Sunday, September 8, 2013

Now Hear This: Volume 3 (Bonus Edition)

I know I just gave you guys some new tunes to listen to a couple weeks ago, but it seems I missed a few things. Firstly, there was at least one song that I was supposed to include in the last article and forgot about, and there were also a couple new offerings to speak of that I was at the time unaware of.

It's becoming Fall. Some of you are back to college. There's new albums dropping left and right. You want to stay cool & hip and with it, but seriously, avoid that instinct to just run with the pack. In a pack, unless you're the lead animal the view never changes. You'll always be looking at someone else's ass trying to keep up. So be the Alpha, the Leader. Let them follow you.

First, the Top 40 dreck to avoid...

Lady GaGa---Applause
At least she's honest. "I live for the applause, applause , applause, I live for the applause-plause-plause blah blah blah etcetera..." Yes, you want the adoration and applause. I get it. Most creative people don't just create for the sake of creating things, be it music or art or poetry or video or even blogging about other peoples' creations. Creative people also like the positive feedback that comes with their work. I get it. In a way I can be the same; I like positive comments back on my writing. However, I am not going to write a blog that says "I live for the comments-ments-ments-ments blah blah blah".  The song has some good synth parts and decent beats and the chorus is dancey as hell, but I just kinda tune out the verses and bridge. She's toned down the weird factor a bit at least. However, it's also on the air every 26 minutes and it gets old fast. Like most GaGa stuff. Like most of GaGa's "weird artsy chick" schtick.

Sara Bareilles--Brave vs. Katy Perry--Roar
Yeah, I know. It's been spoken of ad nauseum in the press, this similarity between the two songs. Bareilles herself has commented on it, as has Perry, and both claim no ill will towards each other, just peace love & jellybeans, and that any similarity is just coincidence. Sara's song, inspired by a freind's struggle with coming out, came out first but one of the team that did "Roar" claims it was written & recorded first, nanny nanny boo boo. It's another sugary girl power Katy song riddled with that staccato stutter delivery where she turns a one-syllable word into two syllables. Sara wrote her song with Jack Antonoff of the band fun., and Perry wrote hers with Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, and Henry Walter. Two writers vs. five, so I'm giving this one to Bareilles, although I really do have to give Katy points for her Eye Candy appeal alone. Turn on the radio right now and I guarantee one or the other is on and the other will follow in 17 minutes.

By the time you read this the official video will be out on Monday the 9th. The song debuted this week at #3 on the Billboard Top 100. It must be chock fulla bleeps and censored blurbs after listening to the full version. It's loud and brash, kinda like the old Eminem we were used to a decade ago, but Em is also turning 41 next month so how long can we milk the Angry Young Rapper cow? The song is built around Billy Sqiers' "The Stroke" with sprinkles of Beastie Boys tossed over the top. The preview audio video should remind 80s kids immediately of LL Cool J's debut album "Radio".

Avril Lavigne--Rock N Roll
Okay, seriously, you're pushing 30 and been married twice, so the bratty teen punky pop gothy cheerleader with racoon mascara gimmick is getting tired. This pretty much sounds like 90% of her other stuff, with the big saving grace being Danica McKellar (ever so hot at 38) kissing her in the Tank Girl ripoff video.

One Direction--Best Song Ever
No, it's not. It's sugar-frosted pre-packaged crap that rips off The Who's "Baba O'Riley. Thankfully, Pete Townshend is a generous man and didn't sue them. I have very little use for boy bands and really, unless you're a twelve year old girl awaiting her first period, neither should you.

So, Wingman, now that you just shit on all the popular music, what should I listen to?

Well, not all the popular stuff is to be avoided. Remember, a lot of the stuff I have recommended for you guys in the past became popular after I sent it your way.I'm not against stuff becoming popular if it's good, but I want you guys ahead of the game. Lead dog, remember. When they're looking at your asshole and listening to the same song every 26 minutes, you'll have already moved on to the next big thing.

Lana Del Rey--Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)
Don't get me wrong. I am NOT a Lana Del Rey fan. After weeks and weeks of hearing everyone on alternative radio rave about this hot new chanteuse with the smoky vocals and gorgeous looks, I caught an interview with her where she seemed bored & disinterested & jaded. And then I caught her on Saturday Night Live and decided right there & then that everyone who was raving about her was up their own ass with a hacksaw. And honestly, Summertime Sadness only works for me in the radio remix by Cedric Gervais. Otherwise, the original is dull and lifeless, like Lana Del Rey. It makes Joy Division sound upbeat. However, Gervais saves the day with some great EDM grooves and it offsets her deep mopey vocals.

Okay, on to the good stuff...

Depeche Mode--You Should Be Higher
Look, chummies, you should already know & own this track. Why? Because it's Depeche fuckin' Mode, that's why. The list of bands that owe their inspiration and lineage to Depeche Mode is massive. This is the third single off their Delta Machine album, the album they are currently selling out stadiums supporting here in the States. Trust me, fellas, you can never go wrong playing Mode in the car on a date. It says "This dude has a sophisticated palate.".

Feathers--- Land of the Innocent
Feathers was an accidental find, and in my estimation accidental finds are often the best ones. I was watching a news video and the next video in line was about Feathers, and the reporter called them a female Depeche Mode. That was enough to raise an eyebrow and pique my curiosity, indeed. Hailing from Austin, Texas, these ladies do indeed live up to the hype and then some. The lead single off their album If All Now Here begins with a synth riff that reminded me of an early Depeche Mode B-side and old-skool fan favorite called Ice Machine. It blossoms into an ominous, velvety, thick groove with angelic vocals over the top. It pays homage to the synth bands that came before them while paving a new path yet untrod. Get the whole album; it's REALLY good.

Who's got your back? I do...