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Friday, April 01, 2011

Viktorious - Kill The Fun

"Sometimes the waiting gets me down"

You're probably all sick of me posting songs by Viktorious by now, but being that this is his last free song (until Summer, when this whole thing will apparently repeat!), and it's one of the best, I couldn't help but write about it. As you know by now, this Swedish electro-pop-rock artist has been releasing a free track every Friday on his website for the past month and a half. Killing The Fun is the latest, and my favorite since the first released track (the still-brilliant Instant Virtuality). While other songs have been moodier and a bit colder, this is full on propulsive pop. The verses are the standout here, all power chords and a stadium-ready melody. I really like the processing on the vocals, too. It's exactly the sound I hope he explores further. Everything comes together on this one. I could easily hear it on the radio.

Viktorious - Killing The Fun by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Download the EP for free here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Erik Hassle - Sometimes When It Rains

"I can hear your heartbeat for miles"

Okay, confession. I haven't actually listened to the EP that this is taken from yet, but I'm very eager to. Erik Hassle hasn't ever released anything subpar, and his most recent single Are You Leaving is one of his best. The clips of the EP (particularly Stay Away) sound great and this track, while less instantly poppy, is a nice example of the more electronic sound he's been exploring with members of legendary Swedish band Kent. Hassle's vocals and songwriting skill are among the best out there at the moment and, although it's now become a cliché to say so, he should be much bigger worldwide than he is. Luckily, his native Sweden seems to finally be embracing him. His album was everywhere last Spring when I was in Stockholm, and the new single's getting heavy rotation on the radio. Like fellow Swede Robyn, Hassle's got the magic touch that takes pop music and gives it a mood. His songs are anything but generic.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Movie Blitz 3/30/11

I see a lot of movies, so from time to time I'd like to add a new feature to the blog. Similar to my Pop Blitz posts, here's Movie Blitz!

Sucker Punch
Definitely a case of the parts being stronger than the whole. Some cool visual scenes, but they come and go without leaving much of an impression. Unfortunately, the plot didn't coalesce at all and I was left scratching my head at the end (not in a good way). C

A cool concept and great performances/direction. While I wish they would have gone just a little further with it, this was easily the best 2011 film I've seen so far. The "zoom-in" special effects are pretty astonishing. B+

I Am Number Four
I couldn't make it through the book, but I thought the premise would make a good movie. It didn't. What could have been an engaging thriller turned out to be a mix of Roswell and Smallville without the charm of either. The climax, when things actually started happening, was the best part. C-

The Adjustment Bureau
Like Limitless, this had an interesting sci-fi concept and great performances. I liked it a little less, but still enjoyed it. Great fun while you're watching, but it's not the kind of film that sticks with you. B

Battle: Los Angeles
I really disliked this movie. In fact, I'd hardly call it a movie. It was like watching someone else play a video game. No story, no characters worth caring for, and the shakiest, grayest direction I've seen in awhile. I love alien invasion movies, but I could hardly wait for this one to be over. D-

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Track-by-Track: The Sounds - Something To Die For

As I've stated multiple times, I was a little underwhelmed by the Sounds' last album. They're one of my favorite bands (and one I've gotten the chance to see live on several occasions), so I was hoping they'd make a turnaround with this new, self-produced album. And guess what? They have! This is their best release in years and on par with their first two classics.

1. It's So Easy - Half a song, half an extended intro. What this does, mainly, is signal the new--more electronic--sound of the album. There's not a whole lot of melody here, but it's a wonderfully atmospheric energy builder. 8/10

2. Dance With The Devil - This is such an anthem-in-waiting. It's back to a huge pop sound for the band, and it ranks among some of their very best work. From the stampeding synths to the cathartic chorus, this feels like a sequel to the excellent "Dance With Me" from their first album. 10/10

3. The No No Song - Back to a punkier, rock sound. This reminds me of their last album and isn't one of the stronger tracks here. Still, I can see how this would please their more rock-loving fanbase. It's actually grown on me as well. 8/10

4. Better Off Dead - We first heard this a few months ago when the band released it as a teaser. While I think it would be more effective later on in the album, the hypnotic electro production and catchy melody make this an easy standout. 9/10

5. Diana - As far as I can remember, this is the first time that Maja has referenced her bisexuality in one of the band's songs. Luckily, she does so in a punchy pop/punk song that blends the band's dual sounds to great effect. That surging chorus is pretty impressive. 9/10

6. Something To Die For - The first single, and the band's best single in a few years. It's one of those simple, straightforward pop songs with great emphasis on excellent melody. It may not hit you over the head initially, but it sticks with you. 10/10

7. Yeah Yeah Yeah - Another highlight. I'd call it their "Tony The Beat" or "Boombox" of the album. Ridiculously catchy, buckets of attitude/swagger and heavy on the electronics. I don't see how anyone could resist this. 10/10

8. Won't Let Them Tear Us Apart - The third perfect track in a row, this is something quite different for the band. It's got an enormous arena-rock surge to it, from the chanted vocals in the verses to the huge, roof-busting chorus. This could end up being my favorite track when all is said and done. 10/10

9. The Best Of Me - This is a little less successful. I'm not sure what it is about this song. I love the sound, but for some reason it feels like filler. Excellent filler, for sure, but coming after the last few tracks I can't bolster much enthusiasm around this. 8/10

10. Wish You Were Here - The Sounds don't record many ballads, and they've never recorded one like this. It's a tender, acoustic track that put's Maja's excellent vocals at the forefront. And the melody is BEAUTIFUL. 9/10

Album Grade: 9.1/10

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Vanbot - Make Me, Break Me

"I have to deal somehow"

A few great blogs have already covered this exciting new artist, but it's my duty to make sure that, if you haven't read about her/(them?) yet, Vanbot doesn't slip through the cracks. If you're a fan of Robyn's music (and if you're reading this blog, chances are pretty high that you are), you're going to love this. Vanbot's music is like a mixture of Robyn, Linda Sundblad and Tove Styrke. In other words, this song is working with some pretty amazing influences. This kind of electro-pop (emphasis on the pop) is unique to Scandinavia. It's a combination of the very Swedish vocals and the characteristically cool beats that make this such a treat. There's an iciness to the sound, but it never interferes with an instant chorus and radio-friendly melody. Best yet, the album's out in less than a month and this song is free to download through the soundcloud link below!

Make Me, Break Me by Vanbot

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Download the song (above) for free! Follow me on twitter and facebook.