Monday, 30 April 2012

Track of the Day: Waiting In Vain - Bob Marley

"So don't treat me like a puppet on a string" sings Bob Marley, in what I feel to be one of his more underrated tracks (if you can even call it underrated, maybe less played would be more appropriate).  Waiting In Vain is a beautiful love song with simple, yet emotionally direct lyrics, that are complimented with reggae beats and a lingering guitar solo.

Friday, 27 April 2012

John Mayer - Shadow Days Music Video

The official music video for John Mayer's Shadow Days was released today.  I feel it is an honest reflection of the song - the images and overall direction of the video work well with the lyrics and instrumentation.  I have found some of Mayer's previous videos to be forced and unnatural in places, but he genuinely seems to be in his element in Shadow Days.  I like it almost as much as the Clarity video.

Counting down the days to Born and Raised!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tommy Marth

I'm very sad to hear today that Tommy Marth, saxophone player with The Killers, has died aged 33.

Marth played on The Killers' 2006 album Sam's Town and it's 2008 follow-up Day & Age.  He also toured with the band in 2008 and 2009, and features in the live line-up on the Live from the Royal Albert Hall dvd, released in 2009.

The Killers have paid tribute to Marth, writing on Twitter: "Last night we lost our friend Thomas Marth. Our prayers are with his family.  There's a light missing in Las Vegas tonight.  Travel well, Tommy."

This is such devastating news.  Day & Age is my favourite Killers album, mainly because I love how much saxophone is featured on many of the tracks.
The songs on this album are great anyway, but the sax really enhances the production, and also marked a new sound for The Killers.  I was fortunate enough to see many of the live shows from the Day & Age era, and thought Marth was a fantastic addition to the live line-up.

Here is my favourite version of Joyride with Marth on sax, which features on the Live from the Royal Albert Hall dvd.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Track of the Day: Release Me - Jack's Mannequin

Release Me is my favourite track off Jack's Mannequin's latest album People & Things.  The track is fast paced from start to finish, with thudding keys and jolting guitar.  Structurally, the song is solid too - Andrew McMahon's lyrics of "My fuse is set, I'm pressing go / Your match is lit, but it's burning slow", create the perfect bridge, making way for a powerful chorus.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Music in the Digital Age

The way in which we obtain and listen to music has changed drastically over the past decade or so.  Thanks to digital music stores such as iTunes (as well as illegal file sharing sites), a fair majority of us are now downloading our music online.
Purchasing music digitally is very convenient, as we can have music in a matter of minutes and often at a cheaper price than buying it from high street music stores.
Purchasing digitally also means we can be more selective and precise by ordering one or two tracks instead of an entire album.  In addition to all of this, many music fans are discovering artists and bands online, either through recommendations based on their browsing and purchasing history, or through music reviews written by fellow music lovers.

However, the boom in digital music has of course led to a major drop in physical album sales, in turn resulting in the closure of many high street music retailers.
This is clearly a major drawback for the music industry, though it could be argued that digital stores such as iTunes, have saved the music industry from the affects of the mass of illegal file sharing sites.

I think another consequence of the rise in digital music is that the relevance of the physical cd and it's artwork is now often sadly overlooked.  Obviously, the quality of music is always the most important aspect of any album, but artwork is also an influential feature and is a reflection of the artist or band who created the album.
Below, I have included a selection of iconic album artwork, from some equally iconic musicians.



Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Track of the Day: Paris Is Burning - Ladyhawke

Influenced by 80's electro pop, Paris Is Burning is the standout track from Ladyhawke's self titled debut album.  Stomping beats and a heavy bass line are complimented by breathy vocals telling us that "Paris is screaming all night long".
Chanting vocals of "I've lost my way, it's hard to find it through / I see the night, but lost all sight of you", complete with raging guitars are a thrilling addition to an already infectious dance song.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Track of the Day: From My Windowsill - The Silver Seas

Featured on the Nashville band's third album Chateau Revenge, From My Windowsill is a wonderfully sublime track with lyrics to match.  "And the taxis are rolling by / And the girls dressed in the latest styles / From the station to the concrete sky / There's no sign of heartbreak for miles and miles" sings lead singer Daniel Tashian, accompanied by backing vocals so melodic, you'll find yourself singing them all day.  My favourite part of the song is the middle 8, in which strings effortlessly layer progressive drums, making way for a beautiful guitar solo.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Upcoming Release: Born and Raised - John Mayer

John Mayer's fifth studio album Born and Raised is to be released on 22 May.
The follow up to 2009's Battle Studies is largely based on a country genre, and this is very much reflected in the first single taken from the album - Shadow Days.
As a huge mayer fan, I have heard many of the tracks from live recordings and can't wait to hear what the final studio versions will sound like.  My favourite so far is Something Like Olivia, and I am beyond excited to hear the final recording of this track when the album is released.

Another point of discussion is the album artwork.  I was shocked when I first saw it, as it is so different from previous album covers.  However this is not a bad thing; Mayer is an artist who is evolving musically with each album, and this artwork is a strong indication of his musical growth.

Track of the Day: Comeback (Light Therapy) - Josh Rouse

Taken from Josh Rouse's fourth studio album 1972, Comeback (Light Therapy) has an irresistible drum beat that draws the listener in from the start.  Lyrically, he is at his best on this track; "The sun is gonna shine in June / The doctor says I'll feel better soon / Fills my vitamin D pills / He hands me the big bill" sings Rouse, accompanied by grooving horns which climax into an equally addictive chorus.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Love is a Four letter Word: Jason Mraz new album and world tour

I'm super excited for Jason Mraz's fourth studio album Love is a Four Letter Word, which is released in the UK on the 16th and in the US on the 17th April.
Other than the first single, I Won't Give Up and The Freedom Song (from the Life Is Good EP), I have avoided listening to any recordings or previews of the songs as I want to wait to hear the completed studio versions.  I really enjoyed the new tracks on the Life Is Good EP; if these songs are an indication of what's to come on Love is a Four Letter Word, fans should be excited.

Last week Mraz announced a world tour, which kicks off on 8 June in South Korea, and runs right through to 1 December, with a date at London's o2 arena.

Tickets go on sale this week.  Click here for the full list of dates!

A perfect live dvd/cd: The Killers Live from the Royal Albert Hall

I watched this dvd for the first time in ages on Saturday night.  It's one of my favourite music dvd's and a must have for any Killers fan.  The accompanying cd of live tracks is also a bonus (wish all bands would do this!)  Anyway, here is a review I wrote for this dvd, around the time of it's release in November 2009 - 

The Killers Live From The Royal Albert Hall is a fantastic live dvd and cd compiled from the Las Vegas band's two night stand at London's Royal Albert Hall on the 5th and 6th July 2009.  The dvd is largely based around their Day & Age album but also features a generous amount of material from their previous albums; Hot Fuss, Sam's Town and the rarities album Sawdust. 

I was lucky enough to be at this concert, so watching this dvd brought back memories from a truly spectacular night.  The band are on top form and Brandon Flowers appears to be in his element, delivering a charismatic performance, with great stage presence and impressive vocals throughout.  Some of the performance highlights for me include This Is Your Life, Joy Ride, Read My Mind and A Dustland Fairytale (during which Flowers strides into the crowd to join in with a fan sing-a-long).  Other highlights include a spine tingling acoustic rendition of Sam's Town, the anthem like All These Things That I've Done and the stunning I Can't Stay, in which Flowers' strong vocals are particularly evident.  Although the dvd centres mostly around the Day & Age album, the setlist provides a varied mixture of tracks from previous albums, including fan favourites Mr Brightside and Somebody Told Me.  My one and only gripe (if you can call it that) with the setlist is that I wish they had of played Neon Tiger as it is my favourite track from the Day & Age album, and it sounds brilliant played live.

On a side note, I love how the dvd is filmed and directed.  The camera following the band as they leave and return to the stage for the encore, complete with backstage shots gives the dvd a real documentary style feel, and makes the viewer feel like they are part of the action.

Dvd extras include performances from various festivals and a behind-the-scenes documentary with interviews from crew and fans.  Whilst the documentary makes for a fascinating watch, it would have been nice to have included an interview with the band themselves.

Overall, Live From The Royal Albert Hall is a thoroughly enjoyable watch from start to finish and is a must have for any fan.  The setlist is fantastic, the band show strong chemistry and musicianship and Flowers is a truly charismatic, talented frontman.  This is the first live dvd/cd from The Killers, hopefully we won't have to wait too long for the next one.