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Friday, August 20, 2010

Gravitonas - Religious

"You can call me fanatic"

Gravitonas is an interesting concept. If I'm being honest, I would've rather just had a new album by BWO. But, since Gravitonas sound almost identical to BWO, it's not much of a complaint. They're not as visually interesting (yet), but Bard's music is always welcome on the pop landscape. Religious is the new single, and uses the same melodic structure we've grown accustomed to in many of Alexander Bard's songs. As usual, though, he's augmented it with a production flourish that makes the whole thing seem fresh again. In this case it's a choral, gospel sound that builds as the song goes along. It's not as instant as Kites was, but it improves on each listen. It's the instrumentation that really gets you. This is part of the band's new EP, which is also quite pleasant, if not earth-shatteringly good. I'm intrigued. We'll see where that leads...

Gravitonas - Religious by alienhits

(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.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Music Video: Foxy Shazam - Unstoppable

I've been waiting for this one for awhile now. In addition to their enormous, stadium-filling sound, Foxy Shazam are such a visual band. Their last video was an instant classic. This isn't quite as good, but it's super creative and pulled off very well. They use the type of puppeteering that Scissor Sisters used for their She's My Man video, but to much greater effect. I never liked that Scissor Sisters video. This benefits from Eric Nally's undeniable charisma (despite opening with one of the most...uh... interesting screen shots of the year) and the support of an incredible song. I love it when the whole band joins in the end. My only complaint is that the visuals don't match the song all that well. Still, I have high hopes that this will put the band on more people's radars, right where they should be.


Foxy Shazam | MySpace Music Videos

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Track-by-Track: The Hoosiers - The Illusion Of Safety

Most second albums end up as flops. Bands often fear changing up their successful sound and end up with a collection of songs that echo past glories with one quarter of the melody. The Hoosiers' new album eclipses the last by a wide margin. The hooks are tighter, the vocals are better and the energy is amped up a hundred-fold. This is the summer's biggest surprise.

1. Choices - Not the flashiest of the album's tracks, but the perfect single to ease into their new sound. The staccato melody sticks on first listen but doesn't grow tiresome. It's far and away their best single to date. 10/10

2. Bumpy Ride - A galloping synth sugarcube of a song. It's got a giddy pop sound to it with an anthemic chorus that practically forces a smile on your face. 10/10

3. Who Said Anything (About Falling In Love)? - The first of the album's ballads, this has got a stately 80's sheen to it, which compliments Irwin's Tears For Fears-esque vocals. The strings in the chorus give this much needed grandeur. 9/10

4. Unlikely Hero - The most obvious single on the album, this is an enormous pop track with one of the most deliriously catchy choruses I've heard all year. Fist-pumping, sing-along goodness. 10/10

5. Lovers In My Head - A slower, almost Keane-like ballad with a synth vamp to it. Initially underwhelming, the gentle melody gets to you after a few listens. It's one of the prettier tracks, for sure. 9/10

6. Live By The Ocean - A rockier uptempo with emphasis on a piano riff that underpins the verses. The chorus isn't quite as strong as others, but this is still great stuff. 8/10

7. Devil's In The Details - A sparse, more experimental ballad that sounds like a demented music box melody. Halfway through the tempo changes a bit when the hook comes in. It's pretty captivating. Definitely a new sound for them. 10/10

8. Glorious - An overblown, cheesy epic of a pop song, with dance-pop verses and a choral hook that nearly breaks the speakers. It's totally bubblegum, but the best kind. Kicks off a string of excellent uptempos. 10/10

9. Made To Measure - A straightforward pop track that, while lyrically meandering, boasts a watertight melody and a surging sense of drama. 10/10

10. Giddy Up - A dancier, synth-heavy electro number. It's a little reminiscent of something that Scissor Sisters would do, with its pounding glam swagger. One of the strongest choruses, for sure. 10/10

11. Sarajevo - A mature-sounding, winding electronic track that builds as it goes. The background chants are especially effective. There's a slightly exotic sound at work that makes this a late-album standout. 10/10

12. Little Brutes - The most experimental song on the album, it's got an unhinged feel to it, both vocally and lyrically. It's an about-face from the dance-pop of the last few tracks, but it works well because of that. Not a standout, but very interesting. The layered vocals are pretty impressive. 8/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Metric - Black Sheep

"The truth is just a rule that you can bend"

I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this weekend and liked it, although I thought in the end it was an easier film to admire than to enjoy. It was a little all over the place, which worked sometimes and meandered others. The music was mostly fuzzy indie, but this track by Metric stood out to me as the best song I've heard from the band yet. It helps that it was performed by Brie Larson in the movie (one of my favorite actresses right now--if you don't know who she is check out Showtime's United States of Tara, pronto!). Brie's actually a singer, so I'm not sure if they recorded her vocals for the film or if she's just lip-synching. I wasn't paying close enough attention, I guess. Either way, this is as good as indie-pop gets. After an extended intro, it leaps into an industrial synth riff that underpins a sparse, yet powerful, verse. The chorus is an airier, poppier deal, a little bit Cardigans and a little bit The Sounds. It's hard to believe that this was left off of prior albums. It would make a great single.

Metric - Black Sheep by alienhits

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


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hoosiers - Glorious

"I'll attack from both sides"

Huge! This is a huge, gargantuan gorilla of a song, taken from the Hoosiers' new album (out today). The album is the nicest surprise of the Summer, an absolute home run for their new synth-powered sound. I'll have a full review later this week, but for now I'm posting this in the hope that it'll get you to check out the rest of the album. Though there are more obvious single choices (Unlikely Hero, please), this is the track that knocked me out on first listen. It's the kind of song that does everything I hoped it would. Bombastic, choral hook, punchy synth attack, colossal build-up in the middle eight... it all works. The verses have a catchy, Roxette vibe about them but it's the hook that makes this special. Few bands go so unashamedly huge in their sound. I had no idea The Hoosiers had it in them. It's the pleasant case of a band that expanded their sound and ambition about twenty times from their first album. Sure, it's cheesy and overblown (and the music snobs are sure to hate it), but I don't believe in guilty pleasures. This is a pleasure, pure and simple.

The Hoosiers - Glorious by alienhits

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