March 31, 2011

Music Is... Rob Dyrdek: Fantasy Factory (Theme Song)

If you love this show the way I do...Wait. Let me at the very least explain what the show is about before I go head first into what I gotta say. Basically it centers around professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and his team or entourage, including is cousin Drama as they go about handling business and having fun at the same time. There's "blobbing", foam pits, skating (of course) and him venturing into various endeavors and fantasies and as I mentioned at the forefront: FUN. So as I was saying, if you love this show the way I do then it's understandable as to why I chose it for this post.

Between nearly every segment and clip there's music, usually hip-hop, used to segue into the next topic or continue into a different scene for the same subject. I love that. I love how music really ups the ante for the show. The Intro. Again, I love that music. The band who created the theme music, "Fantasy" is Steel Panther, a group formed in 2000.Goodness. The intensity behind this song simply rocks. It describes the show in its entirety. You gotta love it.

March 30, 2011

Music Is... The Jam Session

Though I have never been to a single solitary concert in my life, that has no negative effect on my love for jam sessions. I feel these to be one of the coolest musical improvisations ever.

Wait, lets get an official definition here from our friends at Merriam-Webster: JAM SESSION: an often impromptu performance by a group especially of jazz musicians that is characterized by improvisation  

Technically speaking, thats what they are, but these times are a great opportunity to transition into something familiar as well as create something original. As I mentioned, I've never gone to a concert but when I think of jamming that's the first thing that comes to mind. Granted I YouTube many concert snippets. However I love to here what these individuals come up with ya know, how they think on the fly. It's the good stuff. 

Music Is... Primus: Sailing The Seas Of Cheese

*Note: The main reason I wanted to make sure to find a particularly clear and large image of this album cover was so you could see the funky collage going on here.

Released May 17, 1991, Sailing The Seas of Cheese has to contain the most disorganized organized, un-categorized music I've ever heard in my life. When I first heard 'Jerry Was A Race Car Driver' back in 98' or 99' I could have easily told you that the CD it was derived from was rock. No. Yes. I don't know. From reviews I've read, they seem to have my same likeness of opinion in that it's a cacophony of various genres slammed together in one huge musical wreck. I mean that in the absolute best way possible. This is a good wreck. This album is money, easily. Through their individuality, each track remains something funky and eclectic. The excellent guitar playing, drum-lines, and bass mix well with this sort of grunge, poke fun at humor that draws you in and makes you laugh.

Take the interlude 'Sathington Waltz'. It's a short 1:40-42 second piece that sounds like a drunken, cluttered mess but it's great. 'Tommy The Cat', what can I say? This details the life of a male "I got it goin' on" cat who finds himself irresistible to a feline making  a B-line down O'malley's Alley towards him. The voice of the story tellers hear sound like they've been hyped up on a years worth of pure caffeine but it works well with the tempo and intensity. I think my favorite part of this song is towards the end when the phrase "Say baby do you wanna lay down with me, say baby do you wanna lay down by my side" is repeated multiple times. 'Sgt. Baker begins with a slumbering jazzy bass line that makes you feel like your being dragged out of bag and then kicks into high gear with a nice uptempo pattern.

Typically I don't down any artists or band and in this case I truly have no reason to. Everything is synchronized to perfection, well as close as you can get. There are filler tracks here. In a kooky, off-kilter way, it all meshes very well. Primus, it wasn't "luck", it was carefully crafted in your "cheesy" hands.

March 28, 2011

Music Is... Converse Skateboard Square - 1° Dia

I stumbled across this video courtesy of TheHabitat101. He's someone I follow on YouTube and I had to give him a shout out. He always "favorites" and uploads some of the best skate clips I've seen and I couldn't leave em' out. So the video here is from Converse Skateboard. I'm not 100% sure of the location but I'm guessing it's either Mexico or South America, namely Brazil. The opening credits are in Spanish I believe, but don't hold me to that. From the credits you gather there are 15 skaters or "skatistas" (love that), 5 photographers and 5 video-makers. Much respect to these guys for doing what they do. I skate very little but I realize the amount of intense hard work, practice and dedication it takes to harness these skills. MUCH RESPECT. Check it out.

Music Is... Mc Lyte: Lyte As A Rock

An incredible album. This IS 80's hip hop. No, this is excellent hip hop in general, across the board from the point of its creation onward. "Lyte As A Rock" was Lana Mitchel Moorer's debut album back in 1988. Since the beginning, the world of hip hop has been primarily dominated by males. As a matter of fact, that goes for any field. Let me state that you can't be a female artist in this game and willingly be bulldozed around. I have never spoken to, seen up close or even been in the midst of anyone in the music business. However, I know just from common sense, being a woman in a harsh business as such, you've got to have a backbone and a strong backing; a trustworthy team behind you in order to be taken seriously. This MC certainly came in with her head on tight and brought a strong squad. Still in her teens at 16 years old, for her FIRST drop to have such an impact for men and women alike, and for it to be looked upon as what many would consider a blueprint for rap artists, something had to go right. It did and I'm gonna break it down for you.

For this album I'd have to play eeny, meeny, miny, moe just to kick things off. Staying true to myself, I'll begin with the beats. Essentially, I like them all. Getting down to it, every track is broken down simplistically. No beat is too juiced up or over driven with synthesized sound. Hey, I like my synthesizers, but it feels so good to have something toned down a bit. My favorite beats on this album consist of 'MC Lyte Likes Swingin', '10% Dis', 'Lyte As A Rock', 'Paper Thin' and 'Kickin' 4 Brooklyn', all of these strike the right chord effortlessly. "...and you are it." "It" is her lyrical skills. It's apparent that this woman has the rap battle attribute under her belt. Her technique is flawless and packs punch in the way she approaches rhyming. From start to finish she does not let up on any verse. With the exception of a few choice words on some tracks, Lyte doesn't bombard you with profanity and vulgarity to get her point across. She uses smart lyrics and careful wording to make an impact, something I respect immensely. The production shines through clear as day from K-Rock, Audio Two and the King Of Chill.

"Do you understand the metaphoric phrase "Light as a rock"? It's explaining how heavy the young lady is...", a bold phrase that explains both the album as a whole and the MC herself. Lana has definitely become an inspirational lyricist for experienced MC's and those brand new. My favorite sampling is from Missy Eliot for the track 'Cop That Disc', and we all know the 'I Love College' track from Asher Roth inspired form '10% Dis'. If you listen closely you can hear MC Lyte at the beginning of this one. Please check out "Lyte As A Rock" through and through if you've been living under a "rock", it's worth it no doubt.

March 18, 2011

Music Is... Cameo - Candy (video)

It's a pretty simple story as to why I chose Cameo, this song in particular. My mom and I were on our way home from running errands, and 'Candy' came on the radio. We were in the car jamming on our way back home. I had known of Cameo for a while. It's funky how things slip your mind for a bit. Besides 'Candy' just about everyone knows 'Word Up' and others. They've been sampled plenty of times. Many of you know of Mariah Carey's 2001 album "Glitter". The track 'Loverboy' was derived from this 1987 original. The band members have changed over the years. Currently Aaron Mills, Charlie Singleton, Tomi Jenkins, Nathan Leftenant, Larry Blackmon and Jonathan Moffett are kicking. The name of one former member is John Kellogg. I just think it's cool that his last name is one of my favorite cereal brands.

So as I mentioned earlier, I'd known of this song for some time but recently saw the video on YouTube. This is definitely something else, an 80's joint to the fullest. From the haircuts to the getup. Whether you've seen it or not, it's worth another look for sure.

Get It
The Best Of Cameo

March 17, 2011

Music Is... BOX BOX BOX BOX. (BONKsplosion!)

This video is curtisey of Vanawesome. It's a channel on YouTube that I've been watching every since mid 2010. They had the most adorable Scottish Fold kitten that I've ever seen. They'd been posting videos from it's younger stages all the way to a full grown cat. His name was Bonk. I'm not to sure what happened exactly but Bonky passed sometime last year. Broke my heart. Ya know it doesn't take long for some to grow attached to things and I am NO exception to the rule. Since then they've been posting archival recordings of Bonk and this is one among many. He has an incurable fascination with this cardboard box which is featured on other videos as well. It funny that cats trip like this sometimes. Hey enjoy it.

YouTube Links: Vanawesome

Music Is... Beginings?

Sorry for not posting the past few days. My mind has been somewhere else for a bit but lets get the ball rolling again.This is somewhat of a personal post. I know I'm going to go all over the place on this so just go with the flow.

I love listening to music with my mom. I've mentioned her in a few posts in the past. I credit her most for enlightening me on different sounds and genres to this day. Anytime I'm in the car with her, there is always music playing. Now that's not to say that we don't converse or communicate to one another because I love talking to her about things. I love asking her questions about "her day" and what things were like and all that. But me and my mom, among other things, have a heavy connection when it comes to music. We may not agree 100% on everything that's out, but for the most part we like a lot of the same things. I'll get this out there, my mom likes some hip hop, some rap. I understand why. When I talk to her about some of today's music she seems to center the basis of her opinion around the beats and the lyrics. Some of her reasoning is the lyrics could be a little less crude, less vulgarity and things of the like. I don't dispute her on that. I don't try to change her mind either. I realize that she comes from a different era of music. What was instilled in her then has not left and I highly doubt it ever will. She constantly reminds me, "No new school without the old school", and I'm thinking urgg, I know this. But again, I can't dispute that. I can remember when I was younger (violin strings lol) she would drop me off at my aunts house before she went to work. EVERY single ride I took, she always turned on the radio, or played a tape. Every time. I loved it and I still do.

I believe it was around age 7 or 8 when I was in the car with both my aunt and my mom. Al Green was on either radio or tape. I forgot what song was playing but I liked it regardless. There was a silent period in their conversation and I sat up for a moment and I said something to the effect that I see the color "xxx" when I hear this song. I think I said brown but I honestly can't remember. They were like "what?". They weren't freaked out or anything, I just don't think they got the gist of what I was talking about, and being that I was very young at the time I couldn't explain myself clearly so I was just like "Yea, I see the color xxx when I hear this". That's when I began to realize that I relate colors to songs. I believe that I had been doing that a while prior to that moment, but that's when I truly learned that about myself. A few times I've alluded to synesthesia. It comes in many forms such as numbers to colors, taste to colors, memories to colors and certain patterns are perceived differently. However, I'm more so a sound to color girl, although I relate shapes to sound as well. It was only a year or so ago that I began digging into that a bit, but that's a whole other post in itself.

Anyway, as I've matured over the years, so have my taste broadened. I listen back at music that I didn't know why I liked initially at such a young age and I know now. It's funny though, sometimes you don't have to know why you like something to like it. It can be just so. Go figure. I'm still like that. There are songs I can listen to a million times and remain clueless as to why it touches me. Thank you mom.

March 14, 2011

Music Is... Clare Maguire - The Last Dance (Official Video)

Love the artistry, symbolism and such. Nice, check it out.

From "Light After Dark" (2011)

Music Is... Clare Maguire

Again, the UK has introduced my musical pallet to something new and I'm happy about it. Presenting: Clare Maguire. First let me say that she is a beautiful woman. At just 23 years old she has a voice that seems to sprout way past her age; a voice of gold. Her tone carries a very daunting and robust weight to whatever she's singing. I have never heard of Maguire until recently but some investigative work and my own senses tells me that she is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Born September 15, 1987 into a heavily musically inclined family, Clare seemed preordained to fall into the same line. From her site (BIOG):
    Her paternal grandparents settled in the Midlands and built up a construction business. Her mum’s parents ran clubs and booked bands in Birmingham. Both had five children apiece, so Clare has some 50 cousins across Birmingham and southern Ireland. “It’s a massive family, which means massive parties – a lot of drinking, and loads of music. Everybody’s got some sort of creative gene: music, mainly, but also performing, telling stories, acting and writing.”
In pursuing a musical career she is definitely no slouch. At 17 she was told by a school teacher to give up advancements in music and focus on exams. After complaining to the principal she dropped out knowing music was the route she was taking. She worked numerous jobs in order to make her way and constantly worked at creating a strong status and connections on Myspace, garnering 1.5million hits for her rough demos. After much much effort she eventually attracted the attention of various producers and artists, and after deliberating, signed a contract to Universal Music at 20. Clare didn't just settle with the possibility of a hit on the charts and instant notoriety. As an artist who wanted to do more than settle, she truly searched for a sound that would allow her to release her powerful capabilities.

    “ the end, I needed to do what I felt was right for me. It’s important to be yourself.”

After a long period of observation, Clare found the right collaboration in Fraser T. Smith and the songs began flowing from there. She has established a large fan-base fairly quickly. The singles from her first studio release "Light After Dark" seem to be a nice indicator of whats in store. I can't speak for everyone, but I like what I've heard thus far especially being that this is branching outward from what I've been listening to lately.

Give it a chance, you never know how music will knock you upside the head.

Get It
Light After Dark (album)

March 11, 2011

Music Is... Lady Gaga - Born This Way (video)

If I haven't let it be known by now, I am a person who adores artistry; that is the main facet that draws me to this video. I know, everyone has there opinions of her in general, but I think its great. Now I'm not overlooking whats being said here, the message she's sending. It's just that for me one of the core attractions is the symmetrical and abstract dimensions created. For some reason I'm reminded of "The Fifth Element" and "Alien"...

Love it.

March 10, 2011

Music Is... Skateboarding - Nike SB Sardinie Tour, Brandon Biebel - Bangin'

Again I had to post a skate video. What can I tell you,  love em'. I don't know what band is playing the music here but it works well with this layout and these guys are talented. This is an IDOSK8 video for Nike SB.

Please enjoy.

Brandon Biebel - Bangin'
Love the display of talent here.

Music Is... Jamiroquai - Seven Days In Sunny June (video)

I find this to be a fun video. Anything with bubbles has to be good. Gorilla suit, dolphin suit, motor bikes. Hey, its all good.

Music Is... Calvin Harris: I Created Disco

The core reason I wanted to review this album was because of the commercial for Wii's current release "de Blob 2". The song used as part of the promotion is Calvin Harris's 'Colours' from his 2007 debut album "I Created Disco". Digging into Calvin’s history a bit lets us know that he produces, writes, DJ’s, and sings. That’s a nice combination. He began to engage in techno music in his teens and by 1999 he was making bedroom demos. Down the road 2006 saw his contract signing with EMI and Sony Records. He was born January 17, 1984 in Dumfries, Scotland. I’m not sure what the music scene was like in Scotland during the 80’s but I believe it made for some interesting inspiration.

Let’s just put this out there: “I Created Disco” is a triple solid mesh between that 1980’s techno, synthesized, pounding bass, disco sound and now. His accent makes itself very much at home on each song he sings and that’s especially noted on ‘Colours’ and ‘Neon Rocks’. The verses are not long at all but they’re exceedingly quirky and fun. The pace at witch the lyrics are set alongside the beat give way to a smooth tempo. ‘Love Souvenir’ is an instrumental with a simple structure that’s an easy head nodding, laid back type deal; truly nice.

The album as a whole creates an effortless transition from second to second, song to song. There’s a good balance between up-tempo and slower tracks that lends itself to more than one mask. Various “colours”.

March 07, 2011

Music Is... Marsha Ambrosius: Late Nights & Early Mornings

I tell ya, I feel kinda behind sometimes. Only after looking up a little background info on her did I realize she was one half of the British duo Floetry. Hello!...Despite releasing a few mixtape albums, "Late Nights & Early Mornings" released March 1, 2011, is her first solo studio album. Just as a little backdrop, Floetry formed due to the love that both her and Natalie Stewart had for basketball. Through that competition they developed a friendship amongst each other. Both attended different colleges but remained in touch and music was always at the forefront of their conversations. 3 Plus 1, an all female poetry performance group founded by Stewart, began receiving some recognition throughout England. The group split due to reasons I'm not sure of, but Marsha and Natalie remained in tact. Followed through by an invitation to a spoken word night, Floetry was conceived.

Solo wise, Marsha has been featured on tracks with many artists, from Jamie Foxx to Earth, Wind & Fire. The styling of this album falls into a very neo-soul/Rn'B vibe. It's all about falling in and out of love, relationships and everything that they entail. Every song, from beginning to end speaks on these aspects very emotionally. Another thing I'll comment on is that none of the beats deviate your attention from the subject or her voice. Each track is really clean cut, with no overly complicated sounds. Simple, and straight to the point. Favoring a track early, I'd say I like 'Chasing Clouds'. This track has a nice off-set beat, something that's growing on me more and more. Moreover, as with every track, the beat and her vocals compliment each-other with drowning themselves out. With contributors such as Lauren Hill and Alicia Keys, her style shines through with no hesitation.

Overall, I say it's a solid album. Hopefully there's more to come.

March 06, 2011

Music Is... Beyoncé - Ego

This is great. My favorite part, really, is the end where she's just dancing in the chair. I like to see people have a good time with a project. Looks like she definitely was.

March 04, 2011

Music Is... N.E.R.D - Sooner Or Later (video)

I love this video. A nice drop from there 08' album "Seeing Sounds".

Music Is... N.E.R.D

Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams and Shae Haley. These three men combined create what is probably my favorite trio of all time. When I decided to discuss these guys, I initially wanted to give my opinion of there second drop 'Fly Or Die'. Then I started reasoning that speaking on one album alone is not going to justify the creative thinking that they generate. Therefore, for myself to give you a true introspective outlook towards this band, I had to deliver the culmination of my thoughts derived from what I know and feel.

N.E.R.D. From beginning to end, I hear constant originality and flavor. I'm a strong believer in that when music is really good, it doesn't matter when it was created. It doesn't matter what the individual or individuals look like; when its good it's great. These guys are just that. Rewind to 2004 and I never thought I'd be saying that about this group. 'Looser' from "The Neptunes Present... Clones", was the first track I ever heard. The mesh of alt rock/rap was something I wasn't entirely too familiar with. In my personal playlist at the time, I had been used to a certain commonality in what I was listening to. Not that I stuck to one genre, but I hadn't taken any risks as far as branching out towards anything really different. From that point onward, not only had I begun to incorporate various sounds but N.E.R.D. became a mainstay. Every remix that I could find, every video, and each album; I had to see and hear. I love just about EVERY song they've made. However I always have my favorites that I can go to anytime I want. 'Bobby James' is probably the main track I took a liking to. I like the hidden song at the end of this one. Reading up, I learned that Chad plays saxophone along with other instruments, so maybe that's him playing there. It's great nonetheless. I think about songs like 'Happy', 'Find My Way', 'The Way She Dances', 'Run To The Sun' and all the others. I find that now, in 2011, I'm never board.

Content doesn't surprise me, be it social change, relationships, love, hate, internal thoughts, past, present, future or something far out; its nothing new. The presentation grabs me. From "In Search Of" to "Nothing" and individual projects along the way, they always deliver what I've come to know. What have I come to know? That's seamless beats, complex backdrops, live instrumentation (you know I dote on that), "spacey" synthesized sound, percussion, piano, drums, guitar and just about everything of the sort. This is what they do. The brain, the red dog, spacemen, spaceships, simply a medley of many things and styles.

If by any chance you're unfamiliar with N.E.R.D., don't "front", "sooner or later" you will be.

Pick one or all...

Seeing Sounds - 2008

In Search Of - 2002

Fly Or Die - 2004

Nothing - 2010

The Neptunes Present... Clones - 2003

March 03, 2011

Music Is... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon Guitar Cover

If I haven't let it be known, then I will now: I am sucker for some excellent guitar playing, especially acoustic. Truthfully you could be playing a song with lyrics about the phone-book and I would hooked for for life if it sounds good.

That leads me to this lady. I wouldn't have even known of her had she not decided to friend me. Much appreciated. Anyway, her name is Becky, she's 18 and she lives in Manchester UK. She learned to play simple chords at 11 years of age from her older brother and her father. She is primarily self taught apart from what was learned in her earlier years.

Here I chose a video she posted of herself performing 'Use Somebody' by Kings Of Leon. I love it. I think it's always nice to see a stripped down version of a song, listening to it in the raw. Nicely done.

 Get it
Kings Of Leon: Only By The Night

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