My Tunes

January 21, 2011

Infinite Shuffle

Filed under: Uncategorized — assman41 @ 10:03 pm

In an effort to market my blog, I decided it needed an actual domain name, and with it a more proper title.

After some soul-searching, I came up with Infinite Shuffle, which, in addition to being an awesome name, lends itself to an equally awesome logo.

So, from now on, you can check out my musical musings over at InfiniteShuffle.com.

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January 16, 2011

59 – California Wives

Filed under: C, Chicago — assman41 @ 12:01 am

As I prepared to see The Helio Sequence in concert earlier this week, I made sure to check out the various opening acts to find out what was in store for me and to figure out how early I wanted to arrive.

After listening to all the bands, it quickly became apparent that I needed to get to the venue as soon as the doors opened. Not because the bill was packed full of awesome bands, but because the best act of the night would be the first one to hit the stage.

The five songs on California Wives’ website absolutely blew my socks off. So much so that I immediately headed over to iTunes and downloaded their debut EP, Affair.

California Wives – Blood Red Youth

(Note: For some reason, all of these songs are taking 15-20 seconds before they start to play. So, just be patient.)

This four-piece group from Chicago combines all the best elements of the post-punk, shoegazer and indie-pop genres into one awesome force.

California Wives – Twenty Three

Because of a special promotion at the concert, there were more people than usual in attendance for the opening acts. So, after a somewhat quiet response to start the show, the Wives received a solid ovation following their 30-minute set. They played six songs — four songs from their album and two new ones — all of which were solid.

One of the things I found most interesting seeing them live was how they divvied up the lead vocals. Standing front and center with his keyboard — and occasionally a guitar — was Jayson Kramer. He did most of the talking between songs and, I assumed, was the lead singer.

But with my view from the upper level somewhat obstructed by the band’s family, I didn’t realize initially that a lot of the singing was actually coming from the far right side of the stage, where unassuming bassist Dan Zima was perched.

Any time a band has more than one real vocalist, I consider that a plus in my book.

California Wives – Guilt

This band is ready to blow up on the national scene. The group is currently unsigned, but I doubt that’ll be the case for long, especially after the boys strut their stuff at the South By Southwest Festival in March.

To keep tabs on the band, check out its MySpace page.

January 9, 2011

58 – Cotton Jones

Filed under: C, Cumberland Md. — assman41 @ 3:30 am

While scouring the internet and iTunes for reviews of Cotton Jones, I stumbled upon a simple, one-sentence summation that perfectly captured the band’s sound …

Still the man who musically helps you come down from your bad trip.

The man, in this case, would be Michael Nau, the former lead singer and creator of the band Page France, who joined forces with Whitney McGraw in 2005 to comprise The Cotton Jones Basket Ride. Since shortening its name a couple of years ago, the band has put out a pair of solid full-length albums, including 2009’s Paranoid Cocoon and last year’s Tall Hours in the Glowstream.

As you can probably tell from the above quote, the duo’s sound is heavy on the psychedelia, but it also has a strong folk influence.

The debut album opens with Nau channeling his inner Jim Morrison on “Up a Tree (Went This Heart I Have)” and “Gotta Cheer Up”. From there, his and McGraw’s voices grow more soothing as the songs meld together into a never-ending trance.

Another strong track on that disc is “Blood Red Sentimental Blues”

On the more recent album, Nau’s voice dominates as McGraw is resigned to more of a backing role. While that certainly affects the harmony, all is not lost. The group doesn’t stray too far from its earlier sound, except that the songs are slightly reined-in and little poppier. Additionally, several of the songs have a familiar, almost oldies-like vibe to them.

The best track on the album is the one that originally introduced me to the group — “Somehow To Keep It Going” — but there are also several other solid tunes, including “Sail of the Silver Morning”, “More Songs For Margaret” and “Glorylight and Christie”.

Cotton Jones – Somehow To Keep It Going

(Note: For some reason, there is a delay of nearly a minute before this track starts playing. So, you should just open it in a separate tab and continue reading. Trust me, it’s a good song.)

I had never heard of the group until seeing Tall Hours in the Glowstream listed as No. 4 on Urban Outfitters’ Best of 2010 list. The group, which seemingly came out of nowhere as far as I was concerned, has put out several EPs and a few other assorted releases since 2007. The members developed their sound while living in the Appalachian hamlet of Cumberland, Md., but they have supposedly since relocated to Georgia.

To hear several more of their songs, visit their MySpace page. While there, take note of their current tour schedule. They make a quick pass through the Midwest for a few days in early February before heading back this way at the end of the month.

January 5, 2011

Best of the ’80s

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 6:01 am

As I drove home from a recent night out, I was enjoying a local radio station’s weekly ’80s Weekend playlist. And in the span of a few songs, I heard my two most favorite ’80s songs.

It made me think of a conversation I had with my brother a few days earlier regarding this very matter — what would be on your list of favorite ’80s songs?

So, I decided I should actually compile said list. I figured I would come up with my top 10 tracks of the decade. But I quickly breezed past that and was already into the mid-30s when I decided I should just limit myself to 25. Needless to say, there were some great songs that didn’t make the cut.


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While thinking of all the various songs I wanted to include, I couldn’t help but also picture many of the corresponding videos. Back then, songs and videos were so linked, it’s hard to separate them in your mind.

So, in addition to putting together an audio playlist, I thought it would be cool to post a video playlist.

THE LIST

  1. Belinda Carlisle – “Heaven Is a Place On Earth” … I have no idea why I love this so much. I just do. I love her voice, and when I play this, I think back to listening to it all the time on my older sister’s cassette player.
  2. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon” … If my brother had his way, this would be No. 1. Growing up in the same household with someone who used — and still does — idolize Boy George, it’s no wonder this song is so ingrained in my head.
  3. Big Country – “In a Big Country” … I love everything about this song — the opening guitar riff, instrumental breakdown in the middle, the whiny Scottish vocals. I’ve had this as a ringtone on multiple phones.
  4. USA For Africa – “We Are the World” … When you put that many amazing singers in one room together, you can’t help but make magic. And hearing the dreadful 25th anniversary cover for Haiti relief just shows how great the original was.
  5. Go-Go’s – “Vacation” … Again, I can’t get enough of Belinda Carlisle’s vocals. I especially love the chorus when she’s backed by her bandmates.
  6. Pat Benatar – “Shadows of the Night” … She’s got a lot of great songs, but this is the one I’ve always loved the most. Perhaps it’s that powerful, authoritative chorus.
  7. Queen and David Bowie – “Under Pressure” … Two legendary voices combining to make pure gold. And nowadays, thanks to the movie Grosse Point Blank, whenever I hear this song, I can’t help but think of the scene where John Cusack is holding the baby at the reunion.
  8. A Flock of Seagulls – “I Ran (So Far Away)” … This song just reeks of the ’80s and early MTV. Lead singer Mike Score has yet to be topped in the annals of awesome hairstyles, and, as for the song itself, those killer synth riffs are hard to beat.
  9. A-ha – “Take On Me” … Go ahead, listen to this song and try not to picture the video. … See, you couldn’t, could ya? By the way, the Family Guy parody was amazing.
  10. Cyndi Lauper – “Time After Time” … This isn’t necessarily the first song that people think about when her name comes up, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for ballads.
  11. Nena – “99 Luftballoons” … Has their ever been a catchier song about the Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction? The best part is that both the German and English versions mention Captain Kirk, but in totally different spots.
  12. The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star” … If this hadn’t been the very first video played on MTV, do you think anyone would remember it? I guess we’ll never know. But it’s so awesome that it doesn’t really matter.
  13. Alphaville – “Forever Young” … I doubt many people realize this song is about a nuclear holocaust — especially the car company that used it in a commercial a few years ago. But hey, if you want to slow-dance to this song, I won’t judge you. It’s a great tune.
  14. The Bangles – “Walk Like an Egyptian” … I know I’m not the only one who, when this song reaches its apex, stops everything and tries to whistle along in perfect sync Susanna Hoffs and the gals.
  15. The Cure – “Pictures of You” … It seems almost dirty, but the first time I remember hearing this song was on a photo printer commercial or something like that. It quickly became my favorite song in a truly hefty catalog by these goth forefathers.
  16. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)” … Speaking of a band with an endless supply of amazing songs, it’s hard to narrow my top five faves, let alone one. But this song has always revved me up whenever I hear it, and the fact that it’s all about Martin Luther King just adds to its mystique.
  17. Madonna – “Like a Prayer” … The video’s probably a bit over the top, but I have to give her props for losing a Pepsi endorsement deal because of it. Looking back, this song probably doesn’t really sound like many, if any, of the other songs in her vast arsenal. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.
  18. Berlin – “Take My Breath Away” … Seriously, how can you not love this song? It’s the ballads to top all ballads. Also, I’m pretty sure it was my homecoming or prom song during my junior or senior year — which just goes to show how unoriginal my peers were.
  19. Real Life – “Send Me An Angel” … I first heard this song in the ultimate BMX movie, RAD, and I was instantly hooked. I can’t help but hear this song and picture Cru Jones doing the bicycle boogie with Christian Hollings.
  20. Madonna – “Crazy For You” … It’s from the movie Vision Quest, but I’ve never actually seen it. I’ve only heard the song, and, let’s just put it this way: If I ever actually get married, this song will be played at my wedding.
  21. Outfield – “Your Love” … I was only a toddler in the mid-’80s, so I have no idea if this is true, but whenever I hear this song, I just assume that’s the whole vibe that permeated the years 1984-87.
  22. Scandal – “The Warrior” … If I paid attention to the lyrics, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to take this song seriously. Thankfully, I never have. Whenever I hear this tune, I’m reminded of my junior high days when I used to help out my older sister with her newspaper route and we had this song blaring from a compilation disc.
  23. Huey Lewis & The News – “Power of Love” … Michael J. Fox, riding his skateboard and getting pulled behind a moving Jeep … ’nuff said.
  24. Talking Heads – “Road To Nowhere” … I absolutely love the intro to this song and I probably let it overcompensate for a tune that is otherwise simply above average. Also, I can’t hear this song and not think about the final scene from the classic Fred Savage movie, Little Monsters.
  25. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror” … I figured I had to include at least one song of his on this list, considering he was the biggest star of the decade. While this wasn’t among his biggest hits, it’s the one I’ve always enjoyed the most.

By the way, I included a bonus video at the end of the playlist. The song is technically from the ’60s, but it re-entered the charts a couple of decades later. It just so happens to be my favorite song and movie of all-time.

January 2, 2011

Best of 2010 – Everyone else

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Just as I did last year, here is an aggregation of as many end-of-the-year lists as I could find from all the sources out there. And, in case you missed it, here is my own Best of 2010 list.

  • A.V. Club … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Amazon. comNo. 1 album: Mumford & Sons, “Sigh No More” … No. 1 song: Cee Lo Green, “Fuck You” … No. 1 alt/indie album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs” … No. 1 alt/indie song: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Round and Round”
  • American Songwirter … No. 1 album: The Black Keys, “Brothers”
  • Billboard … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Clash … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • DIY … No. 1 album: The National, “High Violet”
  • Drowned in Sound … No. 1 album: Emeralds, “Does It Look Like I’m Here?”
  • Entertainment Weekly … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Exclaim! … No. 1 Pop/Rock album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • Fact … No. 1 album: Forest Swords, “Dagger Paths”
  • Filter … No. 1 album: LCD Soundsystem, “This Is Happening”
  • The Guardian … No. 1 album: Janelle Monae, “The ArchAndroid”
  • Gigwise … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs” … No. 1 song: Kanye West, “Monster” (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj)
  • Gorilla Vs. Bear … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • The Guardian … No. 1 album: Janelle Monae, “The ArchAndroid”
  • A Heart Is a Spade … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Magnet … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Metacritic … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Mojo … No. 1 album: John Grant, “Queen of Denmark”
  • MTV … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • MySpace … No. 1 album: Yeasayer, “Odd Blood” … I’d like to note the neat posters that were created for each album on the list.
  • NMENo. 1 album: These New Puritans, “Hidden” … No. 1 song: Foals, “Spanish Sahara”
  • Paste … No. 1 album: LCD Soundsystem, “This Is Happening”
  • Pitchfork.comNo. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” … No. 1 song: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Round and Round” … It should be noted that this listing needs to be taken with a grain of salt as P4K only gave Mumford & Sons a 2.1 rating out of 10. As a friend astutely pointed out, Marcus Mumford must have banged the reviewer’s girlfriend or something.
  • PrefixNo. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Qthemusic.com … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • Rolling Stone … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Spin … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Spinner … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Stereogum … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” … No. 1 EP: Zola Jesus, “Stridulum”
  • Time … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Uncut … No. 1 album: Joanna Newsom, “Have One On Me”
  • Under the Radar … No. 1 album: Sufjan Stevens, “The Age of Adz”
  • Urban OutfittersNo. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream” … the peeps at UO did something very cool, not only listing their top 20 albums, but also getting each of those bands to submit a top-5 list of their own.
  • WNRN … No. 1 album: Mumford & Sons, “Sigh No More”
  • You Ain’t No Picasso … No. 1 album: Portugal. The Man, “American Ghetto”

January 1, 2011

Best of 2010 – My list

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Last year, I waited until mid-January to unleash my end-of-the-year and end-of-the-decade lists. But this year, I figured I’d do it at a more reasonable time — one minute into the new year.

So, without further ado, I give you my favorite music from the past 12 months. Enjoy.

By the way, rather than bogging down this post with a bunch of links and embedded videos, I just created a playlist with as many of the top songs as I could find. If, for some reason, the player doesn’t work on your computer, just open this link in a separate tab/window and listen to the goodness as you read about it.


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THE ALBUMS I ENJOYED THE MOST

  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs … This band has yet to put out an average album. While I don’t yet consider it as strong as its predecessors, it’s still better than just about everything else that came out this year. It also includes one of my two most favorite songs of the year. … Favorite song: “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
  • Beach HouseTeen Dream … I really didn’t think this album would live up to all the hype it was receiving before its release, but it actually may have surpassed it. … Favorite song: “Norway”
  • Frightened RabbitThe Winter of Mixed Drinks … While this band seems to fill every album with the same handful of songs, over and over again, I just can’t help loving them anyway. … Favorite song: “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
  • Mumford & SonsSigh No More … This was, hands down, my favorite album of the year. Go read last week’s post for more in-depth thoughts. … Favorite song: “Little Lion Man”
  • The NationalHigh Violet … These guys are slowly becoming one of all-time favorite bands. This album didn’t grab me right away, but after plenty of listens, it definitely stood out as one of the year’s best. … Favorite song: “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
  • The OrbansWhen We Were Wild … This is my hidden gem of the year. If you haven’t heard these alt-country boys from Austin — and I doubt you have — check them out immediately. … Favorite song: “Like a Liar”
  • Shout Out LoudsWork … Three albums into their career, these guys from Sweden are on the verge of really breaking out in the States. … Favorite song: “Walls”
  • Two Door Cinema ClubTourist History … If it wasn’t for a couple-sentences-long review on the wall of a record store in Indianapolis, I may never have discovered this ’80s-infused, electro-pop group from Scotland. … Favorite song: “Undercover Martyn”
  • Vampire WeekendContra … With easily the most-hyped album at the beginning of the year, the NYC crew managed to deliver and avoid a sophomore slump. … Favorite song: “Cousins”
  • Wild NothingBored Games … This is an album that totally caught me by surprise. A soft, dreamy, electro disc from some dudes in Roanoke? Sure, why not? … Favorite song: “Live In Dreams”

A FEW OTHER ALBUMS THAT WERE PRETTY GREAT

  • Hey MarseillesTo Travels and Trunks (first dropped 2008, re-released this year) … Favorite song: “Rio”
  • JaillThat’s How We Burn … Favorite song: “Snake Shakes”
  • JunipFields … Favorite song: “Always”
  • Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown … Favorite song: “Pyro”
  • The Kissaway TrailSleep Mountain … Favorite song: “SDP”
  • Kopecky Family BandThe Disaster (seven-song EP) … Favorite song: “Disaster”
  • Let’s WrestleIn the Court of the Wrestling Let’s … Favorite song: “We Are the Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon”
  • Miniature TigersFortress … Favorite song: “Rock & Roll Mountain Troll”

THE YEAR’S BEST TRACKS (that weren’t on any of the above listed albums)

  • B.o.B. ft. Eminem and Hayley Williams – “Airplanes, Part II” … I seem to fall for one rap song per year. This one is it.
  • The Band Perry – “If I Die Young” … A friend suggested I listen to this song a couple of months ago. Now I am forever in her debt.
  • Cold War Kids – “Audience” … These guys snuck in an EP this year, and it included this gem.
  • Diamond Rings – “Something Else” … I’m pretty sure this song was produced in 1985, put in a time capsule and finally released in 2010.
  • The Drums – “I Felt Stupid” and “Let’s Go Surfing” … These are some fun songs from a band that’s developing a nice following.
  • Local Natives – “Airplanes” … I’ve had this song stuck in my head on multiple occasions throughout the year.
  • Loney, Dear – “Airport Surroundings” … Half of my brain doesn’t think this song belongs on this list. Unfortunately, the other half is bobbing along too much to pay it any heed.
  • Neon Trees – “Animal” … I was hesitant to include this song after hearing it constantly in the Las Vegas commercials. Alas, it’s too good not to mention.
  • School of Seven Bells – “Windstorm” … This song might be an acquired taste, but I can’t get enough of it.
  • The Soft Pack – “Answer To Yourself” … Just a good, solid pop/rock song.
  • Stornoway – “Zorbing” … This is my other most favorite track of the year. There’s nothing else to say — I just absolutely love it.
  • Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp” and “O.N.E.” … These two songs are so good, I almost included the whole album on here — and I didn’t even like the album.
  • Zola Jesus – “I Can’t Stand” and “Sea Talk” … I’m constantly trying to decide which song I like the most from this Siouxsie & The Banshees descendent, but I can never choose between the two.

ALBUMS I MISSED IN 2009

EARLY CANDIDATES FOR THE “ALBUMS I MISSED IN 2010” LIST

  • The Black Keys – Brothers
  • John Grant – Queen of Denmark
  • Menomena – Minds
  • These New Puritans – Hidden
  • Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

Check back tomorrow when I provide a massive compilation of all the end-of-the-year lists I could find.

December 25, 2010

57 – Mumford & Sons

Filed under: England, M — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I’m not sure why it took me so long to discuss Mumford & Sons. I first heard about them in early 2009 via the Outroversion blog. I’d heard a couple of songs and liked them, but, for some reason, I never put forth the effort to listen to their full arsenal until about a year later. And, by that time, I felt like my window for “breaking” them had closed.

But, as it turns out, while they’ve been receiving a lot of critical praise following the United States release of their debut album, Sigh No More, there is still a lot of people who’ve never heard of the London indie-folk quartet.

The album dropped in the United Kingdom in October 2009 and landed in the U.S. in February of this year, so some might deem it out of the running for “album of the year” praise. But you know what? Those people are stupid.

There is nary a bad song on this 12-track disc — all are good, some are really good and a few are great — which is why I would deem it the best album of 2010.

According to Wikipedia, the band formed in late 2007, rising out of London’s folk scene with other artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Noah and the Whale — all solid acts, I might add.

Mumford & Sons, which is led vocally by Marcus Mumford, enlists a slew of folksy instruments, including mandolin, banjo, dobro, string bass and accordion. And the members of the band are very versatile, often switching instruments throughout live shows.

While the band can do the slow, swaying folk thing with the best of them, it’s the spurts of rollicking, rocking fire that make their songs so great. Every song in their repertoire is a sine curve of awesomeness … (that one goes out to all of you math nerds).

In addition to the two gems embedded above, other standout songs include “Awake My Soul”, “Roll Away Your Stone”, “After the Storm” and the title track.

Mumford & Sons make a bevy of literary references in their work. The album title and corresponding song include allusions to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and the songs “Timeshel” and “Dust Bowl Dance” draw heavily from the John Steinbeck novels East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath.

After tearing up England in 2009, the band has conquered the world this past year, from topping the charts in Australia to selling out a horde of shows in the United States in the fall.

Earlier this month, the boys picked up a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Artist (aka The Kiss of Death) and Best Rock Song for “Little Lion Man”.

I unfortunately missed them when they came through Chicago a few months ago, so I’m eagerly awaiting their return.

Join me in keeping tabs on the band via its MySpace page and official website.

December 19, 2010

56 – Stornoway

Filed under: England, S — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I’ve been wanting to write a post about Stornoway for several months, but it’s taken me awhile to find a free (read: illegal) download of their debut release, Beachcomber’s Windowsill.

I first heard about the band roughly a year ago from a few references on the Outroversion blog, but I hadn’t actually heard anything by the group until this past summer when the single, “Zorbing”, was included on KEXP’s Song of the Day podcast.

After hearing it that first time, I repeated it once or twice and was immediately hooked.

While that song seems to combine about three different genres into one track, the rest of album sticks to the group’s signature sound — something like alternative indie music mixed with traditional Irish-tinged ditties.

Stornoway isn’t actually from Ireland. The group hails from the Cowley area of Oxford, England, and is named after the Hebridean town on the Isle of Lewis, which is the northeast tip of the United Kingdom — practically the opposite end of the UK from Oxford.

The band consists of four members, but, as you can tell from the video, it often enlists the services of a trumpeter. There’s also a violinist that joins the ruckus.

The gents have been together since at least 2006 and first started to make some noise in England in 2009 when they released their first few singles. The debut album dropped on May 24 of this year, and, while none of the other songs live up to the awesomeness of “Zorbing”, it’s still a quality disc.

Other solid tracks include “I Saw You Blink” and “Boats and Trains”.

The group finally made its way to the United States in the fall, including a stop in Chicago last month. So, it’ll probably be awhile before it returns.

For more on the group, check out its MySpace page and official website.

December 12, 2010

55 – Earwig

Filed under: Columbus, E — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I first heard about Earwig in mid-August when someone from the band commented on my review of fellow Columbus, Ohio, act House of Heroes.

They provided a link to the their website, so I checked it out. The group didn’t seem like anything too special, so I never gave it a second thought.

That is, until I saw that Simon over at Outroversion had put up a post about the band. After reading his synopsis, I figured I’d give them another chance — and, again, I wasn’t too impressed.

But just before writing this post, I thought I should listen to their stuff on MySpace one more time so it was fresh in my mind. And, as it turns out, my first impression — and second one, for that matter — of Earwig was way off.

Originally, I deemed them a decent band, but nothing special. After another listen, I realized there really was more going on there than first assumed.

None of the songs really repeat — it’s as if each track was influenced by something totally different.

“Star Crossd” sounds kinda twee, maybe a little like fellow Ohioans Guided By Voices. “Rumplestiltskin” is heavier in sound and tone. “Trees” is just pure indie-pop. “Lovesong Cockroach” has a grunge feel to it. “Glorious and Gloom” is a little more emo-pop.

“Shiny Morning” opens with an auto-tune thing that is very reminiscent of Imogen Heap/Frou Frou before heading toward a more indie-pop/rock track. “Drag” reminds me of something Jimmy Eat World might’ve put out in their heyday. “Used Kids” sounds like something I would’ve heard on the radio during high school in the late ’90s — I just hope the band’s not as religious as it sounds in the chorus of this song.

There’s also an interesting back story regarding the band’s latest release, Gibson Under Mountain. Apparently, the album title came to lead singer Lizard McGee in a dream, and shortly thereafter he was “dream-writing” all the songs.

For more on the band, visit the official website.

December 5, 2010

54 – The Band Perry

Filed under: B, Mobile Ala., P — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I tend to shy away from country music, almost as a rule. It’s not that I hate it — I just generally loathe the kind of people who love it and the way they rally behind it.

Because of this philosophy, I’m sure I’ve missed out on several solid bands that I would’ve liked. And The Band Perry would have fallen into that pile were it not for my good friend, MK.

She sent me an e-mail a few days ago and told me to give their song, “If I Die Young”, a listen. She said she really liked the singer’s voice.

After listening to it a handful of times, I would concur.

According to the band’s official website, the song just hit No. 1 on the country charts. Who knew?

The group from Mobile, Ala., is made up of the three Perry siblings — lead singer Kimberly and little brothers Reid and Neil. In their rather lengthy bio, they say that they were raised on both classic rock and country.

That upbringing shows in their music. They churn out plenty of country ditties with a rock sensibility as well as some sweet, twangy ballads.

While the big single is clearly a gem, it turns out the band’s entire self-titled debut album is pretty solid.

Other strong tracks include “Hip to My Heart”, “Postcard From Paris”, “Independence”, “Double Heart” and “All Your Life”.

I doubt this discovery will shift my interest in country music much, if at all. But it does go to show that expanding your horizons is never a bad thing.

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