Monthly Archives: May 2013

New Music: “Daydream” – Julie Mar

 

bio-300x195

Singer songwriter Julie Mar’s debut album Theorem was released April 2nd.  The album’s first single is the gentle “Daydream” which features Mar’s breezy vocals over some sparse and fluid guitar.  If you were able to somehow capture the sound of the sun rising up over the ocean during a walk on the beach “Daydream” would come pretty damn close.

Check out the video for “Daydream” below.

http://www.juliemarmusic.com/

 

New Music: “Lose Me” – Samia

 

artworks-000048119423-ks4pe4-t500x500

New York’s Samia has often been described as a “female Steven Tyler”, but her debut single “Lose Me” recalls the early days of The Black Crowes than the Toxic Twins.   Like the Crowes’ “Lose” is pure rock and roll swagger and sweat, but with elements of soul blues and  country thrown in.  Samia sounds right at home belting out bluesy yelps at over greasy guitar leads and a tight rhythm section.  “Lose Me” is a good reminder that good old fashioned rock and roll never truly fades away.

“Lose Me” is off of Samia’s forthcoming eponymous EP.  Check it out here.

http://www.samiamusic.com/

New Music: “Pillow Talk” – PANTy RAiD

 

PantyRaid_PillowTalk_Cover_WebRez1-300x300

PANTy RAid started out as the side project between Martin Folb (known as MartyParty and Josh Mayer (Ooah of The Glitch Mob) in 2008.  Their first album The Sauce was released in 2009 and has since become a cult classic.  Now the electronic duo is set to release their second album Pillow Talk on May 28th.

While Pillow Talk is full of party beats and grooves, it also takes off into a few unexpected territories.  “Realism For Girls” has an underlying beat with an Indian vibe – the sound of an old world and new one colliding.  “Waiting for Wednesday” has an icy-cold vibe that perfectly embodies the middle of the week blues.  And “No Self Control” certainly lives up to its name and is the closest that Pillow Talk has to an all out banger.

If you’re looking for a summer soundtrack in the club (or your own dance party) Pillow Talk will surely hit the spot.

http://www.pantyraidmusic.com/

Song of the Week: “B.O.B.” – Outkast

 

There are songs that you vividly remember the first time you heard them.  Most of the time these types of songs are radically different than anything else you’ve ever heard.  They’re the type of song that alters your perception of what music can sound like and where it will go afterwards.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who had that type of reaction the first time they heard Outkast’s “B.O.B”.  Even 13 years afters its release, it still sounds unlike anything else, even in Outkast’ genre-bending style of hip-hop.

In the fall of 2000, I was a freshmen in college.  In between classes, I occasionally watched MTV in my room to bide some time.  Most of the time, the videos were really shitty.  It was the era of The Backstreet Boys and Blink 182 (who were essentially The Backstreet Boys disguised as punks).

I’m not a morning person.  I need coffee to function in the morning and it usually takes back 30 minutes for it to work its affects.  One morning, I was startled and taken out of my morning haze by a strange chant coming from the TV along with an absurdly fast rap.  As my eyes adjusted to the TV, at first I just assumed I was still asleep.

It was too weird to be a dream. Images of purple grass and green roads flashed on the screen trying to keep up with the song’s fast-paced momentum.   While most other hip-hop videos of the time exuded a laid-back cool (unless of course you were Eminem), this one reveled in its sheer flashiness and energy.  Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi tried their hardest to make sure their bodies moved almost as fast as their lips.

But it was the music that was the most jarring.  The rapid-fire pace of the rhythm was both radical and mind-blowing.  The duo’s fast-paced flow was a feat of super-human vocal dexterity.  It was a hip-hop version of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” – the words jumped out of the speakers like lightning with imagination and creativity.  As if that weren’t enough there was the song’s hook – the soul chant of “bombs over Baghdad!” – and a guitar solo that sounded like it was played by a voodoo priest.  All of it added up to a declaration of “instant classic”.

Right then I knew that popular music would never quite be the same.  With a mix of soul, funk and a little bit of Jimi Hendrix thrown in for good measure hip-hop seemed to be a crossroads.  “B.O.B.” paved the way for other artists to expand their sound beyond a great beat.  The likes of other genre-busting hip-hop luminaries like Kanye West, The Roots (though they’ve been around just as long as Outkast), Kid Cudi and Common -just to name a few – owe a lot to this song somehow getting through the cracks.

Because the song is now so familiar, it can be easy to forget how different the song was (and still is) than anything else.  Outkast may have gone on to greater fame with the likes of “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”, but they were never this fearless or bold again.

 

New Music: “This Side Dawn” – Fox & Woman (Exclusive Album Stream)

 

avatars-000037485020-xtmlxu-t200x200

If you’re looking for an album to cool with to as the long hot days of summer kick in, Fox & Women’s This Side of Dawn is the perfect antidote. With a mix  of great vocal harmonies and a little bit of synth-pop thrown in for good measure,  This Side of Dawn is the perfect soundtrack to a night out on the porch.  Singer Jess Silva’s voice is bold and beautiful, even as she sings in her native Portuguese.  Rounding out the group is Andrew Nelson (guitar), Emily Halton (vocals, violin and keys), and Will Boast (drums).

This Side of Dawn is Fox & Woman’s first full-length and will released through digital retailers and disc form on Friday May 31st.  Along with our good friends at Citybird Publicity, Leading Us Absurd is proud to offer an exclusive stream of This Side of Dawn before it’s official release.

Check out the exclusive stream here.

 

Song of the Week: “Shelter From the Storm” – Bob Dylan

 

On album that is filled with bitterness, regret, put-downs, betrayals and even murder on the surface “Shelter From the Storm” comes off as the easiest song to digest.  The verses are certainly complicated and filled with apocalyptic and Biblical imagery.  But it’s the repeated line – “‘Come in’, she said.  ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm” – at the end of each verse that seems to offer hope and redemption to the characters who are running away and suffering throughout the rest of Blood on the Tracks.

I’ve had arguments with friends over the meaning and context of the song.  I tend to lean towards its irony, while they view it as sincere.   You could view it as sincere based on the song’s simple refrain (it’s not really a chorus).  An un-named woman offers the narrator shelter from a storm.  Within the context of the rest of Blood on the Tracks, this woman is the only one who hasn’t done him wrong or left him feeling sorry for himself.  She’s willing to help him out.  Or you could view it the other way: everyone else has either left or done damage to him.  So why should this person, in spite of her offering be trusted?

But like most Dylan songs, it’s a lot more complicated than that.  The way that Dylan sings that phrase that reveals something darker and even mysterious. As the song progresses the line becomes something different each time.  Sometimes Dylan sings the line with scorn and disgust.  Other times it’s comforting and sympathetic.  The un-named woman who opens her door to him can been seen as sincere in some verses, and occasionally ironic.

To those who suggest that Dylan isn’t much of a singer, take a good listen to this song.  The way he sings those lines is just as important to the song as the lyrics.  Notice that he never sings the word “you” as it’s supposed to be pronounced.  Instead he offers the slang variant: “ya” as in: “I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”  That subtle change alters the meaning of the woman’s offer.  And as the narrator’s story becomes wilder and full of suffering Dylan even switches up the way he sings the word.  When the woman takes his crown of thorns, it becomes a sort of “yuuuuuuuuh”.  It’s almost like the woman is baiting  the narrator: sure you can come in, but it’ll cost you.  Now this mysterious woman with “silver bracelets and flowers in her hair” doesn’t seem so inviting does she?

Incidentally, the electric arrangement found on Hard Rain finds the woman more sympathetic and inviting to my ears.  Which of course, is even more ironic considering the circumstances surrounding that particular show.

New Music: “Fanfare for the Modern Man” – The Mystic Underground

 

 

who_can_it_be_now16.03.2013.1

Brooklyn’s The Mystic Underground carries on the thinking man’s synth-pop and electronic music in the tradition of early pioneers such like Depeche Mode and New Order.  Their latest single “Fanfare for the Modern Man” off of their upcoming Gender Rules EP certainly owes a lot of debt to those ’80’s groups in sonics and production.  Singer Vladimir Valette’s commanding and hypnotic vocals meld perfectly alongside the cold and chunky beats of Benedetto Socci.  But it’s Valetter’s warnings on relationships that stand-out: “careful not to stare, she’ll cut you if you dare”.  With that in mind, the “fanfare” isn’t so much as a celebration but more of a caustic warning of “lessons to be learned”.

Check out “Fanfare For the Modern Man” here.

www.themysticunderground.net

Song of the Week: “There She Goes” – The La’s

 

A huge chunk of me really wants to hate this song.  Really hate it.  It’s so light-weight, fluffy and sincere.  It doesn’t help that it has been used in a number of terrible movies including Fever Pitch, The Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap, and So I Married an Axe Murderer.  And then there’s the Sixpence None the Richer version.

Really, what does it have going for it?

Despite my grumblings it’s a perfect pop song. It’s got an inescapable melody and some of the best Roger McGuin rip-off chords this side of Peter Buck.  It does what it’s supposed to and nothing more.  And sometimes, that’s all you really need.

So, yeah it’s pretty great after-all.

 

New Music: “8th Grader” – 8th Grader (Exclusive Album Stream)

 

8thgrader.1

8th Grader (aka Jason Martinovich) is gearing up to release his self-titled EP.  The eponymous EP is a mix of new-wave sonics and a Neo-soul vibe.   Imagine if John Legend or Prince’s quieter moments were tracks for a John Hughes movie and you’d come up with 8th Grader.

Leading Us Absurd is proud to offer an exclusive stream of 8th Grader prior to its release   next Tuesday (May 21st.)

8th Grader – 8th Grader Stream.

New Music: “Every Weekend” – Hadouken!

887845330222

Hadouken!’s third album Every Weekend has generated a lot of buzz before the album was even released.  Their single “Levitate” was released as part of their “People Are Awesome 2013” video which went viral and has been seen by over 30 million people.

Every Weekend solidifies Hadouken!’s unique mix of dance-oriented pop and Linkin Park-style vocals.  In other words, you can mosh and dance to it at the same time.  This combination had made the group front-runners in the UK’s Bass scene.

Check out the “People Are Awesome 2013” video here.