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Friday, April 04, 2014

Foxy Shazam's "Gonzo" - A Fan's Lament

Cincinnati-based band Foxy Shazam have been a huge part of my musical life over the past four years. They've released my favorite albums of 2010 and 2012 and my favorite single of 2010. I've seen them live twice and truly adored their larger than life sound and image. So, I was obviously stoked when they surprise-released their new album (for free!) a couple of days ago.

The problem is, Gonzo is not the Foxy Shazam I've grown to love. It's one of the things I hate most when it comes to rock and pop music... it's lo-fi. I realize this is completely a matter of opinion, but I like my rock music big and world-conquering. Now, the band have self-released this album and it's obviously meant to be a smaller, more "live" sounding record. I get that. But I can't bear hearing Eric's vocals produced this way. It just feels so drained out. The frustrating thing is that a handful of these songs (Brutal Truth, in particular) would sound absolutely immense in the hands of past collaborators Rob Cavallo or Justin Hawkins.

It's unfortunately a very difficult time for rock music in America, so much so that a band of this caliber has a hard time breaking into the mainstream. Money, I'm sure, is a concern.  Still, this album is reminding me of The Ark's last release times a million. It's just not my thing at all. Fortunately, I just discovered a new b-side from the last album that I never knew existed. I'll be listening to that instead, I think.

If you're curious, you can download Gonzo here. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Crayon Pop - Uh-ee

I've gotta stop posting every single these ladies release, but it's so hard when they keep punching us in the gut with ridiculously catchy, bubblegum-infused pop. Uh-ee is a very weird little concoction. It is probably unlike anything you've heard before. What it does is marry electro-k-pop with traditional Korean trot (or "teuroteu"), which is sort of a foxtrot with quick two-beats and a unique vocal style. The track's got one foot in the past and one in the present. You could call it a novelty (and really, you could call everything Crayon Pop do a novelty), but that takes away from the sheer pleasure gleaned from listening to it. The band is opening for Lady Gaga this summer. Can you imagine hearing this track in that context? It's just crazy.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Le Youth - Dance With Me

"I'm talking to you"

I'm not always a fan of reinterpreting old songs for new dance tracks. Sometimes it can feel a little generic. But, what American DJ/producer Le Youth has managed to do with TLC's 90's classic No Scrubs is astonishingly good. It's like he's taken the track, thrown it in a blender and sliced those little bits up even further. Pieces of the melody are there, and still completely recognizable, but they're formed into a collage that sounds wholly different than the original. Add to that an excellent guest vocalist and a funky-as-hell beat and you have something really original and addictive.

Dance With Me by Le Youth on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Ken Bauer & Monkeyman - Magic Word

"You can make me come to life"

Do you remember that weird, campy disco band Dschinghis Khan? If you don't, then you've got some youtube research to do. They were a German concoction that blended Abba-style dance pop with something altogether stranger. Folk elements and chants and just a general sense of craziness. I bring them up because I feel like this new dance track by Ken Bauer and Monkeyman is sort of the modern equivalent of that band. Let's face it, this song is ALL about the repeated chant that makes up the hook. So cheesy, yet so, so right. The rest of the melody is just as off-kilter, with what sounds (to me) sort of like Count Dracula singing a pop song. Somehow it all comes together and works, even though it shouldn't. Certainly one of the more unique tracks to come out in awhile.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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