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Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 10 Songs of the Year

As a Christmas gift to you, I present my top 10 songs of the year. Most of them should have caught your ear, but that doesn't mean you necessarily bought them. Have no fear, all 10 are available for download right here. This year was a big step up for the blog and I couldn't have done it without the support and encouragement of a lot of people. Here's to an even better 2011.

#10. Beach House - Zebra
A funny thing happened this year, I actually met a band. Over the years I've been fortunate to meet a few people after a show, waiting with random fans at a side door or bus. But, never was I invited back stage or allowed to have a drink with them, until Beach House. The Baltimore duo put out a fantastic album this year and Zebra was the highlight. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Alex and Victoria.
[Update: Track removed at label's request.]

#9. Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun
I have to wonder; would this song be as great without the video? Probably. Contra in every aspect was a step forward for them. I can't wait to hear what's next.
[Update: Track removed at label's request.]

#8. Broken Social Scene - All to All (DJ Mom Jeans Remix)
I feel it is not only acceptable to put a remix on this list, but absolutely necessary. It seemed everywhere you looked, a new band was dishing out remixes. I'll be honest, I've listened to this song so much, I don't even remember what the original sounds like. I don't think that was the point.


#7. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
If there was an award for best drums in a song, this would win. I love the beat, it's almost begging the rest of the band to run. They don't, and I doubt they ever will.
[Update: Track removed at label's request.]

#6. Shout Out Louds - 1999
Give it up for Sweden! You'll find fellow Swedes Junip, in my top 5 albums of the year and now this perfect gem that easily got lost in the shuffle this year. Check out the full album Work.


#5. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
Word of advice, it's supposed to start off very low. I don't know how many times I play this for someone and they say "I can't hear it. Turn it up". James Murphy and Co. know what they are doing. Everyone makes a 9 minute track that doesn't start to break until the 3 minute mark. Duh.


#4 Gayngs - By Your Side (Sade Cover)
Speechless, seriously.


#3. Kele - Everything You Wanted (RAC Remix)
I feel like this should be a shared spot. Yes, Kele left Bloc Party and released his solo album, The Boxer. But RAC (Remix Artist Collective) did what they always do, created an awesome remix. Head to their page for remixes for Tokyo Police Club, Ra Ra Riot, U2 and Radiohead to name a few.


#2. Cee-Lo - Fuck You
If there is anyone in the world that can make anger and pain sound like a toe tapping Motown classic, it's Cee Lo. Hands down the best pop song of the year.
[Update: Track removed at label's request.]

#1. Kanye West - Runaway (ft Pusha T)
Number one album, number one song. As he handed away half of his record for free, the early version of Runaway was already a standout track. The final version, a full 9 minutes in length gives you all the emotion you can handle. The distorted last 3 minutes still kill me.
[Update: Track removed at label's request.]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Albums of 2010

Last year I literally waited until December 31st to post my top 5 albums, but I have to say this year was less gut-wrenching. As I reflect on the year, I'm amazed that my scope is just getting bigger and bigger without losing my pop sensibility. When I started this blog, I just wanted to turn people on to good music, no matter the artist or genre. If this list doesn't prove that, nothing will...

#5. Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown
The Followill clan had a pretty tough act to follow with the massive success of Only By The Night. However, instead of pleasing the older fans and returning to their rock roots or making another top 40 album for the new fans and cash; they did neither. Maybe they have enough money, or don't really feel the need to prove their success, but these guys made a great album seem effortless. There are no anthems, no dirty late night rockers, just a seamless album that show yet another side of this talented band. When everyone was going for lo-fi this year, this was an album that was meant to be heard, clearly and confidently.

#4. A-Trak - Dirty South Dance 2
A few years ago Billboard named Diplo's Never Scared mix as one of their top ten albums of the year. At the time it was a bold move, especially since Diplo was fairly unknown. But it taught me something. The value of production, mixing and accessibility. DJ are the new (or maybe they always have been) litmus test. If they can get an entire room moving and dancing with a wide array of obscure tracks and remixes, who's to say that isn't a talent worth recognizing. A-Trak gave this away for free and it has not faded or stopped banging since this summer. Blending hip hop vocals and electronic beats isn't anything new. But to hear the mix, the energy and the skills; he simply made a classic.

#3. Junip - Fields
The Swedish trio have been all over my blog this year, so I hope you took notice. I gave you a track from the Black Refuge Ep and reviewed their Chicago show as well. I was glad to see them showing up on a few best of lists, because it sadly went under the radar this year. I joked that it took them 10 years to make a proper debut album, but I'd wait another decade for something this good. You know you have a great album when every time you listen to it, you finish with a new favorite song. Is it the keys in "Rope & Summit", the lyrics of "In Every Direction" or that damn bottle in "Howl"? It's pretty much everything.

#2. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
I recently read an article where James Murphy said "When people call us 'electronic', it makes me want to pull my eyeballs out... Disco is dance music, and disco was played by bands". This entire year when people asked me to describe LCD, I was at a lost for words, often comparing them to the Talking Heads. But, I knew it. They were making disco, and I was too afraid to even utter the words out of my mouth. Honestly, who listens to disco? Even better, who admits to making disco music? This talented band does and if you aren't embarrassed to be dancing and bobbing your head, please pick this up.

#1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This album is without a doubt, a game changer. I simply refuse to hate on this guy. There is a reason he's getting 5 star reviews and on most, if not all best of lists. We always knew he was a great producer, and most of his albums leaned heavy on beats. But, this time around Kanye pushed aside his ego and brought honesty and emotion to a hip hop album like no one has ever done before. You want a hit? Blast "All of the Lights". You want soul? Try "Devil in a New Dress". A hip hop summit? Throw on "Monster. A classic? Toast them assholes on "Runaway". How about a laugh? "Who the fuck got your pussy all reupholstered?". Kanye West is a bad dude.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ad Nauseum: Black Friday Edition

This year I braved the weather and crowds on Black Friday. Yes, that horrible day when people turn into animals for a $5 blender or a $200 flat screen. For those of you that say; "you can save so much money", I think my time is worth more than sitting in the freezing cold just to save a few bucks. God bless ya for doing it, but I'll pass. Unless of course there is limited edition vinyl to be purchased and a great opportunity to help local record shops.

This year the fine folks at Record Store Day decided if you were hellbent on spending money, why not spend it on records. Releasing roughly 100 records from a wide array of artists, I have to say it looks like it was a huge success. Two hours after the stores opened, most of the limited editions are sold out and popping up on ebay. Here are a few that forced me out of bed this morning.

1. The Gaslight Anthem - Tumbling Dice 7"
The New Jersey punks really did their best to offer fans and collectors something great. Side A is of course a cover of The Rolling Stones classic "Tumbling Dice" with a new song "She Loves You" on the B side. That alone would motivate some people to get it, but the packaging is very cool. A silk-screened jacket that folds out, completely encasing the record with an included digital copy. Even better is the fact that they are releasing four colors (baby blue, white, black & brown) with matching jacket. You want the white album, buy the white jacket. I chose baby blue and couldn't be happier. Making sure fans get a hold of this seems to be the #1 priority as this release is not limited and will continue based on demand. You could easily get all four, for about $24 and skip them vultures on ebay. Well done guys... Normally I'd give you a download, but I'm going to force you to buy this one.
Tumbling Dice by theearlynerd

2. Jimi Hendrix - Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
I'm a sucker for colored vinyl, I'll admit it. Throw it on a 10" and I will most likely buy it. So Jimi's limited holiday release on green vinyl was a must have. As Jimi prepared for a holiday set at the Fillmore East in NYC, he recorded this medley of "Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne" with his trio the Band of Gypsys. On this release you get an edited version and extended version along with "Three Little Bears". "Three Little Bears" was originally cut during the Electric Ladyland sessions, but didn't make the album. This year it finds it's way back to America for the first time in over 20 years.

3.U2 - Wide Awake in Europe
Apparently U2 is still a pretty big fucking deal. This 3 track live ep is already on ebay for $80 and sold out in minutes everywhere I went this morning. In fact, my normal spot didn't even get a single copy shipped to them. Limited to 5000 copies and only available in the US, if you have one of these consider yourself lucky. The lead track "Mercy" is unreleased and has only been played during the recent European leg of the 360 tour. "Moment of Surrender " & "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" are the two other live tracks making this a must have for U2's obsessive and loyal fans.

I hope you guys had a great thanksgiving and happy holidays. I'm about to kill some leftovers...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Alphabet Project: D

I bet you thought this was over. That somehow I had been humbled by my music library (27,00 songs and growing), and given up on such a daunting task. Hell no. If you have been reading this for a while, you'll notice a few upgrades, a few tweaks here and there. Well those things take time and now that I can honestly say I am proud of what I'm doing here, we shall continue. Also, I already finished E and am just about to close up F, so these should start rolling in...

Artists: 54
Albums: 215
Songs: 2688

My first artist could actually show up in 4 different letters. How cool is that? Most people know about him, but do you know the real Dave Grohl? Yes, he was the drummer in Nirvana. Yes, he is the lead singer of the Foo Fighters. But this guy is a lot more than that. We won't even mention his contribution to Queens of The Stone Age's Songs For The Deaf, or how he got John Paul Jones to start rocking again with Them Crooked Vultures. But I have to ask; have you ever heard of Late!? Late! is Dave's alter ego. Pocketwatch was recorded during downtime in Virginia in '91 and released on cassette for indie label Simple Machines, these songs may have given him the courage to become the superstar he is today. In fact, one of those songs "Marigold" even made it's way on to a Nirvana import single. I listen to every now and then and laugh at how simple it all seemed to be. I don't blame you for not knowing the sheer enjoyment of "Just Another Story About Skeeter Thompson". Now, if you have actually heard the score to Touch, I'll be impressed. The movie was released in '97, and I have no idea what it's about. What I do know is that Dave Grohl composed the score and it is the only piece of material that bears his actual name.
   Just Another Story About Skeeter Thompson by theearlynerd     Touch (ft. Louise Post) by theearlynerd

There are days when I wish the world was ready for Death From Above 1979, but you already missed them. The Toronto punk duo released their only album You're a Woman, I'm a Machine in 2004 and broke up 2 years later. Thankfully both members have continued to release music. Jesse F. Keeler a.k.a. JFK is half of MSTRKRFT and Sebastien Grainger has released 2 albums on Saddle Creek Records, and most recently a killer remix of Broken Social Scene's "All to All". If you like the live version on "Romantic Rights" below, you should also check out their Remix/B-Sides album, Romance, Bloody Romance.


Depeche Mode may be the starting point of alternative music for me. I was in 4th grade when Violator came out, and I've been listening ever since. One of the reasons I have complied so much music over the years is because I am loyal. Sometimes, to a fault. I'll admit that the recent stuff (Exciter,Playing the Angel & Sounds of the Universe) isn't as good as the early albums. But, one of the best shows I've ever seen was during the Singles Tour, beginning to end they played every song I grew up with. I hope you have a band that you grow old with, I have a few. They just released a DVD/CD combo which documents a 2-night stand in Barcelona. Like a fool, I'm sure I'll get the blu-ray. Check out the trailer below.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Junip, November 6th at Lincoln Hall

When I first heard Junip’s debut album “Fields”, I wanted more. The Swedish trio (Jose Gonzalez, Tobias Winterkorn & Elias Araya) have a rare talent of allowing a song to build without ever setting it loose. Their brand of fuzzed out folk might be based on Jose Gonzalez’s gentle voice and nylon strings, but it’s surprisingly Winterkorn’s synthesizer and Araya’s rhythms that supply the warmth and body. Take a listen to the album; the meandering keys at the beginning of “Rope & Summit” or the bottle tapping throughout “Howl”. These little nuances make Junip a band, one that expanded their sound Saturday night at Lincoln Hall.

Opening their 13 song set with back to back upbeat favorites “Rope & Summit” & “Sweet & Bitter”, Junip set the tone early for a great show. Taking the stage as a 5-piece band which included a bass player and percussionist, they easily filled the packed room with unbelievable sound and clarity. Even when they slowed it down for “Tide”, they managed to keep the crowd’s attention and never seemed in a hurry to play something faster. I’ve seen bands go to great lengths, sandwiching a slow song between 4 or 5 hits to keep a crowd pleased. These guys know they have a great album and believe in every note they play.

Working their way through most of the album (9 out of 11 songs), the second half of the show was a look back at their earlier material. In fact, of the last 5 songs, 4 of them were on previous releases. One highlight being a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” played by Gonzalez alone, also available on the Black Refuge EP. As they closed with “In Every Direction”, I knew the end was near and again, I wanted more. But, after a great show it’s hard to complain and you can’t help but feel like anything is possible. If that’s the case, “You’re the center and you’re always free, in every direction” was a perfect way to the end the night.

Setlist:
1. Rope & Summit
2. Sweet & Bitter
3. To The Grain
4. Without You
5. Tide
6. Howl
7. It’s Alright
8. Always
9. At The Doors
10. Far Away
11. The Ghost of Tom Joad
12. Black Refuge
13. In Every Direction

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ad Nauseum #7

This week 3 new songs came out, and all of them need some attention.

1. Amy Winehouse - It's My Party
Earlier this week, Amy Winehouse's cover of Leslie Gore's 1963 hit "It's My Party" leaked and it practically broke twitter. The track is from an upcoming Quincy Jones duet album entitled, Q: Soul Bossa Nostra. I loved Back to Black, but her raspy voice sounds worn out here and the track lacks any sort of soul. Who knows if she'll ever return to form, I hope so. But this is heading in the wrong direction.


2. The Decemberists - Down By The Water
The first single off their new album, The King Is Dead is available for free on their site (or below) right now. The album is due January 18th, making it one of the first releases I'm looking forward to in the new year. I still throw on The Hazards of Love every now and then and can't begin to tell you how much talent this band has.
Tracklisting:
1. Don't Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise To Me
4. Rox In The Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down By The Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This Is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery


                       

3. Ben Gibbard/Death Cab For Cutie - New Song
Ben Gibbard recently played a benefit show in Seattle at the Crocodile Cafe and gave us a few treats. With a new Death Cab For Cutie album complete and due in Spring, this song might be on the album. He also brought out his lovely wife Zooey Deschanel for a duet of the Seeker's tune "I'll Never Find Another You". Although the set consisted of mostly Death Cab material, he did manage to cover Radiohead's "All I Need", somehow making it slower than the original.

Jonsi, November 3rd, 2010 at The Vic [Photo]

[Note: This is simply visual evidence of me being somewhere, for something]

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ad Nauseum #6

Last week was a strange one. Mostly, because all the news surrounded artists that clearly don't need the attention.

1. Prince - Welcome 2 America Tour
I'm not sure if 5 shows in 2 cities is actually a tour, but Prince pretty much writes his own rules and his "Welcome 2 America" shows have a lot of people talking. All 5 shows (3 in NJ, 2 in NY) will be different and include Maceo Parker, Janelle Monae, Mint Condition & Sheila E. along with others as guests. At the press conference 2 weeks ago, he actually said "bring some foot spray, because it's gonna be funky." Rumors are circulating that Prince will also hit small clubs every night after the concert, so be on the lookout NJ/NY.

2. Michael Jackson - A very busy, dead guy.
This week Michael Jackson was named the best-selling deceased artist. With the success of "This Is It", his albums still selling, a video game called "Michael Jackson: The Experience and a Thriller movie on the way, this really shouldn't be a surprise. The most interesting piece of news I've heard is that the upcoming holiday release of "unreleased" material is being questioned by the Jackson family. They are claiming the vocals are not his and that Sony is simply trying to make a quick buck.

3. Daft Punk - Tron/Derezzed Video
I'm not sure what it is? Is it a video? Is it a trailer? Is the song really a minute and 40 seconds? One thing is for sure, they really do know how to tease. Oh, and this kicks ass.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ad Nauseum - G.O.O.D. Music Edition

It may seem as though I'm only following Kanye West and his day to day activities over here, but that's only because him and the rest of G.O.O.D. Music are killing it.

First came the resurrection of Child Rebel Soldier, the supergroup that includes Kanye, Pharrell & Lupe Fiasco. Although the track is 2 years old with references to R. Kelly and Ghostface's "Wallabee", it was unreleased until Mr. West dropped it as part of his G.O.O.D. Friday series. After hearing it, you have to wonder how many other classics this man has just sitting in the studio. You can grab it for FREE on Kanye's blog, including every other release in the series.


Then, he dropped by the 2010 BET Awards and decided the crew was going to drop a cypher that I'm still rewinding to catch all the lines. Not sure if Kanye's line "Too many Urkels on your team, that's why your wins low" or Cyhi da Prynce's "I'm impeccable, they put me on a pedestal, and if you bite me, it's good like a vegetable" is the killer. But, damn if Big Sean didn't just rip his entire verse!


It looks as though Cyhi da Prynce is just getting started because he popped up on the new A-Trak single, "Ray Ban Vision" from the forthcoming Fool's Gold Volume 1. I wish A-Trak would produce more hip-hop, he always finds a beat that is just a step outside the normal crap you hear. Get him and Lil' Wayne in a room and you would have an instant classic.


Oh, and in case you haven't heard, Mos Def just signed to G.O.O.D. Music. Whoa.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ad Nauseum #5

1. Gayngs - By Your Side (Sade Cover)
2 weeks ago, I gave you Gayng's version of George Michael's "One More Try" and told you to catch them at the Metro. If I knew they were going to drop this jewel during their set I would have bought you a ticket. It's that good. Making things even better is a studio version that is being offered for free at Daytrotter.com. For those of you unfamiliar with Daytrotter, please take a look at this wonderful site that specializes in acoustic sets from well-deserving indie acts. Listen to me in the future or risk missing something like this.


2. Karen O - If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough
If you thought that was weird and unusual, take a listen to this. Karen O has gone country! The following song is from the forthcoming Jackass 3D soundtrack and debuted on Some Kind of Awesome earlier this week.It can only be assumed the mess at the end is Johnny Knoxville & Co doing what they do best.
Karen O. (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) - "If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough" by Some Kind of Awesome

3. John Lennon - LENNONYC
Last, but certainly not least is that fact that yesterday would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. To remember his life and legacy, fans and admirers (Google included) paid their respects this week to a true visionary. A movie about his formative years called "Nowhere Boy" is playing in select cities and seems very interesting. However, it's the documentary "LENNONYC" about his final years in New York City that should not be missed. The film will premiere on PBS, Monday, November 22nd. Watch a few excerpts below, courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ad Nauseum #4

Couldn't post last week, but it seemed to me like everyone was heading in the same direction: Ok Go's video and Katy Perry getting kicked off Sesame Street. If you missed either of those, you have no pulse.

1. Duck Sauce - Barbara Streisand Video
Duck Sauce (A-Trak & Armand Van Helden) released an EP last year that brought back some disco funk and I totally ate it up. They are set to release a new single and this is the crazy video with too many cameos to mention. If you listen closely, you'll notice a few edits, remixes and additions that really make the song sound better than the original. Check out P-Thugg at 1:30 & DJ Premiere scratching it up right after that! Blink and you might miss Diplo sneaking in/out through the window...


2. Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake - A History of Rap
Jimmy Fallon has been quietly ruling late night. Maybe I'm still pissed about the whole Leno/Conan fiasco, but no one can fuck with Fallon's guests or musical acts. This year I've seen Paul Simon play with the Roots, Phish rock out as part of Rolling Stones week, Cheech & Chong break out the classic "Mexican-Americans" and now this... Watch him every night.


3. Felix Cartal - Fall 2010 Mix
Daily, I hear crap. That isn't a joke. Daily, I dig through emails and search for new stuff. But for the most part everyone is jumping on Dubstep and it's HUGE bass. Like anything there is a place for it, but with it being so trendy, finding a great mix is hard. Leave it up to Felix Cartal to drop something new and incredible. I've been blasting it for the past two days and hope you start your weekend off right. BTW, stay away from Deadmau5's new track "Raise Your Weapon", or try and find it for a prime example of shit my ears hear on the regular.
Fall Mix 2010 by Felix Cartal

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ad Nauseum #3

This week was EASY. I mean, REALLY easy... Here we go.

1. Kanye West - Runaway
Plain and simple, Kanye West is back. I don't think anyone can deny the fact that he is incredibly talented. However, you could make a strong case that some people let fame and money get to their head, turning them into ginormous dickheads. Who would have thought a year after storming the stage, he would debut "Runaway" and be on such a hot streak. The G.O.O.D. Friday series has been killing it and I would be shocked if his album is not the biggest seller of the year. I'll give you the video, you can find the studio version right here. I give credit where credit is due and Flex dropped this exclusively.


2. Third Man Records "Triple Decker Record".
God bless Jack White. The man is trying his best to give fans and vinyl enthusiasts some real treats. This week he invented a new record, or at least an interesting format. The "Triple Decker is a 12" record that has a 7" inside it, literally inside it. You have to crack open the 12" to get to the 7". Only 300 were produced and they are going as high as $500 right now on ebay. Confused? Intrigued? Watch the video below. Also, if you get me one of these for Christmas, I'll love you forever...


3. Gayngs - "One More Try" (ft. Har Mar Superstar)
How do I explain this? Ryan Olson decides to make a band. He calls a bunch of friends, 22 to be exact. They make an album (Relayted, out now on Jagjaguwar) that sounds cheesy and have a prom-themed show in Minneapolis that Prince attends. The indie world is confused and taken back to a world of training bras and roller skates. As if that wasn't enough, they decide to cover George Michael. Want to see this live? They play the Metro at the end of the month. Expect some serious make-out sessions.
One More Try (ft. Har Mar Superstar) by theearlynerd

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chromeo - Business Casual

For those of you wondering if Chromeo would change their sound with their growing popularity, there is a cowbell literally one second into the album. As comforting as that may seem, it is also the one downfall of their latest release "Business Casual", due out tomorrow. Dave 1 & P-Thugg have easily established themselves as a synthesizer heavy ode to 80's R&B and Funk. Don't get me wrong, they're great at it, I just wish they reached a little farther out of their comfort zone.

In fact, the first 5 songs could easily be on any of their other albums. One song, "Night by Night" was released last year and somehow made it on the album. That's not to say that the beginning of the album is bad. But, the second half is so much better. "When The Night Falls" brings in a female element and a restrained guitar solo at the end that I wish went longer. The second half also has a bit more texture, bringing in strings and a few different tempos. They also continue their fine tradition of making a relationship song that sounds like a long lost theme song. "The Right Type" is "Silver Spoons" meets "Too Close for Comfort" in a good way.

Need something to do for Halloween? They are playing a show at the Congress with A-Trak & Kid Sister. I swear you will not regret it.
Don't Turn The Lights On (HappyBoxx Remix) by theearlynerd

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ad Nauseum #2

It looks as though this is going to be a pretty good way to recap the week and I actually got a comment with the first installment! Come back tomorrow for a smoking Chromeo remix...

1. Kings of Leon - Radioactive
The Kings of Leon might be the newest band to hate (see Stereogum's comments), but they sure know how to make an anthem. Radioactive is the first single from Come Around Sundown, an album written and recorded mostly while touring for the massively successful, Only By The Night. You can pre-order the album now, it is scheduled for release October 19th.


2. Band of Horses play a wedding, seriously.
It seems too good to be true, but here's the story. A wonderful couple (Njal & Elin) attended a show earlier this year. At that show Njal proposed to Elin and as luck would have it, the good guys of Band of Horses were back in town on their wedding day for yet another show. They somehow contact the band, ask them to play and they say "yes". I'll make sure to try that the next time Pearl Jam is in town.


3. Gucci Mane - Gucci Time
At the beginning of the week, this would have easily been #1, but after the intial shock, it sort of lost momentum. This really isn't anything new, more like the final piece of evidence in an air tight case. Hip-Hop has gone electro. Kanye sampled Daft Punk, made a ton of money and everyone followed. At least they snagged a Justice track that will hopefully motivate those guys to put out something new. I really wouldn't mind, but let's get a bit more than a 5 second loop. Have you heard the new Ludacris single? Don't even get me started...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ad Nauseum #1

First and foremost, if you are reading this: Thank You. When I initially decided to put this blog together, I had high hopes and so many ideas. Some of them have worked wonderfully, while others have failed to get off the ground. Honestly guys, I didn't think it would be that much work. The idea that if I liked something I could write about it sounded so simple. Yet, if you've followed this blog, the content and my contributions have been spotty, at best.

So how do I fix that? How do I keep you guys coming back? I've got some ideas and a few surprises, so please come back! The first thing I can do is maintain this regularly, so I'm starting a weekly post titled, Ad Nauseum. If you look carefully at Twitter (@theearlynerd) or Facebook, even most music sites you'll see a few stories that won't go away. 3 or 4 items that by the end of the week have dropped on every blog, or should have. Check in at the end of the week and see everything you might have missed, and something it seemed I just couldn't avoid...

#1 - Kanye West - Monster
The talented and apparently generous Kanye West announced via his Twitter account (@kanyewest) that he was introducing "Good Fridays". Every Friday he will release a new song from him or one of his labelmates for free. He also mentioned that he and Jay-Z will release a 5-song EP called "Watch The Throne". Monster got a bunch of hype this week for a few reasons. It got my attention because it features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, but that is a bit misleading. His vocals are sort of distorted creating a tone much like his other band, Volcano Choir. It seems everyone else went batshit for the Nicki Minaj verse that overshadows everything else. There are so many people on this track, that poor Charlie Wilson didn't even get his name on the cover although he clearly brings up the rear. Let's see if this week's new song "Devil in a New Dress", literally released hours ago will end up here next week.

2. Radiohead - Live in Praha DVD
Contrary to popular belief Radiohead did not invent music, or the internet, or the "album for free" concept. It seems they just get the credit and somehow still make money, they are wise. This week a fan produced DVD of their 2009 show in Praha flooded the internet and again people thought it was brilliant. Truth be told, the idea has been done before by 2 great acts. The Beastie Boys handed out cameras to fans and released "Awesome, I Shot That" years ago and last year a group of Nine Inch Nails fans called thisoneisonus created full shows from videos given to fans for free on the band's site. All three are great and only work because of the great show the band puts on and the adoration from some of the most dedicated fans in the business.


3. Cee-Lo - "Fuck You" Video
Words cannot explain how good this song is, so watch the video. Cee-Lo Green, a founding member of Goodie Mob and the other half of Gnarls Barkley is dropping a solo album, The Lady Killer and this is the first single. How do ensure your song won't be played on the radio between Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, say "Fuck You" 50 times over the span of 4 minutes.


4. Apple - Ping
You have an iPod, an iPhone, maybe even an iPad so what else is missing? A social network, duh. Apple released the latest version of iTunes and bundled with it is the new feature, Ping. As they put it "a social network for music". Create a profile (yes, another damn profile), choose a few album covers to show your music preferences and meet the same damn people you already know. What makes this different is the fact that it does a great job marketing bands. Go to the artist's profile and see tour dates with the option to buy any song. It sure sounds like the end of myspace, considering the huge amount of people already using iTunes and comfortable with making purchases online. Sadly, the artists can only make a page by invitation only leaving a lot bands on the outside looking in. If this gets fixed, the floodgates will open and we may have found a cure for this sagging industry.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lollapalooza Week - The Black Keys

One of the best things about this blog, is the fact that I have complete freedom over the content I put up. I'm sure you can see that my musical taste varies quite a bit. In some cases I have a pop sensibility (John Mayer & U2), but I can also drop a remix that you wouldn't hear anywhere else but a dark, dark club (Bloody Beetroots & Felix Cartal). Today I give you something from the Eclipse Soundtrack!

Although not a fan, the Twilight movies have given the world some very good music. To do this day I have no idea why Thom Yorke, Vampire Weekend, The Dead Weather & Bon Iver chose to contribute to this project, but I really don't care. The best track from the most recent release is easily The Black Key's "Chop and Change".

The Akron, Ohio duo have found a way to make the bluesy grit and stomp sound refreshingly new. Avid fans of hip-hop as well, even putting out a collaboration record under the name, Blakroc. They really now how to keep a hook tight and where to still find room for some honesty and emotion. I wish I knew who was singing in the background because it absolutely makes the song. I shiver every time I hear "C'mon, C'mon, C'mon".

They will be hitting the stage Friday at 6 on the Budweiser stage. Even better would be catching them at the SOLD OUT after show, Saturday night at the Metro. I've seen these guys twice already and could not begin to explain how great they sound...
The Black Keys - Chop And Change by theearlynerd

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lollapalooza Week - Chromeo

Chromeo do practically everything right. Their brand of Electro/Funk/Pop is as exciting as it sounds. The Montreal duo (Dave 1 & P-Thugg) make party-starting music by embracing influences most of us would be embarrassed to even mention. I mean they just played a full set at Bonnaroo with Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates)! One minute they are making something as bubblegum as "Momma's Boy" and the next they are getting remixes from MSTRKRFT & Boy 8-Bit.

They are set to release a new album "Business Casual" on September 14th and you have two chances to see them. They will play the Adidas Mega Stage at 7, or for you night owls a DJ set at Sound-Bar. Get tickets to the after show here.

Check out a remix and the video for the new single!
Chromeo - Needy Girl (Dolby Anol's French Mistake) by theearlynerd


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lollapalooza Week - Chiddy Bang

I would consider Chiddy Bang a pretty unknown hip-hop duo, unless you like indie beats sprinkled over some serious flow. The Philadelphia duo (Proto & Xaphoon) created a bit of buzz a while back as they sampled MGMT, Passion Pit and even Radiohead. The funny thing is, I think they might have done pretty well just creating beats and losing the gimmick. It does get old after a while. Nevertheless, they have dropped two mix tapes (The Swelly Express & Air Swell) and should be a real change of pace at Lollapalooza. Check them out at Perry's on Sunday at 3:30.

This track is from "The Swelly Express", a good song to start your day with.
Get Up In The Morning by theearlynerd

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lollapalooza Week - Phoenix

In case you didn't know this blog is coming to you from Chicago. That being said, I will always love and attend Lollapalooza. I actually started this last year in an attempt to get you some good music and also let you know which acts I'll definitely be seeing. For the next 5 days, please come back for more music and artist info.

I'm sure you have all heard of Phoenix. Even if I am somehow your only outlet for new music, we've already had 2 posts for these guys because they are that awesome. Some people may say that they don't deserve to be a closer (Saturday @ the Budweiser Stage), but I'd pick them any day over Green Day. Even though I have seen them twice already and have tickets to the after show @ the House of Blues (jealous?), I will be battling to get to the front.

I've been sitting on this remix for a few months now. Contrary to what you might think, I still keep a few nuggets for myself. Even better is the fact that it's actually from their older album, something I'm sure a few people have never even heard. So enjoy and try and find me this weekend if you happen to be in this wonderful town for 3 crazy days.

Long Distance Call (25 Hours A Day Remix) by theearlynerd

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

David Gray "A Moment Changes Everything"

As I mentioned on my Ray LaMontagne post, David Gray will be releasing a new album, "Foundling" on August 17th. Despite the fact that he released the critically-acclaimed "Draw The Line" less than a year ago, he is back with the first single, "A Moment Changes Everything". The 20 track, 2-disc set was recorded in London where David took on the duties of producing the album as well. Enjoy the song and see you at the sold out show in August!


Tracklist:
1. Only The Wine
2. Foundling
3. Forgetting
4. Gossamer Thread
5. The Old Chair
6. In God's Name
7. We Could Fall In Love Again Tonight
8. Holding On
9. When I Was In Your Heart
10. A New Day At Midnight
11. Dave Jones' Locker
Disc 2
1. Fixative
2. Morning Theme
3. The Dotted Line
4. A Million Years
5. Who’s Singing Now
6. Old Father Time
7. Indeed I Will
8. A Moment Changes Everything
9. More To Me Now

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Introducing: Villagers

Although it would be safe to assume that Villagers would be a group, or at least 2 people, it is not. Villagers is in fact one very talented man, Conor J O'Brien. The Irish born singer/songwriter mixes elements of folk, indie pop and sun-drenched, hazy awesomeness. His shows in the US have been rare and limited to the coasts until now. He'll be in town playing Schubas in September and it would be a crime if you didn't drop $12 to see him. Although I don't see him becoming a certified phenomenon, it seems as though he's getting some wind in his sails and that makes me happy. His first single, "Becoming A Jackal" is doing so well, the video is FREE this week on iTunes. Check out the second single, "Ship Of Promises" recorded live in his apartment which seems about the same size as Schuba's, See you guys there...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Ray Lamontagne - Beg, Steal or Borrow

Ray LaMontagne will release his 4th album, God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise on August 17th and I have his first single. The slow chugging "Beg, Steal or Borrow" is more of the same: Ray's scruffy voice and acoustic guitar, some slide guitar for layers and a simple beat to keep the song moving. I am bit interested to hear the rest of the album because Ray chose to produce this record himself, leaving his regular producer Ethan Johns behind.

Even more exciting is the double bill of David Gray & Ray LaMontagne that will play a string of dates this summer. For a complete list of dates go here. Those of you lucky enough to get a ticket for the SOLD OUT Chicago show should get a good dose of new music. Along with this album comes news that David Gray will release his new album, Foundling on the same day! Without further to do, the latest from Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs.
Beg, Steal or Borrow by theearlynerd

Track Listing:
1. Repo Man
2. New York City's Killing Me
3. God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise
4. Beg, Steal or Borrow
5. Are We Really Through
6. This Love Is Over
7. Old Before Your Time
8. For The Summer
9. Like Rock And Roll And Radio
10. The Devil's In The Jukebox

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Bright Eyes song for The Sound Strike

First and foremost if you don't check out TwentyFourBit regularly, you should. It is definitely one of the best music blogs out there and constantly filled with great news like this.

Conor Oberst & Co. (aka Bright Eyes) are contributing a new song titled "Coyote Song" to the organization The Sound Strike, which is trying to call attention to Arizona's embarrassing SB 1070 Immigration Law. Many artists including Rage Against The Machine, Kanye West, Sonic Youth & Massive Attack have vowed not to play a single note in Arizona. Even better news is that most artists will be contributing songs to the project where fans can download and support the cause. No word on when the song or video will be available, but the video below has definitely got me excited. Disclaimer: The song playing in the background is NOT the new material, instead "Road to Joy" off the fantastic "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"

Conor Oberst for The Sound Strike from Producciones CimarrĂ³n on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Official 2010 Lollapalooza Aftershows

Lollapalooza announced this year's lineup for official aftershows taking place at local venues in Chicago. Phoenix, The National, The Black Keys & Devo are among the acts and even better,they've added a few new venues to the mix.

Phoenix seems to be the big draw this year, packing them into the tiny House of Blues with reasonably priced tickets! A special presale starts tomorrow at 10am, password: tickets.

Alliances will be made as concertgoers will have to choose between The National and The Black Keys, both releasing great albums recently and sadly, both playing Saturday night. I'm choosing The Black Keys in hopes they and brilliant openers, The Morning Benders demolish the Metro.

If you're looking for even smaller venues, Rogue Wave at Schuba's should get nice and sweaty. Health at Reggie's Rock Club is definitely "Enter At Your Own Risk". That place is small, but so glad they added it to the list this year. Lincoln Hall also gets introduced this year hosting The Big Pink, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Blitzen Trapper.

If it's dance you want, hit up the Congress Theater for Hot Chip & Rusko. Unless Perry's tent gets a major makeover, I can't see Rusko's show coming anywhere near the damage he pulled at Coachella this year. His lights and energy might get lost during the day, but indoors and late night seems just right for him. Check out his new video in case you haven't found his album, O.M.G.!. The remix is pretty sweet too, you're welcome.

Hold On (feat. Amber Coffman) (Sub Focus Remix) by theearlynerd

For a complete list, go here. Remember, pace yourself at Lolla because they parties and music never stop...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Get Two Awesome New Releases For Free: A-Trak & Junip

I know what you're thinking: Isn't most music already free? The short answer is, not legally. Recently bands have decided to give away a song for free or after hearing that their album has leaked, the ability to stream an entire album. But very few artists give away an entire album for free. This week, A-Trak and Junip did just that and they are fantastic.

A-Trak has been on the scene since winning the 1997 DMC World DJ Championship. He was 15 years old, no joke. Now running Fool's Gold Records with Nick Catchdubs and producing for Kid Sister and Lupe Fiasco, he has been busy to say the least. This guy can do it all and has; from DJ'n for Kanye West to rocking WMC with Armand Van Helden as the duo, Duck Sauce. Jump on Hype Machine for a dizzying amount of remixes, my favorite being his remix of Boys Noize "Oh!". This week he dropped via his twitter (@atrak) account the second volume of his Dirty South Dance series and it has been on repeat since then. Stream it right here and download to get your next party started. Track 4, "We Don't Want No Goblins" is killing me...
<a href="http://atrak.bandcamp.com/album/dirty-south-dance-2">Intro by A-Trak</a>

The complete opposite of being everywhere is being nowhere and taking 10 years to release your formal debut. Junip is that band. Formed in 2000, this Swedish group has released a total of 11 songs in 10 years but they are well worth it. I first caught their Black Refuge EP after hearing their version of Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad". This week they released the Rope and Summit EP and have promised a full length album this summer. Even better they are touring this summer with a stop at Lincoln Hall next month so it looks like things are starting to pick up for the slow moving indie folk trio. Simply sign up for their mailing list to get the entire EP for free.
   The Ghost Of Tom Joad by theearlynerd

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Videos are cool...

So as everything in life, the music industry is cyclical. Do you remember Diddy and Kanye sampling Diana Ross and Chaka Khan? How about the nostalgia of pretty much any 90's band reuniting and touring in the last couple of years? Even better, the recent influx of keyboards and synths to make everything sound like the soundtrack from a John Hughes' movie? Hell, even albums are coming back, actual vinyl. I guess it was only a matter of time before the music video became old and somehow new again. With Mtv removing the "music television" from their programming and logo, artists can make videos and easily place them on their website. Two weeks ago, Band of Horses gave away their newest video. Erykah Badu got ass naked in Dallas for her new song. My how things have changed... So here is my version of 120 Minutes, 4 videos for you to check out because you're not going to get them anywhere else. A channel that plays ONLY music videos, now you're just being ridiculous.

Further proof that music is headed back to the future, Mark Ronson's new single, "Circuit Breaker".


The new The National album is out, so go get it.

The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (official video) from The National on Vimeo.

LCD Soundsystem are coming to Chicago next week, I sure hope you got a ticket.


Finally Boys Noize & Erol Alkan's new masterpiece "Lemonade".


FYI, I intentionally omitted M.I.A.'s newest video because it's damn near everywhere...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ben Bridwell & Band of Horses Wander With a Broken Heart

Band of Horses' latest release "Infinite Arms" is quite a surprise, with subtle changes to their sound while making their most cohesive record to date. Gone are the building epics that fans are used to (Is There A Ghost, The Funeral), and for the most part so is anything with a upbeat tempo. The opener "Factory" lays the groundwork for the album with aspects continuously appearing later on. One that is unmistakable is the mention of specific locations or the idea of traveling. We find ourselves in hotels, apartments, speaking of log cabins and the difference between a house and a home. A catalog of places that we've found to escape or get over a relationship gone wrong. It's obvious that somewhere on this journey, a relationship that lasted too long has finally given up.

This is where Band of Horses is at their best. Ben Bridwell has a voice that oozes emotion and regret. Two highlights are "Blue Beard" and "Evening Kitchen", the latter being as blatantly honest as Death Cab for Cutie's "The Ice is Getting Thinner" about the inevitability of the end... "And if you're ever left with any doubt/What you live with and what you'll do without/I'm only sorry that it took so long to figure out". "Blue Beard" is by far the best song of the album, a song filled with questions and very little answers. A song that finds comfort in the words "I don't know". That might be the beauty of the record. Knowing that you reached the end, but something else is on the horizon. At no point does the album drag you down, instead it just lets you know that everyone goes through this, just not as beautifully sounding as this band.

Infinite Arms is out May 18th, and the band is opening for Pearl Jam on a few Midwest dates. I'll be front and center at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Indianapolis next week. Check out the album preview below and please catch them if you can.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Alphabet Project: C

Artists: 48
Albums: 146
Songs: 1339

Compared to the letter B, this one was not only enjoyable, but very comforting. I started this project thinking that I may have lost my way with music. With music so accessible and in most cases free, I have the tendency to hear about a band and then find a copy for instant gratification. So over the past few years, my collection has ballooned and my hope was to revisit old tunes and remove things I never actually enjoyed. The problem is; that I really haven't removed anything. But, I can sleep at night knowing I actually enjoy every note of music on my ipod.

The first artist I want to talk about is Cake. Despite their knack for finding infectious guitar riffs, most people would think of them as a novelty act. A band that had some success in the 90's only to disappear into oblivion. But they are not Harvey Danger, or Barenaked Ladies, or Fastball. Chances are you have a copy of "Fashion Nugget", but have you ever really listened to "Motorcade of Generosity"? There are some very good songs on that album, notably "Ruby Sees All", "Mr. Mastodon Farm" and my favorite, "Jolene". The funky jangle riff just kills me every time.


Chromeo caught my eye last year at Lollapalooza. I had a copy of "Fancy Footwork" and totally wore that out. Initially I thought the sound and nostalgia of keyboards and synthesizers would get old, but it didn't. Whether they want to be categorized as Pop, they really are. Simply put, they grew up on 80's music and instead of calling it lame (like most people would) they do their best to fill every minute with hooks and lyrics that will make you want to dance and call your girlfriend from 8th grade. A new album should be out this summer, so check them out.

Last but not least is a band that I've listened to for a very long time, Counting Crows. Thankfully, through the years they have continued to put out really great music and even better shows. My first show was in Kansas City for the "Recovering the Satellites" tour and after I realized they were in fact playing songs I liked, just different versions, I was hooked. It's hard to explain, but never go to a Counting Crows show expecting to sing along, you will be incredibly embarrassed. Adam Duritz just has his clock set to something different, something more honest. I never knew the meaning to most of my favorite songs until I saw them live. The one line you missed, or never paid attention to because you were screaming at the top of your lungs is right there in front of your face. Please, please, please go see them this summer. For those in Chicago, they'll be playing Ravinia on August 21st, see ya there.

Did you ever wonder why their debut was called "August & Everything After"? Here's your answer.
   August and Everything After (Live) by theearlynerd