I get asked a lot if there’s any mainstream music that I’m into. There’s actually plenty of stuff, but I tend to get just as frustrated with the really generic stuff as everyone else who probably reads this blog. Last night I was explaining to the DJ Mumbles room why I was a fan of “Go Hard” and it really boiled down to the fact that it felt like something so different from everything else I’ve heard on the radio in the past couple years. Two songs that make me feel the same are “Wicked Games” by The Weeknd and “Novocane” by Frank Ocean. While most hip hop songs glorify drugs and sleeping around, both of these songs have a really intelligent and honest take on both subjects. There’s a vulgarity in the lyrics, a need for numbness and an acknowledgement that they’re all just temporary painkillers for real problems.
Now, I think you should go listen to the original songs, but here’s two of my favorite covers that really slow down the songs and make the lyrics more crisp. There’s prominent instruments (piano and guitar) in these covers which I really love the more acoustic take to a typically hip hop, synth backed song. Oh and the cover of “Wicked Games” is by Coeur de Pirate. I too lazy to fix the file name.
Good morning, party people. It’s early, you got family to see and breakfast is forthcoming, but if you don’t have anything better to do, here’s some music. Once and a while I get really nostolgic and go searching for new, decent ska bands and almost always come up empty handed. I mean, what happened to ska? Whenever music blogs link to the genre these days, it’s really old stuff that I have filed away at my parents’ garage or this band called Bedouin Soundclash. To be fair, though, they’re really good. See, I’m easily attracted to a band that wears their influences on their sleeves. I can tell they have The Specials, Bob Marley and Operation Ivy in their record collection and that creates an instant bond. While there’s no heavy ska sounds, you can hear their love for the genre in their songs. I feel if ska is going to die, the least we can ask for is bands to carry its bones around their necks in small tributes.The band actually stretches over a couple genres, so I’m going to present the songs in a progression of sound. Hopefully you’ll be able to hear the change in influence pretty clearly.
So, fuck it. We’re going to start with a Sublime cover. “Waiting for my Ruca” is about a girl named Romona he met at a party. Sound familiar? It lacks every indie street cred Scott Pilgrim holds, but I can’t not associate the two now. This is a great, smooth jam in the same vein of most Sublime songs. No brass, but the guitar and drums reflect traditional chill-out reggae and the vocals are just on point. I have to say that’s one of the high points of this band. This guy’s voice is downright beautiful and it harnasses the power of classic ska singers with the modern swagger this band needs.
“Mountain Top” shows another side of ska, which is a more traditional, late 80′s-early 90′s American ska punk. The instruments stay simple and minimalistic while keeping the energy up in the way a ska punk song should. And, he roughs up his voice so that matches the rest of the music perfectly. This is my favorite song of theirs because it’s such a great throw back to music I grew up on without that sort of modern pop punk flair that killed the genre.
Finally, we have “Brutal Hearts” with Coeur De Pirate, who I’ve actually featured on this blog before. There’s no real ska here and only a whisper of reggae, but it’s still gorgeous. If you’re a fan of compatible duets, you really don’t have to look farther than these two. There’s nothing impressive about the instrumentals, but I really believe it was intentional. It’s risky to have vocals carry a song, but they’re both so talented that it really works. The lyrics are also interesting enough that they hold your attention. My only fear is that this song will be their breakout hit in the indie crowd and they’ll stray away from their other influences.
Yeah, I’m just about done with winter. I always think I’m looking forward to cold weather, rain and terminal depression, but each year around this time I realize I was wrong. So very wrong. Spring, get your ass in gear. I have enough cash money for an air conditioner, so I ain’t afraid of no extreme heat. Anyway, in the hopes the weather here will clear up a little bit, here’s some springy songs. Continue reading →