Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New: Hooray For Earth - "Keys"

From their upcoming record Racy, Hooray For Earth release the first single, the epic and churning number "Keys."

Jam of the Day: Röyksopp & Robyn - "Do It Again"

Sleek electro-pop collaboration between Röyksopp and Robyn.

Video: Hercules & Love Affair ft. John Grant - "I Try To Talk To You"

Gorgeous, black and white clip capturing the intensity of an argument through dance.

New: Coldplay ft. Avicii - "A Sky Full Of Stars"

Coldplay have unveiled two songs from their upcoming record Ghost Stories. Yesterday we got a peek at "Always In My Head," and now we hear their collaboration with EDM star Avicii.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jam of the Day: BANKS - "Goddess"

Taking a grimier approach, LA Singer BANKS practically spits out the lyrics to this track. I am liking her edginess.

Album Review: Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn
Everyday Robots
Rating: Woof Daddy

It's hard to believe that in his storied career, Blur frontman Damon Albarn has yet to put out an official solo release. Everyday Robots finds Albarn in a very melancholy mood, ruminating on his past as well as our society's current fixation with technology and the loneliness that it can perpetuate. Working with Richard Russell, the boss of XL Recordings who worked with Damon on Bobby Womack's album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, Albarn keeps a limited palate on these twelve tracks, mostly using glitchy drum machines, piano, strings, and subtle electronics. Every so often, there are glimpses of light and joy, but in his later years, Albarn is more in a reflective mood, casting greys and blacks through a foggy haze. Everyday Robots is that perfect rainy day record that you can sink into the couch and let its quiet power take over.

The title track starts off with a sample from British comedian Lord Buckley "They didn’t know where they was going but they knew where they was wasn’t it," which sort of encapsulates the mood and tenor of the record, that throughout his career Albarn has always been restless, never really sitting on his laurels for too long, willing to experiment and test his boundaries. It also sets the theme for Albarn's view of society in general, people never quite knowing what they want from life, but knowing they are doing it right. The beauty of this track is intoxicating. Moving simply over a stuttering drum beat, the somber piano chords, samples, and strings take the track to levels of the sublime. Albarn noting that for many the day to day grind leaves people wanting, "We are everyday robots on our phones/In the process of getting home/Looking like standing stones/Out there on our own."

These themes of alienation and loneliness appear throughout the record. On the delicate "Lonely Press Play," the characters retreat within themselves, comforted by technology. Albarn's haunting voice reaches out "You're waiting for me/To improve/Right here/When I'm lonely I press play;"

on "Photographs (You're Taking Now)," Albarn seems to be saying to set aside those technological crutches that they are taking you away from actually experiencing and being a part of the world. His warning that "This is a precious opportunity beware of the photographs you are taking now;"

while on the minimalist "The Selfish Giant," stark piano and strings echo over Albarn's sad refrain "I had a dream you were leaving/It's hard to be a lover when the T.V.'s on/and nothing's in your eye."

And yes, while this does make it seem like this is a hard slog of a record to get through, there are moments of joy and beauty as well that leak through the cracks. The jaunty "Mr. Tembo," a song about a baby elephant, is a sunny, warm number that will get you smiling.

And the closing track "Heavy Seas of Love," a collaboration with Brian Eno, is a gospel-influenced number that takes the album out on a high note, with Eno intoning "It’s in your hands/When the traces of dark come/To fade in the light/You’re in safe hands."

Everyday Robots, however, works best when it is in melancholy mood, and especially when Albarn gets in his confessional mode. The epic 7 minute track "You & Me" is an impressionistic look back at Albarn's heroin use, and how it has colored and affected his present and future.

While on perhaps the best track on the album "Hollow Ponds," Albarn looks back on definitive moments in his life, a heat wave in the summer of 1976, his first day of school in 1979, and seeing the graffiti in 1993 that would become the inspiration for Modern Life Is Rubbish. It's a meditative moment that gets to the heart of Albarn, and is why he will always be one of the UK's best songwriters.

For those expecting a more Britpop-ish record, Everyday Robots will likely be a disappointment. There are not a lot of hooks or even guitars on the record, and it consistently sits in a contemplative mood. Once you let the record take over for you, and you get caught up in its intoxicating spell, the sly charms and gorgeous instrumentation come out of the background. Everyday Robots is a phenomenal record that will sit high on my year end list.

Rating Scale:

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top releases of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and piques one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not great; could have either been polished, trimmed, or re-thought.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

New: Coldplay - "Always In My Head"

Radio rip of the first song off Coldplay's upcoming record Ghost Stories. You can listen to it here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jam of the Day: Blacksmif - "My Own Blood"

Haunting track from North London producer Blacksmif, the moniker of Yemi Olagbaiye. Launching from a Burial-step base, the track slowly develops into a jazzy take on future garage.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Jam of the Day: Until The Ribbon Breaks - "Until The Ribbon Breaks"

From his EP The Other Ones, UK producer Until The Ribbon Breaks releases this gorgeous and atmospheric track that subtly unfolds. You can listen to it on his SoundCloud page here.

New: Baths - "Ocean Death"

Dark and ominous title track to Baths upcoming EP release.

Happy Anniversary! Blur's Parklife turns 20

The seminal Britpop album turns 20 years old today, and still retains its cheeky charm.

Videos of the Week

Here are the videos that are jump-starting my weekend:

Cute, quirky, and strange Pee-Wee's Playhouse-inspired clip from tUnE-yArDs.

Colorful clip from Lily Allen.

This gorgeous track from Damon Albarn's solo record gets an iPad filmed travelogue video.

Almost one take clip for this simple, yet beautiful track from London Grammar.

Owen Pallett releases another track from his upcoming record In Conflict and gets Robert Binet, Choreographic Assistant of the National Ballet Of Canada, to choreograph this beautiful ballet.

Slightly surreal clip from Toronto synthpop group DIANA.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jam of the Day: Sophia Black - "OVR AGN" (Produced by BASECAMP)

Sultry R&B ballad from LA singer Sophia Black, produced by Nashville band BASECAMP.


Hunky slab of beef.

Damn, you need some spelunking gear to get in that cavernous chest.

I love his hair.


Sweaty hotness.

There is always something sexy about seeing a man shave his neck.

Bathtub contemplation.

I. Am. Done.

Love the whole look.

I need to be in that hot tub.

Cutie bear.

What are you looking at?

Hot fur.

Big and beefy.

Yes, please.

He needs a snuggle.



So handsome.

I want shoulders that big.

Such a cutie.

Most people's 2¢ is worth far less.

How is it that a dentist can make you feel like so bad for failing to floss regularly?

Why does everyone's religion have to be so damn public? Whatever happened to religion being a personal thing?

Finally got some good news about property values in my neighborhood/building. A unit, roughly the same size as mine, on my floor sold for close to what I paid for mine. So, it looks like after being underwater for almost 5 years, my place is starting to appreciate again.

Some more irreverent Easter fun.

Does Thievery Corporation use the same cover for each album?

I abhor political correctness.

I also have no time for extreme purists. Yes, I get it, you think scotch should be drank neat. I enjoy scotch that way, but I also like it sometimes on the rocks, or with a splash of water, or GASP, with some club soda. If you like it one way and one way only, feel free to drink it that way. I drink my scotch based on my mood at the time.

A simple weekend trip should never take over 3 hours of driving.

Um, ok.

I absolutely love the recommended tracks on SoundCloud. Sometimes they really hit the nail on head.

There is just something wrong about eating tuna salad at 10am.

I love this quote: “No two persons ever read the same book.” Edmund Wilson

Twin Shadow has completely gone off the rails for me.

My circular barbells in my nipples were killing me and never seemed to take properly.   I got my original straight bars put back in yesterday and they feel 100% better.  I have to wait a few weeks, but I am going to get them sized up to a 10g.


I need more jock straps.

Am I the only person who has not seen the movie Frozen, and has no clue what all the fuss is about?

Damon Albarn's solo record Everyday Robots is pretty damn amazing.

I distrust anyone that says they don't have time for reading.

A group of bunnies is sometimes called a fluffle.

I've always like Stone Cold Steve Austin, and now there is one more reason to like him even more.

I jokingly posted on FB that I was getting a PA. It is funny the reactions it got. So many people with so many opinions.

Tattoos are extremely personal.  I don't care what your reasons are, but it is rude to openly criticize someone's tattoos to them.  Just keep your opinion to yourself.

Your cute for the day.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Brain

"We are everyday robots on our phones
In the process of getting home
Looking like standing stones
Out there on our own

We’re everyday robots in control
Or in the process of being sold
Driving in adjacent cars
‘Til you press restart

Everyday robots just touch thumbs
Swimmin’ in lingo they become
Stricken in a status sea
One more vacancy
For everyday robots getting old

When our lips are cold
Lookin’ like standing stones
Out there on our own

Little robots in ringback tones
In the process of getting home."

Damon Albarn
"Everyday Robots"

"You are unbearable memories when I sleep
I've tried my best to destroy you
but the waves keep overflowing me
washing me out til I'm empty

What you want is bleached out by the sun
my weakness is waiting
could words even shake what I've become
I hate this, I hope you know that I

I open at your touch
(you give up, you give up)
I open at your touch
(you give up, you give up)

You are unbearable memories when I sleep
I've tried my best to destroy you
but the waves keep overflowing me
washing me out til I'm empty

Nobody can save me from myself
it's harder to let go
reality cannot abandon me
it's painful, I hope you know that I

I want you more than this
(you give up, you give up)
I want you more than this
(you give up, you give up)

You are unbearable memories when I sleep
I've tried my best to destroy you
but the waves keep overflowing me
washing me out till I'm empty

When you notice
nothing left
nothing left
when you notice

I'm already gone."

Fear of Men

Appealing Things

Season 2 of House of Cards is knocking it out of the park
DJ Snake
Being able to eat outside again
Finally gaining weight and seeing the results I want

Annoying Things

How slow Game of Thrones has been this season
Eating every 2 hours

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New: Veruca Salt - "The Museum of Broken Relationships"

Reuniting after 20 years, Nina Gordon and Louise Post have officially reunited as Veruca Salt, re-teaming with drummer Jim Shapiro and bassist Steve Lack. Here is their first new material that appeared on a 10" for Record Day. Currently, the band is in the studio working on a new album before hitting the road this summer on a tour.

Jam of the Day: Erik Hassle - "Ready For You"

From his EP Somebody's Party, Swedish pop star Erik Hassle gives us this haunting R&B ballad.

New: Hercules and Love Affair ft. John Grant - "I Try To Talk To You"

"I Try To Talk To You" is the second single off Hercules and Love Affair's upcoming third album The Feast of the Broken Heart. Featuring vocals from John Grant, it is an intense dance track about coming to terms with being HIV positive and moving from hardship to strength. It's an amazing song that is only one of many brilliant tracks on the record.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New: Lily Allen - "Sheezus"

Lily Allen drops the title track from her upcoming record Sheezus, which automatically wins Album Title of the Year.

New: Courtney Love - "You Know My Name"

To say Courtney Love's career has been erratic is a complete understatement. Coinciding with her upcoming UK tour, Love releases a double A-side single. Our first taste of it is this scorching rocker, that is supremely catchy. Here's hoping for more of this.

Video: Damon Albarn ft. Brian Eno - "Heavy Seas of Love"

The third track off of Damon Albarn's first solo record Everyday Robots, the gorgeous Brian Eno collaboration "Heavy Seas of Love" gets a travelogue video that Albarn shot himself on his iPad.

Jam of the Day: DIANA - "Strange Attraction"

Quirky synthpop from Toronto outfit DIANA.

Video: London Grammar - "Sights"

Elegant, (almost) one-take video for London Grammar's seductive track "Sights."

Mixtape: Delphic - Get Familiar

Returning to their dance floor roots that was so intoxicating on their debut Acolyte, UK act Delphic release this mixtape that can be downloaded for free. After the disappointing sophomore album Collections, which found the band exploring R&B influences, this is a welcome return to form.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jam of the Day: Hercules and Love Affair ft. John Grant - "Liberty"

From their brilliant new record The Feast of the Broken Heart, Hercules and Love Affair throw down this slinky, thumping house track with the assistance of John Grant on vocals. As my friend Jon would say, the record is the tits, as is this amazing song.