Kings of Leon exploded in 2009. Out of a cannon they shot to music super-stardom upon the enormous success of their album Only By The Night, and seemingly overnight they went from being alternatively popular to pop music juggernauts.
As is the case with most bands who rise to significance relatively early and somewhat suddenly, the potential to lay an egg on a follow-up to their mega successful album was great. It has happened dozens of times in music history, and I’m sure you have bands you got into only for them to engage in a career of mediocrity and disappointment following their biggest exposure.
It happened to The Killers after Hot Fuss. Two disappointingly decent albums later, and I’m still waiting for them to bounce back to form. Alanis Morrisette never found the formula to breaking the glass ceiling following the phenomenal Jagged Little Pill. Audioslave’s studio work went steadily downhill following their very good debut, and I think we’re all still wishing and waiting on The New Radicals to put out another album (Seriously, I totally am).
As I’ve stated in past posts, I have developed a borderline obsession with My Morning Jacket. Because of their nearly flawless blend of a vast array of musical styles, no other band not named Wilco has any right to suggest itself as America’s best band of the moment.
But aside from their amazing musical catalog, I have discovered in recent months the band also has an impressively extensive list of covers. While I suspect it’s of little interest to anyone else (you know, like everything I write), I’ve compiled a list of my five favorites.
Musical collaborations can be a pretty hit or miss proposition. For every awesome Santana and Michelle Branch song (there happen to be two of them), there is an entire album of misery with Chris Cornell and Timbaland. Some genres tend to overdo the concept (looking at you, Rap/Hip-Hop), but a really solid collaboration takes a known entity and blends that artist’s style with the signature of another artist for a unique tune.
These are ten pairings I thought of that I think could produce an awesome song. Just because I’m pathetic and lead a very streamlined social life (see: Girlfriend), I’m even going to title the song I imagine the artists putting out.
I’ll admit before hand that the titles are going to be terrible and generic, but oh well.
Arcade Fire did it. Amidst unreal expectations and an absolute cavalcade of hype, the Montreal based alternative rock band managed to deliver an album that embodies a genuine sense of suburban frustration while coupling it with a slight embracing attitude of the situation.
The album contains sixteen tracks, and it’s the variety that keeps the album fresh even after several listens. This isn’t a fast food album, where you whisk through the drive-thru, pick up your food and go and it’s over too quick. This is a fine dining experience at a five-star restaurant, where each course blends together with the previous and subsequent selections.
There are few things better than driving around in the dead of summer with the windows down and some good tunes blasting over your speakers. These albums always remind me of the hottest months of the year, and are essential to have on any summertime road trip.
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
The poppy brilliance that is Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is perfect for a mid-afternoon amp up. It’s ten songs that absolutely fly by, and has you tapping your toes for miles and miles. Just make sure your aren’t tapping your toes with your foot on the pedal.
Kanye West Graduation
Kanye West has released four albums, with a fifth forthcoming this year. Each of the first four acually all remind me of a different season in themselves, and Graduation is a rousing summer set of songs. There are so many songs that embody everything the perfect summer day is about, from “Champion” to “Good Life” to “Flashing Lights”, you can let this thing repeat for a day before you realize it. The finales of “Homecoming” and “Big Brother” are a fitting conclusion to a bombastic collection of tunes.
Canadian outfit New Pornographers reassemble the ensemble for their 2010 album Together, a record that is a shining example of upbeat, positive, poppy music still containing substance amidst the brilliant hooks and gorgeous melodies.
Together at its core is a series of midtempo songs that seem much larger than they actually are. The New Pornographers have long been an eccentric blend of pop music with epic sensibilities, and this album proves to be a consistant collection of songs that provide new layers as they are listened to again and again.
The Amplification of Mr. Ballad is the second of a set of three albums released as a trilogy by UK Artist Chapman. I reviewed The Bare Bones a few weeks ago, and for the sake of delivering an honest review had to take some time off of listening to his work because it was just starting to become tedious.
Now I’m back, refreshed, and ready to critique Amplification, which features the same songs as Bare Bones, only with added elements and electric guitars.
Hopefully more fleshed out versions of these songs will result in a more satisfying listening experience.
No matter you’re opinion of hip-hop dynamo Kanye West, chances are you can at least recognize the musical talent of the man. This week a new song leaked from his next album Good Ass Job, and it sounds as if Kanye has not only gone back to his bread and butter sound, but it sounds as if his motivation is sky high. The song is called “Power,” and it’s old school Kanye (old school? The guy has been around less than a decade!). But nonetheless, Kanye seems to be back in top form.
Preview the song here: http://hypem.com/search/kanye%20west%20power/1/
For those who are inclined to listen to music that is brilliant, Arcade Fire announced this week the release date for their immensely anticipated third album, The Suburbs. The date in the U.S. is August 3rd, and I know that as much as I enjoy my summer, now I’m already ready for the first week of August.
More information can be obtained at their official website, and you can also listen to portions of a couple of songs. And if they are any indication, this album has epicocity written all over it’s gorgeous face.
For the uninitiated, Flogging Molly may seem like a bunch of Irish dudes playing fiddle and accordion, but for me they popped my concert cherry and have been a favorite of mine for a long time. I was unaware that they released a live DVD/CD set, so when I stumbled upon it I was very surprised. I had been out of the Flogging Molly loop for awhile so I wasn’t sure what to expect of it.
I’ll start off by saying that if you have not experienced a Flogging Molly concert then you are missing out on one of the best nights of your life. But if you can’t go then this is a pretty good glimpse of what their show is like. The crowd is pumped and excited and that energy clearly has an effect on the band, with each of them sweating and shouting along with the fans. It’s really intense and enjoyable. Continue reading