Showing posts with label Diane Birch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diane Birch. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 10/30/13

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Reflektor - Arcade Fire

I have never been the biggest Arcade Fire fan (I do have a few songs on my library like Wake Up) because I find Win Butler’s voice a bit annoying and their new disco turn is probably not going to convert me. But those creepy masks would make for a good Halloween costume for those that need a last minute idea. Granted If I saw someone wearing one these tomorrow, I am running the other way.

All Of Me - John Legend

For his last music video, John Legend recruited a bunch of models to lay around naked. He probably saved a little more money this time around getting his Sports Illustrated bikini model wife to strip down for him.

All The Love You Got - Diane Birch

I am sure there is some deep symbolism in this Diane Birch video, white chick wearing black; black chick wearing white, but the meaning is really lost on me.

Back From The Dead - Skylar Grey featuring Big Sean & Travis Barker

Another symbolism heavy video, this time from Skylar grey, which is again lost on me. And I really wished people would stop trying to make Big Sean a thing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Best of the Week: 10/26/13

Quote of the Week: Our relationship is just starting and now I've, like, embarrassed all his friends. Who wants to date someone that doesn’t make the merge? (Kat Edorsson, Survivor: Blood vs. Water)

Song of the Week: This Town – Deacon Claybourne and Scarlett O’Conner (Nashville)

Scene of the Week:

And yes you can download If I Didn't Have You (Bernadette's Song) on iTunes

Big News of the Week: It’s the Start of the Jason Campbell Era in Cleveland: You want to know just how much it sucks to live in Cleveland, I actually got excited when I heard the Browns were benching Brandon Weeden after throwing two underhanded throws in consecutive weeks (in Weeden’s defense, only one of them was intercepted). Keep in mind Campbell will be the twentieth starting quarterback since the Browns returned in 1999.  That is two ahead of the Dolphins, the second most over that time period.  The league average is 11.3.  As Bill Simmons would say, God hates Cleveland.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Death and the Maiden” Ravenswood, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Speak a Little Louder – Diane Birch (NoiseTrade): Earlier this week I reviewed Diane Birch’s latest album (see Musings from the Back 9: Music Edition) and if you want to get sense of the album you can download this three song sampler which also includes a fourth song, Nothing but a Miracle off her debut album.

New Album Release of the Week: Under the Influence: Holiday Edition - Straight No Chaser

New DVD Release of the Week: Springsteen & I

Video of the Week: Just in time for the next Thor to be released into theaters, the new Captain America trailer is out and Winter Soldier features some familiar faces (Nick Fury, Black Widow), some new ones (Robert Redford as one of the senior leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Anthony Mackie as Falcon, a guy who can fly and talk to birds) and some dude with a mask (anyone who has read Winter Soldier knows who it is; or just anyone who recognizes him). Conspicuously absent is Emily Van Camp as another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (she is not playing Kristen from statistics) or anyone from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which probably did not even start casting by the time Winter Soldier wrapped shooting (though maybe Steve Rodgers may show up on the television show in the future to promote their movies, or even better, Natalie Portman; but the best bet is Emily Van Camp, who is already on ABC television, will pop up in a cameo eventual). Captain America: Winter Soldier hits theaters in April which is around the time we will probably get our first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxies which will feature Vin Diesel as a tree and Bradley Cooper as a raccoon.

Next Week Pick of the Week: American Blackout, Sunday at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel: It does seem like our power grid going down is not a question of if rather a question of when (remember when some downed trees took out the eastern seaboard all the way to Canada and Ohio a decade ago; it is as east to shut down the western seaboard and Texas). The National Geographic Channel takes a look at what very well might happen with cell phone footage to add to the realism. Check out my full preview of American Blackout here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Musings from the Back 9: Music Edition XVIII

After being a critical darling for years, Kings of Leon shot for rock supremacy with their fourth album Only By the Night (okay, technically they tried with their previous album but failed) and became the biggest band in the land thanks to throbbing rock songs like Use Somebody and Sex on Fire. Like most rock bands, they did overindulge with their follow up (of course they brought in a black southern church choir for the album’s first single). Then on cue, like every other brotherly based band (see the Gallagher’s, the Robinson’s, the Davie’s et. al.), they imploded on themselves while on tour. After a three year layoff repairing those bruises, the Followill brothers (and one cousin) are back with Mechanical Bull. Sure it will not do as big as Only By the Night, and maybe not even Come Around Sundown, but it sounds like the most fun they have ever had. Case in point is first single Supersoaker: no “serious” rock band has been this silly and catchy since U2 released Discotheque. Songs like Family Tree are just as fun. They do occasionally try for stadium anthems again like Come Back Again, but the album is much better when they are clearly just sitting back and having some fun.

Mechanical Bull gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Diane Birch quite possibly made the best seventies blue eyed Philly soul album of this century with her debut Bible Belt. But that was four years and since then it sounds like Birch updated her sound by a decade because sophomore outing Speak a Little Louder is a decidedly more eighties shoe-gazing new wave sound which is more in the line these days with the music of Daughter than Mayer Hawthorne. Speak a Little Louder is a more synth driven, darker sound than her debut. Although the music of the title track is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Stranger In Moscow (I would have never thought of Jackson as a shoe-gazing fan of synths, but after making this connection, it makes his sound more interesting than I first thought). The best song on the album Tell Me Tomorrow which is the most upbeat, and least synth dependent song on the album. There are a couple of other influences throughout the album, Love and War has a disco beat to it, Pretty in Pain is the closest she get to the sounds of her debut, while Frozen Over sounds like a long lost Pat Benatar song. I appreciate Diane trying to expand her sound, but I do prefer the Philly soul version. Now I wonder which nineties genre will inspire her for her third album.

Speak a Little Louder gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The latest trend for legacy artists is to rerecord their biggest hits with the biggest stars in country today. Both Lionel Richie and John Fogerty have done so in the past year. The latest to do so is Willie Nelson. But do not expect Willie to just piggyback past artists. First off, as the title To To All the Girls... suggests, Willie only duets with the fairer sex. And do not expect Willie to bring out his biggest hits and just add a female voice to them, really aside from Always on My Mind there is not a massive hit of Willie’s on this album. Half of the songs on the album are written by other people like Bill Withers and even Folgerty’s own Have You Ever Seen the Rain, one of the album’s best as recorded with his daughter Paula. And though he brings out heavy hitters like Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, most of his duet partners are his contemporizes like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn as well as some newbies like Brandi Carlile and Melonie Cannon. All the songs are ballads and at eighteen tracks, that does drag on a bit. But like his fellow Highwayman Johnny Cash, Willie is still aging quite well.

To All the Girls… gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Ten Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2013

It has been an abysmal year for music. In the first eight months there were only four marquee albums released by Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and Jay-Z. Except Yeezus bombed, Magna Carta... Holy Grail and The 20/20 Experience will probably end up being the two best selling albums of the year but were still disappointing, and Random Access Memories has yet to garner a second hit. Just think that the next biggest release this year was the Fall Out Boy comeback. Was anyone even hoping for a Fall Out Boy reunion twelve months ago?

What is worse, the music industry has yet to create a breakout artist this year. Just think back to this time last year when Gotye, Fun., and Carley Rae Jepsen all had massive hits while The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men were still building steam. The closest thing the music industry has to a breakout star this year is Anna kendrick. No shots at Cups because it is extremely catchy but it is sad that an acapella song by an actress from movie released in December of last year is still hovering around the iTunes top ten in September. With that said, I really hope Anna capitalizes on the success and goes into the studio to create a full version of No Diggity. At any rate, rumors are there is a Pitch Perfect Christmas album coming our way this winter.

Yeah the year in music has been extremely bad this year, but hold off declaring that 2013 has overtaken 1999 as the worst year in music ever. Usually it is hard for me to come up with five albums to make up my Most Anticipated Albums list each quarter, but this Fall I could have easily come up with a top twenty this time around and that is not even using the albums that are just rumored to be coming out sometime in the next four months like U2 and The Black Keys. Although I hope all of those marquee albums named in the TBA category hold off their albums until early next year so 2014 does not start off as abysmal as this year. Here are some albums that are scheduled to come out over the next four months. Click on the album title or art to pre-order on Amazon and the artists name to go to their iTunes page.

1. Magpies and DandelionsThe Avett Brothers (October 15): After putting out steller folk albums on their own, The Avett Brothers hooked up with uber-producer Rick Rubin for their best album to date, I and Love and You four years ago. Just last year, they collaborated again for another good album The Carpenter. So my hopes are high when they hooked up for the third time with a new batch of songs recorded during The Carpenter sessions.

2. Wise Up GhostElvis Costello & The Roots (Tomorrow): When The Roots signed up as The Late Night house band, I thought it was slow down their output, but they have managed to put out as much, if not more music than ever. And it has opened them up to unexpected collaborations, The Dirty Projectors, Jim James, and Joanna Newsome have appeared on their albums and The Roots did a whole album with John Legend. And now maybe their weirdest collaboration yet with Elvis Costello. And like the previously mentioned collaborations, this one weirdly works.

3. Pure HeroinePure Heroine - Lorde (September 30): If you had at the start of the year a sixteen year old from New Zealand who spouts anti-materialism anthems as the breakout star of 2013, you would be raking it in right now. And while Miley is off twerking, Lada Gaga is trying to hard to be shocking, Katy is recycling songs, and Britney trying too use profanities again to jump start her career, the pop world really needs Lorde right now. Her five song EP was great and though Royals will pop up on the full length debut everything she has done so far has been great. Seriously, she even made a song off of Yeezus listenable.

4. From Here to Now to YouJack Johnson (Tomorrow): At this point, Jack is not changing anyone's mind, and the new album will not be changing anyone's mind. But if you are already on the Jack Johnson bandwagon (like me, I own all of his albums), he has put together another set of songs that will help you remember the summer as the days start getting shorter.

5. Days Are GoneHaim (September 30): This fall is so jammed packed with music, the two highest profiled debuts arrive on the same day (not so coincidentally, I believe this is the last day to be eligible for the 2014 Grammy Award which is why so much music is being released on a Monday instead of the usual Tuesday; and Haim and Lorde are pretty much a lock for Best New Artist along with Kacey Musgraves with the other two slots taken by Capital Cities and... um... could Anna Kendrick really get the last spot? Actually the Grammys will probably not realize 2 Chainz has been around for a decade and give him the final spot). Like Lorde, Haim put out a solid EP which mixed southern California pop with nineties RnB and somehow makes it sound awesome. Listening to Heartache Tonight biting first single, their full length debut will be more of the same (but unlike Lorde, much of their EP shows up on Days Gone By).

6. Lightning Bolt Pearl Jam (October 14): After some unremarkable albums durning the late ninties to the early 00's, Pearl Jam has had a bit of resurgence with their last two album. They go full agro on first single Mind Your Manners which brings up memories of Spin the Black Circle off their best album. Here is hoping Lightning Blt turns out to be their best album yet, or at the very least the best since Vitology.

7. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 - Eminem (November 5): I cannot say I have ever anticipated an Eninem album, but that all chanced with the release of Berserk and word that the album is being co-produced by Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre. As you can tell by the cameo in the video Rubin was responsible for the beat, the first he has done since 99 Problems a decade ago (both sample a Billy Squire which make me wonder if Rubin will try to resurrect his career Johnny Cash style in the near future). No word of Eminem goes full retro on the whole album, but I certainly hope so.

8. NewPaul McCartney (October 15): Another artist I usually do not get too excited for, because aside from Spies Like Us, is there any other solo songs from Paul McCartney to get excited about? But for his next album, the former Beatles has teamed up with probably the best new producer of the past decade, Mark Ronson whose retro soul style helped launch the careers of Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, and Adele.

9. Speak a Little Louder - Diane Birch (October 15): As Ronson ushered in a new age of retro female British singers, American Diane Birch was unfortunately ignore with her retro leaning debut Bible Belt which was one of my favorite debuts from last decade. From what I have heard, the follow up is a bit darker with influences from eighties shoe-gazers. Hopefully the whole album is as good as the first one.

10. To All the Girls… - Willie Nelson (October 15): Willie Nelson is jumping on the duets bandwagon, but as the title suggests, he is just singing with his favorite ladies including featuring Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Tina Rose, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Secret Sisters, Brandi Carlile, Lily Meola, Shelby Lynne, Melonie Cannon, and Paula Nelson.

I put together a Spotify playlist of the first singles off of the albums listed above which you can listen to at right while you peruse seventy other albums coming out this fall that should at the very least be worth a spin on Spotify.

Last Week
The Electric LadyJanelle Monáe
AMArctic Monkeys
Feels Like HomeSheryl Crow
Kiss LandThe Weeknd
B.O.A.T.S. 2# Metime2 Chainz
DynamicsHoly Ghost!
Now, Then and ForeverEarth, Wind and Fire
Say That to Say ThisTrombone Shorty
Sound System - The Clash

New ConstellationToad the Wet Sprocket
In Rolling WavesThe Naked and Famous
Spreading Rumours - Grouplove
Battle Maximus - GWAR
BookmarksFive for Fighting
Sun Will Rise – Animal Years

September 24

Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon
The Diving BoardElton John
The Last Ship - Sting
Seasons Of Your DayMazzy Star
Build Me Up From BonesSarah Jarosz
NegativityDeer Tick
Bones of What You BelieveCHVRCHES
WishboneOh Land
Shout! - Gov't Mule
Sammy Hagar and FriendsSammy Hagar
My Brothers KeeperK-Ci and JoJo
Metallica Through The Never (Music From The Motion Picture)
In Utero (3CD+DVD Super Deluxe Edition)Nirvana

October 1
VIIBlitzen Trapper
Blur the Line – Those Darlins
B-RoomDr. Dog
I'll Find A WayThe Blind Boys of Alabama
UnvarnishedJoan Jett and The Blackhearts
Lucky Numbers - Dave Stewart

October 8
Back to ForeverLissie
Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of SongAmos Lee
Bitter RivalsSleigh Bells
Tin StarLindi Ortega
You Can't Make Old Friends - Kenny Rogers
Frame By FrameCassadee Pope
High RiseStone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington
MelophobiaCage the Elephant
My Name Is MyPusha T

October 15
Let's Be Still – The Head and the Heart
Make A Move - Gavin DeGraw
No Poison No ParadiseBlack Milk
Mary ChristmasMary J. Blige
Unplugged: Expanded and Remastered (2xCD+DVD) - Eric Clapton

October 22
Smoke and MirrorsBrett Dennen
Fade Away - Best Coast

October 29
Reflektor – Arcade Fire
Night Time, My Time - Sky Ferreira
Get There – Minor Alps (Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws of Nada Surf)
Wrapped in RedKelly Clarkson
Recharged - Linkin Park

November 5
Magic Hour - Luscious Jackson
Mantangi – M.I.A.
Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne
Loved Me Back To Life - Céline Dion
Miami Pop Festival - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

November 12
Black Panties - R. Kelly
Under the Covers, vol. 3 – Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
November - Grace and Tony
Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack
Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection - Jewel

December 3
Love, Marriage and Divorce – Toni Braxton and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds

blackSUMMERSnight – Maxwell
The Art of War: World War III - Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Fading West - Switchfoot
Better Than Ezra
The Black Keys
Danielle Bradbery
Ed Sheeran
Lily Allen
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

And of course I have to mention the obligatory this may be the quarter that Dr. Dre finally releases Detox.