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Top Ten Music
This is the second make up post for two year stretch of no music listings. Again, not a lot of commentary but a lot of cool, interesting music (in my book).
Butcher Babies – Monsters Ball
I now have a playlist in Spotify called “Angry Bitches”, and these two are the reason why. Honestly, it’s collection that included the liked of Otep, In This Moment, Genitortures, Kittie, Snake River Conspiracy, and Arch Enemy. See some of my previous for most of these 🙂
As a life-long fan of AC/DC, I tend to believe they really never made the comeback they should have after Blow Up My Video (ugh). This, is what it should have become. Lose the Brian Johnson, gravely, unintelligible vocals and bring on Ogre (from Nerds) who can scream like crazy. Thank you Airbourne for returning fun to good old fashioned heavy, fast, rock and roll! So awesome are they at having fun, I’ve included three songs as they deserve it. Screw you, it’s my lists.
Breakin Outta Hell
When I Drink I Go Crazy
Live It Up
DJ Shadow – Nobody Speak (ft. Run the Jewels)
K.Flay – Blood in the Cut
Kim Mitchell – Go For a Soda
My throwback song for the year. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who remembered this from the early 80’s.
Life Seeker- Gone Guru
Channeling their inner Beastie Boys.
Lord of the Lost – La Bomba
Natalia Kills – Rabbit Hole
Sin Shake Sin – Can’t Go To Hell
Ultra Sheriff – Leviathan
OK, I’ll be honest here…
I let this list slide for the last two years as I’ve gotten out of the hobby for the most part. I still listen to music, I just don’t paint or built to it anymore. Though that hasn’t stopped me from making a list each year.
That said, I won’t be doing descriptive comments about each as I’ve lost the original thoughts for each and simply want to continue the listing for each year. This will be the case for 2016 and 2017 (yes, I’m back dating these as to keep the dates in order for posting).
As usual, in no particular order, here’s what I found most interesting in 2016.
Apashe – Kannibalen – Original Mix
Avicci – Feeling Good
Brodinski, Bricc Babay Shitro, Maluca – Bury Me ft. Maluca, Bricc Baby Shitro
Brody Dalle – Don’t Mess With Me
RWBY Soundtrack – Caffeine
Genitorturers – Revolution
Ivy & Gold – Eye of the Storm
July Talk – The Garden
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – S.O.B.
Steam Powered Giraffe – Honeybee
Time for my annual sifting of the new stuff I’m listening to – yay!!!
Once again, I’m a bit surprised I found at least 10 songs/performers throughout the year that I think are share-worthy. This years list is one of extremes of the pendulum swing. From ambient, floaty, female vocals to anger-fueled heavy metal tirades, there wasn’t a lot of pop-influences as previous years, though there was a few. (gasp – no K-J Pop or dubstep!?)
Aurora (I’ll gush more about her later), Best Coast, and Purity Ring fulfill the need for quiet reflection and escape to a hidden place within my headphones. A welcome respite from the attack of everyday life. And a few fun bouncy beats that just found themselves popping up over and over again on my playlists. (I’m looking specifically at you, Albatraoz)
My head-bangin’ self was very happy this year as well. Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal has been in a state of insipidness for about a decade as the NuMetal wave runs its course. While there were a few standouts (that didn’t sound just like EVERY other numetal band), it’s been a long time since I’ve heard much that has punch or is distinguishable from all the others. Five Finger Death Punch is back (again 😉 ) joining the likes of In This Moment (awesome) and Nostalghia in welcoming me back to having hopes for Heavy Metal.
I know you’re all just chomping at the bit to see all of the choicest cuts that made the grade this year so scroll below to feast your eyes on my favorite new shit filling my ears.
Aurora – Runaway
Ok, to be honest, for the last 4-5 months I’ve been thinking about how I was going to describe Aurora for this list. I knew the moment I heard this song it was going to be my top pick for the year. The closest I could come is a melancholy version of Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins 80’s and 90’s ethereal dreamscapes. But that still doesn’t do her justice.
A truly unique 19 year old singer and performer from Norway, her passionate and animated delivery is absolutely spellbinding. An incredible joy to listen to, it’s even more magical watching her. Arms flailing, eyes always tilted either up towards the sky or down and inward, extracting pure emotion from deep down, every note and gesture is complete honesty. Completely captivating.
Most of her lyrics are dark and dreamy, which prove a powerful counterpoint to her child-like demeanor and ghostly delivery. Runaway is probably my favorite, which she wrote when she was 12 (!) is pretty light on lyrics, but also check out Boxes, Running with the Wolves, and Murder Song. These show she’s got some skill with weaving dark themes while sounding almost new-agey.
I can’t gush enough about what her appearance means to my musical playlists – it’s been a while since I’ve been so moved and so excited about a performer. Just listen, and look, and tell me if you don’t agree.
Lean On – Major Lazer, MO, DJ Snake
Yes, I know. This was all over the radio/pop playlists for most of 2015. Rightly so. That tiny, squeaky, raspy vocal mixed with DJ Snake was a genius move. Never expected her to look like dark haired version of Juliette Lewis though.
California Nights – Best Coast
Great, spacey, floaty atmospheric rapture. This song is just looking for a commercial to be a part of 😉 This is an easy one for me to close my eyes to and imagine that I’m on some Cali beach at sunset, flickering lights from nearby fires, just lounging with my girl and chillaxin’. Yep, I used “chillaxin’ “.
Heartsigh – Purity Ring
If pixies and fairies made cute electronic music, I believe it would sound like this. Another one that’s great for getting lost in.
Desire – Meg Myers
The “make you feel dirty” pick for this year. No, I don’t search them out, they just… happen. The super hot, super psychotic girl next door. Can’t help but want it but you know it’s only going to end badly – for you, anyway. A slow, crushing, hammering piano with drifting baseline incessantly draws you in to everything she’s promising to do, but the delivery is telling you that no matter what, the price will be too high. Sweet yet unsettling.
Changing Me – Bobby Green feat. Sean Michael Murray
These’s so much groovy electro, R&B funk here it reminds me of some late 90’s Euro pop with some Jarimoquai smoothy thrown in. Well layered and produced, moves smoothly from beginning to end.
Jekyll and Hyde – Five Finger Death Punch
OK, so I’m pleasantly surprised to find out these guys have continued to keep their heavy metal axe sharpened. A great follow to my 2013 pick, “Lift Me Up” – heavy, raw, and unapologetic. This is song I’m screaming to in my car, scaring the drivers next to me while going down Division. Heheh. Keep it up guys.
I’m and Albatroaz – AronChupa
Shout out to John Brothers for this one. Catchy, simple, addictive. A real bouncer. Don’t care what an Albatraoz is, it just sounds fun.
Homeostasis – Nostalghia
Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, and Marilyn Manson had a love child. Fans describe them as “post-apocalyptic gypsy punk.” A definitively odd accent to her vocals make you want to hear more. The particular affectation in her voice though is intentional, born in California and raised between there and Tehran, she’s got a unique sound that only adds to the creep factor. I kinda like the creep factor.
Blood – In This Moment
We must give thanks to Lizy Hale of Hailstorm (2011 pick) for kicking open the heavy metal flood gates for women. There were a few spotlights of recognition in the late 90’s and 2000’s with the likes of Kitty, Guano Apes, and Snake River Conspiracy but they were each separated by a couple of years. Currently, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, and now In This Moment can all be heard on the rock and metal stations at the same time. It’s a good time to be alive.
In The Moment is probably the hardest (read: least commercial) yet their stuff doesn’t quite border on the completely absurd side the death metal scene. Think Pantera + Lady Gaga + Marylin Manson + Lords of Acid. Yes, I just made that comparison – and it’s absolutely apt. She has the chops to hang with the heaviest of them.
Each year I do this looking back thing regarding my musical exploration/revelations, I anticipate this list to really short. Maybe it’s the compression of time and how well my memory serves me at the end of a collective year, maybe I just don’t realize how much new stuff I really found — I’m not sure which. I had a tough time, once again, paring it down to just ten.
The most notable trend in running through this year’s selections are the African drum and clap rhythms (“Burnin’ Up”, “Run Boy Run”, “Come With Me Now”). This, however, is trumped by the introduction of a “new genre” of music called “Kawai Metal” a hilariously funny, yet ironic poke in the eye of heavy metal, all the while being totally amazing. And if you don’t like it, you can’t be my friend anymore.
Without further rambling, here’s my late posting of my Top 10 “What Randy Found Interesting in 2015”.
Gimmie Choko!! – Babymetal
I was planning on presenting this last but I didn’t want to miss those who think this list get to be TL:DR. I was a fan of the electronic dance pop coming out of Asia back in the early 2000’s based around the DDR video game craze (I still am), and I’ve always bee na heavy metal fan. Who the hell thought this was going to be the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup of these two genres?
Encroaching on the typically testosterone laden target market for metal music with over-the-top cuteness of Japanese little girl culture is a genius move, especially with the growing acceptance of Anime in American culture. I can’t get enough if this and usually watch this clip once a week – just because. All Hail Babymetal!
Burnin’ Up – Jessie J
I have a confession. There are some songs where the second I hear the intro notes, I have this impulse to look around and make sure no one else is watching before the beat hits ‘cuz I just want to let my body just rock the hell out of itself, no matter how I look – it just makes me feel. This is one of those songs.
Jesse J is a very smart writer, producer, and a very able singer. Responsible for other top hits by other performers such as Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”, and her collaboration with Ariane Grande and Nicki Minaj (which Jessie released solo first), Jesssie’s been releasing hits all on her own and this one is my favorite. She’s upped the game and control of her vocals and I think it was a smooth idea to minimize the other instruments to mainly feature vocals and drum beat.
Everyone is Everyone (And Everything is Everything) by Au4
Not everything I listen to is beat and heavy guitars. Spotify turned me on to this group early in the year when I was looking for music I could play in the background while studying that wasn’t a) classical, b) space ambient, or c) piano driven meditation music.
I can only describe Au4 as a kind of hipster Pink Floyd? I hate to mix the two but it appears there’s an actual category for this called “shoegazer”. Hmmm. I checked out a bunch and thought this was the only one worth listening to. Each song on this particular album is completely different; yet there’s enough thread running through to make it their own.
Soothing, great to hum along to, even moving at points – beside Babymetal, this is my new favorite band.
Die Antwoord –Happy Go Sucky Fucky
There’s a few artists/groups that will always show up on this list if they release something that year – KMFDM is one of them. Die Antwoord is another. South Africa’s electro-techno heavy rap group is the perfect dystopian musical posterchild. I love these two. Watch for them in the new Neill Blomkamp movie ,“Chappie”! Oh yeah, and listen to the song!
Blockbuster Night part 1 – Run The Jewels
Each year there’s usually something that pops up which us outside of my “normal” listen habits – rap is one of the genre’s I don’t spend much time seeking out. This came across my radar as a commercial on Spotify (I won’t pay for the service and I understand the commercials pay my portion – no guilt). It was pretty interesting just from the sound, a kind of heavy, dubstep rap. I clicked on through and found the entire abum pretty good, this song being the hook for me. I’m seriously diggin’ this stuff.
Run Boy Run – Woodkid
Very cool song, something you just need to listen too. The Morissey sounding vocals, the African drum/clapping beats (a theme this year), and a super awesome killer video to go with it. I love how they build it up, quite it down, then blast back with the rhythm. Just really interesting and fun to listen to.
The Way We Are – Kate Boy
Much in the same vein as last years LaRoux; poppy, new wavey, reminder of an earlier decade spun up for todays listeners, Kate Boy does what LaRoux did for the early 80’s, for the early 90’s. Bouncy, poppy, a little quirky with just a smidge more seriousness.
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson – Bruno Mars
Alright. I know this thing is huge and all over everything right now, but hell – it deserves to be! This is good old, old school 70’s/80’s funk, bringin’ Morris Day and the Time back to the future. I sure as hell hope that more stuff like this comes out because it’s all good. This song is some Prince (back in the day) level shit.
Lift Off (Europa Report SNDTK) – Bear McReary
Bear McReary is my new favorite modern composer. This soundtrack is a perfect match for the movie Europa Report (an excellent movie, by the way). Majestic, serene, and haunting all at the same time. The whole album is great but his one stands out not only as the theme song but contains all of the threads that run through the entire album.
Kill Them All by Magic Sword
I discovered a new category of music this year and I don’t know if it has an actual name or been fully defined – the word I use is the title of one of the albums in it – “Trailerscapes”, which I think is the perfect descriptor. Part soundtrack, part commercial, “trailerscapes” are 30 sec. to 2 minute long sound bites that set a scene and amp up your adrenaline system, leaving you wanting more. Think mini soundtracks to all of the tension setting, action movie trailers you’ve ever seen, put them together and hit “play”.
This particular one is featured in a Japanese documentary about high-end car aficionados that who light up their cars and drive around Tokyo showing them off. The moment I heard this song, I tracked it down and purchased the album. Heavy, domineering, loaded with power, the song makes you feel like something immensely powerful is here.
Veigar Margeirsson and Epic North are two of the most prominent and prolific composers of the type of music. Short, inspirational, and completely riveting, each one telling a little story begging to be completed.
Here’s a link to the documentary mentioned, created by GoPro, an interesting watch in it’s own right.
Colossus by Zircon
Ok, so there are eleven this year – sue me. No, I’m not done with it – here’s my wobble, wobble, dub-step electro pick for the season. Deal with it.
2013 was not quite what I expected it to be when I reviewed my audio lists compared to my memories. I spent (what I thought) much of it in study for classes and class prep for classes I was teaching. I can’t concentrate on things like this (memory stuff) with a lot of funky beats or interesting stuff so Classic Study music, Ambient Space and Soundscapes, John Williams and Vangelis/Kitaro were common, mostly listened through Spotify. I know about Pandora but there seems to be less drifting (and exploration) when you put in a particular band/group/performer. I like that I can search by style easier in Spotify (but I’m also at the point of paying for a sub to remove those annoying ads…)
That doesn’t mean I didn’t find intersting music or something other than Moonlight Sonata to populate this years list – far from it. Lots of new stuff with some familiar genres with a few genres taking a back seat this year. No J/K Pop (insert sad emoji here) and only one Dubstep inclusion this time (sorry John;) )
I do admit feel like I’m becoming a bit of a hipster – no guilt though. Bands like Walk the Moon, AWOLNATION, and Fall Out Boy did pop up a lot in my listening history though, replacing a bit of heavier stuff (though they’re here too!)
There were a bunch of songs that had a lot of plays in my history but also made the big time so I didn’t include them here on this list as everyone else found out about them too 😉 (Lordes: Royals, Mackelmore: Thrift Shop, Robin Thicke,: Blurred Lines, etc.)
Well, as Elvis so impressively said; “A little less conversation, a little more action….”
On to the list for 2013!
Marina and the Diamonds: Homewrecker
We’ll get this girl-pop selection out of the way right off the bat. England has been putting out a lot of musically talented, fun, and snarky birds as of late. Imogen Heap, Lily Allen, Katy B (see 2011’s list) and La Roux (see below) all fall into this new waved of British female pop stars. Big, lush, full sounds layered over by an unusually powerful voice for such a small woman. Big of range with smooth transitions in her vocal breakpoints are something to listen for. Homewrecker is a bit of fun with tongue in check admission that girls aren’t innocent and they know it when they’re being bad. Poppy, insightful (listen to the lyrics) and sardonic – fun to listen to. The rest of her music is similarly lush and layered.
Fall Out Boy: My Songs know What You Did Last Night
The first of my “Help, I’m turning Hipster!” Honestly, a great move your body, fist pumping beats with a bit of soaring vocals and a neat wailing backup that fits together as a high intensity hipster anthem. Not sure WHY your songs want to know what I did in the dark but it sounds cool when you sing it that way.
Five Finger Death Punch: Lift Me Up (was this or Dying Breed or No One Gets Left Behind)
When Five Finger Death Punch popped up on my musical radar about five years ago, just the name alone made me want to hear it. I was little let down (as I am about much of modern heavy metal music) as they were doing what many bands at the time were; Vocally aggressive refrains then letting you down with very light sounding choruses. It’s like they wimped out when it came to the point of their message, definitely not the heavy metal I grew up with. This newest album has a LOT of good things going for it and they stay constantly angry sounding, BRAVO! This is the song that got me to listen to them again after a lackluster start. I could also add No One Gets Left Behind and Dying Breed to this as all are very hard driving and basically gonna kick yer ass material. It helps too that this song is co-sung with one of my all time favorite vocalists (Uncle Rob!) Good stuff!
Lots of similar styles this year and I didn’t want to spam the list. In the intense, plodding, slow-motion intensity song category it was a tough call between this one and Imagine Dragons Radioactive. I choose this one not because the song is better than Radioactive, or because the video is better (it isn’t really), it’s the video a couple of wanna be comedy writers made for it. Gotta love it when you search Youtube for the song and the fan video has more views and comes up before the official video 🙂
Every time I listen to this song, I absolutely tie the imagery back to this video and I find it hilarious. Just saying it’s cool and I love the monster face towards the end – funny. That’s why I linked to the other video and not the original. 🙂
Walk the Moon: Anna Sun
Warning, another hipster tune incoming! Someone found a pop use for the genre of ambient music created by taking anything and slowing it down 100 times. Guitar and background-wise it’s more reminiscent of Cocteau Twins with a bounce and male lead vocals. Light, ethereal and poppy, which seems to be the flip side of the hipster angst, more hipster pop.
Excision/Downlink: Existence VIP
My dub step pic for the year. I make no excuses and have no regrets, much like the electro-rave stuff I’ve got buried everywhere. The Transformers-esque intro and vocals are good and deep, machinery grinding in the background, all building to the hammer falls of the “Bass Cannon!” This one should be listened to at horrific levels, either in a good pair of cans (headphones for the laypeople out there) or a system that can drive down to around 10Hz-12Hz with some authority. Makes you feel like Megatron.
KMFDM: Ave Maria
This one is a bit of a reunion for me. I listened to KMFDM a lot during their Niave-Angst period but kinda fell off after that. ONe of the founding members of industrial noise, I’ve always had a place in my brain for KMFDM since Juke Joint Jezebel but after Angst there was a change and I didn’t stay with them. The addition of Lucretia Cifarelli was a definite improvement and made me revisit the last couple albums and I was pleasantly surprised. Sucks I missed the shop at he House of Blues in Chicago last year by one night (we were staying in the hotel right next door 🙁 )
Diesel: Suasalito Summernight (throwback pick for the year)
I spent some time this year hooked on finding all of the obscure, fun pop stuff form the late 70’s/early 80’s but a few kept coming back to me and made high marks in my playlist .Planet P Projects Why Me? and Mick Smiley’s Magic (Ghostbusters Soundtrack) were close runner ups for this slot but this one is exceptionally fun for me. Nostalgia to a more carefree time plus the fact that you know everyone has heard it, not too many can tell you who it was.
Rival Sons: Keep on Swinging
Nice, bluesy, southern soul, rock-n-roll. Simple and great. Touch choice between this one and Beware the Darkness’ Howl as they’re similar but this one grooves a bit better.
Hint: if you watch the video in the link, skip right to 1:17.
La Roux: Bulletproof
I finish off this year’s list as I started. Fun, British bird. As I’ve mentioned in previous lists, I’m a sucker for a good pop song, especially something that reminds me of the ‘80’s. I felt this even before seeing the video, which just coincides with the 80’s vibe she’s got going. It was a tough choice between this or Tigerlilly though.
A 1980’s Casio keyboard for rhythm and a Yamaha DX7 for melody and you’re off!
OK, another year, another reflection as to what I picked up sonically the last twelve months. Looking over the list there wasn’t anything from the old days like the Steelheart find last year. There was a surprise in the form of Van Halen as you’ll see (hear) below. Overall, this list is kinda close to last years, just with different names and a bit more commercial pop thrown in there.
I make no excuses or apologies for what’s here, it’s what caught my ears and what I listen to. So, here’s what I was listing to while coding websites and building the Ork Blasta Bommer this year!
Electric Shock – f(x)
A confession of sorts. I’ve been a fan of the K-pop and J-Pop scene for a while. Wired recently ran an article on the “pop factories” in Korea and Japan where the biggest musical acts are basically “farmed, bred and groomed” in music and production number factories according to proven formulas. Looks like they got it right by me.
I was going to list a few last year but they would have pretty much taken over the list. I decided to include one this year. Oh, there are so many (Girls Generation, BOA, Koda Kumi, CooL, 2NE1, Supreme Team, etc….) but the one I’m including for today is Electric Shock by f(x). This pretty much epitomizes what’s coming out of both Korea and Japan as far as pop stuff. In my book, you’ll be seeing a lot of this kinda stuff coming to the US shores in the near future, much like dub step crept it’s way in from the UK.
Street Fighter – Digital Freq
Here’s my dub step/electronica pick for the year. Tough call between this and Porter Robinson’s Spitfire (the whole album is excellent) and The M Machine’s Black. I picked this one up from a mixed comp disc called Bug Eyed Blast Into 2012. Again, no excuses or apologies.
Icona Pop / Charli XCX- I Love It
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a sucker for a good, catchy pop tune. Especially one that reminds me of the 80’s. This one’s got it all – Total Cello, Bow Wow Wow, The Flirts, etc. Mixed with a newer-wave techno dance grind and it’s all fun.
Stay Frosty – Van Halen
Yeah, here’s the surprise I talked about earlier. I was very excited to hear DLR was returning to VH (never was a fan of Van Haggar) but had lots of doubt about what they were going to do. Were they going to sound like the good old days and give the people what they want to hear or are they going to “try something new” and do what ever Eddie wanted. Turns out to be both.
Half the album sounds a little lost and “experimental”, like boring “new VH” stuff. The other half sounds like good old fashioned Van fuckin’ Halen. This is the best one on the album. This particular song could have been on any one of three albums done early 80’s. Nice to hear they still got it.
Some Nights – Fun
I know this one ended up getting a ton of airplay but it’s still a great tune in my book. A whole lot of Paul Simon/Graceland vibes going on in this one. Something different that your average pop stuff but what’s nice is they’re not so one note (like Goyte…)
I Fink Your Freaky – Die Antwoord
Speaking of something different. What can I say. I must thank my brother Russ for dropping this one on me. Seems like Die Antwoord has been around a few years but this was my first exposure. God they’re great! Too many ways they’re sooo different and I love the whole rave-techno revival thing they’ve got going on. And their videos are all awesome.
It’s a battle between them and Volbeat (next choice) for my favorite new artist/group this year.
Sad Man’s Tongue/We/Wild Rover of Hell – Volbeat
Sad Man’s Tongue
Wild Rover of Hell
Most people were made aware of this band with their song “A Warriors Call”, the tribute to the Ultimate Fighter types. It’s good song but it’s pretty pedestrian compared to the style they exude on the majority of their other work.
This is my “I have to put two of them here…” selection. But since they’re so diverse and bad ass, I’m doing three. A cross between Glen Danzig, Metallica, Johnny Cash and The Stray Cats. I would suggest almost any song form the four albums they’ve released – all of it is good. Tied with greatest new find with Die Antwoord.
Make me wanna die – The Pretty Reckless
Following in the footsteps of Halestorm, albeit a blond version.
Once Upon Another Time – Sara Bareilles
Every once in a while I come across a voice/song that is just so truly beautiful and pure – and this is one. The last time I felt so enrapt by a song was Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek (and NOT that rip-off, mix-mash up that made the radio a few years back – horrific). The sound just makes you fall in love with the voice. I can listen to this repeated without getting tired or bored. Beautiful, beautiful music. I liked her last album (well, parts of it) and thought she had a great set of vocal chops that weren’t quite being pushed where they could be. This song proves I was right (in my mind, at least).
Heading Toward the Unknown – Heavy Blanket
Dirty, Fuzzy Funk. No vocals, just heavy Hendrix-esque fuzz. This is my Funkadelic pic for the year. Again, another one where the whole album is great, picking one song was difficult. I love how they sound practically smothers you. All six songs on this album are purely instrumental, something you don’t see often today. This one is great for zoning out while programming or painting, just getting lost in the music while your mind goes elsewhere.
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!