Thursday, October 20, 2011


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Okay, so perhaps it's not the "feel good" movie of the year. And maybe it does reveal the worst in people facing a terrible situation (the protangonist's girlfriend, in particular). And so what if it shows how unemotional and unattached doctors can be to their patients when delivering a blow as traumatic as "you've got cancer"? It still has a great soundtrack (as well as an insanely lovable dog, dubbed "Skelator" due to its long, bony frame). The soundtrack is as mixed as my emotions were when watching this film, which I suppose is only fair.

The trailer (misleading as it may be) also has some great music that is not included in the film, namely, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. You can hear their song "Carries On" in the last thirty seconds of the trailer (above).

While the film showcases some favorites such as Radiohead, Bee Gees, Pearl Jam and Roy Orbison ("Crying" is a classic, afterall), there are some newcomers worth mentioning. They hail from many genres-Punk, Folk, Dance, etc. One song, "Stay the Same" by Autokratz, stands out as the clear non-"depressing movie"-accoustic-type song on the album with their British, electronic duo, underground club sound. They also win for strangest video:

But where would a film about cancer be without those aforementioned "depressing movie" accoustic-type songs? The Walkmen do it well, with their track "New Country," almost reminiscent of the sound that made Bob Dylan so iconic. You can find the link to The Walkmen's "New Country" below (#27 on the band's playlist):

My other favorite in this genre? Hands down, "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack" by Liars. If you're into this sound, do yourself a favor by checking out the video for this and other tracks on their MySpace page (link below).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What a (Ra Ra) Riot

You may not be familiar with the band Ra Ra Riot- unless you're from Syracuse, New York, that is. The band, consisting of 6 members, spent their first months playing at frat houses and small venues around the Syracuse University campus and gained notoriety shortly after recording their first demo in 2006. They've performed at music festivals such as South by Southwest several times and have already released two albums, one of which was mixed entirely by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla. Their song "Boy" was recently featured on an episode of (one of my favorite summer shows) "Royal Pains" on USA, and their song "Too Dramatic" is rapidly gaining radio exposure on indie rock stations.

What makes this band unique for me is their range of instruments and the genre in which they classify themselves. Aside from the talented albeit typical drummer, bassist and lead singer, characteristic of all indie rock bands, Ra Ra Riot enhances their sound thanks to the use of violin and cello, helping them to steer away from the "indie" sound and embrace the "baroque."

Check out my favorites at their MySpace page, including "Can You Tell," "Boy," "Shadowcasting," and "Too Dramatic" (video below).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

So Beautiful, THAT's What.

"Sacrelige" as it may be, I worship several gods. One of those gods is Paul Simon. I have waited a lifetime (literally) for his next great album a la The Rhythm of the Saints or Graceland. And while it would be bold to compare his newest album to the likes of these masterpieces, it wouldn't be entirely undeserved.

With his newest album, So Beautiful or So What, he revisits the sound that defined him. His unmistakable voice in combination with the rawness of the guitar's rhythmic percussion is now enhanced by a spiritual subject matter that can only be a result of his age and experience. He ponders the "big questions" with that Paul Simon charm, with lyrics like "You got to fill out a form first, and then you wait in the line" in one of the best songs on the album, "The Afterlife." The entire album is somewhat of a spiritual manifesto, and proves that size really doesn't matter, as it consists of ten songs and runs about 38 minutes from start to finish.

So Beautiful or So What is released on April 12th. My favorites are "So Beautiful or So What," "Love and Blessings," "The Afterlife," "Rewrite," and "Amulet." Catch a sneak peak at the album before its release at the link below:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Sound of Summer

Maybe it's the New Yorker in me, but when I stumble upon a song or band that screams summer, I hold onto that sound with all of my might. Dirty Heads is a great example. Their single "Lay Me Down" featuring Rome from Sublime with Rome is an even better example. This "SoCal" Reggae rock band just makes you feel good, despite (or maybe because of) its cheesy pick-up lines like "It's hot outside; let me go swimming in your eyes." And if you love that "Santeria" surfer sound, this will undoubtedly become part of your summer soundtrack. Give this and others from their album Any Port In A Storm a listen, especially "Stand Tall" and their cover of "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stole My Heart

You may have gathered by now that I am a fan of that folksy/emotional sound that makes you either want to stay in bed all day or drive with the windows down (depending on the forecast, I suppose). Well my newest discovery is no exception. How predictable of me.

While many regard Seattle as a birthplace for Northwestern bands, few experience the rate of success like that of The Head and the Heart. Consisting of five members, the band met at a Seattle bar during a open mic night only a year or two ago. Upon discovering their mutual love of folk and harmony, they formed a group and released their first self-titled album in July of 2010. Within a few months, Vampire Weeked beckoned and enlisted The Head and the Heart as the band's opening act in Seattle on its Fall 2010 tour.

Looking for a comparison? Imagine Kings of Leon, Fleet Foxes and Keane had a child. On second thought, maybe you should just listen for yourself. Try their Myspace page for their best four tracks (excluding their newest release, "Lost In My Mind," below):

The Head and the Heart - Lost In My Mind (Live on KEXP)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grammys 2011: Don't Call It a Comeback

Most would agree that last year's Grammy Awards were a bit of a disappointment (see "What the Grammys is going on?" should you need reminding). Well all I can say this time around is "welcome back" to our old friend and a job well done. Way to make a comeback.

This year's show was clearly reformatted and redesigned to showcase the music nominated. It was truly a live performance-oriented show -- like some kind of charity concert at which tons of cool artists who would never in a million years play amongst one another come together for the sake of something greater.

I thought the Aretha tribute was a thoughtful, energy-provoking way to open the show, although it was reminiscent of a VH1 "Divas Live" episode. And while no one would deny that Lady Gaga is an electric performer, her wardrobe was all but shocking compared to her usual. But I guess if you were incubating in a "womb" for 72 hours, you'd want to be comfortable too. In any case, it is refreshing that she still gets slightly shaken and visibly humbled by her successes.

This year's telecast seemed to be all about the trios. Bruno Mars, B.O.B. and Janelle Monet complimented each other well and, although the vocals were shaky, Bruno's doowop take on "Grenade" was fun and endearing. Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan proved that a genre can evolve without sacrificing its original quality. Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban made us realize that not all Dolly Parton songs are obnoxious, and that, despite our urge to resist, we kind of love John Mayer.

The upsets of the night? The fact that Eminem won only two of the ten categories he was nominated in (and they were pre-telecast, at that), Esperanza Spalding sweeping the coveted Best New Artist category (umm, she's a Jazz artist... just saying) and Arcade Fire for Album of the Year. Good for the underdogs. You go Glen Coco.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

99 Problems... but the soundtrack ain't one

While seeing the movie may not be a must, listening to the soundtrack to No Strings Attached is. Featuring classics like "I Wanna Sex You Up" (Color Me Badd is timeless, really) and "Bossa Nova Baby (Viva Elvis)" by the King himself, this compilation showcases a variety of genres and periods.

Speaking of periods (sorry, guys), the "period mix" Adam (Ashton Kutcher) makes Emma (Natalie Portman) is sheer genuis. Although only "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis actually made its way into the scene and onto the album, the tracks "I've Got the World on a String" (I don't think that's what Ol' Blue Eyes meant), "Red Red Wine" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (gross) are equally hilarious and appropriate for a mix of this nature. Take those tunes (and others not mentioned in the movie at the site below) into consideration if ever you find yourself living in a romantic comedy:

But the real shining stars of this soundtrack are the newbies. "Bang Bang Bang" by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. and "Rock It" by Little Red set the Cali tone for the film; "I Will Let You Go" by Daniel Ahearn is the obvious choice for that moment of realization that you are in love and therefore, totally screwed; "Love Lost" by The Temper Trap just reiterates why they are effing amazing.

The reason I'd buy this soundtrack at all, however, is "99 Problems" by Hugo. Making a cameo as the entertainment at the local bar in the film, Hugo and his version of the notorious Rap song initally got a laugh before the audience quickly realized that it may just be the coolest cover ever.

Listen to samples of No Strings Attached (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), available to order February 15th:

Hugo - 99 Problems

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reach for the Sky

Sure, most 17-year-olds are convinced that they're "the shit". The difference between those teens and Sky Ferreira is that she actually is. Sorry kids...

Her wide ranging vocals, her born-n-raised Hollywood style and her Olsen twin-esque (but so much cooler) look all contribute to her coolness factor. And while most LA-based, blond, pop, teen acts make me cringe, she makes me jealous.

Expect the release of her album "As If!" on March 8th of this year (courtesy of the cutting-edge EMI/Capitol Records). Do yourself a favor and watch her videos. She is what one may call "optical nutrition." (Shame on you. She's 17. Gross).
My picks are "One", "American Dream", "17", and (my favorite) "Obsession":

Sky Ferreira - Obsession

Sunday, January 23, 2011

TIm WIlliam - Tripping starring Travie McCoy (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Tripping over Tim William

Should you be unaware of this electro-pop craze that has been sweeping the nation, you may want to give Tim William (not to be confused with Tim Williams) a quick listen. You may also want to climb out from under that rock from which you've been living. Just a suggestion.

In any case, Tim William does the genre good with tracks like "Tripping," "Vampire SEX", "Sun and Moon," "Move It Girl" (featuring Travie Mccoy) and even a collaboration with Bjorn Yttling entitled "Feel Young."

Check out his myspace page to hear these and more ( But check out his video for "Tripping" first.