Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007

Yeah, I'm officially an hour into 2007, as in my time zone, according to the computer clock on the taskbar. Hands up in the air! Cheers!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

May I wish you readers and fellow bloggers the best of joy, luck, and success! May it be the best year ever, with lots of good music to come! Whatever your resolutions are for this year, two thousand seven, I hope you will conquer them, effortlessly and triumphantly! And keep visiting my blog!

My resolutions, well, I post them at another place, but I'm really going for them this time.

First thing is to get my high-speed connection back.

P.S. The year-end lists will surface later this week. Hopefully.

New Year's Eve Mini Mix

I have this all planned out for the New Year's Eve. Then there goes the breakdown. So here I present you the mini mix, without the mp3 links. Such a shame because these songs are really quite good. Just so you know, there's nothing wrong with your computer because they're supposed to be unclickable. Well, I was able to track down a guilt-free, officially hosted mp3 of one song, from Death Cab For Cutie, so enjoy, and have a good year, everyone!

And all of these songs below coincidentally have the phrase 'New Year' in their titles. Neat.

Death Cab For Cutie - The New Year
Camera Obscura - Happy New Year
Asobi Seksu - New Years
Sarah Blasko - Planet New Year
The Breeders - New Year

Sugababes - New Year
ABBA - Happy New Year (can't leave this one out)

And then there's the warm-sounding 'Fireworks' by The Whitest Boy Alive. Its title is named after that big, vibrant, blasting, short-lasted thing we all most of us like to see up in the skies at this time of the year.

I'll use two lines of its lyrics to conclude this unnecessary post.

"Patience is just another word for getting old
Resolution just as impossible as letting go."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Uhm, bad news, guys...

Okay, so I've got bad news and good news. Which do you want to hear first?
Let's go with bad news first.
There was an earthquake in Taiwan, which lead to the slowdown of the broadband connection all across Asia. Most of the cable systems went kaput, and some websites are inaccessible.
So now the speed is like utter shit and it takes like forever to load a page. I'm barely hanging on. I want my internet back!
The good news is: it can take approximately a month for them to fix the problem >.< . So til then, I don't think it's likely I'll be able to upload anything new (let alone download something new). I'll try my best to post the year-end lists, but it doesn't seem as much fun reading them all without the bonus mp3s, does it?...sigh
It sucks hardcore, I know, but there's little I can do, beside babbling.

Such bullshit. Haven't I got enough of bullshit to cope with?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Zeon's Mixtape Vol. 3: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It's Christmas Day! Jollywoohoo!

So yes, I finally got it done. Consider that an accomplishment. Here I proudly present: Zeon's Mixtape Vol. 3! I save the best for last, so this collection of songs consist of my favorite, traditional and original, from most of my favorite artists & bands of different types of music, all served for one purpose: making you feel festive & all warm up inside, and appreciating the spirit at this time of the year. You can tell I've put quite much effort into making this, so I hope you will enjoy the mix as much as I do.
So what did you do last night? Hope it all went great. Me, I had a good time, had a little feast with my family, then watched The Night Before Christmas, and finally listened to Sufjan Stevens' 'Songs For Christmas' box set, which was awesome! Today, I planned to listen again to the seasonal cds of Sarah McLachlan, Aimee Mann, Diana Krall, that Ally McBeal cd and more! I can only take them out once a year, you know! The rest of the week, I'll be spending time writing year-end lists and listening to records I should have listened to a long time ago but didn't because of the lack of time etc. I want to make sure I won't miss out on anything good for my list. So it's like work and play merged into one.

Well, I'll babble no more and leave you with the tracklist. Download them fast, there's not much time left. Hope this mixtape will be the essential soundtrack to your holidays! Thanks for those loyal readers who visit the blog throughout the whole year. If I haven't stopped by your blog and said Merry Christmas, it's probably because I'm too busy/lazy...but I wish you all the best. Okay, here we go...





01 Sufjan Stevens - Put The Lights On The Tree
02 The Chipmunks - The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
03 The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
04 Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
05 Erlend Oye - Last Christmas
06 Fiona Apple - Frosty The Snowman
07 Jack Johnson - Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer
08 Barenaked Ladies - Snowman
09 Ivy - Christmas Time Is Here
10 Feist - Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming
11 Aimee Mann - The Christmas Song
12 Dido - Chrismas Day
13 Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby
14 Diana Krall - Winter Wonderland
15 Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas
16 The Boy Least Likely To - Little Donkey
17 Travis - River
18 Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
19 Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan - Silent Night.mp3
20 Sarah McLachlan - Song For A Winter's Night



Save your time and download the whole mixtape in a zipped file.


That's all for now. Comment if you'd like to let me know what you think about the mix...Be on the look out for my getting listy! There will be a New Year-themed mini mix, too.

P.S.: R.I.P. James Brown.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

About The UK Christmas No. 1s...


Apparently, I'm suffering an illness only ocurred at this time of the year called 'Christmas Laziness', so remember that lovely mixtape I keep telling you about? It still, uhm, needs some finishing touch. So I say first thing to do tomorrow morning is to upload it for you guys. You will still listen to festive music on December 25th, won't you? You will.

So this is the night before Christmas and I'm wishing you all a happy holiday and a happy new year! Merry merry Christmas! (actually I was gonna say something less cliched but I'm lazy like that)

In the meantime, you might want to head to ANABlog for they have two amazing posts up. One has all the mp3s of the UK Xmas no. 1s ever since the beginning of the chart, and one has all the mp3s of the contenders for this year's Xmas No. 1, so run over there and feel festive!

Update: Leona Lewis has officially become a little richer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Zeon's All-Star Christmas Mini Mix - Indie Edition


Okay, so this is the last part of my Christmas mini mixes. This time, it's all indie goodness, so if you'd like something a little bit offbeat, left-field for Christmas songs then go for it. Hope you've enjoyed the mixes I put up.
So 4 days til Christmas Day then. It seemed like yesterday that I was looking forward to 2006...
I'll try to upload the final full-length Christmas mixtape tomorrow or so, and then I'll get round to those 2006 best-of lists. So much hard work for my so-called holiday break, and I'm just behind of everything.

In the meantime, check out the festive tracks below...Have a holly jolly Christmas, y'all!

Grandaddy - Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland
Pete Yorn - Do They Know It's Christmas
Hem - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
The Format - Holly Jolly Christmas
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
Hello Saferide - iPod X Mas

Download the whole mix as a zipped file.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rock Central Plaza - Sexyback


Do we need another cover of SexyBack? Maybe we do. God, this song is getting all the cover attention it doesn't deserve. I mean, it's a good, not great song (though it does manage to get in your head for a while), but there are tons of better songs waiting to be covered out there, and this just seems to be the obvious ironic choice to go with.
Anyway, this cover of the Canadian indie rock band 'Rock Central Plaza' is pretty interesting. It's different from those that I've posted before. Way different. Let's say there's a country-twang feel to it. The guy's voice kinda sounds like drunk-pervy-stalker creepy. And I think there is a violin.

Now if I've got you all curious, here's a link so that you can have a listen to it:


Rock Central Plaza - SexyBack (Justin Timberlake Cover) (link via Pitchfork)


Visit their Myspace for more of their music

By the way, if you haven't read Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Songs of 2006, go there now. It's really quite a list. Ciara and Cassie's entries are higher than those of Beyoncé, Rihanna & Nelly Furtado. The Pipettes and Lily Allen scored two entries each. No Belle & Sebastian in sight (which is a crime). There's a pretty good chunk of electronica between those indie rock tracks. And considered this is Pitchfork, you'd never believe what their number one is. No, not TV On The Radio. Not Joanna Newsom. Clue: it's pop.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Zeon's All-Star Christmas Mini Mix - Punk Rock Edition


If you happen to be have a 'thing' for punk rock music, then you may want to celebrate your Christmas (if you want to celebrate it at all) in a punchier, grittier way than most people do, with riffs and drums and all.
Well, Zeon got it covered here at his blog. Normally, I wouldn't really get a kick out of listening to these bands, but it's the holiday season, and here they've done quite a good job of rocking up holiday songs, traditional and new. Good enough to make you nod your head and bodyrock to. So if this is your thing, feel free to try them out. If it is not, well, maybe give it a try? Rock on, dudes!

Next and Final edition: An Indie Christmas. And a nice mixtape coming after that.

Fall Out Boy - Yule Shoot Your Eye
My Chemical Romance - All I Want For Christmas Is You
Simple Plan - My Christmas List
The Finals - Last Christmas
Sugarcult - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town


One click and download the whole mix as a zipped file

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Pipettes Christmas Party!


The Pipettes Christmas party, polka-dot style! If you know them, you already know how their versions of Christmas songs sound like, so you're in for a treat. You might as well scroll down and grab them right now!
FYI, 'In The Bleak Mid-winter' was their first ever limited single given out in concerts back in 2004, when Julia was still in and Gwenno hadn't joined the group yet. Rare item, indeed.

The Pipettes - White Christmas
The Pipettes - In The Bleak Mid-winter

Bonus:
Monster Bobby is the guitarist of the The Cassettes, their backing band, he formed the group and wrote most of their songs. He will release his own record next year and his synth-pop rendition of 'Silent Night' is just up for free exclusively on Pitchfork Media. His sound is different to that of The Pipettes, though, but check it out if you'd like to! Keep pulling shapes!

Monster Bobby - Silent Night

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Zeon's All-Star Christmas Mini Mix - R&B Edition


Yay, 9 days away from Christmas Day! I should be more fast-paced with my festive posts etc...
So here's the second Christmas mini mix, this time it's all sweet R&B-infused versions of holiday songs for you. Hope you enjoy them all, take this mix with you when out shopping for gifts or whatever ways you can think of. Me, I've got myself a nifty online gift certificate, but I'm not sure whether to spend more on some good-looking T-shirts or some rare cds...

Next mix: Christmas goes punk rock.

Lauryn Hill - Little Drummer Boy
Macy Gray - Winter Wonderland
Destiny's Child - 8 Days Of Christmas
Ashanti - Hey Santa
TLC - Sleigh Ride
Toni Braxton - Christmas In Jamaica (feat. Shaggy)


Or save your time and just download the whole mix in a zipped file at one click...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Soundtrack: The OC Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks


Though not a big fan of the show itself, I've always been fascinated with the amount of amazing indie music being featured on the show. So far, many songs on the previous five volumes of the compilation series have made their endearing ways into my iTunes library, especially covers recorded the show like the stellar, better-than-the-original Jem cover of Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed' or Nada Surf's sweet remake of 'If You Leave'. So you know how excited I am when this mix 6's out. The idea here is to get indie bands covering indie songs, stripping them down in different ways. An idea like that would leave any fans curious, but in the end, things didn't quite work out to my expectations.
The point is, this is my least favorite of the series. So many missed opportunities. Most of the artists didn't seem whole-heartedly devoted to their jobs, and therefore didn't put much efforts into the covers. Most of them are just downright bland and mediocrely done. Like the cover of Super Furry Animals' 'Hello Sunshine' by Syd Matters that added nothing new to the original, or the disappointingly plain Lady Sovereign take on Sex Pistols' 'Pretty Vacant' which showcased little of her usual sass, and the alright cover of 'California' by Mates Of State (they've could done so much better). Am I seeing a sign of struggle here, fitting with the show's decrease in ratings?
However, there are a few highlights here that outshined the others. The best one has to be Goldspot's cover of Modest Mouse's 'Float On'. They took away the edginess and tossed in more light-heartedness to make the song more feel-good in an uplifting way. Now I'd tend to lean on to this version if I want to cheer myself up with the line 'And we all float on okay'. Also noticeable is the Tally Hall unique take on The Killers' 'Smile Like You Mean It', complete with some orchestration.
Too bad it's unlikely there's gonna be a mix 7. There might be, but next time, much less eagerness.


Goldspot - Float On (Modest Mouse Cover)
Tally Hall - Smile Like You Mean It (The Killers Cover)
Mates Of State - California (Phantom Planet Cover)
Syd Matters - Hello Sunshine (Super Furry Animals Cover)
Lady Sovereign - Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols Cover)

Buy the cd

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Zeon's All-Star Christmas Mini Mix: Pop Edition



Hope it's still not too late to make a few festive posts?
Okay, so for this Christmas, there's gonna be various Christmas mini-mixes to warm up your spirits, categorized by genres. The first one to come your way is a pop edition, then soon an R&B one will follow, then an Indie one, and possibly a Punk rock one. Then when the night before Christmas draws near, I'll add the finishing touch by posting a proper mixtape with my favorite songs (of course, just a way of saying, it's not like I'm gonna give you a cassette or anything).
To begin with, here's a collection of old and new holiday songs sung quite nicely by female pop artists. You may notice the absence of a male artist name. It's because I tried hard to find a relevant, decent version of a Christmas song by a decent contemporary male pop artist, but ended up empty-handed. Even considered including Clay Aiken, but then it wouldn't make much difference.
Anyway, enjoy the 6 tracks. Oh, and the honor of the catchiest new Christmas song goes to Aly & AJ, though their song is supposedly soundtracked to *cough* Santa Claus 3...

Aly & AJ - Greatest Time Of Year
Avril Lavigne And Chantal Kreviazuk - O Holy Night
Christina Aguilera - Have Yourself A Very Little Christmas
Kelly Clarkson - My Grown Up Christmas List
Kelly Clarkson - O Holy Night
Vanessa Carlton - Greensleeves

For those too lazy to click, I also uploaded a zipped file of the whole mix.
Zeon's All-Star Christmas Mini Mix: Pop Edition (RAR file)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Indietastic #4 - Leopold - Work


Sometimes, one click can bring about much. I was at Swedesplease to get a nice live version of The Cardigans' 'Don't Blame Your Daughter', and since I always consider Sweden to be the unstoppable great music importer, I got to the homepage to see if there's more to offer. Then all by chance, I stumbled across the Leopold post and decidedly gave them a chance by curiousity. I'm really glad I did. When I've got a feeling that a song's gonna be great just after its first 10 seconds, I can't be wrong. At least, I wasn't wrong this time. The song's just all that I like in an indie pop song. The first line of lyrics 'Don't wanna go to work, I just wanna have fun' got me good. Then the rest I can totally relate to ('that girl you never dare to talk to', 'crowds you don't walk through'). The arrangements are just so melancholy and lush with the piano and the guitars...This should be the kind of song you'd want to listen to when the alarm clock rings in 6 AM in the morning, and though you're about to have a long commute to work, you just sit there in your own bed, look at your toes and wonder about things you could be doing instead. I won't be surprised if one day it makes it to a volume of Grey's Anatomy/The OC soundtrack. Though I'm still in high school, there are times I feel that way, and on Thursday I'll have an important contest to enter, so far I've done little reviving all the things I've learnt. So under pressure. Wish me luck, you guys. Maybe cross your fingers for me, and if I do it well, I'll be so happy to award you with a good post or two this weekend!

Leopold - Work

By the way, their second album 'Friend For A Friend' is released in Sweden this week. Go here for more information about them or get to their MySpace to download three more songs.

Jerrica Benton Is Her Spy Name

Ooh, she's coming back with style, isn't she? It's nice to see it take a different, narrative approach rather than all those showy, typical r&b/hip-hop promo videos out there. The editing's a bit confusing, though, I had to watch it twice to get all the plot. She looks so stunning as an undercover sassy superspy that I'll forgive her for that little ugly night intruder wig she wore at the end. Mission accomplished, lady.



While we're at it, here's a new remix of her comeback single. New album won't be out til March.

Amerie - Take Control (Remix)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Soundtrack: Happy Feet


There are penguins. Really cute CGI penguins. Thousands of them. Tapping their feet on ice. No wonder why they beat Bond off the number one spot, for two weeks in a row. I myself don't even know what the plot really is about, and I'll probably end up seeing it (because I have to go to look after my little sister, of course!). I wouldn't mind, though, since these penguins have quite a good taste in music and pick such catchy songs to dance to.


The Brand New Heavies (feat. Jamalski) - Jump N' Move
Make it the one song if you were to pick just a track from the soundtrack album (there's also a new Prince song, but I'll pass that). I first heard it from the first theatrical trailer and had to say that it is an insanely catchy, upbeat reggae number. Just make me want to get up and, well, jump and move. Family-friendly music somehow sounds a whole lot of fun.

Brittany Murphy - Somebody To Love
Brittany Murphy's the next in the line of Hollywood actresses to pursue a serious music career, and so far she's made all the right choices. Look at her producer line-ups: Paul Oakenfold, Chris Cox, Max Martin, Timbaland...This girl's got more commerical potential than Scarlett. And it's a bless to know that she can actually sing (judging on her bombastic collab with Oakenfold 'Faster Kill Pussycat'). So I guess, in the meantime, while waiting for that debut to come out in 2007, we can listen to a bland Queen cover of 'Somebody To Love' instead. Not so painful to listen to, her voice is fine, but it's just nothing exciting.

Gia Farrell - Hit Me Up
Say hello to the next manufactured teen pop star, who paves her way into the hearts of Hannah Montana-watching, Hilary Duff-worshipping teenagers through the soundtrack of 'Happy Feets'. Good marketing move. Her image is kinda cheesy, bubbly, clean-cut, too Disney-ish and she said she sang "soulful pop", but I think they know what they're selling. This debut single is a bouncy, Radio-Disney-ready pop ditty, which for sure appeals to her target audience but for me, she's not the next 'JoJo' or anything. We'll see.


Buy the soundtrack

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Indietastic #3: Mates Of State - Like U Crazy



The same old typical routine happened to me. Band was in buzz, checked out a couple of songs, wasn't into them, put them aside. Then new video came out, hesitatingly gave them a second chance, and got surprisingly convinced. Though 'Like U Crazy' remained my only favorite song from them, I was grateful for it.

The song may sound a little overwhelming at first, but it should start seeping through your brain and get stuck in it the second time around.
First, the lush piano arrangements from start to finish is like a huge pool you want take a deep dive in. It builds up and maintains that nostalgic, bittersweet, '50s doo-wop vibe of the song. The vocals may sound a bit hectic, but once you get used to them, you may realize that they make the song sound unique that way. And the lyrics just go along so well with the melodies. Those catchy 'I I I like U crazy', and the soaring chorus are just perfect for singing along. They just sound so convincingly in love together (of course, since they're husbands and wives). If one day I decided to bring a CD player standing on the streets singing a song to proclaim my love for some lady on the balcony, and annoy the hell out of passers-by (though I'd never do that, so cheesy & clichéd), I'd sing over this one.

Mates Of State - Like U Crazy

Bonus points for the lo-fi, black & white, space Titanic-esque music video.



Buy the record

Coming Up:
I know I've been under the radar lately, but December's finally strolling down and therefore, there should be some proper Christmas music coverage, huh? I'm not sure what songs to choose, though, it seems everyone has posted what I have up my sleeve. Mixtape should be ready by mid-Dec, and some minimix will also surface each week. Also more Indietasticness, and I'd better start compiling those Best-Of lists before it's too late...

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day - December 1

Just a quick note.
Today is World AIDS Day.

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.

Just be smart, stay safe and stay alive, people.



For more information, visit World AIDS Day website, or add it to your MySpace. (Yeah, you can do that)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ghostface Killah feat. Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good


I knew she was up to something when this track is evidently more hip-hop-oriented than the rest on her sophomore effort. So a few days ago, the new version, which is a collab with Ghostface Killah, surfaced. Practically, it's just the same brassy, jazzy instrumental with new rap verses. Now I don't know if this is a planned one, or Ghostface Killah decided to weigh in his rhymes after being convinced by the finished track probably through Mark Ronson (since he's also a renowned hip-hop producer). Whatever happened, I think this new version is quite good, and Amy's voice blended naturally and refreshingly with the beats and the rap verses. Now this is an innovative hip-hop collaboration for artistic values.
Personally, I prefer 'You Know I'm No Good' to 'Rehab', and the whole album sounds astonishingly ace after a second listen. This boozy trainwreck woman really is a talent. Well done, indeed. You just secured a place in my top 20 albums of 2006. Now you can celebrate by boozing out in some winehouse...(that was easy)

Ghostface Killah feat. Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good


Buy 'Back To Black'

Faithless Collaborates With Dido and Cat Power


Socially conscious house music? Does that click for you? Not me, though. I've never been really interested in their music, and the closest they've come to a hit for me is their collaboration with Dido on 'One Step Too Far'.

So it provoked my interest when knowing that Dido teamed up with them again for a track on their new album 'To All New Arrivals'. It's called 'Last This Day'.

Faithless feat. Dido - Last This Day
Basically, it's one of those ambient, five-minute, late night kinds of song that don't have much of a tune and are supposed to lull you to sleep. So it's okay if you already snore soundly before the song finishes. It's not breaking any new grounds, but Dido's vocal input lays a nice touch to the track. In the end, the result is something electronica fans won't love heartily, but really won't mind when it's on.

What else is worth a listen on this record? Well, Robert Smith also lends his voice to one track. Yeah, I think it's Robert the frontman of The Cure. And somehow they managed to get Cat Power. Cat Power, of all people.

Faithless feat. Cat Power - A Kind Of Peace
Like Dido, it's a pity Chan Marshall wasn't given much to sing. Another downtempo, ambient track with touches of acoustic guitar. Lukewarm. I expected so much more.

While we're at it, here's their current single 'Bombs'. It involved some bold political statement, and it's quite bland.
Faithless - Bombs (Radio Edit)


So based on the three tracks above, I think I did the right thing by passing this one. Of course, that's just my humble opinion, and you may have a different view on the songs. So if you like what you hear, waste no time and head over here to purchase the record.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bic Runga: Live


Bic Runga, the New Zealand singer/songwriter, is a powerhouse. Not only does she have a gifted knack for crafting timeless, infectious,tuneful melodies that I, but she also sounds unbelievably amazing live. No matter whether she's backed up by an orchestra, simply strums on her acoustic guitar, or do her finger-dancing on a piano, she always successfully reinterpretes her songs for the audience. Yeah, I'm a big fan. For those who haven't heard of her, I strongly recommend you to get to know her through these live tracks first, just to get an idea of how great her music really is. Of course, it all may sound biased since I'm like a cult follower of Bicrungaism (okay, that makes no sense). But just try them out, really nice, collector-worthy stuff here.Enjoy.


Bic Runga - Sway (Live Acoustic)
Bic Runga - Get Some Sleep (Live)
Bic Runga - Something Good (Live) (from Live In Concert: With The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra EP)
Bic Runga - She Left On A Monday (Live) (from Live In Concert: With The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra EP)
Bic Runga - Ne Me Quitte Pas (Live) (from Live In Concert: With The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra EP, she sang French!)
Bic Runga - The Be All And End All (Live) (from the bonus disc of Birds (Tour Edition))

Buy her latest record 'Birds' (2005)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!



Just want to make a quick post and say 'Happy Thanksgiving!' to the North American readers! Hope you're enjoying your weekend, and having fun with family & friends! And feel thankful for what you're having. I'm not saying that Zeon's Music Blog should be included in your thanks list but hey, it wouldn't be too shabby if it is (chuckles)...

I was planning a yummy Thanksgiving-themed mp3 minimix but I happen to have a test tomorrow, so instead I leave you with a fun impromptu comedy 'duet' Sarah McLachlan did with Ana Gasteyer for Saturday Night Live a while back. For fun. Enjoy.

Have a good one!

Sarah McLachlan & Ana Gasteyer - Basted In Blood (Live From SNL)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Indietastic #2: Tilly & The Walls - Sing Songs Along



I'm glad I gave this song a chance. Well, I would give any songs a chance if it's so tweely-titled like 'Sing Songs Along'. The good news is the title pretty much sums up the whole feel of the track, which means you can totally joyfully sing along to it.
The energy of the song's just incredible from start to finish. You know a loud shout to start a song only indicates that it's gonna be effing fierce. The thumping beats are actually made from handclaps and tap shoes. The tunes are so driven it's meant to get stuck in your head after first listen and just kinda spin you around in this whole jolly singsong group thing. Very, very twee, yet so catchy and bouncy.
And the music video. Gymnastically fantastic. Never thought gymnasts can be that much fun.
Damnit, the song starts running through my head again. Everytime I hear it, I find it so hard to resist jumping around and throw things against the wall. It's that good.

Tilly & The Walls - Sing Songs Along



FYI, Tilly & The Wall is an indie pop bang from Nebraska and this song's from their new second album 'Bottoms Of Barrels', which is also pretty good.
You can purchase it here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Indietastic #1: Albert Hammond, Jr. - 101

In the seas of indie music out there, it's hard to follow through all the new artists and songs hyped up each day and find the one you truly like. So when you find one, you stick with it and treasure it, you might try to tell everyone you know about it or include it in every single one of your playlists.
That's how this new feature was born. To honor the great great indie songs I discovered and gave them proper ravings, because they deserved their own posts. Since this week's indie-heavy themed, I'll be spreading out a bunch of songs I love lately throughout the whole week, and of course, they are all highly recommended, so stick around and make sure to try them out, and maybe give a feedback or two. Let's get rollin'!


Albert Hammond, Jr. is the guitarist of The Strokes. Recently, he released his debut solo album entitled 'Yours To Keep' through Rough Trade Records. The week it came out, I didn't really bother giving it a chance. Then all by chance I watched the video for the single '101' and got hooked. I didn't expect it to be so instantly accesible for the first listen.
This song's full of inexplicably crunchy, melodic riffs that I can't seem to get out of my head and the more I listen, the more I crave for. And there's also a decent tune, to hum along. However, with the midtempo and the somehow sombre lyrics ('I lost my life, that's what she said, back to the 101..."), it's not supposed to cheer you up. Not really miles different from his Strokes stuff, but it's just so damn ace for the riffs alone. A walk in the streets with this song playing to your ears would be a appropriate listen moment.

Albert Hammond, Jr. - 101



Buy his album 'Yours To Keep'
Nice cover art.

New Pop: Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne & Emma Bunton



Second single/ title track, produced by Akon, has been 'leaked'. And everyone's going crazy about it. Based on first listen, it's no 'Wind It Up' (though that annoying song has strangely worked it way into my head), and that's good. I totally agree with XO on the remark that this sounds like 'No Doubt doing True Blue'. Still, I expected more than this. And this didn't do justice enough for me. It's fun to hear Akon's girlish yee-hoos though.
Gwen Stefani feat. Akon - The Sweet Escape


New song penned by Avril for the soundtrack of 'Eragon'. It's a quite good ballad-sounding song that's a little bit more mature and adult contemporary. But of course it's to fit in the context of the movie, and she has stated that this song is nothing to stand by for her next album. Nice to have her back, though.

Avril Lavigne - Keep Holding On


Emma should fire her website designer. One should know that high-quality mp3s should never be attached in a flash file for we can easily extract and download it. Anyway, this title track from her upcoming, so sudden third album is a cover. And I'm not sure yet about how I feel about it. The songs previewed on her site are not all that good, either. The singles off 'Free Me' were really good, but this, I don't know. Just lukewarm.

Emma Bunton - Life In Mono

Indie 101: Tahiti 80


I blogged about them before, but their third cd 'Fosbury' got its official release finally in the US this week, so I thought it'd be nice to hype them up again and share a couple of great songs.
So Tahiti 80 is an alternative band hailed in Paris who sings in English and they make this kind of upbeat indie, electronic-tinged pop with soul tendencies.
Current single 'Changes' is my fave song off the new album. With lyrics about the rules of life, the song's as upbeat and catchy as they can get. The hip-hop beats go along great with the lead singer's airy vocals, and I absolutely love the nice instrumental break. Just a cool song to tap your toes to. You can read the old post for the video & more information about them.
As a little something extra, here is their faithful cover version of The Turtles' 'Happy Together' included in the Bonus EP of Fosbury. (everytime I heard of that song, I thought of Jennifer Aniston's ass in that Heineken commercial).

Tahiti 80 - Changes
Tahiti 80 - Happy Together (The Turtles Cover)

Click here to buy 'Fosbury'.
Their myspace

Saturday, November 18, 2006

All The Live Performances On The Charlotte Church Show..


Charlotte Church, one-time classical prodigy, owner of only one proper pop single, Britain's own tabloid fodder, and now host of her own entertainment show on UK's Channel 4.
So the thing is in every episode, Charlotte has a musical guest performing. What she does is join them for a duet on stage, hold the mike looking pre-occupiedly, then wait til the best bits to jump in and screech disconcertingly in order to remind the audience that she also happens to be a professional singer. Like a pain in the ass.
However, there are indeed some good performances from the show and if you can get past the distractions of Charlotte's big voice, you realize all the acts did a quite good job. There are also some interesting covers done on purpose for ratings. Here I've got all 7 live performances from the show so far in order of air dates, and my favorite of the bunch is Amy Winehouse's drunk slurry reinterpretation of Jacko's 'Beat It'. Enjoy, y'all.


Charlotte Church & The Feeling - Never Be Lonely
Charlotte Church & Orson - No Tomorrow
Charlotte Church & Nelly Furtado - Crazy (Gnarls Barkley Cover)
Charlotte Church & The Brand New Heavies - Seven Nation Army (White Stripes Cover)
Charlotte Church & Nerina Pallot - Message In A Bottle (The Police Cover)
Charlotte Church & Alesha - Somebody Told Me (The Killers Cover)
Charlotte Church & Amy Winehouse - Beat It (Michael Jackson Cover)

Late To The Scene: Ivy


This new feature is dedicated to bands/ artists that have been making music since the early days when I didn't even know what 'indie' meant, and when you still thought the hype machine was something you could buy at a supermarket. Okay, just bands whose prime time is back when I don't notice them, but I finally joined the bandwagon and loving them. The first band I want to blog about is IVY.

Ivy is a New York City band comprised of a trio of musicians, Adam Schlesinger, Dominique Durand and Andy Chase. They were formed back in 1994.
Here are a few essential fact you should know about them:


  • They specialize in making upbeat dream pop with jangly guitars and lush strings arrangements, backed with jazzy horns. The kind of shoegazing music that makes you sit at the sofa and tap your feet.

  • They really have a knack for writing sweet, irresistably catchy tunes.

  • Lead singer has a French accent, and a damn dreamy, floating voice. Kinda reminds me of the lead vocalist of Saint Etienne.

  • There are a lot of 'sha-la-las', 'doo-doos', and 'da-da-das' in their hooks, which can always be a good thing.

  • Their probably best-known song is 'Edge Of The Ocean', a chill-out continental-cafe ear candy, which was featured in the soundtrack of Grey's Anatomy. Their song 'Worry About You' is also the opening theme for the show Kingdom Hospital.

  • Did I mention they make damn fine pop?

So in case you never heard of this awesome band, have an experience with some of their finest tunes below. All is highly recommended.


Ivy - Edge Of The Ocean (from 'Long Distance', 2001)
Ivy - Lucy Doesn't Love You (from 'Long Distance', 2001)
Ivy - Tess Don't Tell (from 'In The Clear', 2005)
Ivy - Digging Your Scene (from 'Guestroom', 2002)


Buy their latest cd 'In The Clear'

Lazy Saturdays...


It's not that I have nothing to post. I have tons. Really, tons. But these days, there is just so much going on some time I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing.
There are at least 20 cds I still haven't listened yet. And I was picky.
Movies I haven't watched.
Shows I wasn't able to catch up.
Assignments.
University enrollments/ scholarship search and etc.
Pressure.
I hardly sleep enough.
I just wish I could be a bear and go hide away in some cave sleeping through the whole winter and wake up fresh in spring.
I'm just a mess lately.
The next two days I have more spare time on my hands. Let's see what I can do to get this blog back in shape.

For now, I'm giving serious consideration about going on hiatus in 2007 until things get easier to breathe or I might need somebody to help with things over here, although I do prefer mine as a one-man blog.

Sorry for the moping.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake - Give It To Me


Okay, so I'm aware that this track has floated around the blogosphere for a few days now. It's obviously everywhere. Everybody has probably heard of it anyway. I just want to throw in my two cents on the song.
Putting aside all the negative vibes, I actually think it's pretty good. I like the beats and the synth line, and it's possibly gonna get stuck in my head after several playbacks though. (like what just happened with 'Wind It Up', I even found myself rapping a few lines unconsciously a few days ago...) Of course, being produced by performed by the man himself, it's star-studded with guest vocals from Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake, two of his recent 'customers'. All of that, and somehow there's something not right about it. It could have been better. Nelly and Justin's vocals somehow seemed forced. I don't know why but producers seem to get writer's block when it comes to their own records (see Pharrell).
So it's a fun, club-banging track, but it just doesn't possess the magnetism that 'Maneater' or 'My Love' has. In fact, it's more like a 'featuring Timbaland' track. I hope his collaborations with Chris Martin will be better than this first single paving the way for his new solo album. He's been booked by Bjork and Duran Duran too, so let's hope he's still got plenty of tricks in his beatbag.
By the way, do you find Justin's ambiguous dissing of Janet & Prince in his verse offensive? Because I don't, since I'm not the hugest fan of Prince and actually think it's somewhat okay to make fun of Janet these days. Anyway, in my opinion, it's just a whiny thing to do. Always find him a tad too whiny. Whiny's back!

Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake - Give It To Me



Irrelevant Chantings:
It's funny, but I dreamed up an entire episode of Lost yesterday. Weird. My brain wrote its all twists and turns that are not relevant to any current plots of the show. The details faded away now, but it's...just weird. Too weird.
Speaking of weird, I just took a break for a few days and the traffic's already sinking real low. How come? (rhetorical question)
Coming up: indie overloaded. I'll finally get to talk about all these exciting new artists I've been loving, so look out for that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

When Elbow Covers Destiny's Child & Amerie...


Above is the pic of British rock band Elbow. They're scruffy guys making grown-up alternative rock music, buddies with Chris Martin, and they're very good at doing tongue-in-cheek covers for Jo Whiley.

Here's proof. When indie blokes cover highly-overplayed r&b megahits and still make them sound so fresh and fun, then hats off to them.

These two covers are kinda old, but today's been a slow day for new music and I just feel like posting them, and also because they're great:

Elbow - Independent Woman (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Destiny's Child Cover)
Musically, it's very nice and creative. They didn't sing the lyrics much, just bits & bobs, because it'd be weird if they sang all the original lyrics. They did try to put considerate effort into the cover, so it sounds very twee and somewhat suitable for a theme tune of a puppet show! And there is use of xylophones. Xylophones! Nice, nice stuff.

Elbow - One Thing (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Amerie Cover)
This is also brilliant. The drums sound great. Good use of the instruments. There is a sped-up squeaky vocal sample that adds a cartoonish element to the cover. And he just sang it like he was really having fun. I love this version almost as much as the original one. Is this one thing that got me tripping? Woah woah woah...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Psapp - Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat!

Anyone has seen this movie, raise your hand! Come on, I won't tell!

No?

When I was a kid, I used to love this film. Used to watch it numerous times, and knew the words to most of the songs. Aristocats in Paris, and street cats that know how to swing and jazz. Who wouldn't love that?

So what does this have to do with Psapp, you may ask?
Well, recently, I've been chilling out to this fine indie British toytronica band's new album 'The Only Thing I Ever Wanted'. So when I was browsing their catalogue on iTunes, it came as a surprise to me to know that they have done a cover of 'Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat' for a compilation album called 'Rewind! 5'. You know, the song when Thomas O'Maley let Duchess and the kittens groove with Scat Cat & the gang. (how come I still remember the characacters' names?)
And they did an amazing job. The usual creative percussions, the laidback, soothing vibe, the dreamy cloudwalking vocals. Made the damn song stuck in my head all over again.
Recommended if you love the movie, fine chill-out music, or just being curious.

Psapp - Evr'ybody Wants To Be A Cat


Buy 'Rewind! 5'

Or you can hear/watch the cats sing the song in their mother tongues, French!


Ugh, and I thought I had got over Disney...How this movie never gets a straight-to-dvd sequel remains a mystery.

Christina Aguilera - Hurt (Jake Ridley Remix)


There are a lot of remixes out there that are absolute cash-in crap. Well, not this one. What I like about this mix is that it doesn't turn the original into a club ravefest. What it does is add an ambient, trip-hop-like beat, and spin the power of her vocals to the full effects, so while it's not so over-the-top as the original, it still manages to sound equally, if not more, epic. Try to listen to this version in a spacious corridor. Stunning.

Christina Aguilera - Hurt (Jake Ridley Remix)

Saturday Is For Soundtrack: The Orange County, Talking Pigs & Cliffhanger

This week, I decide to take a break and just inform you on some upcoming soundtrack releases that hold my interest.


Okay, so I can't say I'm a big fan of The OC since I only finished season 1, and I'm not sure if I should catch up when I already know Marissa is six feet under. However, I am a big fan of the show's soundtrack. Obviously, I watch it just to check out new good indie songs (beside Mischa Barton). It has introduced me to so many new great artists. So you know how I feel when I found out there's gonna be a mix 6 called 'Covering Our Tracks', due out Dec 5. The concept is having indie artists covering indie tracks new and old. Check out the kickass tracklist below:

Music from the OC: Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks

Goldspot - "Float On" (Modest Mouse)
Rock Kills Kid - "I Turn My Camera On" (Spoon)
Lady Sovereign - "Pretty Vacant" (Sex Pistols)
Mates of State - "California" (Phantom Planet)
Pinback - "Wasted" (Black Flag)
John Paul White - "Can't Get It out of My Head" (ELO)
Rogue Wave - "Debaser" (Pixies)
Syd Matters - "Hello Sunshine" (Super Furry Animals)
Tally Hall - "Smile Like You Mean It" (The Killers)
The M's - "Come Into Our Room" (Clinic)
Band of Horses - "The End's Not Near" (The New Year)
Chris Holmes - "Into Dust" (Mazzy Star)


Simply, this show can do no wrong when it comes to delivering great music.


Awwwww.
Sarah McLachlan has written a new track for the movie 'Charlotte's Web' called 'Ordinary Miracle', which you can listen to a sneak peek if you click here . Based on the 30 seconds, the song sounds pretty good. Don't even front about it, you know you'll walk into the theaters for this family flick this Christmas.

It's scary when you realize that Dakota Fanning's like the hardest-working actress in the industry right now!

To end this round of news,

F.U. J.J. Abrams! A cliffhanger like that and you leave us pondering til February next year? You son of a b1tch! Aarghh!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dionne Warwick feat. Mýa - Close To You


Q: What should a music veteran do when he/she wants to come back and make some more money without having to record new materials?

A: Release a 'collaboration' album, where you invite contemporary artists to duet the standards with you. Result: chart success.


That's exactly what Dionne's up to with her new album, aptly-titled, uhm, 'My Friends & Me', coming out this November. Just look at the guest list: Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Gloria Estefan, Kelis, Reba McEntire, Cyndi Lauper, Celia Cruz, Wynonna Judd, Cheyenne Elliott, Lisa Tucker, Deborah Cox, Chante Moore, Angie Stone, Da Brat & Mýa. Don't say you're not curious.
Think she looks scary in that pic above? Well, have a look at the cheesetastic cd cover:

Mainly, the track that's got everybody talking about is this cover of The Carpenters' 'Close To You' with Mýa. For some reasons, every time I hear the name of this song, I immediately link it to when Homer first met Marge in high school with her then short blue hair in slow motion and all. Oh, nevermind.
Actually, this cover version's pretty decent. It adds a contemporary R&B vibe to the original and Dionne and Mya's vocals both sound crisp and on point. Nothing groundbreaking (not that I expect that), but definitely sweet for the ears.

Dionne Warwick feat. Mýa - Close To You

Buy the cd


Coming Up Soon:
Psapp does a cover from 'The Aristocats'!, a nice remix of Christina's 'Hurt', and two extraordinarily good Live Lounge cover from Elbow.

Music Video: KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See (3 Versions)


A great song need a great video to go with. Or sometimes, multiple great videos. Especially when they just keep getting better. In KT Tunstall's case, 'Suddenly I See' has 3 different versions, and the latest one, surfaced last week, was the best one yet. Let's have a look at all of them.

UK Version - Directed by Big TV
The lamest. A simple performance video, with her singing at the sassier clone.


US Version - Directed by Patrick Daughters
The proper-budget version for the US market, directed by a renowned director. It cuts between scenes of her frolicking outdoor in daylight and her night job entertaining people in a Romania circus. I never know she's also an acrobat! Fun, fun version! I'd rather buy tickets to her circus than Christina Aguilera's 'vintage' one.


New US Version - Directed by Honey
The best of the three. There's so much going on. Full of cute animation with great details. Basically, KT's just smiling and walking around her small colorful little world of joy. The funny thing is that the least appealing thing here is KT's rather forced, unconvincing face expressions and acts. Ugh. Still, my favorite version. Third time's a charm.


I'm amazed that I'm still not tired of this song yet.

Download KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See Music Video (The Animated Version) - Quicktime MOV format