Category Archives: Featured Song

Stuff I Like Right Now

Need something to do online?  Check out these links to the music and words capturing my attention right now.

Music:

Books:

Images from Amazon.com, Borders.com, and terababes.com.

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This Really Shouldn’t Exist

…But, then again, so shouldn’t a lot of things on YouTube.

In Brief: New Jack’s Mann. Single “The Resolution” on MySpace

This band just won’t quit.  Jack’s Mannequin released the first single from their upcoming album, “The Glass Passenger,” on their MySpace page today.

The single isn’t “Miss California,” good, but it isn’t bad either.  The brief introduction feels a bit melodramatic but as a whole, the song seems to indicate that the band is maturing without losing their signature sound.  “Resolution” seems to be more of a mass-appeal song (hence its release as a single) that likely won’t be a hit among JM and McMahon devotees.  But I’m still very optimistic about this upcoming album – so optimistic in fact that I sold out and bought the expensive “Traditional” preorder package.

Expect full coverage surrounding the sophomore album’s release on September 30th.

Bloc Party’s “Mercury” Increases Bass, Video Increases Nightmares

The Mercury Disc Set

The "Mercury" Disc Set (1)

Bloc Party’s latest cut, “Mercury,” dropped in early July to the delight of some and the dismay of others.  Commenters on the Brooklynvegan blog, apart from arguing about career choices and ‘hipster’ status, largely agreed that the song “sucks.”  Among those who deemed themselves qualified to label the song as “sucky” were an anonymous plumber, graphic artist, and even a gorilla.

Some critics, however, have taken the opposite stance.  IGN blogger Spence D. gave the single 9.5 points of ten, calling the song, “a post-apocalyptic jazz mass that will leave your cerebral cortex in a state of vertiginous disarray,” (IGN: “Mercury” Review, 7 Jul., 2008).

The song is a thumping mix of bass-centric beats and stressful strings, which are at the same time hilarious for their melodramatic tone and yet make the song feel like a secret agent jam from a Bond flick to be released thirty years from now.  It’s not the most beautiful or harmonic song out there right now, but its intrigue lies in its chaos – fast and frantic drum beats mixed with string melodies reminiscent of the Flight of the Bumblebee will leave you in a post-rave trance…and might leave you with a headache.

But it’s not as bad as the nightmares the video will cause.  It has something to do with monkeys building a Frankenstein-esque monster to take over the US presidency and start worldwide nuclear war…I don’t know.  I’ve never been much of a music video fan myself, and this one hasn’t made me feel any cognitive dissonance yet.

Bloc Party lead Kele Okereke

Bloc Party lead Kele Okereke (2)

Are Bloc Party going post-modern?  Are they ahead of their time?  Or are they just hopping on to the trance-meets-dance-hall-meets-hip-hop trend spearheaded today by bands like Justice, MGMT and others?  We’ll likely have to wait for the entire album to be released, which won’t likely happen for quite some time.  BP lead Kele Okereke told the Zane Lowe Show on BBC’s Radio One that the band are “still writing and working on” their next album.

Sources:  brooklynvegan, IGN

Image Sources: (1) BlocParty.com Online Store, (2) Mail Online (dailymail.co.uk)

“Mercury” on The Hype Machine

“Mercury” Music Video on YouTube

Leaked for Less than 12 Hours – “Miss California”

The latest Jack’s Mannequin track “Miss California,” which can be downloaded upon purchasing one of the three preorder packages for “The Glass Passenger” (see my earlier post), was briefly leaked onto the anonymous filesharing sites Zshare.net and Mediafire.com last night and this morning.  The songs appear to have been pulled due to copyright violations around 1AM EDT today.

I managed to hear the song before the stream was shut down, and I have to say that if the rest of “The Glass Passenger” is like it, we’ll have another classic Jack’s on our hands.

“Glass Passenger” Preorders Open, With a Decision to be Made

Preorders for “The Glass Passenger,” the second studio album from Jack’s Mannequin, opened today on the band’s site jacksmannequin.com.  Currently three packages are available:

  • The “Digital” Package, which includes a digital download copy of the album and a 5″x7″ lyric and photo booklet for $14.
  • The “Retro” Package, including the digital album as well as a double vinyl package and the booklet for $25.
  • The “Traditional” Package, which includes a hard-copy CD, a digital download of the album, a DVD of “Choke, California,” a short film starring lead singer and pianist Andrew McMahon and an autographed and numbered poster for the movie $30.

All of the packages include a digital copy of the song “Miss California,” which purchasers will be able to download upon buying a preorder set.  The mp3, however, has already been uploaded to a number of sites[UPDATE:  Nevermind – both of the filesharing services that hosted the mp3 have taken down the file due to copyright violations.  That was fast!]

I haven’t decided yet as to which set I’m going to preorder, if any at all.  I’m tempted to save money and preorder the CD alone on Amazon when it becomes available.  However, I’d be lying to say that the movie and signed poster aren’t enticing incentives. Still, I’d find it hard to accept paying $14 for a low-quality digital download when I could pay about the same amount for a full-quality CD when the album is (finally) released.  And while the extra goodies that accompany the album in the preorder bundles are a nice addition, what truly matters to me is the music on the CD.  And I’m nearly beside myself with excitement for the release of this CD.  The band’s debut, “Everything In Transit,” remains one of my favorite albums to date.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Image Source:  Amazon.com.

Old Habits Never Die – What I’m Listening To

So it looks like I haven’t posted in about a year.  Sorry for all the unanswered comments, lack of activity, etc.  I don’t particularly know what has caused me to want to post again, but here it is.

Here’s a quick list of what I’ve been listening to as of late:

  • John Mayer, especially live recordings.  Last weekend I took a little road trip to Chicago to visit a friend there and to see John Mayer in concert.  He played a particularly bluesy set with plenty of nifty riffs and sweet solos.  It was a solidly enjoyable show, with a lot of deep cuts for die-hard fans as well as a couple of his hit singles (although he made a point to mention that he didn’t want to, and didn’t, play “Your Body Is A Wonderland”).Yesterday, I picked up a copy of “Where The Light Is,” his latest CD release.  A two disc set, “Where The Light Is” is a live recording of a December, 2007 show at the Nokia Theater in LA.  The show was divided into three separate sets – a five-song acoustic set, an eight-song John Mayer Trio set, and nine songs performed with his current band.I’m a big fan of the Trio, and it’s always nice to hear recordings of their shows, especially recordings of songs previously unpublished by the Trio, like “Everyday I Have The Blues,” and “Come When I Call.”  The album also includes a great acoustic cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”
  • I also picked up a copy of “Stay Positive,” The Hold Steady’s latest release.  I’ve yet to listen to the album, but their single, “Sequestered in Memphis,” is one of my current favorites.  Listen to the track here.

I’ll try to avoid big between-post gaps like this in the future.  Thanks for reading!

Image Source:  Amazon.com