Monday, April 30, 2007

Peter & Gordon - 'Lady Godiva'

Although one of the more obscure bands to come out of the British Invasion, Peter & Gordon are notable if only for being the first British act, after The Beatles, to take the number one spot in America. Incidentally, it was the duo's performance of the previously unrecorded Lennon/McCartney composition, 'A World Without Love,' that garnered the much coveted top slot on the American charts.

When the group formed in 1963, duo member Peter Asher's sister, Jane Asher, was dating McCartney at the time. Such a connection would provide much of the artistic capital necessary to launch Peter & Gordon across the Atlantic and onto regular radio airplay. However, in light of such a powerful association with The Beatles, Peter & Gordon were unique in their own right, often employing a more acoustic approach to the popular Merseybeat songs of their time.

In 1967, as the band's popularity was surely waning, Peter & Gordon released 'Lady Godiva,' a carefree bubblegum single featuring brass, horns and most importantly, a sense of humor. Set in a style similar to 'Yellow Submarine', the band continued to maintain their deliberate closeness to the sound of The Beatles. But a year later, even that tactic grew stale as the two members split up in 1968.

Listen to 'Lady Godiva' below:

New Songs This Week (20)
Get Up Lyrics
Ja Rule
Grace Kelly Lyrics
Soft, Pale And Pure Lyrics
The Honorary Title
First Time Lyrics
Umbrella Lyrics
Lo Bueno Tiene Un Final Lyrics
Nelly Furtado
I'll Stand By You Lyrics
Carrie Underwood
Lock You Down Lyrics
Boyz Lyrics
Given Up Lyrics
Linkin Park

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Arctic Monkeys bring 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' to US

From NME:

Arctic Monkeys performed a stellar set this evening (April 27) at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

Sheffield four-piece took to the stage at 6:25pm as the sun was setting over Coachella Valley, kicking off their performance with new single 'Brianstorm'.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

'Death Proof' Original Soundtrack

Quentin Tarantino's music selection is dead on in Death Proof, his shrine to 1970s exploitation films. True to Tarantino form, the soundtrack is diligently crafted, carefully plucking away at the AM gold of seventies soul and sixties mod. Pacific Gas and Electric makes an appearance, as does Eddie Floyd and T. Rex.

With feathered hair and vintage tees, the girls of Death Proof interact with the music in such beautiful ways that you are left completely shell shocked when, at one point in the movie, all you have left of them is a severed leg and the reverb of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich ringing in your skull. Never would one fathom that the boyish innocence of the British Invasion could provide the soundscape for such a chilling scene.

But in the end, it is that unthinkable bonding of the macabre with the unabashed debauchery of music that gives the stunning auteurism of QT its kick. While the touching melody of Joe Tex's voice may inspire most in the bar to reach out and dance with somebody, there are still those who are fueled to do something much more sinister. The songs of Death Proof are an excellent reflection of that very duality.

(As a sample, I've included 'Hold Tight' by the aforementioned DDDBMT below:)

New Songs This Week (9)
Large Pink Instruments Lyrics
The Honorary Title
I Will Be Lyrics
Avril Lavigne
Never Said Lyrics
The Honorary Title
I Don't Need A Man Lyrics
Pussycat Dolls
Second Chance Lyrics
Faber Drive
The Realest Lyrics
4 In The Morning Lyrics
Gwen Stefani
Soft, Pale And Pure Lyrics
The Honorary Title
Stuck At Sea Lyrics
The Honorary Title

Monday, April 23, 2007

Caught On Tape: Breakfast Club - "Right on Track"

Remember the Breakfast Club? No, I'm not talking about Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald, but rather the 80's musical group of the same name.

The majority of the music videos to come out of the 80s were over-the-top and cheesy, and thus, have struggled not to look severly dated over time. And yet, they are so representative of that time that we continue hold a special place for them in our hearts. This one is no different...

Although they didn't make the charts until 1987, the dance-pop group Breakfast Club had already been around for close to a decade. Madonna got her start playing drums in the band, whilst dating frontman Dan Gilroy, but soon left to pursue the solo career she is best known for.

According to Casey Kasem's American Top 40, Madonna met drummer Stephen Bray at one of her favorite Michigan dance clubs. He was, reportedly, the first guy she ever asked to buy her a drink. The two went on to date, and joined musically under the name Emmy before Madonna permanently went solo.

Bray then joined with Breakfast Club (yes, Madonna dated TWO guys in the band) through the rest of their career. He also went on to co-write and produce several of Madonna's biggest hits, including "Into the Groove" and "Express Yourself."

Despite Madonna's rise to superstardom, the band never really took off, and great singles such as "Rico Mambo" and "Right On Track" have been largely forgotten. "Right On Track," in particular, is a track which deserves to be at the crux of every great 80s dance party.

In the video for "Right On Track," Breakfast Club could easily pass for the house band on Pee-Wee's Playhouse. The room is so loud it hurts. The backup singers are dressed as chickens, squawking through the windows while the band jams along. The finale is by far the best part. Yes, you say. This really is a silly music video. But oh, oh so much fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Libertad Set For July Release

All I can say to this development is "Hell, Yes!" Velvet Revolver's long overdue second disc, Libertad, is slated to drop July 3. The first single will be 'She Builds Quick Machines' which includes "a kick-ass guitar riff, a great chorus, a really big bridge and a great Slash solo," according to bassist Duff McKagen.

Read the details here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Will Smith Album

Another album is in the works for the former Fresh Prince, along with a tour with sidekick Jazzy Jeff later this year.

Read the details here.

New Songs This Week (8)
Me And My Imagination Lyrics
Sophie Ellis Bextor
Still There For Me Lyrics
Corbin Bleu
In It For The Money Lyrics
Impacto Lyrics
Daddy Yankee
Make Some Noise Lyrics
Hannah Montana
I Wonder Lyrics
Kellie Pickler
Do You Know (Ping Pong Song) Lyrics
Enrique Iglesias
Hate That I Love You Lyrics

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pearl Jam head Lollapalooza 2007

Read the rest of the line-up here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Proclaimers Back on Top

In an unchanged top three on the new U.K. singles chart, Scottish brothers the Proclaimers' update of their own "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" (EMI), featuring comic characters Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin, started a third week at No. 1.

See who else is dominating the charts here.

New Songs This Week (13)
I Wonder Lyrics
Kellie Pickler
Make Some Noise Lyrics
Hannah Montana
Hate That I Love You Lyrics
Stranger Lyrics
Hilary Duff
Wonder Woman Lyrics
Trey Songz
I'm Throwed Lyrics
Paul Wall
Long Way To Go Lyrics
Cassie Steele
Sober Lyrics
Kelly Clarkson
Never Again Lyrics
Kelly Clarkson
Tambourine Lyrics
Earth Intruders Lyrics
What I've Done Lyrics
Linkin Park
Steam Lyrics
Nicole Scherzinger

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Concert Review: Naturally 7 at the University of Iowa's Memorial Union

To call Naturally 7 an impressive live performance would be a huge understatement. The deep thud of the kick drum is met with the thwack of the snare rolling off of the high hat. A funk-infused bassline meanders in smoothly with a cool patience. The keyboard and guitar react, while a turntable begins to scratch through to the surface.

Such a description could easily allude to any number of musical acts on the scene today. The exception is that this particular group doesn't have to haul any of these instruments along when they take the stage. Naturally 7 is an all-vocals band.
Thursday, March 29, the band stopped through for a free concert at the University of Iowa's Memorial Union Hawkeye Lounge. A mostly college-aged crowd of not more than a hundred filed into the venue – a small, but comfortable student lounge with couches, pool tables and a snack bar. The stage took up one third of the room. The performance could have brought down a stadium.

Seven men who formed together in New York City, Naturally 7 is a name which appeals to the nature of their sound – music as presented by the oldest human instrument, the voice. The group adamantly defies characterizations as a'cappella, a term which refers to singing without instruments. Naturally 7, on the other hand, use their voices as instruments – a style they call "vocal play." Not just beat-boxing, but wailing guitar licks, bellowing brass, and vibrant string arrangements. Every nuance is accounted for. The music needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Early in the show, the group performed their rendition of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings," a song which concluded in a winged formation, with one member kneeling at the center. The final note was crushed by a stunning whoosh of feathers.

Between songs, the group acquainted itself with the audience, and reassured the roles played by each of its members. Each of the men took turns stepping forward to solo his instrument of choice.

Brothers Roger "N'English" and Warren Thomas are the backbone, with Roger arranging much of the music, and acting as Master of Ceremonies, tenor, guitar, and brass. Warren T. is positioned in the background like a typical drummer, but his uncanny vocal percussion abilities deserve a stage of their own. As N'English put it, "People come up to me and say, I like your songs but it's not all vocals. I hear real drums on there. And I have to say, No man, that's my brother."

The rhythm section holds strong with the group's newest addition, bass vocalist Armand "Hops" Hutton. The member with slightest frame, Hops also possesses a voice that would make Barry White smile down from heaven. His first words of the night came as a deep "How's everyone doin’ tonight?" which was met by surprise from the crowd, who responded with applause and laughter. "Why don't I get that kind of reaction when I say that?" asked Jamal Reed jokingly.

Reed is a natural entertainer who soars with stage presence and screeching guitar solos. Reed carried a dead-on Stevie Wonder as he fronted one of the night's best songs, "What Is It? (Excuse Me)." One lyric poses, “Is it R&B, gospel, funk or pop?” Perhaps the song should be renamed to answer the ultimate question, "How'd they do that?"

Multi-talented and playful Rod Eldridge rips out turntable scratches, keyboards, guitar, strings and brass, while also pulling lead vocals. With the aid of his favorite gadget, a loop pedal, Eldridge was able to layer his vocals indefinitely into his own one-man band. Garfield "G-Buck" Buckley is equally versatile, sharing leads with a barrage of instrumentation including flute and harmonica.

Certainly not least is baritone lead vocalist, and yes...multi-faceted Dwight Stewart.
Stewart's impassioned lyrics on "Say You Love Me" were one of evening's major highlights.

Stewart's vocal abilities are also showcased in the group's latest single, "Feel it (In the Air Tonight)" A re-structured version of a Phil Collins classic, the song is currently a Top 10 track throughout parts of Europe, and has gained a U.S. underground following thanks to a well-received clip of the band singing on a crowded Paris subway.

Having toured Europe and developed a strong following, the group has yet to make it big in the states. The septet's new album Ready II Fly is already available overseas, but has yet to be picked up for a U.S. appearance. N'English mentioned the group was aiming at a Fall 2007 release date. After the performance, an optimistic Stewart remarked that the biggest factor in finding a release is letting record labels know what separates the group from the rest of the popular R&B music on the radio. As he reiterated, "They have to know up front it's just us they're hearing. All vocals. That's it right there."

The evening’s sound acoustics were presented in fantastic clarity. That night, the group’s sound technician deserved recognition as an 8th member.

After singing their hearts out for more than an hour, Naturally 7 stayed around to sign autographs and talk with the fans who had purchased albums at the front table. The group would be leaving Iowa and heading home to the East Coast briefly before making a trip back across the pond to tour.

For more information about the vocal play of Naturally 7, visit the band's website at

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Keith Richards Snorted His Father?!

Holy Crap! Keith Richards has admitted the "strangest thing" he's ever snorted was his father's ashes. Read the story here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

American Idol 6 = Sanjaya Malakar

Depending on whom you ask, this year's season of American Idol is either its worst or best. While its true that the talent quotient of this year's contestants may have fallen a little more on the lackluster side (save for Melinda and Lakisha), the judges and host Ryan Seacrest have provided viewers with enough of their typical side-stage antics to keep us laughing, reading the gossip columns, and ultimately, asking for more.

So what factor this season is so polarizing that viewers either love him or hate him? If you've missed it, his name is
Sanjaya Malakar, and his singing is pretty horrible.

Sanjaya made it past this year's try-outs earlier in the season with a clever combination of Tiger Beat cute, and shy, boyish charm. Early on, his singing was clearly better than the scores of other contestants around him, but as mass eliminations ensued, it became evident that Sanjaya's popularity had very little to do with his voice. In fact, the competition has since become defined by what wacky hairstyle and outfit he'll don next.

For those who view American Idol as a legitimate singing competition, it is obvious why many are disappointed with this year's season: Sanjaya continues to walk while other, more talented competitors fail to receive the votes they need to stay on the show.

So why, then, do people love the guy?

For tween girls ages 10-12, Sanjaya's appeal has everything to with his cuteness and his hair. No explanation needed. But for viewers who do not fall into that demographic, Sanjaya is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with American Idol. Sanjaya is an illustration of how the current vote-as-much-as-you-want from any phone in America isn't as much a reflection of a contestant's ability as much as it is of their folksy popularity with voters (sound familiar?). To echo past guest singing coach
Peter Noone: American Idol isn't a singing competition, it is a voting competition.

Groups everywhere from to listeners of Howard Stern have organized drives to vote for Sanjaya, all to expose the show's flaws while being able to enjoy the Court Jester of Song further embarrass himself for one more week. For them, Sanjaya serves as the revelation that the emperor has no clothes.

Honestly, Sanjaya's continued presence has provided this season with a much needed comedic detour. After all, one can only listen to talented sirens deliver flawless performances so much. And even as potential artists drop like flies in the wake of Sanjaya's vocal stench, it does prove a point that there is more than enough wrong with the show's voting system. (American Idol voting reform, anyone?)

However, at the end of the day, after all the singing is done, it should be noted that it was the judges and producers who originally put Sanjaya in the competition. Not Not Howard Stern. Not even the ten year old girls at home.

To Simon, Randy, and Paula: we love you (depending on whom you ask).

New Songs This Week (10)
What I've Done
Linkin Park
Nicole Scherzinger
Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)
Arms of my Baby
Joss Stone
When You're Gone
Avril Lavigne
Katharine McPhee
Lil' Love
Bone Thugs N Harmony
Freakum Dress
Beyonce Knowles
Makes Me Wonder
Maroon 5
Like This
Kelly Rowland