Friday, February 08, 2008

Consolidated Music Picks for 2006-2008

Feb 5, 2008

Until June - this band was unexpected for me. Brown took a break from the studio and I was bored, so I went through iTunes of bands that he had been asked to work with or he had worked with (interesting I got to hear some Mercy Me demos before they were real songs...very nice). One such band was Until June. Apparently he wasn't as much asked to work with them as asked to give them some advice. Anyway, he had 3 songs in iTunes and I thought they were pretty cool, so I bought the album on iTunes the next day and literally have listened to nothing else until today. On my trip to Tulsa, I listened to them the entire way there and back. It's catchy, well-written brit-pop/rock. They have shades of Coldplay and Keane, but to me their stuff has too much great guitar work to be truly compared to those bands. One of the first CDs in a while that I listen to every song and love every one. You need to check these guys out -

Chasen - these guys are from Greenville, SC. I've played in the same circles as them for a while, and we played a couple of shows together. They've been working on their debut for a long time now - they're singed to OMG, a local label in Greenville that Edwin McCain has a hand in - and they've finally finished it. I got a copy from my radio promoter (who is also their radio promoter) and I was blown away. The last time I saw them, they were not capable of putting out what they put out now, even with studio tricks. They have improved greatly, they have a top 10 CHR hit under their belt now and another song that's going up the AC charts. They're gonna be big. So check them out:

Civil Twilight - This band reminds me of my favorite things about bands like Coldplay, U2 and Muse, with shades of Radiohead, perhaps. Great songs, great performances and great voice. Very Brit-rock. This is one of those bands that, given the chance, could be one of the more influential bands of our time. They're that good. You can actually download their album for free at However, I would encourage you, if you enjoy the album to go back and buy it for something.

Air Traffic - just discovered these guys...very Brit-pop/rock. They have great hooks and it's all piano based, so I think you'll enjoy it's a little more laid back then some of the other bands listed here.

September 27, 2007

Here's some new music for you to check out that's been burning a hole in my iPod.

FROU FROU - "Details"

Frou Frou is an electro-pop band that features vocalist Imogen Heap and producer/arranger Guy Sigsworth. If you like Bjork you will LOVE Frou Frou. Imogen Heap has a voice that I can't get's incredible. And the songs on this album are some of the best-written songs I've heard in a while. The setting is very electro...programmed drums, keyboards, well...programmed pretty much everything. The sounds programmed, though, are what sets the music apart from other wanna-be electro pop music...Guy Sigsworth knows how to put together a beatiful soundscape. Seriously, buy this album today. You will NOT be disappointed.


Brandi Carlile is one of the few female artists that I really enjoy. For some reason (my guess is b/c I can't sing along as easy) I don't really enjoy female artists as much as male artists. I have to get past my want to sing along with the music for something very special to really enjoy female-driven music. Frou Frou & Imogen Heap give me that incredible voice with gorgeous musical setting. Sheryl Crow gives me that voice and such great songs. Brandi Carlile is like Sheryl. She's a fantastic songwriter and her voice is a special voice. I hear hints of Sheryl, but the power of Janis Joplin. She rocks but in a very classic sort of way. Her music is mostly acoustic-based, most of it is quiet and reflective, but Brandi's voice is striking.

MAT KEARNEY - "Nothing Left to Lose"

Okay, so I've been watching a lot of "Grey's Anatomy" lately. They play a lot of Mat Kearney music. I had downloaded "Nothing Left to Lose" the song, but after listening to clips decided to not buy the album. Then I heard like 5 songs on the show that I really liked, so I buckled and bought the whole record (side note: it's awesome that on iTunes if you buy 1 song then decide to buy the whole record, it'll take .99 off the price...good job Steve Jobs!). I was not disappointed. It also reminded me that, though 30 second clips allow you to get a basic idea of the song, it doesn't really give you everything you need to make an informed decision. So, this album is part acoustic folk singer/songwriter, part rap (over acoustic folk singer/songwriter) and, weirdly enough, part Bruce Springsteen (yeah I know, but vocally Mat has Bruce moments, in my opinion) it's an interesting mix of influences. I think you'll enjoy the taut songwriting that Mat writes.

PSAPP - "The Only Thing I Ever Wanted"

Okay, so as I said, I've watched a lot of Grey's Anatomy. Well, you know the them song with the cool electro clicks and's a band called Psapp. So, I bought the theme song and liked it, so I took a chance and bought their latest album. And it was worth it. Psapp is similar to Bjork or Frou Frou in that it is electro-pop, but it uses more real instruments, acoustic instruments, so it's an interesting take on electro pop. The voice of Galia Durant isn't quite as interesting as Bjork's or Imogen's, so this isn't quite as high a recommendation as those artists, but the music and vocals are quirky and interesting enough that you should check this band out.

September 1, 2007

VHS or Beta - okay, so the other night at about 1:30 in the morning, Phil, Kendra, Sarah and I went out to get dessert and hang out and talk. Phil needed to get some Eagle's records for some reason or another (I've stopped asking with Phil - when he wants music, he gets it...ask him about his iTunes bill), so we went to Virgin Megastore Times Square. I decided to see if there were any cool albums on sale and Sarah found me a few Beatles t-shirts, which was cool.

As we were leaving, suddenly a song came on, and I stopped everyone and said, "I have to get this record." Phil told me to go ask who it was so, 10 minutes later a kind employee (after some research) found out who it was and I went and bought the album. I have listened to it almost non-stop for 3 days now. It is fantastic.

The band is VHS or Beta. The album is Bring On the Comets. The song that stopped me in the store is the title song.

This band is freaking incredible. You MUST check them out. They have an anthemic, arena quality to them that no one has really pulled off in a while, outside of U2. Where Coldplay's last record and the Killer's last record failed, these guys succeed. Ranging from synthy pop/rock to straight out anthemic rock, these guys seriously kick butt. They write great songs and they play great together.

Pianos, synths, incredible guitars and interesting vocals take this album from being a good record to being a must-have, in my humble opinion. So you must have it. Go check it out. Then pull out your credit card and buy it. Then write it off on taxes as a work expense.

I think this is my favorite record since MuteMath.

So, check it out.

August 11, 2007

Okay, so one of my favorite bands right now is a band called Mae. Great, great modern rock/pop band...they write great songs and really try to do things in a new and interesting way. This tuesday, 8/14 they have a record Singularity coming out. They recently moved from Tooth and Nail Records to Capitol Records, and their record was produced by Howard Benson, who produced Daughtry's album. I think you guys will love this album. They actually have all the songs up on their myspace for you to listen to, so go check them out -

Anyway, Tuesday, go buy this record or buy it on will not be dissapointed. I just finished listening to the entire record and it is a GREAT record.

You've been given the the door.

June 8, 2007

- or music that is currently filling the creative vacuum created by the last several months (because I was incredibly busy)

MuteMath - Self-titled debut

Muse - Absolution

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

My Chemical Romance - Black Parade

Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long

Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight

Mono - Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined

Sigur Ros - Takk

Sigur Ros - ( )

Radiohead - OK Computer

Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Explosions in the Sky - The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

May 21, 2007

So here's some new music I've been listening to. While I was on the show I simply didn't have time to listen to a lot of music, and new music is my creative lifeblood, so it has been awesome to discover some new stuff.

1) HELLOGOODBYE - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

This band is really cool. They basically take synth pop to a different level for me. If you like the Killers but want a little less rock, these guys might be cool for you - they really are just awesome synth/dance pop. Very cool.

2) Circleslide - Uncommon Days

This band used to be called the Gabe Martinez band...Gabe and I met at a festival a while back and got to be friends, back before they got signed. They were the best unsigned band I've ever seen and their debut LP doesn't dissapoint. It is awesome! Great U2 meets Bruce Springsteen meets Coldplay kind of vibe.

3) Maroon5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long

I love the first fact, Matt Wallace is one of the producers that I would love to have the chance to work with if I can. This album the 5 decided not to use Matt. I think the album sounds really great and it has some of their best songs. I'm not a huge fan of the 80's funk/pop vibe that several of the songs have, but overall this album is a great album. There are going to be some huge hits - Adam Levine knows how to write great hooks. I give this album props.

4) RelientK - Five Score and Seven Years Ago

I have never been a HUGE fan of RelientK - the lyrics were always a little cutesy for me. But this album Matt Thiessen, the lead singer and main songwriter, really turned it around for me. He wrote some freaking great songs and some great hooks. Capitol has dropped the ball on promoting this one, 'cause there are some huge hits that aren't getting airplay.

5) Sherwood - A Different Light

This is a band in the same vein as Sugarcult, Relient K or Switchfoot - power pop with pop/punk influences. These guys are on myspace Records I think. The album sounds a little small, but overall the songs are really, really great. The band writes great hooks.

So, go check out these 5 artists.

October 8, 2006

Music you should like....

- Or renounce your relevance

I first heard this band while I was up in Nashville in January (during the fated trip that broke up the old version of Half Past Forever). And I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed. This band is literally the most over-the-top talented band that I have heard come out in the last 10 years. I mean, there is literally nothing like them out there that is current, outside of a band like Dreamtheater or Opeth or other metal bands that take way too much thought to even enjoy.

The album that I have really gotten into is the album Absolution. From start to finish this is one of the best albums that has come out in years. Every song is amazing and is complex and is lyrically smart. I mean, I don't know how much more I can say about this album. I also think that Absolution is the easiest to get into of the 3 that have been released in the U.S. (Origin of Symmetry & Black Holes and Revelations being the other 2).

The band writes catchy pop songs while using medievil and romantic classical chord progressions. It's crazy, and if you are like me, it will take you a while to be able to digest their music. It's just so different than any pop/rock out there right now. The lead singer/guitarist's voice is hard to take (at first) in large doses, so it may take some time to make it through an entire album, but if you are like me, soon you listen to Absolution almost constantly.

Read the album review I posted earlier and it should tell you exactly why you need to listen to this band. Their music, like Muse's, is fresh and interesting without quite being self-indulgent. They write great pop songs that you can sing along with without writing cheese.

Ray LaMontagne
Ray LaMontagne has a great story (he was a working stiff who decided one day that he wanted to be a songwriter) but writes even greater songs. His debut Trouble is amazing from start to finish, and should be your starting point with this singer/songwriter. His music is definitely squarely in the acoustic singer/songwriter genre (his album was produced by Ethan Johns of Ryan Adams Gold fame) and he has the feel of a newer, better Van Morrison. He has a sweet raspy quality to his voice and his songs of addiction, love and heartbreak resonate with anyone who listens.

This band has been a favorite of mine since their debut in 2001. They are from Canada, now displaced to Nashville, and they have just put out their third record. Start off with their self-titled is still to this day one of my favorite albums of all time. Jason Germain and Marc Martel trade off lead vocals. Germain's voice is deep and resonant and is a little easier to listen to, but Martel is the star of this band. Martel's vocals a reminiscent of Freddie Mercury and a little Kevin Max, and he handles the duties of being a front man extremely well. Their new album, though very squarely in the CCM genre, still hits hard where it needs to hit and is a great album.

Gnarls Barkley
I know, I know you didn't take me for being a hip-hopper, but this music is different. This band, or group, or whatever it is is made of former Goodie Mobb member C-LO and DJ Danger Mouse (who is best known for the mash up album he did of Jay-Z's black album and the Beatle's white album appropriately titeld The Grey Album). This music is pure pop R&B joy, but there's something deeper than that. Both of the members of the band are fantastic musicians and writers, and the whole album is an experiment on one-upping each other. And they did a great job, putting together one of the better albums of this year with St. Elsewhere. "Crazy" has been a huge hit, but the album is shock full of great songs.

Imogen Heap
Imogen has an interesting story. She started off as a solo artist and actually saw some success in Europe. Then she took a position as the lead singer of pop/techno group Frou Frou and saw a great deal of success with the band. Then she went solo again, and her new album is critically and commercially acclaimed. She has been featured on such hip music spots as The O.C. and One Tree Hill on television and her music has been licensed all over films. Her music is one of a kind and her voice is one of the more interesting voices I've heard in a while. Her stuff is definitely in the euro-pop arena, but it's well produced, sounds good, and she stays away from some of the pop conventions that make that genre a little crappy.

Great band from South Carolina. See the review I did of their album.

August 4, 2006

New Music I've discovered....

-or music that you should check out because I recommend it
-or music that you listen to if you are cool

Here is a short list of some new music, as well as a short description of what the music is.

This is a band from Australia that sounds like Led Zeppelin came back to life and wrote catchier songs. The riffery and blazing guitar skills, as well as the tight rhythm section give the listener the distinct feeling that they have been transported back to 1968. The only negative to this band is the same negative I have with Zep...the lead singer's voice CAN become a little annoying after about 7 songs.

Jack's Mannequin
The story of this band is a little interesting. The lead singer is part of the popular underground group Something Corporate. He decided to do something a little different with his side project band and started Jack's Mannequin actually as a solo project. As this project was being completed the lead singer found out he had acute lukemia and underwent chemotherapy, losing his hair as he was going through all the promotional stuff for the album. The album has a hit single in "The Mixed Tape" and fans are starting to embrace the band. Overall, the songs are all catchy, piano rock/pop. As a warning...this is not Ben Folds, but if you like Ben Folds at his rocking best, you will love this band. The piano is used mainly as a rhythm and percussive instrument here, but when it comes to the forefront it is exhilerating. The only negative with this one is that the lead singer's voice is a lot like Ben's - you either love it or hate it.

Panic! At the Disco
Panic! at the Disco is actually one of my favorite new finds. I am really enthralled by bands like Fall Out Boy who can take the punk & hardcore elements and make really catchy pop songs while still holding onto their punk cred. Panic! is similar to Fall Out Boy, but with more jazz and electronic influences. Panic! really has some great stuff. The negative with this guys is that their lyrics can, at time, be a bit ribald, and there are several misses in their attempt to be musically different...but overall, this band is great.

The Fray
This band is what I refer to as a "chill" band. Their music is really, really good, and they have a huge hit right now with "Over My Head (Cable Car)", but for the most part their music is the kind of music you like to put on while your driving or working on the computer. The songs are very well written and put together, but it's the kind of music that you don't have to listen to in order to enjoy, if that makes sense. It's just great music to chill to.

I have actually known about these guys for a while, but you need to know about them. The band is from Detroit, MI and are an indie band. They actually worked with the same producer Half Past Forever used up in Nashville. Their CD is doing very well independently and they are starting to make a great name for themselves and they deserve it. You can check them out at

So, now you know the music you need to check out...and knowing is half the battle for coolness.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I love so many of those.