Category: Tunes

There is a pretty good chance that we like music you’ve never heard of, in addition to the classics that you love. Listen to what we’re listening to, it’s good for your ears.

The best music you’ve ever heard (by someone you actually know)

So this is where I briefly indulge in a little bit of shameless self-promotion.  As some of you (likely a very few) may know, February is the month during which The Wire (an indie newspaper based out of Portsmouth, NH) hosts the RPM Challenge.  The challenge is essentially this: you record and produce an album’s-worth (at least 10 songs and/or 35 minutes) of original music in the 28 days of February.  It’s not a contest and there are no “winners” or “prizes” (hence the use of the word “challenge” as opposed to, say, “contest”), and there is no enforcement on the time period outside of the Honor System, for the type of people – myself included – that still practice such things.  Nonetheless, the Challenge has built up quite a following since it’s inception in 2006, with just under 2000 bands/artists taking part this year alone.  That’s a lot of music, all independently produced.  The bigwigs at Warner Music Group are probably all grinding their teeth and pulling out their hair right about now, and rightly so!  Your Evil Empire cannot last forever….

As you may have inferred by now (and for those of you who know me and were wondering exactly what rock I’ve been hiding under for the last month or so), I participated in the Challenge this year, which happens to be my second year in a row doing so.  For those of you actually interested in such things (all five of you), you can hear both albums on my official RPM Jukebox page.  I recommend listening with a good pair of earmuff-style headphones (or an actual component stereo hi-fi system, if people other than me still have such things) for best sound reproduction and that “Pink Floyd-esque” experience – though I don’t claim my music is nearly as good or complex as Pink Floyd’s (blasphemy!).  Further, for those of you that are true connoisseurs (read “crazy enough to pay money for such a thing”), you can purchase this year’s album (and preview the amazing album artwork done by my lovely fiancée) here.  Now, before you get all uppity because I’ve seemingly just threatened your wallet with castration, consider these few points:  First off, it’s only $4, which is about what you spend on your quad grande lowfat caramel white mocha every morning – in other words, not that much, and a hell of a lot less calories.  Secondly, at five songs for $4, it’s cheaper than iTunes’ standard 99¢ per song, and you get an actual CD with jewel case and artwork, not just some crappy .m4a’s that are a real bitch to convert into non-proprietary format if you actually want to put them on your (non-Apple) digital media player.  Thirdly, I’ve got a wedding to finance this summer and I really need the cash, so have a heart already!  You wouldn’t stand between a man and true love, would you?  Would you?!

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

Now before this post devolves into complete and utter narcissism (too late, you say?), I’d like to take a minute and refer you guys to some other amazing music by someone you may actually know: namely, my brother Adam.  He’s the one that got me started on the whole RPM Challenge in the first place, having taken part in it every year since it’s been in existence.  He was actually going to the UNH in Durham, NH (just a hop, skip, and jump away from Portsmouth) when the Challenge got started, which means he knew about it before it was cool; I think that makes him like a Second Level Obscure Music Demigod or something to you hipsters.  Of course, I’m being facetious here; labeling and ranking things by their level of obscurity in pop culture is so un-hipsterlike…  Yeah.  Anyway, despite the fact that he’s my younger brother, and therefore inherently inferior to me in every way, his music totally blows me away.  You can find his more acoustically-minded music through his acoustichewy project, while his more electric/experimental stuff can be found via his on-again, off-again band, The Fringe.  Both projects are completely amazing and well worth the listen.

Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, I definitely recommend searching the jukebox archives.  There is TONS of music in there for just about every taste.  You’re bound to find something you enjoy.

So I guess that’s all I’ve got.  If you are totally awesome and have great taste in music, you’ll check it out.  If you’re complete losers and Philistines, you won’t and I’ll cry myself to sleep every night for a month like a true Tortured Artist.  Either way, it should be entertaining, yeah?

In defense of U2

I am going to stick my neck out there and offer an unpopular opinion, at least unpopular to speak aloud: I like U2. A lot.

No. I do not think they are not the greatest band ever. But they are pretty awesome. Feel free to disagree. That’s one reason music is so awesome, there is so much of it.

Whether you like them or not, you cannot deny that they are the biggest band in music right now, and have been for, oh, I don’t know 20 years. They sell out every show in every country. Their albums sell as fast as they can be made. They have 12 albums which have sold 180 million copies (60 million more, or so, than Dylan). That’s insane. More Grammys than anyone else.

Here are the 7 reasons I like U2:

  1. They are audacious – the most expensive, and most successful tour, ever – 7million+ tickets, 110 sold out shows and literally hundreds of semis to move it around
  2. The lyrics matter – drop the music and the words are still awesome.
  3. They stick to who they are – a little strange, and kind of out there sometimes, but they embrace it.
  4. The Edge – uses a different guitar on every song on stage; also, this
  5. Causes – all bands should have one, and support it, quietly
  6. Innovation – yes they stick to who they are, but they also innovate
  7. Producers – the band has worked with Eno and Danger Mouse, just to name a couple

In Record Stores This Week – 8/2

Looks like I am taking back over the New Music Tuesday posts. I’m fine with that.

It’s a pretty light week this week but there are a couple of note.

Fountains of Wayne – Sky Full of Holes

Sky Full of Holes

Probably not a “Stacey’s Mom” on here, but it’s good summer jams, and some decent rock.

O.A.R. – King

King (Deluxe)

O.A.R. is a jam band. They act like one. And they sound like one. More smart jams from them on this release.

That’s it this week, unless I missed something?

At the Record Store Today – June 7

First of all, how the hell is it JUNE?!

Second, some new music came out this week, though nothing to exciting (to me at least):

Dirty WorkSuck It and SeeGloss DropCovers 80's

All Time Low – Dirty Work

Jonesy told me I had to include this one. He has some sort of musical hard on for them. I’ll probably give it a listen later.

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See

It’s probably kind of weird, and the skinnier your jeans the more you’ll like it. But these guys rock and it’s probably worth a listen.

Battles – Gloss Drop

Smart and technical. Loud and refined.

Duncan Sheik – Covers 80’s

A band from the 90’s does songs from the 80’s – this sounds like a bad 00’s movie plot, right?

 

At the Record Store Today – May 31

Unlike last week this is a good week for music. First, however, I want to point out an error. There was another album last week which should have been included: Torches, by Foster the People. Everyone loves Pumped Up Kicks, and why wouldn’t you, it’s a great tune. But this album has more to offer than that. I highly recommend it.

Now, on to this week. It’s an eclectic week for sure. From perennial favorites to rockers turned ukulele players, here’s what I’m listening to this week:

Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys

Rock that is smarter than you, about things you probably understand well. No surprises here, just another great album from the guys from Bellingham.

Eddie Vedder – Ukulele Songs

A great album of mumbles and a tiny four string guitar. Who knew that this would work?

Flogging Molly – Speed of Darkness

Again, what you might expect. Loud, fast and mostly to do with drinking and fighting.

My Morning Jacket – Circuital

These guys kind of feel like this generations Pink Floyd. That continues on this album. It’s kind of epic.

At the Record Store Today – May 24

The only thing you’ll find at the record store today is bitterness, disappointment and a bunch of recycled pop music (Gaga, New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys and Glee). There is also a compilation of all the best Aerosmith ballads, but you probably already own them all (it’s for the American Idol fans out there). That’s it. It’s a bad Tuesday for new tunes, but next week is looking up!