Week In Review (2/6/15)

My Midnight Heart – “Drown”

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This should hold you over while you wait for the next Disclosure album

Cheers to 19-year-old Zak Abel, who is already making a splash in the UK.

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Bouquet – “Stacks On Stacks”

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Jeff Tweedy continues finishing songs for awesome deceased musicians

Actually this time it’s Mavis Staples’s project finishing the many demos of her late father, the great Pops Staples. Tweedy is just helping out on this track. That’s also his son Spencer Tweedy on drums!

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I know you’ve already seen the Super Bowl halftime show, but I also know that you want to see those dancing sharks again!

Oh yeah, Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz, and Katy Perry were there too.

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Matthew E. White wrote a song for Philip Seymour Hoffman

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In honor of the one year anniversary of the late actor’s death. Listen here via Stereogum.

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The new Jay Z movie got lots of accolades at this year’s Sundance Film Festival

Some are calling it the next Boyhood.

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Bob Dylan continues to be the greatest with his Frank Sinatra covers album

And his voice actually sounds good here!

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Pink Gloves – “80’s Girls”

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Pharrell Williams is still going strong in 2015 with this Major Lazer collaboration

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Girlpool – “Chinatown”

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Watch out Bruno Mars, here comes Taylor Locke

https://soundcloud.com/taylor-locke/running-away-from-love

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Body Language – “Really Love”

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St. Tropez – “Cut Me Loose”

Garage rock never gets old.

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Mesita – “Hostiles”

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My weekly reminder that there’s a lot of great WTF songs out there, like Mochipet’s “Psilocybin Samurai”

The new Pokémon?

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Tica Douglas – “I Didn’t”

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Skizzy Mars – Time (Ft. G-Easy & Olivver)

Reminds me of Chance The Rapper with a different voice. Good stuff.

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Headphone Nation’s 100 Favorite Songs Of The Decade (So Far): 2010-2014

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Am I an idiot for thinking that I can only pick 100 songs to share with y’all and not feel guilty about all the other music that I’m leaving out? Is this list completely bias? Am I brain-dead from trying to write about why I love every single song on this list?

The answer is yes.

Reminder: this is a list of MY FAVORITE songs of the decade, not THE GREATEST songs of the decade. There is a key difference. Same rules apply to this list as they did for my favorite albums of the decade so far.

Also make sure to check out the spotify playlist with all these songs at the end of this list.

Alright, let’s begin.

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Music History 101: Jay Z and Rick Rubin Record “99 Problems”

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In late 2003 Jay Z was recording what was supposed to be his final rap album The Black Album. The acclaimed rapper wanted to go out in style, so of course he wanted the right people to help him. So who does Jay Z turn to produce his farewell album? Rick Rubin of course.

Below is a 10-minute video showing some footage of the Black Album sessions, specifically of the recording of “99 Problems”, which is arguably Jay Z’s most critically acclaimed hit. This video has it all: a giant mansion with a buddha, stuffed animals, Rick Rubin’s beard, Beyonce, and a reflective Jay Z on his recording process and why he wanted Rubin’s help. And there’s Rick Rubin’s beard.

And in case you’re curious about Rick Rubin, check out this list of albums he has produced. You’ll be shocked by how many you know.

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20 Songs For July 2013 (Via Spotify)

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July was a very busy month for me, but I still managed to distract myself by listening to a lot of music throughout my summer school finals (very hard to do right?).

This month’s playlist includes a special 4th of July song from Bruce Springsteen, deep cuts from The Replacements and Stones, and I finally get around to listening to Songs: Ohia and The Microphones.

Here are my 20 songs for July 2013.

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Music Journal: My Favorite Albums of 2011

In 2011 the album became cool again.  This year I actually got excited for the release dates of many albums, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.  Though there wasn’t one huge album that towered over the rest, except maybe Adele’s second album in terms of album sales, there were a lot of great albums for almost every kind of music fan in 2011.  Here are my favorite albums released this year and then some honorable mentions.

James Blake – James Blake

One of the most powerful album I’ve heard in a long time, this will be the album that I’ll remember the most from this year.  The album is soulful and minimal, using post-dubstep electronics that are usually anything but minimal.  James Blake should be someone to look out for in the future, but his proper debut album has already established his place in music.

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Before this album came out, Justin Vernon was known more for the story of his debut rather than the music itself (loner musician is sad, goes to a cabin in the winter woods, makes a record, becomes friends with Kanye West).  However with Bon Iver, he is no longer confined to his own myth.  Now he is, to me at least, the Peter Gabriel of our generation, a creative artist who is defining his career with such great songs such as “Calgary” and “Holocene”.  If For Emma, Forever Ago is his winter record, then this is his spring record.

Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire

My favorite singer-songwriter finally released an album after a three year drought, and it did not disappoint.  It sounds like a classic Neil Young record, and it is stacked up there with Heartbreaker and Gold.  It’s good to have you back Mr. Adams.

Wilco – The Whole Love

Wilco had nothing to prove in 2011, but Jeff Tweedy and his most consistent lineup created a fantastic album anyway.  The album keeps the weird dream-pop of Being There and experimental of A Ghost Is Born, all while being one of Wilco’s most accessible albums.  Every song is great, but “One Sunday Morning” could be a top five Wilco song.

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Where as their first album sounds medieval, Fleet Foxes’s second album sounds timeless.  This was the album I kept in my car the longest this year, it was the perfect driving album.  This album stopped this band from becoming a one-album wonder and shows a promising future from this band.

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

The album I didn’t expect to love so much, especially considering the past work of the band that is the closest thing to a modern day Smiths.  Simple lyrics, stripped down production, lovable songs, what more do you want from an album?

Honorable Mentions (Albums You Should Still Check Out)

My Morning Jacket – Circuital

Drive Motion Picture Soundtrack

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

The Strokes – Angles

This is an awesome album collection, and I am excited to see what I’ll be buying in 2012.

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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.

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Eight Music Acts I Would Rather See At The Super Bowl Other Than Madonna

So Madonna is performing at the Super Bowl….and I’m not really excited.  Sure I’m glad the big game is coming to my former hometown, but Madonna isn’t my first choice.  She’ll be better than the Black Eyed Peas, but she won’t come anywhere near Prince (click here to see why).  Here’s my list of acts I would rather see perform in Indy for the big game in February.

Kings of Leon

The band is big enough now with plenty of great hits that they would be appealing for most people.  I just hope they don’t sound like this…

 

Green Day

I realize not everyone loves my favorite band, but they have enough hits to play a Super Bowl set, plus they would do well in a big stadium setting.

 

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire fans make up about 12% of Super Bowl watchers, but man that 12% would go crazy.  They do kill it live though.

 

Coldplay

Everyone would love to sing along with their arsenal of big hits such as “The Scientist”

 

Dave Matthews Band

Why these guys? BECAUSE IT’S DAVE!

 

Pearl Jam

These rock vetrans still kill it live, and it would be hard for anyone not to sing along with “Even Flow” and “Alive”, even if nobody understands what Eddie Vedder is singing about.

 

Eric Clapton

A guitar God performing songs everyone knows?  Sounds good enough for me.

 

Jay Z

Songs like “99 Problems” would be perfect for a Super Bowl halftime show.  He could even bring Kanye with him for a couple of songs.

 

So if the commissioner for next year’s Super Bowl is reading this, here are your options.

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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.


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9/11: A Decade Later

I have no way of knowing the future, but I am confident enough to say that the biggest event to occur in my lifetime happened ten years ago today.

I remember that day very clearly.  I was about to get on the bus to go to school (this was the third grade) and I went up to my parent’s room to say goodbye.  On the TV the Today Show was on and was showing something unusual, two buildings on fire.  But these weren’t any buildings – these were the Twin Towers in New York City.  I asked her what was happening but she rushed me out of the room and onto the bus.  At school we were trying to figure out what had happened because none of the teachers were telling us anything.  One of my friends suggested that someone had blown up the buildings and I thought he was stupid – how do you blow up buildings as big as those?

The following days I began to put the pieces together and I began to make sense of the events that had occured.  I felt the world change that day.  There was something on September 12th that wasn’t there on the 10th.  There was an unnerving feeling, a hopeless feeling that everything we thought we knew had changed, and our belief that our country was untouchable was shattered.  I was so young, but I was old enough to understand that this was a day that changed everything.

Musically this day is also significant.  On September 11, 2001 Bob Dylan released Love and Theft, the middle album in a trio of comeback albums from the famous folk singer who proved to critics that he could still write great songs at 60 years old.  Also on this day Jay-Z released The Blueprint, considered by music critics and fans to be not only Jay-Z’s best album but also one of the greatest rap albums of all time.

I would like to play you guys a Bruce Springsteen song, “My City Of Ruins” from The Rising album.  Springsteen wrote this album in reflection of what happened today ten years ago.  This song from the album wasn’t written specifically about New York City, but it has slowly become an anthem for the city, and the country, that refused to back down in the face of terror.

Take some time today to pray for the families who were directly affected by these attacks and for all who serve our nation to keep us safe and free.

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