aaaaaaaArtist: Kid Cudi (ft. Ratatat)

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Released: September 15, 2009

Label: Universal Motown Records

I have been following Ratatat for some years now and they are one of the most under appreciated entities in rock, hip hop, and electronic circles.  Kid Cudi is an up and coming rapper who has a knack for melody as well as some really lyrically intriguing material.  A rare combination in the rap industry.  Ratatat’s two mixtapes have created a lot of commotion in the online community and their production skills are unquestionable.  They also produced Kid Cudi’s hit “Pursuit of Happiness,” which will no doubt achieve an “overplayed” status soon enough.

This track does not include MGMT, who are almost more of a distraction than they are a worthy addition to “Pursuit of Happiness.”  “Alive” is less catchy vocally than the aforementioned hit, but it is bass heavy, melodic though dark, and practically hypnotic.  It is everything I would expect from producer/musicians like Ratatat and increases my interest in Kid Cudi.  His will be an exciting career to follow.  Now listen.

Artist: Santigold

Album: Santogold

Released: April 2008

Label: Downtown Records

I think I have found my weakness as of late. Pop music. Granted the “pop” music is not as popular as Billboard top 100 but I do feel that much of it is based on those lyrics and hooks that pop music was born with. Anyway the song that I has been stuck in my head is no exception. Santigold’s Lights Out is catchy and I dare you to listen to it just once.

I’ll be honest, I am not the biggest fan of Santigold, I dismissed her as a record label’s attempt to jump on the M.I.A. bandwagon of woman singers who dress crazy. A few of her other songs I just can’t get into. However this song is very good.

Anyway check out the song, its crazy good, almost as crazy as the video.

Out of the Blue

Artist: Electric Light Orchestra

Album: Out of the Blue

Released: November 1977

Label: Columbia

So my lack of dedication to this blog has been quite substantial however I would like to make up for it by returning with some new songs and albums to show off. I’ll be taking the plunge with a song that I have been enamored with for the past few days. ELO’s (Electronic Light Orchestra) Sweet Talkin’ Woman is one of my favorite more poppy songs by the Group. If you have never heard of Jeff Lynne (singer, guitarist and chief song writer) now is your chance. All of your favorite ELO tunes, you have them even if you don’t know you do, were written by Lynne. Tangent: Lynne was also in an 80’s supergroup called The Traveling Wilburys which included some good company being that Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison were all making sweet music babies together but I digress.

Sweet Talkin’ Woman came on to my FM the other day and it inspired me to buy ELO’s Greatest Hits; I know a greatest hits, how daring. But nevertheless after one listen I needed that song at my fingertips. Coming off of the 1977 Out of the Blue among many other singles off of the album. The song itself uses effects on vocals better than Cher or Kanye ever did and like all ELO songs the string section adds so much. But what really gets me each time I listen to the song is the chord progression. Well, don’t take my word for it here is a live version with all of ELO’s hair glory.

12424-we-are-beautiful-we-are-doomedArtist: Los Campesinos!

Album: We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Released: 2008

Label: Wichita Recordings

N. Smith has been rather busy of late, so I’m hijacking his usual feature. Today’s Song of the Week comes from a spastic indie rock group out of Wales. The sound of Los Campesinos! is Architecture in Helsinki meets the Shout Out Louds meets the Arctic Monkeys. The group consists of seven members who play surprisingly conventional instruments aside from the glockenspiel (Gareth Campesinos!). Translator’s note: Los Campesinos means “The Peasants” or (“The Farmers” in Spanish).

“We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is the title track for their second album and features an intro of synthesizer combined backed by some slick percussion on the part of (). After the guitars creep in minimal strings emerge and the singer starts to kick out the first verse. The singer’s second line is corny sounding enough to make the listener grimace, but is immediately followed by “As you squint and you grimace, we both know your heart’s not in it,” which may just be lampshading, but is never-the-less effective. The speaker is “trying to be sexy” and his feeble attempts at it seem to make him increasingly disillusioned. A harsh message for all you hopeful romantics out there, but well delivered.

The verses display his “realist” views, but the chorus retains a raw emotion throughout the entire song. The singer’s half spoken verses vary the style and the shouting choruses build until the song explodes with all the instruments pounding. If you have trouble understanding the lyrics, by all means Google them — it’ll be worth it. Have a listen:

For the official single “You! Me! Dancing!” off their first album, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj6SO_yKMe8

empireofthesun

Artist: Empire of the Sun

Album: Walking on a Dream

Released: October 4, 2008

Label: EMI

 

I have listened to this song so many times it became funny again after it wasn’t even funny. Empire of the Sun is a collaboration between two guys I have never heard of (Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore) from a country I have never heard of (Australia). Their album “Walking on a Dream” captured my attention due to the album cover’s awesomeness, horribleness, what have you, either way the cover got my attention. On many occasions the cover means nothing to me; many album covers are covers that only mothers could love, this one comes to mind. But that doesn’t mean the music is horrible.

To make a long story shorter, I looked up Empire of the Sun and liked what I heard. There are some great tracks on the album; most notable being “We Are the People” and “Half Mast” but the song that got my booty shakin’ and quakin’ was the title track, “Walking on a Dream.” It is catchier than an addicting substance sipped through a crazy straw.

I don’t want to compare the duo to MGMT but it is easy to do so even if their music is not necessarily that similar. Empire of the Sun’s songs are electronic but have too much guitar to be electronic, you know what I mean? You don’t? Well than just listen to the song.

wolfgang-amadeus2

Artist: Phoenix

Album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Released: May 25, 2009

Label: Glassnote

 

 

I, like many viewers watching Saturday Night Live on April 4th, was unaware of a French rock group by the name of Phoenix. Apparently these dudes have been playing music for over a decade and most of it is very listenable, much of it being categorized as alternative, electronic and dance. Anyway, that fateful Saturday night has now given me a song that has been stuck in my head for a few days now. “1901″ is the hit single off Phoenix’s latest effort, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” which will be hitting stores in the colonies May 26. The song is upbeat, toe-tappin’ and overall very lighthearted, which is a mood that I am always on the hunt to find new songs to satisfy. If you are in an economically stimulating mind frame, then head on over iTunes where there is a four song EP for sale which also includes “Lisztomania,” the second song Phoenix played on Saturday Night Live, which is also very good. If not, here is the video of the performance, or the album version.