Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Behind The Sample: Michael Jackson - 'Behind The Mask'

Like many children of the '80s, I grew up idolizing Michael Jackson. In fact, some of the earliest surviving VHS footage from my youth showcases my attempts at the moonwalk.

Despite many of his later accusations and odd behaviors, Jackson's early influence on my own musical upbringing always remained, so I was taken aback when I heard of his passing. To his fans, it was the end of an era.

Naturally, I was a bit hesitant to embrace Jackson's latest "album", Michael -- a collection of unfinished songs recorded by Jackson and delivered posthumously by several producers on behalf of his estate.

While it's hard to say from an outside perspective whether the album stays true to Jackson's meticulous and perfectionist vision, it is obvious that the producers worked hard to make this collection sound like a complete album. And while it may not always meet the insurmountable expectations of mourning fans, it does have some outstanding moments.

I would even go so far as to suggest that a few of the tracks on Michael are among Jackson's best in years.

One particular track which has quickly become an album favorite of mine is called "Behind the Mask." The song is refreshingly full of the energy and danceability that originally earned Jackson his throne as the King of Pop.

According to one Metafilter blog, "Behind the Mask" has been long-awaited by his fans - a song that's been sitting on the shelf since Jackson's time working with producer Quincy Jones and possibly recorded as far back as his Off The Wall or Thriller days.

You can listen to Michael Jackson's "Behind the Mask" below: *

What I didn't realize when I first heard "Behind the Mask" was that it is essentially a reinvention of another song by the same title by Yellow Magic Orchestra.

The original version was recorded in 1979 by the influential Japanese group, who are often credited as pioneers of modern electronic music.

Stream Yellow Magic Orchestra's original version below:

Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind the Mask .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

You may immediately notice that Jackson's version of the song retained the otherworldly keyboards and robotic vocals of the original, while ramping up the dance rhythms. But it's once MJ takes control with his signature vocals that the song cruises into hyperdrive.

After hearing Jackson's contribution, one might wonder how the original melody was ever conceived without him in mind.

But there's more to this story...

Jackson's recording never made it to album form until now. What is interesting is that the song was re-recorded by Jackson's keyboardist, Greg Phillinganes.

Phillinganes joined Eric Clapton's band and the song "Behind the Mask" was then released on Clapton's 1986 album,

Don't believe me? Stream Eric Clapton's version of the song below to hear for yourself:

Eric Clapton - Behind The Mask .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

* (The Michael album credits "Behind the Mask" songwriting to Jackson, Chris Mosdell and Ryuichi Sakamoto (of YMO), with production by Jackson and John McClain.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Deadmau5 - 'Ghosts N Stuff'

Deadmau5 may be best known for his distorted Mickey Mouse visual alias that serves as a logo on many of his album covers.  He's also notable for his sweet beats as well.

Watch the video for 'Ghosts N Stuff' below:

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tame Impala - 'Solitude is Bliss'

The band is Tame Impala. The song is 'Solitude is Bliss.'  It's some great stuff.

Watch the video below:

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - '40 Day Dream'

This isn't the first time we've featured an Edward Sharpe song from the band's album, Up From Below.  This time, we have '40 Day Dream,' a song that summons the tenderness of Journey's 'Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.'

In our last post about the band, reader "Sean" mentioned that Edward Sharpe put on a great live show, so what better way to demonstrate '40 Day Dream' than to feature one the band's live performances?  In fact, this live performance contains the same dynamism as the studio cut does.

Watch '40 Day Dream [Live]' below:

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plain White T's - 'Welcome to Mystery'

Yes, this is the same band that sang 'Hey There Delilah.'

Plain White T's are back with a track that is more sophisticated, more nuanced, and more mature than their original single that first put them on the pop music map.

Stream 'Welcome to Mystery' below:

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Go! Team - 'T.O.R.N.A.D.O'

There isn't a whole lot to say about this song, other than it is completely awesome.  The samples are dope, and the energy level is through the roof.

Stream 'T.O.R.N.A.D.O.' by The Go! Team below:

 The Go! Team - T.O.R.N.A.D.O. .mp3

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Young the Giant - 'My Body'

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Young the Giant has released an infectious, anthem-ready track in 'My Body.'  The song is a romp-stomp of a rock single that entices even the most bashful to start nodding their heads and to pump their fists.

Stream 'My Body' below:

Young the Giant -  'My Body'

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peter Murphy - 'Cuts You Up'

In 1990, Bauhaus lead singer, Peter Murphy, released his third solo disc, Deep.  Unlike his previous two solo albums, Deep was thrust into the Billboard charts due to the surprise success of its key single, 'Cuts You Up.'  Indeed, 'Cuts You Up' spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard modern rock charts in America.

'Cuts You Up' is one of my favorite alt rock tracks from the nineties.  It is a strategic pairing of R.E.M.-jangle pop with the glam antics of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.

Watch the video for 'Cuts You Up' below:

(As an added bonus, check out the video at the 1:09 mark.  Gotta love the deliberate head shake from shadow to light).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bag Raiders - 'Way Back Home'

Electro-pop duo, Bag Raiders, released single 'Way Back Home' a few months ago here in the States.  The group's sound bears resemblances to Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, as the chorus of 'Way Back Home' presents a softer goth appeal.

Stream 'Way Back Home' below:

 Bag Raiders - Way Back Home .mp3

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kent - 'The King is Dead (Kungen Är Död)'

Kent may have formed in Sweden more than two decades ago, but I must concede that it wasn't until today that I really knew much about them.

Indie-pop heroes in their native Scandinavia, Kent never caught on as much in the United States, and were often dismissed as sappy Radiohead copycats.

In 2000, the band released the much more critically-acclaimed Hagnesta Hill, which featured the lead-off track, "Kungen Är Död" - Swedish for "The King is Dead."

The song starts with trademark '90s alternative guitar and builds into sinuous waves of fuzz. In particular, the distorted riffs behind the melodic chorus make for a standout track on "The King is Dead."

You can stream the song below:

To hear the original Swedish version of "Kungen Är Död", click here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Malpractice - 'Boss Stallion'

I couldn't find much information on The Malpractice, other than the fact the group is from Denmark.

Otherwise, the band's latest single, 'Boss Stallion,' is a danceable, electro-rock caper that is undeniably catchy.

Watch the video for 'Boss Stallion' below:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Middle Class Rut - 'New Low'

Middle Class Rut has been blistering the airwaves with the captivating 'New Low.'

With a methodical rhythmic structure, the tune is slightly haunting whilst all the while maintaining a healthy pop rationale.

Stream 'New Low' below:

Middle Class Rut - 'New Low'

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Birds of Tokyo - 'The Saddest Thing I Know'

I randomly heard 'The Saddest Thing I Know' on the Music Choice alternative music station the other day, and I was instantly hooked.

Penned by Australian group Birds of Tokyo, 'The Saddest Thing I Know' takes a little while to build up to its rockin' parts, but once it does, the chorus hits the listener with a wallop of energy and a bangin' anthem.

Stream 'The Saddest Thing I Know' below:

Birds of Tokyo - 'The Saddest Thing I Know'

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lostprophets - 'For He's a Jolly Good Felon'

Several years ago, Lostprophets was one of my favorite bands  on the move.  Then, suddenly, the group seemed to disappear from my radar.

Unbeknownst to me until now, Lostprophets released a new album in March of this year.  One of the singles from the album is cleverly titled, 'For He's a Jolly Good Felon.'  The tune is really not too bad, and it's a shame the song hasn't received more exposure.

Watch the video for 'For He's a Jolly Good Felon' below:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Foals - 'Total Life Forever'

David Byrne's influence bleeds through on Foals' 'Total Life Forever.'  It's slightly disjointed, features prominent variation in volume, and carries itself forward with a strong sense of vocals.

Stream 'Total Life Forever' below:

 Foals - Total Life Forever .mp3

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dead Confederate - 'Giving It All Away'

Despite the band's namesake, Dead Confederate's 'Giving It All Away' has very little to do with Southern Rock.  Instead, it harnesses the languid notes of nineties alternative rock, culminating in a fluid, audible concoction.

Watch the intriguing video for 'Giving It All Away' below:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fences - 'Girls with Accents'

Fences is the moniker for artist Chris Mansfield.  Discovered in Seattle by Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara, Mansfield was convinced by Quin to record his studio debut in her Vancouver studio.

Watch the video for the first single from Fences, 'Girls with Accents,' below:

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Ra Ra Riot - 'Boy'

Sometimes a more palatable version of Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot doesn't insert quite as much quirk or sonic aberration in its recordings as the former tends to.

'Boy' fits within this framework and ends up being a quite likable song.

Stream 'Boy' below:

 Ra Ra Riot - Boy .mp3

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Waterboys - 'The Pan Within'

The Waterboys are a long-standing British band that gained a foothold in the early '80s with their melodic rock and philosophical, literary knowledge.

Released on the band's 1985 album, This is the Sea, "The Pan Within" is an alternative rock epic full of piano, violin and (what I assume to be) a pan flute.

A couple listens to this song may find you wanting to run dramatically through the fields and become one with nature.

This is fitting, because Pan was known in Greek mythology as the goat-legged god of the pasture - shepherds, flocks, wild nature, rustic music, sexual prowess - you name it.

Sound appealing? Listen below to release your inner Pan.

Waterboys - The Pan Within .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Monday, November 01, 2010

Arcade Fire - 'Suburban War'

The Suburbs is really something of an album.  'Suburban War' is prime as well.

With accents of introspection and solemn tonality, 'Suburban War' has a way of lightly pulling at your soul.

Stream 'Suburban War' below:

 Arcade Fire - Suburban War .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Hybrid

If you've ever heard the music of Welsh band Hybrid, you should get a sense for their name.

The band plays a mix of electronica and rock that is simultaneously edgy and delicate. Progressive dance beats and dark, cinematic rock are often the underpinnings for strong melodic arrangements.

The group, led by Mike Truman and Chris Healings, has released four proper albums in the last decade, as well as multiple remix albums and singles. The band is known best for remixing the songs of other prominent artists, including Radiohead and U2; however, their work has also been featured in film and television for years.

For Hybrid's 2010 album, Disappear Here, the duo expanded to include the songwriting talents of Charlotte James. James' fragile vocals add an emotional element to the trance and techno roots of the band and often act to contrast the Prodigy-like shouts of her male counterparts. On "Salt" - one of my favorite album tracks - James' bewitching voice echoes over layers of jungle rhythms.

In addition, the group worked with Andrew Skeet and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra to create the rich tonal textures of the album.

The songs, which typically clock in above 5 minutes apiece, are sprawling, yet possess the lush pop sensibilities and structure shifts to avoid becoming wallpaper. On Disappear Here, the group seems to be working more comfortably as a "band" than ever before.

The end result is a midnight soundtrack of songs that are moody and atmospheric, sensual and complex, a la UNKLE or Massive Attack.

Below: Watch the brand new video for Hybrid's upcoming single and title track, "Disappear Here."

For more information on Hybrid, visit the band's official site, hybridsoundsystem.com

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - 'Vocal Chords'

To be honest, the only reason I gave Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. a chance in the first place was because of the band's intriguing name.  Not since Pearl Jam called themselves Mookie Blaylock have I wanted to give a band named after an athlete a chance, and I'm glad I did.

'Vocal Chords' implements the chamber pop harmonies popular of today, while maintaining a healthy doseage of the catchy hook here and there. 

Stream 'Vocal Chords' below:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Vocal Chords .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Social Network Original Score - 'In Motion'

Who knew watching computer nerds write computer code could be so intriguing?  In the Hollywood smash, The Social NetworkTrent Reznor and Atticus Ross score a pinnacle scene depicting actors doing just that.

And it works brilliantly.

Stream 'In Motion' via the Youtube stream below:

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Monday, October 25, 2010

**Contest** - Enter To Win A Signed Tote From Erin McCarley Today!

We've partnered with Stetson to give our valued readers a chance to win some signed merchandise from rising songstress, Erin McCarley.

According to her official website, McCarley draws from such lauded artists as Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, and Greg Laswell to produce her tender sound.

Recently, Erin recorded a cover of the Hank Williams classic, 'I Saw the Light,' in Nashville, Tennessee.  The result is a youthful and energetic interpretation of a time honored Country and Western staple.  You can watch the official video of this performance below:

If you are a fan of Erin McCarley's effervescent sound, be sure to enter our contest for a chance to win a tote signed by the artist herself!

Here are the rules:
  • Participants must have a United States mailing address.
  • Participants must be a natural person (not a business entity).
  • Enter the contest by sending an email to lonelynote@gmail.com.
  • Participants may only enter one time.
  • In the subject line, put the following text:  "Erin McCarley Contest."
  • The tenth (10th) person to send the email, as instructed above, will win the signed tote.
  • The winner will be notified by email, and the winner will be asked to provide their mailing address.
  • Once the winner's mailing address is received, it will be forwarded to our partner, and our partner will ship the signed tote to the winner.
  • The winner's mailing address will not be used by The Lonely Note for any other purpose than to ship the signed tote.
  • The Lonely Note reserves the right to end the contest at any time or to refuse to declare a winner of the contest should circumstances reasonably dictate as such.
  • The Lonely Note assumes no responsibility for the shipment of the signed tote.  
  • Contest offer is good only while supplies last.
We look forward to your participation, and we hope to continue to bring our readers more contests in the future!

***Update - Oct. 26:  The contest is closed.  We will be notifying the winner shortly.***

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twin Shadow - 'Castles in the Snow'

Congruent with the current Halloween season, 'Castles in the Snow' is a slightly menacing, neo-industrial track from Brooklyn's Twin Shadow.

If you find yourself listening to the deeper catalog of Gorillaz (see example here), you will likely enjoy 'Castles in the Snow.'

Stream the track below:

 Twin Shadow - Castles In The Snow .mp3
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Starsailor - 'In The Crossfire'

Somehow, I missed this one the first time around. I remember when Starsailor emerged, circa 2002 with their single, "Good Souls," but failed to really keep a pulse on their career after that.

So, when I first heard "In the Crossfire" a few days back, I thought to myself, "Hey, this new Starsailor song is pretty rockin'!"

What I didn't realize was the song was released back in 2006 on the band's third album, On the Outside.

The earnest lyrics and piano-driven Britpop of "In the Crossfire" are balanced well by the strength of the rhythm section. Singer/guitarist James Walsh's weary vocals often compare to those of The Verve's Richard Ashcroft, and Walsh hits some stellar high notes in the song's chorus.

If you haven't given Starsailor a spin in a while, this one's worth the time. Stream "In the Crossfire" below:

Starsailor - In The Crossfire .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rogue Wave - 'Lake Michigan'

2007's Asleep at Heaven's Gate may have received lukewarm reviews, but 'Lake Michigan' was a standout track of the album.

Jaunty and melancholy, 'Lake Michigan' is the perfect soundtrack to an episode of contemplation and deep thought.

Stream Rogue Wave's 'Lake Michigan' below:

 Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

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