Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Twitter and Another Free Download

So if you are all interested in my spontaneous thoughts, or want to put in your own input on the blog, add me on twitter

Anyways I also want to share this song with the world, enjoy!

We Crawl by the Polyphonic Spree

Biffy Clyro Presents Only Revolutions

Biffy Clyro’s ‘Only Revolutions’ is one of my favorite albums of the year, hands down. The follow-up of the critically acclaimed ‘Puzzle.’ which follows lead singer Simon Neil’s grief over the death of his mother, ‘Only Revolutions’ is 2009’s gem. The new album is a lot lighter than ‘Puzzle,’ but doesn’t give up the heavy guitar riffs and distinctive sound of the band. ‘Only Revolutions’ has more pop hits such as ‘Mountains’ and ‘The Captain’ (which is definitely the best sing a long song of 2009) than its predecessor, but doesn’t give up the serious tone that ties the album together. Neil’s voice is powerful and takes center stage on all the songs, which is a feat with the amount of heavy guitar and drums that are also included. Coincidentally, Neil also moonlights for Marmaduke Duke who had a hit this summer in the UK with ‘Rubber Lover.’

Biffy Clyro’s ‘Born on a Horse’ takes a swipe at us Americans, saying “I pronounce it aluminium /'cause there's an I next to the U and M.” The song itself is one of the best on the album, so don’t get too offended. Other gems are ‘Know Your Quarry’ and ‘Go & Satan’ which manages to qualify religion, saying “I talk to God as much as I talk to Satan 'cause I want to hear both sides.”

Grammys Rock Category

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

The nominees in this category could be read right out of the Rock ‘N’ Roll hall of fame. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, and John Fogerty all scored recognition of the Grammy’s.

Bob Dylan’s voice has always been far from perfect, but it was that very imperfection that made his music so great. Lately, his voice has been no less than fried; there is a fine line between distinctive and cringe-worthy, and Dylan’s Christmas album had plenty of cringe.

John Fogerty’s ‘Change in the Weather’ is like 30 years old and I know the Grammy counts re-recording as new material, but is there really no other solo rock performers to award? And if were just going to reward old songs then the Beatles should have won every category anyway.

The winner of this category was Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream, which was well deserved. This song shows that Springsteen hasn’t become irrelevant or just a rock star from decades past, but as a songwriter who has become just a part of this age as the last. Working on a Dream wouldn’t be a Springsteen song without some commentary, but the song is beautiful nonetheless.

Best Rock Performance by a Group or Duo

Kings of Leon picked this one up again, which was probably well deserved, but since the category is more specific, it might have been nice to see Coldplay get some recognition (not that the Grammys have been unkind to them in the past).

Best Rock Instrumental Performance

Remember what I said about rewarding re-recordings? Scratch that for this category. I was so excited when I saw Jeff Beck’s cover of ‘A Day in the Life’ was nominated (and won). This is by far the best cover version of this song and it clearly shows Beck’s skill as a guitarist. I was disappointed he didn’t perform it live. By the way, the song was recorded at Ronnie Scotts, one of my old London haunting grounds.

Best Rock Song was Kings of Leon again, which out of the nominees is definitely deserved.

Best Rock Album

Green Day definitely blows the rest of the nominee’s right out of this category. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood are the only other competition, but it’s a live album that took barely any effort to record. AC/DC is nothing special, the Dave Matthews Band’s new album is bland, and the U2 album is not even close to their best work. The new Green Day album is spectacular, the amount of effort that went into it is amazing and their live show to accompany it is magical. The album, packed full of religious commentary, mocks America’s bureaucracy that organized religion has become.

Best Alternative Music Album

This was the other amazing award of the night. This category is not announced on live television, which is disappointing, but the winners of this category probably made the Grammy’s worth stomaching. French indie-band, Phoenix took home the prize for their new album ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,’ which was by far one of the best albums of the year. They manage to create great pop music that doesn’t insult my intelligence or try to dumb me down, but still manages to appeal to a huge demographic. Congratulations to Phoenix, they definitely deserve this honor!

Some other winners that deserve mentioning are Stephen Colbert for Best Comedy and the Beatles for Best Long Form Music Video for All Together Now.

Free Download-Love Like a Sunset by Phoenix

Grammy Awards

Alright, everyone knows the Grammy’s are controversial. And they manage to piss everyone off, but I thought this year was pretty successful. And instead of talking about everything I hated about the Grammy’s , I am going to talk about what I liked. The one exception is for the general categories, because I need to let out some steam somewhere.

Record of the Year

Kings of Leon! Kings of Leon! Even know this album came out ages ago, and isn’t the best song in their repertoire I am so happy that these indie rock veterans are doing well. They were the only legitimate group to have any significant Grammy nominations, not just this year, but in several years. Congrats guys! I’ll be joining you on those shots.

Album of the Year

As my mom said while they were announcing the awards, “Anyone but her!” And then it happened. Country starlet Taylor Swift won Album of the Year. With such inspiring lyrics such as, “But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts/She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers/Dreaming bout the day when you wake up and find/That what you're lookin for has been here the whole time.” If these aren’t the lamest lyrics ever sung I don’t know what are. Her other hit, Love Story doesn’t make any sense and its clear that Taylor Swift has never read a book in her life. However, you don’t need me to tell you how unfair this is, the internet has been ripe with backlash, saying that she only won the award because of guilt over the Kanye West incident. Her live performance at the Grammy’s was awful, making me realize that I was giving her more credit than she deserved.

The fact that Lady Gaga lost is appalling. Pop music isn’t even my expertise and I can see the time and effort that went into making the Fame. Lady Gaga lives and breathes her art, which is so refreshing in the age of manufactured pop stars.

Song of the Year

The fact that a song which in its entirety is "If you like it then you should of put a ring on it" over and over and "all the single ladies to put their hands up" just won a grammy astounds me. I see the appeal of Beyonce, normally her music is fun and upbeat, and as someone who likes to go out dancing, I like it too, but ‘Single Ladies’ gets boring after about 45 seconds and then I just want it to be over. Also, Beyonce shouldn’t do ballads like the one she did for her live performance, her voice really isn’t that strong and I would have rather seen someone like Jennifer Hudson up there.

Best New Artist

I cannot believe it wasn’t MGMT! Not that MGMT is particularly new, I don’t know what year the Grammy’s are functioning in. They had by far the most fun and imaginative album in years and they lost to a bland country band. The Grammy’s trended heavily to country music this year (maybe it’s a trend the entire country is experiencing, and I am just not paying attention), but they had more country live acts than any other genre. The Zac Brown Band are okay musicians, but nothing special, not even for the country genre.

Ok, no more negatvity, but before I start talking with the glass half full, I also want to mention that Katy Perry should have won over Beyonce for Hot N Cold.

Free Download-Record of the Year-Use Somebody by Kings of Leon

Monday, February 1, 2010

British Single & Critics Choice

The categories for British single is basically just really sad. They consist of X Factor contestants and Cheryl Cole and N-Dubz. The category is mostly just standard club songs.

There is one song I genuinely like though and that's Lily Allen's The Fear. Lily gets a bad rap a lot for her attitude, but the lyrics of the Fear are thoughtful and smart, not to mention her voice sounds fabulous.

The next category is Critics Choice, which I think is a category every awards show should have.

Marina & the Diamonds I discovered almost a year ago at Camden Crawl. In the style of Florence & the Machine, Marina & the Diamonds is the stage name for 24 year old welsh singer Marina Diamandis. She has an incredibly distinct voice that is accented by her welsh accent and will most definitely be the next British female pop singer (whether we need one or not).

Ellie Goulding turned heads with her voice on Starsmith's remix of Passion Pit's Sleepyhead. The rest of her stuff I find unimpressive. She worked on her album with Frankmusik, so the electro feel is kind of fun, but its too mellow to be anything interesting.

I was apparently late in discovering Delphic, but theyre fast becoming one of my favorite new artists. Calling themselves, a 'dance band,' Delphic's sound is very fun, but also has a lot more substance than just a typical dance band. Remember how I said there are a lot better electro bands than Friendly Fires? This is definitely one of them.

My vote? Doubt by Delphic

British Group and British Album

Friendly Fires and JLS are also included in Best British Group

And I have talked about the bands up for Best British Album, so I am just combining it into one post.

The Doves came back with their best album yet with ‘Kingdom of Rust.’ The album is mellow, but never boring and dark, but still catchy and the imagery is fantastic. The Williams’ brothers (maybe I’m related!) managed to create an awesome cohesive piece of material.

Kasabian also released their most successful album to date in 2009 with “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.” Armed with producer Dan the Automator, known best for his work with virtual band, Gorillaz, Kasabian set out to make something that sounded more like ‘Pink Floyd.’ The result was definitely different from their heavy lyrics and indie rock past, mixing all kinds of genres, including the country infused ‘Fire’ and the electronic “Vlad the Impaler,” something their star producer is known to do.

I’ll be honest, I have never really liked Muse. I know I am going to make people angry, but I just don’t think they’re very good. I thought “Time is Running Out” sounded like everything else that was out on the market and their new album hasn’t impressed me much. I found ‘Uprising’ extremely annoying, their stuff is just too dramatic. Some of their more mellow stuff is alright, but unimpressive and the pretentiousness of it all turns me off.

The Doves should win best British Group and Kasabian should win best album.

Your reward for listening to my opinion: The Doves-Kingdom of Rust

British Breakthrough Act

I talked about Miss Lott (Pixie) and Miss Machine (Florence) in previous posts, so to keep this short and simple, see below for opinion!

Friendly Fires first came on my radar when they released “Kiss of Life” and I thought the song was uneventful. For an electronic band, their stuff is quite slow and bordering on boring. I would skip Friendly Fires and buy a Metronomy album, there are so many better electro bands.

I hate everything associated with X Factor, including JLS. If there is a Karaoke contest, they might get my vote. If not, can we stop celebrating talent less manufactured music? Thanks.

La Roux’s synth-pop anthems, “In For the Kill” and Bulletproof were dance floor standards this year, and as catchy as those two songs are, the rest of her repertoire is uneventful. The only song worth checking out beyond those two massive hits is “I’m Not Your Toy”. The songs lack substance, but are fun and serve their purpose.

The winner should be Florence, but since I already had a Florence download, here is a Metronomy download.