24 February 2011

Video of the Day: Adele - Lovesong (cover)

I was just sampling the clips of Adele's new album on iTunes after hearing immense praise of the highest order for her. I didn't anticipate this cover though. This song has been done so many times and usually it ends up the same way, beautiful but average. This is an exception. It's equal parts sensual, touching, soft, and elegant. It was meant to be sung by such a gorgeous voice. I can't believe how beautiful the tone is.

22 February 2011

Music Video of the Day: Dilly - Band of Horses

While looking through live Band of Horses video for a post yesterday, I came across this video from 2010 for the song "Dilly" off Infinite Arms. I'm a little disappointed with myself that I hadn't noticed it earlier but am just thankful to have it now. It's one of the funniest/most brilliant clips I've ever seen. It's such a departure from the airy "Laredo" video that primarily showed the band on a stage and yet still keeps their Southern vibe alive in a more retro (yet very natural to them) sort of way. Not a lot of bands could get away with a video so kitschy without coming across as obnoxious or a copycat of the millions of other bands doing a vintage look right now but this has such substance. It reminds in a way of Muse's video for "Knights of Cydonia" in the same old fashioned cinematic Western way yet it's even more tongue in cheek and maybe even more original. It's also reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino.

I don't know. Take a look for yourself. It's definitely worth a few minutes.

Song to Love: 99 Problems - Hugo

I originally heard this song late one night on 101.9 RXP, the best radio station in the New York area, and it resonated with me instantly. I got out my phone, went to their website and immediately found out the artist so I could download it when I got home. It was the kind of moment when you know you're finding something completely different that you can't survive another minute without. Yes, that's dramatic but I know any music lover understands that second where you know you've struck gold. A lot of songs are just "okay" and that gets you by but it's such a great feeling to find one that is fantastic.

Although I don't know much about Hugo as a band, I know they have a couple albums out and their big break seemingly came when this song was featured on the soundtrack to the Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher film "No Strings Attached". I only found this out while searching Youtube. I thought I was going to find some acoustic version of a single guy playing this at a cafe with a straw hat on and found that Hugo has their own Vevo channel already and this video has half a million views. And I thought I was finding something obscure. Ha! In any event, the video is pretty crazy and the production value is great. It's a short song and another that just leaves you wanting more.

It's a fun, quirky cover with a country twang and an urban vibe. I hope Jay-Z likes it.

21 February 2011

Picture of the Day: Matt Berninger

of The National.

Horses Tell the Sweetest Love Stories

Tyler Ramsey, Band of Horses guitarist
Band of Horses has some of the greatest love songs I have ever heard. So simple, so slow, so painful and slightly sad.

Not in time for Valentine's Day but still a good choice of music for a loved one.

I love the image of everything else in time getting older and love staying fresh. It's difficult, right?

The intertwining of country and rock is also perfect.

(and this band is kind of gorgeous too. oh my.)

Song to Love: The Forms Feat. Matt Berninger - Fire to the Ground

This is my current favorite song. I've listened to it probably 30 times in the past two weeks.

The Forms (whose style Wikipedia considers "math rock"), are a Brooklyn band that formed in the early 2000's and have since released two albums with a third on the way.

The song features The National's Matt Berninger and the combination could not be better.

At just under three minutes, the song goes on for just the right amount of time to leave you wanting more.

Headphone Dreamers

On a particularly long bus ride today, I couldn't help but notice a young man all decked out in Rutgers regala listening to something intently on his headphones. What struck me about this was his expression that never really faded from fascination. He looked like the kind of guy that needs to make sure his socks are always clean and his sneakers are always in fashion but aside from that, a really simple person. Maybe he plays on the football team or some other wacky sports team. He kept his hands in his pockets and just listened to whatever was on that iPod.

Going to Rutgers, it's obvious that I always see people walking with headphones in and if I'm in close enough range I try to sneak a peek at whatever they're shuffling around on their little music players but not all of them seem so enthralled in their music. I imagine for most it's just a distraction from noisy bus engines and little girls chattering. Sometimes someone will have their music up so loud that I'm able to distinguish it as Katy Perry or Jay-Z but rarely do I hear something unique or outstanding. Just as clothes make a man, so does music. Whatever this young person was listening to determines a lot about what he was thinking at the time and the meaning behind that facial expression that was plastered on his face. Imagining it was Willie Nelson's "Stardust" album as opposed to Nickelback's "Greatest Hits" changes the value in my head. And not because one sound is better than the other, just that if it were something completely random and unexpected that gave him a particular jolt of sadness or remembrance of something in his life, it would have a more significant value to my imagination. I'd be disappointed to find out he was just zoning out while listening to Wiz Khalifa. It's rare in life that we get any profound moments of time and yet music really does contribute greatly to those rare occurences. It is often when I'm listening to music that I get those feelings I don't know how to explain. That's why I've always found music to be the most difficult thing to write about and therefore the most challenging. Not only do you have to feel inspired but you have to know how to put it into words and certain feelings just don't have accompanying words to express them. This person's facial expression today encompassed a lot of what I feel when listening to my favorite music and there's no way I could explain it on a little blog. I'm always looking for big moments in life but then when they come around they're too big to go home and write about. It's the smaller times that are the easiest.

Radiohead vs. The National

I absolutely adore Radiohead's new music video for their recent single "Lotus Flower" that, by the way, already has nearly 4 million views on Youtube and was only released 5 days ago(!) but I can't help but think it is too closely related to The National's video for "Bloodbuzz Ohio" that depicts frontman Matt Berninger awkwardly dancing around in black and white.

Although Berninger was better dressed and better bearded, I've been a longtime fan of Thom Yorke's crazy dancing abilities which puts me on the fence. On the 2009 Grammy Awards, Yorke danced his way through "15 Step" and it was rather awe-inspiring. It's the kind of thing you can't take your eyes off, whether you're enjoying it or not. There's something so odd about his face and tiny, little body that it keeps your attention. "Lotus Flower" as a whole is a great song but I'm disappointed it sounds so similiar to everything we've come to expect from Radiohead. Maybe that's not giving it enough credit, since it's definitely one of the best songs to come out recently, but without this fantastic video I'm not sure that I would even be paying much attention to it. The National's "Bloodbuzz Ohio" wasn't really a departure for them either. On music blogs last year the real discussion was whether or not the video was arrogant or humorous. Basically, it seemed like the conversation was mostly about the visuals rather than the song. Regardless, I still listen to it all the time over a year later.

I think the bottom line is no amount of sophistication and good looks are going to trump Thom Yorke's exceptional dancing abilities. Did he get inspiration from Matt Berninger? That remains to be seen.