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Thursday, May 28, 2009

All is (mostly) Forgiven

I was pissed when Daggers--creator of my number one single of 2008--broke up, and I was annoyed with the way it happened, too. Nothing but a cryptic message on their myspace page and then they were gone... songs and all.
But now they're back under a new name. "Hurts" (what was wrong with "Daggers"?) have a new myspace page and a few new songs. While I'm not entirely sold on the rather pensive direction of the tracks on their player, the song Wonderful Life and accompanying video are FANTASTIC. Maybe this is a single??

"What makes you feel so self assure?"

So I've been meaning to write about the new Green Day album for awhile because I've been really enjoying it. It's very much a continuation of American Idiot... a longer, denser cousin. Know Your Enemy has grown on me immensely and there are a ton of great uptempo rockers, but the ballads are really the standouts for me this time around. I've heard a lot of reviewers use the term "Beatles-esque" to describe them (a favorite term of reviewers), but I think there's definitely a Bowie influence in there as well. Take the swirling, symphonic glam of Restless Heart Syndrome. The song has such a seventies influence to it and a ton of falsetto. In fact, there's more falsetto on this album than any the band have released in the past. Check out Last Night On Earth and 21 Guns for two more awesome ballads. I had a hard time choosing which of the three to post because they're all fantastic.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"2 + 2 don't add up to me and you"

With Glee's cover of Don't Stop Believin' debuting in the top five this week, I've been listening to a lot of 80's rock/powerpop lately. In my never-ending quest for new bands/artists, I've stumbled upon little known rockers Van Zant. They've got a very of-that-era Journey/Starship/Foreigner stadium sound. 2+2 is an insanely catchy uptempo track with the usual "I gave you everything, why don't you love me?" lyrics. But of course this genre was never really about the lyrics. All that matters are the riffs, the hooks and the vocals. Van Zant score on all three. The guys only have one 80's album released, but reunited recently for new material. They have ties to Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special (not that any of that means much to me... I've never really been into southern rock). And for the record, this song is definitely not southern rock.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Who will take my hand?"

This song is about a magic dolphin. Yes, it is. Take a second to let that set in because I bet it'll be the only song about a magic dolphin released this year. It's from Eurovision champ Alexander Rybak's soon-to-be-released debut album, Fairytales. It's an odd little album, but one I'm enjoying very much at the moment. If you liked the folksiness of Fairytale, you'll probably be happy with the rest of the album as well. It definitely has a folktale feel to it. For example, towards the end there's an extremely gloomy story-song about thirteen horses drowning in an ocean--you really have to hear it to understand how strange and unsettling it is. Dolphin is far more upbeat, with some really strong, almost classic-rock, verses that build to a quieter chorus. There's even a bit of synth in there. What stands out more than anything is Rybak's powerful voice, with the conviction and phrasing that made his Eurovision entry such a standout.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)