Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phoenix - 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the latest offering from the French band Phoenix. Rather than writing a full-scale review on this amazing new disc, I think it's much better to listen to it yourself.

Below is a sampling of the entire disc. They are in 30-second increments on this site, but if you click on the "play full song" link within the widget, it will take you to the host
iMeem page where you can stream all songs in their entirety for free. Some of my favorites are '1901,' 'Lasso' and 'Rome.'

Stream below:

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Behind The Sample: 'Summer in the City'

"Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty"

Chances are, you've heard those lyrics before. They belong to none other than The Lovin' Spoonful's 1966 hit, "Summer in the City."

The single jumped to #1 on the Billboard charts, and has since gone down in the classic rock history books for its signature keyboard and organ structure.

You probably already know that the single was a big hit and that it's still played regularly on classic rock radio. You may even recall cover versions of the song by BB King and Joe Cocker. What you might not have known is the influence it has had as a sample in popular music.

In 1973, legendary producer/songwriter Quincy Jones did a smooth-jazz interpretation of "Summer in the City," which emphasized the keyboard/organ interplay of the original.

Jones' seminal take on "Summer in the City" was able to cross over into future generations when hip-hop wordsmiths, The Pharcyde, broke onto the rap scene in 1992 with their iconic single, "Passin' Me By."

The song, recounting boyhood crushes and heartbreak, was built on a recognizable sample of "Summer in the City," as well as The Weather Report's "125th Street Congress," and Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?"

Three years later, Jones' cover was the basis for the Nightmares on Wax trip-hop/electronica song, "Nights Introlude," from its 1995 album, Smokers Delight.

In 1998, Massive Attack furthered the sample's use in trip-hop with limited use in the song, "Exchange."

But as if that wasn't already enough evidence of the sample's popularity...

Joe, a popular R&B singer, had a #1 single in 2001 with the remix of his track, "Stutter." The song finds the singer calling out his girlfriend for lying over an affair. Beyond the familiar keyboard loop itself, one recognizably stuttered lyric is, "My dear, my dear, my dear, you do not know me, but I know you very well, now let me tell you that I c-c-c-c-caught you."

Joe - "Stutter (remix, feat. Mystikal)"

Sound familiar? If not, listen again to that last verse of The Pharcyde's, "Passin' Me By."

At one point, The Pharcyde's lyrics speak of a love letter that reads, "My dear, my dear, my dear, you do not know me but I know you very well, now let me tell you about the feelings I have for you..."

Hmm. So, I suppose this would mean that Joe's best hook is based off of The Pharcyde's hook, which is based off of Quincy Jones' hook from his song which covers a classic rock single by The Lovin' Spoonful, who were influenced by the British Invasion movement in the 1960s. Interesting.

It is a test to just how far a good musical idea can reach. A well-written song can recur and be interpreted through generations of new musicians.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Squeeze - 'Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)'

'Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)' was the second single released from Squeeze's Argybargy. Despite both its quirky title and somewhat unorthodox song structure, 'Pulling Mussels' is rather infectious. Indeed, it is a must-have for any New Wave audiophile.

Stream 'Pulling Mussels' below:

Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) - Squeeze

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking Back Sunday - 'Sink Into Me'

When I first heard 'Sink Into Me' I couldn't believe it was by the very same band that had originally penned 'Cute without the E' only seven years earlier. 'Sink Into Me' sounded muscular, focused, and generally more mature than Taking Back Sunday's earlier work. But I guess that's what they call growing up.

Watch the video to Taking Back Sunday's new single from their forthcoming release, New Again, below:

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cash Cash - 'Party in Your Bedroom'

This song speaks for itself.

There's a party in your bedroom...all night long. Listen to it. Like it. Love it.

Stream Cash Cash's 'Party in Your Bedroom' below:

Party In Your Bedroom - Cash Cash

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Manchester Orchestra - 'I've Got Friends'

If you listen to only the first forty-five seconds of Manchester Orchestra's 'I've Got Friends,' you probably won't feel very intrigued. The innocuous intro sounds all too similar to the other dime-a-dozen, earthy indie bands that currently grace the underground music scene.

But 'I've Got Friends' isn't for the music listener with a brief attention span. Beyond the initial dormancy of the introduction, the song quickly splits into multiple layers. It cleverly juxtaposes the softs and louds, and the highs and lows. As the chorus breaks into its pleading scream, it is hard to realize that the gentle song you thought it originally was has so seamlessly morphed into the alluring anthem you find yourself passionately singing along to.

You can stream 'I've Got Friends' below:

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