Wait and See

Finding a new band or artist that you like is like getting an early Christmas present. So enjoy.

Concerts–Be in the Know

Obviously I love music, but nothing is better than being in the front row, watching your favorite band play your favorite song. Live music generates a feeling that is unlike anything else, and it brings me pain that I haven’t been to a concert since April. Yes, April.

If you live in Grand Rapids you know that the local music scene is quite lucrative–you just need to know how to tap into it. If you hate local music and want to know when other bands are coming to town, or in the near vicing, then check out Songkick.

A beautiful invention, Songkick allows you to plug in and ‘track’ all of your favorite bands and it will alert you to when they come to town, or in as many towns as you want. (I have Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor and East Lansing as well, since those are big towns for music.)

You can also track your bands by linking your account o Facebook or iTunes, and it automatically sinks your bands so you don’t have to do it manually. Then it will generate a calendar with all of the up coming shows.

All you have to do is buy a ticket and go!

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5 Songs You Need To Listen To

New music is something that there is so much of, always changing, sometimes fading into obscurity, but always there. Here are 5 songs that are worth listening to right at this very moment.

Tomorrow it might be different.

1) M83-Steve McQueen

Off of their upcoming album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming this song brings back the insane dance-y summer hot party vibe that their music is known for. I couldn’t find a version of the song that wasn’t live, but it gives you an idea of what the vibe at their concerts is like.

2) High Highs-Horses

A relatively new band,  this song comes from their new self-titled EP. It has a dreamy quality, something more suited to the upcoming winter months, something more melancholy and beautiful.

3) Feist-How Come You Never Go there

I’ve been listening to this song a lot on the way to work lately–I think it’s because it evokes such a soothing feeling from me, and also because her voice has such an ethereal quality; unique yes, but also like a mixture between Florence Welch and Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes.)

4) Glass Candy-Warm in the Winter

New age-y and completely fun this song combines summer, winter, and an electronic beat for cutesy sound that reminds me of M83 and Lady gaga.

5) ANR-It’s Around You

Okay, so this song isn’t necessarily new, but it IS something you should be listening to, because the addictiveness of this tune is lost on no one (except for everyone at my Halloween party who wanted me to change it to something “more dance-y, like Britney Spears, but they don’t count.)

Spotify-The Next Step

There are a great many ways to discover music online, as we know. Some sites operate by using a generator to hep you find music that may be similar to your own tastes, by creating a web and showing you which sounds are the most similar, and the ones that are further away. Other sites allow you to create online play lists, and find music uploaded by other users.

I’ve recently discovered Spotify, which bridges together a lot of different elements to create a new listening experience. It’s a software, akin to iTunes and Windows Media Player. It accesses your files from your computer, so they are available to listen to, but also allows you to stream music, either found by searching or looking through lists of popular songs.

It also links up with your Facebook account, and lets you share music with friends.

Now, I consider myself somewhat of a traditionalist, in that I have an iTunes library and not much else. I downloaded Spotify to see if I could access a song by M83 that i couldn’t access anywhere else.

It’s worth checking out, for lovers of all types of music.

Lovedrug-New and Improved?

I’ve been a longtime fan of Lovedrug, who seemingly fell of the radar in 2008 with the release of their third studio album The Sucker Punch Show. I’ve seen them twice in Grand Rapids, and they blew me away each time. However, I’d be lying if I said their recent releases have been stellar.

A classic example of their earlier, most amazing work, is the song that I initially fell in love with, “Blackout.” I promise you, it’s even more amazing live.

My lack of interest at their last two albums could stem from the fact that they replaced two of the original members, or because they worked with different producers, and experimented wit their sound.

Whatever the reason, I hope they are making a comeback (at least, in my eyes.) They have released two EP’s, and a third (Final EP III) to come out soon, all under the title “+/-.”

Here is the track getting the most buzz, “Dinosaur.” I haven’t decided my feelings on it yet, but check it out.

Halloween, Again

My love for Halloween has always been hit and miss…when I was younger I reveled in it, and then bottomed out somewhere around 16. However, I am afresh with respect for the holiday, even though I will be spending the actual holiday in classes and doing homework.

I thought I would share one of my favorite Halloween-ish songs, which features zombies (The new vampire.)

It’s from Sufjan Steven’s 2005 state-centered Illinoise, and the only track from the album that hints at a slight deviation from his usual sleepy folk tunes.

So, here’s “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!”

Coachella 2012?

Coachella is the elusive gem of music festivals I have yet to acquire. Hidden away in the arid desert that is Indio California, a hundred or so bands gather amidst the palm trees to put on a show for those fortunate enough to be there. It always falls in April during finals week, so this year is out, but Coachella 2013, get ready.

Every band you’ve ever liked has probably played Coachella. Okay maybe not, but if you’re me, this definitely rings true. Last year Arcade Fire, The National, Beach House and so many others played the festival. I might have wept a little.

The 2012 lineup won’t be released until January, but I can still speculate about who will be attending, even though I won’t be.

If you’re like me, and can’t make it, Youtube will stream the festival live, although it’s hardly a compensation.

The Naked and Famous

Maybe I’m a little behind, but I just discovered New Zealand band The Naked and Famous. The first song I heard may just be the catchiest song I’ve ever heard. It begs to be listened to in the summer, while driving on the coast (whichever coast that may be.) Also, you need to have to check all your worries and cares at the door. This song is for the carefree and young (at heart.)

Here is a session they did for KCRW’s “Wednesday’s Get Eclectic.”

It’s a great live session, so if you have 45 minutes, check it out. If not, I will leave you with the video for “Young Blood” and you can thank me later.

Halloween Playlist

Halloween is days away and if you’re the one planning the playlist for the party let me just tell you: “Thriller” is a must have, it’s true, but only once. If the party is at your house, then you can play whatever you want, which means you should check out this playlist from Aquarium Drunkard.

This is the seventh volume. Last year’s volume featured some great stuff from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grizzly Bear, Twin Shadows and others. This year’s is a throwback. All of the songs span from 1958-1966, and offer creepy vibes that may not get everybody dancing like Miley Cyrus, but will set the mood for your party.

Paucity

Time to Plug a local band from Grand Rapids. If you haven’t heard anything from Paucity, you’re missing out.

They’re four guys who play instrumental, electronic indie-rock, and whose sound seems familiar and unique in equal doses. You’ll find hints of Radiohead, and awesome guitar riffs.

A great track to listen to is “Lost and Found Dot Com” from their sophomore album DEER BIRD BEAR SHIP.

They have not dates currently listed for touring, but they’ve played shows in Detroit, Illinois, and most recently opened for Ra Ra Riot at the Pyramid Scheme  earlier this month.

If any upcoming shows surface, they will be posted, but for now, check out their Myspace page (linked to above) and enjoy some mellow treats.

Lana DelRey

I started following “Poking Smot” on Facebook, it’s a blog that updates daily with different videos and songs. They don’t follow a specific genre, so it’s a grab bag with what you’re going to post.  Despite the name, they actually deliver the goods. Today I scrolled through and landed on this gem from Lana Delrey titled “Video Games.”

I generally enjoy slower music, and this had such an ethereal, melancholy 60’s vibe, and DelRey’s voice is not unlike Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine–haunting, but soulful.

The video, included here, further commits to the 60’s feel with DelRey’s Brigitte Bardot inspired hairdo, and the old film clips.

Poking Smot has also included a remix of the song, which is excellent and worth a listen.