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Friday, January 31, 2014

"Liberty Bell" by Sanglorians

"Liberty Bell" - Sanglorians Listen Here

"Liberty Bell" - Sanglorians - Spotify

Today's guest post was written by our dear friend Brad Silfan:

"Liberty Bell" is the closing track on Sanglorians' debut album Initiation, the latest project of the criminally under-appreciated musician Daniel Brummel.  The album, which tells the tale of a broken heart after a break-up ("Lost") and hitting rock bottom ("Heartstrong"), concludes in this seven minute epic with themes of acceptance, dismissal, letting go, and moving on.

Believe it if you want to,
But I was born before you met me,
And I'm not gonna die if you leave

Brummel is in a decidedly different place in this song after he "patched the crack in the Liberty Bell and rang it," an amazing metaphor for liberating yourself from whatever your personal confines are (in this case, a relationship gone awry).  He is empowered, brazen, and conclusive.  His powerful vocal delivery drips with angst and drives the song home.

This is my favorite song (and album) of 2013.  It features anything you could ever want; great harmonies, big distorted chords, a beautiful orchestral interlude, and "belt it out at the top of your lungs" choruses. Give it a spin and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

TTT - "Tamacun" by Rodrigo y Gabriela

WOW. That was the reaction I had the first time I heard this song. I was searching around for some new music when these guys were recommended to me by our very own Steven Podhorzer. I have always loved flamenco guitar when I heard it (the "Holy Wars" solo by Megadeth, for example), but never sought to listen to the genre itself. Well, Rodrigo y Gabriela completely blew my mind. For only two people, the sounds that come out of this song are incredible. The riffs are extremely tight and free flowing and the percussion is on point and impressive considering there are no drums at all.

- Josh

Yeah, these guys are the shit. INCREDIBLE live. It seems impossible that there are only 20 fingers between them. They have such a full sound, such a fun sound. It's acoustic music you can dance to. Rodrigo is an incredible player, but it's really Gabriela's brilliant percussive playing that makes the band jump out as something different and worth listening to. This is definitely one of their best tunes. It just makes me happy, almost as if I'm floating while dancing.

- Chris

Rodrigo y Gabriela must be seen to be believed.  When listening to their studio recordings, you'd swear they're a 4-piece band, or larger.  It's difficult to comprehend that it's just the two of them producing such a full sound.  The lead guitar work from Rodrigo is astounding (I've always been a sucker for acoustic guitar solos) and Gabriela's dual rhythm guitar and percussion playing (created by tapping on the body of her guitar) is truly mind-blowing.  "Tamacun" is their most well known song, and for good reason.  It's sexy, it's super melodic, and it perfectly captures everything the duo does so well in just three and a half minutes.

- Steven

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Second Heart" by Superhuman Happiness

You won't see "Hands" by Superhuman Happiness on many "Best of 2013" lists, yet it was easily one of my favorite discs of 2013. It's difficult to choose one song on this cohesive album, because each song flows so well into one another. Melodies and themes repeat themselves throughout the album; they really do a great job of creating an ALBUM, which is rare these days. "Second Heart" encompasses everything they do well - a combination of indie, funk and beats that make you wanna move. Starting off with a repeating sax part, and propulsive beat, it starts off as a solid little indie dance rocker. Then the hook comes in, and you might very well be humming it for days. Very catchy stuff. As usual, I love the layered sounds and there are many, especially in the bridge. Things get a bit darker and weirder here before crashing back into the hook and an amazing sax solo where we get a small taste of their jazz influences.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Fainting Spells" by A.F.I.

I have been an A.F.I. fan since Black Sails in the Sunset. I don't think there has been a punk band that has grown in the way they have. Back during the Black Sails days, A.F.I. was considered an underground punk band at the forefront of the punk scene. Nowadays A.F.I. is considered one of the premier commercial punk bands enjoying mainstream success. Throughout their growth of popularity, A.F.I. has stayed true to their sound. With Davey's mesmerizing voice and complex lyrics along with Jade's catchy riffs, A.F.I. always brings their A game to every record.

Amazingly enough, "Fainting Spells" is technically not on a record. It is a B-side from the Decemberunderground recording sessions and was released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Crash Love.

I am going to go out on a limb and proclaim that "Fainting Spells" would be the best song on both Crash Love and Decemberunderground. This is to not say that those albums are bad - actually, quite the contrary, as both are very good - but "Fainting Spells" is just an incredible song. It is a catchy, hard rocking song that deserves to be celebrated by all fans of the band.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Ain't Got No/I Got Life" by Nina Simone

A medley consisting of two songs originally written for the musical, Hair, "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" is an uplifting, life-affirming sensation.  Though not written by her, Nina Simone sings with such passion that she'll make you believe that she penned every word.  The lyrics are, simply put, genius, and Nina's vocal delivery is perfect.  The sheer emotion she belts out in the second half of the song sends shivers down my spine.  A good friend of mine put it best when he once stated, "If everyone listened to this song, the world would be a better place".

Friday, January 24, 2014

"You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight" by The Juliana Theory

Today's guest post was written by our dear friend Jason Sherman:

Our tastes in music change throughout our lives. When I was 15, I was obsessed with Creed (Yes, I know. But come on, Human Clay still has its moments!). When I was 20, I grew a love for Incubus (They're fallen off the map thanks to deciding that they'd rather write the next great pop song). But it's rare to have one band hold the test of my musical time. The Juliana Theory is one of those bands for me.

I started listening to The Juliana Theory in part because of one of the owners of this blog recommended them. We were hanging at his house as 15/16 year olds and I remember hearing one of their most well-known songs "Into the Dark" play on the computer. Something caught my ear about it so I went home and downloaded (cough cough illegally) The Juliana Theory's second CD Emotion is Dead.
I didn't quite understand the "emo" phase yet, so The Juliana Theory's sound felt so new to me. The voice of Brett Detar was really impressive. The band's sound had quite a few unique layers to it. It was rock, but with a hint of vodka and lime. I couldn't explain it, but it just felt right to listen to.

And then came the next-to-last song on the album, "You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight". The first notes are purely slow piano. It leads into Detar softly signing the first line: "Did you really think that it was over when you hung up the phone....and said goodnight?"

When you are a young adult, don't lines like that sum up your adolescence?

For the next three and a half minutes, Detar professes how he wants to keep a dying relationship going. And the word "goodnight" was the bond that kept it together and ironically, as that first line hints, is also the word that means the end. And at the 3:55 mark, as the music halts for a moment and Detar whispers one last goodnight, the rest of the band comes in and the song begins an unbelievable climax. To this day, I get goosebumps every single time the song transitions to this moment.

Then comes some of the most beautiful music I had ever heard. There's Detar hitting the highest notes you'll ever from him. There's a wonderfully melodic guitar solo. Everything just feels perfect for five minutes. And when the nine minute mark comes, we go back to the beginning. Just soft piano. It's beautiful, and epic, and the song takes me to a uniquely peaceful place.

The Juliana Theory produced a few more albums and sadly, broke up a few years ago. They always had grinded through the emo years but for some reason, they never broke through it.  I was one of the lucky ones that understood their sound. "You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight" marked their peak. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

So when I put on my song of the day, some of those emotions I had 10+ years ago are still with me today.  And even though I've grown up, "You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight" still takes me back through my evolution.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TTT - "This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)" by Talking Heads

Right when the bassline comes in on this gem of a song, you know you are about go on a ride only David Byrne can take you on. Then, that swiveling synth part starts, Byrne starts in on that gorgeous vocal melody, and you're off. The song is true melodic perfection and I love the lyrics. One of my favorite lyrical parts of any song is, "I'm just an animal looking for a home/Share the same space for a minute or two/And you love me till my heart stops/Love me till I'm dead." When Byrne sings this climax to the song, it's also my favorite vocal delivery by him - he sings it with such passion that it hits me hard every time I hear it.

- Chris

On an album with mostly uptempo, funky new wave tunes, "This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)", the final track on Speaking in Tongues, really sticks out.  David Byrne and the rest of the Heads slow it down for a beautiful album closer.  Vocally, this song contains some of the most, if not the most sublime melodies Byrne has ever composed.  Lyrically, this is a bizarre sort of love song that I always tend to get lost in.  And musically?  Tina Weymouth's hypnotic bassline and Byrne's keyboard parts put me in a mellow trance that I never want to escape.  Though the Talking Heads no longer exist, David Byrne still tours on his own and has attained "can't-miss-live" status.  And he still plays this song live.

- Steven

I am by no means a huge Talking Heads fanatic. However, I can appreciate the absolute brilliance that their catalog brings. The first time I heard "This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)" was yesterday. Having only listened to their big radio hits ("Psycho Killer" and "Once in a Lifetime") I was a little surprised by the soothing melody and the overall tone of the music. This song is full of synthesizer melodies, which are played over a repeating keyboard melody. It has turned me onto more Talking Heads songs and hopefully it will do the same to you.

- Josh

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Don't Stop" by Brazilian Girls

A groovy bassline and beat and sexy and clever lyrics combine to create an epically awesome dance track. Brazilian Girls are a very underrated dance outfit from NYC that broke up for a while, but is now back together. See them live. One of the best afternoon Bonnaroo dance fests I've ever had the pleasure of raging to.

Concert Review - Umphrey's McGee at The Beacon Theatre 1/17/14 and 1/18/14

I first saw Umphrey's McGee almost ten years ago in Baltimore. I had no clue who they were, and in fact, I thought I was seeing some band with Warren Haynes. My roommate had shown me a Gov't Mule DVD a few weeks before and for some reason, I thought that was who I was seeing. Instead, I happened upon a goofy looking bunch of musicians with a goofy name - who was this Umphrey and what of his McGee? I was immediately in awe of the band - one of the best guitarists and one of the best drummers I had ever seen, plus the rest of the band wasn't too shabby. And the diversity - from prog to reggae to metal to funk to jazz to blues, they could do it all. And their jams were unbelievable - not just guitar wank sessions with no sense of direction, but free flowing jams that they let breathe. And eventually - their jams usually breathe fire.

I had the pleasure of seeing my 24th and 25th Umphrey's McGee shows this weekend at The Beacon Theatre and they continue to blow me away. You would think they'd stop doing that, but no - no, they refuse to level off or get boring - they continually push the boundaries of improvisational rock to new levels (I don't like calling them a jam band - I much prefer improg or progressive improv.) It was also great because I was seeing Umphrey's with newcomers, which is always fun. My sister danced the night away, but my uncle and his brother had several astute observations during the course of Saturday's phenomenal show. Here are a few of them:

1. "It all comes out as one sound." Probably the tightest band I've ever heard. And they seriously read minds during the jams, as well. The jam during "1348," 1st set closer on Saturday night, was unreal.

2. "It sounds like they just play whatever mood they're in at that time." Bingo! Friday night, they played a lot of older, prog heavy tunes. Saturday, they played all of their heavy hitters, aka the songs that are ALWAYS good live and always have excellent jams. Bassist Ryan Stasik may have been the MVP of the 2 night run, leading many of their best jams.

3. "Every person on stage can play their own show and everyone would love it." It's true. The musicianship is otherworldly. 

4. "I'd like to watch this lighting guy go to work." I was able to watch Jefferson Waful on Friday. Truly amazing and almost as fun to watch as any member of the band. He improvises with the band and it comes out amazingly perfect. He is such a vital part of the band now.

5. "It doesn't even matter that the vocals aren't very good." Going to an Umphrey's show for the vocals is like going to a steakhouse and ordering chicken fingers. 

6. "It's like they're fucking with us!" My uncle's refrain throughout the show and indeed, they are. They make me laugh more times than any other band, simply because I don't know how they continue to come up with ways to blow me away. Their segues into songs are just mindblowing.

This was a great two night run by a great band playing at their absolute peak. The highlight was Saturday's 2nd set, but the first three sets of the weekend were all fantastic. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Run" by Collective Soul

Collective Soul is a band that has defied the dreaded label "one hit wonder". Being one of the forefront bands of the college rock movement, Collective Soul was deemed a one hit wonder after their song "Shine" drove up the charts. However, as stated before, Collective Soul has shed their "one hit wonder" status and has in fact delivered 7 #1 hits to date. 

"Run" is not a #1 hit by the band, but still is one of my favorite songs of theirs. "Run" combines everything that I love about them. A very catchy rhythm that Ed Roland can sing his wide vocal range over. I feel like this band gets lost in the mix a lot when talking about 90's bands and many people do not know of the outstanding catalog these guys really have.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Thirteen" by Big Star

If there's one band out there that I can't comprehend the lack of mainstream popularity, it's Big Star.  They have recorded some of the very best pop rock albums I know and have written some of my all time favorite songs.  "Thirteen", to me, is their finest moment - an emotionally packed two and a half minute song that usually results in me hitting the "repeat" button after it ends.  This is a beautiful, tender song about adolescent love.  It strikes up some wonderful imagery of a simpler time with lines such as "Won't you let me walk you home from school" and "Maybe Friday I can get tickets for the dance".  I dare you to listen to this just once.

Friday, January 17, 2014

John Williams Appreciation Day

"The Throne Room/End Title"

In my humble opinion nothing says motion picture scores like Star Wars. Since I am picking the quintessential movie, I might as well pick the quintessential movie score. This leads me to "The Throne Room/End Title", which is the final scene of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. For those of you who have never seen Star Wars, please do yourself a favor and go see it. For those of you who have seen it you should know exactly the scene I am talking about. Whether you have or have not seen the movies I am sure we can all agree that this is an absolutely gorgeous piece by one of the greatest musical writers of all time.

- Josh

"Theme from Jaws"

Two notes. That's all it really was. Back and forth, dun dun, dun dun, dun dun. Yet, nothing screamed "impending doom" better than the "Main Title" from "Jaws." My parents said people were literally leaping out of their seats in suspense when they saw "Jaws" in theaters and in my opinion, the music is the main reason why.

- Chris

"Theme from Jurassic Park"

I'm not sure there's a more majestic movie moment than when the main theme to "Jurassic Park" first appears in the film.  It's beautiful, it's magical, it makes me want to cry tears of joy.  As a standalone track, I can listen to this 10 times in a row and still want more.  John Williams is a master at stirring up emotions with his music and I think this is his finest achievement of all.

- Steven

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TTT - "Light Years" by Pearl Jam

I can't believe it's been a month of blogging and there has not been one single Pearl Jam (PJ) post. For anyone who actually knows us, knows that PJ falls somewhere in each of our top 3 favorite bands of all time. I have to admit picking a PJ song could be a daunting task given their vast catalogue of songs, however we all quickly agreed to pick "Light Years" due to the beauty of the song.

"Light Years" comes from PJ`s least known album, Binaural. Even though it was the single from the album, it has become a relatively forgotten song when compared to their biggest hits. "Light Years" is written about a friend of the band who had passed away. The friend had helped PJ grow as a band and had helped shape their careers. The line "We were but stones/Your light made us stars" really shows the love the band felt for their friend.

- Josh

Everyone knows "Alive" and "Jeremy", but I feel as if people don't really appreciate Pearl Jam's ballads other than "Black". Pearl Jam does slow just as well as fast, and this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my humble opinion. Not only is this a great song with spectacular melodies, it features some of Vedder's finest lyrics. The first verse is true perfection, reflecting on how he just can't understand death, despite all of the other things he's figured out during his life. It's a truly heartbreaking song and one I wish more people knew.

- Chris

PJ used to be one of those bands that I always liked but never loved.  I owned copies of Ten and Vitalogy and would listen to them every once in a while, but during the mid- to late-90s I forgot about them.  The band seemed content to fly under the radar and I didn't take notice to any of the great music they were producing during that period.  Sure, they came out of obscurity in 1999 when they scored big with the '60s cover "Last Kiss", but it wasn't until 2000 with the release of their single, "Light Years", that I began to pay attention once again.  I instantly fell in love with this beautiful, deeply emotional tune.  Vedder doesn't break any new ground with the lyrical theme of love and loss, but as always, he approaches the subject in such a delicate and engaging manner that causes the listener to reflect on their own life.  "Light Years" single-handedly reignited my interest in PJ and it would be 3 years later when I saw them live for my 1st time that they'd become one of my favorite bands of all time.

- Steven

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" by Nick Lowe

There's nothing I love more than expertly played pop music with an edge, with a decided quirkiness. That's exactly what Nick Lowe does on his ridiculously eclectic album, "Jesus of Cool," and I couldn't be happier I finally decided to give him a listen last week. I could've picked any of the songs on this brilliant album, but this is the tune that made my ears perk up and pay attention. Not only is it exceedingly catchy, the musicianship is top notch, especially the basslines and the piano fills and solo. I urge anyone who's into well-constructed pop tunes to give this guy a spin - I can't wait to listen to more of his stuff.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"One Up" by Divot

Hailing from Elmira, NY comes this little known band that packs a big punch. Fusing sounds of the Deftones and Oleander, this single shows lots of promise for the up and coming band. I personally had never heard of this band until they started following us on Twitter and I am very happy I checked them out. From the opening chords this song had me hooked and didn't let go until it was finished. I am looking forward to hearing what the future holds for this band and hope they keep on rocking out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Aces High" by Iron Maiden

A few months ago, I went skydiving with 5 friends.  We had a 30 minute car ride from our hotel to the skydiving center, giving each of us enough time to play 1 song of our choice.  Well, if I'm about to jump out of a plane for the first time, there's only one band I want to listen to beforehand - Iron Maiden.  I chose "Aces High" for several reasons: the lyrics are very fitting (it's about piloting a fighter plane), it's very fast paced and exciting, it makes me happy, and it's my all-time favorite Iron Maiden song off my all-time favorite Iron Maiden album, Powerslave.  Anytime I'm in a bad mood (or scared shitless at the prospect of jumping out of a plane), I reach for these metal masters and they cheer me up.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Concert Review - Neil Young at Carnegie Hall 1/10/14

As stated in the earlier post, we had the utmost privilege of seeing Neil Young last night. We had both gone to see Neil Young's previous tour which featured the backing band Crazy Horse as part of their album tour for Psychedelic Pill. When the tickets first went on sale and we saw Carnegie Hall we hoped Neil would be playing an acoustic show, and that is exactly what we got.

We had never been to Carnegie Hall and we highly suggest that any person who loves music and the arts should try to get there at some point. The history of music played at Carnegie is very overwhelming and the halls are filled with pieces of musical history hanging on the walls from the likes of Beethoven to Pete Seeger.

The show started around 8:05 with Neil walking out on stage and the crowd cheering wildly. Then something happened that had never happened at any concert I have ever been to. The crowd fell silent as Neil broke into the first song of the night, "From Hank to Hendrix". While this was a weird reaction to me at a concert, that no one was singing or clapping along with the song, it turned out to be the perfect reaction for the concert. With the history of Carnegie, Neil Young playing acoustically on stage, and being able to hear every syllable Neil was singing it was just magical.    

After "From Hank to Hendrix", Mr. Young played four straight songs from Live at Massey Hall and it felt like we were back in Canada in 1971 when these songs were being played for the first time. I feel like this is a good time to mention how the stage was set up. In the center of the stage was a chair surrounded by 6 guitars and a banjo. To the right and left of the circle of guitars were pianos, and behind the circle was an organ (that was unfortunately never played) and two more acoustic guitars. Also, around his neck was a harmonica which was used in mostly every song. In between songs, Neil would switch out guitars, dump his harmonica in water and proceed to shake it out. From time to time Neil would switch from guitar to piano depending if the song called for it.

This night was a magical experience as we have mentioned a few times. Neil played 25 songs - 18 originals and 7 covers (if you count Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs as covers). We would normally have the highlights of the show but it would be impossible to differentiate any one song over the another because they were all amazing. For someone with over forty years experience in the music business, Neil Young has not lost a step. His singing and playing sound as good as ever and we cannot wait for him to come around once again.

"A Man Needs a Maid/Heart of Gold" by Neil Young

Last night, Steve and I had the privilege of seeing one of the greatest songwriters of all time perform live a Carnegie Hall. That man would be Neil Young, or Uncle Neil to those who know him by that name. Later on today we will have a full concert review, but we wanted to give everyone a taste of what we heard.

"A Man Needs a Maid/Heart of Gold" was recorded at Massey Hall in 1971. While these songs are actually individual songs on the album Harvest, here Neil does a medley of the two when he starts singing "Heart of Gold" halfway through "A Man Needs a Maid". The album itself is one of the best live albums ever recorded and this is just a taste of what we saw last night.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

TTT - "The Drapery Falls" by Opeth

I'm somewhat of a metalhead, but with a few notable exceptions I'm not crazy about death metal.  I prefer some melody in my metal vocals rather than growling.  That's where Opeth comes in.  The way they juxtapose heavy and soft, metal and acoustic folk, beautiful clean vocals and demonic death growls is like nothing I've heard any other band master.  "The Drapery Falls" is the song that got me into Opeth back when Blackwater Park was released in 2001 and it captures all of their styles flawlessly.  It's got the soft acoustic passages, the superb clean vocal melodies, the blood-curdling death growls, and top-notch musicianship.  Opeth is not for everyone, but I think everyone can find something they enjoy in an Opeth song.

- Steven

When it comes to death metal there are few bands that can hold the torch to Opeth. Their music is intricately written with many twists and turns. This was the first song I ever heard by Opeth and feel it is a good starter song and album for that matter for anyone new to the band or the genre. This showcases a lot of Opeth's talents and I know newcomers will not be disappointed.

- Josh

This song is definitely a good crash course for Opeth's overall sound. It has everything...the badass riffs, the growls, the beautiful acoustic sections featuring Mikael Akerfeldt's otherworldly vocals. I'm definitely not a metal head, but Opeth is one band I do love because of their consistent melodicism, inventive riffs and Akerfeldt's amazing guitar tone and solos.

- Chris

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Money Rain Down" by Big Black Delta

A Facebook friend posted the above video about a week ago and I immediately fell in love with this Talking Heads inspired electro-ballad. Starting off with some blips and bloops and adding layer upon layer of sound (I love me some sound layering) it essentially goes back and forth between two perfectly constructed verses that flow seamlessly together. During the first verse, when the groovy bassline and the horns kick in, it's immediately evident this is going to be some hooky goodness. The next verse slows things down with a beautiful melody and is a perfect complement to the first verse. Can't help but think David Byrne was channeled while composing this gem. WARNING: Big Black Delta's self-titled debut album is terrifyingly bad. Like, naked Oprah Winfrey terrifying. Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason combined terrifying. I'd rather listen to Skip Bayless talk about Tim Tebow for 24 hours or watch a Dane Cook "comedy special" than listen to this album again (didn't even try making it through the whole thing.) That being said, this one song is badass. Also, the video is truly beautiful.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Sleep Tight" by The Creepshow

Once a week I like to play a game called "Let's See Where Spotify Related Artists Will Take Me". Now, I do not remember the artist that brought me here, but it's irrelevant because the first time I listened to the band it became the only band I would listen to again for the rest of the week. The Creepshow combine rockabilly with an infusion of punk which works very well, especially once you add in the amazing female vocals. The song that really drew me into them was called "Sleep Tight". Here, the rockabilly is combined with a 1950's "Blue Moon" feel to it. This is one of my favorite tracks that I discovered in 2013 and hope that you feel the same way.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground

Do you have that one song where no matter how many times you listen to it, you are still almost driven to tears with each listen?  Even though you know exactly what's coming next, you still can't avoid feeling the same emotional sting?  "Pale Blue Eyes" is that song for me.  Everything about this song is so subtle - the gentle guitar, the softly sung lyrics, the repetitive, hypnotic chorus - that it conveys a contradictory loudness that cannot be described.  As with most VU songs, the poetic lyrics are simply brilliant, and this song has my favorite Lou Reed lyrics of all.  Is there anybody out there that can't relate to this: "It was good what we did yesterday/And I'd do it once again./The fact that you are married/Only proves you're my best friend.  But it's truly, truly a sin."?  Somber bliss.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Bloodsucking Whore" by Ezra Furman & The Harpoons

Ezra Furman - "Bloodsucking Whore"

(Unfortunately I couldn't find a YouTube video for the studio version, so please click the link above)

Ezra Furman is the best artist you have never heard of. A cross between Springsteen/Dylan/70's Punk, Ezra brings his own blend of rock and roll and witty lyrics to the underground rock scene. "Bloodsucking Whore" comes from the last album he made with his previous band, The Harpoons, entitled Mysterious Power. The song centers around a very simple bass drum and Ezra's fantastic lyrics. BSW is about a lover trying to do everything in their power to win over another lover. Ezra has since gone through a line-up change with his new band, the Boyfriends, but his music and lyrics have stayed true.

- Josh

Ezra Furman: rock 'n' roll's best kept secret.  Seriously, this guy should be one of the biggest rock stars alive but sadly he's been flying under the radar during his entire brilliant 5-album career.  "Bloodsucking Whore" is one of my favorite songs of his.  The beat has a '50s doo-wop feel to it, the vocals also have a '50s feel, and the guitar solo is filled with beautiful rage.  And then we have the lyrics.  Wow.  As much as I love Ezra for his sublime songwriting skills and unique vocal approach, it's his poetic lyrics that put him over the top for me.  When Ezra belts out "Girl you drive me wild/Let's have sex/but let's not make a child", I can't help but smile every time I hear it.  I can't help but smile every time I hear Ezra Furman.

- Steven

A few things I'd just like to highlight that weren't brought up by my two esteemed colleagues:

- Ezra's angst in this song is so palpable it's frightening. He sighs at the start and grunts his way through the ending.
- His, let's say, less than great voice fits this song so perfectly. It's so fucking raw, while still being a well constructed pop song.
- The guitar line after the "Bloodsucking Whore" verse is so fucking perfect.
- It's a great rising action song. I LOVE how the drummer slightly changes up his beat at the 2:10 mark to increase tension. The last minute of the song is epic.

- Chris

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie

The first track off Death Cab for Cutie's best album, "Transatlanticism," is an uptempo little ditty that is really driven by Jason McGerr's drums and Ben Gibbard's lyrics. McGerr announces his arrival (this 2003 album was the first to feature the now veteran DCFC drummer) with a perfectly awesome beat to go over Chris Walla and Gibbard's ringing guitar sound. It's just a perfectly constructed song with an infectious quality about it. However, this one's really all about the lyrics for me. Gibbard is one of my favorite wordsmiths and while much of this song's lyrics are quite cynical ("This is the new year/and I don't feel any different") it's the hopeful bridge that gets me every time. I want to pretend I'm wealthy and set off firecrackers. And it sure would be cool if the world was flat like the old days. There'd be no distance that could hold us back.