Weekly Music

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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tiesto & Wolfgang Gartner feat. Luciana - "We Own The Night"

k-k-keep shining -ke-keep shining with desire
Rating: 6/10
Skating up in here with some space-age synths, Dutch disk-jockey Tiesto starts off this solid tune with a silky dance beat. Then, you're drawn back in by a rising bass and light keyboard sounds, which are finished off by the saturated vocals. This collaboration was definitely a success and, as stated by award-winning house producer Wolfgang Gartner: "I think 'We Own The Night is destined to be a classic. We were already happy with the musical part, but something special happened when Luciana came into the project and put her vocal touch on it. The only way I can describe it is...magic. I can honestly say this song is my favorite of all the collaborations I've ever done." Together, this trios soaring vocals and strong synth jabs only add to that massive unce when you pump up the bass.

Muse - "Unnatural Selection"

counterbalance is commotion
we're not droplets in the ocean
Rating: 7/10
In 2009, the English alternative band Muse came out with their fifth studio album, Resistance. Among these new-prog songs, is "Unnatural Selection". It, along with much of Muse's music, has a great bass line. The track goes between fast and slow paces that makes it fun and interesting. The instrumentals in the song are brilliant and mix well with Matthew Bellamy's smooth voice. I'll admit, the first times I heard Muse I was not a fan; but the more I listened, I realized how amazing this band is.

Dio - "Rock 'n' Roll Children"

She was meant to be wild
He was nearly a child
But they only could feel each other
Rating: 6/10
The Song: This song used to be one of my favorite songs but I don't like it as much anymore. It is a story of two children who are very similar and are meant for each other, but at the same time are very different. It is really nice song but is isn't anything particularly amazing.
The Album: Sacred Heart is the Dio's third studio album and is one of their most known albums.
The Band: Dio was a band lead by former Black Sabbath lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio, they released 10 studio albums from 1982-2010. They had many lineup changes over the year with Ronnie James Dio being the only constant member. It dissolved in 2010 when Ronnie James Dio dies of stomach cancer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hollywood Undead - "Been to Hell" (explicit)

now you're in the world of wolves and we welcome all you sheep
Rating: 6/10
The band Hollywood Undead started out with their first album in 2008. They came out wearing masks and using stage names, but as time passed they revealed their real identities. All six members of the band provide vocals in a rapping style and one of them records the clean vocals. In 2010, clean vocalist Deuce was kicked out of the band and Danny Murillo joined and replaced him. American Tragedy was the first album released using his vocals and the first on which they used synthesizers. In my personal opinion, Deuce's voice fits the band better most of the time; however, many people enjoy Danny's more. "Been to Hell" is one of the best songs on the album with Danny's voice actually fitting the song and J-Dog, Johnny 3 Tears, and Charlie Scene providing great rap parts. The music behind it all is dark in a way that matches the lyrics and has an awesome rock beat. I really like the song, but Hollywood Undead is definitely not for everyone with their angry and explicit music.

Metallica - "Fade to Black"

Life it seems, will fade away,
Drifting further every day.
Rating: 8/10
The Song: Fade to Black is a heavy metal ballad with an absolutely stunning acoustic intro. It starts off very slow but speeds up more and more as the song progresses. It has been stated in interviews, and it is very clear from the lyrics that it is a song about suicide, when the song was written, the band was going through a rough time, their gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager's house.
The Album: Ride the Lightning is, in my opinion, the best Metallica album, it was their second studio album and was released in 1984. I has many of my favorite Metallica songs such as Ride the Lightning, Creeping Death, Fade to Black, and the instrumental Call of Ktulu.
The Band: Metallica is one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time. They have released 9 studio albums to date with the most recent one being Death Magnetic in 2006. They were formed in 1981 and released their first, self titled, album in 1963.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stone Temple Pilots - "Out of Time"

longing is the animal inside you when you bleed
suffering is critical in finding what you need
Rating: 7/10
In February this year, the Stone Temple Pilots fired their vocalist of over 20 years, Scott Weiland. Last night, STP played at KROQ's annual weenie roast with a surprise appearance of Chester Bennington as the lead singer. The same day they released their new song "Out Of Time" with Bennington singing. The Linkin Park vocalist had been looking up to STP since he was a kid and being able to join their band is a great opportunity for him. The band had been talking about going back to the style of their first album Core and they did with this song. It is fast, fun, and full of energy. Bennington is not Weiland, but the band didn't choose him for nothing; he does a fantastic job in making the song what it is. The track is great and I can't wait to see what else the new STP comes up with.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dead By Sunrise - "Walking In Circles"

walking in circles now, do not disturb, scream in silence, everyone's sleeping
Rating: 7/10
When vocalist Chester Bennington began writing songs that didn't fit the Linkin Park style, he started a side project on his own until friend Ryan Shuck of Julien-K heard his demos and decided to join in. Chester collaborated with Julien-K to form Dead By Sunrise and they released their album Out Of Ashes on October 13, 2009. Many of the songs were written by Chester in a dark period of his life and it was like he was stepping out from that with a renewed sense of life; hence the album title. The music and lyrics create a dull, heavy mood with a beautiful harmony. The vocals, once again, are wonderfully done by Chester capturing the overall feel of the song. With a little bit of electronic added to the more traditional rock, this track is a good example of the Bennington take on Julien-K.

Archetek + Diggabeatz - "Revenants" (Free Download)

Rating: 8/10
Archetek is mashing up some incredibly stylish tunes over here. Revenants takes you on a journey, where growling, almost bubbly bass lines draw out your fantastical landscape, and high synths dabble in the flora and fauna. The rare two-step pattern is accentuated by Diggabeats's glitch sounds, which bring together this energetic track. I've been following Archetek for a while, but this track really exemplifies the atmospheric, and yet danceable selection he produces. Looking forward to more.
Download Here

Friday, May 17, 2013

Julien-K - "Forever"

Carry on...it's not like life's this crushing nightmare
Rating: 5/10
Julien-K came out with their debut album, Death To Analog in 2009. The band started as an electronic side project for Orgy band members, Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh. As two more guys joined, Julien-K became more than a small project so Ryan and Amir left Orgy to focus on their new band. Their music has a rock edge brought over from their previous style, but is primarily an electronic sound. The music in the track is catchy and light with a heavier beat. Ryan provides smooth vocals with a high range fitting to the song. It is somewhat slow, but quite fascinating.

Rhapsody - Emerald Sword

For the glory the power to win the black lord, I will search for the emerald sword.
Rating: 8/10
The Song: Rhapsody as a band and Emerald Sword as a song are basically the quintessential symphonic power metal and in that way is it totally awesome. Although it is totally awesome it also shows some of the flaws with the genre such as the lyrics being very hard to understand.
The Album: Symphony of Enchanted Lands is the second album in a series of five albums telling a high fantasy story about the Ice Warrior who must search for the legendary Emerald Sword to defeat the dark lord Akron.
The Band: Rhapsody, now known as Rhapsody of Fire is a metal band known for being the pioneers of the symphonic/power metal genre, what they call Hollywood Metal due to it's resemblance to film scores. They released 9 studio albums and 1 live album with the original members. In 2011 the band split, on good terms, into two separate bands, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody lead by lead singer Luca Turilli and bassist Patrice Guers, and Rhapsody of Fire with the remaining members.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Grey Daze - "What's In the Eye?"

What's in the eye that I cannot catch? Is it me? I want to know why it's so hard to let go.
Rating: 5/10
Even if you have never heard of the band before, you may recognize the vocals. Before Chester Bennington joined Linkin Park in 1999, he and friend Sean Dowdell formed the post-grunge band Grey Daze. Although they hardly lasted five years, their music was not bad. Their first album, Wake Me, came out in 1994 with "What's In the Eye" being the first track. The song has a good beat and soothing music to go along with the verses until it builds up to the harder chorus. It gets a little redundant and can seem boring at times, but (and I suppose I am a bit biased) the vocals in the song are amazing. Chester has a fantastic voice with the ability to sound beautiful on softer parts and equally great on rougher parts with more harsh vocals. Some of the chorus seems a little difficult to decipher, but one does not hear many voices more skilled than that of Chester Bennington, even in his grunge days.

Bad Company - "Shooting Star"

Don't you know that you are a shooting star, and all the world will love you just as long, as long as you are.
Rating: 6/10
The Song: Shooting Star is a story driven song about a boy who becomes a rock star, however, it also explores the darker side of the rock and roll life as the boy in the end, due to the excess of the rock and roll lifestyle he dies of a drug overdose. According to the band's lead singer, it is a warning about the dangers of the rock and roll lifestyle.
The Album: Straight Shooter is the second album by English rock group Bad Company. Released in 1975, It contained 8 tracks and there were 2 singles released from it.
The Band: Bad Company is an English rock group who were active in three separate periods, this song is from the first period, 1973-1982. They also operated from 1986-2002, and from 2008-present.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hoodie Allen feat. Kina Grannis - "Make It Home"

I wanna go where the lights are low and the dreamers are chasing...
Rating: 7/10
Hoodie Allen has been rocking over smooth hiphop beats since 2009, but this time he's gone for an acoustic sound, which plays out very well on this new track. The lyrics move a little off the beat, but they're brought back by the rising chorus, and it all comes back in one fell swoop. While maintaining his trademark tumbling flow. Hoodie is able to dip into some of the struggles in personal dreams. The music stands on it's own, but this song is made by the contrast of the empowering vocals and the soothing melody. Definitely a strong contestant in my playlist.

Hedley - "Invincible"

I found the strength inside to see
found the better part of me
and I'll never let it go
Rating: 6/10
Hedley is a pop-rock band from Vancouver, Canada. Like many bands, they started as a rock band (even classified as punk by some), but as time passed they produced much more of a generic pop sound. However, despite the change in style, their music is still original and the lyrics are still good and have more meaning than some of the popular music of today. Their album Storms came out in Canada on November 8, 2011 and has yet to be released outside their home country. Much of the album was inspired by the bassist Tom MacDonald's fight against cancer. The song "Invincible" in particular was also written about a time when front man Jacob Hoggard looked at his life and did not like what fame had turned him into. The song is incredibly beautiful and uplifting; I remember seeing it played live and acoustic was one of the best moments of my life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Three Days Grace - "Never Too Late"

Even if I say
It'll be alright
Still I hear you say
You want to end your life
Now and again we try
To just stay alive
Maybe we'll turn it all around
Cuz it's not too late
It's never too late
Rating: 8/10
The second album by the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace, One-X was written by the lead singer, Adam Gontier, while in rehab. His focused, evocative thought really comes through in this song in particular. The captivating, subtle harmonization contrasts with the intense chorus, resulting in a perfect expression of the desperate conflict within the self.

Radiohead - "Airbag"

In an interstellar burst
I'm back to save the universe
In a deep deep sleep of the innocent
I am born again
Rating: 7/10
Beginning with a melodic, yet dissonant tune, this song highlights a shocking story of surviving a car crash. Waking up afterwards, its surreal melody transports the listener to the strange reality of seeming reincarnation. The major melody coupled with a slightly minor-sounding bassline is an eloquent way to articulate this strange experience. The lyrics were inspired by a magazine article titled "An Airbag Saved My Life" and the experiences described after death in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. All in all a strange, entrancing song, Airbag was hypnotically interesting from the beginning.

Marianas Trench - "September"

September won’t you bring me some rain again? This sun is melting my skin And I would give you anything to feel something else
Rating: 6/10
In 2006, the Canadian pop-rock band Marianas Trench released their debut album, Fix Me. As the band evolved they changed more to a pop sound. "September" is a rock song with a heavy use of only guitars and drums; despite the fact that front man Josh Ramsay alone can play 9 different instruments. The Vancouver-based band matured over the years and improved their music from the more simple first album, however, the first record is the only real rock album they have released. The song, like most of theirs, is fun and energetic. Ramsay produces great vocals with a wide range and switches off with guitarist Matt Webb on the echos. The track and the album are good, the band is talented, and their music continues to change and improve.

Magica - "King of the World"

Hear the king of the world, listen now for his words are coming out, like thunder.
Rating: 6/10
The Song: King of the World is a fairly average symphonic metal song, the vocals are very high and somewhat difficult to comprehend (although they are much easier to understand than most of the rest of the album).
The Album: Center of the Great Unknown is the 6th studio album by Magica and was released in 2012, the vocalist sings very high and often times is difficult to comprehend but overall I really like the album, it is nice to discover an album from a band I haven't heard of before, give it a listen, and really enjoy it.
The Band: Magica is a Romanian power metal band with some symphonic metal formed in 2002. To date they have released six studio albums with the most recent being Center of the Great Unknown.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pet Shop Boys - "Axis (Boys Noize Remix)"

tonight...electric...turn it up...electric
Rating: 4/10
As far as repetitive pop goes, this pretty much takes the overfrosted cake. Drilling beeps and a kick snare pattern bring nothing to this song, but the low synth wobbles rumble enough to make you want to pump your fist. Pet Shop Boys transition to techno was a well-intentioned play, but it brings nothing new to the song. In short, mediocre, but alright if you just need a simple step track. Best of luck to their new album Electric, slanted to come out this July, but I can't say I'm all too excited.

Skillet - "Falling Inside the Black"

I'm falling in the black Slipping through the cracks
Rating: 7/10
The Christian rock band known as Skillet is difficult to classify because they have such a mix of genres; it is how they decided on the name: throwing a bunch of different styles into a skillet and blending them together. When the band started in 1996 they were more grungy and as they developed more, they turned more to symphonic metal. The song "Falling in the Black" is from their sixth studio album Comatose. It is a great rock/metal track with electric guitars and drums, but also integrates the sounds of other string instruments that are more orchestral; their presence is subtle in this song, but they are there and they add to the beauty of the song. Alongside the skillful and strong vocals of John Cooper, his wife Korey Cooper and former bandmate, Lori Peters supply backing female vocals. The lyrics do not recite the over-told love story of many songs, but speak of losing a fight to darkness. This is one of their most talented songs even though it is not as well recognized as others on the album.

Morningwood - "Nth Degree"

He bangs the drum...She's vip...He's never done...Got OCD
Rating: 7/10
You're scrolling casually through your extensive (and well selected) music collection, when a stray song catches your eye. You hit play, mostly out of curiosity, and are immediately thrown by the candyland vocals and murmuring string lines reverberating from your speakers. This is the Nth Degree, the 2005 hit from Morningwood's premiere album, Morningwood. Creative name, right? Nonetheless, it's a great song for traveling and/or rocking out. Its pace flips on a dime, from a slow-stepping guitar to the blindingly flashy chorus, and you can't help but listen.

Axxis - "Flashback Radio"

I turn the radio off
Don't wanna hear that crap
All this computer stuff
Sounds like a handicap
Rating: 3/10
The Song: Honestly, I don't want to hear this crap. Although to be fair the music isn't that bad, the word choice is like a handicap. Calling for a return to classics without being remotely close to a classic song. Overall, it's not that great of a song and quite hypocritical. If I had a radio station, I would certainly not play Flashback radio.
The Album: Back to the Kingdom is fairly average metal album released in 2001. It is their 7th studio album.
The Band: Axxis is a German hard rock/metal band. Their first album, Kingdom of the Night is the best selling album by any German hard rock band. They are characterized by lead singer Bernhard Weiß's somewhat unique vocal style.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Dead Weather - "Hang You From the Heavens"

I like to grab you by the hair
and drag you to the devil
Rating: 8/10
The Dead Weather is one of Jack White's numerous music groups. He is known for his eccentric style and immense talent; and although he does not sing lead vocals on this particular track, Alison Mosshart does a fantastic job, while White is on percussion. The guitar and bass do not seem too complicated, but they sound spectacular with the drums. Like much of Jack White's music, it takes a while to recognize how incredible the song really is because it is so strange. The bizarre lyrics made me wonder about the mental state of the writer, but then I could not get the song out of my head. After listening to it more, I began to hear the brilliance in the music. The track is odd, but it is catchy and quite amazing. If you are like me and think the song is too weird at first, give it a couple listens before you judge it too harshly.

OMG & ShockWave - "Funky"

funk, funk, funk, funk...
Rating: 5/10
OMG & ShockWave have been known for always bringing something new to their music, and this new track is a prime example of their utter strangeness. Skipping from dubstep to glitch hop, they've been able to whip up some seriously funky dance tracks. Some high synths pattern well with a complex kick-and-snare beat, and are filled occasionally by a jittery radio static. Lead by a defining, solid piece, this new direction for the dub duo will be an interesting path to follow.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thirty Seconds to Mars - "Up In the Air"

You were the love of my life,
the darkness, the light
This is a portrait of a tortured you and I
Rating: 7/10
Thirty Seconds to Mars is set to release their new album LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS on May 21st and on March 4th they launched the album's first single into space with the support of NASA. "Up In the Air" was then let out to the public on March 19th. The band commonly known as 30STM has changed their style from their first album in 2002. These new songs hold a new synthy style continued from their last album, This Is War, but still have Jared Leto's amazing vocals and his brother Shannon's skillful drumming, not to mention Jared's brilliant lyrics. The song is upbeat and fast with somewhat of a pop feel on their usual alternative rock. It still has the band's traditional sound, but their style continues to change. It is not their best work, but 30STM still puts out great music.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Breaking Benjamin - "Dance With the Devil"

Easy to find what’s wrong
Harder to find what’s right
Rating: 8/10
In 2006 the American rock band known as Breaking Benjamin released their third studio album, Phobia. The song "Dance With the Devil" is not the most popular, but it is one of the best. The catchy guitar parts build in the beginning and grow, adding drums in a fast-paced rhythm; then it all softens again. Benjamin Burnley supplies the band with fantastic clean vocals. The music and singing intensify and calm in time along with each other. The instruments in the track are beautiful and all in all the song is pretty great.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hawthorne Heights - "The Business of Paper Stars"

it's easy to forget where you are and where you've been so far in this business of inconsistent paper stars
Rating: 6/10
The Ohio rock band known as Hawthorne Heights released their third studio album back in 2008. "The Business of Paper Stars" is the first track on Fragile Future. The powerful drum and guitar intro is one of the best parts of this song; it was the only piece of the song I heard at first and with that I decided I needed to hear more of it. After that the song lightens as the singing begins. Although the vocalist is not one of the best, he is pretty good and fits the song well. The somewhat eerie guitar parts and drums of varying intensities lift up the song and make it energetic and interesting.

Pendulum - "Girl in the Fire"

Rating: 6/10
Pendulum's album Hold Your Colour was released in 2005. It quickly became a major hit in the UK, and one of the bestselling drum and bass sets of all time, but several excellent songs have gone unrecognized on this track, with "Girl in the Fire" among them. Switching between strummed acoustic melodies and reversed loops, this track sets off on a casual, funky journey. However, in typical Pendulum fashion, it's not long before the atmospheric space sounds are filled with a two-four breakbeat pattern, rounded off by the murmuring bass and electric guitar. Pendulum plays this eclectic mix off quite well, and I think this song deserves more credit in bringing together their album.

Rush - "BU2B"

I was brought up to believe
The universe has a plan
We are only human
It's not ours to understand
Rating: 8/10
The Song: BU2B (standing for Brought up to Believe) is the second song on CLockwork Angels and was released as a single along with Caravan shortly before the album was released. It is a song about questioning whether peace and stability are really good for the world. Generally, the song seems to be a good summary pf the album, it is basically a parody of conformity, it's about conformity but it clearly makes fun of the it with the tone of the voice and the lyrics.
The Album: Clockwork Angels is the 19th album by Rush. It a concept album about a young man's quest to follow his dreams where he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. It was written into a novel by Kevin J. Anderson. To me, the album and the novel have two possible interpretations. First, it is a criticism of communism and conformity. The main character comes from world of conformity but goes on an adventure and goes against the conformity. The second interpretation is that they are a criticism of organized religion. Again, going against conformity.
The Band: Rush is a progressive/hard rock band from Canada lead by bassist/lead vocalist/keyboardist Geddy Lee. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame this year. Their musical style evolved from a hard rock and heavy metal focus on their first album to a more prog rock style with a heavy use of synthesizers.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catching Flies - "Sunrays"

Rating: 5/10
Catching Flies creates a beautiful atmosphere of spacey sunshine in their track "Sunrays." The first song on his 2012 "The Stars EP," the lyrics are brief but subtle, telling of bathing in sunshine. The entire song is reminiscent of a peaceful voyage through nature or spacetime, while still making the listener feel like a cat napping on a sunny windowsill. This artful song is perfect for anyone who wants to chill or cheer themselves up. :) Check it out here.

Manic Focus - "Learn How to Drop" (Explicit)

he said: "crank up that s*** and learn how to drop"
Rating: 7/10
A word of warning, this song is not what it seems. Brilliantly crafted to surprise the unsuspecting viewer, I still remember jumping in my seat on my first listen, before my foot started tapping. An excellent wobble bass rumbles under a sharp tempo, bringing this dance track to life. Manic Focus, self-described as "exploring a world of new sounds and producing pure musical magic", has brought in some funky tones to his album, Expanding Mind.