Great New Albums for November 2014

All of the top songs and albums posts for 2014 are descending upon us.  And guess what, most of them are crap.  Check out the top Rock Artists of 2014 according to Billboard.  Granted, there are some great rock acts on this list, but in what universe is Lorde considered rock?  And how in the living hell did she top acts like Foo Fighters, Jack White, and Arctic Monkeys?  Also, why am I surprised?  A mainstream list like what Billboard provides is never going to satisfy me.  So on I march making my own lists.  Here are some listen-worthy albums from November.  Stay tuned for my obligatory 2014 lists coming soon.

Dels- Petals Have Fallen

New rap that I like?  It does exist!  This English born rapper, graphic designer, and filmmaker creates music that harkens back to raps heyday.  If you’re a fan of Jurassic 5, The Roots, or Mos Def, give him a listen.  With connections to acts like Hot Chip, you can’t go wrong.

 

Also check out:  RGB,  Shapeshift (earlier album)

 

Ormonde- Cartographer/Explorer

Like St. Vincent?  Fan of Indie Folk and Pop?  This is your album for November.  This isn’t get out of your seat and dance music, but if you’re looking for a soundtrack to chill, they have your number.

Also check out:  A Grande Design, Lemon Incest (earlier album)

 

Circa Survive- Descensus

Heavy at one moment and melodic at others, Circa Survive has a sound all their own.  My attraction to the band lies cleanly in the vocals of Anthony Green.  Dig his high pitched, odd voice.

Also check out:  Schema

 

Foo Fighters- Sonic Highways

Really I didn’t even need any other albums on the list for November.  Because, let’s be honest, I listened to this one like it was my job.  Perfection.  The only complaint I have is it’s only 8 songs.  That’s almost an EP!  I love the story behind the album and the docu-series of the same name on HBO was fantastic.  A must listen and a must watch if you’re a fan of music history and well, music in general.

Also check out:  Something From Nothing, Subterranean, and In the Clear…damn, just listen to the entire album.

 

Happy listening!

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Running: An Exploration of Ego and Musical Landscapes

I’ve always enjoyed running.  I can’t really go so far as to say I love it.  It’s more realistic to call it a love/hate relationship.  Some of the reasons it’s pleasurable are also the reasons it can be miserable.  You never win at it really.  You can always go farther.  Or faster.  But it’s reliable.  It’s that friend who meets you every morning with an encouraging gesture and a boost to your ego only to kick you to the curb in 45 minutes when she’s had her fill of your company.  It’s hard more times than it’s easy, but yet I keep coming back.  Because every once in a while you have a day where you do win.  You set a challenge for yourself and then kill it.  And it’s enjoyable and almost, dare I say it, fun.  Today was one of those days.  Maybe it was a good night of sleep or maybe it was the fact that my playlist just kicked ass, but I had a great run.  I launched head on into my day ready to conquer the entire world.

So I thought I’d share my playlist for today.  Because running aside and second only to my husband and dog,  is my love for music (if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog).  Anything good is made great with a soundtrack.  Life needs it and running, at least for me anyway, damn near requires it.    Maybe you can tie up your sneaks and take it for a test drive; universe willing, you too will have an awesome run.

*Small disclaimer, some days I run to a created playlist I’ve painstakingly curated, but mostly I hit shuffle and go where the musical road may lead.  Today was a shuffle kinda day and as you’ll soon see (again, if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog), my musical tastes are all over the highway.

The Cult- Coming Down (1994)

Origene- Sanctuary (2003)

Metallica-  For Whom the Bell Tolls  (1984)

The Limousines- Undercover  (2013)

Ted Nugent-  Motor City Madhouse (1975)

Foo Fighters-  Dear Lover (1997)

Nirvana- Downer (1989)

Full Service- Greetings (2013)

Band of Skulls-  Wanderluster (2012)

Joe Jackson-  Breaking Us in Two (1982)

Dropkick Murphys-  I’m Shipping Up to Boston (2005)

Perry Farrell-  100 Ways (1996)

Goldfinger-  My Girlfriend’s Shower (1996)

Dirty Projectors-  Two Doves (2009)

The Inmates-  Dirty Water (1979)

Cypress Hill-  How I Could Just Kill a Man (1991)

Leftfield-  A Final Hit (2005)

The Four Tops-  I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (1965)

Douglas Armour-  The Whole World (2008)

The White Stripes-  Hotel Yorba (2001)

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Happy trails and tunes!  Let me know how your run went.

Stay positive and love your life.

-Melissa

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Music of the 90s Part 2

I’m back for my second week of participation in http://jenkehl.com/ ‘s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday.  I had so much fun with these guys last week that I had to come back for more!  It’s also week 2 of the 90s.  And there’s not a decade about which I’d be more eager to blog.  The rules of Twisted MixTape are as such: “Try to create a 5 song mix based on this week’s theme. As we move through the decades the assumption is you know about the music in the past, but not what is to come.”

The start of the 90s saw me entering 4th grade and closed out with me in my sophmore year of college.  So as you can imagine, there was A LOT of change going on for me both personally and musically.  I started the decade loving stuff like NKOTB, Madonna, and Tiffany.  In the mid 90s I was sporty flannel and emulating the grunge scene.  By the end of the decade my musical taste had broadened to include everything my parents cruelly subjected me to as a kid (ie. the music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s which I greatly adore to this day), all of the alternative rock bands that defined my high school years, and the few decent bands that emerged in the late 90s (there weren’t many).

In last week’s TMTT post I included some of my favorite angst ridden songs and I’ve already written about the 90s albums that I consider to be the most definitive of my teenage years.  Today I give to you songs from some great bands of the 90s that I really didn’t get into until  after the 90s were over.  Sure, I might have jammed to some of their songs that were played on the radio (for those who actually got air play), but I never owned any of their albums and wouldn’t have really named myself a fan.

Bands of the 90s:  Better Late Than Never

 Foo Fighter- Big Me 1996

As I mentioned in previous posts, I love Nirvana.  And I just wasn’t eager to acknowledge Dave Grohl in his new, more peppy positive role.  I found myself enjoying their music, but just never made the leap to fan.  It wasn’t really until the last several years that I’ve really started to dig these guys.  It mostly spawned from my deep admiration for Dave (musical genius)  and the fact that their music is evolving.  They just get better and better (unlike other aging bands….looking at you Red Hot Chilli Peppers).  Their latest album is amazingly good.  I’ve listed to “Rope” several million times at this point.

Also, if you haven’t seen these guys live yet, do yourself a huge favor. I’ve seen them twice now.  They put on one hell of a show.  And they play an insanely long set.  The first time I saw them, they were on stage for over 3 1/2 hours!  No one does this.  It was probably the best concert I’ve ever experienced and that’s saying a lot!

Screaming Trees- Alice Said 1991

The Screaming Trees never really came across my radar in the 90s save “I Nearly Lost You” on the soundtrack for the movie “Singles”.  And funny enough, it was this soundtrack that sent me in search of their music years later while in grad school.  Mark Lanegan just has such an interesting voice that every time the song would come on I’d think, I really need to listen to more of these guys.

Fugazi- Promises 1989 (close enough….)

Technically born in the 80s, these guys saw their biggest success in the 90s.  And somehow I didn’t hear song one till around 2000.  But then there was no looking back.  Punk rock with more musicality.  I was hooked.  “13 Songs” was on repeat in my car for so many months that it’s ridiculous.

Our Lady Peace- Starseed 1994

Just like with Screaming Trees, a compilation disk led me to these guys.  I can’t even remember what the song was or what the disc was at this point.  It was some sort of 90s alt rock promo disc.  “Somewhere Out There” was all over the radio but I don’t feel it’s very representative of their standard sound.  I guess the mainstream loves a good ballad.  I ended up picking up 2 CDs in a CD Warehouse (used CD store for those of you not familiar) several years ago and really got into them.  Matt also missed out on these guys in the 90s and is now a big fan.

Bonus, they are still making great music.

Queens of the Stone Age- Regular John 1998

I was only a few years late to the show for these guys.  I picked up when a lot of others did, the release of “Songs for the Deaf” in 2001.  I immediately went out and bought their first two albums and have purchased every album since.  Josh Homme is perfection.  I love the weird guitar that you can immediately peg as QOTSA.  I love his odd voice.  I love that Dave Grohl has drummed for them.  And I especially love that I will finally get to see them live this year at Music Midtown. 

Oh, and in case you couldn’t already guess what I think about their new album….love it.

So I cheated a bit and went over my five songs in terms of Youtube videos, but I technically only listed five 90s songs.  So it’s like, whatever dude.

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Eating:  Couscous and black-eyed peas.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I always feel a bit taken aback when I discover a “new” band that’s been around for a while.  It’s a combination of feeling dumb for not previously being aware that they existed and feeling deprived of all of their musical goodness over the years.

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Me (second from the right) in 1999ish.  I really need to dig out some OLD pictures so I can seriously embarrass myself.