Mini Reviews: “If I Was” by The Staves

I can’t remember the first time I listened to The Staves but I know it was definitely one of those live outdoor acoustic sets on Youtube; they were standing outside, it looked picturesque and the music was more than I imagined. There was something from the moment those musical vibrations filtered through my ear that I knew it was essential to look up another video then to another and another. I knew it was in those moments that I was taken away to somewhere else, somewhere wonderful and I didn’t want to go back.

As I sit here, I am currently listening to their newest record, “If I Was”, a little late to the party as usual, I am still entranced by the song that just ended, ‘Damn It All’. While there is no connecting musical link between the songs as seen on some albums, the tracks seem to bond with one another even if they aren’t meant to aesthetically. Perhaps it’s general calm but powerful tone that emanates off The Staves, but it is definitely visible in each vocal melody and harmony and with each slow strum of a guitar or tap of the tambourine.

The next track playing now is ‘Horizons’ and I just know I need to learn this on the piano. Unfortunately it seems there is no sheet music to be found but nonetheless I will figure out how to transfer chords over to sheet music or something of the like, but back to the album! With this one, while not all the tracks catch my ear as easy as some, the ones that stand more prominently in mind than the rest, include Black & White, Horizons, and Teeth White.

All in all, if you like folksy rock with a hint of an almost nature-infused melody then The Staves’s newest album is for you – A mixture of calm, cool, and collected with that rock grit  so many know and love.

TRACK LIST:

  1. “Blood I Bled”
  2. “Steady”
  3. “No Me, No You, No More”
  4. “Let Me Down”
  5. “Black & White”
  6. “Damn It All”
  7. “The Shining”
  8. “Don’t You Call Me Anymore”
  9. “Horizons”
  10. “Teeth White”
  11. “Make It Holy”
  12. “Sadness Don’t Own Me”

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Mini Reviews: “Sound & Colour” by Alabama Shakes

When I heard Alabama Shakes would be coming  out with a new album my anticipation was high and ready for the music that was to come. As soon as I got a hold of “Sound & Colour” and hit play on the first track, dually named after the title of the album, I was blown away. I have never been taken aback and put into a wonderful musical trance. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this album on repeat, as it is one of the few I’m able to do so and enjoy each song as if it were the first time I was hearing it.

Unlike Alabama Shakes’ first album, “Sound & Colour” is more polished and the fluidity is apparent between the moods  and feel of each track in comparison to one another. It’s a good balance between slow sounds to upbeat and rocking tunes. While some tracks have that gritty southern feel that is well known to the band, like the song “The Greatest”, they’ve brought forth some new delights and musical changes to their sound, a sort of percussive organ smoothness, including the album’s titled song, “Sound & Colour”.

To me, it comes across as a view of each and every one of us, perhaps the thoughts and emotions racking up inside of us, waiting to burst out and be free. It grabs a hold of your heart, your inner most you and brings it forth to the movements of the sound.

As one of my top albums in my headphones, the tracks I highly recommend if not diving headfirst into the record is your style, would be “Sound & Colour”, “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Dunes”, “Gimme All Your Love”, and “The Greatest”. But each tune has their own distinct sound and I would highly recommend giving every one a listen at least once if not more.

TRACK LIST:

  1. “Sound & Colour”
  2. “Don’t Wanna Fight”
  3. “Dunes”
  4. “Future People”
  5. “Gimme All Your Love”
  6. “This Feeling”
  7. “Guess Who”
  8. “The Greatest”
  9. “Shoegaze”
  10. “Miss You”
  11. “Gemini”

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Mini Reviews: “Hope Is Just A State Of Mind” by Little Comets

From the very beginning, Little Comets has amazed and brought musical delight to me. The first time I heard “Tricolour” off their initial album, “In Search of Elusive Little Comets”, I fell  in love 100% and all thanks to someone near and dear to me. But back to Little Comets!

Their newest album compliments the changing of the seasons into warmer and sunnier days perfectly. The fluidity of the songs is key and spot on throughout the record, filling your veins with positive vibes; making you feel buoyant with cheerful-happy-wonderfulness. While not all the songs have such an upbeat subject basis, the songs themselves, the melodies and tempo and overall structure of them create a lovely tune in your ears. From the lyrics to the notes and everything in between, it truly is a ‘gift of sound’ for you.

Very few musicians nowadays are able to create an album where every song is likeable in its own regard, but Little Comets has done it, and while I have difficulty in choosing just one favourite, some ones I suggest to listen to straight away include, “My Boy William”, “The Gift of Sound”, and “Wherewithal”. But in reality, I love the entire album, and I do suggest listening to the whole album from start to finish first because you will not be disappointed.
TRACK LIST:

  1. “My Boy William”
  2. “B & B”
  3. “The Gift of Sound”
  4. “Formula”
  5. “Little Italy”
  6. “The Daily Grind”
  7. “Salt”
  8. “Effetism”
  9. “Wherewithal”
  10. “Fundamental Little Things”
  11. “Don’t Fool Yourself”
  12. “The Blur, the Line, & the Thickest of Onions”

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Mini Reviews: “Hesitant Alien” by Gerard Way

I must admit, I’ve been a fan of Gerard Way from the My Chemical Romance days. From the first time I saw the video for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”  on my television screen, teenage me was enthralled by the music and instantly feel in love with the sound coming from my screen and to my ears. But this isn’t a My Chemical Romance appreciation post.

For me, as soon as I heard Gerard Way was making a solo album, I knew I had to look up the songs that were posted in anticipation for the album and once again, I was hooked. Perhaps I’m biased to a point, but Way has always captured me with his vocal skills and the melodies created throughout his new album have caught my attention once again and has be bobbing along whether I’m riding the tube into the city or walking down the street.

While My Chemical Romance had a more rough edge to their music, especially in the earlier albums, Way comes forth with a new sound, infused with rock and brit undertones, as I believe was his intention. The overall aesthetic makes you feel badass and sends good vibes through and through. Some of my favourite tracks from the album include, “Action Cat”, “No Shows”, and “Millions”.

TRACK LIST:

  1. “The Bureau”
  2. “Action Cat”
  3. “No Shows”
  4. “Brother”
  5. “Millions”
  6. “Zero Zero”
  7. “Juarez”
  8.  “Drugstore Perfume”
  9. “Get The Gang Together”
  10. “How It’s Going To Be”
  11. “Maya The Psychic”

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Sundays are for Soundtracks: “Wall-E (2008)”

Disney and Pixar aren’t for everyone and in the same train of thought, instrumentally-based soundtracks aren’t for all either. I, myself, am guilty to love both and it’s with this love that this week’s soundtrack encompasses both those preferences.

The film, Wall-E, tells the tale of a lonesome, little robot and his life on a now deserted planet earth. All humans have left due to lack of vegetation and all other Wall-E-like robots have died out on the planet. But cute Wall-E survives, lives in the cutest self-made home, and lives day-to-day simply and soundly until everything gets shook up.

The music throughout wonderfully and magically plays into the actions and emotions of the characters, as with most films, but it is as if each instrument was picked specifically, each designed to coincide with the movements and moments of the story playing out. With that it’s as if each instrumental piece gives life not only to scenes but to characters themselves — Breathing life into once two-dimensional beings into full blown living organisms.

It allows the audience to connect to the robotic life on screen and create a physical connection between the human world and the mechanical. Through the use of old melodies and new instrumental creations, the world of earth and the story of WALL-E and EVE and every human on the spaceship become real before our eyes and a new story unfolds.

TRACK LIST

  1. Put Your Sunday Clothes by Michael Crawford
  2. 2815 A.D. by Thomas Newman
  3. WALL-E by Thomas Newman
  4. The Spaceship by Thomas Newman
  5. EVE by Thomas Newman
  6. Thrust by Thomas Newman
  7. Bubble Wrap by Thomas Newman
  8. La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong
  9. Eye Surgery by Thomas Newman
  10. Worry Wait by Thomas Newman
  11. First Date by Thomas Newman
  12. EVE Retrieve by Thomas Newman
  13. The Axiom by Thomas Newman
  14. BNL by Thomas Newman and Bill Bernstein
  15. Foreign Contaminant by Thomas Newman
  16. Repair Ward by Thomas Newman
  17. 72 Degrees and Sunny by Thomas Newman
  18. Typing Bot by Thomas Newman
  19. Septuacentennial by Thomas Newman
  20. Gopher by Thomas Newman
  21. WALL-E’s Pod Adventure by Thomas Newman
  22. Define Dancing by Thomas Newman and Peter Gabriel
  23. No Splashing No Diving by Thomas Newman
  24. All That Love’s About by Thomas Newman
  25. M-O by Thomas Newman
  26. Directive A-113 by Thomas Newman
  27. Mutiny! by Thomas Newman
  28. Fixing WALL-E by Thomas Newman
  29. Rogue Robots by Thomas Newman
  30. March of the Gels by Thomas Newman
  31. Tilt by Thomas Newman
  32. The Holo-Detector by Thomas Newman
  33. Hyperjump by Thomas Newman
  34. Desperate EVE by Thomas Newman
  35. Static by Thomas Newman
  36. It Only Takes A Moment by Michael Crawford
  37. Down To Earth by Thomas Newman and Peter Gabriel
  38. Horizon 12.2 by Thomas Newman

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Sundays are for Soundtracks: “The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)”

“In the early days of our movies, Wes had pretty much chosen ahead of time every song that was going to be in the movie, and we would play it on set,” says Yeoman. “It just gave everyone the right attitude toward the scene.” As for those immaculately dressed sailors marching into the frame behind Richie as he falls deeper into love, “That’s one of those details that Wes comes up with — and he does it time after time — that make the scene memorable,” says Yeoman. “You might have the shot ready to go, and he’ll throw in something like that to give it a distinct style. I really do think that’s what defines him as a filmmaker.” Robert Yeoman for the article ‘How Wes Anderson’s Cinematographer Shot These 9 Great Scenes‘.

As one of my favourite directors, Wes Anderson’s cinematographer Robert Yeoman explains him best. His is a man of great brilliance, each film brings forth a unique entity all its own — Capturing the lives of both those on screen and those in front of it.

In his film, “The Royal Tenenbaums”, the story is that of a disjointed family known as the title states, theTenenbaums. It is comprised of child geniuses turned adult, a broken family structure and the individuals that fill in the cracks, and still that’s not even half of the complexity that is brought forth throughout the story. And with great writing and cinematography comes great music.

Within each scene, within every emotion portrayed by the characters, the musical undertone amplifies each and every single detail. Comprised of songs like “The Fairest of the Seasons” by Nico or “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon, the film moves through the motions of life, expressing inner feelings not seen by the naked eye but felt by something deeper within.

It is with this in depth connection that Anderson is able to create such magnificent masterpieces and allow the audience to become one with the film and place they themselves into the story that takes place at 111 Archer Avenue.

TRACK LIST (2002 Soundtrack Re-Release):

  1. 111 Archer Avenue by Mark Mothersbaugh
  2. These Days by Nico
  3. String Quartet in F Major (Second Movement) by Maurice Ravel, performed by Ysaye Quartet
  4. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard by Paul Simon
  5. Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Minor by George Enescu, performed by The Mutato Muzika Orchestra
  6. Wigwam by Bob Dylan
  7. Look At That Old Grizzly Bear by Mark Mothersbaugh
  8. Look At Me by John Lennon
  9. Lullaby by Emitt Rhodes
  10. Mothersbaugh’s Canon by Mark Mothersbaugh
  11. Police And Thieves by The Clash
  12. Scrapping And Yelling by Mark Mothersbaugh
  13. Judy Is A Punk by Ramones
  14. Pagoda’s Theme by Mark Mothersbaugh
  15. Needle In The Hay by Elliott Smith
  16. Fly by Nick Drake
  17. I Always Wanted To Be A Tenenbaum by Mark Mothersbaugh
  18. Christmas Time Is Here by Vince Guaraldi Trio
  19. Stephanie Says by The Velvet Underground
  20. Rachel Evans Tenenbaum (1965-2000) by Mark Mothersbaugh
  21. Sparkplug Minuet by Mark Mothersbaugh
  22. The Fairest Of The Seasons by Nico
  23. Hey Jude by The Beatles, performed by The Mutato Muzika Orchestra

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Sundays are for Soundtracks: “Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)”

What’s one of the best ways to explore and discover new music? Why a soundtrack, that’s how! Behind every great film there’s a musical accompaniment that fits each word, each action, each emotional cue so perfectly it creates a whole new environment through every note.

On Sundays, I’ll be posting a soundtrack for the week, whether new or old, these will be a combination of tracks that will help you sore through the week and take you off to those places you once saw on the screen (and maybe give you the inkling to watch it again too!). First up, we have the glorious group of tunes from the box office hit and Marvel masterpiece that is “Guardians Of The Galaxy”!

Every song you hear is a flashback to the glorious times that were the seventies and eighties – A perfect offset to the rough and tumble action of the film and comic book setting. From Blue Swede’s ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ to Redbone’s ‘Come And Get Your Love’, each melody makes you feel something different, whether it be to dance your socks off and kick back and chill on out.

So sit back, relax, and maybe even get ready to dance around your room, it’s time for the wonder and brilliance brought to you by “Guardians Of The Galaxy”.

TRACK LIST:

  1. Hooked On A Feeling by Blue Swede
  2. Go All The Way by The Raspberries
  3. Spirit In The Sky by Norman Greenbaum
  4. Moonage Dream by David Bowie
  5. Fooled Around And Fell In Love by Elvin Bishop
  6. I’m Not In Love by 10cc
  7. I Want You Back by Jackson 5
  8. Come And Get Your Love by Redbone
  9. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
  10. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes
  11. O-O-H Child by The Five Stairsteps
  12. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

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