What I’m Listening To…

1. I Break Horses-This Swedish duo is becoming one of my favorite groups very quickly. They are able to produce some of the best beats and rhythms I’ve ever heard. They’re truly a unique group and the following song shows exactly why. It’s called “Faith” and carries a positive message while still containing some chilling lyrics. My favorite of those lyrics “Faith, the only thing you cling on to”. While the lyrics are good, the instrumentals combined with the vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing. It features a layered,  pulsating beat at the beginning and continues throughout. The keyboard playing and synths provide for an exceptional listening experience. THEN you throw in Maria Lindén’s vocals and you have something beyond description, at least by me anyway. This group is going to be big…

2. Death Grips-Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching)

I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but their latest release, Government Plates, has received a lot of buzz for the enigmatic group Death Grips. You can listen to it in its entirety here. This track grabbed my attention the most. While many other tracks on this album appear to be all over the place, this one seems to do that while maintaining some semblance of structure. MC Ride’s vicious vocals are the typical in-your-face variety that he’s known for but the rest of the song is quite inviting.  The highlight of this song is the dramatic transition from poppy rap song to a chill, trance-like excursion that hits at 1:25. It goes back and forth two times and it makes for a worthwhile listening experience. Check it out for yourself

3. Jagwar Ma-Come and Save Me

This is a fun and exciting new group. They are another group in the class of bands that are able to have a vintage indie sound while using technology to their advantage by mixing in some electronic effects. This song is one of their more old school offerings with the way the delivery of vocals enter to a 60’s band drum beat. The backing vocals are also a strength of this track, I feel. The “Ah’s” during the verses are harmonic and pulled off well. The female who chimes in during the chorus complements that line perfectly. All of their work on their  latest album, Howlin, is worth giving a listen. But for now, feel free to get lost in the delightfully campy dreamscape that “Come and Save Me” creates.

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Artist Profile: Creed

The other day I was driving home and listening to a “hard rock station.” I tend to be underwhelmed by the quality of discourse exhibited by dj’s on these types of stations. They seem like normal, down to earth people. But most of them are a lot alike and they usually have almost nothing of interest to say. On this day, on this particular show, Creed and their former front man Scott Stapp became the topic of discussion and I was drawn in like any other train wreck that would garner the attention of onlookers. Stapp was in studio and conducted an interview where he was surprisingly amiable and non-conceited. At the conclusion of the interview, they played one of his latest releases as a solo artist.

I mean seriously, just look at this fuckin’ album cover. If there’s some religious meaning to it that I’m missing then I retract the following statement but this has got to be the hokiest fucking thing I’ve ever seen! Let’s have some dude etch the image of our band into this tree, yeah, good call Scott

I listened to it for about one minute and that was all I could take. I really think this guy needs to hang it up; there’s no reason for him to continue making music. This song he did for the Florida Marlins a few years ago is the only argument I need. But if nothing else, it did remind me of a time when Creed was good, for at least album anyway. Creed was one of those slightly uncommon groups in which their first album was their best. It only seemed to get progressively worse until it was confirmed that they entered suckdom with this little number…uh (shudder), still gives me nightmares. That album was My Own Prison.  Upon its release, it was unique, it hit hard, and almost every song on the album was a good effort by this new and relatively unknown group.

1. Torn

The first track off of it, “Torn”, is my personal favorite. The title track, “My Own Prison” or “What’s This Life For” are the songs that probably received the most public acclaim and rightfully so. I seem to enjoy the pessimistic nature of “Torn”, from within the lyrics, the melody, and the whimsical backing vocals by Stapp, it’s clearly present in it and it’s  so much better than the campy, feel-good, born again complete garbage they would later release.  I’m not trying to be a guy that basks in another guy’s pain and agony but it was these types of songs that ACTUALLY HAD SOME MEANING and it was partly because of the suffering the vocalist relays to the listener.

 

2. Bullets

The next song is what I believe to be the lone bright spot on the album Weathered. The first few times I heard it, it didn’t even sound like a Creed song. Other than Scott Stapp’s vocals, which are admittedly raw here, it has a much more fast paced, grittier sound to it. The chorus is what makes this track special, especially the backing vocals declaring the powerful lyric “look at me when shoot a bullet through my head”. Not to get all morbid on you but it definitely makes a statement. Because yet again, the actual music video is a joke (These gentlemen describe the thought processes that go into another genius Creed video), I linked a fan made video which contains scenes from the movie “The Dark Knight”. Not quite sure what the connection is, but it works okay.

 

3. My Sacrifice

Well, it couldn’t all be praise for this group. I hope you haven’t eaten recently because there’s a GREAT chance you’ll lose your lunch after watching this fucking abomination of a video. This video could serve as a perfect example why music videos shouldn’t be made. The song isn’t really all that bad, it does sound similar to “Higher” but by itself it’s semi-listenable. The problem is that when it’s coupled with the music video, you have what is likely to be considered the biggest piece of shit known to mankind.

It starts out with a very cliche old guy feeding birds, reflecting on his life, I suppose. Then they zoom in through his eye to some other world (That’s another thing, what is it with Creed videos and taking shots of going through peoples’ eyes…they do the same exact thing in their “Higher” video). Well, this world is complete with Stapp riding on some boat, acting completely indifferent to everything around him. Even thought there’s things like his band playing their instruments through water, challenging the laws of physics in an effort to look badass; some girl in a  swimsuit smiling at him, a sullen mailman delivering letters to a bunch of hands underwater (oh, nevermind that these people are probably FUCKING DROWNING, they still need to get their mail first, that’s the top priority). The best part is…all this craptacular drama goes down within THE FIRST MINUTE!

No, Stapp merely gives people smug stares and focuses on singing this crappy song. One mysterious hand grabs his attention and for just a moment, Stapp appears like he’s going to do something noble and rescue one of the people who is drowning. But as he pulls the guy out, you see that it’s a fucking Stapp clone and just goes to show that this guy really is in love with himself. They share a very heartfelt moment and continue singing the chorus together as some way of bonding, I guess. Meanwhile I can’t wait for this garbage to be over with…not really sure what is his sacrifice is. You could argue that he’s sacrificing the band’s dignity by unleashing this filth to the general public, but other than that, I’m not really sure. The video ends by him hugging some random child to show his empathy and then, you guessed it, he turns into the old man. Storybook Creed music video ending. All is well in the world and Creed remains one of the most important figures in rock music, nay, all of modern culture in this day and age. See for yourself

 

 

I know I sound like a whiny bitch throughout most of this post but if you actually took the time and watched that last video I posted, I think you’ll see my arguments are justified. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy person but the fact that some people out there had the stones to create tripe like this and call it “art” is more than I can stomach at this point. My lesson learned from all of this is focus on the music and don’t let any bands “vision” or self-image sway your opinion on their music. Enjoy it for what it is.

What I’m Listening To…

This edition will feature some punk, or lo-fi acts which we can all agree are still a welcome presence on the indie scene. There’s one well esatblished group along with a couple that are all fairly new, up and coming artists. If you’ve had some angst as of recent that you’re looking to unleash, this is a good medium in which to do it through. Although you may be be inclined to think the opposite, I find this music to be of a calming nature. It serves as a way to vent the day-to-day stresses we all presumably face.

just don't know

No Age-C’mon Stimmung

One of the rather unusual song titles I’ve come across in my lifetime. The song delivers quite nicely. I love punk songs that start off with a false intro and then start going at the drop of a hat. This pulls it off nicely and features some fuzzy guitars and a obscure effect (@1:11 guitar, keyboard?) that really drives the song.

Wavves-Sail to the Sun

A band that I still curse myself for not seeing live when I had the chance, Wavves, is the next artist I’d like to showcase. They’re from California and they’re a top group in Indie. Now with their feet effectively wet upon the release of a few albums, these artists seem poised to watch their careers really take off; and their last album, Afraid of Heights, is proof of that. The song I’ve posted is off that album. Few lyrics, and they appear to be about partnership in drug use and/or living a highly impulsive lifestyle. The vocals and beginning bass-line are the best parts of the song, I believe. Nathan Williams delivers some of the best vocals punk has to offer; very clear and loud while not coming across as screamo.

 

Punk Rock Selfie…well, it’s still Punk!

 

Bad Religion-Them and Us

Definitely an oldie but for sure one of the bands that helped define genre. The guitar melodies throughout are what propel this song as I’ve never been too high on Greg Graffin’s vocals. They use their vocal harmony that they’re known for and put it into this song quite well. This is a classic and one I hope you’ll enjoy. If you do, be sure to check out some of their other tracks from that album, The Grey Race.