Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Now Hear This, Volume 2: Tunes for the Times

Summer is coming to a close, kids are headed back to school, and soon the leaves will be a-changing. Hopefully your summer was chock fulla good times enhanced by songs I helped you discovered back in the spring.

The summer was a bit of a dead zone this year in my humble yet correct opinion, but recently I've stumbled onto some tunes to swing your way if you haven't discovered them yet. Some of them aren't exactly new but have been percolating all summer and are about to break loose. However, our first track just got officially released today.

Blue October--Bleed Out
A few years ago Blue October hit the scene in a big way with a raw, emotional song called "Hate Me"., followed by the quirky hit "Into the Ocean", but my favorite has always been "Calling You". This one may end up becoming my new favorite. It's a matured, grown sound but still powerful and emotional. If you guys get behind this we can make this song huge.


Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding -- I Need Your Love
Suddenly everyone is all about Scottish DJ Adam Richard Wiles, who goes by the stage name Calvin Harris. Hot on the heels of his big hit Sweet Nothing, featuring the tremendous vocals of Florence Welch (without the Machine) comes another floor stomper, this time with the vocal stylings of electro-dance chanteuse Ellie Goulding. Look, you either like Ellie or you don't. Her voice is unique to say the least. It took me a few listens to get to liking her. Her singles Lights and Anything Can Happen had to grow on me. This one, however, grabbed me pretty much immediately.


Zedd featuring Foxes-- Clarity
This one actually did have to grow on me. I'd seen the song title a few times on the dance charts and alt charts at Billboard's website but paid no real attention to an unfamiliar name. I know, that's wrong of me to do so...otherwise how am I ever going to learn new artists? Young Anton Zaslavski, known in the DJ biz as Zedd, is fast becoming the new darling wunderkind of the EDM world. It took a couple listens for me because it starts out slow and them wakes up. Vocals come courtesy of Louisa Rose Allen, who records under the name Foxes.

 The Neighborhood--Sweater Weather
This song has been kicking around alternative radio for months and is just now making its way to Top 40 radio. It does nothing for me.. Sorry. It's not that I dislike it, but it simply doesn't grab me or do anything for me. Still, it beats listening to Justin Bieber.

This, however, grabbed me pretty quick. Currently ripping its way up the alt charts and poised to crossover any minute now, Pompeii has London-based Bastille meshing a Coldplay-meets-Mumford & Sons feel with a tribal dancey beat. Teen girls will get all damp in the britches over lead singer Dan Smith, who looks like a fresher-faced Adam Levine without the whine or the tattoos.

The other inescapable name on alt radio this week is Lorde, the stage name of Ella Yelich-O'Connor. All of 16 (yeah, jail bait so stop what you were thinking), she's the biggest thing to come out of New Zealand since Lord of the Rings. The first few seconds of the song I thought it was going to be some kind of Amy Winehouse meets Fiona Apple dirge but it's really more like Fergie meets Lily Allen.

Now, of course, there is other stuff out there to listen to, but it's standard Top 40 fare. It's being played every 30 minutes on a non-stop rotation ad nauseum.

Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams--Get Lucky
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I.--Blurred Lines

Seems Pharrell Williams is everywhere these days. I can take Daft Punk every now & then, and it was the only listenable feature of that suck-fest Kanye West called "Stronger". This, however, is just re-hashed 70s disco drivel. The Robin Thicke track is also bordering disco cheese but is a bit more catchy. Then again, so is the clap and you don't want that, either. I purposely chose to include the Unrated Version, because someone has to have the balls to show some naked boobs to make this worth watching.


Miley Cyrus--We Can't Stop
Speaking of things that are catchy but you wish weren't, there's Miley Cyrus and her new youngster party anthem, We Can't Stop. The video is a goofy little acid trip, with unexplainable shit like dancing with giant stuffed animals on your back and dressing like a call girl in high heeled sneakers. Sadly it gets in your head like that worm Khan shoves in your ear in Star Trek II and you feel dirty for listening.


And I shall leave you with the most surprising track I discovered this summer. Thankfully there are still young people out there willing to take the time to classically train and  properly master a  musical instrument, like Spencer Ludwig (provinding the trumpet on Capital Cities smash single "Safe & Sound") and violinist/dancer Lindsey Stirling, who mixes her beautiful violin strains with wicked dubstep grooves. This is an awesome track for driving.