An Alternative Halloween Playlist

By pcsanchez7505

With Halloween two days away, the most tolerable holiday themed music is abundant as we get in the festive mood. Personally, I enjoy creating a dark, Lynchian vibe to get one’s skin crawling, which quite frankly is hard to do with the radio friendly Halloween tunes (and I’m not trying to go full on slasher horror film). Not that I have anything against the “Monster Mash” (it’s a great song), but it just doesn’t suffice when I want something a little scarier, or at the very least something a little less corny to play to get me in the Halloween spirit.

That’s why this year, I’ve made a playlist full of Halloween-esque songs to play if you’re like me and want to mix it up a little. A few classics still make an appearance, but there are plenty of tunes one wouldn’t initially associate with this spooky month. Give them a chance though, and they’ll set the mood just right.

“Dark Night of the Soul” by Danger Mouse (feat. David Lynch)

What might seem like a strange collaboration at first, further inspection proves it makes total sense to pair the likes of musician Danger Mouse and director/writer David Lynch if your aiming to create, a spooky, atmospheric album. “Dark Night of the Soul,” off Danger Mouse’s album of the same title, echoes and creeks with a haunted melody and unearthly vocals courtesy of Lynch. The whole song feels aged and dug up from a crypt home to ghastly ghouls.


“I’m A Lover (at Close Range)” by Escape-ism

While this song doesn’t quite fit into the theme lyrically, the vocals eerie pipe organ and synth drum beats are right at home in a spooky playlist. This infectious tune even includes little screeches and screams from singer Ian F Svenonius.


“El Fantasma Enamorado” by Pate de Fua

The intro to this song is purely instrumental, and the instrumentals are pure fun. It’s spooky, whimsical, yet never crosses the line of corny. Sung in Spanish “El Fantasma Enamorado” speaks of a ghostly love affair and a man desperately seeking the company of his lover, though he is dead and she is still alive. At night, his spirit walks the grounds of the graveyard he was buried in, lost in his never ending quest to reunite with his love.


“Vampire Again” by Marlon Williams

If you’re into a spooky serenade, this song won’t disappoint. Marlon Williams takes inspiration from the best do-ops and uses his sultry vocals to evoke a ghoulish fiend. He laments over the boredom he finds in Los Angeles during Halloween, but revels in the fact that he will have his fun once again as a menacing vampire. The song is smooth and smoking, filled with little hints of terror and just a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor (or tongue-and-fang I should say).


“The Blob” by The Five Blobs

The cheesiest song on this playlist, “The Blob” is an infectious classic I couldn’t leave out, especially since it pairs so well with the song before it. The danceable tune not only spooks up the atmosphere, it makes you envision a 60s, art deco party filled with Mod-clad women, groovy furniture, cheese fondue and dry martinis. It’s the least scary song on this album, but you do need a break every now and then.


“Little Girl” by Danger Mouse (feat. Julian Casablancas)

“Little Girl” features the creative mind of Danger Mouse with the very specific vocals of The Strokes lead singer, Julian Casablancas. The song oozes with mystery and a menacing kind of allure. Fit for a frantic chase scene, this song could fit into a scarier, gorier version of Scooby-Doo. Its dark tone makes it a perfect alternative to the usual Halloween thrillers.


“Grim Augury” by Danger Mouse (feat. Sparklehorse and Vic Chesnut)

Danger Mouse’s album, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ could easily be played on shuffle and it would make a suitable, horror inducing soundtrack, “Grim Augury” might be the most horrific tune on the LP. Cryptic, graphic and sufficiently morose with grizzly, shrill vocals and a slow, methodical tempo, the song uses someone’s worst nightmare to strike fear in its listener.


“Lonesome Hunter” by Timber Timbre

Akin to Marlon Williams crooner song about vampires, Timber Timbre’s sultry single, “Lonesome Hunter” is a playful, eerie tune that creeps one out as much as it seduces him/her. Delicately layered instrumentals overlay beautifully with singer Taylor Kirk’s vocals as he lays down lyrics of a lovesickness with zombie-like effects.


“Pa Pa Power” by Dead Man’s Bones

Not many people know that about five years ago Ryan Gosling and friend Zach Shields teamed up to write and record a Halloween themed album filled with retro sounding tunes. “Pa Pa Power” even comes equipped with an eerie chorus of children and echoing instrumentals.


“My Dream From Last Night” by Molly Nilsson

Deep vocals, a strange instrumental arrangement and minimal effects, “My Dream From Last Night” is an audible shiver of things we try to remember and those we can’t forget. Nilsson’s unique vocals make just about every song she sings sound cryptic and haunting, and this one in particular is perfect for a chilly, dark night.

For more ghoulish tunes, check out the rest of my Halloween playlist on Spotify.

Source:: An Alternative Halloween Playlist

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Arctic Monkeys Romance Outer Space from the Hollywood Bowl

By pcsanchez7505

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Not often, but sometimes I wish I were still 21, and my favorite band was still a coveted secret stateside. Just once more, I’d like to see Arctic Monkey at a General Admissions only venue, where you did your best to make it to the front and the whole crowd ignited at the riff of “Brianstorm.” No pretty visitors, just nerdy, die-hard fans

But things change and grow, and with a band as good as Arctic Monkeys, there was never a chance to hold onto the smaller venues, the niche crowds, the youthful defiance.

Over the past five years, Arctic Monkeys’ popularity has grown exponentially in the United States and abroad (where they’ve always been insanely popular). With it comes more expensive tickets and a larger, albeit often times less sincere, crowd. Those crowds take the band to places like the Hollywood Bowl, not just for one night, but two sold out appearances among the Hollywood stars (if you could even see them through the Hollywood haze).

Lead singer Alex Turner made sure to serenade those distant specs of light, reminding the Tuesday night crowd, “that isn’t how they look tonight, it took the light forever to get to your eyes.”

The night consisted of tunes pulled almost equally from Arctic Monkeys six albums, a discography that spans over 13 years. They played the usual crowd pleasers — “Do I Wanna Know?,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor,” “Arabella” — but started their set with songs from their latest release, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.’

Turner, the once shy 19-year-old trying to find his footing on stage, worked the Hollywood Bowl with an aloof charisma. He strutted and posed generously, fueled by a carefully constructed bravado and rock star persona. His movement was constant for some songs, and yet, at other points, he seemed set in place behind a piano, crooning his cosmic, interstellar space songs.

Drummer Matt Helders left no doubt to his world class drummer status — watching his fervent composure never ceases to amaze me. Guitarist Jamie Cook and bassist Nick O’Malley hit every mark, driving the music with precise guitar riffs and driving bass lines.

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The stage itself was a beautiful art deco inspired contraption. Simple, but sleek designs and eye catching lines were saturated with punchy lights and rotating colors of green, purple and red.

The whole operation was a well oiled machine that churned out three hours of solid music and fantastic live performances from all bands on the bill. Openers The Lemon Twiggs and Mini Mansions were a smart choice to pair Arctic Monkeys with, especially in Los Angeles — the latter has close ties to Arctic Monkeys and have collaborated with Turner on various side projects.

While the crowd seemed hesitant on some of Arctic Monkeys newer songs — many wandered over to the merch table when “She Looks Like Fun” came on and quickly ran back once they heard the opening riff of “Do I Wanna Know?” — there was never a true lull in the night, nor was there anyone who looked disappointed with the evening’s progression. Although ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ left many fans divided in opinion over the album’s light speed departure from their previous work, it didn’t deter from the crowd’s enthusiasm, and the night ended just as perfectly as it begun.

When in the past, the band pondered its own longevity in a fickle music industry (see their not so candid single and EP, “Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys”), it’s now not a stretch to say Arctic Monkeys are one of the top rock bands of their generation. They’ve come far from their debut, an album deeply rooted in their hometown of Sheffield, and instead of looking to their own backyard, the band casts its gaze on an infinite galaxy, all the while still making commentary on earthly endeavors.

As much as this writer enjoys that elevated view, I still get a particular chill every time they play an older song — the nostalgia of hearing it live for the first time always cues a rush of serotonin in my brain even still.

Granted, I haven’t been able to make it to the front of the crowd for some time now, and I don’t have the patience to jump through new hoops to see them in the same way I used to. But on nights like last night, at the Hollywood Bowl, I wished to feel the familiar sting of bursting blood vessels as my ribs bruised against the barricade. After all, that used to be part of the fun.

Still, I don’t fawn too much over the past, because as long as Arctic Monkeys release new music and tour, there will always be something new to rave about and enjoy.

Source:: Arctic Monkeys Romance Outer Space from the Hollywood Bowl

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New Music: Seven Songs to Sooth Your Soul this Autumn.

By pcsanchez7505

The past few weeks have provided folk/indie music fans with a cornucopia of new music to dive into. From Swedish songwriter The Tallest Man on Earth to Echo Park local Bedouine and even classic country veteran Willie Nelson, there is plenty to choose from.

For a soothing introduction to these releases, here are seven songs perfect for the season change. Many of these artists have upcoming or recently released bodies of work in addition to the featured single, so make sure to check them out as well.

“Come Down In Time” by Bedouine:
Following her folksy debut last year, Bedouine’s stripped down cover of Elton John’s “Come Down in Time” is a slow, thoughtful rendition that is easy to listen to and perfect for winding down on a chilly autumn night. Pair it with a cozy blanket, a cup of something hot and delicious to drink and possibly someone special for an extra relaxing listening experience.


“Woman” by Cat Power:
Off her recently released album, ‘Wanderer, ‘ Cat Power teams up with Lana Del Rey in her song “Woman.” The two singers haunting vocals compliment each other well, and a slowly building melody driven by sparse drums and a prominent guitar riff add to the song’s overall mystique. By the end of the song, the melody is filled with lush sounds and echoing vocals that complete its lovely crescendo. It’s a strong single in an album full of equally great songs.


“Wrong Side” by Noah Gundersen:
Partnering with friends and local Pacific Northwest band Sisters, Noah Gundersen’s latest single, “Wrong Side” is a smooth, yet aching number about love, relationships and heartache. Like a sepia toned photo slowly fading and already torn, the song calls upon memories hard to hold onto and a little painful to recollect. Its sound is typical of the Americana that permeates from the rain and pines of the PNW, a sound that is pensive, wandering and atmospheric.


“Vote ‘Em Out” by Willie Nelson:
If I know one thing in life it’s this; trust Willie Nelson. Always. Nelson’s latest single is the politically charged “Vote ‘Em Out” written in support of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke who is challenging current Texas Senator, Republican Ted Cruz in the upcoming election. Although Nelson has never been shy about his stance on humanity (and cannabis), it came as a surprise to Texan fans of the singer, who were upset with Nelson’s choice to perform at a rally concert for O’Rourke. To be sure his views, especially on this current administration, are never misconstrued again, Nelson debuted “Vote ‘Em Out” at the rally and has just released the studio version.


“I’ve Wanted You” by First Aid Kit:
Earlier this year, First Aid Kit released their latest LP, ‘Ruins,’ an introspective and deeply contemplative album. Following ‘Ruins,’ First Aid Kit offers us a sweet follow up EP filled with tunes for the kindred spirit. It still has the depth and musings of their full length album, but with softer edges. “I’ve Wanted You” is the chill inducing opener that gives way to a beautiful kaleidoscope of ethereal vocals and gentle guitar strumming representative of the band’s growth and the four-song EP, ‘Tender Offerings,’ a rather fitting description for the band on a whole.


“Then I Won’t Sing No More” by The Tallest Man on Earth:
The last installation in The Tallest Man on Earth’s (AKA Kristian Matsson) five-piece series was released last month closing the singer’s multi-media project, When the Bird Sees the Solid Ground. His project on a whole is a sonic and visual accomplishment that breaks the mold of traditional album release cycles while also allowing Matsson to explore different mediums including photography and film-making. “Then I Won’t Sing No More” is the perfect conclusion of an exploration into the self. Listening to it is like partaking in a spiritual departure without the tethers of religious rigidity, and it of course has all the elements that makes Matsson a wonderful songwriter. rooted in Matsson’s personal experiences, the song’s sparse, humble sound melts into your soul, healing any pain or indecision. The video component of the song includes commentary from Matsson and a rendition of his previously recorded song, “To Just Grow Away.”


“The River” by KT Tunstall:
Following her 2016 album, “Kin,’ singer/songwriter KT Tunstall’s latest full-length release, ‘Wax,’ is a continuation of Tunstall’s exploration of one’s spirit, body and mind. In an NPR interview with Tunstall, the singer reveals her intentions of the album, a collection of songs carefully curated to explore themes of the body. “The River” is a steady-tempoed anthem that is an accurate reflection of the entire album. The visually captivating music video for “The River” expresses even more, an intrigue with our body’s capacity and many capabilities to express creativity through movement.

Source:: New Music: Seven Songs to Sooth Your Soul this Autumn.

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Playlist Alert: The French Press

By pcsanchez7505

From outlaw country to rock n’ roll and so much more, a carefully curated playlist can help get you through your work day. Whether you work from home or you’re stuck in an office, grab some headphones and dive into this week’s featured playlist.

This week’s playlist is one of my own creation, an impulse to immerse myself in a genre of music that is outside of my wheelhouse. Luckily I recently stumbled upon a French artist who was the initial catalyst for what I describe as The French Press.

Call it indie, electro, pop, disco or whatever you fancy, The French Press is an upbeat, playful playlist filled with songs sung in the French language that are as smooth and bold as that first sip of coffee.

This playlist is especially useful for people who want to listen to music while working, but get distracted easily by lyrics; songs sung in a different language are harder to get distracted by while still breaking up the office static.

Featured Songs

“Marions-nous” by Palatine: I’m not entirely sure how “Marions-nous” got into the look of outlaw country, folk and rock music I usually get stuck in, but I’m glad the Spotify Gods sent it my way. Palatine, the artist who sparked The French Press playlist, is a moody and atmospheric artist whose songs range from wandering romantic to coquettish city dweller. His recently released album, ‘Grand Paon de Nuit’ is a fantastic collection of work, especially considering it’s Palatine’s debut EP.

“Les Plus Beaux” by This Is The Kit: More playful than atmospheric, “Le Plus Beaux” by This Is The Kit, is quirky enough to fit in a Wes Anderson film, but calm enough to fit right in to your work routine. From the opening “ba-ba-ba-ba’s” to its brass instrumentals, this song makes you smile, even if you aren’t sure what is being said.

“Femme Fantome” by Lockhard, Fishbach: Somehow this song seems quintessentially French. From its lofty instrumentals, heavy with synth and other electronic sounds, to its playful vocal exchanges that sound less like lyrics and more like dialogue spoken with style, “Femme Fantome” is a staple song for this playlist. It’s a little bit disco, a little pop and a whole lot of cool.

“Chocolate Cafe Passion” by Livia Blanc: Livia Blanc looks and sounds like she belongs in a very fashionable Mod cafe somewhere in Paris or London. “Chocolate Cafe Passion” is a high energy, retro sounding number that is bubbly and sweet. Her debut EP is also filled with fashionable tunes and attitude to spare.

“Agitations tropicales” by L’Imperatrice: L’Imperatrice’s instrumentals are dreamy and seemingly never-ending, which makes them the perfect band to get lost in. “Agitations tropicales” is smooth, danceable and oh so chic.

Check out these songs and more on The French Press playlist, and look out for next week’s featured playlist.

Source:: Playlist Alert: The French Press

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Moon Honey New Release: ‘Mixed Media on Women’

By pcsanchez7505

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Jessica Ramsey/Moon Honey @ The Echo

To suffice with the label “band” would be a serious disservice to Jess Joy and Andrew Martin, the swamp rockers who make up Moon Honey (your local eclectic Echo Park musicians formerly from the Louisiana bayou).

Sure, they are a band, and they make music. But the way they express themselves (take a look at any of their album/EP covers, stage attire or accompanying art installations) begets something bigger than “band.” Music is certainly the main attraction in their artistic endeavors, still, there is so much else mixed in that give their style a magical and spiritual atmosphere. Calling Moon Honey just a band sells short their commitment to thought provoking and meaningful self expression.

Moon Honey’s latest album, ‘Mixed Media on Women,’ a sonic collection that would pair well with the right paraphernalia, is a perfect example of their pathos. In its 13 songs, we take a journey into ourselves as we navigate through human emotions, the affects of media on women and various abstract concepts, starting with the biggest abstract of all: life.

“Life Has No Meaning,” is the perfect intro to an album seeking balance. It poses questions, supposes some answers but comes to no conclusions to the meaning of life, instead letting its listeners fill the song with their own value.

Lead singer Joy plays with her voice in the song and throughout the album, sending it down alleys and around corners as she pleases. The instrumentals, led by Martin’s guitar, race to catch up with her, and we follow along to reach the conclusion that, “To say life has no meaning is not to say it has no value.”

In “Mask Maker,” the microscope Moon Honey puts on the world is pointed inward to observe human emotions via our many masks. From happiness to sadness and even good

to bad, the song reflects on inflections of the self catalyzed by repeating themes forced on women in the media to isolate and de-mask it. Joy offers a female perspective throughout the song and accompanying music video to show the dizzying and oftentimes damaging effects of over-sexualizing women.

While Joy’s introspective lyrics paint vivid pictures, snapshots of an existential quest, Martin’s guitar playing drives the pace of our journey. Martin’s instrumentals slither to and fro, contorting and capturing the essence of Joy’s words, and together, they create a living mosaic of fragmented shapes pieced together by concepts and sound.

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Andrew Martin, guitarist for Moon Honey

“White Satin,” is one of those mosaics. Martin and Joy feed of of each other’s talents, interloping and playing with each other to create a song salient of their sound. The result is a fluid and rather stirring single.

In “Betta Fish” Joy turns her vocals into a dust dervish of syllables as she turns out words in a rapid string of statements. Her ability to go in and out of a song with incredible pace and range is sometimes disorienting, but never disappointing.

The album as a whole may seem abstract, but Moon Honey distill bits of themselves into songs such as “Bayou Chorus,” a song that pays homage to their Louisiana roots. It is their background, presentation and new surroundings that culminate into something greater than a band.

The picture is complete when you see Moon Honey on stage. Joy’s ornate outfits are inspired in part by lyrics from the album (see the reference to Monarch Butterflies in the opening track), and Martin’s physical movements are as fluid as his guitar sounds on record. They never demand your attention, and quite frankly I’m not sure they even need it in the first place as they seem completely in sync and entangled in their art. Still, you’re inclined to give it to them without needing much of an explanation.

Like most great art, it’s hard to pinpoint where the feeling of intrigue or appreciation comes from. It’s intrinsic and instinctual, and the how or why is less important than the feeling. Like great art, I can’t pinpoint the source of intrigue I have for Moon Honey , but I know it’s powerful and warranted.

‘Mixed Media on Women’ is available now. To hear more from Moon Honey or to find out where they’ll be playing next, visit their website here.

Source:: Moon Honey New Release: ‘Mixed Media on Women’

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A Reluctant Goodbye to the Queen of Soul

By pcsanchez7505

Whether she was singing a cover or an original, you knew as soon as she opened her mouth that the song was meant to be hers. Aretha Franklin had the ability to lay down vocals and command a song with the utmost ease, and yet, at the same time, give into a melody and ride it without any friction. Sadly, last Thursday, Aretha took her place next to the many late great artists who have passed away in the last couple of years. And just like them, she will be missed.

Aretha was always uniquely herself, but there was something universal in her natural talent. Like another artist in the same era (David Bowie), she reminds me of Joseph Campbell’s philosophy on nature and Nature; we as humans are constantly trying to match our natural instincts (nature) to the rhythm of the earth around us (Nature). Aretha’s vocals were Nature incarnated in audio bliss. Her vocals contained a lexicon of complex emotions relayed in solidarity and passion so you were never confused about what she was trying to convey in a song.

There are so many things I could say about her music and talent collectively, but instead of droning on, I thought I’d pick out a few songs that truly exemplify her power as an artist.

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”

Regardless of the type of woman you are, your interests or taste in men or women, there is something so primal about this song. It’s not about submission or pleasing a man/partner, rather it’s more about understanding oneself and letting go in the face of love. Aretha gets get to the root of this feeling and magnifies it so we can relate to it instantaneously.

“A Change is Gonna Come”

Aretha’s version of “A Change Is Gonna Come” is truly breathtaking. Her voice captures intricate emotions that unfold alongside a bittersweet, yet powerful melody. It is no secret Aretha had a magnificent voice, but her ability to appeal to our ethos and pathos at the same time with the simplest inflections makes her vocals unparalleled.

“Jump to It”

Just as easily as she could mesmerize you, she could make you get up and move. “Jump to It” is a perfect example of the latter. It’s fun, flirty, powerful and strong. There is a playfulness that’s so infectious, and if you’re not at the very least tapping your toes by the end of it, I’d be inclined to assume you don’t get music. “Jump to It” puts a smile on your face every time, and I cannot praise Aretha enough for singing a song with such jubilance. It’s a song that does not care about your opinion because it’s got better things to get to.

“Respect”

With “Respect,” Aretha turned Otis Redding’s song into a timeless feminine power anthem while also solidifying her already illustrious career. Aretha’s soulful rendition takes no excuses and will not let anyone or anything deny her of the respect she knows she deserves. It’s a song that will never die and, and it will always empower young men and women around the world to fight for equality and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

“Day Dreaming”

“Day Dreaming” is the vocal representation of pure soulfulness. It is smooth, hits perfectly in the pocket of the groove and is all too enticing. Aretha’s vocals ride effortlessly on the melody, and she seems to enjoy every turn the instrumentals take. This song is also timeless in its arrangement. It ebbs and flows so nicely, and the chorus and backing vocals are warm and comforting.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

Aretha’s version of Simon and Garfunkel’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” takes the song to new territory. It transcends the original version to become something earthly and grounded. It’s still soothing and healing, but it is relayed with so much passion and compassion, you feel utterly moved by it. I have never heard a version of this song that even comes close to comparing to Aretha’s cover, and the intro she adds to it helps make the song entirely hers.

“Think”

I will always hear this song and think of Aretha’s cameo in “The Blues Brothers.” Her performance, whether it was on stage or on screen, was bright, evocative and perfect in every delivery. “The Blues Brothers” features a large cast of prominent musicians, and there is no way a movie about Blues and Soul music could be complete without Aretha Franklin.

I’m sure many Aretha fans have their top songs, and I’m sure if you compare lists they will have some similarities and differences, which to me is the most beautiful gift a musician can give the world. Rest in Peace Aretha Franklin. I’ll be daydreaming of your music always.

Source:: A Reluctant Goodbye to the Queen of Soul

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‘Lightning Round’: New Bad Bad Hats Album Very Very Good

By pcsanchez7505

Minneapolis natives Bad Bad Hats released their sophomore album, ‘Lightning Round,’ on August 3. The new album takes us deeper into the mind and heart of lead vocalist and lyricist Kerry Alexander as she leads us on a bittersweet journey. Alexander of course, is accompanied by band mates Chris Hoge and Connor Davison, who are eager to amplify her thoughts with perfectly sentimental melodies.

Recorded live, the album’s sound mirrors Alexander’s raw lyrics as her thoughts ebb and flow with a natural cadence. While Alexander’s vocals dance along a line of innocence, there is a subtle allure to the album as we peel back its many layers of self-reflection and desire. Along the way, Alexander examines the different stages of relationships, and as the album develops, the lyrics shift from certainty to uncertainty and back again.

Alexander starts off in familiar territory with the pillow-soft and dreamy opener “Makes Me Nervous,” a sentimental tune that ushers us in with honest and witty lyrics. Alexander allows us to observe her own vulnerability as she lays out her perspective.

“Write It On Your Heart” continues with Alexander’s emotional appeal. It’s not a plea, rather an honest and raw declaration about her predicament and is self-reflective of love in a way only a woman can reflect.

Throughout the album, songs range from joys of desire to the pangs of unrequited love. “Get What I Want” focuses on the latter, but its tone is more playful than sad. There is no remorse at losing, just a slight exasperation from repeating patterns.

“I’m still dreaming of your face / And all my feelings gone to waste / Cause even though I know it’s true / I can’t be in love with you, no / Can I get what I want this time?,” Alexander sings.

Other songs on the album feel slow and hollow as they float along without any apparent direction. That is to their benefit though, as is the case with “1-800,” a slow tune that seems to aimlessly saunter in over saturated light.

Although the emotions portrayed in this album swirl about relentlessly, ‘Lightning Round’ is not without acumen. Alexander’s lyrics are sharp and tactical, never mincing words or wasting time. In “Nothing Gets Me High” and “Automatic,” Alexander admits to her own flaws and is as honest as she can be with someone, even though it’s not quite what they would like to hear.

Alexander’s lyrical prowess is best demonstrated in “365,” the album’s closing track that is both unassuming and brilliant. Slow and with purpose, the song counts back from the present to reflect on the changes felt in a year. Alexander can’t see into the future, but she can look back to explain the moment she is currently in.

Throughout the album, there is a playful dance between opposite emotions as it finds its partners weaving in and out of synchronicity. Bad Bad Hats have a knack of knowing how to mix the emotions one feels when young and in love, and Alexander’s lyrics are able to translate the right amount of pain and soften it with a sentimental overlay.

‘Lightning Round’ is the perfect follow up to the band’s debut LP and shows not only a maturity, but a willingness to explore new ways or recording music to find the right sound. To listen to Bad Bad Hats’ new album, visit their website.

Source:: ‘Lightning Round’: New Bad Bad Hats Album Very Very Good

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Arctic Monkeys: ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’

By pcsanchez7505

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Arctic Monkeys played their first show in Los Angeles in over five years on May 5 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The month of May has been huge for Arctic Monkeys fans. The band began touring again, making a highly anticipated stop in Los Angeles, and on May 11, they dropped their sixth LP, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.’

Even after a five year hiatus, frontman Alex Turner proves he still knows how to play us. And we know our parts well. On stage, he is the conductor. The slyly shy man who stands on the corner of Los Feliz turns into a larger than life ego, nothing shy of stardom. His band equally as grandiose.

Their return to the stage is hardly unnoticed — fans and critics alike have guessed what the new album would sound like and how their it will manifest itself on stage via Turner, drummer Matt Helders, bassist Nick O’ Malley and guitarist Jamie Cook — but Arctic Monkeys act like they never let off.

From “Arabella,” an intergalactic love affair to “The View from The Afternoon” — the song that sets off their debut LP — Arctic Monkeys made it seem like commanding the crowd of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery was just another night out.

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Arctic Monkeys will continue to tour and will back in Los Angeles in October.

As for the four new songs on the set, fans received them with an inquisitive excitement. The album itself sparked much anticipation, and since it dropped it has had mixed reviews.

Sonically, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ is very much a Turner production. The 32-year-old musician has been the source of the band’s lyrics since its inception, and there are still elements in the music well known to fans including bass heavy rhythms, but for the first time, Turner wrote the majority of songs on piano and co-produced the album.

Thematically, it is from another planet. It’s as much a concept album as it is an abstract stream of consciousness. Long winded and with little to no hooks, it is a Sci-Fi space oddity serving as the metaphor for our collective departure from reality. In it, the Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is one of the many new establishments in space for people to frequent, Turner and his band the lounge act making “easy money.”

‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ paints a dystopian, yet strangely familiar world, one in which world leaders are like pro wrestlers and human connection has a hard time competing with social media and artificial intelligence.

Turner drops references to social media, virtual reality and space exploration in the near future. He also pokes fun at his own journey as a musician and a public figure

“I just wanted to be one of the Strokes, now look at the mess you’ve made me make” Turner croons as he opens the album with a half-formed musing.

Turner also notes in a BBC interview that he wanted the new album to be centered around a place, much like some of his favorite albums that feel like a destination to go and visit for a while.

The world Turner creates is a bustling, humdrum of a society where the scenery is as foreign and ever changing as a Hollywood set. Turner’s inspiration for the album is in part sparked by thought provoking cinema, but he has his own say on things, weaving intricately structured talking points and criticism hidden in the layers of a astronomical verbiage.

Songs such as “Golden Trunks” and “American Sports” allude to political and social criticism while others including “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip” and “Batphone” take aim at our ever-growing dependence for validation via social media and technology.

In “Four Out of Five,” Turner goes deeper, referencing concepts such as the information action ratio and gentrification. The music video creates an alter-ego for Turner, one that promotes a reimagined lunar getaway while the real Turner plays the roguish lounge act who doesn’t want to be part of his boss’s advertising.

With lyrics that veer off in tangents, slower instrumentals, more piano and stripped guitar and drums, this album is a risky step for Arctic Monkeys. Their fifth album, ‘AM’ was a huge commercial success, and to follow it with a concept-heavy LP is ambitious to say the least.

The album has already stirred confusion from some fans and critics, mostly for its lack of conventional structure, which is not much of a surprise. Much like Terrence Malick’s film ‘Knight of Cups,’ an experimental drama with a loose plot line, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ gives little insight into its direction. We can’t predict where it goes and why, and that is always tough for a listener or viewer. But, like Malick, Turner released his work regardless of fan or critic expectations, and that in itself is a valuable addition to any art form.

Arctic Monkeys are a band that has always thrived on change, and ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is no different. Lyrics that were once rooted in a small Yorkshire town, now float off into space, still able to find their way into our psyche. Turner the band evoke a curiosity in their listeners, a curiosity that will always prompt an audience eager to hear where they go next.

As for their live performance, that has been, and always will be, spectacular.

Source:: Arctic Monkeys: ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’

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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ makes Pulitzer Prize History

By pcsanchez7505

On Monday, April 16 Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar made music and Pulitzer Prize history by winning the prestiged award in the category of music for his 2017 album ‘Damn.’ With strong lyrics, well constructed instrumentals and various guest appearances, it’s easy to see why so many music fans and critics agree that ‘Damn’ is worth five Grammys and endless praise, but with a Pulitzer Prize, Lamar, 30, is now the first ever rapper to win the prestigious award.

‘Damn’ is a musical documentation of the struggles his community faces on a daily basis. The internal struggles of a community, the internal conflict of the self, racial commentary and current events all find a place in this album and intertwine to form a salient and candid collection of songs that ebb and flow with the realities of life. The album is also a reflection of Lamar himself and is filled with fragments of the rapper’s experiences, pieced together by the fabric of his community and roots.

Like N.W.A., Public Enemy and other classic rappers of the past, Lamar focuses a lot on racism, police brutality, gang violence and the political atmosphere, especially as it affects minorities and the communities they grow up in.

The Pulitzer Prize in the category of music has always been awarded to a classical or Jazz artist, making Lamar’s win not just a personal one, but also a victory for the genre of rap itself.

“A virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life,” the Pulitzer board wrote of Lamar’s album.

While I am not too fond of many current rap artists, I am an avid fan of Lamar and his poetic ferver. His music is reminiscent of classic hip hop and rap, and much like Ice Cube, a man who captured the “angry black man” psyche and gave it purpose by openly displaying it with pride and ferocity, Lamar has no hesitation in saying what many of his friends and peers are thinking. His openness is extremely important and valuable to the conversations of racial inequality and other hot social topics.

Lamar is not the first black rapper to use his platform to shed light on the perils of his community and his blackness. Ice Cube, Chuck D, Ice T and KRS-One are just a few artists who pioneered a genre of conscious rap that was politically and socially charged. Their sentiments are still as strong as ever and are even echoed today in Lamar’s music. The inclusion of poignant and complex topics in Lamar’s work and the recognition of it is not just a win for Lamar, but for all his predecessors.

Lamar’s win also opens up the Pulitzer Prize to different genres of music and helps legitimize the artistic struggle to speak freely and candidly for the sake of social commentary.

As a young, Mexican-American woman, who admittedly falls much paler on the skin tone chart than most of my relatives, I can’t relate to the experiences of Lamar or the black community, but because of his music, I and many others, have access to a perspective that quite frankly deserves to be heard and might not have been expressed so publicly otherwise. That in itself is worth more than any award.

Source:: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ makes Pulitzer Prize History

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Five New Singles You Need to Hear

By pcsanchez7505

If you’re pressed for more music to listen to this month, fear not, there are new singles out with albums following in the next few months. Here are five songs that are great previews to their upcoming albums.

5. “Steampowered Blues” by Phil Cook:

Released earlier this month, “Steampowered Blues” is a simple, bluesy tune that feels a little like an older song polished off with a heaping of modernity. It has a happy melody with upbeat lyrics that make the song feel like a lovely, sunlit train ride down the coast. “Steampowered Blues” preludes Phill Cook’s upcoming album ‘People Are My Drug’ out June 1.

4. “Tailor Made” The Lemon Twigs:

Long Island natives The Lemon Twigs released two singles at the end of March with a new album in the works. One of those singles is “Tailor Made,” a 60s-pop inspired tune with Beatles-like harmonies and simple melodies. The Lemon Twigs are among a number of musicians opting for an older-but-new sound.

3. “Broke My Own” by Shannon Shaw:

This year singer Shannon Shaw (from Shannon Shaw and the Clams) will release her first solo album ‘Shannon in Nashville.’ “Broke My Own” is the first single off the new off the album, and listening to it is like peering through what you thought was a looking glass only to find it’s a kaleidoscope. There is more than meets the eye with this single and a lot to dissect within the mysterious and gritty number. The song teases with sultry vocals while still maintaining a sense of classiness. It has a James Bond feel to it, and if Amy Winehouse had ever written a spy song, it would have sounded a little like “Broke My Own,” Above all though, it feels like a song that has always been there, one that instantly sticks with you. Shaw’s new album, out June 8, is a very personal piece of work that is sure to be a soulful, 60s influenced journey.

2. “Honey Leak” Little Bird:

“Honey Leak” by Little Bird is off their recently released album of the same title. The song is a sultry ride for two with sensual lyrics and instrumentals that react to each other like water ripples traveling across a smooth surface.

1. Hunnybee by Unknown Mortal Orchestra:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a psychadelic rock band from New Zealand, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, don’t feel too bad because I’ve only recently discovered them myself. Their single “Hunnybee” caught my attention though because of its smooth instrumentals. The song is not only fun to listen and dance to, but it makes for great pool lounging music as well.

Source:: Five New Singles You Need to Hear

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