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New Band To Watch: Neon Trees

2010-03-08 | Posted in Music Musings

The American pop/rock band Neon Trees are set to release their debut album, Habits, on March 16th. Hailing from Provo, Utah, the quartet features singer/keyboardist Tyler Glenn, Elaine Bradley on drums/vocals, guitarist Chris Allen, and bass player Branden Campbell. I’ve only heard two songs from the band so far, first single Animal, and Calling My Name, but let me tell you – I’m hooked! The best description I can come up with is a marriage between The Killers and Keane, with an extra Marshall amp or two thrown in to stir things up.

If the rest of the album is anything like these first two cuts, we’re in for a real treat. The band is touring the US in the spring supporting 30 Seconds To Mars. Let’s just hope they make it over to this side of the pond soon as well.

Below are two remixes of the song Animal provided by Mercury Records. Be sure to check them out, as well as the band’s MySpace page to hear Calling My Name.

Neon Trees on MySpace

Animal (Music Video)

Animal (Yes Giantess remix)

Animal (Expensive People remix)

Top 5 Albums of 2009

2009-12-31 | Posted in Music Musings

On this last day of 2009, I’d like to list my five favorite albums of the year, in no particular order.

Band of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
This is what The White Stripes would sound like if they were a three piece. I love the vocal interplay between guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson, and Russell’s guitar sounds are great. Favorite track: Death By Diamonds and Pearls

Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot
This was a surprise to me. I had no expectations whatsoever on this album, but it turned out to be really great. You can tell that they’re really enjoying themselves. I can’t imagine that neither Van Halen or Red Hot Chili Peppers could pull off an album this vibrant at this stage in their careers. It just goes to show what working with new people can do for your inspiration. Favorite track: Future in the Past

The Dead Weather – Horehound
Jack White’s third band The Dead Weather put out a dirty blues-rock album. This is one of those albums that needs time to grow, but once you get familiarized with it, it is fantastic. I find myself listening to it at least once a week. Favorite track: Treat Me Like Your Mother

Muse – The Resistance
Just like Horehound, The Resistance needs time to grow. But it turns out that Matt Bellamy and Co have once again created a masterpiece. Favorite track: Uprising

Franz Ferdinand – Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
I love the electro-rock sound they’ve taken on with this album. Favorite track: Lucid Dreams

Steven Tyler Leaving Aerosmith – My Suggested Replacement

2009-11-06 | Posted in Music Musings

As many of you have probably already heard, Steven Tyler appears to be leaving Aerosmith. If not permanently then at least for an extended period of time, to focus on his own brand – “Brand Tyler”. Joe Perry was apparently not in the loop, tweeting “Read on line st left band to do “brand Tyler”? That’s all I know but like I’ve said hasn’t called me in months.a bit cold forget us 4 guys” (AdmiralPerry).

Rumour has it Joe, Brad, Tom, and Joey have scheduled a meeting to discuss a possible replacement for Steven. Brad Whitford was quoted in Classic Rock saying “Nobody could replace Steven or imitate him – he’s one of a kind. But if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?”

I think replacing Steven Tyler and still calling the band Aerosmith has failure written all over it. However, I have a better suggestion: How about approaching Kid Rock about fronting a new band, in the same way that the remaining Rage Against The Machine members joined forces with Chris Cornell to form Audioslave? Now, I know Kid Rock has a very prosperous career of his own, and the Twisted Brown Trucker Band is one of the best backing bands around, but let’s just imagine the awesomeness. Kid Rock is a huge Aerosmith fan, and he has opened for them and played with them on numerous occasions. I think it would be a really great collaboration. Imagine a live show composed of classic Aerosmith songs, and Kid Rock’s southern rock, plus an album of all new songs! I also think Kid Rock has the voice needed to pull off all the classic Aerosmith songs from the seventies. So here is my plea to Joe Perry: Give Bob Ritchie a call – who knows what could happen?

Blood Sugar Baby

2009-10-07 | Posted in Music Musings

Lately I’ve found myself listening quite a lot to the Red Hot Chili Peppers classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik (BSSM). It feels weird to call this a classic album, but the fact is that it’s been 18 years since its release. To put things in perspective, when BSSM was released, Nirvana was just starting to gain popularity (notoriety?), and Jack White was still in high school.

I just have to praise this album because I always come back to it. Sometimes I might not listen to it for a year or so, and then I’ll stumble across it, and end up playing it non-stop. What I like the most about the album is the sense of space, which I think producer Rick Rubin is most responsible for. It’s a very straight-forward album with a minimum amount of overdubs. All seventeen songs are so strong that they don’t need to be overproduced and layered.

I must admit that I was not instantly hooked on the album when it was released. In fact, it probably took me a couple of years to realize its brilliance – story of my life! But a good testament to the longevity of an album is that it takes a while to understand the songs. I think it’s brilliant that they have hidden the hit singles Give it Away and Under the Bridge in the middle of the album. I’ve always felt that when an album opens with a single it tends to take away from the rest of the songs, because singles are usually so direct and easily recognizable that they sort of take your head out of album mode, and then you don’t have the patience to concentrate on the more complicated songs that follow. I know I’m just rambling now, but hopefully someone knows where I’m coming from with this.

BSSM is the second Red Hot Chili Peppers album with John Frusciante on guitar, and this is when the band found what is now their trademark sound. If I remember correctly, the Chili Peppers all rented a house together where they lived and recorded the album. Drummer Chad Smith was the only one who wasn’t staying at the house. John Frusciante’s guitar parts were reportedly recorded in his upstairs bedroom. I really love the entire album, but I must mention a few favorite songs. Opening track The Power of Equality, with John’s warbly guitar sound is just fantastic. I love Funky Monks, a song that I wish the Chili Peppers would play live more frequently. It only appeared once or twice during their last tour. When I saw RHCP in concert a couple of years ago, I got really hooked on the title track, Blood Sugar Sex Magik – sometimes hearing a song live make you appreciate it in a different way. I Could Have Lied is just beautiful – I love that you can actually hear John’s fingers sliding on the guitar neck during the first verse. And that guitar solo…need I say more? Mellowship Slinky in B Major…I could go on and on, but those are my favorites.

So, if you haven’t had your weekly dose of Blood Sugar lately, why not go all crazy and actually visit your local record store (yes, they do still exist!), and pick up a copy of this classic album.