2015 February

Black Sheep by gin Wigmore

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Gin Wigmore – “Black Sheep” – Gin Wigmore hails from Auckland, New Zealand and I came to know her through a streaming radio station that I frequent. Upon first listen to her, I found many similarities between her, Amy Winehouse and Duffy. Initially I actually thought I was listening to Duffy, so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was a different artist. I instantly had to google Gin to find out more information about her and her music career.  I was shocked to find that at age 16, she won a US-based international songwriting competition for her song ‘Hallelujah’ (which was about her father passing from cancer).  She was the youngest and only unsigned participant to ever win the contest; she beat out 11,000 contestants from 77 different countries.  Quite the feat for your first experience in the music industry.  Since then, Gin has released 3 EP’s and 2 proper albums; a few of her songs have been featured on US televisions shows (Grey’s Anatomy, Teen Wolf, Revenge, Pretty Little Liars, and many more). This song, in particular, has been featured on 6 different US televisions shows.  ‘Black Sheep’ comes from Gin’s 2011 album Gravel & Wine, and is probably my favorite track of hers.  This song has a hard hitting bass drum line that you can’t ignore and the chorus is infused with an infectious piano line that gives the song some added flavor; BUT for me what really drives this song is Gin’s raspy voice.  I feel that the combination of her voice and the tempo of the song really puts the song on another level. It’s a quick song, only lasting 3 minutes, but it’s an enjoyable 3 minutes that constantly has my feet tapping and my head bobbing.  It’s been 3  years since Gin’s last album was released and I’m hoping that soon she’ll drop a new one. Until then, I’ll let Gravel & Wine hold me over. Enjoy!
 

“Echo”- EP by VÉRITÉ

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This EP is VÉRITÉ’s first and I can already tell this girl has a serious future in the music industry. Not only is she vocally talented but also her songs show variety and can appeal to all types of pop lovers from the more electronic side to more indie. Her songs are the type of music that you feel like would play in the background in the movie of your life. Check out all of her songs on her soundcloud and be ready to be blown away. Her new album is set to drop this week as well so keep an eye on her Facebook for more info.

A New Wave by The Sleater-Kinney

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“A New Wave” kicks right off with some great guitar and a ton of exuberance. It’s probably the most “fun” song on the album, and it should be since the song is basically about how great it is for them to play music together. The verses are sung by Brownstein and then Brownstein and Tucker both take on the chorus. One of my favorite parts is the last 45 seconds as the band jams together until the song fades out.

Is It Horrible by Marmozets

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“Is It Horrible” starts off sounding a little more subdued. You’re thinking, “this really isn’t that frantic or urgent…”. Wait until about 45 seconds in when Becca lets out an anguished wail and then everything kicks up several notches. This song also has some interesting instrumental sections as the band members are locked in pretty tight during this track. And Becca gets off some more screams before the song wraps up. This track is a lot of fun.

Looking Too Closely by Fink

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Fink – “Looking Too Closely” – Fink comes to us from the UK and I was lucky enough to stumble upon these gents while watching a TV show.  Before Fink actually became a band, the lead singer was a very successful electronic/dance DJ on the European scene in the early 2000’s. In the early stages of his career, Fink was lucky enough to work with Amy Winehouse when she was just 17; one of the songs that he produced/co-wrote for her was featured on her posthumous album Lioness:  Hidden Treasures.  It was after his time with Winehouse that Fink decided he wanted to focus on more traditional music and he stepped away from the electronic/dance music genre and ventured into the Singer/Songwriter genre.  This move, which occurred in 2006, was a great career move; since this change, Fink has dropped 5 albums and has been featured on over 20 television shows.  Upon making this move, he went from a one man band to a Trio (with a few close friends).  Thanks to the change in music genre, Fink has been sought out by numerous artists for collaborations. Most recently, he has hooked up with John Legend for a song, called ‘Move’,  on the 12 Years A Slave Soundtrack. Fink and John Legend also worked together back in 2008 on John Legend’s Revolver album. The song I’m bringing you today comes from Fink’s 2014 album, Hard Believer, which was dropped in early July in the UK. I feel like this song really captures the kind of artist that Fink truly is; the song has a folky/bluesy feel to it. Every time I hear this track, I can’t help but want to sway from side to side and get lost in the music. Honestly it’s quite a simple song that is carried with a strong guitar and piano presence; this is evident in the first 45 seconds of the song before Fink begins to sing. This presence is carried until about the 2 minute mark, which is when the song picks up in tempo and the drums become more prominent. Overall, I think the track is laid out extremely well and my favorite portion of the song is at about the 3 minute mark when just the piano is playing and you can hear Fink’s vocals so clearly.  If you enjoy this track, I’d suggest checking out a few more tunes from this band.
 

 

Mouthful of Love by Young Heart Attack

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“Mouthful of Love”(explicit)– The lead track kicks off the album with an instrumental jam for the first 45 seconds before the vocalists kick in, trading lines back and forth.  Stephens takes over on the chorus, and you notice how her voice complements Hodge’s nicely.  There’s not much else to say, the track just barrels along and doesn’t let up.  The explicit part is just for a few exuberant “MFs “ thrown in by Hodge.

Ember City by Mastadon

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Mastadon “Ember City” – I’m including this track which appears near the end of the album because it might be my favorite.  It starts off inauspiciously, but once it gets to the first chorus, that’s what starts to set it apart.  This song has a great chorus that really gets nestled deep in your brain.  The other thing I really like about this song is some of the guitar solos and instrumental parts in the middle of the song.  Some great musicianship going on and it all works in the context of the song, adding to it instead of being a distraction.  The loose theme of this album is death.  The band members all lost people close to them during a short period of time prior to recording the album and this song is one of the most explicit on that theme with the chorus of “And you were slipping away. What do I say to you?  What do I say to you?  And if I want you to stay.  What do I say to you?  What do I say to you?”.  The intensity of the vocals and the music, matched with the lyrics, are a powerful combination.

Over You by Ingrid Michaelson ft. A Great Big World

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Ingrid Michaelson Ft. A Great Big World – “Over You” – I’ve provided a few tracks by Ingrid in the past, and I’m pretty sure most of you are aware of who she is. If you aren’t familiar with her name, I guarantee you that you are familiar with a few of her most famous songs:  “The Way I Am”, “Girls and Boys”, “Be OK”, and “Human Again.”  I dropped a track by A Great Big World after hearing their hit single, “Say Something,” on the dance show SYTYCD last summer. Due to those key pieces, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to dive into a summary about the two artists and instead I’ll dive into the track.  This single comes from Ingrid’s most recent album, Lights Out, that was released in April in 2014.  The song is led by strong piano chords that run parallel with the vocals of Ingrid and then Ian,  until the song reaches the 1:45min mark and the strings come in to accompany the chorus and the harmony between Ingrid, Ian and Chad.  Around the 3:15min mark, the song picks up momentum with an addition of a percussion set that drives the song till just about the very end.  I enjoy a few things about this song, including but not limited to the harmonies on the chorus, the lyrical content, and the complete musical arrangement (from a single piano to the rampant percussion session).  Hopefully, you’ll take away a few things that you enjoy about the track!  Happy listening!
 

Starlite by Young Heart Attack

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“Starlite” – The band actually got funding for an actual video for this song.  This song is a little slower than “Mouthful of Love” but probably even more fun.  This is a rocking song about young love and it really sounds like a song you’d hear blasting from car stereos in the summer time as kids are driving around town.  Stephens sounds great belting out “I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive yeah” during the chorus while Hodge is shouting out his lines.  I love the verse where Hodge screams “Because you’re wearing my jacket girl, because you’re riding in my car girl”.  Somebody has to pick up this song for a movie soundtrack.  And if it’s in the right movie, it may pick up some exposure for a group that deserves it.

Geronimo by Sheppard

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Sheppard – “Geronimo” –  Sheppard started as a duo sibling band from Australia; from 2009 thru 2012 the band went from a duo to 6 members, 3 whom are siblings (Greg, Amy and Emma Sheppard).  During their formation, the band was primarily ran as a family business. Their dad was their talent manager and their mom was their tour manager. Their parents also funded the bands early career travels and helped the family establish their own record label, Empire of Song. In August 2012 the band released an EP (Sheppard) that spawned a big fan following, thanks to performing at festivals around South Africa, London and the US. In July 2014, Sheppard released their debut album Bombs Away, in Australia. The lead single off this album is the track I’m bringing you today. This single made noise on the music charts when they knocked Pharrell’s song “Happy” out of the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Through interviews with the band, they expressed that the “song is a reference to the famous Apache military leader Geronimo, and the custom of yelling his name before doing a courageous act.” Upon first listen of the track, I was able to tell that this song was going to be a hit. There’s a strong drum bass line that leads the track, followed with some simple banjo playing. Greg comes in solely on the vocals, before he is surrounded by background vocals on the chorus from his sisters.  The track in its entirety is very upbeat and uplifting. In listening to the lyrics, that’s the exact intention of the song;  to risk everything in the hope of something bigger and better to come along.  Enjoy!