2015 July

New band of the Weekend: Strange Names (No 52)

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TheGuardian.com just named Strange Names as the new band of the week. The band is a trio of musicians and singers from Minneapolis who have been described as performing polished pop with a little bit of dark undertow. They are kind of similar to the B52s and the Talking Heads. The trio is made up of Liam Benzvi on vocals, Francis Jimenez on guitar and backup vocals and Fletcher Aleckson on drums. Like many great artists, they claim their music comes from a place of great pain. That is why they tend to touch upon dark lyrical subjects. Even the band members themselves claim their music is not too easy to enjoy. Between their dark infectious tunes and experimental tendencies, it has been rather difficult for them to gain a widely accepting audience. However, their music is catching on after the release of their EP and a single with the recording company “White Iris Records.”

Strange Names still thrives to be a major label in the music scene. One great thing about their music is that it can spread to almost any genre or era. They’ve used the pop culture perkiness of Only Boy and Supernatural Silence and the 60s pop surf harmonies of Overused Phrase. Some claim the music actually feels sunny and happy, and takes them out of a dark place. It makes them feel like everything is going to be okay. Basically, it all depends on the person. Their songs are not necessarily all dark and depressing, but it may take a little bit for some people to get used to. It really depends on how much you can relate to the pain that the singers are expressing in their lyrics. Some people may be able to relate to their pain more than others.
Overall, Strange Names produces songs that are danceable and contain the sound of pop rock to them. Many people from the older generation have listened to their songs and have liked what they heard. The same goes for the younger generation as well. This is why Strange Names will likely succeed in this business. They seemed to have captured the interest of all kinds of music lovers. Their only setback seems to be capturing enough interest in order to make a better name for themselves and become more successful. But with many critics and magazines giving them free publicity about the quality of their music, it looks like Strange Names might be the next big band that people talk about.

‘American Idol’ Host Ryan Seacrest Reacts to the Show’s End

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It looks like one of America’s favorite reality television shows “American Idol” is finally getting cancelled. This show was a singing competition that gave amateur singers from all around the country a chance to compete against each other and be named the winning singer of the season. It changed a lot of lives and entertained millions of people for over a decade. But after 15 years of success on the air, the Fox Network has decided that January of 2016 will be the last season for the show. Naturally this has fans of the show very disappointed. The host of American idol, Ryan Seacrest, has responded on Twitter about his thoughts on the show ending. He tweeted about how the show has been a big part of his life and that it would be hard to imagine not hosting the show anymore.
The last season next year will be a difficult one for Ryan and for all the people who love American Idol. But as you can probably imagine, the final season is going to be an unforgettable one. The emotions will be high with audiences and members of the show. What made American Idol so special was that it gave people a chance to pursue their dreams and give it their best shot. For some people, their dreams ended up coming true after they were chosen as the winner. For Ryan Seacrest, it made his own dreams come true as well.
American Idol used to be one of the most watched television shows of all time. But in recent years, the show’s ratings have decreased gradually to the point where they are almost flat. The FOX network, which airs the show, had to make a tough decision by cancelling American Idol. The show is more than just a television show that entertains people. It is a show that represents hope for thousands of amateur singers who never thought they would ever have a chance at getting noticed. Even though the show will be cancelled, the memories of its glory will last forever in the minds and hearts of its fans.
Speculators are debating what will replace American Idol after it finally gets cancelled. Will there be a spinoff series or some other variation of American Idol? It is hard to say right now because there hasn’t been much discussion on the aftermath. The show still has one more season left and that is what the fans of the show are focusing on the most right now.

A Rare Glimpse Into the Life of a Hit Artist

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Alanis Morissette is a woman of many talents. She is a writer and musician who got to go on an international tour for her record when she was just 22-years-old. This gave her a lot of responsibilities such as being a spokesperson, activist, leader, boss, celebrity and work addict. In almost an instant, she went from being an unknown who would watch people from park benches to being the one that people on park benches watched. This kind of instant fame was very shocking to her because she wasn’t used to people paying attention to her so much. It even got to the point where she stayed in her hotel rooms as often as she could in order to avoid being approached by people in the hallways. Sometimes when she would order food from room service, six people would come to her door delivering her food and would take her pictures at the same time. This caused her to develop an interest in cycling outside with a helmet on, so people could not see her face. And even if they could see her face, she would be going so fast that they wouldn’t be able to approach her in time for an autograph or picture.
When Alanis went to buy her first house at 22-years-old, she didn’t know what to fill it with because she had no money prior to purchasing the house. It was such a new experience for her and so she needed her manager to help her pick out the dining room set and couches that were needed for the home. Eventually, Alanis came to realize that she could heal her insecurities and fears by helping her fans through her music. She never noticed it before, but the experiences she shares in her lyrics have actually helped people feel better about their lives. This made her realize that her songs weren’t just about entertaining people. They were also about encouraging and sympathizing with people as well. Now Alanis felt better about what she was doing, but she still had more healing to do. Then she realized that she needed more intimate relationships with people in order to ensure her healing. This meant she had to stop hiding in her hotel room and get out more in order to make new friendships. Not only did this work out for her, but now she is a wife and mother as a result and couldn’t be happier.

Dirty Movies by Van Halen

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“Dirty Movies” – A track from “Fair Warning”, Van Halen’s 4th album and what I’ve always considered their “grittiest and dirty” sounding record. Maybe it has to do with some of the guitar effects Eddie uses on the album or the nature of the songs, but this has always seemed to be a darker album from the band. Even the album cover stands out as being different for them. When I was younger I didn’t listen to this album as much but now I enjoy it much more and listen to it as much as any other album. This is not an atypical track where Eddie starts off with some slower guitar work before breaking out into the main riff for the song. It’s always a nice rush when the main riff kicks in and the rest of the band locks in with the groove. This song is a little unique with the chorus being a bit slower and mostly featuring the harmonies of Eddie and on the album Michael Anthony and live Wolfgang. David Lee Roth is up to his usual antics on this song and has plenty of room to adlib during the live performance.

Scientific Study of 17,000 Hit Pop Songs Has Identified the Years to Remember – and the Ones Best Forgotten

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There have been many popular songs introduced to the world over the last few decades. A recent scientific study was conducted on 17,000 pop songs in order to find out which pop years were the best to remember and which ones were the best to forget. The first study looked at 1986 when Madonna sang “Papa Don’t Preach” and when Peter Gabriel sang “Sledgehammer.” It was concluded that 1986 was a repetitive year for pop music. But for pop music in 1991, the study found this to be the year that was the most revolutionary for the entire music industry. This was the year when rap became really popular. Not only that, but rap was responsible for widening the range of acceptable vocabulary that could be used in the lyrics of pop songs. All of these studies were performed by researchers at the Imperial College London and the Queen Mary University of London.
Now you are probably wondering how research scientists would go about conducting such a study on pop music from the past. With the help of the United States Billboard Hot 100 list and the music website Last.fm, these researchers were able to apply scientific methods to this source information to figure out the best and worst years. More specifically, their methods involved text mining and signal processing to analyze the songs’ musical properties. What they were looking for were trends in the music that had a lot of consistency, such as the use of drum machines and guitar solos.
You don’t have to be a scientist or researcher to figure out that 1991 was a revolutionary year in music. Besides the rap culture phenomena that sparked, hip-hop also emerged and got popular really fast. One of the main reasons why it got so popular has to do with the MTV series called “Yo! MTV Raps. People around the country got to recognize hip-hop and the variable speech patterns of the singers. It also had classic funky beats from the 70s and a lack of overused guitars.
Music lovers from the older generation might disagree with 1991 being the best year in music, and would instead say that 1964 was the best year. After all, this was the year of the “British Invasion” by popular British bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Some would call this the year of the rock revolution, but other critics claim they were just following a trend in the music industry. Overall, it is really up to each individual music lover to come up with their own conclusion about which year was the best. It all depends on your personal music tastes.

Raleigh Ritchie: ‘I don’t want to be on posters. I just want to be good’

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Raleigh Ritchie is best known for Game of Thrones and as a rising pop star. You would think that a person in his middle 20s with all of these opportunities would be the happiest person in the world. But Raleigh tends to worry a lot about his career and the way people are going to perceive him. While playing the character of Grey Worm on Game of Thrones, he is also a musician and singer. Music is what helped Raleigh deal with a lot of rough times in his life, like the insecurities of his career. He worries that people will negatively judge him for trying to pursue both an acting and music career. He also worries about getting older and transitioning into adulthood. That is why his singing commonly expresses his fears and insecurities in the lyrics. But even then, he still worries that audiences won’t understand how he truly feels.
A lot of young people can probably relate to Raleigh. As a kid, he was bulled and beat up in grade school like many kids around the world. This caused him to try and remain anonymous from the rest of the kids. That way bullies wouldn’t know he existed and wouldn’t want to target him. He carried on this isolation all throughout the rest of his adolescence years until he finished school. Then he moved to London at the age of 17 to try and pursue his acting career. Raleigh was in a dark place for awhile and it got to the point where his parents were really worried about him. But it was through music that Raleigh was able to pick himself back up. However, he claims that he doesn’t want to only write songs in order to therapeutically deal with his dreadful memories of the past. He wants to write songs in order to entertain people and please his fans.
Now he is 24-years-old and is already planning to purchase a home with his girlfriend. Not only will he have to endure a mortgage, but he and his girlfriend are even talking about having kids as well. If you had asked Raleigh four years ago if he would ever want to purchase a home with a mortgage and have kids of his own, he would have said no way. But now he is in a much better place and it has helped changed his thinking about these kinds of adult responsibilities. But these responsibilities still scare Raleigh because they are all new to him and cause him to worry again. Only time will tell if he is able to move forward in a positive light.

Milani’s Summer Music

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Back to newer music this week with some good songs for summer…

Best Coast is a band that has been around for 6 years and released their 4th album a few months ago. I didn’t pay too much attention to them prior to their new album. I heard a few singles and wasn’t overly impressed. Not bad but nothing great that really grabbed my ear. But I heard a track from their new album on the radio recently and it resonated enough with me to check out their new album “California Nights”. I think their new album is very solid and provides some great background music for the summer. The band was founded by the duo of Bethany Cosentino on vocals/guitar and Bobb Bruno on guitar. They later added a permanent drummer, who eventually left the band after their second album. The current drummer is Brady Miller. The band initially drew their inspiration from ‘60s surf rock and girl groups, with a lo fi sound. However, they have evolved their sound where it is now more polished in the studio. They’ve also incorporated more of ‘90s alt rock influence into their music as well. Given the influences, it’s no surprise that it’s good summertime music (and the album cover matches this mood). The new album places Cosentino’s vocals more up front and while the sound is clean, it’s not overly polished. Drums boom, guitars echo and the songs have hooks that should resonate. I think the band has now found a sound that really works for them on all levels. Check out the whole album, the tracks below aren’t necessarily any better than the other 10 songs on the record.

“California Nights” – The title track from the new album was the song that got my attention on the radio. And it sounds great when you’re driving on a sunny day. I didn’t realize the song was five minutes long, which may hamper it from becoming a popular single. The track starts off with some shimmery guitars and effects, while Cosentino’s vocals are up front and prominent with nice reverb (helping them mesh with the guitars). Once the drums kick in, the whole song kicks it up another level. It’s a mid-tempo song, but it carries a lot of heft within its slow and steady pace. The vocal effects on the choruses where her voice just gets lifted off into the sky is a great touch. Bruno also gets in some nice guitar licks in the latter half of the track. I just don’t understand why this is track 8 of 12 on the album.

“In My Eyes” – This track is more uptempo but still has massive pop hooks. Again, big vocals front and center, with some nice background vocal effects. Nice tempo shifts when moving from verses to chorus. Chorus sounds ready made for the radio. Bruno has a great riff on this track that doesn’t go into a repetitive overkill. Just a very straightforward rock/pop song that highlights a different side of the band.

Drop Dead Legs by Van Halen

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“Drop Dead Legs”–This lesser known track from the album “1984” (which spawned “Jump”, “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher”) immediately put a smile on my face when Eddie broke into the opening riff. I love how well Eddie’s guitar lines integrate with the heavy rhythm section driving this song. You also have classic David Lee Roth vocal styling and the band’s classic back-up harmonies on this song.

that album cover makes me smile every time I see it

Jam to Alabama Shakes, Passion Pit, Fool’s Gold and More In Our 5 songs to Stream!!

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New songs are coming out all the time. It is so easy for both professional and amateur singers to release their new songs on the internet. Amateurs don’t need to hire an agent or sign a contract with a big time music producer. They can just produce their own songs at home and then upload them to the internet. They can even sell their songs through Amazon or iTunes as well. But with this ability for independent singers to distribute their work, it also means there could be lots of bad songs out there. Music lovers have to rely on reviews and comments in order to determine if a song is worth listening to or not. Well at digitaltrends.com, they have already gone through the hundreds of thousands of songs and picked out the five songs that are the most hyped up on the internet.
“Don’t Wanna Fight” is the newest song from the band Alabama Shakes. This band was formed by two high school friends that wrote and sung their own songs. Now they have grown national acclaim. Wet Leaves by Mac McCaughan is another song to look out for. Mac used to be with the Superchunk indie rock band back in the 1990s, but later separated and went solo. Wet Leaves proves Mac’s ability to sing solo and to do it well. But if you want a song that makes you feel like you’re upside down, listen to “The Graduates” by Speedy Ortiz. It provides a complex series of music and vocal tracks with strong instrumentations added.
Number four of the top five goes to “Where the Sky Hangs” by Passion Pit. This indie band specializes in electronic rock and they have just released their album record “Kindred” this week. This record contains “Where the Sky Hangs,” which listeners have described as being like a fireworks display. In other words, it is energetic and full of life. Then finally, “Another Sun” by Fool’s Gold is a top song on digitaltrends.com. Another Sun is a song from their soon to be released album. It is described as a Congolese and Ethiopian style track that is vibrant and dream-like.
So now you have five songs to listen to that you probably didn’t know about before. These top rated songs got their popularity from the listeners of the world who just love to listen to them. Perhaps you will love them too.

Higher Ground by Playing for Change

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This organization does it all when it comes to getting people together for the sake of music! For each episode and song they create, this organization travels the world and finds music students, artists and children to participate in creating one song all pieced together from small parts each person preforms. The finished art work looks like a well put together travel video made up of all the artists. The best thing about this organization? They give all their proceeds to building music and art schools for children around the world.

Listen on!