Wednesday, November 17, 2010

i L.O.V. Fitz and the Tantrums

It's easy for me to love Fitz and the Tantrums. And unless you dislike Motown, Soul, Indie Pop, the entirety of the 60's and the general sound of good music, you'll love them too. What's even better than their use of saxophone is their story - the classic culmination of hard work, a good product and great timing. Newly formed and virtually unheard of, the LA band had a fan in a tattoo artist from New York who happened to have Maroon 5's Adam Levine as a customer. When Adam heard their EP playing, he decided the unsigned and unknown Fitz and the Tantrums would be their opening act on their Fall 2009 tour. The rest is history.

Their album Pickin' Up The Pieces, released this past August, is sure to please with (my personal favorites) "MoneyGrabber", "Breakin' The Chains of Love", "Don't Gotta Work It Out", and "L.O.V."
Check out the band's website at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Key to Success

Originally from Akron, Ohio, this good ol' American blues/rock duo was formed almost 10 years ago and has since rendered eight studio releases. Their past two albums, Attack & Release and Brothers, yielded some undeniable hits for the pair and ascended The Black Keys to contender status.

With their countless commercial successes -- including song features on "Big Love," "Lie to Me," "One Tree Hill," "Entourage," "Sons of Anarchy," "Hung," The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, promos for "Gossip Girl" and "Dexter," and even a Lee's jeans commercial -- I'll bet that you know the Black Keys and you just don't realize it.

If you're looking for a sound reference, their indie, almost amateur garage sound is often compared to another successful rock duo- The White Stripes. Ultimately, though, it's hard to find a sound comparable to that of Dan and Patrick. My top 5? "Your Touch", "Tighten Up," "Strange Times," "Next Girl" and "The Only One."

Thanks, LM.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Dream of Sara

When I dream, I dream of Sara Jackson-Holman. And it's no wonder. With her delightful use of both staccato melodies and soothing undertones combined with her Adele-esque vocals, this is truly a must-hear album that is sure to become your Autumn soundtrack. Raised in Oregon, her music personifies the picturesque landscapes and natural qualities of her surroundings, and exudes a sound you just can't find on a coastline.

Entitled "When You Dream," her debut album was released this past May and exhibits a sound that is well beyond her 21 years. One of the most popular songs on the album, "Into the Blue" was featured on the season finale of ABC's "Castle" and immediately became the focus of music chat rooms nation-wide. Everyone wants to know more about this young Portland native with her mature style and ageless voice. And while I hesitate to make comparisons, she will undeniably be grouped with the soulful and spunky voices of Adele, A Fine Frenzy, Regina Spector and even Feist.

There is literally no bad song on this album, so it's hard to give my picks. But if I had to narrow it down, I'd say buy these tracks first: "Into the Blue," "When You Dream," "Come Back to Me," "Cellophane" and "California Gold Rush."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mum's the Word

If you're into that folk-rock, bluegrass sound of the Dropkick Murphys, you'll love Mumford and Sons. This band, led by front-man Marcus Mumford, hail from across the pond and embody that indie rock sound that I find most characteristic of Irish rock, utilizing instruments such as banjos, accordions and mandolins. What's even more unique than the band's sound is the members' ability to assume various roles, switching instruments during live shows in random rotation.

Their debut album Sigh No More was released in the States earlier this year following its release in the UK last fall. Visit their site and give their music a listen. My favorites? "Little Lion Man" and "The Cave."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh My, Milow

What's the best part of traveling abroad? Soaking up the culture. And when that culture involves a no-shame attitude toward showcasing the female anatomy, it's even more intriguing. Aside from their Belgian background and their fondness for outwardly sexual, tongue-in-cheek music videos, these two European artists also share a love of 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. While their version of this track didn't originally thrill me, I am absolutely enthralled by these versions of "Ayo Technology" by Milow and Katerine.

Katerine - Ayo Technology

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lovin' for Lissie

I can't remember how or when I first heard of Lissie, but somehow her music managed its way onto my iPod and became my pleasant surprise as it snuck into rotation during my early morning train ride. Her voice has officially become the theme of my commute, rocking me slowly in and out of consciousness in perfect rythym with the train. Regardless of the specifics of your commute, I guarantee you will find some place in your day in which Lissie's melodies fit your mood. Her sound is organic and honest; her voice is powerful but soothing. I instantly picture this midwest-turned-LA girl laying in a field, surrounded by sunflowers. I am totally aware that this post is quickly turning into my "hippie" moment, but I promise you'll get it when you give her music a listen.

As for my favorites, I am obsessed with "Little Lovin'" and "Everywhere I Go." Check out her MySpace page and let me know what you think of this fresh-faced girl next door...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Temper Trapped

Well I've fallen in love and his name is Dougie... and Jonathon and Lorenzo and Toby-- or as most people refer to them-- The Temper Trap. This alternative rock band from down under is gaining momentum overseas and, without a doubt, headed our way. I always did have a thing for Aussies...

For those of you on "the music scene," you may have seen them this past year at South by Southwest. For all of you film buffs, you may recognize their song "Sweet Disposition" (one of my favorites) from the movie 500 Days of Summer. And for the rest of you- hopefully you watch some type of television in which case you've probably heard them featured on everything from "90210," "Greek" and "The Vampire Diaries" to major Chrysler ad campaigns.

Not ringing a bell? Okay- do yourself a favor and download or youtube some of their stuff. I hear a lot of late 80's/ early 90's influence in their music- sounds like Radiohead, Prince and what reminds me of Q Lazzarus's "Goodbye Horses." Check out their MySpace page and give these tracks a listen. My picks are "Sweet Disposition," "Fader," "Science of Fear," "Love Lost," "Fools" and "Soldier On." Actually... maybe you should just buy the whole Conditions album.
Thanks, Lee.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What the Grammys is going on?

Let me just preface the following review of the telecast by saying that I am the biggest advocate of supporting the Grammys and supporting music in general. Having also been involved in the production and execution of several award shows, I fully comprehend how difficult it is to pull off an award show in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving (or regressing, for that matter). In any case, it must be a tall order to please several generations of music fans- especially when the generation that established and perpetuated the significance of the Grammys is one that is accustomed to "good music" like that of Ol' Blue Eyes himself.

With that said, I was still not impressed. From the Michael Jackson tribute (did my 3D glasses get lost in the mail?) to Jamie Foxx's bit with Slash (blame it on the auto-tune, Jamie) and Beyonce's nothing-new, militaristic, over-the-top, glamizon number that, quite frankly, was my ultimate "Music Chik says what?" moment (was Alanis Morissette supposed to join her at any point?), it was kind of a mess.

What I DID like about the show? I LOVED how the different generations and genres of music came together. It almost seemed as though the elders were passing on the music torch to the genuinely talented artists of our generation. It was symbolic. Elton John and Lady Gaga were brilliant together, especially because they rock a similar wardrobe. Stevie Nicks and Taylor Swift complimented each other well vocally and stylistically. And Mary J and Andrea Bocelli proved that two artists from opposite ends of the music spectrum could collaborate and make something beautiful.

All in all, it seemed as though the people who performed this year were all people with REAL talent and an amazing work ethic. And while I've never been more over Beyonce and Taylor Swift in my entire life, I appreciate that they represent our generation of music. The era of blond, untalented, studio-fabricated entertainers has (fingers-crossed) come to an end-- although I'm not sure how to explain Kesha, in that case. Nevertheless, let's continue supporting a tradition that is now 52 years young and keep *buying* the music that keeps that tradition alive.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear John... You're Awesome

I am a big fan of good soundtracks because I have a theory, and I challenge you to try this, that any intense scene or even mildly entertaining montage would be void of inflicting any sort of emotional impact on mute. That said, the only thing that makes a melodramatic, "young love," novel-inspired chick flick better is a really powerful soundtrack. Just be warned before continuing, some of the following music is rated "D" ... for depressing.

Some of you may have seen the official trailer for Dear John and wondered about the song featured. It is called "Set Fire to the Third Bar," by Snow Patrol feat. Martha Wainwright. It is also known as my new obsession. I attached the link below for your listening pleasure:

Other songs featured on the compilation are "Paperweight," by Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk (you may recognize this song from The Last Kiss soundtrack), "The Moon" by The Swell Season (you may also want to give their song "Low Rising" a listen while you're looking them up), and a song entitled "Little House," performed by Amanda Seyfried herself.

The movie doesn't come out until the 5th of February, but the soundtrack will be available on the 2nd. You can wait until then or preorder now at the link below...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the motion of Oceanship

I was recently flipping channels (I swear) when I stumbled upon an episode of "One Tree Hill." While I've never been a huge fan of the characters or plot-line, the show is, in my opinion, one of the best resources for new music. Similar to "Gossip Girl" and adolescent drama MTV reality shows, if nothing else- you are able to walk away with a new grocery list of items to download on iTunes.

In any case, I digress. Back to Oceanship-- check out "Hotblack," "Don't Wear Me Out," "Go" and "Excited" on their MySpace page. It is that quintessential "emo" rock sound with which our generation of music has become all too familiar. While I don't accuse the Canadian duo of coming up with a nouveau sound that's totally original and all their own, I fall for it every time.