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Hey folks! The one thing I can do the same time I work on my models and paint is listen to music. I’m not one of those who can have movies or a tv series going on in the background – it will absolutely freeze me in my tracks like a deer in the headlights. It’s a running joke around my house that I don’t get anything done if there’s a tv on in the room – it will actually stop me as I’m passing through the room like some kind of video tractor beam.
That being said, I’m always on the lookout for new music. New sound, new songs, stuff a little out of the ordinary maybe. I complain often about how the music industry in general seems to be a bit stagnant lately, mostly in the realm of heavier metal/rock and pop. I happen to be listening to a few songs that did catch my ear this year and wondered what exactly did I “pick up” this year in the way of “new” music? It seems it wasn’t such a dry year after all.
Now before I list anything, by “New!” I mean new to me, not new to the world, or finally breaking out into the mainstream. There’s a few in this list that are a couple years old, it’s just that I “found” them this year.
Without further ado (to those who might want to read on), here’s Randy’s Top 10 New Music Finds for 2011. (in no particular order)
The Civil Wars – Barton Hallow
I’ll admit, this is the only song on the album I like – but I like it sooooo much. I love the southern mountain country sound and harmonies of their soaring voices — just makes me want to sing along with’em. My wife wondered what was wrong with me the first time, now I look around when this song comes around the playlist before opening my mouth 🙂
Halestorm – I Get Off
Rock-n-roll, heavy metal, sleazy and dirty. Kinda reminds me of the early 90’s sleazy rock done by a dirty girl instead of a dirty guy. Makes much more sense and makes you feel all sleazy like just listening. Have a I said “sleazy” and “dirty” enough? Sleazy, dirty fun.
Skrillex – First of the Year (Equinox)
Dubstep has apparently (and finally) come to the US. The song starts out with a old-style JayZ/electronica feel with the high pitched voice-over sounding all innocent enough. Then the dubstep hits ya and you just want to stomp around like Godzilla on a movie set. The video ups the creep factor and really pairs well with the audio. Hard, aggressive and well paced, I love most of his stuff that’s currently coming out. Probably my best new find of 2011.
Steelheart – Steelheart
This one is an old one, released in 1992. I found this one while building up my “Nostalgic 20’s” collection. I’ve always been a fan of Steelheart and their self titled debut is one of my favorite albums from that era. How I missed this followup is beyond me. From the opening machine gun staccato guitars and absolutely wailing siren voice, this song just rockets you along at 150 miles an hour, sirens blazing the entire five and half minutes. I’m not sure exactly why this didn’t get the airplay it deserves. guess I’ll never know. I’m just glad I found it.
M.I.A. – Teqkilla
Best known for Paper Planes, second outing is better than her debut full length album. I went looking for her new album after Spin magazine did a multi-page article on her. The debut song, Born Free, had me instantly hooked but Teqkilla makes me just move. I’ve actually had to stop painting and let the song finish so I could go on. Great tune. When it comes down to it, I really love the unconventionality of her work. It’s not main stream but imminently movable.
Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page
Hitting the airwaves here in the US with the super catchy Little Lion Man, I think this is a much stronger song for them. I think the thing I like most about Mumford & Sons songs is the whole starting soft and working into a swelling rise of sound and emotion. Listening to their music reminds me of being on a small boat in a wind swept sea, just within sight of land but it’s a long way to get there. Yeah – I just wrote that and I meant it. 😉 This is also another song that I need to make sure no one is around when it comes on my iPod.
Katy B – On A Mission/Easy Please Me
Alright, I know this is two songs but it was too difficult to pick only one of them (so shoot me). The second dubstep song to make it into my list (see a possible theme there?) but in a much more poppy, dance form. On A Mission is a consummate crowd bouncing pleaser. The teasing intro leading into a very subtle and downplayed base beat that sneaks into your head and makes your whole body bounce, but in a very laid back way. Don’t’ let the soft, lilting voice fool you, there’s a lot of power hidden behind that innocent round face. Easy Please Me is her latest single and a more straightforward song about being hit on in bars. By the end of this song you get a chance to hear the amount of power and control she has over that silky voice.
Korn – Get Up! (feat. Skrillex)
I was wondering a short while ago, “Whatever happened to Korn?” Seems as though this was it. Their newest album features someone else on almost every track, which makes me wonder if they did it to shore up creative shortcomings or what. Doesn’t really matter I guess becausethe one they chose to work with Skrillex on is completely awesome. Starting with a weird, Speed Racer vibe – makes you wonder where the hell they’re going with it. Thankfully they don’t make you wait long as both Korn and Skrillex make themselves readily apparent. This song makes me believe that Heavy Metal is a perfect, evil match for dubstep. I really hope more artists look into this as, for me, it’s a really exciting mix.
Cupid – Cupid Shuffle
http://youtu.be/h24_zoqu4_Q (embedding disabled by request)
Yeah, I know I’m five years late to this party but damn, this one has to make you wanna get up and shake something! My first exposure to this song was at a cousins wedding and my brother (who is a white guy who can dance) breaks out and shows all the young’uns how it’s done (again!). Groovy, easy and absolutely cooler than any other “dance-line” style hip-hop songs like C’mon’n Ride It and the Down South Shuffle. If I’m in the basement (again, alone too), I will get up off my chair and do the dance – at least FEELING like I’m absolutely smooth. I can’t help it – again, sue me 🙂
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
OK, this one is an amazing song and wished I’d have found it 25 earlier, for obvious reasons once you have a listen. Released in 1971, this song is the funk version of Pink Floyd’s One of These Days – without lyrics. Very Hendrix inspired guitar work over ten minutes will relax you unto oblivion. A perfect song for completely being in the painting zone and letting everything absolutely flow from you like an ethereal dream stream of hazy consciousness. I have our local college radio, 88.1 KVSC, to thank for this song getting added to my greatest hits collection. Go local college radio!