Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Album: New Horizons by Flyleaf

Here's a fact that for some reason always really surprises people: I love hard rock. I mean, so hard that it's harder than adamantium steal (that was for you fellow nerdsters. For the rest of you out there, adamantium: a fictional metal alloy featured by Marvel comics character Wolverine. End of dictionary definition.) I'm barely successful as a girl. I've yet to learn how to properly curl my hair, apply makeup or watch chick flicks. My baby brother loves this genre of music called screamo, which is like someone threw every kind of metal music into a room that holds a bunch of cats tied together by the tail and recorded the result. I actually even can get into that music, which apparently wins me major points with absolutely no adults anywhere ever,  but my teenage students listen up better when I can talk both Mozart and Alexisonfire. Still, I'm ever on the lookout for a hard rock band that delivers a meaningful punch with their tunes, not just a powerful one. Flyleaf always meets my hopes in a great way, so I was all over their new album New Horizons.

One thing the hard rock genre definitely lacks is a strong female force, so I love Flyleaf for having a such a dynamic female lead singer Lacey Sturm. I've loved the band since they've arrived on the scene back in 2005. "Fully Alive" remains a top favorite for me. New Horizons is a strong album for the band. The dark, hard-toned music enhance the band's powerful lyrics and manage to avoid the cliche angry headbanging sounds of so many other hard rock groups. In a strange paradoxical way, Flyleaf uses the passion of hard rock to deliver songs that somehow inspire and evoke a feeling of hope. Each song is infused with intense emotions and accomplishes a successful blend of vocals, drums, and electric guitar. Some of the outstanding tracks on the album are "Fire Fire," "Saving Grace," "Cage on the Ground."

Enjoy the album, because it's Sturm's last. Just after releasing the album, she announced that she's leaving the band and has been replaced by  Kristin May, formally of the band Veranda. I absolutely object to this change, but no one called to ask me my opinion. Here's their latest album as well their past hits below:



Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Album Review: Red by Taylor Swift

It's no secret I can't stand Taylor Swift's music. I know I just committed musical heresy to girls everywhere, but I think her former albums sound trite and are like musical cotton candy. Way, way, waaaaay too sweet and lacking sustaining substance. I'll also gladly admit that I think she's an incredibly talented songwriter in many ways. She's quite talented and wildly successful. I think she's sold a bajillion records at this point or something, which is impressive to even the least inspired like me. She also taps into her own thoughts and feelings in a way that (might be TMI???) that is extremely open and honest. Perhaps it's the over saturation of fairy-tale loving, wide eyed innocence, or country twang, but I've never been able to get into her songs. Still, I believe in giving every musician a fair try (excluding Justin Bieber whom I loathe and despise for his girly eyebrows and perfect application of lipstick/lipgloss), so I listened to Swift's latest album Red.

Um, wait, what? This is Taylor Swift??? Ok, first things first: wasn't she a country music singer? I'm so confused. Second: I liked it (I was shocked) Third: is she going through identity crisis, because I felt like the genres were all over the map. ALL OVER IT. But successfully so, and in a manner worth listening to. It turns out I like a brokenhearted Taylor Swift much better than a "Romeo + Juliet" Swift. I hope she has tons more breakups with bad boys. It's so much better for her music.

Probably due to my astonishment that I am able to like a Taylor Swift song and that the album isn't a saccharine sweet tribute to love, I've decided to do a review of some individual tracks:

1. State of Grace: ok, I did not see this coming. Apparently, I'm not the only one side-swiped, because Swift sings that "I never saw you coming..." and works it into a song that sound nothing like country and everything like a catchy, trendy Indie tune. Don't know what the heck is going on here, but I like it. The song leads with driving drums and a bit of hipster vibe. I like the clever lyrics.

2. Red: Sounding more like Swift's past songs, which as basically pop tunes with a little banjo action to call it country, but again, I think this will be radio hit. It's pretty formulaic, but it's a formula that works. I didn't get into it, but it wasn't painful to listen to.

3. Treacherous: Oh, squeaky clean image, good girl Swift, we all have a run in with a bad boy at some point. You just make songs about it. In a tune that's filled with strumming guitars and pages of her diary, Swift creates a song that builds and builds to a powerful finale.

4. I Knew You Were Trouble: I hate it when singers all jump on the same idea and overkill it. Dubstep is dubstep, stop messing with it! Yes, Swift/Bieber/Rihanna, I'm talking to you. I'm sorry, she can't pull it off. I love dubstep, and it belongs many places but on a Taylor Swift album isn't one of them. Again, isn't she a country singer? Ok, whatever. I feel like this album is screaming, "I'm being experimental and I haven't even graduated from college so I have no clue who I am!!!!" OMG, get a grip. Here's the song:

5. All Too Well: After a little bit of musical schizophrenia  Swift returns to her roots. Which means I do not not not like this song. I'm sure girls everywhere will have this track on repeat. It's so precious, aww. Classic Swift: guitars, finding love lyrics, sorta-country, whatever. I don't care for it, but you jump right on board if you'd like.

6. 22: oh to be young again! 22 is an ode to being in your early 20's. This song sounds so annoying to me, but I applaud the tribute to being young. It pretty accurately summarizes what it's like to be 22 in an over the top pop kind of way. Again, does Swift HAVE a style any more???

7. I Almost Do: in a EP style of simple guitar and drums, Swift struggles with post breakup regret as she fights not calling her ex. It's entirely real, entirely girl, and somehow truly sad. Swift captures what it's like to be hurt by someone but still want them back, despite who they are and what they've done. The inner emo kid in me likes sad tunes oh so much.

8. Never Getting Back Together: I begrudgingly like this song. It's so catchy, and every girl in the entire world can relate to the exhausting catch and release---and catch and release again---dating game. Allegedly (according to everyone in the world including Swift) it refers to her relationship with the oh so hottie McHotterson Jake Gyllenhael. I'm a fan of the song until the break in the music when she has a mini conversation using "like" about a hundred times in two seconds. Also, the radio is quickly over playing it. Thank you Spotify and Pandora for saving me. Side note: what is up were her PJ's and super over the top glasses?

9. Stay Stay Stay:  one of the more cutesy, immature tracks on an otherwise well developing album. She disses past ex's and collapses into a fit of giggles at the end ("It's so fun!" she exclaims to the horror of my nerves)

10. Begin Again: ending the album on a more peaceful, forgiving note, Swift finds a bit of hope after all the heart break. Despite all the heart goes through, it can begin again. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Noteworthy Artist: Andrew Bird

What do you get when you mix a bit of pre-war jazz, a dash of gypsy folk-rock and a side of baroque pop? The whimsical sound of Andrew Bird. In a style that is pure pleasantries and the essence of simple joys, Bird creates music that is just, well, fun. I love the use of guitars and fiddles throughout each album. People say music takes you places, and I absolutely agree. Bird's music takes you to a place that conjures the same feelings are true-blue skies, open meadows, and that perfect day that knows how to hide away from the stress of everyday life.

As a child, Bird was heavily influenced by classical music, Irish tunes and bluegrass. The American singer-songwriter has a degree in violin performance, and his early self-released album Music of Hair showcased both his violin skills and his love for European folk traditions and music. He later join the band Bowl of Fire but left the group in 2003 to radically reinvent himself and his art. He's known for his free-flowing improvisation at concerts and his ability to play multiple instruments throughout shows. Bird's latest album Break It Yourself is a fine realization of his talent as both a musician, singer, and song-writer. Listen to his albums here:



Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Album Review: Pines by A Fine Frenzy

I remember when Alison Sudol first hit the musical scene with her album "One Cell in the Sea" featuring hits like "Almost Lover" and "Ashes and Wine." Her whimsical, melodic ballads had all the magical ingredients of coffee-shop reveries and indie-kids background tunes. Intelligent, wistful with just the right tinge of something sad and something sweet, her first album quickly won me over. Oh, and a random fun fact: the name A Fine Frenzy was taken from one of my favorite Shakespeare plays A Midsummer's Night Dream. It's an appropriate name, because Sudol's style is an artsy dreamscape for the listening ear.

While I was less inspired by her second album "Bomb in a Birdcage", Sudol still proved her staying powers as a singer-songwriter. I was really curious to see how her latest album "Pines" would play out (literally and figuratively) and I was pleasantly surprised. It's obvious Sudol has grown up and experienced more of the world. A heavier tone of sorrow is woven throughout the album. I found something very powerful and meaningful in this album. It wrenched at my heart in a way her last album failed to do. While there's definitely more depth to her latest work, Sudol also spins out brighter, livelier tunes like "Now Is the Start." One last review that has nothing to do with music: while I might be partial to red hair, I think she look sooo fabulous as a redhead. I'm not into this new do at all, but fortunately it's not effecting her music;) Check out her latest album and listen to A Fine Frenzy's past albums as well!




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Concert Review: M83 at the Palladium Ballroom

Some people are wine critics or food connoisseur. While I enjoy my glass of red wine and delicious new entree at the hottest, happening restaurants in Dallas, I simply prefer to indulge in music. The DFW area is always hopping with concerts, and so my man and I try to frequent as many as we can. We recently went to the M83 concert at the Palladium Ballroom, and it was AMAZING!!!!!! We were neck deep in hipsters and emo kids, and I loved every second of it! 

M83 is a phenomenal new wave revival band, with a fresh and surprisingly soulful electronically driven sound. While the band's lates album sports plenty of gorgeous, introspective ballads, they also have a mix of interstellar jams. They're even better live, which can be a rare thing for a music group that relies heavily on synthetic sounds. In addition to rocking the stage, there was an accompanying light show that basically rocked everyone's senses. "Midnight City" is the band's biggest hit, and it was oh so wonderful to hear live! The live saxophone mixed with the driving beats was a blend that ended up being perfection. Two of my all time favorite songs of the evening were "We Own The Sky" and "Wait." If you haven't heard it before, I highly recommend it! Check it M83's album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming here:



Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Album Review: Babel by Mumford & Sons

Let's just say time does indeed fly when you're having fun, and I've been having a non-stop parade of wonderful experiences that have kept me oh so happy, but far too busy to blog. Trips to Chicago, Austin and abroad have satisfied my wanderlust but made it difficult to fit in music reviews:) Plus, fall is always a busy time for DFW Music Studio as students get back into the swing of things. My man and I just got back from my birthday trip to Belize, Cozumel, and St. Lucia, and we threw in a road trip to New Orleans for good measure. I'm a road trip fanatic, and my DJ skills make up for my overwhelming lack of navigating skills. M&S new album came out just in time for my Libra birthday month, so I got to listen to the entire album (ummm, several times, much to my mister's chagrin) as we made our way to New Orleans. The verdict: absolutely BRILLIANT! M&S didn't disappoint at all!!! Hooray!

Keeping with the same glorious folk sound that brought English folk music to the spotlight in a big way, the music and lyrics are rich and meaningful. While the sound is distinctly true to M&S, each song is refreshingly unique and doesn't sound like a giant repeat of their first hit album. Whether or not you're a fan of the band, it's a pretty big accomplishment to reach an audience so wide that their music is even played on progressive rock stations that spin out tunes by 9 Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.

The album contains a fabulous mix of fast tunes as well as heartfelt slower songs. I know there's a lot of action with mandolins and banjos, but those boys can rock my face off. The band has been on a relentless touring schedule, and the road has definitely influenced their sound. With an added edge of brightness and energy, many songs capture the energy and high that comes from touring the world. But there's also the sense of longing for stability and companionship that create heavier emotions in this album. Songs like "My Love Don't Fade" and "Ghosts We Knew" express the pain of going through difficult times and needing support. A true gem on the album is "Lover of the Light" which is played with such gusto and emotion that it's obvious the band threw all they had at the track. There wasn't a single song I didn't enjoy, so I have to say: bravo, Mumford & Sons! Listen to their album here:


Monday, August 13, 2012

Noteworthy Artists: Wolf Gang

Here's a band that's still relatively new to the music scene, but gaining more and more momentum after touring with Florence and the Machine, Miike Snow, and Metric. When you listen to their debut album Suego Faults, you'll understand why they're included in such good company. Their music is an alternative style done extraordinarily well and plays nicely with other alternative bands. McElligott and Dave Fridmann, producer of The Flaming Lips, MGMT, and Mercury Rev helped put Suego Faults together, and their influence is evident throughout the album. McElligott's noteworthy eclectic style is stamped on each song, creating a range of upbeat electro indie pop, 70's style ballads, and even a dash of stadium rock. While this mix might seem more schizophrenic than a true collection, it weirdly works for the band. 

Songs on the album that I found particularly enjoyable were "The King and All of His Men", "Lion in Cages", "Back to Back" and "Suego Falls." New to Wolf Gang? Check out their album here:


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Single by Mumford & Sons - I Will Wait (Official Audio)

I always get really nervous for my favorite alternative/indie bands that hit the scene and accidentally make it big. It's such a hard act to follow, and more often than not, the band loses it's je ne sais quoi quality that made them a hit in the first place. Mumford & Sons took the music world by storm, and their success was unprecedented. Raking in awards and accolades, the band's popularity has only increased since their first album debuted. And a killer debut album at that. I think I had it on repeat to such an extent, it was borderline unhealthy.

So here's where I get edgy for one of my all time favs: will they be able to keep their magic going in their second studio album or will the spell have worn off? Good news. From the sound of their single "I Will Wait", it looks like we can expect more of what we know and love. The album is due to be released September 24th (five days before my birthday, happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee!) and if it's anything like this single, we have a lot to look forward. See for yourself!



Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Album Review: The Ol' Razzle Dazzle by Missy Higgins

No one does chill like Missy Higgins. Her music has become the staple soundtrack for TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and other hit shows. Her style is the perfect blend of thoughtful but quirky at the same time. It's a formula that's earned her several top 10 singles and three number one albums in Australia. The singer-songwriter hasn't produced any music since 2006, so fans were waiting anxiously for a new album, and Higgins delivers beautifully in her latest album The Ol' Razzle Dazzle. I think the title doesn't do her music justice. I'm not sure why she borrowed it from one of the hit songs from the musical Chicago, but title aside, it's a winning album. She creates mix of song that are achingly wistful and deeply meaningful as well as her trademark upbeat acoustic tunes. Songs you don't want to miss are "Everyone's Waiting", "All In My Head", "If I'm Honest" and "Cooling of the Embers". Some of her more upbeat tunes include "Set Me on Fire", "Hello Hello" and "Temporary Love" and "Watering Hole".

Love her music? If you live near the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, you can attend her concert at the Granada Theater this September 12. In the meantime, catch her latest album here. I also included her entire collection for good measure:)

Monday, July 30, 2012

New Album Review: Gossamer by Passion Pit

Passion Pit is back! In their latest album Gossamer, the electro-pop band creates a conglomeration of sounds that cover an wide emotional gamut. And understandably so, because Michael Angelakos, hailed as the mastermind of the group, spent the past three years fighting an intense personal battle. Facing his bipolar disorder that led him to struggle with multiple hospital stays, suicide scares and manic episodes, Angelakos has had to conquer more than we could imagine to produce this album with Passion Pit band memebers. Because of this, there's an very personal edge to Gossamer.  Oddly, many of the songs have an intensely bright tone accompanying heavy lyrics, and some songs like "Take a Walk" and "I'll Be Alright" belie the darker side of Angelakos' personality disorder. Other songs like "On My Way" and "Hideaway" have an almost heartbreaking quality to them. Undeniably, the confusion of mental illness and the pain of covering up depression leave a mark on this album. However, throughout all of the hard times Angelakos went through, his fiance stood by his side, and the beauty of unconditional love can be heard in many of his songs.

For those who struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury or suicide, please check out on of my favorite non-profit movements To Write Love on Her Arms. "TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also invest directly into treatment and recovery." My prayer is that one day, none of us will ever have to say, "I lost someone I love to suicide." There's always hope...the next chapter can be beautifully written. Much love on this Monday!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Album: Handwritten Life by The Gaslight Anthem

It's been almost three years since the last album by The Gaslight Anthem, but they're back and here's their latest. If you're a fan of the American rock genre, this is one band that does it well. Staying true to their dash of punk and a splash of indie on the side, their latest keep the style people have come to recognize. Check out their highly anticipated album here!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spotlight on Artists Imagine Dragons

I know this statement is shocking coming from someone living in Dallas---where everything must must must be bigger and better---but I'm not a huge fan Vegas. Apparently if you live in the Big D, you're obligated to consider this overly gaudy, audacious city the ideal vay-cay spot, but I like keeping things low-key, raw and real. So, imagine my delight when I came across this great Sin City based indie rock band called Imagine Dragons! Their style is a fusion of synth-based dance pop and what I like to call "throbbing Euro beats" for a final product that's reminiscent of The Killers and Capital Cities. Check out their album Radioactive, and be sure to listen to my favorite tune "It's Time." And if you've never heard Capital Cities, I've thrown in their eponymous album to help get you through your Manic Monday;)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spotlight On New Album: Ho Hey (Surprisingly Not a Rap Song(

The newest band I was recently introduced to is called the Lumineers. They're a folk-rock band from Colorado, and their music has this fabulous, rustic, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of sound that gets me every time. Every time,  people. It's just that good!

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict this band is going to go big or go home. With a Grammy or two, that is. I am currently addicted to their entire album, particularly their song "Ho Hey" which is not the same thing as "Hey, Ho." That may or may not be how I've been announcing this great little number to friends, shouting with WILD enthusiasm, "You must listen to this new song called "Hey, Ho!" 
My friend: "I don't do rap. You know that."
Me: "It is not rap. It's the opposite of rap. Wait, that's country. This is Indie-folk, so it's like the second opposite of rap. The opposite's cousin."
Friend: "Your head-space is a strange and wondrous place."
Me: Like Pan's Labyrinth.

I insist you give this band a try! If you love Indie or even tolerate it, or you just want to stick it to all the rap artists out there, you need to check the Lunineers out! Unfamiliar with the group? Here are some fun facts:

The band consists of Wesley Schultz on guitar and lead vocals, Jeremiah Fraites on drums, and Neyla Pekarek on cello, mandolin, piano, and vocals. Random fact: they found Pekarek on Craigslist and added him to the band. I'm personally terrified of Craigslist, since it seems like a great place for serial killers to mingle and whatnot, but good thing it worked out for the Lumineers! Their music is described as "walking that line with an unerring gift for timeless melodies and soul-stirring lyrics." I tried to think of a better way of phrasing that, but that sentence just summed it up so well. Why mess with a good thing? This is one time a little copy-and-paste was a must. (And also for some college research papers back in the day. Shh. Don't tell...) I have no clue how they came up with the album title "Ho Hey", which I invariably and rather embarrassingly call "Hey Ho", but whatever. It's a killer album. Listen to it here, or catch them live on their tour

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Album Review: The Lion The Beast The Beat by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

This is one band who knows how to make music. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals can rock it out, and lead singer Potter's style blues and rock vocals are often reminiscent of Janis Joplin or Koko Taylor with a bit of '70s flare. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the band, they're an American rock/blues based group who found huge international success with their third self titled album in 2010.

They recently put out their latest album The Lion & the Beast, and it's all the things I adore about this band and then some. It's easy for artists to get stuck in a sound-rut or to lost their own style in a desperate effort to get innovative, they completely forget what their original sound was at all. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals manage to successfully hold true to their unique sound, while adding a little something different to each track. Songs from the new album that you won't want to miss:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Album Review: Overexposed by Maroon 5

It's been an album that the band has been working on for the past year, and Maroon 5 finally released their latest called "Overexposed."  According to the band, the album is "a chock-full collection of undeniable, anthemic melodies." Whatever that's supposed to mean, it's pretty obvious the band wanted to retain their new fan following, so most of the tracks follow the same dance-pop disco sounds of  "Moves Like Mick Jagger" single. Adam Levine achieved huge success with his "Moves Like Mick Jagger" single, which frankly, I like for the first one or two times I heard it. Now I absolutely despise the song and blame the radio for OD my auditory senses by playing it WAY TOO MUCH. I'm not even sure what kind of moves Mick Jagger has anyways, but I do know he can't get no satisfaction. 

I don't think the album is mind-blowing or contains genius material, but it's catchy and enjoyable to listen to. Will I probably forget about it by next summer? For sure. Does it make for some fun summer tracks now? Sure. Some of the better tracks are "Beautiful Goodbye" which has a bit of a reggae beat, . "Wipe Your Eyes" and "Payphone" are those classic Maroon 5 love-esque songs that they do well, while songs like "One More Night" branch out to a completely different sound. Want to judge for yourself? Check out Overexposed here:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle! Spotlight on Hairbands

Cuz mama likes to rock you like a hurricane, I thought I'd throw some 80's hairband music your way. Here in Dallas, we have a steady tour of 80's greats, and nothing makes me happier than rocking out to what I consider some of the best rock ever! I don't care if it's a cover band or the real deal, I <3 the 80's. Whenever I have students who are interested in branching out to the rock genre, I encourage them to immerse themselves in some 80's rock. Some of the most impressive guitar riffs, drum solos, and extreme attitude come from Hairband rock. I love the hardcore cheesiness of Hair Band rock and can't get enough. You'd better believe I karaoke it out to Don't Stop Believing like no other!

Maybe you <3 the 80's too because:
~You remember playing with shrinky dinks (super safe toy---color on plastic sheets and throw it in the oven to watch them shrink into awesome hard shapes. Genuis idea for kids) and cabbage patch dolls.
~You really did dance on the hood of Whitesnake's car.
~You recognize that Beiberfever can never compare to love being like bad medicine.

If so, here are some tunes to get you through your Monday! Get excited. No really, drink some coffee and get excited!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Music Is Love: Dominican Republic trip & Wedding Music

As many of you know, we recently got back from the Dominican Republic and it was a-maaaaazing! It turned out to be the best trip I've ever had, and I'm no stranger to world-wide travels;)  I've always had mad wanderlust, and I usually take a trip once a month. It doesn't have to be a fancy-pants trip, and I can have as much fun roughing on a camping excursion as I can traipsing around Paris. It's not the event that counts, but making memories with the people you love that matters. I was surprised that I had many readers request pics of the trip, but I guess there are some fellow kindred spirits out there who love traveling too! So here's a quick synopsis of my vay-cay and some love songs for you to get sentimental over:)

Ahh! Paradise:)
Samuel dealing with an unofficial photoshoot
Basically like a monkey-child;)
This trip was extra special since one of my dear friends had a destination wedding in the oh so gorgeous Punta Cana. A big group of our friends went, so it was one giant celebration from start to finish! We stayed at a lovely all inclusive resort that spoiled me and makes me feel I should have constant maids and room service. Yes, I packed some hardcore sunscreen, which was instantly confiscated at the airport. I tried to argue that they would never take a diabetic's insulin or a cardiac patient's pacemaker, so they shouldn't take away my ability to survive in the tropical sun, but they didn't listen to me. Boo airport security!

With the groom.
One of the things I loved about the wedding was the music this wonderful couple selected. It wasn't your traditional classical mix or collection of swoon-worthy love songs, but instead included bands like 311 and Incubus. It perfectly symbolized THEM. It got me thinking about how powerful love songs are, and how we connect to them as individuals. Songs have the ability to express what we ourselves have trouble communicating sometimes, and they are the perfect way to say I love you.

Think back to some of the love songs you claimed and how much meaning they had or have. All you singer-songwriters, play on playahs play on. Your music has the ability to touch our hearts and teach us to say what we wish we knew how to put into words.

As for my trip, here's a little sample of pics and some love songs worth loving:)

Glorious day of playing on the beach:)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thriller: MJ Remembered

MJ is called the King of Pop, and for good reason. Few musicians have enjoyed the overwhelming success or have become a musical phenomenon like Michael Jackson. Though his personal life was wrought with scandal and oddities, his music created a worldwide sensation like no other musician before or after him. Guinness World Records hails him as the most successful entertainer of all time. Who am I to argue with GWR? I must concur. I mean, who could make a gold plated military jacket and a glove as iconic as MJ? Answer: no one, in case you were wondering.

It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years now since MJ's passing. His death literally triggered a global outpouring of grief, which to me proves the power of music. While people didn't know Jackson personally, in many ways they felt like they did because of the incredible connection they felt via his songs. Regardless of what one might think of the man Michael Jackson, he has rightfully earned place as one of the greatest musicians of all time. Today, we take time to honor his life's work and music, because music never dies. It lives on long after we've all passed on.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Music Mix: And All That Jazz!

There's something subtle and powerful about jazz. No other genre of music can express a true-blue mood of sadness or longing like jazz can. On the flip side, jazz can achieve such lighthearted tones of happiness. One of the things I love about jazz is how it's ours. It's a genre that originated in the United States during the early 20th centruy, and it's infused with all the panache and swagger of the flapper era. Like all music, Jazz tells a story of us, and how America has grown both musically and socially. 

There are numerous branches of jazz, but in case you haven't taken that oh-so-fun History of Music 101 course or forgot all your learned when you put down your pencil and handed in your final scantron, here are some of the main categories: New Orleans jazz is the original jazz of the early 1910s. The 1930s and '40s saw the development of the nonstop fun big band swingKansas City jazz and Gypsy jazz styles. During the mid 1940's, bebop took over the scene and caused a wild rumpus and a bit of footloose times! While jazz might sound like a free for all, it actually requires more advanced theory and technique than any other genre, and jazz musicians who have mastered their art actually stand at the top of the game. In addition to require extreme improvisational skills, jazz musicians have to instinctively feel what their fellow musicians are going to play, which is no easy task. Despite the skill level required to play jazz, there's nothing more exciting than getting together with a group of jazz musicians and falling into the rhythm and soul of a great jazz tune!  

Jazz is one of those "love it or hate it" styles of music. Some people can't stand the wandering melodies and discordant tones, while others hear the exquisite beauty in music that is so clever, it literally paints a picture of life. After all, we all wander through life and face times of disarray, but like jazz, life has a brilliant way of finding a beautiful, harmonious melody at just the right time. Whether your a lover or hater of jazz, open up your heart and try a little here and there. You just might find yourself in the mood for all that jazz.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Music Mix Monday: Beatles Mania

From the group that told us all you need is love, it's safe to say that we have crazy love for the Beatles. I don't think I've ever met even one person in my entire life who didn't like the Beatles. They're a band all in their own category of phenomenal. I adore the Beatles for not only their amazing music and longevity, but also how timeless they've become. They've produced songs that are loved by people across the world, and that span multiple generations. Music like that doesn't come around often. There's something magical in that kind of music. Before the Beatles, the having a rock group produce the hysteria like Beatles Mania was unheard of, and the power of rock was still subdued. After the Fab Four took over the world with their rock music, they changed the way people not only listened to music, but reacted to music. It became a very personal connection to both the music and musicians.

Though the band played together from 1960 to 1970, their music lives on. And today isn't just music mix Monday, but also Sir Paul McCartney's birthday. The Beatles music is so awesome, it can get you knighted, how about that? I don't know if McCartney can slay a dragon, but he's rocked the music industry for sure. Happy birthday McCartney!