Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anathallo: An Unexpected Find

The best thing about being open to new music, is that you often hear it when you least expect it. For example, I was told about Mt. Pleasant, Michigan based Anathallo when I got a haircut a month ago. The band consists of 8 members and play a variety of instruments including the underrated flugellorn. Their myspace profile lists "A Floating World" as their latest album and they have been invited to perform at the Coachella Festival in Indigo, California (the list of bands playing is comparable if not to Bonnaroo). Check out the conclusion to the four-part/song story based on a "Japanese folk story involving about a dog that digs up gold for its master." Did I mention they sing in a "round"? Who doesn't love that?

Anathallo - Hanasakajijii Four: A Great Wind, More Ash

Idlewild: Not OutKasts

Another great band I recently heard on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio One show is Idlewild. Citing influences such as Blur and Nirvana, Idlewild's sound has found homes on indie rock playlists as well as success on the British pop charts.

The band hopes not be confused with the movie/album released by OutKast last summer when they release "Make Another World" in March. When asked about the potential confusion, lead singer remarked "Maybe when our new LP comes out next February some unfamiliars will think we're some sort of OutKast tribute. Could be interesting. Probably won't be."

After releasing four albums on Parliphone/EMI, Idlewild hopes to find new success on Sequel. The first single released from the upcoming album is "No Emotion".

Idlewild - No Emotion

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lily Allen: The '07 Takeover

Lily Allen owned 2006 in the U.K. and looks to take over the U.S. in 2007. After her record label refused to release songs she had made, she decided to post them on her MySpace profile and garnered a massive following. The buzz carried her in to features on numerous shows on BBC Radio One and pressed her record company to release her album, Alright Still.

On first listening to the album, the songs seem cheerful and light hearted, but a second listen will tell otherwise. She uses catchy production to showcase the pictures she sarcastically paints on cuts like "LDN" (a walk through the dark side of London) and the first single "Smile" (a witty threat-laden letter to an ex-boyfriend). The US release features 2 bonus tracks previously unreleased (an unexpected parody of 50 Cent on "Nan, You're A Window Shopper").

Already garnering attention from a solid performance on Saturday Night Live, look for Lily Allen to be one to watch in 2007.

Lily Allen - Everythings Just Wonderful

Thursday, February 22, 2007

K-OS: Rapper/Crooner/?

K-OS "Atlantis: Hymns For Disco" 5/5 Narks

Canadian rapper/hip hop artist K-OS finally released his 3rd album "Atlantis - Hymns For Disco" last week. The follow up to musically diverse, "Joyful Rebellion", was already released in Canada last October, but has been repackaged with a bonus track for the States. K-OS has been drawing comparasions to OutKast's Andre 3000 and with good reason. He seemlessly slides from one musical genre to another throughout the album, while being socially relevant. Each song style ranges from indie rock (the catchy "Sunday Morning") to brit rock ("Vahalla") to the blues (the D'Angelo-esque "The Rain"). Even the traditional hip-hop cuts aren't your average tracks with reggae accent ("Mirror In the Sky") and loud-speaker voice-over ("CatDiesel"). Lyrically, topics range from the low quality of commerical radio (the catchy "Born to Run") to social commentary ("Highway 7).

"Atlantis" continues to show K-OS' growth in his complex flow and his singing ability, as well as a disregard for being held to one sound. There are few artists in the hip-hop scene who have the courage to try new things, let alone try something new on each song on an album. K-OS succeeds in all aspects. Look for this album to be on many top 10 lists at the end of 2007.

Stand out track:

K-OS "Sunday Morning"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Andre Villoch: Troubador

When Laura and I went to Traverse City last December, I really didn't plan on hearing any other music than what was on my i-pod. But after walking into a bookstore cafe, I was pleasantly surprised. There were 3 singer-songwriters giving the audience a sampling of their respective works, there was one that stood out and of course, I forgot to find out who he was. After some web searching and phone calls, I found that he was Andre Villoch. He's a folk singer from Northern Michigan and sings about topics from packing everything up and moving to Mexico to relationships gone awry to an poet's inspiration. When I got a hold of him, he informed me he only has 1 album released so far ("Gum Wrapper Roses"), but he assured me that another will be on the way this spring. Check out his website at Who Is Andre Villoch?.

The song that made me seek out the album:

Andre Villoch-"Henry David"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My 1st Review

A review I wrote last October for The Game's latest album. Hopefully, I'll be able to write more this year.

The Game "The Doctor's Advocate" 4/5 Narks

Since the Game's freshman record, "The Documentary", he's had beef with 50 Cent, patched things up with 50 Cent, been ousted by 50 Cent from G-Unit, and finally moved from hip hop's elite label, Aftermath Records, to Geffen Records, known for Nirvana and Nelly Furtado, but not much in the rap world. The Game, born Jayceon Taylor, is out to prove that he is left coast king, and doesn't need 50 to replicate the triple platinum success.

In most cases, The Game proves he can carry his own torch and blaze a few new trails along the way. Incorporating most of the same production cast (Just Blaze, Kanye West, Scott Storch) as "The Documentary", The Game welcomes a few new guests as well. Just Blaze helms the stellar "Why You Hate the Game?" (and "The Remedy") as the Game and Nas go toe to toe with a choir-like backing. The experimentation to step outside the typical west coast bounce is a welcome one. Will.I.Am helps out on the most pulsating beat of the album on "Compton", try not press rewind on this ode to Game's home base, it won't happen. The gem of the album has to be the heartfelt title track, "Doctor's Advocate" featuring Busta Rhymes. Its basically a play-by-play/apology to Dr. Dre of the Game's tumultuous/successful year. It is a slick premise and is hard to ignore. The Kanye West (another classic 16 bars) assisted criticism of video vixens, "Wouldn't Get Far", has an infectious chorus and could be a future single.

Conclusion, "The Doctor's Advocate" probably won't replicate the sales of "The Documentary", but should cement The Game as one of best lyrically in commercial hip-hop. Though it lacks Dr. Dre's watchful eye, it appears The Game has learned a thing or two from his mentor when it comes to making a good album.

My favorite track:

The Doctor's Advocate ft Busta Rhymes

Bonnaroo 2007

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has just released an amazing initial lineup for this summer's event. I've never been, but it looks like it would be a good time. It takes place June 14-17 in Manchester, TN on some farmland where you camp and see a lot of great artists. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 23 and start at $184.50 (not including $21.85 service charge and $10.00 shipping charge).

A few of the artists:
-The Police, The White Stripes, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Franz Ferdinand, Damien Rice, The Decemberists, Kings of Leon, Hot Chip, Lily Allen, Cold War Kids, Paolo Nutini, The Little Ones...Bonnaroo Initial Lineup

Also...the first single from the Kings Of Leon's next album "On Call"

Kings Of Leon - On Call

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Timbo the King

Fresh off a Producer of the Year Grammy snub, super-producer Timbaland is ready to unleash his second solo album this March. Timbaland Presents...Shock Value is scheduled for release on March 27th and boasts a genre-crossing lineup of Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, The Hives, Fall Out Boy, Nelly Furtado and Elton John(what?). Below is the 1st single, "Give It To Me" featuring Nelly Furtado & JT,which should be burning through the charts as I write this. As a bonus, one of my favorites from Timbaland's 1st solo album, "Who Am I" featuring a then unknown, Twista.

Give It To Me ft Nelly Furtado & Twista

Who Am I ft Twista

Monday, February 12, 2007

Start Me Up

I'm not really sure what I am going to do with this space yet. In the future, I'd like it to be a place where I can post new music (hip hop, indie, and anything new I pick up), reviews and insights. We'll see how it goes, but it should be interesting...

For now, here are a couple of links:

The first to the new Maximo Park song, "Our Velocity". A band that promises to deliver a new album this summer. They have the unusual but pleasant distinction of changing the chorus of a song at the end of the song (sometimes the last :30 seconds are the best part).

The next is to about to be a huge hit and you have probably heard it already. Its called "Flathead", by the Fratelli's and it might sound familiar because you have heard it on the latest i-pod ads. It comes off the EP, titled "Costello Music". I expect this band to blow up in '07 as they already have a huge fan base in their native home in the U.K. Enjoy.....

Maximo Park-Our Velocity

The Fratellis-Flathead