A collection of ideas for your interest and for the benefit of my mental health.

20 March 2011

The One with the Music

I spend a lot of my time listening to music or reading about my favourite  acts online these days and I feel apart from the Prince entry a couple of years ago (wtf?) I've not given music enough of a go on this blog amongst all the sci-fi, games, comics I've spoken about.  Gonna go few a through bands/singers I've been listening to lately to broaden your minds and review my own mistakes which will become evident as we go along.  Then I'll put together my list of 30 day song challenges except without whoring it out over a month, instead making it easy right here for your aural pleasure.  Or maybe 3 posts over the next week to make it less long.

So let's begin with Maroon 5. 

Gayest straight man, lead singer Adam Levine, about to tuck in to his daily virgin.

Wrote off their latest album, Hands All Over, as a poppy mess.  It certainly is poppy but it's also a grower, got some good songs going on especially on the deluxe version.  My main problem with the record is the lack of funk rock.  Somehow the opening song Misery is a very close immitation of This Love the band have somehow managed to mix out the funk guitar work.  It's there, deep in the mix, awaiting some kind of alternate universe liberation where it won't be drowned out by synths.  Mutt Lange may have worked on some very acclaimed work, but this was a mistake to my ears at least.  Synths I've got no problem with, make a great song even greater much of the time and in fact some of my favourite bands have used these at the forefront but they managed synth/funk guitar combinations just fine in the 80s.  Why not now?  Some hot songs from this album were the titular 'Hands All Over', 'Runaway' and 'Give A Little More' which should have been a bigger hit as a single.  Songs About Jane remains the best album.  Give the remixes a good listen too, some excellent work there.

Moving a little unconventionally away from the true mainstream I'm gonna probably introduce you to a band called Mogwai.  They are a post-rock outfit from Glasgow.

How anyone could create depressing music AND come from here is unfathomable.
What is post-rock?  I assume we're talking about a lack of traditional rock guitar, a more melodic sound juxtaposed with a pretentious sentence.  Wait.  Juxtaposed with harsh, almost white noise sound.  When I had the opportunity to see this band live I took it, and it was a very interesting one I must say.  The latest album I would say is not their strongest but again I'm limited in experience having listened to them for about a month at this point.  All I can really say is their live album is really good and the first is quite striking.  The soundscapes would be ideal for movies, or if you're feeling boring doing work.  In a moody way.

Next up is one even I wasn't expecting.  A woman called Nikka Costa.

Might be a little out of date.
Now I was browsing prince.org, the foremost discussion of his royal badness on these internets, and a dude said he was sure he heard Prince on this song.  While not of the Minneapolis sound, like The Time, Sheila E or Alexander O'Neal who I previously found thanks to Mr Rogers Nelson this was some pretty cool, if begging for the mainstream, funk/pop.  I can't really say much more except Spotify tells me the nearly unreleased son 'I Don't Think We've Met' is my most listened to lately.  So I shall embed.

Truly a reminder of the better days, before 2003.  I also think Prince is there on this one even if it can't be confirmed right now. The album it was intended for has contributions from Prince and Lenny Kravitz, everyone's favourite black jew.  If they don't speak for it what can I say?

Let's talk Robert Randolph and the Family Band for a bit.

Ain't no Guitar I ever heard of.

Actually the album above isn't what I want to speak about but I gotta say I had no idea what  a steel guitar looked like before I saw that.  Pity the album isn't very upbeat (and is possibly even brought down by incessant, and unfun, segues as many are these days).  Snowblind however is one of the most fun records I've heard in a long time and really suits the sunny weather I've been seeing lately.  Very funky, but also kind of goddy, this is a steel guitar driven empowerment fest.  And is not really too criticisable.  I'm reminded of Santana's Supernatural album, in spirit if not in sound, but that might just be the inclusion of Dave Matthews as a guest.  Yes we have another album with some great contributors, including Eric Clapton.  I was really hoping for more of the same when We Walk This Road came out last year but hey it doesn't stop this album from rocking.  Totally suits the summery mood.

To round out this eclectic and entirely unsacrilicous pentagram is Living Colour!  I bet you overlooked or didn't know about these guys before?

Not gay I swear. 
Funk metal, more metallic than funkadelic but what is wrong with that?  Their first album, Vivid, truly is as it describes.  I'm not sure what makes these guys so good but their songs are exciting, the lyrics often meaningful, I think its the style of the guitarist, Vernon Reid, that provides the hook and the percussion session that give it the line (bassline? Yeah?) and the singer the sinker.  Eek that was a rough spot.  Moving on...

3 Blog Post 30 Song Challenge!  Are you ready to be unimpressed/despairing? 

1 Your favorite song - This Guy's In Love With You by Faith No More.  A cover of a Burt Bacharach classic, Mike Patton kills it as he does with much of what he does.  A very romantic song, perhaps also a candidate for unexpected favourite.  Not sure I can think of a song I like more. 

2 Your least favorite song - Any song by the Glee Cast.  I know of some stinkers, Rebecca Black's unparralelled effort of last week a recent contender, but at least it was... original.  This is hypocritical given my favourite is a cover but its neither autotuned nor devoid of human emotion.

3 A song that makes you happy  - If I Like It I Do It by Jamiroquai.  From Emergency on Planet Earth, couldn't believe my ears when this was played 17 years later in the Debut Club last year for the 1000 luckiest people in London that night.  How can you not glide along the street on a sunny day when the vibes flow from this one?

4 A song that makes you sad - Sometimes It Snows in April by Prince & The Revolution.  One of his bestest songs, exceedingly sad.  Gives me shivers down my spine.  Can't say more.

5 A song that reminds you of someone - Get Down Saturday Night by Oliver Cheatham.  Mr Alex Smith you always come to mind when this song comes on.  Make Luv just isn't as good though.  Hope you made it down this far.

6 A song that reminds you of somewhere - I lead an unexciting life and can't really think of one of these.  Everywhere is pretty dull.  Can I have a song that reminds me of something I'm gonna do in the future?  If so get ready for a sweet ride in my convertible in the sunny USA listening to The Sun by Maroon 5.  If you're lucky you'll get to be there.

7 A song that reminds you of a certain event - Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. This reminds me of the awesome Matthew Harrop Wingman Event.  And also, more well known, the awesome Joe Medforth Karaoke Party.  That was a radical time and this is a radical song.

8 A song that you know all the words to - The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang.  Classic song, and though I can do a lot of songs well I thought this one might be moderately impressive.  My goal is to do Rappers Delight.

9 A song that you can dance to - Boogie Nights by Heatwave.  What a classic song.  Jazzy intro, funktastic rest of the song.  Iconic.

10 A song that makes you fall asleep - Sleepwalker by Faunts.  Pretty well titled I've gotta say, this song is but a snippet from one of my favourite records, M4.  Thank you Mass Effect for bringing me to this brilliant brilliant band.

I think we've had enough for today.  Maybe we'll talk later.


  1. 'Let's Go Crazy' by Prince & The Revolution is, by contrast, a song that always makes me happy.

    Excellent list by the way.

  2. Great song that. Incubus did a reaaly good cover of it. Thanks for reading!