Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tour Prep: The Pacsun Pactour

There are few things that get me giddy. One is the promise of a delciously meaty meal at Brazilian churrascaria Fogo de Chao. Another is when my favorite bands go on tour...with each other! Yes! The 2009 Pacsun Pactour is like a dream come true for me! The day I heard about it, I jizzed in my pants. Today, I found out the dates, and found that the tour hits me in good ol' San Diego, and this knowledge prompted me to write a Tour Prep, even though the tour is over a month away.

If all you do is listen to the radio, you probably have never heard of Saosin, P.O.S., Innerpartysystem, or Eye Alaska. Don't think this means these bands are not good enough for the mainstream; rather, they are too good for the mainstream. Most people will not be able to appreciate Saosin's soaring vocals, P.O.S.'s intelligent raps, Innerpartysystem's dark electronica, or Eye Alaska's cinematic jazz-pop. But I do. P.O.S. aside, these bands are my all time favorites. I would do anything to see them on tour separately, but together they are the manifestation of Lord Vishnu in tour form.

And now, I present my Tour Prep for this year's Pacsun Pactour.

SoCal denizens Saosin play a unique but familiar and accessible style of rock called "post-hardcore," but don't let the name fool you. There is little "post" and little "hardcore"; instead you have beautifully soaring vocals by vocalist Cove Reber, intricate yet catchy guitar lines by guitarists Beau Burchell and Justin Shekoski, and super-fast and skillful drumming and bass from Alex Rodriguez and Chris Sorenson. Saosin have headlined festivals and tours, and were on this year's Warped Tour. They put on a great live show with tons of energy, but the real enegry is in the crowd, as Saosin is often on the softer end of the spectrum for some real hardcore kids. Expect moshing and crowdsurfing to the extreme.

Show Staple:
Saosin - "Voices"

Also Playing:
Saosin - "Is This Real"

Conscious rapper P.O.S. was also on this year's Warped Tour, but his hip-hop act stood out among the largely pop and rock bill. P.O.S. isn't the next Linkin Park, but he blends his emotional, thoughtful rhyming with rock instrumentation and aesthetics. Though black, P.O.S. sounds closer to the likes of Sage Francis and Mike Shinoda (Fort Minor), but his music is akin to that of Lupe Fiasco and MF Doom. Live, P.O.S. engages with the crowd in an emotional show and retains the rock aesthetic from his former state as a rocker.

Show Staple:
P.O.S. - "Goodbye"

Also Playing:
P.O.S. - "P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life"

Okay, if you don't know how much I love Innerpartysystem, you clearly haven't been following my blog (I wouldn't be surprised, though; I have one follower and get like 2 views a week). To me, they are excellent music that was simply missed by the mainstream and even the indie sidestream. They play dark, seductive electronic rock with brooding beats and biting lyrics, made for a dark, sexy club. Based on their most recent, self-titled album, they have the potential to be superstars, following in the veins of British rockers Pendulum and fellow electric rockers Shiny Toy Guns. The mainstream just isn't ready for this type of amazingness. Live, Innerpartysystem is even better than recorded; they remix their own songs, other's songs, and even pieces of sound that turn into full songs. On Warped, their show couldn't reach its full potential, but on this independent tour they will use light shows, effects, and blasts of energy to make their show the best you will ever see.

Show Staple:
Innerpartysystem - "Don't Stop"

Also Playing:
Innerpartysystem - "Heart of Fire"

I was once told that one could describe Eye Alaska as The Cab running into a jazz ensemble. At first listen, the comparison may be apt, but deeper into Eye Alaska's sound you realize a sense of incredible depth and maturity beyond any pop act today. Eye Alaska combine orchestras, keys, and atmosphere with singer and mastermind Brandon Wronski's passionate vocals to create a masterpiece in every song. The genre here is undefinable; there are influences of pop, hip-hop, jazz, classical, atmospheric, post-hardcore...everything into one beautifully urban stew of sound. Eye Alaska are the last innovators in the scene. Live, they are passionate, involved, fun, and just as good as on recordings. Expect P.O.S. to be a surprise guest on "Show Me Daluv." If you come to this show for anyone, make it for Eye Alaska.

Show Staple:

Also Playing:

Pcasun Pactour Dates:

11/06 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
11/07 - Chico, CA @ Senator Theatre
11/08 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
11/10 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
11/11 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
11/13 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Murray Theatre
11/14 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre
11/15 - Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont
11/17 - Des Moines @ People's Court
11/18 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
11/19 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
11/20 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Orbit Room
11/21 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
11/22 - Columbus Newport @ Music Hall
11/24 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
11/25 - Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
11/27 - NJ @ Starland Ballroom
11/28 - New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place
11/29 - Pittsburgh, PA@ Altar Bar
12/01 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
12/02 - State College, PA
12/03 - Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
12/04 - Washinton, DC @ 9:30 Club
12/05 - Norfolk, VA @ Norva
12/06 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
12/08 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
12/09 - Tampa, FL @ State Theatre
12/10 - Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
12/12 - Dallas, TX @ The Door
12/13 - Houston, TX @ Meridian
12/15 - San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
12/17 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
12/18 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Marquee
12/19 - San Diego, CA @ Soma
12/20 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues

Friday, August 28, 2009

Awesome - Owl City

In the times of Cobra Starship and Breathe Carolina, it is always extremely refreshing when a band in the scene uses electronics in an effective, resectable manner. But Owl City's respectability is not all that makes them refreshing; their music is a tall, cold drink on a hot day at the beach, a piece of ocean paradise in an endless summer. Rarely can the artificial boops of electronica sound so natural and organic, but Owl City will take you from your smelly bedroom or sticky car and transport you to the breezy beach of a tropical island.

Owl City is the project of Adam Young, who also fronts Port Blue, among other projects. For someone who lives in the beach-less state of Minnesota, Young is an expert at creating the feel of the ocean waters lapping against the shore without having to resort to actually using sound effects. His music has the very uncommon ability to transport the listener to a specific mood, and even more uncommon is that this mood is one of paradise.

Many of you have heard Owl City's single, "Fireflies," whether on the radio or after downloading it for free on Amazon or iTunes, so today I am highlighting "Cave In," one of my favorite songs on Owl City's major label debut Ocean Eyes. Though each song is good on its own, the real treat is listening to the album continuously, as it will teleport you to 56 minutes of sunny ocean breeze and warm bue waters. "Cave In" begins the album and is a perfect introduction. The music suits the mood perfectly, completley devoid of anything urban and filled instead with uplifting yet lightweight beats and boops. Young's voice lacks any hint of seduction and instead is the voice of innocence and timeless happiness. He intersperces his verses with brief interludes of sound, and it is in these interludes where the ocean really comes to life. Young's words are simple and cute, but carry a certain level of emotional depth in their slight melancholy, as when Young reminds us that "Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining."

You might think that real electronica is fidget house with big beats and sharp sounds, or that pop punk is the only music for the summer, but if you give Owl City a chance you will see that musical paradise is not far away. With Adam Young's beats, boops, and cutesy lyrics, you can forgot your woes and lay on the beach in the sun from the comfort of your own computer.

RIYL Lights, The Secret Handshake, The Postal Service, vacationing in Hawaii


For Comparison:

Owl City:

See Also:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

12-Step Program - All Time Low

You've been hearing a lot about All Time Low if you've been following this blog, and not just because I was in their music video. All Time Low is one of the most prominent pop punk bands in the scene right now, and is soon to break out into the mainstream, following the footsteps of Boys Like Girls, We the Kings, and Fall Out Boy. If you've never heard of All Time Low and cringe at the radio-friendly pop music that the aforementioned bands have put out, don't be too quick to judge, for All Time Low bring new aspects to their music.

All Time Low may be the next New Found Glory or Blink-182, and you know you don't want to be blindsighted when they start appearing on the radio. If you've never heard of them or have only dabbled in their discography, today is your lucky day, for now I present my 12-Step Program to getting into All Time Low.

All Time have released two EPs and three albums since the band's inception in 2003, but of primary relevence are their three most recent releases, Put Up Or Shut Up, So Wrong, It's Right, and Nothing Personal. Their pop punk formula influenced heavily by Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy has changed somwhat, follwoing (or perhaps leading) similar traends in the scene. Put Up Or Shit Up offers an wintry, autumnal sound with little production, So Wrong, It's Right offers a more pop-oriented sound with more summery leanings, and Nothing Personal offers a completely summery feel with lots of production. For step one of my 12-Step Program, I present "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)".

"Damned If I Do Ya" is off All Time Low's most recent album Nothing Personal, and reveals their ability to write an incredibly catchy pop song. Singer Alex Gaskarth is a fine songwriter, using clever puns and sweet, memorable choruses. While occasioanlly some of All Time Low's poppier songs can be almost too sweet, they remain incredibly fun to sing along to and priovde an easy getaway from one's preocupations.

Before the blistering pop of Nothing Personal, All Time began the split between pop and pop punk on So Wrong, It's Right, their second album and fourth release. "Dear Maria, Count Me In" retains the slightly autumnal pop punk of Put Up Or Shut Up, but reveals a clear move to a more pop-oriented sound in at least some of the songs. Still, though, "Dear Maria" mainatins all that is good about All Time Low, with clever lyrics and catchy melodies. This is the last time in All Time Low's career that production doesn't play a big part in the sound of their songs.

"Coffeeshop Soundtrack" was All Time Low's first relevant single and is one of their best songs. Off Put Up Or Shut Up, this track has a noticible autumnal feel, which which is replaced by a summery feel in their later albums. "Coffeeshop Soundtrack" is a very well-written, mature song that showcases Alex's unique voice and penchant for harmonies and dual vocals. This track is more in the league of Fall Out Boy's Take This To Your Grave or New Found Glory's Coming Home than radio-friendly more-pop-than-punk We The Kings or Boys Like Girls.

"Remembering Sunday" was All Time Low's first largely acoustic song and proves to be one of their most popular, in a similar vein to Boys Like Girls' "Thunder". The song is one of their most melancholy and tells a story about a boy looking for the girl he loves. Juliett Simms of Automatic Loveletter makes a grand appearance during the brigde of the song, which takes the song to an epic level. "Remembering Sunday" is one of All Time Low's gems in terms of structure and songwriting and is unlike any other, though All Time Low have other acoustic songs to boot.

"Walls" represents All Time Low's true sound: accesible pop punk with just the tiniest bit of edge. Though not as catchy as "Damned If I Do Ya," "Walls" barely approaches the moodiness of Put Up Or Shut Up. "Walls" carries the heay production of Nothing Personal, which is where it differs from similar songs on So Wrong It's Right, but its sound has remained truest to Put Up Or Shut Up while still mainatining a pop aesthetic. Songwriting is mature but simple with clever, self-aware verses and catchy choruses. If the sweetness of the singles is too much, songs like "Walls" are a perfect getaway to the true pop punk sound of All Time Low.

Look at that! A 12-Step Program in only five steps! Hopefully you have an appreciation for All Time Low by now. As long as you can sit back and enjoy without scutinizing every lyrics or chord, All Time Low will be a perfect band for anyone with any pop or rock sensibility. If you just can't get into them, they probably aren't for you. Go listen to your Neutral Milk Hotel and leave the scene alone.

If you liked:
1) "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)"
Try: "Weightless," "Lost in Stereo," "The Beach"
2) "Dear Maria, Count Me In"
Try: "Six Feet Under the Stars," "Poppin' Champagne," "Come One, Come All"
3) "Coffeeshop Soundtrack"
Try: "Break Out! Break Out!," "Jasey Rae," "Lullabies"
4) "Remembering Sunday"
Try: "Jasey Rae (Acoustic)," "Break Out! Break Out! (Acoustic)," "Therapy"
5) "Walls"
Try: "Keep the Change, You Filthy Animal," "Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last for a Night)," "Break Your Little Heart"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Something Completely Different - Port Blue

It is very, very rare that I can appreciate music without vocals. To me, the meaning of a song is in the lyrics, and the beauty of a song is in the instrumentals and vocals. Port Blue takes that idea and throws it into the middle of the ocean: he has created 10 short tracks of pure sound with no vocals, and yet each track has more meaning than any words can convey. In his Albatross EP, he has created the soundtrack to a dream.

Port Blue is the project of Adam Young, also of Owl City. What makes his soundscapes so appealing is that he captures the spirit of the ocean and dreams so well, despite living as far from the sea as possible (in Minnesota). According to Young, "the ocean has always been a curiously dreamy, ethereal, almost romantic thing to me." This respect and admiration for the ocean is clear on The Albatross, and if you keep that in mind, his songs take on a new dimension as you imagine this midwestern boy dreaming of the west coast. Each song is like a dream, and is perfect to fall asleep to. The Albatross is 17 minutes of blissful paradise.

I don't post album downloads, but I highly recommend you buy Port Blue's album. Listen to it to fall asleep, listen to it as you sit in the sun, listen to it as you go to the aquarium. Each song is the soundtrack to a dream, a memory, or an experience. Here I have posted my three favorites; if you like them, please pursue an interest in this man; no one has captured the essence of dreams so well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

B-Side - All Time Low

All Time Low is one of the biggest pop punk bands in the scene that haven't made it to radio (though that could soon change). They are one of the few popular bands that have started from the bottom, doing hometown shows and getting signed by a tiny record label, and have made it as high as any band can get in the scene. After three albums and two EPs, All Time Low have the formula for great pop music down. Nearly every song off their most recent release, Nothing Personal, proves that.

While many pop punk bands play the game very safe with peppy melodies and energetic lyrics, All Time Low venture into darker territory with "Poison," a unique track that was left off Nothing Personal except as a bonus track. Why did All Time Low leave one of their best tracks off their possibly breakthrough record? The reason is that "Poison" is not your average pop punk song, and it commands a completley different vibe from the rest of the album.

"Poison"'s main appeal, to me, is its grittiness. It is a dark track about the negative aspects of being a rockstar, and you can tell no one was smiling as it was recorded, though that's not to say they didn't put all their energy into it. The song starts off slow, with a paced drum beat, followed by the introduction of singer Alex Gaskarth's unique voice and a guitar playing in a foreboding minor key. The chorus kicks in, breaking the melancholy of the first verse with catchy vocals and a creatively placed synth line, but ends on a hard note before a bass-drop kicks in. The second verse relays a level of anger very unusual for a pop band, but All Time Low pull it off with talent and power. The instrumental bridge is packed with rock-and-roll guitar a palm-muted verse, before All Time Low smash into the final chorus and wretch the demons from deep inside the pop punk vault with heavy distortion.

You can write All Time Low off as "just another pop punk band," but "Poison" reveals a level of maturity and grit unseen in their contemporaries. It was smart of them to have left it off Nothing Personal, for its themes and sounds differ greatly from the romance-laden lyrics found on many of the other osngs on the album. This is one b-side for the ages, and it turns out this this b-side is closer to the dark side than anything you should be prepared to see.

RIYL Paramore, There for Tomorrow, My American Heart, Hit the Lights


For Comparison:

All Time Low:

Starring Yours Truly - All Time Low

(T at 1:09, me at 1:50)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Awesome - Hit the Lights

Pop punk is a surprisingly interesting genre for what it's composed of. No radio stations in Los Angeles play it (except for when Fall Out Boy or Green Day have a new hit), yet it scores huge on MTV and even incited the creation of an entire scene of music lovers. Pop punk albums usually sell quite well because the music is so accessible, but rarely will they be remembered in history, let alone a year after their release (where the fuck did Cartel go?). Many say pop punk is a fad that will die out, and few disagree. If pop punk is so ephemeral, then, why do bands continue to play it?

Hit the Lights answers that question: they don't give a fuck about history, they just want to make good music that makes people feel a certain way and that people can sing along to. Their recent song, "Coast to Coast," off their new EP of the same name, may only last for one summer in people's playlists, but history is not what Hit the Lights are about. Instead, they channel their musical talent into fresh, catchy tunes perfect for the summer. Their music, simple as it may be, is just as good as that of Fall Out Boy or Paramore, but captures a different feeling: that of the three months of summer break. Hit the Lights sings to to the kids, and they sing it loud.

"Coast to Coast" is not only one of Hit the Lights' best tracks, but also one that exemplifies their style of music very well. Guitar, bass, and drum mix to create a powerful backdrop for singer Nick Thompson's slightly nasally voice, and the result is pop punk gold. They do everything right: great production, great composition, great instrumentation; Thompson's vocal style and songwriting is perfect for the summer, and his harmonies are well placed and skillfullly done. The lyrics are simple yet meaningful, a thank you to all the fans who helped them get where they are, and easy enough to remember that you'll know the chorus before it comes around twice. The gang vocals and intrumental breakdown at the bridge reveal that Hit the Lights had a lot of fun with this song, and that fun translates into the listener's good time.

Some people might call Hit the Lights generic, but if you can capture a mood perfectly and present it to your listeners while having fun, who gives a fuck about originality or longevity? Hit the Lights have created pop punk perfection. Let "Coast to Coast" be the soundtrack to your summer.

RIYL New Found Glory, All Time Low, Cartel, Amber Pacific


For Comparison:

Hit the Lights:

New Layout!

Hello! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but you can be assured that I will be posting a-plenty this coming week. It's the summertime now, which means I'd rather be sitting on a sandy beach watching the sunset than driving through a neon-lit city. So, for the re-grand-openning of my blog, I present the beach!

The picture used for my background was taken by friend Andrew Gold, much like the city scene that was my previous background. He is a skilled photograaher, and I encourage you to check out his works at

With the changing of seasons comes my change in music tastes, as I am listening less to dancy electronica and more to sweet, catchy pop-punk. That is not to say that you will never see an electronica track on here again, but simply that I will be listening to and posting about music that better suits the mood of the summer. There will be more 12-Step Programs, more Awesome Recs, and some new fun things. Stay posted and leave comments!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

12-Step Program - Mae

"Fuckin' shit, dude, have your heard Mae? They're bitchin'!" "Hot damn, I'm listening to Mae and that is some good ass shit!" "Mae? More like Mae-ke me orgasm!"

If you have ever been bombarded by a bunch of your firends (or just one really zealous friend) who sound like this and want you listen to Mae, I have good news. Today, I introduce my 12-Step Program to get into Mae. See, I give you songs that you might like, and once you get used to their sound, I give you songs you really should have. The way this should be done is as follows: download the first track and listen to it as you read what I have to say about it. Next, download the second track and read what I have to say about it. Continue in this fashion, listening to the songs in order. If you just can't get into them, the band isn't right for you. If you do get into them, visit their myspace, buy their songs, and see them on tour when they come to town.

And now for my first 12-Step program, I present Mae.

Mae is an uplifitng piano pop band from Virginia, who originally worke their way up the label ladder to get signed to Capitol, only to go label-less and devote all of their efforts to charity. They have released three major albums, Destination: Beautiful, The Everglow, and Singularity, along with a b-sides album and a few recent EPs. Their style has shifted from atmospheric to piano pop to rock. For the first step of Mae's 12-Step program, I would like to present "The Everglow".

"The Everglow" is an incredibly uplifting song about falling in love. Here you get a taste of Dave Elkin's somewhat unique vocals, the pleasing piano melody, and the effects that Mae use to create music that goes beyond standard instrumentation and creates moods and feelings. The chorus is big and upbeat, with spacey synth keys that make you feel like you're falling into the stars.

"Suspension," like "The Everglow," is off Mae's second album The Everglow and is a song about falling in love. The song basically has a similar feel to "The Everglow" but with fewer effects to create a more standard, but whole, experience. There is more guitar in "Suspension" than in "The Everglow," but the piano continues to bring a sense of light and happiness to your listening.

"Brink of Disaster" displays a change from the innocent, piano-infected mood of The Everglow as we move into the spacy realm of Singularity. The synth present in the intro and choruses of "Brink of Disaster" bring to mind a more outer-space-oriented feel, and might be reminiscent of those used by Motion City Soundtrack. Mae continues with their very ctachy choruses and slightly more subdues choruses in the vein of "Suspension,"but the intrumentation and vocals create grittier, harder feel than The Everglow's softer, more springy sound.

"Just Let Go" is a return to the relaxing feel of The Everglow, but what puts it on Singularity is its focus on guitar instead of piano. The lyrics are very relatable and talk about falling in love with a close friend, mirroring the romantic aspect of The Everglow. If you like this softer side of Mae, stick to this song, "Release Me," and "The Ocean".

The slow intro to "Home" brings about the atmospheric feeling of floating through space or walking on the moon. This feeling continues with the verses, but the choruses are some of the most energetic Mae has ever created and are reminiscent of those in "Suspension." "Home" reveals Mae's talent in creating spacey atmospheres while still creating catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics.

Redone from Destination: Beautiful, "Embers and Envelopes" brings back the atmospheric feeling of Mae's first album Singulairty. What identifies the song as being from D: Beautiful is its intense atmospheric quality which leaves room only for Dave's vocals and an acoustic guitar behind all the production and effects. Nonetheless, this is one of Mae's best songs, and makes the best use of their talent in production and mood creation.

Well, you have just received your 12-Step (6-song) education in Mae. If you like what you hear, please check out their other songs and see them live! If you haven't cought onto Mae yet, they probably aren't for you.

If you prefer their more rock-oriented songs, like "Brink of Disaster," check out "Crazy 8s," "Sometimes I Can't Make It Alone," and "Sic Semper Tyrannis". "For more songs in the poppy vein of "The Everglow," look toaward "Anything," "Cover Me," and "Breakdown". For more spacey rock in the vein of "Home," check out "Rocket" and "On Top". Finally, if you like the atmospheric vibe of "Embers and Envelopes," consider "This Time Is the Last Time (Wave Remix)". I hope have enjoyed today's 12-Step Program!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Awesome - Paper Route

It would be really awesome if I could take high quality hamburgers, sushi, scrambled eggs, pesto, and pad thai and just throw it all in a belnder and create a drink that took all the best of these things and put it into one creamy, delicious milkshake. Unfortunately, if I were to do that in real life, I would waste a ton of money and end up with a bubbling glass of shit.

It doesn't take a genious to figure out where this metaphor is going. Paper Route is me, their song "Carousel" off of their recent album Absence is the blender, and the auditory orgasm I receive after each listen is the milkshake of greatness. But what are the parts that make "Carousel" so delicious?

Paper Route takes the best parts of many great bands and layers (and layers and layers) them until a complex yet whole sound is produced that will blow you away. They take the piano melodies of Coldplay, the electronics of Innerpartysystem, the guitar work of Modest Mouse, and the technical drumming of Saosin and throw it into an indie crockpot that cooks up a delicious gumbo. The vocals are hushed, but as though to say, "Be quiet, so you can hear the explosion!" The chorus is subdued, but the pounding verses and ass-kicking instrumental bridge more than make up for them. With electronics and machine sounds, this is far from your average indie song.

Paper Route may have an aerie-faerie indie name, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are your run-of-the-mill indie band. Their song is a three-and-a-half-minute jizz, caused by downing a giga-milshake in one swallow. Paper Route is the future of good music.

RIYL Coldplay, Innerpartysystem, Edison Glass, Mute Math


For Comparison:
Mute Math - "Spotlight" (right click > save as) (not my link)

Paper Route:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Awesome - The Secret Handshake

The Secret Handshake is Luis Dubuc, a a young dude from Texas who really wants emo kids to party. He makes simple elctronic music and layers it with his own autotuned vocals (T-Pain holla!) and emo lyrics, making him, along with such bands as Owl City and Playradioplay!, one of the pioneers of "emotronica," a genre whose name describes it perfectly: a calming mix of emo and electronica. Nearly always emotronica is made by guys in their basements, and it's unlikely that the tunes will reach the level of true electronica like Justice or Chromeo.

However, on his track "Lately," Luis does just that. Take a Chromeo or Justice track, pour on a big helping of emo, and you have this gem. Most of the songs on Luis' debut One Full Year are slow, introverted tracks that make you want to cry at how pathetic Luis's life is rather than make you dance, but "Lately" is a disco diamond in a coal mine. Sure, the lyrics will probably make you look down at your feet, but you'll notice they're tapping to a pretty hefty beat. The song starts out simple, with just a beat and some sparkly sound effects, but moves into a synthetic bass-fueled disco track, complete with synthetic violins and handclaps. Luis keep it interesting and the 5 minutes speed by, despite his constant repeating of the same depressing lyric. About two-thirds of the way through, Luis comes in with a distorted guitar solo and even more musical layering, and you would swear you were listening to Chromeo if it weren't for Luis's melancholy yet passioned vocals. The beat keeps up till the very end, and you're left wondering why time flies so much when you listen to this song (Hint: it has to do with you having fun).

"Lately" is by no means a club-fresh track. Rather, it brings to mind the industrial, one-story landscape of a Dallas outskirt instead of the skyscrapers of downtown Boston. I'm hesitant to call this song "The Soundtrack to a Night at the Bowling Alley," but with its 70s-inspired disco leanings and moody lyrics, a calm night with your second-best friend at the alley will sound golden.

RIYL Chromeo, Playradioplay!, Owl City, Justice


For Comparison:

The Secret Handshake:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Awesome - Eye Alaska

If you've been following my blog, you know that I like to include sex in my posts. I mean, who wouldn't want sex in every aspect of their lives? Not me! I have sex 16 times a day and use Magnum brand condoms! Yeah! Masculinity rocks!

Today's post also features sex, but in a different way. I've compared songs to masturbation and talked about my lust for a certain spicy frontman, but most of the music I write about really has little to do with sex. So now, I'd like to introduce Eye Alaska, the new soundtrack to your lovemaking. You may be thinking, Great, another deep-voiced large black man to fill the void in my relationship, but this group is composed of 5 skinny white guys from California (holla!). Still, however, the jazz you might be expecting pervades their sound, and to exemplify, I'm recommending their new track, "Walk Like a Gentleman" off their upcoming full-length, Genesis Underground.

The intro to "Walk Like a Gentleman" is filled with a vibrant string section and some hearty bells, and it provides a good presage of the rest of the song. Lead singer Brandon Wronski may look 15, but he has a smooth, seductive voice that starts out very breathy but explodes into a brilliant tenor by the chorus, which contains yet more strings and bells. The emotional yet deep lyrics reveal why Eye Alaska is prominent in the "scene": "We all got problems when it comes to the soul," sings Wronski during the chorus. The instrumentation during the verses is subdued to make room for his lovemaking-inducing vocals, with only a slow beat and some well-placed chimes. It's the bridge, however, where the real emotion lies, as the instensity and darkness increase threefold due to a more prominent string section and Wronski's passionate diction. The final chorus breaks in with gang vocals and horns, and ends with Wronski's seductive whisper.

By now you're probably harder than frozen soup and she's as naked as a sphynx. If you're too emo, racist, or small in the pants to listen to real big-black-man jazz, this is the next best thing. So strap on a Trojan, turn on some Eye Alaska, and quit staring at pictures of their guitarist, oh insecure one; you've got a lady to please.

RIYL Paper Rival, The Bronze Episode, As Tall As Lions, John Legend in skinny jeans

Make Love:

For Comparison:

Eye Alaska: