Category Archives: Song reviews

BREAKING: Allie Finally Enters 2012

I think most of us would agree that electronic music is the type of tune-age that’s been gaining the biggest holding this year. It’s a genre that intimidates me. I really don’t know why, but until recently, I was utterly convinced that I was too uncool to like music with so much synth, music I might otherwise classify as “unnatural” or just not worthy of mentioning because I was sick of hearing it at sweaty parties. Thus, I tend to return to my safety blanket of favorite albums, most hailing from circa 2008.

Some anonymous promoter prompted me to decide that it was time to face my fear and listen to some frighteningly electronic music from 2012. About a month or two ago, I finally made the musical foray into this year – The Year of Electronic Music – thanks to an email that included the song “Ritual” by Blood Diamonds. I want to bow at the feet of Blood Diamonds – hell, I want to bow at the feet of the promoter who floods my radio inbox every week. I listen to this song non-stop. I know  n o t h i n g  about this kind of music, except that it is perfect.

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Another recent fix comes from Cherub, with “Doses and Mimosas.” A friend sent me this song during my radio show on Thursday, and even as I was playing Sharon Van Etten on air, I cranked the volume of this track in the studio and had a one-person dance party. I will never be able to decide how I think this compares to “Ritual,” but I will say that it prompted me to find Cherub’s entire discography.

The song starts a bit slow, but it becomes real amazing real fast.

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Left in the Dark by Feist’s “Graveyard” Video

I’ve spent a solid third of my life loving the music of Feist, the Canadian musician who I featured a few posts ago when it was just emotions taking me over. Until today, I’d been convinced that both as a solo musician and as a member of the larger collective of Broken Social Scene, Feist could do no wrong. She’s cool, smart, talented, and one of the queens of her genre, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent more than a few hours contemplating what it would be like to be her.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when we realize that the people over whom we geekily obsess can indeed do wrong. That time for me with Feist came earlier this morning, when I watched her new video for “Graveyard.”

On Pitchfork, Feist offers some explanation for the video, discussing the desolation and big-picture thoughts that accompany grief. I understand what she was going for; I’ve lost a number of people in my life, and I was pleased to read that she and the director chose not to interpret “Graveyard” so literally.

Yet when I actually watched the video, I was thrown off both by the cinematography and the connection the video was supposed to have with the song. I get that the stillness of the frames represents the stagnation that grief elicits, that the musicians popping into the scene as the song builds are like spirits or ghosts in a graveyard. Forgive my lack of cinematography vocabulary, but the sliding shots? The butterfly? The fuzzy quality of the video? Those elements make the piece seem all at once cliché and pretentious. It’s exactly the type of thing Pitchfork goes gaga for while the rest of the world tilts their collective heads sideways and thinks what the actual f*ck is even happening here?

Though clearly Feist and director Keith Megna weren’t aiming to gain the mass appeal of “1234,” this clip seems like a total cop-out. Call me crazy or a grandma or an uncultured square, but it looks more like a low-budget project for a film class than a professional music video.

What do you think? Am I totally missing the mark in my interpretation? Or are you also disappointed by “Graveyard”?

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Drop Electric – “Empire Trashed”

A few weeks ago, the members of DC-based Drop Electric emailed me through WGTB about doing an interview to promote their upcoming show at the 9:30 Club. We on the board find inboxes flooded with promotional emails every week, but for some reason, this one stood out to me. Their music is cinematic and uplifting and so very human. I think it’s officially categorized as experimental rock, but I would just call it epic rock, if that’s a thing.

“Empire Trashed” is a beautiful song with a wonderfully filmed music video. Drop Electric have so much going for them and a ton of potential, so I’m excited to see what comes next.

Catherine and Sydney from WGTB will be speaking with a couple of band members this evening. Keep an eye out for a feature on Drop Electric on georgetownradio.com this week.

AMPlifiability level: Somewhere between wanting to share this with my friends and with the world. It’s damn good, but I could see how it might be difficult for some people to understand.

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Three ways to make your Monday suck less.

It’s Monday. Back to reality, monotony, and the realization that your to-do list for the week seems longer than Luther’s 95 theses. In short, Mondays suck. But I have some ideas of how to make Mondays suck less.

These songs are not musically related at all, but they’re all feel-good tunes in their own right. Am I just crazy and afflicted by musical ADD? It’s possible. Give these songs a shot, and let me know what you think in the comments section.

1. U.S. Royalty – “Hollywood Hollows” – Edgy rock laced with guitars that will have you moving your hips for a solid 4:22. If you already know U.S. Royalty or just want to see a man who can really move it like Jagger, check out this live version.

from popstereo.blogspot.com

2. Huey Mack & Mike Stud – “School” – Weirdly enough, I have connections to both of these artists. Huey Mack was in my class circa grades 2-10 when I lived in West Virginia, and I’ve never met Mike Stud, but he’s a grad student at Georgetown. Not gonna lie, I had a hard time accepting a kid I played with at recess as a legitimate rapper, but I find this track both mature and catchy.

from thekollection.com

3. Michael Kiwanuka – “Bones” – Timeless, ridiculously talented, and classy. There’s a reason he toured with Adele. “I would leave this world alone/without you I’m just bones.” I didn’t think that anyone wrote lyrics like that anymore. My faith has been restored.

Image from cbc.ca

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Single tracking: Muse, Ellie Goulding, and K-pop

Those of us in college are currently quite busy with the start of classes and/or the accompanying free time before classes really start. Thus, I’ll keep it short and sweet in my post today, sticking just to singles.

Muse – “Madness”

A step-down from the oddity of their “Survival,” the official song of the London Olympics, Muse’s “Madness” is a calmer version of the dubsteppy sound the band has recently adopted. For me, nothing will ever compare to their 2003 album Absolution, which I will always consider one of the most magnificent musical works of all time, but for a band trying to take a new direction, “Madness” is a refreshingly understated way to do it.

Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen” 

As someone who has been a huge fan of Ellie for well over a year now, this single was a disappointment the first time I heard it. “Anything Could Happen” was overproduced, and that weird vocal sample beat thing at the beginning and throughout the song really threw me off. It was annoying and immature. But then, I did something I should do more often – I brought out the good headphones and listened. The experience was entirely different, and I could hear all the layers of the music – the production is more impressive than anything, and I don’t think I’d change it at all. I don’t know if this is fast enough to be a dance track whether Ellie was aiming for that. Either way, break out the good headphones or speakers, and give this track a shot.

Psy – “Gangnam Style”

If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, 1) you live under a rock, 2) change that. This is the weirdest but best song ever.

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