Archive | July, 2011

Floridays

27 Jul

An early morning flight tomorrow will carry me to Orlando, Florida for a Delta Sigma Phi conference. So, when you do not see a post from me during that time span, you know where I am. I will miss you all during my sojourn. But before I depart, I want to leave you with a quick topical song. The post title gives it away.

 

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Musical Lexicon – “Surfin’ Bird”

27 Jul

Well don’t you know about the bird? Well everybody knows that the bird is the word? A bird-a-bird bird bird. B-bird’s the word!

Objective:
Find an instance of each word on the list being used in the lyrics of a song.
Rules:
1) You can’t use the same song more than once, for any topic.
2) Within topics, you can’t use the same artist more than once.
3) The selected word has to be in the lyrics, but not necessarily in the title. If it’s in the title but not the lyrics, it doesn’t count.
4) You can look through your own music collection for help, but NO GOOGLE.
4.1) No Yahoo!, no Bing, no Lycos, no Ask.com, no GoodSearch, etc.
5) Variations or specific examples are acceptable (unless otherwise stated), but not preferred. (e.g. “Pistol” or “Guns” work if the word on the list is “Gun”)

Topic – Birds birds birds!

Eagle

Hawk

Duck

Goose

Pigeon

Parrot

Hummingbird

Dove

Penguin

For bonus points, give me as many others birds as you can think of. Don’t worry about using the same song or artist twice, I just want to see all the birds you can come up with. Potential answers can include (but are not limited to)…

Chicken, Turkey, Wren, Finch, Sparrow, Swallow (African or European), Nightingale, Warbler, Chickadee, Martin, Starling, Crow, Magpie, Raven, Jay, Cardinal, Lark, Alouette, Robin, Oriole, Shrike, Swift, Snipe, Lovebird, Bluebird, Blackbird, Mockingbird, Weaverbird, Bird-of-Paradise, Canary, Parakeet, Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Macaw, Toucan, Hornbill, Roadrunner, Peacock, Kite, Kestrel, Falcon, Condor, Vulture, Osprey, Goshawk, Owl, Gull, Tern, Puffin, Auk, Dodo, Moa, Cassowary, Emu, Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Stork, Heron, Egret, Sandpiper, Plover, Loon, Ibis, Crane, Flamingo, Pelican, Albatross, Cormorant, Guillemot, Kookaburra, Kingfisher, Cuckoo, Booby, Tit, Quail, Pheasant, Grouse, Woodpecker, Kiwi, Bee-Eater, or… I guess… Archeopteryx?

Stuck in a Moment – And a Cover

26 Jul

I’m not the biggest U2 fan. I only like a few of their songs. This does not mean that I do not respect the work that Bono and the band does. Their philanthropic actions are praiseworthy and their musical contributions have been huge. But, like I just wrote, I only like a few of their songs. Out of this playlist that can fit on a standard CD (remember those), “Stuck in a Moment” has always held a special place above the rest. Perhaps it is because when I first heard the song at 14 years old I was maturing and the song’s catchy inspiration latched on like a fly to a light. I was hooked. I remember burning the track on a CD (wow I am really dating myself even though the days I speak of were only a few years ago) and listening to it on repeat. There was just something to the song.

Bono imagined “Stuck in a Moment” as a conversation with his late friend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, who committed suicide. Bono never was able to talk to Hutchence and persuade him against the reckless act. “Stuck in a Moment” is candid and uplifting. The song preaches the message that life is full of moments that seem incorrigibly bad, but they are just simple moments that will pass. You need to “stand up straight” and “get yourself together.” There is nothing hokey to this passionate lyric. And, with every performance, the song becomes more and more powerful.

I was reminded of it when Bono and the Edge performed it acoustically on David Letterman recently. Watch it:

It is tough to match Bono’s intensity (even when he is sitting down). But I happen to like a cover that Kris Allen, of American Idol fame, does of the song. His version is sweeter and softer. What do you think?

Winehouse Interview – Fanfarlo New Album – The Haret

25 Jul

Amy Winehouse: In Memoriam

By now, the news of Amy Winehouse’s death has become widespread. Thoughts vary. Some say that her recklessness made this early demise unsurprising and inevitable.  Others remain shocked. Without question, 27-year-old Amy Winehouse was talented and thought-provoking, but, perhaps like so many others, she continued to slip because of the overwhelming pressure to conform to the act that a performer puts on themselves. Think about it. Imagine Lady Gaga without gaudy clothes or make-up. How about a “normal” Charlie Sheen. It simply doesn’t do it. We like our performers how we know them. We don’t want to see them different. Amy Winehouse was hounded by tabloids and labeled a wild soul who scoffed at rehab and said screw you to the world. But in reality, Winehouse did go to rehab because of a serious drug problem spawned by mental health issues and a major self-destructiveness. If you listen to her interviewed it is clear that she was witty, but also insecure. A different picture is painted.

I want to profile a great interview I found while searching this morning. Click here

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Fanfarlo Just Finish Recording New Album

Photo by Deirdre OCallaghan

After Fanfarlo released their first album Reservoir in 2009, the indie scene immediately labeled the act as a “band to look out for.” The title is one that all indie bands would like to be marked with, but it does bring some pressure on the band to create a sophomore release that doesn’t…excuse my French…suck. Well, we are going to find out soon. Fanfarlo has just finished mixing album number two and have set a release date for early 2012. According to the band,  the album is going to explore 70s and 80s experimental pop instead of the indie/folk that was pervasive on the first album. I’m intrigued and a little frightened at this concept. I loved Reservoir. It’s a great album. How this experimental pop is going to sound is a mystery. But I’m looking forward to listening to the album when it is released. No name on the album yet.

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The Traditional Blues of The Haret

I’m a huge fan of traditional blues. If you asked me to pick between the guitar-saturated sounds of the Allman Brothers or the gravelly voice and acoustic splendor of Leadbelly or Robert Johnson, I’d go with the latter all the time. I am not saying that I dislike the Allman Brothers. The Allman Brothers are awesome. I just prefer the old-fashioned blues. So, it goes without saying that I was immediately blown away by The Haret, a folk/blues depression-era-inspired music act that plays the pre-rock n’ roll blues (without the scratchiness of old recordings).

The similarity is striking. The voice is authentic. The harmonica is tasteful. The acoustic is strummed well. There is not much more to say. If you like old blues then you will love the Haret. Now the band just has to distribute their music online because I want it!

Reckoner (Flying Lotus Remix)

24 Jul

“A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version.”

-Wikipedia

Two of the best musicians today happen to be close friends. Their musical styles are very different, but their music meshes so perfectly that something completely new and pure is born as a result. It leaves you wondering if there is an end to the limits of music.

The artists I am talking about are Flying Lotus and Radiohead, more specifically Thom Yorke. Their relationship is strange, bringing together British and West Coast influences. They often play each other’s music at live shows and when they get together to make a song the result is usually astounding.This song which you are presumably listening to right now is a take on the Radiohead song Reckoner as remixed by Flying Lotus.

The first thing you should notice is that he completely replaced the beat with one of his own. It has essentially been turned into a hip hop song, but a ghostly one which cuts a completely new road for the genre and solidifies FlyLo‘s experimental capabilities. The clicking noises are my absolute favorite as they maintain an extremely uneven beat which is so strangely gratifying. The vocals, perfectly layered over each other, are darker and filtered, giving the entire song this haunted feeling. At 2:20 the song ends culminates to what could be the ending of a cheap horror film, a very strange last note. Most of the original song had been cut out, but that which remains is so beautifully mixed that it just demands quiet respect. If I were a member of Radiohead, I would be utterly enthralled that something like this could be made from my music.

Now by no means do I think this remix to be ‘better’ than the original song. It is its own complete separate entity and a unique listening experience. Comparing the two would be like comparing apples and oranges. Except maybe that in this case, both of them would be the color gold.

-oko

&O

P.S. One of the song’s off of Flying Lotus’s Cosmogramma features Thom Yorke performing amazing lyrics. Just in case you didn’t go out and listen to the album like I so direly urged you to… here is that song. And let’s not make the same mistake twice now. lulz

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