Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

tracks to listen to – Shangri-La (YACHT)…and others

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on August 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Now, I have to be honest here. Are you ready for it? There are actually two tracks I wanted to post by YACHT. And I chose this one. “Shangri-La” is on the new album from YACHT, which, if you haven’t heard their music, you are in for a treat. YACHT actually stands for Young Americans Challenging High Technology…oh yeah, that’s a mouthful. Their slightly peculiar songs also have this really awesome flow to them – they have a sound that is catchy, pleasing, and just really…feels good.

“Shangri-La” is no exception to this. Its got a unique synth riff in the background which the melody plays over top of, mixed with lots of choral vocals (and harmonies) and lots of liberal “La-la-la”ing. And how can you resist?! The song IS called “Shangri-LA”…la la la laaaaa. Check out this YouTube clip of “Shangri-La”!

Now, are you just dying to know what the other track was? Too bad, I won’t tell you!

Just kidding. (I’m funny.) The second track by YACHT is called “Utopia”, and its got a fast-paced groove to it (also off the album Shangri-La), and its got this slightly sci-fi, robot-like sound to it, but its also really fun, energetic, and playful! Check it out! Let me know what you think!

Oh and to add to all of this, if you head to YACHT’s website (www.teamyacht.com),  you can actually download another free track, “Dystopia”, under Music>Free Downloads. You’re welcome!

Okay, actually, here is a Tiny Desk Concert from NPR, which has three tracks to it…
1. Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)

2. Psychic City (Voodoo City)

3.  Shangri-La

summer mix

In albums, current listenings, musings, tracks to listen to on August 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I just created a little mix for fun, inspired by the list of tracks I’ve been posting for you to listen to…and plus some new ones, of course!

I created this mix out of some of the songs I’m listening to most right now. Some of the transitions are still not ideal, but hey, its not bad. So, if you’re looking for some good tunes to cycle across the mountain, drive across the mountain or to head to the beach with, these might make the cut! If nothing else, put on this 45 minute track and enjoy! Click here to have a listen!

  1. Shuffle by Bombay Motorcycle Club
  2. Escapee by Architecture in Helsinki
  3. Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
  4. Call It What You Want by Foster The People
  5. Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution by Cut Copy
  6. Cameo Lover (GLOVES Remix) by Kimbra
  7. Goliath by The Brow Horn Orchestra
  8. What You Need (Hey Camp Remix) by Priors
  9. Collide (Afrojack Festival Remix) by Leona Lewis
  10. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
  11. Maybe I’m Crazy by Monarchy
  12. Hello by Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette

#118- Stand! (Sly and the Family Stone)

In 124-100, Top 150 on August 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

May 3, 1969 (Stand!)

Okay, we all know at least a few songs by Sly and the Family Stone, even if we don’t really realize it. Like “Everyday People”, as an example. Now, this album was a big deal when it was released. It was the fourth studio album for the group. Previously, their albums didn’t do as well (despite several singles), but this album sold over 500 000 copies in its first year of release, which is pretty impressive.

Still, I have to say, I’m not a huge fan. Its alright, but I wouldn’t say it has that instant wow factor. It doesn’t really pop out to my ears. If you don’t know, the album is definitely a funk album with lots of groovy beats and groovy bass lines. It just doesn’t have a really tight cohesive sound that allows it to rock out, in my opinion. That said, I feel like the album would be awesome if you heard it live, just based on the style of music it is. I feel like it would have a bit more feeling to it. And I guess that’s what I don’t love (to be more specific), the fact that its just a bit stagnant sounding.

Oh, right, but there’s also that (bizarrely placed) track, “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey”, which is a clear discussion about racism, although there really isn’t much literal substance to the track…since there aren’t many lyrics. You still get the idea.

Stand! is unlike a lot of the other albums I’ve listened to on the list so far. And its worth a listen. Maybe I’m just being super critical, I don’t know. What do you think?

Track Listing

Side One

  1. Stand!
  2. Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey
  3. I Want To Take You Higher
  4. Somebody’s Watching You
  5. Sing a Simply Song
Side Two
  1. Everyday People
  2. Sex Machine
  3. You Can Make It If You Try

#119 – The Harder They Come (Original Soundtrack)

In 124-100, Top 150 on August 18, 2011 at 9:00 am
The Harder They Come (soundtrack)

Original Soundtrack Recording of The Harder They Come (July 7, 1972)

Jamaican Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff starred in a crime movie called “The Harder They Come”. He also recorded the title track on the album specifically for the film, but the rest of the tracks on this soundtrack were compiled by the film’s director. The result is a mix of reggae, easy listening, and just relaxed, good tunes.  I think the reason it made the list of top albums, aside from the variety of reggae recording artists, is that it helped bring reggae into the United States when it wasn’t overly popular.

It’s a great album to listen to, and an easy album to listen to. I’d like to watch the film now and see how it all ties together.  Check it out. It’s not a favourite of mine, but its a good listen! And the title track really is a good one.

Track Listing

Side One

  1. You Can Get It If You Really Want It (Jimmy Cliff)
  2. Draw Your Breaks (Scotty)
  3. Rivers of Babylon (The Melodians)
  4. Many Rivers to Cross (Jimmy Cliff)
  5. Sweet and Dandy (The Maytals)
  6. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)
Side Two
  1. Johnny Too Bad (The Slickers)
  2. Shanty Town (Desmond Dekker)
  3. Pressure Drop (The Maytals)
  4. Sitting in Limbo (Jimmy Cliff)
  5. You Can Get It If You Really Want It (Jimmy Cliff)
  6. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)

tracks to listen to – Polish Girl (Neon Indian)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on August 17, 2011 at 9:00 am
Psychic Chasms

Psychic Chasms

It’s been a while, friends, but here’s another track for your Summer loving. This track by Neon Indian has a fun, upbeat, airy feel to it even though its got a great underlying dance beat. The quality of this beat isn’t great, but you can find it on iTunes and download it there! They’re also releasing a new album and are touring at venues all across the U.S. right now. Music lovers, check it out for a fun and unique listening experience for your Summer listening pleasure!

Give Till It’s Gone – Ben Harper

In albums, current listenings on August 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

Give Till It's Gone by Ben Harper

I’ve been listening to this album for a few weeks, and I have been wanting to write about this for awhile. I’ve held off…up until now. As the last album of Ben Harper’s ten-album recording contract with Virgin Records, Harper decided to make it a “solo” album, although he is still playing with Relentless7, the name of his new band – not that The Innocent Criminals are finished…just on a hiatus, I suppose?

Give Till It’s Gone is an emotionally charged and incredibly focused album to finish off such a long contract. From start to finish, this is the kind of album that will definitely make you feel something. And probably feel many things. Starting with the first track, “Don’t Give Up On Me Now”, the album has a very poignant sound. It’s almost a mix of hope and poison. What I love about this album is the honesty in each track. Harper recently went through a divorce with his wife (and Jurassic Park actress), Laura Dern, and as a result, many of the tracks on this album reflect some of those emotions. Its challenging in a way, because the focused intensity that Harper sings and plays with also make me feel this stinging remorse or pain – for him! “Don’t Give Up On Me Now” is the most hopefully resigned song I’ve heard. And then it moves onto “I Will Not Be Broken” which is has a quiet, haunting sound that sounds a bit like the calm before the storm…or maybe the calm after the storm, when you survey the destruction and figure out exactly how to approach the cleanup. Interesting.

I’ve seen Ben Harper live several times, and I love his music, so yes, I am biased, but I will say, I didn’t love his first album with Relentless7, White Lies For Dark Times. And I really love this album. It has the perfect balance between the raw and emotional tracks, and tracks like “Rock N’ Roll Is Free” – more upbeat, and energizing. They allow you to recover a little bit before diving back into the really gut-wrenching stuff. Oh, and I guess I should also mention that Ringo Starr plays drums on two tracks on the album, “Spilling Faith” and “Get There From Here”. And you immediately notice the difference. Its pretty amazing how big a difference it makes, but I can immediately hear a little more of a psychadelic sound at the start of “Spilling Faith”. I dig it.

So if you are a Harper fan, definitely check this album out. If you aren’t a Harper fan, check it out anyway.  Favourite tracks are “Don’t Give Up On Me Now”, “I Will Not Be Broken”, “Spilling Faith”, and “Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn”.

Track Listing

  1. Don’t Give Up On Me Now
  2. I Will Not Be Broken
  3. Rock N’ Roll Is Free
  4. Feel Love
  5. Clearly Severely
  6. Spilling Faith
  7. Get There From here
  8. Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn
  9. Waiting On A Sign
  10. Dirty Little Lover
  11. Do It For You, Do It For Us

#120 – Raising Hell (Run-D.M.C.)

In 124-100, Top 150 on August 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Raising Hell (album)

Raising Hell, released on July 18, 1986

I’ve been avoiding this album. I don’t know why. I guess I just don’t what to write about it. Run-D.M.C. changed the hip hop world (or so I’m reading), but I don’t really know much about hip hop and I don’t really know much about hip hop before RUN-D.M.C. either, so its hard to give this some context. What I do know is that Run-D.M.C. brought a more street feel to 80s hip hop. This album also has tracks like “Peter Piper” and “It’s Tricky”, and of course, “Walk This Way”, which you will all recognize when you listen to this.

I liked this album, sure, but its just not my style. It sounds like good 80s hip hop and I really appreciate that. But 80s hip hop just isn’t my scene. So, The album is great and fun to listen to, but literally, I’ve been posting single track reviews partly because I’ve had so many great tracks I wanted to share, but also (equally) because I just didn’t want to write about this album. Isn’t this crazy?

“Raising Hell” was a major album for Run-D.M.C. and I would say, from my readings, is what really secured them in the hip hop scene. They used samples on this album but also created their own beats. They also had Aerosmith come in and re-record new vocal and guitar parts for a cover of “Walk This Way”, which is pretty cool.

Anyway, check it out, but I’m sorry if I insult any other music nuts out there because I’m not going on about how incredible this album is. Its good, but I just like a different sound. And since I’m writing this blog and these reviews with no particular affiliation or obligation to praise or maintain a specific format, I’m just saying what I really think.


Track Listing

  1. Peter Piper
  2. It’s Tricky
  3. My Adidas
  4. Walk This Way
  5. Is It Live
  6. Perfection
  7. Hit It Run
  8. Raising Hell
  9. You Be Illin’
  10. Dumb Girl
  11. Son of Byford
  12. Proud To Be Black

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