Tunes From ITunes: 10.11.11

Ah October…how I love thee! The leaves change colors, the weather gets cooler, it stays darker later & longer. Halloween is around the corner and there are so many options. What should I be this year? A sexy pirate? A sexy caveman? A sexy nerd? How about a zombie? Yeah…THAT will work. Speaking of zombies, I’ve been ambling along, being somewhat despondent about highlighting new songs from ITunes that I buy every week. So I’ve created the “Featured Singles” to allow for me to highlight at least one song a week for anyone who might be interested. Anyway, here are some tracks that I’ve downloaded over the past month or so. Let me know what you think!

NEEDTOBREATHE – “Keep Your Eyes Open”  (rock)
With 4 studio albums in their arsenal, this Christian rock band from South Carolina have a polished pop/rock sound and this track has a simple & familiar sound to it. Not gonna say I LOVE it but it certainly has a message and I would have to imagine there will be at least 1 track off this new album (The Reckoning) that will find its way to pop radio. Dunno if this will be it but it has potential.

Pearl Jam – “Ole”  (rock)
A freebie on ITunes and it rocks! I’m a big PJ fan and considering the other option (which is Vedder doing ukele songs), I’ll take this! Is it fresh & different? For PJ, no. But it gave me a good kick in the butt this morning and I’ll be putting it in my workout mix now, thank you very much!

James Morrison feat. Jessie J – “Up”  (pop)
Simple & soulful, I really like this track and with Jessie J’s soulful vocal powering this to “above average” status, I have to imagine this one will hit on adult contemporary radio at some point! This is easily the best track on the album (from what I heard).

Joe Jonas – “Fastlife” (pop)
So Justin Timberlake is hanging up his pop cleats, huh? Well…seems he may have already been replaced. One of the 3 Jonas brothers, this kid has got it firing on all cylinders. With his hit “See No More” and his latest release, “Just In Love,” Jonas is moving into Timberlake territory. This track is the jam!

Manchester Orchestra – “Leave It Alone”  (rock)
A lovely mellow rock track from this Atlanta band. Reminds me of Pink Floyd a bit and the lyrics of a broken relationship are true. Love this one!

Mayer Hawthorne – “No Strings” (R&B)
This has a traditional R&B sound with a modern pop twist. Suggestive lyrics and Hawthorne’s smooth vocal make this an excellent choice for anyone who likes a little music for their bow-chicka-bow-wow…

Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”  (rock)
Lead singer Dee Dee has a similar vocal style of Annie Lennox and this track sounds a LOT like Mazzy Star with fuzzy guitars and reverb. I imagine it being played in one of those old desert town bar jukeboxes. It has a sexy edge and makes me want to drink my sorrows away. I recommend this one! I also HIGHLY recommend “Bedroom Eyes” and “Wasted Away” from their album “Only In Dreams.”

Blink 182 – “Wishing Well”  (rock)
8 years since releasing their last album, this punk pop band have returned with a decent effort and this track has a familiar sound as Tom DeLonge brings his best Angels & Airwaves impersonation to the Blink reunion. I love A&A and this track sounds like just about everything else on that bands’ albums…so that means it’s good!

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Atlas Hands”  (adult contemporary)
Mellow and beautiful, I can’t say it’s original but I love the lyrics and it IS refreshingly simple. Think The Weepies. If you like them, you’ll LOVE this.

David Nail – “Let It Rain”  (country)
Guilt is a very strong emotion and this song conveys that to a tee. Originally released in February, I recently heard it while in Nashville. Love it!

The Kooks – “Rosie”  (pop rock)
Not sure how to define this track. If you liked their hit single “She Moves In Her Own Way” from their 2006 album, “Inside In/Inside Out,” then you will probably like this track. I REALLY like it and it will probably be one of my favorite tracks from this year!

Bush – “Red Light”  (rock)
For whatever reason, this doesn’t sound like Bush at all to me. And that’s a good thing (I think). This is ultimately a generic pop rock song but I kinda dig it and I would recommend checking it out if you like Top 40 rock artists like Daughtry or David Cook.

Wild Flag – “Romance”  (rock)
This all-girl, all-star band featuring rockers from Sleater-Kinney and the Minders show they can hang with the big boys and crank out a guitar-laced homage to love & romance…hence the name, I suppose…

Lights – “Peace Sign”  (pop)
Generic dance pop that my kids tend to love. It has a catchy refrain and kept me interested for a few listens but for the most part, it’s average at best.

ALBUM OF THE MONTH THAT DOESN’T QUITE LIVE UP TO THE PREVIOUS ALBUM BUT I LIKE IT ANYWAY:

Mute Math – “Odd Soul”  (alternative)
Oh how I wanted to say that this one is as good if not better than the band’s previous album, “Armistice,” nut unfortunately I can’t. It does start out very strong with songs like “Prytania” and “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” (my personal favorite), but it drifts into experimental rock territory in the latter half of the album and never seems to recover. Songs like “Quarantine” and “Walking Paranoia” have a jam band quality to them, featuring distorted vocals and 70’s flavored tempos that just don’t gel with me. It’s funky in places but never quite reaches the potential that it strives for. That being said, it DOES have several strong tracks and I wouldn’t call it a disappointment at all, it’s just not as good as “Armistice.”

Recommended Tracks: Tell Your Heart Heads Up, Sun Ray (instrumental), All Or Nothing, Prytania, Odd Soul

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Tunes From ITunes: April Showers Bring May…Showers?

Waddaya mean we’re rippin’ off “The Lonely Island” guys?!?!

Damn all this rain! All over our country, the weather is keeping us from doing the one thing we ALL enjoy and that is…cruising with our tops down and our music cranked up! If we get any more rain, I might have to attach floaties to my house and hope for the best. Either way…I’m good to go because I got ITunes and it has been SMOKIN’ the last couple of weeks! ALL KINDS of new releases from bands that I love and so…without a care in the world…I present this months mix of GREAT MUSIC!!!! Prepare for a flashback….

Raphael Saadiq – “Heart Attack” (R&B)
Oh yeah…THIS one is gonna be burning up my IPhone for the rest of the summer! Nothing better than classic R&B and Raphael is in a class of his own with this return to that classic retro sound. Go here if you wanna hear it! It’s HAWT!!! To recommend anything less than buying the entire album would not do Raphael’s work justice. Get the entire album…it’s worth it!

Mat Kearney – “Hey Mama” (pop)
Catchy and smooth, kinda like a milkshake at the local ice cream shop.  Got a great hook and Kearney is one of those under-appreciated artists who deserve a big hit!

The Cars – “Free” (rock)
Thankfully, the new Cars album doesn’t suck! It’s actually a very strong return to form for this great alt-rock 80’s band! So with much pleasure I give you MY favorite track off “Move Like This.” Classic Cars and will please all of their fans! If you like this, the lead single, “Sad Song,” is also great and you can also buy “Keep On Knocking” or “It’s Only.” RIP Benjamin Orr…your talents would have made this album even THAT much better…

Jennifer Lopez – “(What Is) Love?” (pop)
You can put it down now…this will be a big hit. Look for it burning up pop radio in 5…4…3…2…1…

The Lonely Island featuring Michael Bolton – “Jack Sparrow” (comedy)
Not only is this a great song with one of the most ridiculous (big, sexy) hooks I have ever heard, it also features a classic 80’s artist making fun of himself. It’s a great return to form for Bolton who could use a little of the limelight and his ability to laugh at himself makes this that much more entertaining! Check it out! You can also get the SNL classic “Motherlover,” “After Party” or “I Just Had Sex!”

Kram – “Satellite” (alternative pop)
Not surprisingly, I get a lot of my music from movies and this track is featured on one of the better movies from last year. If you haven’t seen “Easy A”, you should. It is an homage to the great John Hughes films of the 80’s with more modern music! This is my favorite of the bunch!

Katie Cole – “Gravity” (rock)
Not surprisingly, I get a lot of my music from the boob tube also and this track is featured on the latest Movado watch company commercial. Relatively unknown, Katie Cole reminds me of some of the great female rockers of the 90’s. You can’t get this song on ITunes yet but if you’re on Facebook or Myspace you can download it for free! Go get it and wish her well…she’s got a great future ahead of her!

Dum Dum Girls – “He Gets Me High” (rock)
Speaking of great female rock artists, here’s the latest from this retro rock all-girls band. After last years excellent album, “”I Will Be,” I will listen to anything Dee Dee and the girls pump out and this track is excellent! I’m digging the girl bands right now. When is Metric gonna release a new album??? Oh well…this EP will hold me over…for now.

Beastie Boys – “Here’s A Little Something For Ya” (rap)
O…M…G…This track is TEARING up my CD player in my car!!!! A complete return to form for our favorite New Yorkers and the beat in this one is GUARANTEED to make your ass shake! I’m thinking you’re gonna be hearing this one on the radio (I hope, I hope, I hope…) this summer. It’s just too damn good to NOT listen too! Welcome back Boys! We missed ya! I also downloaded the Santigold featured track, “Don’t Play No Game I Can’t Win” and their pre-released single “Make Some Noise.” All 3 are CLASSICS! Here’s “Make Some Noise”…

Music Soulchild – “Single” (R&B)
Not gonna lie…this track reminds me of something Keith Sweat might have done. Smooth R&B with lyrics that have a little bit of a “grass is always greener” tilt to it. I like it but it doesn’t blow me away. Check it out though!

Other Lives – “Dust Bowl III” (alternative)
Straight from Stillwater, Oklahoma, you can feel the desert heat and the dry wind in your face when this band plays. I got a lot of love for this sound and I totally love this song. I also downloaded “For 12.” Reminds me of Chris Isaak only darker…MUCH darker…

Dredg – “The Thought Of Losing You” (alternative)
Average alt-pop track that gets somewhat repetitive. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. But the band sounds tight and I have hopes that maybe I’ll hear something better from them sooner or later.

Raekwon – “Rock ‘N’ Roll” (rap)
This is a slow burn with featured artists Ghostface Killah & Kobe Honeycutt. I dig it but it’s for rap enthusiasts only.

Medina – “Addiction” (dance)
If you like dance tracks by Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga, this will fit in your playlist! I picture this one getting airplay at your local dance club. I like it!

Foo Fighters – “Bridge Burning” (rock)
So the new Foo album is out and I ran out to get it and right out of the gate, the first track is this one. I swear…I couldn’t hear for 2 days after cranking it OUT in my car. Unfortunately, as much as I WANTED to love this entire album, THIS is the best track on it. Great hook, Dave Grohl’s vocals are excellent and everything just works! As for the rest of them album, there’s nothing wrong with it…I guess I just was expecting something fresher. Instead, it’s classic Foo and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I was hoping for something new, I guess. I dunno. I’m very confused…

Nicki Minaj – “Here I Am” (rap)
Everyone LOVES Nicki and I have to admit, I’m a HUGE fan of hers when she’s a featured artist on other artists’ tracks (see Kanye West’s “Monster” for one of the best raps EVER by a featured artist! She tears it up!), but I can’t really say I love her album “Pink Friday.” That being said, I don’t know that she made the album to cater to a 40-something white male. So what I can say is I really like this track which has a smooth R&B tip and cool piano. Dig it!

Uh…yeeeeah….

SURPRISE SONG OF THE WEEK THAT I THOUGHT I WOULD HATE BUT I DON’T: Lady Gaga – “The Edge Of Glory” (pop/dance)
Okay…here’s the thing…THIS track belongs in an 80’s movie final credits. Think “Footloose” (which is being remade as we speak. Maybe this song will end up on the soundtrack?) with a dance hook. I am gonna go on record as saying this is my…(cough)…favorite…(ack)…Gaga song. It even has a saxophone solo in the middle. It’s like she knew how to finally get to me. I hate you Gagag! But I DO like this song…dammit.

WORST SONG RELEASED IN THE PAST 3 YEARS: Lady Gaga – “Judas” (doesn’t matter. It sucks)
So to counter the surprise that is “The Edge Of Glory” I am back to my bashing of Gagag. This song is easily the WORST in her collection. I don’t know if it’s gonna be released on her to new album or what but whoever decided to release this below average B-side should be smacked in the face with a 2×4.  Not only did they release it just before Easter, but the lyrics and the music are just horrible! The Gaga backlash lasted a second and then the song was gone. Thankfully. But I would love to point out the fact that Madonna released a sex book with her naked throughout most of it earlier in her career so…this is just as bad.

Tunes From ITunes_The Final Four Edition

It’s been a crazy March Madness and every team I was rooting for was knocked off in the regional semifinals. So to console myself, I went and downloaded a boatload of new music to make myself feel better. So guess who gets to reap the benefits of my splurging? You…of course! Anyway…here’s the hottest new music that I could find. Not all of them are 3-point buzzer beaters, but they sure make me smile when Ohio State & Kentucky are getting knocked off and my brackets are in flames…

Angels & Airwaves – “Shove” (alt-rock)
The first tune I throw on here isn’t even ON ITunes. Because I got it for free of the Angels & Airwaves website. They released their album “Love” for free on their website and this track is excellent!! I was a big fan before, but this entire album is chock full of excellent arena rock. Go get it while it’s free!

Snow Patrol – “Just Say Yes” (easy alternative)
I’ve been hearing this track on the radio (whenever they aren’t playing the same 4 Lady Gaga songs) and I really like it! And if you haven’t heard it on Top 40 radio yet, I’m pretty sure you can catch it on “Grey’s Anatomy” right…about…now…

Usher – “Hey Daddy” (R&B)
Ok…so the first time I heard this song was on Good Morning America and Usher was serenading 4 8-year old girls with his scantily-clad dancers shaking their asses. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I enjoyed the song. It’s not his strongest single, but it’ll do.

Dum Dum Girls – “Everybody”s Out” (Rock)
With a fuzzy vocal that reminds me of  The Ravonettes, this band is a lot of fun. Almost makes me wanna get the Brill Cream, throw on my leather jacket and head down to the sock hop.

Melissa Auf der Maur – “Out Of Our Minds” (Rock)
It’s a slinky, sexy crawl of a song and it burns slowly. Think  female version of Jim Morrison. And you KNOW that’s kinda cool…

Young Money & Lloyd – “Bedrock” (Rap)
Yeah…it’s been out for a while. But I still kind of dig it. Only problem is…it’s way too long. Cut this baby down to 3:30 and it’s a classic. As it is, it’s still got an irresistable hook.

Paper Tongues – “Love Like You” (Rock)
Reminds me of Remy Zero a little. The lyrics of this track will appear to all the ladies out there. Also the song “Trinity” is the freebie of the week this week. Can’t go wrong there either…

Broken Bells – “The Mall & Misery” (Alternative)
This track will definitely be on my “Best Of” list next year. The guitar is what makes it special but this song steals a little from Lindsay Buckingham. And I like that. I plan on reviewing the entire album soon, but you can do worst than to download this track right now!

Plies – “She Got It Made” (Rap)
Stealing a hook from “Pina Colada Song”, you would think this would be hysterical, but really it’s a pretty good track! And it’s all about the love…and da money.

Slash – “By The Sword” (Rock)
I am totally looking forward to Slash’s entire album release. I really dig this song (even if it DOES sound like the White Stripes) and Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale wailing vocal just soars. Can’t wait to see what he does with other guest vocalists…

Outasight – Just buy the entire “Further” EP
It’s 6 tracks of awesomeness! I love every track from “Catch Me If You Can” having a slick, drawl and a thumping bass to “Better Late Than Never”, which SHOULD be a big hit. Download the whole thing. You won’t be sorry.

The Bird & The Bee – “Heard It On The Radio” (Pop)
ALthough the rest of the album is dedicated to Hall & Oates covers (???), this track is light and bouncy. I imagine it could be a hit if it’s released in the summertime. But probably not…

Mishka & Willie Nelson – “Homegrown” (Raggae)
I’m gonna give you 3 guesses what this song is about. Need help? Hmmmm…let’s see…it’s illegal, it’s sometimes grown out in the backyard carefully hidden and it’ll make you very happy. And with an appearance by Willie, ya GOTTA know it’s about the marijuana. It’s a hip little tune…perfect for those moments when you are partaking in…uh…in a cold beer?

The Watson Twins – “Modern Man” (Alternative)
What a sweet refrain and the voices are sent from heavan. Very easy to listen too and is cool like the flip side of the pillow. Oh yeah…I stole that. But it IS like that!

Kelis – “Acapella” (Dance)
Kelis returns after a long layoff (her last single “Milkshake” was released way back in 2003) and this song is standard dance track stuff.  But I kinda like her AND her voice and it will go great in a workout mix. Dunno if she is leaning more towards electronica, but this really doesn’t have a trace of R&B in it…

Holiday Shores – “Phones Don’t Feud” (Alternative)
This Los Angeles band has a strong buzz happening right now so I went to check them out. Not bad but I can’t say that it’s anything I consider special. It seems there are a lot of bands out right now doing similiar stuff. However they might be the greatest live band ever! I dunno. And this track IS kinda cool…

Beyonce – “Videophone” (Pop)
My speakers pretty much fog up everytime I play this track. So smoky & sexy, it makes my face turn red. Apparently there is a newer version with Lady Gaga making an appearance. For whatever reason, Beyonce & Gaga have teamed up for their 2 telephone songs. And ya know what…it works. This song is killer.

CLASSIC OLDIE OF THE WEEK: Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – “Treat Her Like A Lady”
Making an appearance on American Idol this week, rocker Lee took this and made it sounds modern and I HAD to go revisit it. With classic tracks like “Too Late To Turn Back Now” & “Bog Time Lover”, the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose are as smooth as R&B gets. This is an amazing classic that everyoe should know. If you’ve never heard it…go download it now!