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Picking a Lock at the Speed of Light

by These Modern Socks - Minneapolis Fucking Rocks!

I’ve been so obsessed with SOLID GOLD lately that I’ve started to listen to their opening acts – or anything else from Minneapolis. These Modern Socks’s style may not be my usual preference, but then again neither is SOLID GOLD.

Picking a Lock at the Speed of Light, These Modern Socks’s latest album, didn’t seem like anything special at first – none of the songs hit the spot, and I really wasn’t use to their style. But before giving up on these guys, a song caught my ear. “To NASA” seemed to be more rich in electronic instruments than the previous songs, which is what got me into current indie rock in the first place (i.e. SOLID GOLD), so I decided to listen to the album one more time through – usually it takes me a couple plays through […]

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It’s the Chemicals by Inspired Flight (feat. Scarub)

Collaboration is Innovation

Music that isn’t easily classified, is so, usually because it pushes the boundaries of its genre, leaking into every other. When I first heard Inspired Flight’s “It’s the Chemicals”, I thought it was an electronic song; then after about a minute or so I realized that it had some hip-hop elements, as well; and finally, I heard some alt rock. Well, after listening to it a few dozen times more I’m still just as clueless on classifying it, but I guess that’s the case when a group pulls from different genres through the use of electron equipment.

Electronic instruments have given us the power to utilize instruments that were once too difficult and tiresome to learn. Now we can mesh up a range of instruments to create something that would’ve taken many hours and musicians to achieve. Yea, some say it’s just being lazy and blah, blah, blah (see Copyright Criminals), but this doesn’t consider everything. It may be easier, but it allows the artist to create without the limitations of knowing every instrument.

In the end it all comes down to what is produced. Art isn’t necessarily about method, but what the final outcome is. You wouldn’t fault photographers for not creating everything in their lens, just like you wouldn’t fault DJ’s for not creating every beat. Yes, there is a limit to the extent of sampling you do off of someone else’s work, but it’s not set in stone. As Newton put it, “if I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” – we are all just building off of our predecessors. The key is to build up, push the boundaries of a genre, and create something new.

Someone help me out on where to put this (what genre), I’m leaning towards electronica now…

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Just Like Everyone Else by Solid Gold

"Keep your fuckin' mouth shut."

Ever since I can remember, my father has hated the word fuck. I, however, kinda like it. It’s served me well, expressing my thoughts when I lacked the more appropriate words – it has so many uses. Yes, it can be crude & inappropriate, but it can express something like no other word can. It may even shock some at times, for example – when used in music, but isn’t that the fun in it anyway

Now, when I talk about it being used in music, I don’t mean by those hip-hop hooligans, they tend to overuse it. I’m talking about when a musician drops it when you’re least expecting it. A good example is Solid Gold’s “Just Like Everyone Else”. Zach Coulter’s voice is anything but crude, but when he slips in the good ol’ fuck bomb, it gets your attention. It was surprising at first, but after a while you start to understand its purpose. How else could you express such hurt & anguish from an ex-love Just picture the song without all the fucks, it’s just not as affective. I gotta give credit to Coulter for his use, and not overuse, of the word. Well played, sir.

If your in Minneapolis tonight, Solid Gold is playing at the Weisman Art Museum at 9. I may hit it up if I’m over in the Twin Cities tonight.
Edit: I just looked at the website and it’s sold out… fuck.

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Pursuit of Happiness (KiD CuDi Cover) by Lissie

"Everything that shines ain't always gonna be gold."

Lissie is one pretty young thing (love you MJ) that packs some power. In her live performance at the Great Escape this last May, Lissie performs “Pursuit of Happiness” by KiD CuDi, or I should say outperforms. They’re only a handful of covers that I like better than the original. Along with Lissie, the instrumentals – especially Eric Sullivan’s guitar solo – make this song addicting as hell… which may, ironically, be it’s one downfall – it’s been stuck in my head for the last couple of weeks.

Make sure to check out the video of her performance in the full article. It really captures the passion she has for singing.

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Ready Let’s Roll by Bob Schneider

"Drinkin' Mai Tais and smokin' blunts with some Mexicans."

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I went to see Bob Schneider live a couple years back in college. I’m not the biggest fan of his, but when I first heard Ready Let’s Roll, I was hooked. I had no idea what the song was called at the time, so I searched the net to figure it out. Well, I finally came up with it, but it just didn’t sound like it did in concert. With some more research I found the one featured here. It’s not as good as when I heard it live, but I think it still does it justice. Check out the video in the full article, it’s the closest thing I could find to what I heard that night.

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Who You Gonna Run to? by Solid Gold

"I don't think it's right, lettin' Love ruin my life."

Banner - Solid Gold in SPACE

I’m getting back to my rock roots, and from no better place than Minneapolis. But don’t worry, hip hop is still my first love (well, technically that would be rock…). I just want to diversify my music library to genres other than hip hop & electronica (I think hip hop’s at about 80%, right now). But who gives a fuck about all that, let’s get to the Gold…

I first set my ears on Solid Gold a couple months back when tuning into GAYNGS’s debut album Relayted. The trio teamed up with Ryan Olson of Mel Gibson and the Pants, among others, to do a collaborative project that’s nothing short of sexy smooth. Where GAYNGS is a seductive gang-bang of Minneapolis musicians, Solid Gold would more of a glam-rock/synth-pop band with lead singer Zach Coulter’s voice, which sounds a hell of a lot like George Michael’s. I’m still not quite sure what genre to categorize this under, but for once in a long time I’ve opened up to rock that isn’t 40 years old (there are a few exceptions – mostly ’80s/’90s rock). I should note, however, my first listen through the album wasn’t anything to boast about, but once I got use to the sound… I was hooked – this is especially for my hip hop fans, give it a couple listens before you move on.

If anyone could help me define/classify this, it would be much appreciated. I wanna start looking for similar sounds and you could be a real help. +If you do I may just post more… just maybe.

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Today by Zero 7

"We are the light that travels into space."

Banner - The Garden

I was watching one of my favorite mockumentaries, The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down, when I heard a song by Zero 7. Before I get to the song I gotta talk a little about the film. If you haven’t gotten the opportunity to see it, you definitely should. It may at first seem like just a cheesy film about stupid American 20-year-olds, and as much as it is, it’s also very funny and well written.

I included a clip of the film where the song appears, which I cut down and uploaded just for y’all. Just to let you know what’s happened so far in the film, everyone is going home to crash after a night of drugs, partying and debauchery. The video captures the morning as a serene contemplation of the night before, but in my experience this is hardly the case. Anytime you’ve stayed out so late that you get a nice glimpse of the morning sunrise… well, let’s just say it’s anything but pleasant. But this film catches its beauty (somehow) with some nice shots of the LA scenery. The clip also includes the scene after, which is pretty funny (especially if you watch the whole film), but is a bit obscene if you just jump right in (and even if ya don’t).

Finally, the reason I chose this song was mainly because of the film. The two complimented each other so well, not to mention I’ve been a fan of Zero 7 for a while. Give me your thoughts on the clip of the film which features “Today” and the scene after, if you’d like.

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The Ghost Inside by Broken Bells

Move over Gorillaz, it's DangerShins!

Banner - Broken Bells by Broken Bells

I’ve finally found some rock that isn’t 40 years old. Of course, though, it had to be by one of the most abundant underground hip hop producers today, Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse has worked on a number of different projects including Gnarls Barkley, DANGERDOOM, The Grey Album – one of the best mashup albums to date – and now, to top it all off, he’s collaborated with James Mercer of The Shins to form Broken Bells.

When first hearing of Broken Bells on hypem, I didn’t realize the two had collaborated at the time. After realizing it, I knew I had to check out the entire album. I’ve listened to the album a few times through and so far it’s prettay, prettay good. The group reminds me a lot of Gorillaz, that sort of electric-inspired alternative rock. I like this new style, but haven’t immersed myself in it enough (any other suggestions). The album had two songs in particular that stuck with me. Of course, they’re the two singles off the album, the first being “The High Road”, which I instantly fell in love with, and “The Ghost Inside”, which took some time but is steadily becoming my favorite.

The reason I chose to feature “The Ghost Inside” over the other favored track is because it has something that I can’t really explain… or maybe I just have more to talk about with this one (I’m sure ill feature the other some other time). What might be the reason I like this one so much is because it, in particular, reminds me a lot of the Gorillaz. It has some quirky vocals that grow on ya, and some unconventional, hip hop inspired instrumentals (a lot like the Gorillaz). One of the sounds actually reminds me of the sound that the black smoke makes in LOST. I probably just got LOST on the brain because the final episode is tomorrow! But just listen closely and I bet you’ll hear it too. Anyways, check it – tell me what ya think.

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Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress) by The Hollies

Know Good Classics - #4 Rock

Banner for Distant Light

First off, I wanted to apologize, I was going to post this yesterday, but I decided to Jailbreak my iPhone instead. :D It’s incredible what I can do with it now! But, let’s get the music…

This is the fourth installment in the Know Good Classics series. All of the features in this series are either rock or R&B, even though this site is mainly based on hip-hop & electronica. The reason for this is when I was growing up I listened to these genres, mainly from my father’s influence. I eventually turned to hip-hop & electronica in high school and (more so) in college. And now to the feature!

If you listen to any classic rock stations then you’ve probably heard this one before. Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress) was a big hit back in the day by The Hollies, and is now featured in such films as Remember the Titans (poor quality sample of it here), and a few other films. I actually rediscovered this from what I thought was Wonderland, but came to find it wasn’t. The actual film that I heard it from is still yet to be determined, so if you have any ideas please shout ’em out! Oh well, the song will be a nice refresher from the good ol’ days (as my pop says), so give it a listen and tell me what comes to mind when ya listen to it (if anything)…

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Head Over Heals by Tears for Fears

Know Good Classics - #3 Rock

Banner for Tears Roll Down

I know what you’re thinking… what pop bullshit is up on here Well, it is pop, but it isn’t shit. During my early years (when I pimped the pajama pants) all I listened to was Tears for Fears, along with Earth, Wind & Fire, mixed in with a whole lot of Beatles (my father’s influence). I’ve always loved Roland Orabal’s voice, but I do understand why some may not; it’s a stereotypical 80’s pop voice (Shout), which may irritate and possibly annoy some. But, besides their cheesy 80’s “act”, the group has released numerous classic songs, including Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Sowing the Seeds of Love, and my current favorite, Head Over Heels (there’s also Mad World, but I like the Donnie Darko version better). I listen to this one on repeat for a couple key parts throughout the song (one mentioned below), and I must say, Roland Orzabal & Curt Smith know how to hit the right chords at the right time. Maybe if they were a decade back, they wouldn’t have suffered the 80’s faux pas. I mean common, look at this album cover… what the fuck were they thinking :) (album cover is in the full article)

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