Week In Review (1/30/15)

With guitarist and founding member Chris Walla gone, Death Cab For Cutie (almost) sounds like a new band

New album Kintsugi comes out March 31st via Atlantic Records. They’re also going on tour soon.

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Mikal Cronin announced his follow up to MCII with, wait for it, MCIII

God bless consistency, both in album names and great songs. MCIII comes out May 5th via Merge.

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Electronic music doesn’t get more compelling than Novellus’s “Twenty Eight”

Seriously, when was the last time you hear good, honest lyrics in such a moody, cryptic electronic song?

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Nick Leng – “Inside Your Mind (ft. Carmody)”

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The Twilight Sad – “The Airport”

Scottish Indie Rock sounds mighty fine.

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 Aly Spaltro aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper continues to be awesome with another taste of her upcoming album

After might already be a candidate for one of my favorite albums of 2015 if it just gets released already.

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Make sure to play this Diet Cig song when you eventually breakup with your Ivy League, sweater-wearing partner

Thank you Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman for getting me through this imaginary breakup that I’m going through.

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I will share anything that features BADBADNOTGOOD, but this Marvel Alexander track is especially great

https://soundcloud.com/marvelalexander/untitled

Keep your eyes on this guy, as he’ll probably make some big waves soon.

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The new Natalie Prass album is finally out

Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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Calexico is back with a new single and a new album coming out later this year

Check out their new single from this groovy Latin Americana band.

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Colleen Green – “TV”

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Make sure to check out Coed Pageant’s latest EP Drag

Indie pop goodness that you can buy on bandcamp for whatever price you want!

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Fucked Up’s Ben Cook aka Young Guv released the music video for his tasty lo-fi power pop single “Crushing Sensation”

A little softer than his other band’s music.

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This new Only You song needs to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie ASAP

https://soundcloud.com/hit-city-usa/only-you-let-me-burn

Looks good on ya Rachel Fannan.

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……uh…….

…I like the song…but…uh…

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 Rye Pines – “Pessimist”

https://soundcloud.com/bobrecords-1/pessimist-by-rye-pines

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The best part about this new Open Mike Eagle song is that it samples Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl”, even if it does sound like Voldemort.

Listen here via Stereogum.

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Hear Glen Hansard cover the late Jason Molina

From his upcoming tribute EP, which will be released this March.

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Courtney Barnett announced that she’ll release her proper debut album this year, and now 2015 is already better than 2014

She made one of my favorite albums and songs of this decade so far, so there’s high hopes.

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The upcoming Will Butler album sounds better and better with each new song we hear.

First there was the Kinks, and now we hear the Talking Heads influence. I’m excited to hear what’s next.

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Beach Slang’s “Too Late To Die Young” reminds me of a Paul Westerberg/Replacements ballad in the best way possible.

Listen here via Stereogum.

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Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: 20 Songs For November 2013 (Via Spotify)

Spotify-Logo

And we’re in the home stretch for 2013! This month’s playlist is more focused on past great music with the exception of Blood Orange and a better-than-I-would-ever-like-to-admit One Direction song.

Here are your 20 songs for November 2013.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: 15 Songs For March 2012 (Via Spotify)

This month’s playlist is all over the place.  Most of these songs are oldies, but there are a few new tracks here.  I have some Springsteen, Death Cab, Magnetic Fields, The Men, and everything else in between.

Here are my 15 songs for March 2012.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Top Lists: Albums With Especially Great Lyrics

An album with a handful of songs with great lyrics is one thing, but a whole album’s worth of great lyrics is truly a treat.  Here are some albums that stand out to me for being lyrically consistently excellent.  I didn’t include any rap albums because there would be too many to put on this list, but I do give my respect to excellent rappers.

Joni Mitchell – Blue

I’m just going to go ahead and dub Joni Mitchell the queen of the early singer-songwriter movement.  If you’re going to argue against me, good luck trying to find an album as consistently great as Blue.  Mitchell’s way of storytelling is so vivid and true, she says the perfect thing when we least expect it and it catching us off guard – which is exactly what great lyrics are supposed to do.

 

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

When you get down to it, Bob Dylan was always a poet.  Stealing song structures from Woody Guthrie, Dylan turned tradition on its head with quirky storytelling that is at times vivid, laugh-out-loud funny, provocative, and demeaning.  Though all his albums have excellent lyrics, Highway 61 Revisited stands out to me for being his most visually satisfying album.  I can see Miss lonely’s diplomat with a siamese cat on his shoulders in “Like A Rolling Stone”.  I feel pity for Mr. Jones who clearly cannot make sense of what he sees in “Ballad Of A Thin Man”.  And of course I know all about what happens down at Desolation Row.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

I’m more of a Darkness On The Edge Of Town kind of guy, but I have to give credit to Born To Run for having the better lyrics.   The whole album feels like a mini movie, with Springsteen as the hero trying to break out of his dismal life to find his promised land, and he’s getting there on a hot ride with his gal at his side.  Springsteen has such power and passion in his words, you can’t help but get inspired.  It also doesn’t hurt that its opening track might possibly have the greatest lyrics of rock & roll.

 

Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

I’m 100% bias towards anything Ryan Adams does, so of course I put Heartbreaker on here.  Bias aside, this album is called Heartbreaker for a reason.  Adams tattoos his heart on his sleeve with devastating accounts of bad love and loneliness.  “To Be The One” could be the lyrical highlight of the album, “The sun it tries to warn me, Boy those wings are made of wax / While the things I do that kill me, They just tell me to relax.”

 

The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

These brothers sure know how to tell it like it is.  Very few albums are as direct in their story telling as I And Love And You, and very few are as good.  The music is simple so the stories have more weight, and they sure do pack a punch.  Many people compare the Avett Brothers to Mumford & Sons, and while the London sons have the emotion, these American brothers have the storytelling.

 

Teitur – Poetry & Aeroplanes

It’s unfortunate that more people have never heard of Teitur.  The closest he ever got to potentially become big was with his excellent debut Poetry & Aeroplanes.  The title track has one of my favorite lines on love (“Love is somewhere in-between, what you believe and what you dream.”) and I love how the whole album makes you feel like the lovable romantic who is behind all the music.

 

John Mayer – Continuum

John Mayer has always had better-than-average lyrics for his radio-friendly pop songs, but on Continuum his songs have more bite.  True, most songs on the album are about his poor life (I’m rich and good looking, but I STILL can’t find love??), but he says it so nicely.  I was caught off guard when I first heard “Stop This Train”.  This is a song depicting what it’s like to grow up that gets your attention from the very first line (“No I’m not colorblind, I know the world is black and white”).

 

Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism

Only Ben Gibbard could sing a whole song about his car’s glove department and make it sound heartbreaking.  Gibbard is one of indie rock’s more clever lyricist, and Transatlanticism is one of Death Cab’s highest achievements both musically and lyrically.  The music demands your attention, but the lyrics make you stay.

 

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

For all his surfer charm, Brian Wilson can be quite the cynic, especially with the ladies.  Hidden underneath all the gorgeous harmonies and brilliant arrangements of Pet Sounds are tales about losing the ones you love, religion, and worries about the future – nothing you can really sing-a-long to at the beach.  “Here Today” could be one of the greatest anti-love songs I’ve ever heard.

 

Were there any songs that I missed?  Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @HeadfoneNation and let me know what albums are full of great lyrics.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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2012 Countdown Part 2: Death Cab For Cutie – “The New Year”

Here’s another song to help bring in 2012.  Though it’s meant to be a joyous time, for many people New Years is more of a drag than a celebration.  Many people have to work, some have no one to bring in the new year with, and others, like Ben Gibbard, don’t feel any different in a new year.  I hope you can enjoy bringing in 2012, but if it’s not your holiday, you’re not alone.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Music Journal: My Favorite Songs of 2011

Well 2011 is almost at an end, and what a year it was.  There’s a lot to cover from this year, so for my first of three parts of my end-of-year review, I’ll play for you guys my favorite songs released this year.  There’s a variety of song here, from rap, electro, folk, rock, indie, and even cheesy 80s jazz pop (and that’s a compliment). Here are the songs, in alphabetical order by artist, released in 2011 that I listened to the most.  Enjoy.

“Mona Lisa” – Atlas Sound

“Wash.” – Bon Iver

“Swim Club” – The Cave Singers

“LES” – Childish Gambino

“Need You Now” – Cut Copy

“You Are A Tourist” – Death Cab for Cutie

“Kaputt” – Destroyer

“Over My Dead Body” – Drake

“Helplessness Blues” – Fleet Foxes

“Down in the Valley” – The Head And The Heart

“That’s My Bitch” – Jay-Z and Kanye West

“Video Games” – Lana Del Rey

“Midnight City” – M83

“Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” – My Morning Jacket

“Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj

“Taken For A Fool” – The Strokes

“Yonkers” – Tyler The Creator

“Fail Forever” – When Saints Go Machine

“One Sunday Morning” – Wilco

“Cameras” – Wiz Khalifa

Any songs that I left out? comment below or hit me up on twitter @BradyWGerber and let me know your favorite track from 2011.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Grammy Nominations: Who Should Win, Who Will Win, And Who Got Snubbed

The Grammy nominations have been announced, and there were a lot of pleasant surprises.  Some things I expected (Kanye West and Adele with the most nominations), but there were some genuine shockers (Bon Iver getting so many nominations, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy not up for Album of the Year).  Here is the list for the most prominent awards and their nominees along with who I think should win, who will probably win, and who I believe got snubbed out of a well-deserved chance at this year’s Grammys.  Also to clarify, Song of the Year means that it was the best written song and the award goes to the songwriters.  Record of the Year is the best sounding song and goes to the performers and producers.

Album of the Year

Adele – 21

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Lady Gaga – Born This Way

Bruno Mars – Do-Wops & Hooligans

Rihanna – Loud

Who Should Win: None of these.  I’m very unimpressed with this selection.  The only album here I’ve heard is Wasting Light which is a great album, but there were much better albums that came out this year.

Who Will Win: 21, because that’s what most people heard all year.

Who Got Snubbed: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This was truly the album of the year.  It was commercially successful while still being artistically strong.  The Purple Rain of our generation (might not be a good comparison musically, but hopefully you get what I mean).

Record of the Year

Bon Iver – “Holocene”

Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”

Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

Katy Perry – “Firework”

Who Should Win: “Holocene”.  The production of this song is gorgeous and is matched with an equally gorgeous vocal work from Justin Vernon.  A highlight from a truly great album.

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep”.  It was impossible to escape this song, and unfortunately I bet most people have never heard “Holocene” (for those people, please click here).  But then again, I said the same thing about Arcade Fire at last year’s Grammys.

Who Got Snubbed: The Strokes – “Taken For A Fool”.  Listen to the song here and see if you agree.

Song of the Year

Kanye West – “All of the Lights”

Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”

Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

Bon Iver – “Holocene”

Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

Who Should Win: “The Cave”.  This is such a great and uplifting song, something that has been missing from popular music for a long time.

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep”.  Same reason as why it’ll win Record of the Year.

Who Got Snubbed: The Head And The Heart – “Down In The Valley”.  A simple yet powerful song.  Click here to make up your mind on it.

Best New Artist

Bon Iver

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj

Skrillex

The Band Perry

Who Should Win: Either Bon Iver or Nicki Minaj.  Both have been around for a decent time making quality music, but they are now getting due credit.  I’ll be happy just as long as J. Cole, Skrillex, or The Band Perry doesn’t win the award.

Who Will Win: This is a tough call.  Probably Nicki Minaj but there’s a decent chance for Bon Iver.

Who Got Snubbed: The Head And The Heart.  I’m not sure if they would be eligible, but this is a solid band with a promising future.

Best Rock Album

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Jeff Beck – Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul

Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

Wilco – The Whole Love

Who Should Win: The Whole Love.  I’m so glad Wilco gets recognition from the Grammys.  This was by far my favorite album out of all of these, and I actually listened to all of these (expect Jeff Beck).

Who Will Win: Wasting Light.  The album did well commercially and it really is a great album.

Who Got Snubbed: The Strokes – Angels.  This might not be the band’s best album, but it was better than most of the albums on this list.

Best Alternative Album

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys

Foster the People – Torches

My Morning Jacket – Circuital

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Who Should Win: Bon Iver.  For goodness sake please give Justin Vernon a Grammy.

Who Will Win: No Idea: This is a hard call because all these albums did equally well commercially.  Radiohead is probably the most well known band here, but they don’t deserve this Grammy.

Who Got Snubbed: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues.  This album had my vote for the best album of the year so far.  Though my opinion may have changed, this album still deserves a Grammy.

Best Rap Album

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV

Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Who Should Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  The least the Grammys can do for Kanye is to give him this award to make up for not being nominated for Album of the Year.

Who Will Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  I have faith that the Grammys won’t screw this up, but anything can happen.

Who Got Snubbed: Nobody.  That’s because MBDTF deserves this award.

Other Thoughts On This Year’s Grammys

James Blake should have been nominated for Electronica Album of the Year.

Congratulations to Fleet Foxes for being nominated for Folk Album of the Year.

So how did I do?  Are my predictions accurate or way out of line?  Comment below or Tweet at me (@BradyWGerber) and let me know who should bring home the big trophies at this year’s Grammys.


Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Music Journal: The Best Albums and Songs of 2011 (So Far!)

Well it’s finally August and it’s the halfway point of the year (ok technically July is the halfway point, but I just got around to doing this; better late than never right?)  So far 2011 has been a pretty good year for music.  There were plenty of great albums that have come out, but I will say that there isn’t one album that towers over the rest.  Here are the albums and songs that I feel are the best ones to have come out this year so far.

Please remember this is all subjective!  I can only give my opinion and I’m sure people will disagree with me on some of my opinions.  Also, there were plenty of albums that came out this year that I haven’t gotten around to listening (Cut Copy, Ty The Creator, etc).  These awards only reflect my music taste and what I have been listening to this year so far.

BEST ALBUM

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

For a long time I was torn between picking Bon Iver or James Blake for this year’s best album so far.  These were the two albums I was most looking forward to, and in no way did these albums not match my expectations.  However, for every great moment on both of these albums there were plenty of filler, and sometimes I caught myself becoming bored.

Helplessness Blues completely caught me off guard.

This album is such a pleasure to listen to, and it works well as an album – all the songs complement each other and it rarely drags on (though “The Shrine / An Argument” is pushing it with its eight long minutes).  This album does not abandon the band’s freak-folk style that made them such a hit in the beginning – you gotta love those harmonies – but they are more confident this time around and they greatly expand their creativity without sacrificing the songs.  Compared to their debut album Fleet Foxes (which is still worth checking out), Helplessness Blues is more colorful, as shown by its beautiful album cover.  This album turned a former skeptic into a fan, and now I believe this band is worth following.

Honorable Mentions (aka you should still buy these albums)

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Yuck – Yuck

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

The Strokes – Angels

James Blake – James Blake

BEST SONG

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

The highlight to an excellent album, this was the song that turned me into a fan.

Honorable Mentions

The Head and the Heart – “Down In The Valley”

Yuck – “Shook Down”

James Blake – “Limit To Your Love”

Bon Iver – “Calgary”

The Strokes – “Taken For A Fool”

Death Cab For Cutie – “You Are A Tourist”

Well how did I do?  Were my opinions not good enough for you, or did I hit the nail on the head?  Comment to let me know and also tweet your favorite albums and songs so far released this year @BradyWGerber.

Stay tuned for more music awards!

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Extra! Extra!: New Death Cab For Cutie Album!

Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Codes and Keys comes out today!  I have read some reviews of the album from various websites, and what I’m getting from most critics is that this isn’t a bad album, but it could have been much better and it feels uninspired for this band.  I have been a fan of these guys for a while (“I Will Follow You Into The Dark” is the song I performed when I did my first open mic night) and I will still go out and buy the album to support the band.  Even if this won’t be the band’s best album – that title belongs to Transatlanticism so farI bet there are still some great songs that I will keep on my ipod for a while.  Below is the music video from the album’s lead single “You Are A Tourist”, one of the better music videos I have seen from a band that has made some excellent videos.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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