In Case You Missed It: New Music From The Strokes And Vampire Weekend, Ryan Adams Started A New Band, Timberlake Confirms New(er) Music, And More!

Yesterday was a field day for new music, and what makes it all better is that the new music is great!

The new Strokes album is streaming via Pitchfork!

Click here to listen to Comedown Machine a full week before its official release while there’s still time.

Vampire Weekend released two songs (studio versions!) off Modern Vampires of the City

“Step”

 

“Diane Young”

 

Here are some other big music news from yesterday.

Ryan Adams started a new punk band called Pornography (which is awesome).

Justin Timberlake confirmed that another volume of 20/20 Experience will be released by the end of this year.

Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) was arrested on drug possession and hit-and-run.

Lil Wayne is out of the hospital.

Extra! Extra!: The Strokes Have Announced That They Might Release A Single Soon Maybe Possibly

TheStrokes-e1358428994645

Any Strokes news is good news, so this morning I came across some good news. According to Consequence of Sound, the New York City band will soon release to the public “All the Time”, their first single off their untitled fifth album.

I haven’t heard the song yet and I already love it.

Here’s some more Strokes to keep you occupied until “All the Time”.

Extra! Extra!: The Strokes Are Hard At Work On Their New Album

Well that didn’t take long.

It only feels like yesterday that last year’s Angles came out and reassured us that The Strokes are still capable of making great music. Now the New Yorkers are back in the studio working on their next album!

I would love it if these guys made an album just as good as Is This It?, but I was happy with Angels so if anything these guys will make another great album. It is interesting to point out that this will be the band’s last album under their RCA Record contract. Will The Strokes pull off a Radiohead and give away their album for any price you want?? Stay Tuned!

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.

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.

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.


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!

Classics In The Making: The Strokes – Is This It

You wish you were as cool as this band.

Ten years ago today (in the UK), The Strokes released their debut album Is This It, an album that many consider to be one of the best rock albums of the past decade.  The album brought back the Rock N Roll sound bands like Television and The Stooges perfected in the seventies and brought it into the new millennium.  For a little bit of time, it seemed that the cool minimalist Rock N Roll Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground helped create was finally in the mainstream and here to stay.  While the fad did not last, this album has aged well and still sounds as cool as it did a decade ago.

When this album was released in the summer of 2001, guitar-rock was at a low point.  MTV was filled with all pop and rap, and all the great grunge bands of the 90s had either broken up or faded away into obscurity.  Stained was the most popular rock band on the radio…it was that bad.  But then here comes this five-piece band of the coolest looking dudes from uptown New York City who worshipped the Velvet Underground and Tom Petty and played fast guitar rock music, all while not giving a fuck.  Is This It was warmly welcomed among critics and fans, and that alone had established the band’s place in history – not necessary because they were talented, but because they were exactly what we needed.

Is This It is very simple: eleven three-minute songs, all fast, all revolving around the guitars, no extra sounds from the studio, minimal effects, and all raw.  No serious life questioned asked here, just songs about partying, girls, and more partying.  Julian Casablancas sounds sleazy but collected – a guy who knows how cool he is.  The band is tight and clam, but they can be ferocious when they need to be (props to Fabrizio Moretti for the excellent drumming).

Even though The Strokes aren’t an indie band, this album became one of the most important albums for a new generation of indie kids.  This band opened the doors for new bands like The Killers and Kings Of Leon to become successful (Kings Of Leon first got attention only because they sounded like a southern version of The Strokes).  Many new bands adopted The Strokes’s look and sound, and soon guitar rock was brought into a new golden age (The Strokes weren’t the only ones blowing up around this time, so were The White Stripes and The Hives).  This album, along with Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, helped defined indie music in the 2000s.

Does the album cover not look familiar?  The picture you see above is the original album cover that was released in the UK.  The album cover was changed for the US to seem more “appealing”.  Another thing happened between the UK and the US release of this album – 9/11.  The original album contains “New York City Cops”, and in respects for the city the song was dropped and replaced with “When It Started”.  Understandable, however it’s a shame because it’s the band’s best song, and it sums up the coolness of this band.  Click here to see the song live and you’ll know what I mean.

For how much I love this album, I will say that it is a bit overrated.  This is not the most creative album ever made (the band will tell you that themselves).  The hype surrounding these guys was crazy back in 2001 – they were being called the greatest rock n roll band since The Rolling Stones.  These guys are not the Stones, and Is This It has nothing on Exile On Main Street.  It took me many listens to understand what Casablancas was actually singing about, and there wasn’t much to find.  Many times I have listened to this album and thought, “Is this it?”

But to love this album is to understand what the band was all about.  The who-gives-a-shit attitude was a nice change of pace in 2001 when music fans desperately needed a rock band to love – they sure were not going to find it in Radiohead and Kid A.  Its quality might be put into question, but its impact won’t be.  When we look back on music another decade from now, we’ll probably still be talking about The Strokes and their debut album.