Kasabian – Velociraptor! : Album Review (Rock Album of the Year!)

October 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

If you’re a big Kasabian fan like I am, you were impatiently waiting to see how the British rock band would follow their incredible album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ (2009). The soundtrack-like album was an international hit, and showed the growth of the Leicestershire-based band. Velociraptor!’, released on September 19th, highlights the band’s continuing growth and proves they want to make a serious impact in the music industry. I was beyond ready for this album, and Kasabian’s new record did not disappoint.

The opening track for ‘Velociraptor!’ is one of the strongest openers I have ever heard. The introduction of Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To reminds me of the film “Inglorious Bastards”; it is very cinematic and bold. They stay true to their experimental style, reminding me of their previous West Ryder…’ album. Tom Meighan’s voice is as smooth as ever, separating the band from other weaker-sounding indie vocalists. My favorite track on the album, Days Are Forgotten, follows the opener. This track sounds like it should be in a James Bond film; the electric guitar is just sickening. Meighan’s funky vocals instantly brought me back to their debut album, Kasabian (released in 2004).

Goodbye Kiss takes the album into an unexpected turn; I’m not used to the band singing love songs. It doesn’t have the energy as the first two, but the song is beautifully composed and is very passionate. Velociraptor!, the title track of the album, packs a mean punch! The track definitely wakes you up after the previous song. It is very fun and energetic. I can see kids rocking out to this at future concerts.

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My Top 20: The Albums That Have Influenced My Life

July 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

Whenever I speak about music, it is usually from a critical standpoint. I stray away from putting my personal thoughts about music into my writing because I look for a more objective approach. It wasn’t until today, as Britney Spears lyrics ran through my mind, where I realized how greatly music has impacted my life. As a nod to my age (I turn 20 in September) I’ve round up the top 20 albums that have had the most influence throughout my life. They represent specific stages in my life so far, as well showing my growth as a Pop music enthusiast. I think it’s important to note that I actually own hard copies of all these CD’s; most of them are cracked and scratched due to constant overplay. While these albums don’t necessarily reflect my musical taste as a whole (my iTunes library suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder) they are the basis of how I understand, interpret, and love music. Here we go!

20. Mavado: Gangsta for Life (2007)

I grew up with Dancehall & Reggae in my household, so I’ve always had a deep love for listening and supporting Jamaican music. I have a soft spot for Dancehall music, especially from the 90’s, but when Mavado’s debut album dropped in 2007 I was ecstatic. He provided a new sound to Dancehall; his pain-inflicted voice and violent, unforgiving lyrics were a mix that I have never heard before. Mavado is not the typical Jamaican artist; the combination of gun songs, party songs, gospel-influenced songs of this album gave Mavado the perfect stepping stone in becoming one of the greatest Jamaican entertainers of my generation.

Favorite Tracks: Don’t Cry, Amazing Grace, Me & My Dogs

19. Gwen Stefani: Love.Angel.Music.Baby (2004)

As a young kid I always thought No Doubt was a cool band, so when Gwen Stefani released her first solo album I knew it was going to be something special. The album released when I was in 8th grade, a time period where I was beginning to search for the types of music I like. Love.Angel.Music.Baby was a breakthrough for me because I was never exposed to such an eclectic sound before. The album is very 80’s kitsch synth-pop driven; a sound that I’ve grown to love.

Favorite Tracks: Bubble Pop Electric, Danger Zone, Crash

18. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

I was first introduced to the Arctic Monkeys in the summer of 2006 at Exeter’s summer program; I remember the exhilarating moment like it was yesterday. I was in a friend’s dorm room and we were chatting as her music played. But then this schizophrenic clash of rushing guitar & drums came on, and my ears were immediately intrigued.

I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor was such a different sound for me. I was exposed to alternative/indie rock before, but this was something completely fresh; it was British rock. The album gave me a taste of the British youth: the way they spoke, danced, acted, drank, etc. After hearing WPSIA,IAN, I began to research other modern British bands & fell in love. Now, in 2011, I’m an avid British rock fan 🙂

Favorite Tracks: When the Sun Goes Down, Mardy Bum, Riot Van

17. Ashlee Simpson: Autobiography (2004)

Back in 2004 (when MTV actually cared about music) I watched “The Ashlee Simpson Show”. During the short-lived reality series, Ashlee created her debut album. I was already a fan of the show, so when Autobiography dropped, I quickly bought it. I think I related to her album at the time because it covered themes of pain, yearning for attention, puppy love, finding oneself, etc. At age 12, the year when pre-teens think no one “gets” them, I totally connected to the lyrics of the songs. While I don’t listen to Autobiography as much as I used to, it truly does represent my angst-y stage as I transitioned from kid to teenager.

Favorite Tracks: Love Me For Me, Nothing New, Autobiography

16. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005)

I remember when I first heard Kings of Leon. I was watching the FUSE channel when their video for “Four Kicks” came on. The record was so energetic, bad-ass, and new. In 2005, I was so used to metal and emo-core. So when I stumbled across the Southern band, it came as a breath of fresh air. After hearing the record, I searched for more of the band’s music and fell in love with everything I heard. After six years, I’m still a dedicated fan of the band.

Favorite Tracks: Soft, Four Kicks, Razz

15. Michael Jackson: Bad (1987):

I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan (I mean, who isn’t?) & I love all of his albums (I mean, who doesn’t?), but I believe I gravitated towards Bad because it found MJ delving more into a rockier, edgier sound. Every single song on this album is distinctive, gritty, fun, intriguing, and timeless. What I love most about the songs is the way that MJ’s vocal range mimic the guitar riffs, the drum beats, and the piano notes. The album highlights his artistry more than any other album, simply because the dirty/glam rock references have more of a capacity to play with than a soulful Motown beat. I know that I’ll be listening to Bad for years to come!

Favorite Tracks: Bad, Another Part of Me, Smooth Criminal

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Arctic Monkeys- Suck It And See: Album Review

June 24, 2011 § 7 Comments

I am a huge alternative music fan, especially from British bands. I first discovered the Arctic Monkeys in 2006, and I’ve become a dedicated fan ever since. I fell in love with their witty and poppy tunes sung through heavily accented teeth; their music was always fresh and fun. After delving into a moodier vibe for their 2009 album Humbug, I anxiously waited for the Sheffield-bred band to drop a lighter album reminiscent of their debut released 5 years ago. Suck It And See, released on June 7th 2011, steps away from both sounds and experiments with an All-American 70’s-throwback sound.

The album opens up with “She’s Thunderstorms”, a track that sets the mood for the rest of the album. It is not the strongest of album openers, but it is interesting to hear a new sound coming from the indie band. The tempo speeds up with the gritty “Brick By Brick”, a song that is very rock and roll. But after a few swigs, the song could sound a bit like fellow indie band, The Kills. The first single off the album, “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”, is classic Arctic Monkeys. From the puzzling song title to the fuzzy Western film score-esque rhythm, this track is solid.

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Song of the Moment: Led Zeppelin – “I Can’t Quit You Baby”

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

For the past few months, I’ve been listening to a lot of blues-rock (both classic and modern). The one band that has been in constant rotation is the legendary Led Zeppelin. When I first delved into rock music back in ’04, the British-bred group was high on my list of bands to look into. After a few years of research (watching interviews & countless live performances, reading biographies, and listening to their discography) Led Zeppelin has become a band that I love and respect. When it comes to rock music, I enjoy it most when it’s blues-ey, stripped down, steamy, and raw. All of these factors are why “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is my song of the moment.

“I Can’t Quit You Baby” is actually a cover from Chicago blues musician Otis Rush. The song is featured on Led Zeppelin’s debut 1969 album Led Zeppelin. But I prefer the 1970 Royal Albert Hall performance edit version off their final studio album Coda (released in 1982). This version speaks to my soul; it is grimy, heart wrenching, and tainted with all things wrong about love. It’s downright beautiful.

I love it because it is a slower tempo than the original, which adds to the classic blues feel.  “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is a song about someone struggling in a relationship and trying to find the energy to get out. The stretched-out stomp of John Bonham’s drums, the pain-dripped wail of Robert Plant, and the incredible cries of Jimmy Page’s & John Paul Jones’s guitar burns so slowly, and it feels so good. If you are a fan of good, classic rock music I recommend this song to you. It takes you to a place where you may be hesitant to go, but when you reach there you’ll be glad you stayed.

*If you have any favorite blues-rock band or musician (old-school or modern) leave it in the comment box. I love to find out about new music!

The Kills – ‘Blood Pressures’: Album Review

April 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

After a draining two-year hiatus, The Kills are back with a fresh new album! The duo, composed of Jamie Hince & Alison Mosshart, stepped unto the scene in 2001 with their unique sound that reshaped “indie” rock. Blood Pressures, released on April 5 2011, does not disappoint. The vibe is cool and edgy in a way that only The Kills could bring; the album is best paired with a bottle of warm whiskey. Reverting back to their roots of scratchy blues-rock yet still playing around with new sounds, the album is a musical maze.

The album opens up with “Future Starts Slow”, an uptempo track that highlights The Kills’ best assets. Mosshart’s raspy voice layered over Hince’s cool tone makes for great harmony and a hint of nostalgia of past albums. “Satellite”, the 1st single off of Blood Pressures, provides the listener with a new sound brought by the rock duo. The steady distortion, the heavy bass drum, and the harmonized vocals give this track an electrified post-reggae vibe. The Kills brings it back to their hit album Midnight Boom with the 80’s revival track “Nail In My Coffin”. The syncopated drums and Mosshart’s crystalized vocals breathes new life to the album.

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The Strokes- Angles: Album Review

March 25, 2011 § 3 Comments

Being a huge fan of The Strokes ever since I heard “Juicebox”, I was ecstatic to hear that the New York City-based band was gearing up to record their fourth studio album. The Strokes, known for their fresh spin on the “Indie” sound, haven’t released an album since 2006, so the wait for a new album was much-anticipated. Angles, released on March 18th 2011, was met with mixed reviews. Being a dedicated fan of the band, I feel this album did not have the punch I was expecting. Sure I enjoy the album, but it isn’t a memorably hard-hitting record.

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