Weekly Music

Friday, November 29, 2013

ArchonofFail's Song of the Month: November: Blind Guardian - "Mirror Mirror"

Mirror, mirror on the wall, true hope lies beyond the coast.
Rating: 9/10
Since I haven't has too much time to work on making posts for this blog, I decided to do two specific posts at the end of this November, if I like how it goes, I probably will do another two at the end of December in a similar vein. First, the song I have decided as my favorite song this November, here goes. Blind Guardian is an awesome band and this is one of their more awesome songs. From their album Nightfall in Middle Earth, a concept album based on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien's work, notably the Silmarillion. I absolutely loves this song, the guitar part is masterfully written and the chorus is just so good, the pacing is perfect and everything about this song is just so good. One interesting element of Blind Guardian's music is that they do not incorporate a bass guitar in their studio albums, but even without it, they manage to make some of the best Power Metal in existence. Unfortunately a lot of their music is not available in the U.S., but they recently released an album in 2011 where they remastered their best songs, and this song is on it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blackmore's Night - "Loreley"

Oh, the song of Loreley, charms the moon right from the sky, she will get inside your mind, lovely Loreley.
Rating: 7/10
Wow, I just discovered this band today and I am already in love. Blackmore's night is a duo consisting of Ritchie Blackmore, the former guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow, and his then girlfriend now wife Candice Night. Their music is primarily folk, a genre I generally don't think of as one of a genre I like, but wow, I love this music. This song is about a legend of a rock in Germany called Lorelei, and the legend of a siren like woman associated with it. I don't really know why I like it so much but it is really awesome and I have been listening to this band and song all day, I am really impressed.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Within Temptation - "Paradise (What About Us?) ft. Tarja"

What about us? Isn't it enough. No, we're not in paradise.
Rating: 9/10
When I heard one of my favorite symphonic metal bands was collaborating with Tarja, one of the greatest symphonic metal singers, to release a song, I was excited and boy did they deliver. This song is absolutely amazing, probably the best symphonic metal song released this year so far, and I absolutely cannot wait for the upcoming album. I listened to this song on repeat for a really long time when I first found it. Interestingly this is one of the very few symphonic metal duets I have heard and I am surprised it turned out so well, Sharon of Within Temptation and Tarja's voices compliment each other perfectly. Also the music video is extremely well done and obviously had a lot of work put into everything about it, unfortunately our small player doesn't do it justice, I would recommend watching this one in full size on youtube. Overall I am extremely impressed so far and can't wait for Within Temptation's new album.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Masterplan - "Crimson Rider"

Holy fire I'm not scared of you, I'll take you to burn, oh yeah, crimson rider I am the baron of the sky, come feel the wind turn.
Rating: 8/10
This song starts off a bit slow, but the chorus is amazing. Masterplan is a German power metal band formed by former guitarist and drummer of Halloween in 2001 and, although I haven't listened to much of their music, this is definitely one of my favorite songs of theirs and they are definitely becoming one of my power metal bands. I think is a song about either the Red Baron or someone going to fight him. It really feels like a song about being a pilot and is very well written.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Epica - "Chasing the Dragon"

What goes around will come around, don't deny your fears, so let them go and fade into light.
Rating: 7/10
Alright, I lied, it turns out there is another awesome song from this album I missed the first time. Epica recently released a "best of" album on spotify and this was on it, having listened to the album extensively found this song to be one of my favorites and apparently I missed it when I first listened to the divine conspiracy. Anyways, this song is very symphonic metal, and that is a lot of the reason I like it so much. It is a very relaxing song and it has been stuck in my head all week, which is totally fine with me. It is a bit on the long side and there are parts of it I like a bit less, but as a whole I love this song. Also for those use Spotify check out their best of here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Alice Cooper - "Poison"

You're poison runnin through my veins.
Rating: 7/10
I don't know why, but I really like this song, it's a bit outside of the music I normally listen to. I originally discovered it because Tarja did a cover of it which I, like a bit more. I did not post the music video since it is somewhat NSFW, if you want to see it, you can find it on youtube or read about it on wikipedia. The song is very catchy and generally awesome so it is no supprise to me that it is Alice Cooper's number one hit. Interestingly I have actually already posted a song by Alice Cooper, he was the guest vocalist for Avantasia on The Toy Master. I feel the obvious meaning of this song is a forbidden relationship, or one you know you shouldn't be in, however I read a very interesting theory showing how the lyrics of the song could be an analogy for a heroin addict, which I find very interesting. Also, I would kill for Alice Cooper and Tarja to do a duet of this song, but that is unlikely to happen since they are very different artists unfortunately for me.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tarja - "Never Enough"

No, never enough, never enough, I gave it all, you still want more.
Rating: 4/10
Not to be confused with Never Enough by Epica, this song is the first single to be released from former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen's upcoming album Colours in the Dark. This will be her third studio after breaking up with Nightwish. The song starts out as a very strong symphonic metal song and I really like it, however I would say I am not as much of a fan of the second half of the song, particularly the very end where the vocals cut out and especially do not like the static at the end. The lyrics video is very well done and I appreciate the work that has gone into it, however so far I'm not convinced the new album will be good from this song but I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the album is tomorrow on August 30th.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dio - "Straight Through the Heart"

And here it comes again, straight through the heart.
Rating: 8/10
Ronnie James Dio is basically the god of American metal vocals, he was the vocalist for Black Sabbath for 3 years and formed his own band, Dio soon after. This song is from his band's first album Holy Diver, while not as famous as the title song, Holy Diver, or Rainbow in the Dark this song is awesome. I recently discovered this song, and I love it. The music is very catchy and Dio's very iconic style of singing complements it perfectly. Unlike a lot of American metal, the guitar solo is just about the right length, perhaps a bit on the long side, but it provides a nice break between the beginning and the end. Overall a very well done song and Dio's voice is awesome.

David Gray - "Long Distance Call"

Early morning sun...
Shine it and I'm gone
Rating: 6/10
David Gray is about as soulful, peaceful and longing as you'll get in a song like this. His sincerity shines through the lightly strummed guitar pieces, and the simple rock drums add energy to this piece. This UK singer/songwriter made his first appearance in 1993, releasing a studio album titled "A Century Ends". However, he did not gain popular vision until 1998, with "White Ladder". While the quality of his songs tend to vary, this is one that spoke to me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nightwish - Elvenpath

Long ago, in the early years of the second age, the great elven-smiths forged the Rings of Power.
Rating: 5/10
This song from Nightwish's first album, Angels Fall First, this song is both the an amazing song and a terrible song at the same time, I can't make up my mind as to which one. Basically it is one giant pile of Lord of the Rings references, if you are into that, more the better, I think it's alright but other than having a lot of Lord of the Rings references, I don't think the song itself is that good. Sometime I absolutely love this song, sometimes it is way to cheesy for me, definitely give it a listen and make a judgement for yourself. I do not get most of the references in this song and unless you have an obsessive devotion with Lord of the Rings, like some people I know, you very well may not enjoy this song.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thirty Seconds to Mars - "Do or Die"

Time to be alive
I will never forget the moment, the moment
I will never forget this night we sing, we sing
Rating: 8/10
LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS came out on May 21st and recently their new video hit one million views after being out for only a week. It is for the song "Do or Die" off of LLFD. This video, like their one for "Closer to the Edge", is a bunch of live shots from their European tour put together along with personal interviews form members of the Echelon. The Echelon is the family of fans that is extremely dedicated to the band. Frontman Jared Leto interviewed all of the people in the video to get their story and spent his summer vacation editing it; it turned out to be a sort of love letter to the Echelon and for us is one of the most beautiful music videos. The video on this post however is not it, but you can check it out here. The music in the song is uplifing and has a beat that makes people (even ones like me) want to jump around to it. It is so incredibly beautiful both lyrically and musically. Jared's voice is amazing and his brother Shannon put together the perfect drum part for it. Overall this song is just phenomenal and extremely special to the Echelon. Provehito in Altum.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sonata Arctica - "Wildfire"

Burn honey, burn, let the fire eat away, I never liked the look of this town, burn it down now.
Rating: 7/10
This is a very interesting song, there are two followup songs on later Sonata Arctica albums. I feel the literal interpretation of the song is that it is about a man from a village, who no one trusts, maybe because he is an outsider or whatever, everyone is very suspicious of him and blame him for everything. Eventually he hears voices telling him take his stuff, run away, and set the town on fire. However the more figurative interpretation is more broad. It is about people who generally feel like they don't fit in with society for whatever reason and do terrible to things to lash back out at society by committing arson or murder. The musical style is very archetypal of Sonata Arctica's musical style, a vocal focused power metal. This song is a good showcase of Tony Kakko's fairly unique sounding vocals. Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band with some symphonic metal influence, they were formed in 1995 and have released seven studio albums to date.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Green River Ordinance - "Cannery River"

dig our toes in that river bottom, play our music way up loud
Rating: 5/10
Green River Ordinance is a rock band from Texas. They have a soft rock style that can sound like pop rock, country, or even a bit like folk. Recently they released their EP Chasing Down the Wind which leads off with the song "Cannery River". This song, like most of theirs, is an acoustic one using a variety of string instruments. It is quiet and simple; and Josh Jenkins's beautiful voice is soothing with the acoustic instruments. It is a sweet love song, similar to most of their tracks. Green River Ordinance writes comforting and pretty music, however many of their songs are similar.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Epica - "The Obsessive Devotion"

Don't you ever blind me, don't be a foolish thief.
Rating: 7/10
This is the second song I have posted from this album and I am extremely mixed on this one. The first half of the song I absolutely love, one of my favorite songs, but the in the second half it really goes downhill for me. Something about the lyrics in the beginning are just beautiful to me. I feel having read through the lyrics that this song is about a person going through the five stages of grief, if you read the lyrics, the first two lyrical sections cover denial, the third anger, the next section is bargaining, and the rest of the song is acceptance. Quite an amazing song and I consider the first part of the song to be one of Epica's best. The album for me is fairly good, but the only two stand out songs are this and Never Enough which my review of can be found here. That actually sums up Epica as a band fairly well for me. Most of their songs are fairly good with a few absolute gems which are some of my favorite songs.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Avantasia - "Spectres"

Wide open minds will divine without reason, cold is the night as you're braving the gale
Rating: 9/10
This is the best track from Avantasia's 2013 album The Mystery of Time, which, as normal with Avantasia, is quite an exceptional album. Also as is normal with Avantasia, all the songs on the album are good, but none of them stand out to me as incredible. This song in particular I like because of the transitions between fast instrument focused sections and slower vocal focused sections. I am very impressed with this song and this album in general and it definitely is one of my top metal albums of the year.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kamelot - "When the Lights are Down"

'cause when the lights are down, there's no more to say.
Rating: 6/10
A fairly nice power/symphonic metal song and part of a very interesting set of three concept albums ((Karma, Epica (not the band), and The Black Halo) loosely based on the German play Goethe's Faust. Overall the song is one of my favorite songs by Kamelot, but isn't really one of my favorite songs in general. It has very nice guitar intro and the backing is generally quite good, but I don't really get pulled in by the lyrics, and as such it isn't quite as it could be. Still a nice song though.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"

He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Rating: 7/10
As opposed to the European metal I have posted a lot of with bands like Epica, Rhapsody, Avantasia, and Nightwish, this song is very Americany heavy metal to me, very heavy, very fast guitar riffs and less of a focus on the vocals. This is one of my favorite Avenged Sevenfold songs, and is a bit older than Nightmare which I posted earlier. It begins with an interesting quote by Samuel Johnson which to me is a quote about the fact that is is easier to do things which are bad for you such as drugs an alcohol to distract yourself, rather than face your responsibilities. This quote I feel sets the theme for the song. Overall, a quite good song by one of my favorite American heavy metal bands.

Epica - "Storm the Sorrow"

I’ve tried to peer into the core, but could not storm the sorrow.
Rating: 9/10
This song is so amazing, maybe I'm i'm a bit biased because I absolutely love European metal, but seriously, this song is really good. But I digress, for me, what I really like about this song is the combination of the powerful (one might say epic(a)) string ensemble and the guitar in the background, and really well though out and well sung lyrics in the foreground. This song is a song you can tell has some deep meaning right from the start, and was carefully crafted to convey a point. This is the meaning of the song according to the band's lead singer, "Storm the sorrow deals about all the negative criticism which everyone has to deal with in their life. Everybody has something to say about everyone and a lot of criticism comes from jealousy and envy. Besides being criticized by the public, you're also criticizing yourself. It is a struggle within and you alone can fight it." I feel this is a very relevant problem to a lot of people and is a good choice for a theme of a song. Also the music video for this song is absolutely incredibly well done, and if you think about it, it is very easy to see how the video shows the theme of the song. This song is one of the favorite songs I have found this year so seriously, give it a listen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Matt Webb - "Stage I Remember"

push our way up front and leave it all behind, I can cross my dirty fingers and hope the stars align
Rating: 5/10
In 2011, Canada's Matt Webb released the EP Coda and Jacket. This was the first solo project from Marianas Trench's guitarist, but he assured everyone the band was very supportive, even helping on some of the tracks, including "Stage I Remember". Matt Webb has a good voice and can play music well, but I am a little disappointed in his music style: pop. The songs are catchy, but the sound is so mainstream and bubblegum pop. This song in particular is better than some of the others with its less predictable lyrics and themes. Talented as he is, I think Matt could put out better music.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sleeping With Sirens - "Four Corners and Two Sides"

you only do what you're told
you better hope that you're right
Rating: 7/10
Sleeping With Sirens is a post-hardcore band lead by vocalist Kellin Quinn. They released their sophomore album, Let's Cheers to This in 2011. Their sound often has hardcore beats and screams, but also adds cleaner vocals and lighter singing pushing them into the post-hardcore category. "Four Corners and Two Sides" is one of their heaviest songs both on the album and overall with its fast-paced drumming and screams. It has good screams, quite lovely singing, and some hardcore music. The first couple times I heard this song, I thought the screams done by Jesse Lawson seemed poor quality and unskilled; but I also couldn't get it out of my head and the more I listened I realized they sound good in the song and work well with Kellin's voice that is much higher in pitch. Most of the time I do not like higher vocals, but somehow I was taken by Kellin. Despite the fact he sometimes sounds like he belongs in a teenage-pop-boy band, he still sounds great in heavier music. I personally love this song and think it is a great track, but hardcore is definitely not everyone's preference.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Exo - "MAMA"

Careless, careless
Shoot anonymous, anonymous
Heartless, mindless
No one care about me
Rating: 8/10
Exo's 2012 debut single, MAMA, is a blend of several different genres, spanning pop, rock, and (surprisingly) screamo. Exo is a Chinese-South Korean boy band with two branches, one that performs in Korean, Exo-K, and another that performs in Mandarin, Exo-M. MAMA is about the general problems of the world, asking why people forsake love for war and hate. (If you want to see the English translation, here it is). The song itself has a classic, driving chord progression that brings up the original backing vocals in the chorus. All of Exo's members are talented singers and dancers, and this song beautifully showcases their talents. The music video is one of the most theatrical music videos I have ever seen, making Exo look like a team of dancing superhero demigods in a fantasy novel.

Ojos de Brujo - "Ventilaor R-80"

La mochila que llevamos... Va cargaita de piedras
Rating: 5/10
Disk scratches and jumping guitar strings head off this worldly flamenco track (that's got to be a first on here). Ojos de Brujo, a hip-hop/dance/world collective from Barcelona, Spain, brings this toe-tapping tune to life with excited female vocals and a rumba beat. And, naturally, this gives the track it's second title as the "Ventilaor Rumba". This track calls from the album Bari, and is filled with the sounds of romantic Spain, along with the bands own little hip-hop twist.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ben Harper - "Steal My Kisses"

Now I've been hangin' 'round you for days...
Rating: 6/10
This right here is a smooth, rolling song that matches Ben Harper's rich voice with fluttering guitar chords, bringing to life a relaxed lounge vibe. I really appreciate the hollow drums in this song, from the album Burn to Shine. They manage to fill the space with groove, and without detracting from the melodic piece. Also interspersed through this track are the beatboxed drum solos, underlaid by a deep bass each time, which drives home the homemade feel of this folk tune. Take a listen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Black Sabbath - "Loner"

He's just a loner
He never says hello
A friend to no-one
He's got no place to go
Rating: 8/10
A while ago I did a post on God Is Dead? the first released single from Black Sabbath's new album, 13. It was my favorite song I have posted here receiving one of the only two 9s I have ever given out. Well the album is now and it lives up to the hype from that song, it is one the best heavy metal albums I have listened to, having a style very similar to the original Black Sabbath albums from the 70s; Powerful and catchy guitar riffs with a strong bass line and Ozzy Osbourn with his very unique voice. It is really an amazing album and this is probably my favorite song from the album besides God Is Dead. To me it is a story of a man who grows up being extremely quiet and shy, no one understands him. As he grows up, he begins to have some friends but eventually he gives up and goes back to his solitary life without any friends. The ending to the story can be interpreted in several ways, I interpret it as him committing suicide since he believes he will be happier when he is dead. Quite a deep song, which is a big part of what I like about this album and metal music in general.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Transglobal Underground - "Yellow and Black Taxi Cab"

Standing in the middle of the street, munchin' banana peel and swatting flies from your backside with your tail.
Rating: 8/10
Transglobal Underground is a London-based music collective who specialise in a fusion of western, oriental and African music styles. The two core members of the group are Tim Whelan (keyboards, guitar, flute, melodica, programming, vocals) and Hamilton Lee (percussion, drums, keyboards, programming). Throughout the group's history, Whelan and Lee have deliberately clouded their identities via multiple pseudonyms and obscure credits. Their first four albums featured Natacha Atlas as lead singer."Yellow and Black Taxi Cab" is featured on their 2004 release, "Impossible Broadcasting" The song has an infectious groove (rhythm) and really cool Island/British vocals, which suggests the early '80's British Ska bands, such as The Specials, Madness and The English Beat. Yellow and Black Taxi Cab is a dancehall sensation. "Blow your horn and drive on."

The Flaming Lips - "Haven’t Got a Clue"

You used your money and your friends...To try and trick me
Rating: 3/10
Well, it would seem that in fact psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips haven't got a clue as to what a good tune sounds like, despite their strong start in 1983, and continued performances today. This song, from the album At War with the Mystics, starts in with some heavily processed, and unnervingly excited voices. This is continued with an off-tone chorus rising with grating reversed cymbals, and some sort of laser beam being fired at either side of my head, assuring me that I have not actually been tricked; the song is really just that bad. I guess the drums are well-tempoed, and with bells this may be the saving point of this track. However, the more you listen, the more you'll want to punch their faces. Truly.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Gogol Bordello - "Start Wearing Purple"

Start wearing purple wearing purple, start wearing purple for me now.
Rating: 4/10
I have no idea how I found this song, but it one the weirdest songs I have ever heard, it's not terrible, but it's definitely not anything to write home about either. Honestly I have no idea what is up with this song, it's kind of catchy, but at the same time it isn't really very good sounding at all. Probably worth one listen just because of how weird it is, but not much more than that. I'm also not really sure what genre this song/band is, they consider themselves, gypsy punk since their music incorporates many traditional gypsy influences, a very strange band to be sure.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Crowded House - "Anyone Can Tell"

I dream of a place that's overrun by children...
and the lord is in the kitchen
Rating: 5/10
Originally having started in 1985, grooving pop-rock band Crowded House has re-risen in 2006 for another great journey. However, this earthy track derives from their album Afterglow, and brings together their essential, soulful sound with what sounds like a countryside tale strung out on a wizened guitar. This slow-moving tune rocks and rolls with both lullaby vocals and sharp, pointed drum beats. This song, album, and band have all withstood the test of time, and I look forward to more.

Sirenia - "Seven Widows Weep"

Seven sailors from the north, set their sails for the island rock.
Rating: 8/10
This is the first single released off of Sirenia's new album, Perils of the Deep Blue and it is really good. I'm not the biggest fan of Sirenia's older work but they have something really good going with both this song, and it's music video. It is definitely one of the best music videos for a metal song I have seen in a long time. As seen in the music video, it seems to tell the story of seven sailor who encounter a group of seven sirens. I really like how they use the combination of male and female vocals to tell different parts of the story and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album since they seem to have some really good stuff going here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Beatles - "Within You Without You"

We were talking
About the love that's gone so cold
And the people
Who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know... they can't see
Are you one of them?
Rating: 8/10
I'm sure most of you are wondering why I'm posting a song from one of the most popular albums of one of the most popular artists of all time on what is supposed to be a blog for eclectic music. Though Sgt. Pepper's is a very popular album, one song that is sometimes overlooked is Within You Without You, written by George Harrison. The Indian Classical roots of this song add to the theme of introspection and letting go of material possessions. Full of beautiful metaphors and poetic lyrics as well as a complex musical background, this song is a wonderful example both of the beauty and intricacy of Harrison's genius.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Imagine Dragons - "Amsterdam"

your time will come if you wait for it
it's hard, believe me, I've tried
Rating: 5/10
Last year in September, Imagine Dragons released their first studio LP, Night Visions. They are an indie rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada that was made popular by their single "Radioactive", which is considered the biggest rock hit of the year. Although the band is labeled rock, I find it difficult to call them such next to bands like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, or Shinedown. It is possible to hear the rock roots in their music, but the sound is also noticeably pop. Regardless, Dan Reynolds is a great vocalist and the music is well written. The album overall is not brilliant, but it does have some finer rock songs, and "Amsterdam" is one of them. It has a nice beat, cheerful music and is lower on the pop style making it one of the better tracks on the record.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trapt - "Experience"

an angel to my left...the devil to my right...it's time that I made a choice
Rating: 6/10
January 22nd earlier this year, Trapt released their fifth studio album, Reborn. Over the years, the band's sound hasn't changed much from their first album in 2002, but at the same time they continue to put out new different things. This song is an average example of their work, not bad and not too great either. "Experience" starts out soft and quiet before drums and the electric guitar come in. During the verses, the guitar drops out so it is just the easy drum part and the bass which makes it pretty cool. Chris Taylor Brown has a great voice and he sings the song rather fantastically. It is a pretty good rock track overall.

Lhasa - "My Name"

And still I go on like this... Year after year... Waiting for miracles... And shaking with fear...
Rating: 6/10
Lhasa de Sela, or Lhasa, was raised in both the United States and Mexico, and now lives in France and Canada. This mix of cultures and expression is what she turns into her work, harmonized by her husky vocals. The Living Road is an album that encompasses her travels, circling between the elegant languages of French, Spanish, and English. It begins with a unique, yearning bell, which merges into a strummed bass, and finally a flower of a voice, underlaid by a slow drumbeat. This track is excellent for easy, calm listening, no matter the time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Secondhand Serenade - "Like A Knife"

if we cannot find the feeling that we held onto together, try your hardest to remember
Rating: 5/10
The song "Like A Knife" comes from the second studio album of the band Secondhand Serenade. John Vesely is known for writing love songs because that is what it started as; John "serenaded" his wife with songs, and we (the fans) got the music "secondhand". Most of the things by Secondhand Serenade are beautiful, but after a while it starts to sound like you are listening to the same stuff over and over; there is not too much variety in their music with its recurring themes, tones, and sounds. It can get rather boring, however, some of it can be brilliant. The lyrics are easy to relate to and the music is usually light and comforting. This track is not particularly outstanding to the others with its lyrics of lost love and pretty guitars.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rise Against - "Make It Stop (September's Children)"

It's always darkest just before the dawn
So stay awake with me, let's prove them wrong
Rating: 9/10
The catchy melodic intro opens into shocking words of death, and yet instantly decipherable is the tragic beauty of the problems that torment young people today. The song "Make it Stop" by Rise Against is a story of the struggle between life and death that encompasses simply being present in this world. The song and music video was written as a protest against the bullying of LGBT teens. Though the music video shows a journey of bullied teens struggling on the verge of suicide and resolving to live, the song can be extended as a metaphor for national and global crises, calling to question the pointlessness of it all. The song ends as a call to action: "We're calling for, insisting on, a different beat, a brand new song..." "Make it Stop (September's Children)" epitomises a beacon of hope in a dark world, bringing together poignant backing melodies with the harsh realities of the lyrics.

Florence + the Machine - "Shake It Out"

I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn
Rating: 5/10
Florence + the Machine released their second studio album, Ceremonials in 2011. The second single from the album was "Shake It Out". It starts out soft and slow, growing steadily and building up to the chorus. The band is known for using a variety of different instruments in their music, many of which can be heard in the track. The lead vocalist, Florence Welch has quite a lovely voice and she sounds beautiful in the song. Overall the song is both uplifting and calming; good, but not amazing.

Crosby Stills Nash - "Long Time Gone"

It's been a long time coming
It's going to be a long time gone
But you know,
The darkest hour is always
Always just before the dawn
Rating: 5/10
A classic song written by the 1960's Folk Rock band Crosby Stills Nash, "Long Time Gone" begins with a statement about the changes that the hippie movement was so working for. The defined rhythm and rock roots in the music bring out the lyrics. The song was written after the assassination of Robert Kennedy, expressing the political and moral struggle that the liberal movement was facing. While the version released on the album was not the most interesting version, I went to one of their concerts last year, and the song was fantastic. (Certainly above a 5/10. I think this version deserves at least an 8/10). Here's a link to the file.

Vendetta Spoken - "It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn"

I'm still not insane
Rating: 4/10
Vendetta Spoken is a live performing band from North Dakota. Their music is best described as deathcore, the mix between hardcore or metalcore and death metal. The vocals are almost completely indistinguishable with their guttural yells and screeches. "It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn" is from their second studio album Schrödinger Equation. It starts out sounding like a cool heavy metal track and then the strange squealing vocals come in and you wonder what you are listening to. At first I wondered if there was going to be any clean vocals in the song at all, but as the screaming continued I realized that was just not Vendetta Spoken's style. If you can ignore (or possibly enjoy) the vocals that can only be growling and hissing in your ear, the music behind it is quite awesome. If you are against harsh, screaming vocals, I really suggest you skip this song despite the fact it has some fantastic metal parts to it.

Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew - Blackbeard's Treasure

Blackbeard's gold is all that we see, we plunder and we steal from the old and the meek, droppin' fat rhymes every day of the week, We're the only rap crew with buccaneer technique!
Rating: 6/10
The Song: On a very different note from my normal songs, I bring you Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew. A rather comical song that is very hard to describe, just listen to it seriously.
The Band: Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew is one of the most unique and hilarious band I have ever listened to. Their self description of authentic pirate hiphop is basically the only way to describe them. Their songs range from very humorous like this one to a bit more serious, and are all, interesting. They appeared on America's Got Talent in the Summer of 2012, only to be turned down by the crowd and the judges, with notable criticism from Howard Stern, who described the act as "very stupid", "moronic", "idiotic", and finally, "pathetic". However I disagree, I personally really like their music.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Staind - "Outside"

I can see through you
see your true colours
'cause inside you're ugly
ugly like me
Rating: 7/10
Staind released their third studio album Break the Cycle in 2001 and the second single was “Outside”. The song is slow and simple but it is extremely beautiful. It feels so lonely and sorrowful with Aaron Lewis's beautiful vocals. This track, like many of Staind's is a fairly mellow rock one. It begins with simply an acoustic guitar and low vocals before adding an easy drumbeat consistent through the whole song. The chorus gets louder with and uses an electric guitar until it is again replaced with an acoustic for the verse again. The song is quite good, and Staind has continued to put out great albums.

Jonathan Coulton - "Good Morning Tucsan"

Good Morning Tucson! The lights come on and so I smile wide and say, Good Morning Tucson!
Rating: 6/10
The Song: A fairly interesting song by a fairly interesting artist. The acoustic guitar makes a really nice backing track for a the very catchy song. One of the things about this song is that it seems to be a very random song, but after thinking about it more, or after hearing Jonathan Coulton explain it, it reveals itself to be a song about a man fed with his job working at a small local morning news show and decides to burn the place down.
The Band: Jonathan Coulton, most famous for writing Still Alive and Want You Gone, the ending songs for the video games Portal and Portal 2, his music is generally very silly and appealing to a nerdy crowd with songs like Code Monkey and Re: Your Brains. Although, he generally works solo, when touring he usually works as a supporting act with a group.

Daft Cluck - Chicken Tonight (Doin It Right Cover)

everybody will be eatin' all the chicken tonight
Rating: Cluck
Daft Cluck is back with another, admittedly strange track. Despite the repeated reassurances that indeed everybody will be "eatin all the chicken tonight", we doubt that the clucking fowl will be entirely consumed. The chicken appear to be having small seizures throughout this tune, which brings into question whether or not various poultry were harmed in the making of this track. However, it rolls out with a smooth beat, but one can't deny that Daft Cluck has laid quite an egg.

Iron Maiden - "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Hear the rime of the ancient mariner, see his eye as he stops one of three
Rating: 8/10
The Song: Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of the most brilliant Metal songs I have ever seen. Based on the famous epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, it tells the story of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. He stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The song is 13 minutes, 35 seconds, but is worth every second. A brilliant poem turned into a brilliant metal song amkes this an amazing listen.
The Album: Powerslave is the third studio album by Iron Maiden and one of their most famous containing Aces High and 2 Minutes to Midnight, two of their more famous songs.
The Band: Iron Maiden in a British heavy metal band formed in 1975 by bassist and songwriter Steve Harris. They have had many lineup changes over the years and have released 15 studio albums to and have had a major influence on many other bands.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Marianas Trench - "So Soon"

But what if here and now I tell you that I'm all figured out? Or maybe I just like how that sounds
Rating: 6/10
Last night, on the twenty-first, the Canadian band played at Slim's in San Francisco. For the encore, lead singer Josh Ramsay came out and played an acoustic version of "So Soon". It was one of most emotional songs of the whole show because it is so easy to relate to and it was played so beautifully. It is the second to last track on their most recent album Ever After that was released in 2011. The entire album tells a story that Josh Ramsay wrote himself; a journey through a toy land, an evil queen Carolina, and the beautiful girl Porcelain. Because the album is meant to illustrate a tale, each song connects and flows directly into the next in a brilliant way. This track is one of the much more slow songs, but it is packed with so much feeling. The music behind it is simple, but magnificent matching the tone with Josh's fantastic voice. I wanted to do this song because seeing it live last night meant so much to me and two people close to me.

Treat - "Roar"

Ready to roar, ready or not, ready to give it all I've got, gotta live to win, get up, get out, get even
Rating: 5/10
The Song: Roar is a fairly average rock song. It's not the greatest, but it has one amazing quality, the chorus makes the most amazing introduction music. If you need an epic song for someone coming on stage or something, this is your song. It is very catchy and just has this quality that is hard to describe that makes it perfect for epicness in the right situation. This song is also the main theme of Facebook app game "Monster Galaxy".
The Album: Coup de Grace is the most recent album by Treat being released in 2010 and one of their most successful albums.
The Band: Treat is a Sweedish hard rock band formed in 1981. They had minimal success and eventually broke up in 1993, however in 2005, their compilation album, Weapon of Choice, sold surprisingly well leading to a reformation of the band in 2006. They played at several festivals and release Coup de Grace in 2010 which was a major success leading to their first world tour since the 1980s.