Welcome Back, No Doubt!

After taking a rather LONG hiatus (since 2001’s classic “Rock Steady”), Gwen Stefani and the boys are finally back and have released a new single called “Settle Down” today. This is the initial single before they release their latest album next month entitled “Push & Shove.” If I must say, this is a great return for this 90’s ska band that has been an influence for so many pop/ska bands that proceeded it. Here is the latest and here’s hoping the rest of the album is just as strong! There’s no doubt that No Doubt is back!!!

Tunes From ITunes_5.8.11

“Can’t…get…enough…SYNTHESIZER!!!!”

If it seems as if I haven’t been spending a lot of time on my little music blog here it’s simply because…well…I haven’t been. So this obviously means that I have a LOT of music backed up that I need to let you know about so let’s get right to it on this rainy spring day, mmmmkay?

Santigold – “This Isn’t Our Parade” (alt-pop)
Fusing a lot of different genres into her sound, Santi White sends out yet another message in her music. With heavy electronic claps and underlying synthesizers, no one does this sound better.

ALO – “Dead Still Dance” (rock)
Bluesy rock with a simple beat that caught my ear, this California band is worth a listen! This is the catchy opening track to their new album “Sounds Like This!” Go check out the whole album!

Animal Kingdom – “White Sparks” (alternative)
With the ITunes “Freebie of the Week” being a cool single off their new album,  “The Looking Away,”  I figured I’d go try out something else other than “Strange Attractor” and I pick this sexy and mesmerizing track. With heavy synthesizer, this track sucked me in.

Silversun Pickups – “Mean Spirits” (alt-rock)
Leaving right where they left after their 2009 album, “Swoon,” I’m happy to say that the Pickups haven’t changed much! Heavy hooks dominate their new album but this rocker is my favorite.

Garbage – “Automatic Systematic Habit” (alternative)
This free track from their upcoming new album (the first since 2005’s “Bleed Like Me”) is nothing to get excited about. Shirley Manson’s vocals are good enough but the song gets repetitive and boring. Here’s hoping this isn’t the best they have to offer.

Justin Smith (featuring Elise Testone) – “Ride With Me” (R&B)
Sounding like a half-assed Everclear, the only reason I bought this song was because it featured Elise Testone, my favorite singer on American Idol this year. The song isn’t very good but Elise sounds great! Here’s hoping she can put together a great solo effort now that she doesn’t have to worry about the Idol madness anymore.

Elise Testone – “Whole Lotta Love” (rock)
The highlight of this season for me was Elise’s rawkin’ version of Led Zep’s classic track! Her vocals are awesome and fun! Give it a listen!

Mickey Avalon – “Party In My Pants” (rap)
Oh Mickey…your swagger is so much fun!  Straight from Hollywood, this song pretty much captures the essence of who Avalon is. It’s repetitive and silly but this song will be playing on my IPod for a while. Also bought “Tight Blue Jeans,” which has a heavy guitar riff and would be excellent in a strip joint…

B.o.B. – “Outta My Mind” (rap)
The highly anticipated new album from Bobby Ray falls short of his last album but there are some good tracks here that will get all kinds of radio play. Obviously the new track, “So Good,” is top notch pop but this track featuring the eclectic Nicki Minaj is a gem. It could have been included on Nicki’s new album also for that matter. It seems to be more up her alley but B.o.B. takes the reins and reels it from her grasp even though Minaj does a mean rap mid-song!

Carina Round – “Got To Go” (alternative)
Don’t know much about this singer/guitarist but I liked this song upon first listen. Unfortunately it kind of wore itself out with me quickly. I will put her up there as an artist with some potential but for whatever reason I feel like I’ve heard this song before. Odd…

Metric – “Youth Without Youth” (rock)
I LOVE me some Metric and with this being the first single released from  the new album, I can’t WAIT to hear what the rest of it sounds like! Heavy on the beat and catchy as hell, this song will be one of my favorites for this year, I’m sure. Sure…they’re a Garbage hybrid, but for whatever reason, I totally dig Emily Haines’ vocals and I really liked their last album. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this one (“Synthetica” is due out in June)!

Luce – “Buy A Dog” (pop)
This song was released in 2005 and I had never heard of this band until the other day on the radio I hear that they are suing Selena Gomez for one of her new songs. Apparently she (or her producers) stole the hook of THIS  song and used it. I can’t say one way or the other, but it DOES sound remarkably similar. Anyway…this song is excellent and I can’t help but promote a song that is not only good, but also a band that stands by its material! Go Luce!

Greg Laswell – “Come Back Down” (alternative)
Laswell has one of those familiar voices that never seems to change. This song isn’t a new sound for him but with the added vocals of Sara Bareilles and a catchy refrain, it’s well worth your money!

Foxes – “Youth” (electronic pop)
I don’t know if I’ve categorized this song correctly but either way, it’s got a lot of synthesized beats and echo so…I’ll call it electronic pop! I really like this track and I am looking forward to hearing more from…uh…whoever this singer is. Check this one out if you’re into this kind of sound…

Future – “Go Harder” (rap)
My son is totally into the rap right now and this is right up his alley. It’s a sports anthem wrapped up in heavy beats and tweets. He digs it! I don’t…

Neon Trees – “Moving In The Dark” (alternative)
The new single, “Everybody Talks” is getting worn out on alternative radio so I went looking for the next big single and I dig this track! It’s a slow build then it gets bombastic with almost a gospel tinge. Interesting and cool…

Soundgarden – “Live To Rise” (rock)
Featured in the new movie, “The Avengers,” this credit sequence track should be a rock radio staple for a while. Its a nice return for Chris Cornell and the boys, who haven’t released a new album since the mid-90’s.

Linkin Park – “Burn It Down” (rock)
This song COULD have been featured in the new “Avengers” movie. It would have fit in well actually but apparently it didn’t make the cut. This song is just like every other Park song….loud, heavy on guitar, got a rap in the middle. It’s okay but I’m kind of tired of this band already. But if you like The Park? This song won’t disappoint!

Fun. – “All Alone” (pop)
Sure…the song “We Are Young” is the HOT new song right now, but this band has a few other tricks up its sleeve. This is one of my favorite songs off the new album!

Alex Clare – “Too Close” (alternative)
Oh…you’ve heard it, you probably just don’t realize it. Featured in an “Internet Explorer” commercial, this song has this crazy hook that is mesmerizing! Check into this one!

Chiddy Bang – “Handclaps & Guitars” (rap)
Yep…that’s what it is!

Maroon 5 – “Payphone” (pop)
Here’s the deal…this is a GREAT pop song. But for whatever reason, Adam Levine feels the need to throw the words “sh%$” and “F%$*king” in there to prove what a badass he is so…they lose points on that one (especially since I downloaded the song BEFORE realizing there was a CLEAN version). But otherwise…this is as pure a pop song as you’ll find out there right now.

Reptar – “Orifice Origami” (alternative)
Um…dunno what the title is all about however…this song is AWESOME! It’s a mix of alt-pop and Elvis Costello and I DIG IT! Check this one out!

Other tracks I would recommend:

White Rabbits – “Temporary” (alt-pop),  Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe (pop), Jennifer Hudson & Ne-Yo – “Think Like A Man” (R&B),  Deep Sea Arcade – “Girls” (alternative), All-American Rejects – “Fast & Slow” (rock), Escort – “Makeover” (alternative)

Tunes From ITunes_February 2012

Actually she’s good. I mean…very, VERY good…

Hello there. It’s been a while. Sorry about that but the end of 2011 found very little music to rave about but now we’re well into February and I figured it was time to find some music to get you through these cold winter months! Here are just a few tunes you should (or shouldn’t) go download…RIGHT NOW!

Frankie Rose – “Know Me” (alternative)
Dreamy vocals and a familiar 80’s retro backbeat makes this a familiar sounding song which comes as no surprise since Rose is in the Dum Dum Girls (which had a new album last year off the Sub Pop label). It’s a slice of alt-pop heaven and is available this week (2.7.12) on ITunes!

Red Wanting Blue – “Playlist” (rock)
This band hails from Athens, OH…home of Ohio University, which is where this “critic” attended college! Although somewhat repetitive lyrically, I love the hook and it reminds me of the late 90’s guitar bands. Think Collective Soul with a hint more blues.

The Fray – “1961” (pop)
Not as much piano on this track (which is nice) and this song ALSO sounds kind of 90’s-ish. Not a complete changeup for this band but the chorus soars and I like that it’s subtle but not a slow ballad.

Chevelle – “Revenge” (alt-metal)
Sounding a LOT like Tool, this Chicago-based band reaches for the stars on this track a pulls it off. Soaring guitars and vocalist Pete Loeffler channels his best Maynard James Keenan to pull this out of a pile of wannabe’s and makes it their own.

Johan Reinhold – “Shoot Me Down” (alternative)
I dig this track. It’s kind of mellow and fits my mood right now. And there’s a remix of it that is kind of eerie that I also like a lot.

Jesse Thomas – Fire (acoustic)
Jesse has a cool, raspy voice and this song soothes my soul. Very nice and FREE on ITunes this week!

Bruno Mars – “The Other Side” (pop)
After seeing him perform on the Grammy’s, I decided I wanted to know more about him than just his hits and I found this track. With appearances by Cee Lo Green and B.o.B., this one is probably gonna be a hit sometime!

deadmau5 – “Raise Your Weapon” (dance/electronica)
Okay…so I saw deadmau5 on the Grammy’s and wanted to see  what the guy with the Mickey Mouse head was all about and downloaded his most popular track. I get it. It’s really DISCO with a lot of beeps and whistles! Nice…

Mikey Wax – “Counting On You” (pop)
My wife found this one. Dunno how SHE heard it before me but this guy is on par with Pete Yorn (who is a favorite of mine). First class track if you like radio ready pop music!

Van Halen – “The Trouble With Never” (rock)
Oh how I WANTED to like the new album but unfortunately…I don’t. And the first single is HORRIBLE. But with that being said, there are a couple tracks worth salvaging in this mess and this is my favorite! Old school DLR doing it the way I remember it! Wish they all were so good…

Tim McGraw – “Felt Good On My Lips” (country)
Let’s face it…most of McGraw’s music starts to all sound the same after awhile and this one is fairly typical but I like the summer-time feel it has and I imagine it will be a big hit.

FM Attack – “A Million Miles Away” (synth pop)
Somewhere since the last time I posted I went through a synth pop faze and started downloading some 80’s retro tracks like this one. FM Attack, Tesla Boy, etc and this one is my favorite of the bunch!

LMFAO – “I’m In Miami Trick” (dance)
Actually, the title is “I’m In Miami Bitch” but I can’t really play THAT in my car when taking the kids to school. Actually…I can’t play the edited version EITHER! LOL! But this is a party anthem much like every other song these guys put out and it’s better than “Sexy And I Know It.”

Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kids” (alternative)
EVERYONE loves the Sleigh Bells! Oh what joyous noise they make! And this first track off their upcoming new album is every bit worth the attention. Can’t wait to hear what else they have in store for us…

Jay Park – “I Love You” (pop)
Yes…he’s Japanese and yes…he SINGS in Japanese. But ya know what…the language barrier is broken on this track because this is just as worthy of your attention as just about anything on the radio these days! Go check it out and tell me the lyrics really matter…

ALBUMS YOU NEED TO BUY:

Okay…I know it’s February and no one wants to go out in the cold so stay in, log onto ITunes and buy these next few albums ’cause they’re worth EVERY penny! LOVE them!!!!

Snow Patrol – “Fallen Empires” (rock)
Just carrying on what they’ve been doing since 1994 but with U2 out of commission for awhile, Snow Patrol becomes the next in line for deserving a large arena tour. Their anthemic songs with the soaring choruses and the guitars and the drums…well…I just LOVE it! This one features many great tracks including “This Isn’t Everything You Are,” “Fallen Empires,” and “Called Out In The Dark.”

Graffiti6 – “Colours” (R&B pop) 
Where did this band come from?  Sounding a little like Gnarls Barkley, I love their pop sensibility and many of the tracks on here are radio worthy! Love “Colours,” “Annie You Save Me,” “Never Look Back,” and “Free.”

Mark Lanegan Band – “Blues Funeral” (rock)
The former frontman for the 90’s alt-rock band Screaming Trees returns with a blistering blues-tinged album that has so many great tracks. Love the darkness of it and Lanegan’s vocals are from the depths of hell. He is the modern day Man In Black and he nails it out of the park with this superb album! Download “Riot In My House,” “Ode To Sad Disco,” “The Gravedigger’s Song,”  & “Harborview Hospital” if you’re picky.

Lana Del Rey – “Born To Die” (60’s Retro Pop?)
I knew nothing about the viral song “Video Games” that Del Rey released online back in 2011 and honestly, with her being a “throwback” type singer, I didn’t really give her a second thought when her album was released a couple weeks ago. But then I caught wind of her performance on SNL and how bad it was and HAD to see for myself. Needless to say…I didn’t think her performance was that bad and so…off to ITunes I went and ya know what…I’ve bought into her schtick! In the 90’s, I went through a Julee Cruise/Mazzy Star phase and so…this was kind of in that realm only with more pop influences. I gotta tell you…this might be a surprise album on my favorites of 2012 when it’s all said and done. LOTS of likable  songs on here but if I HAD to choose, I would go with “Blue Jeans,” “Off To The Races,” “Radio,” and “National Anthem.” Buuuuut I also like “Million Dollar Man” and “”This Is What Makes Us Girls.” Oh yeah…and then there’s “Video Games.” Ahh…to hell with it…just buy the whole damn thing. It’s worth it.

Single Of The Week: Electric Guest’s “This Head I Hold”

Danger Mouse is one of the more prolific producers out there today and this new track from the band “Electric Guest” definitely benefits from his soul. This track is catchy as hell and will crawl into your head for days! From the opening clink of the piano keys, this song sets itself up as classic R&B but has that neo-soul feel that is getting so popular these days. Download it here for free and enjoy!

Single Of The Week: “Before The Light Takes Us” by Darkness Falls

Gotta love the ITunes freebie of the week! This week (December 20, 2011) they are spotlighting the band Darkness Falls. And what a great pick! With a throbbing (almost naughty) beat that reminds me of Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me There,” this track could be featured in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Apparently the 2 members of Darkness Falls are Danish and they’ve been together since 2009. Huh…who knew? The new album is called “Alive In Us” and it features this song. Go get it and tell me you don’t feel kinda dirty afterwards…

Here’s where you can get it on ITunes this week for FREE!!!

SOTW_11.2.11 – Gym Class Heroes’ “Ass Back Home”

Gotta love this rap/pop band. They consistently produce top notch pop singles (they’re holding the #3 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 right now with “Stereo Hearts”) and are usually dead on when it comes to what the masses enjoy listening too. Here is their latest single and the lyrics hit me because of all my traveling. Here is “Ass Back Home”…the next big hit for Gym Class Heroes!

I don’t know, where you’re going
Or when you’re coming home
I left the keys under the mat to our front door
For one more chance to hold you close
I don’t know, where you’re going
Just get your ass back home

We both knew this type of life didn’t come with instructions
So I’m trying to do my best to make something out of nothing
And sometimes it gets downright shitty in fact
When you call and I don’t know what city I’m in at
Or what day of the week in the middle of the month
In a year I don’t recall
It’s like my life’s on repeat and the last time we spoke
I told you I wouldn’t be long,
That was last November, now December’s almost gone
I’d apologize but I don’t realize what I’m doing wrong

And you’ve been nothing but amazing
And I never take that for granted
Half of these birds would have flew the coop
But you, you truly understand it
And the fact you stood beside me,
Every time you heard some bogusness
You deserve a standing o ‘cause they’d a just been over it

Let em talk, let em talk, let em talk, let em talk
Like we don’t hear what they saying
Let em walk, let em walk, let em walk, let em walk
We’ll just drive by and keep waving
Cause you and I above all that
Just let them wallow in it
Now they all choked up, yuck
Cause they be swallowing it

No one hold me down like you do sweetheart
You keep doing that, I keep doing this
We’ll be alright in the end
Trust that
We put the us in trust, baby
Let’s go

I don’t care what you’re after
As long as I’m the one, no
I don’t care why you’re leaving
You’ll miss me when you’re gone

I don’t know, where you’re going
Or when you’re coming home
I left the keys under the mat to our front door
For one more chance to hold you close
I don’t know, where you’re going
Just get your ass back home.