty's Day so OF COURSE Dropkick Murphys are going to be included on my playlist.

23. Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?- Green Day
       Green Day is one of my favorite bands and this song is one of their most underrated, even though it's both Billie-Joe and my favorite song.

24. Heroes- David Bowie
      He's Bowie so he gets two spots. In all seriousness, though, this song has always been so uplifting and empowering (they even feature it at the end of Perks of Being a Wallflower) so I needed to close out the playlist with this one.

Hope you guys enjoyed it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Concert Tips: Roadtripping It

Okay, so, worst case scenario happens: the band you love is coming to town but you found out too late. The mailing list ended up in the spam folder, the real world got in the way of meticulous concert calendar planning, or you slept through the alarm clock that would wake you up in time to make sure you logged onto Ticketmaster to buy those tickets. Any way you look at it, you, my friend, have failed epically at fangirling/fanboying. Congrats. So, this occasionally happens and, recently, the failing to get tickets phenomenon afflicted me. I have decided to put my failings as a fangirl on display and my subsequent road trip planning in order to help all of you during these dark times of "sold out" signs and "there are no tickets currently available" banners.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quiet Time Music

    There are just those days when you need a little bit of quiet but you don't want to give up your music. Right? Yet, all of that heavier stuff like Motionless in White or even Social Distortion isn't really going to do it for you. That's why I, in the midst of trying to read the insane amounts of reading I have to have done for tomorrow, made a playlist for all of you to use when you just want to zone out a bit, grab a book, or just daydream. Savvy? Sweet. 

 As always, the playlist is on my lovely 8Tracks account (which is one of my fave sites, btw). Head on over there to check it out (hint, click the link under "there" and you'll be taken, well, there). Below is the track listing just to make sure you like it. 

1. Is There Somebody Who Can Watch Over You?- The 1975
    My favorite song by The 1975, this song showcases a level of vulnerability that Healy doesn't otherwise reveal to the listener. 

2. Old Friends- Daniel Pearson
    He's one of my favorite, up and coming English singer/songwriters which is funny because he has a definite American, blue-collar music (Springsteen) vibe to him.

3. Atmosphere- Joy Division
    I don't need to explain this one, do I?

4. Moonlight Mile- The Rolling Stones
   Again, it's another British band that has a very, southern American vibe to it, particularly in this track. And, God, I hope all of you know who the Stones are. 

5. As the World Falls Down- David Bowie
    This song was featured in the epic, 80s, glittertastic movie Labyrinth and I have been deeming it my wedding song since I saw that movie. Anyway, this is one of my favorite Bowie songs of all time so I thought I would share. 

6. Holocene- Bon Iver
    The first Bon Iver song I ever heard, Holocene is still my favorite track of his. 

7. Skinny Love- Birdy
    Birdy takes a Bon Iver song and somehow makes it even more beautiful and haunting. 

8. Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl- Broken Social Scene
   I'm just in love with this song. It kind of has an Imogene Heap thing going for it but...anyway, it's a great track that I'm in love with.

9. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room- John Mayer
    There are a few occasions when I will listen to John Mayer, this is one of them.

10. Think of You- Carney
       Carney is one of those bands that marries blues with jazz and rock and a bit of pop. This song's soulful and soft quality really adds a dream-like feel to their one and only album, Mr. Green Vol. 1. The entire album is worth a listen but this song is just...magical? Yeah, go with that.

11. Like Lavender- Horse Feathers
   Very folky, almost coffee house like vibe that reminds me of artisan towns. 

12. Untitled- Silverchair
      Probably the hardest track on this mix, "Untitled" still retains an almost sleepy quality brought about by Daniel Johns' voice. Besides, any chance I can get to reinforce the amazingness that is Silverchair is a chance I will take. Listen and reach enlightenment, people. 

Again, you can check out the playlist here as well as see all my other mixes on my profile here. Enjoy the quiet time, lovelies.

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Music Mix

I enjoy making mixes WAY too much. It's a problem. Anyway, in order to make myself feel better about the bitter cold that is still plaguing New York, I decided to make a mix of some of the newer stuff that I just added to my iTunes. There are some indie acts and some better known ones on here so enjoy it here.

The track listing:

1. She Like the Drama- Sisteray
    You'll like these guys if you enjoy a weird mix of Maximo Park and the Arctic Monkeys.

2. Overdose- Maudlin Strangers
    Again, these guys have a crazy Arctic Monkeys, Libertines, old school Kings of Leon vibe to them. Oh, and I wrote a little post about them a while ago: Maudlin Strangers.

3. I Lied- Electric Century
    Mikey Way's new band that reminds me of New London Fire on acid.

4. Siren- The Palace Wolves
    Really fun, almost Interpol sounding band. Give them a listen.

5. Riptide- Vance Joy
    Bon Iver meets Jack Johnson. Savvy?

6. Fortune Teller- The 48k's
    Doncaster, England based band that has a gritty, punk rock vibe to them. Kind of like England's answer to the Dropkick Murphys.

7. Dreaming- Smallpools
    A more energetic 1975

8. The City- The 1975
     Definitely one of my favorite songs off their self-titled debut. The 1975 are a band I'm willing to drive to BALTIMORE for.

9. Hurricane- MS MR
    They remind me of a more feminine Hurts. They have that same deranged pop vibe to them.

10. Buttons- The Weeks
     Kind of what Kings of Leon could have been if they had just stuck to what they were good at. Ironically, they're on Kings of Leon owned label, Serpents and Snakes.

11. A Little Death- The Neighbourhood
      There's something incredibly gritty and urban about this band and this song is in my top three tracks by them.

12. 14- Palma Violets
       They're like the second coming of The Libertines and this track is the one that has a tendency to stay stuck in my head the longest.

13. Demon Dance- Surfer Blood
      The song reminds me of the summer. I want the warmth. Therefore, I will add this track to the mix.

14. Lost Boys and Girls Club- Dum Dum Girls
      Dum Dum Girls is a better, more sultry sounding version of the Savages and I just love the name of the song.

Again, you can check out the mix here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mikey Way's Electric Century

Mikey was always the quiet one, every one's little brother (even though he was older than most of us), and the solid presence behind older brother Gerard. He was the one who brought Gerard Way to see the Smashing Pumpkins and came up with the name My Chemical Romance. In other words, Mikey Way has always been incredibly important and has always known music so it's no surprise that he's already announcing his new project- Electric Century.

Electric Century, which also features New London Fire's David Debiak and ex-Stars in Stereo guitarist Justin Siegel, is not really a new project. Mikey told MTV that in a seventh grade science class he wrote the name on a notebook and thought that he had to make that band happen (the guy obviously has a knack for naming bands; if there was such a career he would probably be at the top of the game). He knew that he wanted it to have a BritPop, New Order vibe. He started talking to David Debiak as early as The Black Parade era (2006, for you children out there who don't remember) and, now, after years of waiting, the band has finally been unveiled with a bang, with a cover on Alternative Press' newest issue.

I'm going to admit, I was a little wary when I clicked on the new song. First of all, I had no idea that Mikey Way could sing and I know that projects that are started almost immediately after a band ends typically don't end well. But, "I Lied" is a solid track reminiscent of a New London Fire track but with a little more grit and energy. There's not a lot of My Chem in this song (actually, arguably there's nothing My Chem about this track) but, I like that. I like that Mikey isn't trying to recreate something great. I like that he's found his own sound and was able to further break out of his own shell and grow as a musician.

Electric Century, if this one song is anything to go by, is definitely going to appeal to a whole new group of fans. This isn't the Peter Murphy/ Freddie Mercury goth meets Broadway music that My Chem made. This is something deeply rooted in Brit Pop and New Wave and it's exciting. Not only are new fans going to have some amazing new music but they will also have the opportunity to learn about My Chem and New London Fire and really see where the roots of this new act lie.

My verdict: it's an amazing track for a new band and I can't wait to see what else Mikey's going to give fans. But, don't let me sway you. Check out the song below and make your own decision.