New Music Alert!

If you are like me then you are always on the prowl for great new music to blast in your car with the windows down as summer  draws near and the days grow longer.

Well, with that said, I would like to introduce you to Cults.

Fairly new, straight from the land of hipsterdom, this Brooklyn duo turned 5 piece band has created more than just a cheery pop album. I cannot stress to you how much I am enjoying this album lately. Even with the handfuls of new albums from veterans like Death Cab and My Morning Jacket coming out this summer I can confidently say that this is tops for me.

Head on over to NPR to stream the album in full. You will not be disappointed.

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Popularity Contest: A Rant with Purpose

As you’ve probably figured out already, the music biz (as we call it) thrives solely on popularity. Now that can stem from a whole lot of things. Physical appearance of the artists, fashion, crazy antics, and sometimes even their musical talent. I say sometimes because let’s face it- what is “popular” isn’t always good. And when there are so many talented musicians and musical groups out there in the world it’s hard to understand why they are often overlooked by radio and mainstream and replaced by inferior posers.

Which brings me to a recent discovery. Actual talent on the radio. As you may or may not know, I was away in Ghana for the past two years. Apparently during that time someone decided that artists who play their own instruments and write their own songs should also be included in today’s top music. I returned home to find artists like Mumford & Sons, Adele, and The Decemberists all over the Billboard charts. You can only imagine my surprise.

Now here is where I will start to nitpick. Obviously everyone’s tastes are not the same and even those previous artists I listed may not be to everyone’s liking. So now the question is, why those artists/bands over all the others? What makes them better? Supposedly we can leave that up to listeners to decide- I mean, if they want to hear it obviously it will be played on the radio. But…. suppose listeners are not aware of all the other artists that sound (how do I put this) exactly like those previous artists. I mean, how would they ever find out if the radio only plays what was once unknown and is now “popular”? Ah. Now that is a tough one.

So what is popularity? Even in the indie scheme of things? Certainly Adele has appeal over the masses, she’s certainly doing well for herself and I would be lying if I said that “Rolling in the Deep” was not one of my new favorite songs. But seriously, why her? And I don’t mean to solo her out, but I want to make a point here. Female folk/country/bluesy artists are nothing new. Remember Duffy, Norah Jones, even Lex Land who we introduced you to a while back. Is Adele just the new new?

And what of Laura Marling?

She remains one of the most incredible young promising folk artists I have ever listened to and yet she gets minimal publicity (except in England where she won Best Female Solo Artist at the 2011 Brit Awards). Marling wrote her first album “Alas I Cannot Swim” when she was 17 and her poetic lyrics seem to come from someone much older and mature.

I wander the streets, avoiding them eats
Till ring on my finger slips to the ground
A gift to the gutter, a gift to the city
The veins of which have broken me down

Her last album “I Speak Because I Can” was just as miraculous, coming from a matured and older Laura Marling. Perhaps her song content is just too dark to catch on. Songs about religion and faith don’t sell as well as ones about boyfriends and dance clubs. But in any case, her newest collaboration with Mumford & Sons has me wondering if this might lead to her big breakout into America. After all, America seems to eat up those boys and their banjos. Their new EP will be coming out July 5th and it features traditional Rajasthani folk collective Dharohar Project. Bollywood on Top Billboard? We’ll have to wait and see…

Obsessed With: Florence and the Machine

So, I like to run, you know, for exercise. At the beginning of every run, I like to kick off with a fun song to keep me going. Right now, that song is “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine. Upbeat, happy, and kind of off-beat, this tune and music collaboration led by Florence Welch, released their first album, titled Lungs, in summer of 2009 out of the U.K. It jumped quickly up the top 40 chart, and now a second album, You’ve Got the Love, came out this month.

I absolutely LOVE Florence’s soul-y voice, and how she combines it with indie-rock. Here’s a video of “Dog Days Are Over”, so you can see what I am talking about.

So yeah, it is kind of exactly what one would expect from an indie video; I know I wasn’t too impressed by the concept of it, although it is well costumed. This may sound weird, but I love the way Florence’s mouth is gigantic and how she sings into the camera. It’s my favorite part of the vid, other than the glitter.

P.S. I could totally see this song being used in a commercial of some sort. I am thinking running shoes, obviously. Do you dig Florence and the Machine as much as me? I want to know!

Local Natives

There’s so much new stuff on my iPod I’m not sure what I want to share with you first!!  But these guys have pretty much become a staple in my music library:

These boys are the Local Natives….they currently are locals of the LA neighborhood Silver Lake.  Their harmonizing melodies gained them a lot of comparisons to Fleet Foxes at their SXSW debut.  I don’t like to do the “sound like” game a lot though….all I know is I have a major band crush.  Not only do I lust after them because their incredible sound, but they also have a kick-ass blog, which is written mostly by the bassist, Andy.  Someone in the band is also an amazing photographer.  The pictures accompanying the blog are awesome.  Boys that can sing, write, and take pictures? My heart just skipped a beat.

Their first album, Gorilla Manor is due to be released next month.  Listen to “Airplanes” below:

Listening to Lex Land

I was watching Castle the other night, and I was amazed by all the great songs featured in the show.  It shouldn’t be too surprising though, as the show was nominated for the Emmy’s Outstanding Music Composition for a Series.

In the last few minutes of the episode, the melodic “My Fault, Your Mistake” came on (Season 2, Episode 1: “Deep in Death”).  I hadn’t heard this Norah Jones/Adele/Jewel amalgam before.

Some quick internet searches, I discovered the songbird was Lex Land.  A Texan by way of California.  This isn’t the first time her lyrical melodies have graced the small screen.  Her songs have also been in Brothers and Sisters, One Tree Hill, and Private Practice.

I bet we’re going to be hearing her much more.  Her songs are ideal for the intimately intense moments of drama tv.

Apparently I am not on the brink of discovery

Yeah. Remember that new obsession I mentioned a little bit ago? About Phoenix? And Lisztomania? Well, I had no clue how popular they were until I saw the Cadillac commerical like a billion times this past weekend:

Well, if you search Cadillac commercial in Google, you get a ton of hits, even on Wiki answers with “Who is this band? What is that song?” The song is 1901, by the way.

And, while in Las Vegas, the center of all things commercial and flash, I heard them again in one of the hotels on the strip. It was either Lisztomania or Rome, both off their new album. Geez. Can’t I ever be one of the first to discover or like a new band? Not like it makes me feel cool or anything…(yeah. I don’t even pride on me seeing Garden State on opening day. Take that, pseudo-indie hipsters) ahem. Well, Phoenix is amazing (added plus: they’re French! And adorable), and if you haven’t taken my advice in the last post, I will give you another chance to check them out right here. This video nearly has a million views on YouTube.