First we had Kiss…now we have Kisses. And even though it’s the plural form of the word, there’s actually half the amount of members in the band. On their sophomore release Kids in L.A., the band has been heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis’ iconic novel, Less Than Zero. The whole album plays like a tribute to the Ellis’ Bible of teenage malaise. The lyrics follow the exploits of characters who were seemingly ripped from the parties where Ellis’ characters played, while the music feels caked in 80s syrup. It’s a dark peppy ride toward a teenager’s rite to immaturity. Fun but grim.
Check out a remix of their new song The Hardest Part.
Buy Kids in LA by Kisses now!!!
This week saw the announcements of two highly anticipated upcoming releases. On SNL this weekend, Kanye West previewed two new tracks from his new album, while on Monday, Microsoft announced that their new console, Xbox One, was coming soon. When Kanye first went solo, he was considered a better producer than a rapper. It’s like he knew that. Since then on every album he’s upped his rap game along with his studio production…as if his inferiority complex has compelled to be the best in the rap game. At the same time, when Microsoft introduced their first game console, they were going up against major players with the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo. Both consoles seemed unstoppable and Microsoft was predicted to be a nothing more than a novelty in a couple of years. But Microsoft took up the gauntlet and took the Xbox from rookie hype to team leader. Sometimes in order to be the best you have to start on the bottom and fight your way up. There’s nothing like proving your the best in the game than beating out everyone in your path to get there.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By The National:
- Conversation 16 (High Violet)
- Mistaken For Strangers (Boxer)
- Slipping Husband (Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers)
- Anyone’s Ghost (High Violet)
- Bloodbuzz Ohio (High Violet)
- Brainy (Boxer)
- Think You Can Wait (Think You Can Wait)
- Available (Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers)
- So Far Around The Bend (Dark Was The Night)
- Terrible Love (High Violet)
- John’s Star (The National)
For 15 years, Daft Punk has redefined dance music, setting the bar so high…it seems like they’re the only ones who can top themselves. This weeks Daft Punk’s new album once again redefines their genre. The style of the new album incorporates their signature sound along with guest stars from alternative rock, hip-hop and funk. It’s a like a bouillabaisse of everything was great, thrown together to create something new. As their new era dawns, their previous era comes to a dark close. Their song “One More Time,” from 2001′s Discovery features a prominent house DJ, Romanthony from New Jersey. This past week, he passed away from kidney failure. This is considered by many to be one of the greatest EDM dance songs of all time. If not the best. (Yeah, I know it’s only number 2 on this list…but let’s not discuss that). It’s certainly not the way the duo would want to open their guest-heavy return…but in a way, it helps remind us of the guests that helped them get here in the first place.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By Daft Punk:
- Something About Us (Discovery)
- One More Time (Discovery)
- Robot Rock (Human After All)
- Digital Love (Discovery)
- Human After All (Human After All)
- Da Funk (Homework)
- Face To Face (Discovery)
- Aerodynamic (Discovery)
- Television Rules the Nation (Human After All)
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Discovery)
- Around The World (Homework)
Today’s big music news finds Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre donating 70 million to USC to start a new school for the ever changing music, technology and business industry. As noble of an effort as this is and extremely commendable, I wonder if it hinders progress. Hear me out. Dr. Dre and Iovine are major innovators in the field of music. They didn’t go to school to learn how to be ground breaking, they taught themselves through being on the front lines. And though there are a slew of cutting edge bands that have ties to college and art school (Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, MGMT, Pavement) it seems like the most successful route to becoming a musical innovator is by living in the trenches as a struggling musician for years and paying your dues (Eminem, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, The Black Keys, The Beatles, and N.W.A.) I’m not saying this isn’t a positive thing…it is. I guess my question is can great music be taught or is it learned?
Here are the 11 Best Songs By Small Black:
- Photojournalist (New Chain)
- Search Party (New Chain)
- Despicable Dogs (Small Black EP)
- Love’s Not Enough (Moon Killer Mixtape)
- New Chain (New Chain)
- Moon Killer (Moon Killer Mixtape)
- Two Rivers (Moon Killer Mixtape)
- Crisp 100s (New Chain)
- Sun Was High (Photojournalist)
- Camouflage (New Chain)
- Sunday Son (Moon Killer Mixtape)
Buy Small Black’s new album, Limits of Desire…now!!
Read an interesting article that the “foodie craze” is killing the “music industry.” They don’t give a lot of proof of that and basically correlate that it’s happening is as the food truck craze has risen, album sales have decreased. Besides that not actually being true…there is a similarity between the two groups. There is a rock star like quality behind some of the best food trucks. Big foodies are always on the search for the next big thing…and it’s really important that they get to it before their friends. If they do, then it’s even more important that they be the one to introduce their friends to the new food establishment. People will wait hours to get a taste of a spicy ramen dish or a Mexican falafel or a latke taco. T-shirts for niche restaurants are becoming popular…but only if you went there. I saw one guy get ridiculed for wearing a Kogi shirt and had no idea what that was. Can you imagine…foodie bullies?! Food trucks are definitely the punk rock of restaurants and if you’re don’t have Mojo Nixon…then your store could use some cajun fixins…with a side of pig brain mayo (that’s a real thing…I’ve had it…and it’s delicious).
Here are the 11 Best Songs By Vampire Weekend:
- M79 (Vampire Weekend)
- I Stand Corrected (Vampire Weekend)
- Giving Up The Gun (Contra)
- Oxford Comma (Vampire Weekend)
- Holiday (Contra)
- A-Punk (Vampire Weekend)
- Jonathan Low (Twilight: Eclipse)
- Horchata (Contra)
- Ladies of Cambridge (Mansard Roof)
- Walcott (Vampire Weekend)
- Giant (Contra Bonus Track)
Buy Vampire Weekend’s new album, Modern Vampires of the City…now!
Up until this week, I thought Benghazi was that good BBQ place across the way from the Jungle Boat ride at Disneyland. Turns out I was wrong. I’ve been reading up on the whole Benghazi situation and I think I’ve learned what the biggest threat to the American government is….it’s the American government! Now I’m not trying to say the whole situation is Obama’s fault, not his fault, that there’s a conspiracy or not a conspiracy…leave that to the non-music bloggers. What I find interesting…is that no matter what anyone does in government…there’s always someone out there who considers that person to be the worst thing to ever happen to this country and that there very existence threatens the foundations of America Eight years ago it was George Bush, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Condi Rice…then it was John McCain, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. Now it’s Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. For some reason, it’s like people thrive on finding someone to blame for all of America’s problems…as if it’s ever one person’s fault. Because if it’s someone else’s fault then it can’t be theirs.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Dixie Chicks:
- Goodbye Earl (Fly)
- Not Ready To Make Nice (Taking The Long Way)
- If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me (Fly)
- There’s Your Trouble (Wide Open Spaces)
- Tonight the Heartache’s On Me (Wide Open Spaces)
- Travelin’ Soldier (Home)
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Fly)
- Wide Open Spaces (Wide Open Spaces)
- Landslide (Home)
- Top Of The World (Home)
- Ready To Run (Fly)
Buy Natalie Maines new solo album, Mother…now!!
David Bowie released a new video this week for his song, The Next Day. It’s your basic Priests in a sex club, prostitutes, blood squirting everywhere, Gary Oldman-starred, music video. Who hasn’t made a video like this? I think Amy Grant made like three of them. I get that the video is mildly offensive but it’s also making an artistic statement, whether you agree that the statement has validity or not. I’m not saying that art always is accurate when questioning morality or religion or politics but it should have the right to ask these questions without the fear of being censored. What is most surprising about this is that YouTube of all places has banned the video. I’m assuming that they’re doing it because of the anti-Christian statement…or possible because of the blood? But has YouTube seen the type of videos that are currently up on YouTube. A basic search turns up 380,000 anti-Jewish videos, 494,000 anti-Muslim videos, and 446,000 anti-Christian videos. Why is the line drawn at David Bowie? Madonna’s Like a Prayer is up there on the Warner Bros channel. Okay, so maybe it’s the blood… But then again, I found over 100,000 compilations featuring violent clips from Taratino movies, the Biting Elbows music video that opens with a guy getting shot in the head, and a compilation of all the bloody scenes from the first 5 Saw movies. But again, David Bowie is where you draw the line? I guess even at 66, David Bowie is still too cutting edge for our parents.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By Noah and The Whale:
- Give It All Back (Last Night On Earth)
- Jocasta (Peaceful the World Lays Me Down)
- Stranger (The First Days of Spring)
- Just Before We Met (Last Night On Earth)
- Shape of My Heart (Peaceful the World Lays Me Down)
- My Broken Heart (The First Days of Spring)
- If My Album Sold A Million (Presents The A Sides)
- Blue Skies (The First Days of Spring)
- Give a Little Love (Peaceful the World Lays Me Down)
- Black Cab (Presents The A Sides)
- I Have Nothing (The First Days of Spring)
There has been considerable uproar over Zach Braff’s use of Kickstarter to shoot his new movie. For some reason every one thinks that Kickstarter should not be for wealthy people and only for hard-working people. I’ve seen Kickstarters for many friends and associates. They make nothing. One friend was trying to purchase a lunch truck. He raised $2,400. He needed $25,000. Another friend was trying to raise money for his wedding. He was asking for $40,000. He got $7,600. I even had friend trying to fund a short film. He needed $35,000. He got…and I’m not making this up…$650. When our friends use it…they’re doing something for themselves and are just looking for our support. Yes, in theory it should be for the up-and-comers trying to pursue their dream…but that doesn’t always work.
On the flipside, when a celebrity uses Kickstarter, they’re offering a product that everyone will have the potential to enjoy. Rob Thomas offered a Veronica Mars movie that no studio would make. The only way for this to happen was with Kickstarter. Zach Braff can’t get the backing of a studio for his new project, so he’s asking the fans to step up and help him get it done. A lot of people are pointing out that Braff could just pay for it himself. Sure, but that’s possible…but that doesn’t work creatively. For filmmakers to succeed, you need to be beholden to a great source. They also need to know there’s an audience for this pic. If Braff put up his movie and no one bid…then he knows not to make. And if people want to give money…let them. They want to do it…who are we to stop them? Having the audience involved in the project is a good thing. That means Braff has to put up something good.
The last one to pay for his own movie so he could have complete control of the outcome…George Lucas and the new Star Wars trilogy.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By She & Him:
- Don’t Look Back (Volume Two)
- This Is Not A Test (Volume One)
- Over It Over Again (Volume Two)
- In The Sun (Volume Two)
- Sweet Darlin’ (Volume One)
- Thieves (Volume Two)
- Ridin’ In My Car (Volume Two)
- I Was Made For You (Volume One)
- Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? (Volume One)
- Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (500 Days of Summer)
- Lotta Love (Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?)
Buy She & Him’s new album, Volume 3…now!!
This six-piece neo-soul, blues, grunge x band out of Seattle falls somewhere between the rowdiness of the Black Keys and the intimate storm of the Cold War Kids while Robert Flack and Sam Cooke are blowing cool kisses from the corner of the room. Formed in 2008, they have just released their debut album this year after a series of vinyl 7-inches built their reputation. And let the music speak for itself.
Check them out here.
Buy Pickwick’s new album, Can’t Talk Medicine…now!
Fleetwood Mac may be most famous for their line-up featuring Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks but if their famous for anything else, it’s for their everchanging line-up. From Peter Green to Danny Kirwan to Bob Welch to Rick Vito to Billy Burnette to Bekka Bramlett to Dave Mason to line-ups with Christine Perfect then Christine McVie then minus her altogether then line-ups with Lindsey and Stevie to line-ups with Stevie without Lindsey to line-ups without either to line-ups with Stevie and Lindsey back. It’s hard to keep track. And we give Axl Rose a hard time. Even though Christine is probably my favorite Mac songwriter, this list is dedicated to the new tour, new EP and current line-up.
Here are the 11 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs Featuring Stevie Nicks:
- Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
- Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
- Seven Wonders (Tango In the Night)
- Dreams (Rumors)
- Sara (Tusk)
- Sisters of the Moon (Tusk)
- Gypsy (Mirage)
- Gold Dust Woman (Rumors)
- Thrown Down (Say You Will)
- Freedom (Behind the Mask)
- Not Make Believe (Say You Will Bonus Track)