Archive for the 'genres' CategoryPage 2 of 25

Twitter's New Theme Song: "Follow Me"

I am blatantly stealing this from Boothism cause it’s so classic. (Thanks, Kwan!) Check out his blog. He’s got a lot of cool stuff going on and he’s a great writer.

Whether you’re part of the Twitterati (if you are, you better be following us) or not, you can probably appreciate the suggestion that this become Twitter’s theme song. (Or Barack Obama’s theme song, as ajcgn suggested.) Old school house by Aly Us. Anybody know what year this is from?

What I'm Hearing, Vol. 16

{For the music I was listening to in July, click here.}

Well, once again I’m a bit tardy and we have the music I was listening to in August being posted on the first day of September. But, better late than never, and the August music, while a bit late, is pretty spectacular. The August iPod update covers 94 songs from 7 artists (yes, a lot of full album downloads this month), and stayed largely (and surprisingly) away from Hip-Hop. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m hearing lately.

As Tall As Lions, You Can’t Take it With You: Having been kicking around in various formats since 2001, ATAL has released their third album. The band, originally from New York but recording a good portion of work in Chicago, flirts with rock, Indie and folk in darker soundscapes. The sometimes low, sometimes high or falsetto voice of lead singer Dan Nigro works with lyrics often dealing with depression or anxiety over brooding tracks. Through all of these songs, a feeling of being trapped somehow persists, with snips of guitar rifts floating through deep bass lines or horns whispering in the background. But despite this, the melancholy at times reaches crescendos that speak of freedom through misery. At other points, ATAL is a runaway train of energy on a track like “In Case of Rapture,” where the drums keep a frenetic pace. Don’t Sleep On: “Sixes and Sevens,” “We’s Been Waitin,” and “Home Is Where You’re Happy”

Beats Antique, Tribal Derivations: Fusing old and new, Beats Antique uses World and specifically Eastern-inspired music while adapting it to Western downtempo, glitch and hip-hop. Indian chants, thick stand-up bass, lightly picked harps, sitars and other string instruments are thrown in the pot with tablas and hand drums, frequently to be sprinkled with drum machines and electronic effects. The result is an album with driving, lounging or club music. In some cases you can imagine the hookah smoke drifting around you as dancers move slowly to the tunes, while in others you can imagine a dark lounge. On “Derivation,” they take portion of melody from “Summertime,” and pepper it with a digeridoo and deep drums. If you’re a fan of World music, this is an album for you. Don’t Sleep On: “Derivation,” “Intertwine,” and “Discovered.”

Fruit Bats, The Ruminant Band: After working on the fringes of music, Eric D. Johnson, the frontman of the Fruit Bats, signed with Sub Pop in 2002 and have been labeled by music publications as “Zoology Rock,” “Boot-Gazer,” and “rustic pop.” The Ruminant Band is their 5th studio release and offers a sunny panoply of pastoral and easy to listen to (which is not the same as easy listening) rock tracks that feel like they could have come out of another era. Up-beat acoustic guitars back moving guitar riffs, piano dances playfully across the spectrum and Johnson’s voice, high and plaintive, is reminiscent of some of Led Zeppelin’s tracks. The tracks are on the shorter side, content to bring the listener along, get the idea across and move onto something else without brooding on one sound. An upbeat album perfect for a ride or camping trip, early mornings in the sunshine and dusty backroads. Don’t Sleep On: “Beautiful Morning Light,” “Primitive Man,” and “Singing Joy to the World.”

M.R. Shajarian, Night Silence Desert: Where Beats Antique took traditional music and mixed it with new themes, M.R. Shajarian stays strictly classic here in his World music. The tracks are light on percussion and heavy on atmosphere, with songs that feel as if they’re literally drifting away into the night of a desert. The instrumentation is skilled, an almost Middle East Béla Fleck sound permeating many of the tracks. Don’t Sleep On: “Silence of the Night (Sokout-e-Shab),” “Rain (Baroun),” and “Setar Instrumental (Torgheh)”

The Morning Benders, Talking Through Tin Cans: Berkeley natives The Morning Benders, who recently garnered “Best Of” for a local band in the yearly San Francisco round up are a pleasant mixture of rock and Indie pop without trying to be too much of either. The songs are laid back and pleasant melodically. Simple drums, guitars, a Rhodes and tambourines paint a picture of sunny California in much the same way the Beach Boys did, but with urban flare and a nod to slightly less-polished pop. Like the Shins without the depression, The Morning Benders are a group to keep an eye out for over the next few years. Don’t Sleep On: “Waiting for a War,” “Boarded Doors,” and “Wasted Time.”

Oumou Sangare, Seya: Hailing from Mali, Sangare weaves traditional African hunting songs with lyrics of social criticism attacking the position of women and marriage in the society, among others. Seya is her first album release since 2004 and it is full of sound. The rhythms and melodies of her native land meet superbly with her voice which is smooth and slightly musky. The arrangements are lively and moving, and as her voice soars over the songs, you don’t need to speak her language to hear her emotion. Don’t Sleep On: “Kounadya,” “Senkele Te Sira,” and “Wele Wele Wintou.”

Owl City, Maybe I’m Dreaming/Ocean Eyes: Adam Young is the one man behind Owl City. He started making music to combat insomnia, and the tracks carry an energized dreaminess that speaks to the line between dusk and dawn. Fans of Postal Service will recognize his electric and synth symphonies, while fans of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service will find in Young an eerily identical voice to Ben Gibbons. Young is soothing, his melodies are light and sound pure, and his balance between sweet sentimentality and sad longing creates almost a joyous balance between joy and pain. For some, these tracks might be too syrupy, but for others, a slightly more electronic and upbeat Postal Service will be just the delivery they need. Maybe I’m Dreaming is a 2008 release and Ocean Eyes from 2009. Don’t Sleep On: “Fireflies,” (video below), “The Technicolor Phase,” and “On the Wing.”

First Ever Live Music Festival Webcast on YouTube: San Francisco's Outside Lands

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There has been a lot of talk lately about live music. Some of us have noted that concert sales are thriving despite the recession, and there seems to be almost a revival of festival-going going on. The Taking Woodstock movie is coming out, which is sure to conjure up some nostalgia and fuel some fires that have been laying dormant. One of the more notable festivals on the West coast is definitely San Francisco’s Outside Lands, which is taking place this weekend.

For those of you who live in or have ever been near the Bay Area in August you know it’s a big deal. The historic Sunset District of San Francisco plays host to this 3 day festival in Golden Gate park, which includes an incredible lineup spanning just about every genre and showcasing both big names and lesser known gems.

Fans who were looking forward to the Beastie Boys headlining will have to shake it off and get excited about Tenacious D jumping in instead. Hopefully, M.I.A. will be able to do the same. She was none too pleased about the change.

In addition to being highly interactive and social media friendly, Outside Lands has taken it a step further and is going where no concert has gone before. It is being broadcast live on YouTube! While we’re doling out the accolades, let us also mention that they are doing their part to keep it green.

Planning on going? Have you seen all the tools out there to help you get organized? First of all, you can stay up-to-date via twitter. (Please note that it’s a “twitterbot for people going to Outside Lands Fest. Send tweet to @osl to broadcast back to everyone following osl.”) Also, you might want to download the iPhone app, try using Ranger Dave’s Magic Scheduler, or hop on to CrowdFire (a place to add your photos, videos, and tweets.)

Remix Lyrics Born!

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Heads up fans, producers, and DJs! We’ve got a brand new remix contest for all of you looking for new and impressive ways to participate in the creative process and show off your DIY skills. MixMatchMusic has joined forces with Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born and eyewear company Sutro Vision to bring you a chance to remix Lyrics Born’s newest single, a re-union track with the other half of his Latyrx duo, Lateef the Truthspeaker, called “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart.”

“Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” will be appearing on both Lyrics Born’s upcoming Variety Show mixtape and the studio album he has due in 2010. The track utilizes female vocals, synths and moving drum and clap percussion to frame uptempo lyrics from Born and Lateef surrounding the decisions and choices they’ve been faced with making for their careers. Check out the video for the single below.

In an effort to engage and interact with fans, as well as contribute to the growing number of artists allowing fans to remix their work, Lyrics Born has loaded the stems to “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” into the MixMatchMusic Remix Wizard and has given you two options for making a remix: Either download the stems for free and use any software you want, or just click on the MixMaker button on the widget to make a remix in MixMatchMusic’s simple online music editor. If you’ve never experienced remixing before, or just want to see how the song was made, check out the MixMaker. Once you’ve completed your remix, upload it so that others can listen to, vote on and share it.

So what will you win? From the entries, Lyrics Born himself will be picking three winners – a grand prize and two runner-up prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a pair of Lyrics Born signed Sutro sunglasses (these shades are sweet!), autographed copies of the entire Variety Show catalog, a Lyrics Born T-Shirt, 2 free tickets to any Lyrics Born show, a meet and greet with Lyrics Bron at said show, and their track featured on LyricsBorn.com presented by Lyrics Born himself.

The 2 runner ups will each receive a pair of Lyrics Born signed Sutro sunglasses (he will sign the case), a copy of the new Lyrics Born Variety Show mixtape, a Lyrics Born T-Shirt and 2 free tickets to any Lyrics Born show as well as their remix featured on LyricsBorn.com. The official rules for the contest are available here.

So what are you waiting for? The contest starts today (Tuesday, August 25th) and runs through Friday September 25th. Tune in, sign on and start mixing!

Blue Scholars to be Re-Released on Duck Down

I received an email today announcing the release of Bayani Redux. When I saw this, I was under the impression that we were going to get a release of B-sides and remixes for the sophomore album by Seattle based Blue Scholars, Bayani. For anyone who has followed Evolving Music for a length of time, you’ve seen the concert reviews and album reviews for the duo of Sabzi and Geologic (aka Prometheus Brown.) And yet, I still find trouble reconciling myself with how talented they are and how little mass exposure they have. Granted, some of the best music falls through the cracks and gets chewed up by the massive grinder of the music industry, but I hold out hope that the word of mouth on some of the best underground artists will reach surface and flip the industry on its head.

I feel like the music industry is caught in a bad dream. That dream where you keep running, turning corners, opening doors, all to get away from something, and yet you can’t. Every time I turn on the television or flip through the radio dial, it’s like I’m opening a door in the dream and finding myself in the same place, listening to recycled music from the past twenty years, sometimes infused with a new trick like auto-tune, sometimes not. But people keep buying, and therefore, labels will keep re-packaging. This is an old rant of mine, but one that came back to the surface after reading the release details for the second coming of Bayani.

When Rawkus Records released Bayani on June 12th, 2007, it was the second album from the duo and one that promised an enormous amount of future material based solely on the progression of the artists between it and their eponymous debut. However, in reading the re-release article, I come to find that only 20,000 copies of it have sold. That’s 10,000 per year in the two since its release, which averages out to about 28 albums per day. That’s not too bad, until you think about the fact that Flo-Rida probably averaged 28 single downloads per minute for his crap and the current iTunes chart topper is Miley Cyrus.

What do you need to do to expose people to good, quality music these days? 2007′s Bayani is a far stronger album than Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak, yet that went Platinum with 1,000,000 sold in just three months and we’re talking two years later at 20,000 for a better hip-hop CD. Is it the lyrics? Are lyrics with depth and intelligence, as pushed out by Geologic and the majority of his underground counterparts, too much for radio listeners? Is it that any variety making a beat sound like something you haven’t heard in every Top 10 song for the past 5 years is frightening? Personally, I’m not sure. But what I can tell you is that while Kanye West walks around making an ass out of himself with all of the money the pop-hypnotized public gives to him, quality artists like the Blue Scholars are trying to figure out where the inspiration for and money to produce their next album will come from.

So do yourself a favor. Turn off the radio, stop watching MTV, and do something other than Shazam the latest club track you heard last night while you were drunk off your ass. Check out Indiefeed, your local independent record store or any vast number of music blogs and resources online and find something new, something different, and in many cases, something more artistic.

Bayani Redux comes out with three previously unreleased tracks on September 1st.