2014 December

I Wont Let You Down by OK Go

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“I Won’t Let You Down” – This song is somewhat of a departure from the original sound of the band; honestly, the entire 4th album is a step in a different direction musically. Upon first listen of this song, it sounds like something you might hear in the late 70’s early 80’s. The band stated that they came up with the influence of the song after playing with the beat and hitting a sound that reminded them of the Jackson 5 and Diana Ross. I have to admit, this album is probably my favorite album that the band has put out. I love the transition to the new sound and their willingness to try something different. Also, Damien’s voice really does fit this sound perfectly. Again, the band doesn’t disappoint with their music video. It was filmed in one continuous shot and finds the band utilizing a really cool mobility device (Honda UNI-Cubs) that I really want to get my hands on. It took 4 days, 44 different takes and 2,300 dancers, in order to complete the video. The last 70 seconds of the official video doesn’t have any music to it, but it shows a nice shot across some Japanese Landscape. Enjoy!
 

Hotel Anywhere by Cold War Kids

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“Hotel Anywhere” is a bouncier tune, driven by Maust’s bass line.  It starts off big right from the get go, drums, guitar and the bass firing on all cylinders, along with some nice keyboard accents.  This is much more of an anthem song, with a big U2-esque chorus.  It’s fun to listen to and I really like the band’s energy on this track.  It’s also sequenced nicely on the album, and acts as a good lead-in for the slower track “Go Quietly” that follows it.  I recommend listening to that track as well.  I’m sure it will start popping up on soundtracks at some point in the future.

This Too Shall Pass by OK Go

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“This Too Shall Pass” – This song is about realizing that things get better; the main focal point of the lyrics are “let it go, this too shall pass.” The band wanted to express to the listener that you can’t let things weigh you down and eventually badness passes. The lyrics of this song is the driving force behind why I enjoy the song so much. As for the video of this song, the band released 2 official videos: the first was recorded live with the University of Notre Dame marching band and another that resembled their video “Here It Goes Again”, in which the band is performing in conjunction with a machine. The marching band video consists of only the instruments that are in video, which I think makes for an interesting sound (it’s pretty different than the album version). I also enjoy that the video was shot live in one continuous shot and that the marching band members pop up on the field at different pieces of the song. But my all-time favorite is near the end of the track when the song gets some lift from some children joining in on the chorus. For the video with the machine, well I had to google the machine title, which is:  Rube Goldberg Machine; the machine was used with household objects to play in conjunction with the band. It’s been said that this video was shot in one continuous sequence, but I have a hard time believing it. I’ll let you be the judge of that! Enjoy!

Hot Coals by Cold War Kids

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“Hot Coals” plays the simple route again, with a big drum beat and guitar playing around Willet’s vocals at the beginning of the track.  After the first verse, the bass guitar kicks in and adds a little more muscle to the sound.  This song builds up as it moves along, with Willet adding a little more desperationas each chorus hits.

Here It Goes Again by OK Go

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“Here It Goes Again” – This is the song that gave me full exposure to OK Go. The opening guitar rift immediately asked for my attention and maintained my attention all through the course of the song. The catchy chorus is hard not to enjoy also. The video features the band dancing on treadmills in a single continuous take. The dance was choreographed and directed by Trish Sie (Damian’s sister). It took a total of 17 attempts to complete the video. What some people may not realize is that Tim is actually lip-syncing the lead vocals; Damian is actually the lead singer of the band. The video became a staple on YouTube; it was one of the most watched videos, with over 52 million views. The band performed the routine at the 2006 MTV music awards, flawlessly I might add. In 2007, the video won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.  Enjoy!

First by Cold War Kids

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Cold War Kids released their 5th album in October – “Hold My Home”.  Hailing from the OC in Fullerton, CA, the band released their first full length album “Robbers & Cowards” in 2006.  Their debut came after some well-hyped EPs and live performances, and it showed a great deal of promise for the band (and a track made my best of list from 2006).  Their sound is anchored around the distinctive vocals of guitarist/pianist Nathan Willet.  Willet is currently joined by bassist Matt Maust, guitarist Dann Gallucci, new drummer Joe Plummer and new keyboardist Matthew Schwartz.  After their very promising debut, the band failed to live up to expectations with their next 3 albums.  But “Hold My Home”, possibly inspired by the fairly new line-up (guitarist Gallucci joined the album prior), is a very positive step in the right direction.  The band has elected to go with a much more straightforward sound, and a number of tracks appear to be very radio-friendly with the potential to be solid hits.  It seems like the band has taken a few tips and has been influenced by some other bands that have proven to be very radio-friendly – fun., Imagine Dragons and U2 all come to mind in some ways when listening to the new album.  Hopefully this move pays off for the band and a few of their new songs become hits.  The first six songs on the new album stand up to anything I’ve seen put out by radio-friendly bands.  The quality drops down a little over the last 5 songs, but “Hold My Home” is still a very solid album from start to finish.  The band recorded the new album in their own studio, and they did a nice job on the production – everything sounds really clear and the instruments and voice are all effectively highlighted.  I’ve included links to three different songs below.  If you like the music, then don’t hesitate to purchase the album.
 
“First” is the second track on the album and starts off with a jangly guitar playing around a stomp and clap beat.  Willet’s vocals are the focus when they come into the song.  The instrumentation is very sparse but effective as Willet sings his butt off on this track.  It’s very catchy and I’m wondering if this track will prove to be a big radio hit.

 

Here With Me by Susie Suh & Robot Koch

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Susie Suh & Robot Koch – “Here With Me” – I’ve had this song listed as a song to share with the group since last year, but I kept passing it up to share other artist.  Part of the reason I kept passing it by, is because there really isn’t much information about Susie Suh that I could share with the group.  She has pretty much kept a low profile in the music industry and she’s been making music since 2005. Since 2005, she has had numerous songs on TV and in movies.  Most recently, “Here With Me”, was featured on the television show “The Blacklist” during its first season last year; as well as the movie “Divergent”. As you’ll notice in the song, her vocal styling has been compared to Fiona Apple and Sarah McLachlan. What I enjoy about the song is the simplicity of it; the song is primarily driven by a piano, and Susie’s voice (which at times can appear to be a little haunting). Enjoy!