Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Before You TiVo...

While this is surely not a social commentary on the poor habits and expectations of what has been dubbed "Generation Y," or the technology generation, it is no secret that we are characterized in part by our need for instant gratification. How can I make such a harsh generalization, you ask? By a show of hands, how many of you have DVR? See, that's how. But you may want to think twice before you hit the fast foward button, for commercials are often an amazing vehicle for new and moving music. Years later, I carry with me a memory of a Nike "Courage" commercial featuring "All These Things That I Have Done" by the Killers and swoon. Here are some artists worth watching in real time.


Red Bull recently released its "World of Red Bull" commercial, featuring clips from Red Bull Media House's own snowboarding flick "The Art of Flight." Both feature M83's "Outro," an epic ode to dark, celestial electronica. The brain child of French musician Anthony Gonzalez, M83 has been making music since 2001, but has only recently gained transatlantic notoriety with its first double-album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, thanks to the album's first single, "Midnight City."


This British Jewish singer-songwriter earned his big break on US soil when his track "Too Close" was featured in Internet Explorer 9's 2012 ad campaign. His contagious beats tinker between soul and dubstep, covering almost everything in between. What's more are the startling honesty and accuracy that make his lyrics so poignant, penning phrases like "Maybe it's another chance/ To mug myself again ... I'm sure I'll fuck things up in the same way."


This trio hails from Denver, Colorado and is finding success with their debut, self-titled album. Featuring instruments such as the cello and mandolin, the band's sound tends to err on the side of sweet, piano-led melodies; however, "Ho Hey" showcases the unrestrained folk rock Americana sound the band is so capable of. While I placed the commercial below for your reference, I encourage you to watch the official "Ho Hey" video, as Bing's version simply doesn't do the track justice.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Into The Fame

My friends say I fall in and out of love often and easily. While I doubt and resent that statement slightly, it couldn't be more accurate when it comes to my love affairs with music. My infatuation with -- nay, feelings for -- Matt Corby are deep and true, if I may get a bit "Hemmingway" for a moment. And when someone feels a love this strong, it's only natural that I wish others feel the same. And I guarantee you will.

This Aussie is only 21 years old, yet he has a voice that is as raw and emotion-filled as it is controlled. Moving between registers and octaves with ease, one is almost thrown aback by his intense focus while singing as he strums gently, then forcefully, at his guitar. What's even more endearing than his sweet smile and heartfelt lyrics is what translates as a lack of confidence before and after he performs each song. When live, he looks down humbly, noticeably nervous, as his fingers find their place. When he's through, he finally looks back up at a crowd so intoxicated by him with a boyish charm and humble demeanor as if to ask "What did you think? Be honest." One would never believe that his career began after his almost-win on 2007's Australian Idol when he was only 16, although one might believe it once one sees how unfairly good-looking he is.

Having released four EP's over the past 2 years, it would be accurate to describe much of Corby's music as "bluesy," pensive and accoustic, yet his first single from Into The Flame, released this past April in the US, is anything but subdued. Listen to "Brother," undoubtedly the song with which Matt courted me so quickly and effortlessly, and let yourself fall fast in love with him as I have.

Others I love from this and past EP's include "Letters," "My False," "Big Eyes," "Made of Stone," "Coloured Stones and Walls," and "Lighthome." I also posted what has surely become my favorite cover of any The Black Keys song. Watch it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sandé Days Are Here To Stay

Still think that women with brains, beauty and a badass demeanor are a modern day myth? Then try Emeli Sandé on for size, smartass. Weighing in at a mere 24 years, Emeli already has quite the impressive resume, including four years towards an MD. Discovered at age 16, her manager "waited patiently" for her to explore her education, as Emeli was adamant towards having a fall-back. Uh, Emeli? While I respect your desire to exercise your God-given intellect and your beyond-your-years insight, it doesn't look like you'll be becoming Dr. Adele Emeli Sandé anytime soon. Great for us. Bad for Glasgow.

Not impressed? How about her laundry list of writing credits? Following a Ne-Yo-esque path, Emeli has written songs for Cher Lloyd, Susan Boyle, Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole and Tinie Tempah, to name a few, before signing with EMI/Virgin in 2010. Her debut album Our Version of Events, released this past February, has made Emeli a bonafide Top-40 artist in the UK. Be that as it may, she is news to us. And we need some good news here in the States, no?

This album certainly brought good news to Sandé, as it earned her the 2012 BRIT Awards "Critic's Choice" Award. Need a reference? Think Alicia Keys meets Annie Lennox, although I compare her sound hesitantly. It's all Emeli. Listen to the first three singles released in the UK -- "Heaven," "Daddy" and (my favorite) "Next to Me," (below, for your viewing pleasure). While you're at it, listen to Tinie Tempah's "Let Go" featuring Ms. Sandé (also below).