Friday, September 26, 2008

From A to C no B.

Originally, I had planned to write a review on the new Punchline album, Just Say Yes. I will leave it at this…. I Say Maybe. Better than 37 Everywhere but not as magical as Action, Punchline delivers an enjoyable album both with moments of musical genius and confusion. But hey! Sobasli is actually hitting notes instead of splattering them and you have the give the band props for not only releasing the album DIY but starting their own label as well! Watch the video and LOL a little bit.

I decided to move on to a more pressing matter- the economy. Fabtastic say what? Hear me out! Flipping through my television last night (after watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, of course) I landed on one of my favorite channels, CNN (The History Channel and Bravo beat it out). This morning I visited their site, as is my routine, and continued to follow the Wall Street damage and credit crisis plaguing the US right now…. And spreading worldwide.

The first thing to go in times of economic crisis are the arts. I am not only talking about funding for programs in schools and communities either. With gas pricing rising, inflation, and the devaluation of the dollar, it is becoming increasingly difficult for bands to survive touring. Due to the decline in record sales, labels have started turning to 360 deals to recoup the money they invest in artists; meaning that even some signed bands are even having trouble making ends meet during/after tour. Now is the time for fans to prove how much we love the music. Musicians need their fans more than ever. BUY CDs. GO to shows. BUY merch. I am not saying spend all your money on these bands, but instead of pouring money into a greedy Fortune 500 company put it back into the hands of the artists that you believe in. If you don’t support them, they can't make the music you love! Demand your schools keep their art programs! Refuse to let the drama department be dissolved while the basketball team gets new uniforms!


Because if you don’t….. who will?

Just saying..... yes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This Quilt Won't Unravel

DING DING!. Turn off whatever you are listing to. It is Gym Class time. And here come your Heroes with The Quilt.

Each song on this album is an individual square on a winter project patchwork bundle of warmth. Distinctively different but completely coherent, every tune matches it's predecessor while leaving it miles behind. From 80s poprock ("Papas Song") to reggae swag ("Blinded By the Sun") to ballad fused hip hop "Fly With Me," this album is diverse and shows the bands artistic progression.

The harmonies and melodies on The Quilt are nothing short of phenomenal and supercede what any other hiphop group out there is doing. Singing, rapping and sometimes right in the middle of the two Travis, Erik, and Disashi are changing the face of not only hiphop but indie rock as well. Disashi wails on the guitar with siq guitar solos, Erik breaks down on bass, and Matt is a little drummer boy beating out his heart. Tyler and Dan keep the melodies alive on the keyboards making the band a…. REAL band. You won't find any back tracks here.

Laced with celebrity cameos (e.g. Daryll Hall to Busta Rhymes) GCH is solidifying their now "baller" status. Indie collaboration is also the name of the game with underground sensations such as the Icelandic beauty Patti Crash from Philly on '"Drnk Txt Rmeo" and the rising star Estelle on the opening track "Guilty As Charged."

Lyrically, Travis has left behind the self deprecation of The Papercut Chronicles and the self realization of As Cruel As School Children to arrive at an album full of stories, jokes, fights, love, and heartache (getting the quilt reference a little bit more now?). There is a song for everyone and every situation. And wit has not been spared.

The stand out jam on The Quilt is "Don't Tell Me It”s Over" where Travis lays out how he fells about all the "haters" (to the leeeeeft). Lyrically outstanding and straight up hiphop you can feel the passion in his voice and the intensity in the bassline.

What do I think of this album? Travis says it best for me:
"One hit wonder, my ass. What are you talking about? Let them keep blogging trash, I'ma take the garbage out."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Secret Lovers Singing Covers

Other people write on this blog besides Dan! No! Really! I'm just going to ignore the fact that I've been slacking in my blogging and get right into it.

Cover songs.

I have such a love/hate relationship with them.

I know, I know, every band at some point in their career do a cover song. They're fun and a great way to get the crowd excited at shows. But I feel like 75% of cover songs are just awful. Here are some examples of the kind of cover songs released as singles that make me want to kill myself:

1. The cover song that sounds exactly like the original song.
So, you want to cover a song, do ya? Well, be sure to put NO original spin on it whatsoever! Especially if it was a huge hit--if it worked then, it'll work for a whole new audience now! This is the one that bothers me the most. Bring something new to the table! We want to hear what your band could do with it, not what's been done already (and probably better) the first time around.

2. The cover song that is just tragically horrificly badly done.
I'm talking embaressingly done. It always happens to be of an incredible song, too. Look, there are some artists that are just untouchable for me. Step away from the Bowie...slowly.

3. The ever-popular "ironic" cover song.
"I'm an artist that isn't really hardcore, so I'm going to cover a really hardcore rap/metal song and make it more my style, oh man I am just so crazy bananas!"

But see, then these amazing artists do these amazing covers and I'm left loving covers again. Let's talk about them!

Scissor Sisters - Comfortably Numb

Comfortably Numb - Scissor Sisters

I realize that this song is breaking one of the big three rules (covering a super popular classic), but I don't even care. Truthfully, I HATED this song when I first heard it (and truthfully, I can't stand the original version. College pothead friends kind of ruined it with overplaying). Then, slowly but surely, it grew on me until this was one of the songs I was looking forward to the most when I saw them live the first time. And they KILLED IT. I felt like I was on another planet...They manage to make it completely different while still retaining a very unsettling feel.

Nine Inch Nails - Get Down Make Love

Get Down Make Love - Nine Inch Nails

Of course I included NIN, yes I AM predictable, shut up. Queen is another one of those "untouchable" artists to me, but I've loved this cover since the first time I heard it. Two totally different sounds. They don't do this one live anymore, but they used to--and there are some GREAT videos on YouTube of them performing it. Plus I just like to hear Trent say "You want my body, I give you heat. You say you're hungry, I give you meat."

...shut up, just...shut up.

Cat Power - I Found a Reason

I found a reason - Cat Power

Original song was by Velvet Underground, and I'm hesitant to say that I PREFER this version but....I prefer this version. Argh, no wait, I can't decide. They're both so good. I love her voice on this track and how it makes me feel like I've been punched in the gut, in a good way. That's right, at the end of the day, I'm still a girl who is suckered into emotional chick-on-piano ballads.

Mark Ronson and the Daptone Horns - God Put a Smile On Your Face

God Put A Smile Upon Your Face - Mark Ronson Feat. The Daptone Horns

Wow. When I first heard this song I couldn't pinpoint the cover...I KNEW it was a cover, but couldn't figure out who it was! Once it clicked I was very surprised--mostly because I avoid Coldplay (sorry, Coldplay, but I'm pretty sure you've put out the same record 4 times). This version gave me an appreciation for it I never had before, so there you go, Chris Martin. I want to rollerblade to this song. And yes, I realize how lame that sounds.

That's it! There are many more covers I'm into, but I think this is a good mix. Why haven't any death metal bands covered Disney songs yet? I feel this would be excellent. If these exist, someone tell me. I demand a bearded, tattooed man screaming the lyrics to "Prince Ali." Seriously.