Friday, December 31, 2010

My Dear Disco - Dancethink LP

Album: Dancethink LP
Artist: My Dear Disco
Genre: Dance/House/Electronic
Link to the Music: My Dear Disco - Dancethink LP

New Years Eve! Wow has this year flown. I want to thank all of you who have stuck with the blog over the course of the year (even during that 8 month hiatus) and I hope all you new readers will stick around for the new sounds that will be coming out in 2011.

Today I have some House/Dance/Electronic from Michigan based band My Dear Disco. While you all are out swinging in the New Year and looking for hot new tunes to play, try cranking out this bad boy. You can dance to it, rock out to it, drunkenly fall down to it whatever strikes your fancy.

I am off to bring in the New Year in Caribbean style. Once again thanks everyone for a great year and I look forward to sharing new tunes with you all in 2011.

Keep Rocking.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gorillaz - The Fall

Artist: Gorillaz
Album: The Fall
Genre: Alt. Rock/Electronic Rock/ Cartoon Rock
Link to the Music: Gorillaz - The Fall (Only streaming, unless you are a paid fan club member)

I am always intrigued when I hear the Gorillaz are putting out new music. My curiosity is usually peaked by the constantly changing Jamie Hewlett cartoon band members. The seemingly perpetual fluctuation of band members changes the sound from album to album and show to show so you never really know what you are going to get. So when the sole constant member of the Gorillaz, front-man and founder Damon Albarn, announced that they were going to be releasing an album online Christmas Day, I was excited. When I heard it was going to be recorded solely on an Apple Ipad, I knew I had to hear it. The album is impressive, inspired and ordinarily, I wouldn't believe that this was recorded by a band while traveling on tour. However, the Gorillaz are anything but an ordinary band. The album was created over 32 days while the band was on its North American Welcome to Plastic Beach tour. The tracks were written across the United States, and this is reflected in the different track names. The album is at times, instrumental, other times vocals are added in and it concludes with thirty-nine seconds of golden yodeling. Each track has it's own identity, but its doesn't have the same divaricate sounds that characterized Plastic Beach.

The album was recorded using the Ipad and plugging in a Korg Vocoder, Ukele, Microkorg, Omnichord, Moog Voyager, Melodica, Guitar, Piano and a Korg Monotron into the tablet computer.

The following Apps were used to create, mix and record music: Speak It!, SoundyThingie, Mugician, Solo Synth, Synth, Funk Box, Gliss, AmpliTube, Xenon, Korg iElectribe, BS-16i, Mellotronics M3000 HD, Cleartune, iOrgel HD, Olysynth, StudioMini XL, BassLine, Harmonizer, Dub Siren Pro and Moog Filatron.

Everything's better with Cartoons
If you unwrapped a shiny new Ipad this holiday season, head over to the apps store and start downloading these apps and start making music. This album is probably the best advertisement I have encountered for the Ipad. So check it out, get inspired, start making music and as always:

Keep Rocking.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

(If you don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Chinese Food and Movies day!)

I hope you all are having a good holiday wherever you are in the world.
Where I am in Trinidad.
Today I have some electronic "Christmas" music for you all courtesy of Soundcloud. Personally, it doesn't replace Little Drummer Boy in my heart, but to each his own.

 Christmas Songs 2010

Enjoy the music and have a happy holiday!

Keep Merrily Rocking.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Iration - Time Bomb

Artist: Iration
Album: Time Bomb
Genre: Indie Hawaiian Reggae Rock
Link to the music: Iration - Time Bomb

Today's album is a bit of Indie Hawaiian Reggae. Before I go any further I should clarify the genre lest I cast Iration's album into a genre in which it doesn't belong. When researching this album. the artist and the sound that they produced, my first thought was "this is hawaiian reggae". It wasn't reggae like that you hear from Jamaica, most often categorized by the style of singers voice, a mellow guitar, and steady percussion. Reggae most notably emphasizes the second and fourth beat of a bar so you get that iconic upstroke sound that most people would associate with a Reggae melody. Time Bomb isn't that. Iration does have heavy Reggae influences, and it would be a disservice to say that they're not Reggae. However, the music can't be described as reggae in the common use of the word. There is a type of music known as Jawaiian music, which is music that retains native Hawaiian influences, but is mostly centered around encompassing the Reggae style and culture. However, this is still not an appropriate classification for Time Bomb. So after all this, you might be asking yourself "then why the hell did you bother to classify this as Hawaiian Reggae?!". Well dear readers, it just is. The modern music that I have heard from the 50th state has a pretty distinct sound, it combines light guitar strumming, lighter guitar sounds, a clear vocal lead and prominent crash cymbals. Combine this style some keyboard/synth and Reggae and then finally we have what I characterize as an Indie Hawaiian Reggae sound. 

Whew. That was a lot of background, if you just skimmed down here, well I don't blame you. At the start of this blog I mentioned I am not a music expert, I am just a guy who likes music. So if you disagree with my assessment well, comment box.

This is a chill, easy listening album. The lead singer has a clear, strong voice that is the real force behind this production.The title track Time Bomb is a great song, describing that girl who we all known or have seen who at some point in a night out is going to become the center of attention. This album features some quick guitar solos like in Love/Hate, a song describing two opposite people in love trying to make it work, and Get Back to Me, which you may have guessed is about a guy waiting for someone to get back to them. The lyrics aren't deep or thought provoking, they are sweet and simple. 

Check it out, it's a solid production. Let me know if you think it is Hawaiian Reggae, but not Jawaiian. 

Happy Festivus Everyone!

Keep Rocking. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in Trinidad

Hi folks.

I have landed safe and sound in the motherland. After a tumultuous journey from St. Louis, stops in Miami (for what felt like forever), and Grenada (for about 15 minutes) I have arrived in Trinidad. Three days after my arrival, my bags have made it too! So all is well. I am having a grand time here, but I do not have internet access everywhere, so posts may not be as frequent. But do not fear! This won't become a"hiatus" like back in April.

Today I wanted to share with you all some more music from Trinidad. Today it is Parang. Parang is a music from Trinidad, played mostly around Christmas time. It's like caroling, but with more instruments and way more fun. For a time, parranderos (the parang players) came to houses and played, or you could find them playing around the country, but now parang is mostly played by established artists. Below you'll find a few Christmas parang songs I was able to find on youtube.

Scrunter: I want a piece ah pork

Scrunter: Leroy

Lord Kitchner: Drink a Ru,

And a Christmas Calypso from Baron:

I had the fortune of seeing a live parang band the other night, they came to a party for my aunt. It was really a great experience, but I regret not having my camera. I did have my camera yesterday when I went to the beach and took this beauty:
Palm Tree at Maracas

I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday!

Keep Rocking.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Indian Princess - Indian Princess

Artist: Indian Princess
Album: Indian Princess
Genre: Americana
Link to the music: Indian Princess - Indian Princess

Readers, I am stuck in the states. I am disappointed and embarrassed, especially with all that hubbub I made yesterday. I am in Miami now, which isn't the worst place to be, I stepped out of the airport and didn't need a jacket which was fantastic. However, I can't stay here so today I am off to the airport to see if some other bum misses his flight and I can swipe it up.

Swiping seats at the airport.

To make matters worse, I somehow managed to forget both my ipods at home. So I whipped out my phone and started listening to the sparse collection of music that I have on there. I started listening to Indian Princess an album I was prepping for this blog, but never actually got around to listening to. I cranked it up to 11 and listened, hard. I really, really enjoyed this album. It fit my mood yesterday in a very bluesy, yet not too downtempo kind of way. Its an Americana sound with grungy guitars and piano medley's pushing it forward and vocal harmonies choral harmonies rounding out the sound. Americana, is sort of a catchall word for a fusion  of genres and I hate using those kinds of terms. However, there is really no better way to describe what Indian Princess did here. The album is an amalgamation of blues, folk, rock and roll (not so much country even though that is what people normally think of when using Americana). Bar Songs is easily my favorite song here, it skyrocketed to the upper echelons of my play count over the course of my trip yesterday. It really fit my mood and the lyrics are catchy as hell:

"I've got one, more drink.
 Cause it help's me fall asleep. 
If you ever need anything,
 don't come to me"

Angel is a slow-hand style of guitar playing that builds into a couple organ crescendo's. It's a sweet almost delicate song this isn't a bad thing, it really conveys the emotions behind the song and works. Hot Knight is another slower song, but doesn't have the same frailty that Angel does but it does have some of the best harmonies on the album. The penultimate song Black Hole is a rock and rollish sound, with a crunchy little guitar solo in there. The genres on the album are really all over the place, which is why it really fits best in that lump Americana category. 

Overall this is a really good album to listen to. For those of you leaving the 'Lou today you can pick up this album for free on bandcamp (link at the top of the page), they just ask that you share the tunes with others. However, if you do pay for it, go over ten dollars and you get a poster. It's good driving/flying/listening music. Take the time to check it out. 

From the Indian Princess Facebook Page. Check out the spectral guitarist. 
Also, what's up with two Dora the Explorer pictures in one week? My mind has gone to mush. 

If you want to cross your fingers that I actually get on a plane today, I'd appreciate it. And as always:

Keep Rocking. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Trinidad Bound!

I am getting the hell out of dodge folks. I am packing up my headphones, my ipod and my guitar and heading to Trinidad for Christmas. For those of you unfamiliar with Trinidad it's here:

It's the one circled in red. Find it?
My family is from Trinidad and we are heading back for the holidays. Naturally, I am very excited to see family friends and oh yeah, instead of snow, I get this:

Maracas Beach.
Many of ya'll might be unfamiliar with soca music, a popular music style in Trinidad. Soca is a blend of calyspo and chutney music originating in Trinidad. The fusion of West Indian music and East Indian percussive themes led to the creation of this genre. I have grown up with this music and look forward to hearing the new music every year. In recent years (recent is subjective) soca has replaced calypso at the forefront of Carnival. Below you will find some of early Soca releases for Carnival 2011. (ignore the overdubbing "island mix/island mix radio" that's just the hosting website). Enjoy the music, I know I will.

I am going to try and keep the music coming through the holidays, but it might not be everyday. So keep an eye and an ear out for new posts.

Keep Rocking.

Heliotrope - Heliotrope

Artist: Heliotrope
Album: Heliotrope
Genre: Funk/rock/reggae (French?)
Link to the Music: Heliotrope - Heliotrope

Oh happy days! Exams are finally over! Congratulations to everyone!

Today's album comes from Montreal and blends funk, reggae and French. I don't understand a word of what they are saying because there is a surprising lack of the term "sac a dos". Which, from my rudimentary understanding of the French language, is the most important word ever taught in French class. 

Dora's magical sac-a-dos and the map.  
My inability to speak the French language aside, this album is still a good listen. It's not the level of funk I was hoping for when I first saw it, its more of a blend of reggae style strumming (short choppy strokes) with rock themes. The mail female duet compliments each other nicely, but I can't shake the feeling that they are constrained by the lack of references to magical backpacks. 

Give it a listen, have a beer and god damn it don't study. 

Keep Rocking. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Break of Reality - Spectrum of The Sky

Artist: Break of Reality
Album: Spectrum of the Sky
Genre: Cello Rock
Link to the Music: Break of Reality - Spectrum of the Sky

I came across today's album while nonchalantly listening to Pandora. The song Farewell came on while I was on my (almost regular) Emancipator radio station and when I heard it, I stopped working and began to search. This was my first time ever hearing Break of Reality so I was unaware of what defined their musical style; the Emancipator radio station usually plays electronic music so, I assumed that this was a very talented DJ who had mastered sampling stringed instruments. Well, I was wrong. I looked up the band and to my surprise it was a quartet comprised of three cellists and a percussionist.

The group originated in Rochester, New York and has been composing and recording music since 2003 (of the original quartet, only two members remain). at the conclusion of Farewell I immediately visited bandcamp to see if I could listen to the whole album. Unfortunately Break of Reality does not have a bandcamp page.  However, Farewell was that impressive that I had to hear more from this band, so I went YouTube and listened to more of their music:

Spectrum of the Sky

The "link to the music" today is to Amazon where you can either buy the physical album for $13.55 or the MP3 download for $8.99.  This album is certainly worth the nine dollars you can get it for on Amazon. The three cellists are regular virtuoso's.

Moving on. I have never played an instrument from the violin family (my sister did briefly...and poorly) but I was in different band's and orchestras tooting away on my euphonium:

A Euphonium. I was a bad ass.
During my time as a masterful euphonist I heard my fair of orchestral concerts and stringed quartets. However I never heard anyone do with a cello what Break of Reality does on Spectrum of Sky. Whether they are plucking or strumming the strings their sound is flawless. At times, you would swear this was straight up neoclassical music, for instance Comfortable Silence contains classically influenced phrases that are nothing shy of beautiful. Then you hear the drums and rock cello in Che and any thoughts of the 18th century you had disappear. This transition from neoclassical to rock happens frequently for instance Adoniya: 3 Grave is a stunning neoclassical number that leads into Adoniya: 4 Finale, a song where you would swear there was a choppy guitar playing the intro. This album stands as a testament as to why you should make your kid practice their classical instruments, once you get past playing "lightly row" you can make some really cool sounds. With that said, anybody interested in a rocking tuba-euphonium quartet, let me know.
These guys said no when I asked to join. 
I implore you to purchase this album, you won't regret it, but if you hate music and thus decide you don't like it, give it as a gift for the holidays! The "heavy cello thunder" sound is sure to be enjoyed by at least seven of the people on your gift giving list.

Break Of Reality
Thats it for today. To the 1L's, congrats on finishing your first semester, you survived! To the 2L's and 3L's who hate that they put off taking all their exams between Thursday and Friday, it's almost over! and to the rest of you readers:

Keep Rocking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

London Zoo - Brainstorm

Artist: London Zoo (or LDZ)
Album: Brainstorm
Genre: Grime, Hip-hop, London hip-hop
Link to Music: LDZ - Brainstorm

Fair warning, this album gets pretty raunchy.

Keep Rocking.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daniela & Ben Spector - Love is

 - Love i
Artists: Daniela and Ben Spector
Album: Love is
Genre: Indie love songs
Link to the music: Daniela and Ben Spector - Love is

Keep Rocking:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sidhe - Shatter

Artist: Sidhe
Album: Shatter
Genre: Videogame soundtrack/electronic
Link to the Music: Sidhe - Shatter
Link to the game, if you want it:

The game is more then just a run of the mill flash-game, so you have to pay if you want play. It's 2.50 until the end of the day, so if you're really want to try it out grab it soon.

Keep Rocking.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All India Radio - Echo Other

Artist: All India Radio
Album: Echo Other
Genre: Ambient/Ambient Rock

(this week will be a bit sparse on my comments, but I will try to continue to post music)

Keep Rocking.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kevin Valdez - Winky's Lament

Well well well folks. Its Saturday, which means who needs to study? (me, I need to study). Well last night after a rousing night of employment law I went home and picked up my not so old Taylor. While staring at the prominently displayed Harry Potter books on my bookshelf I got inspired to write another heartwrenching Harry Potter love song. (Yes, Hermione Granger was a love song, a dirty filthy love song). A bottle of Jameson in tow, I tried to determine a character to write about. As I took a long slow sip of that delectable Irish Whiskey, I said to myself "you know who really got shafted? Winky the house elf". So I sat down and tinkered out this number for her. The vocals on the recording came out a bit sharp (crazy recording equipment, AM I RIGHT?) Anyway, this song is about Winky's spiral into depression, her alcoholism and the tragic freedom she "won" by trying to help her master. 


 Winky's Lament

I was your advocate
I was your surrogate
For the mom you lost to foolish pride
She died in Azkaban
Alone and far from this land
So that you could survive
And I know it hurt him so
When Dad said “Imperio”
But what choice did he have?
Your blood lust did not subsist
Now I’m the bitch, left holding the bag

So pass another butter beer
I’ve got memories to drown over here
This skirt is my badge of shame
This dress it disgraces my name
I’m a house elf without a plan
So fuck off Dobby you don’t understand
What it’s like to be

Oh how everyday I wish
I didn’t take you to see Quidditch
You knew I didn’t want to be that high,
Couldn’t you see my hands covering my eyes?
When you broke free from your daddies spell
at that moment you unleashed hell
You stole that wand, and you broke my heart
I did all I could, but we were torn apart
And before you let me go
You should have exclaimed crucio
Cause nothing could have hurt as bad,
As the clothes given by your dad

So pass another butter beer
I’ve got memories to drown over here
This skirt is my badge of shame
This dress it disgraces my name
I’m a house elf without a plan
So fuck off Dobby you don’t understand
What it’s like to be

They think I wear these clothes
To hide my modesty
But they’re really a sign of my depravity
And I don’t care about SPEW,
Eleven welfare is for fools
Let me out of this place
So I can drink away my disgrace

So pass another butter beer
I’ve got memories to drown over here
This skirt is my badge of shame
This dress it disgraces my name
I’m a house elf without a plan
So fuck off Dobby you don’t understand
What it’s like, to be

 Let's blame the sharpness on the fact that she is a drunk house elf. It's all part of the ambiance people. Hope you enjoy! (Maybe I'll re-record later and you know, try to be in tune). 

Got a Harry Potter relationship that you think needs a song? Put it in the comment box, the more obscure the more likely I am to try and write something about it. 

Keep Rocking.

Black Sun Empire - Lights and Wires

Today's band is a D&B/dubstep/breakbeat band from the Netherlands (Utrecht specifically). The band Black Sun Empire is a trio of DJ/producers that have been together for 15 years (they must have found a band Kissinger somewhere along the way). Despite rough beginnings in the industry, the band worked its way through the UK rave and electronic scene to be a leading producer of electronic music. They have spearheaded two separate record labels Black Sun Empire Recordings and Obsessions; between the two labels the Utrecht based trio has signed approximately fifty-five eclectic artists. All their work as producers has not stopped them from creating their own music, and in November of 2010 they put out their latest album Lights and Wires.

Lights and Wires is dark techno-ey goodness. The album is bass heavy, and features familiar electronic elements fused together in new and innovative ways. For instance, the minimalist beginnings of Black Sun Bay crescendo into an ambient/meets high frequency dubstep. The tempo really picks up in the next song Extraction which is driven along by a bumping bass line, and as you get towards the end of the album a "ghostly marimba" sounds kicks in to compliment it. Some pretty cool and innovative shit goes on here, signaling that BSE isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The bandcamp link also features a 55 minute "DJ mix" of the entire album, so if you get to the end and think it's started again. Wait a couple seconds, you're in for a treat.

You can listen to the album here: Black Sun Empire - Lights and Wires

Keep Rocking.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Haggis Horns - Keep on Moving

It's FRIDAY! Woo-Hoo!

For my fellow law students, this might not seem like a real Friday, because it's still exam period. But look at the silver lining, there are two whole days where you the school actually mandates that you can't take an exam! Four Loko's anyone? No? Fine, I'll stick to coffee and the tax code.

Anyway, since it is Friday I wanted to change up the music a little bit. Forget electro, forget classical, lets get happy and listen to some jazz funk/afro-beat/soul. The album Keep on Movin' by The Haggis Horns is a great pick me up, dance, and have a great time album. Unfortunately the album's focus is not the traditional Scottish dish Haggis.

What the album does have in spades though is horns. The Haggis Horns are an octuple (thanks Liz for the great word choice) hailing from Scotland. The band features a raunchy horn section (with trumpets and fluglehorns) a flautist, sax, guitars, keys, bass, percussion and soul. The vocals of Nia Saw on this album are just fantastic. She has a funky/soulful voice that adds to the overall sound. My favorite song was a toss up between Keep on Dancing and The Snarf Dance. The Snarf Dance starts out with a hail for the Thundercats to "Go!" and as you may have guessed, samples some of snarf's best squeals from the Thundercats series. For those of you unfamiliar with Snarf, it's this guy:

This song is just begging for a viral video. So go out and make one readers! Keep on Dancing features a kick ass drum beat, funkadelic guitar riffs, and blaring horns. If it doesn't make you want to get up and move, you're doing something wrong.

Other notable songs include, The Cockroach Grind, Puttin' on the Beef and any of the other eleven funky ass songs on this album. This is a really fun album that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. I recommend listening to it in a place where you're not afraid to do the Cockroach Grind.

You can hear it here: The Haggis Horns - Keep on Moving

Keep on Dancing folks and as always; Keep Rocking.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Not too much time to post today. So I will keep this short sweet and simple.

Artist: Tycho
Real Name: Scott Hansen
Location: San Francisco, CA
Musical Style: Ambient/Downtempo/Electronic
Thoughts: Chill. informal rulemaking...wait what?


Signature: Keep Rocking. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kevin Valdez - Hermione Granger

Folks, I listen and criticize a lot of music here on Ipod and Headphones. But today, I am going to share with you something special, something from the heart. Many of you may not know I dabble with the guitar from time to time. So this morning, when I got sick of hearsay exceptions I picked up my guitar and churned out this future masterpiece. The sound quality isn't great cause it's just my computer doing the recording (there is no fault on the part of the musician right?). But here it is folks, a first for Ipod and Headphones music from the heart and mind of Kevin Valdez (and Ron Weasley).

UPDATE: I re-recorded with the Audacity program. The sound quality is better, but I still like the original masterpiece. They're both below for you to download to your ipod.


Re-recorded through a better medium:


I remember the first day when you walked into class
So damn high and mighty, full of piss and sassafras
(I know it's not an expression)
I thought you were incorrigible,
our personalities would never mesh.
But when you lied about that troll,
feelings began to manifest.

Oh Hermione Granger,
You accio'd my heart
Got a 24 hour summoning spell thats gonna rip me apart
Oh Hermione Granger
Hot as your blue bell flames,
With hair as wild as a lions mane
Oh Hermione Granger!

Over the years you've had your share of pain,
But there wasn't a monster I would not have slain for you.
Then there was the time, you almost turned into a cat
I wasn't sure if I would like you like that (so I got into furries)
Draco that bitch, pawn of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named
Called you that filthy, disgusting name
And wen you punched him
I will not lie
I got a bit aroused by the fire in your eyes

Oh Hermione Granger,
You accio'd my heart
Got a 24 hour summoning spell thats gonna rip me apart
Oh Hermione Granger
Hot as your blue bell flames,
With hair as wild as a lions mane
Oh Hermione Granger!

I'll be the first to admit
I wasn't into it
When you started seeing that boy Krum.
I couldn't exist with the thought that you kissed
That mother fucker from Bulgaria
Then Harry started to bitch
I got into Quidditch
Ran around with Lavender Brown
But when I took a sip of mead, you stood by me
And I knew everything would be alright!

Oh Hermione Granger,
You accio'd my heart
Got a 24 hour summoning spell thats gonna rip me apart
Oh Hermione Granger
Hot as your blue bell flames,
With hair as wild as a lions mane
Oh Hermione Granger!

Oh Hermione Granger,
You accio'd my heart
Got a 24 hour summoning spell thats gonna rip me apart
Oh Hermione Granger
Hot as your blue bell flames,
With hair as wild as a lions mane

She likes it, why don't you?!

That's it folks! Future masterpiece? I think so. Praise can be left in the comment box.

Keep Rocking.

Nit Grit - Nit Grit

Nit Grit by Nit Grit is an album coming to us today from San Jose, CA. Nit Grit is the moniker for 24 year old Dubstep/Grimestep producer Danny Beall. I'll be the first to admit, when I went looking for this artists page I had no idea what grimestep was after some thorough research (read wikipedia). I learned absolutely nothing. There is no Wikipedia page for grimestep, so I am left to guess what defines this genre. Here's my guess:

Grimestep: A hodge podge of electronic musical styles combing dubstep, house, breakbeats, glitch, electro throw in some grime (there was a wiki for this which I am sure is the root of grimestep) and Voila! Grimestep.

Have a better definition? Comment box.

The best way to understand this album is to just give it a listen. If you like electronic music definitely make sure you listen to this album, it will blow your mind. You can hear it here: Nit Grit - Nit Grit

Keep Rocking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Formantine - Emmalee Crane

I am taking my first exam tomorrow so I need things to slow down a bit. So no electro today, we're going indie-classical/drone/ambient!

The album is called Formantine and is by San Fransisco artist Emmalee Crane. Crane mixes classic orchestral brass and woodwinds with synthesizers to produce the music of this album. Background vocal clips (think the radio calls on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot though this album is completely different) are heard in a few of the songs but aren't a focal point of this record. In We Came From Monsters these vocal clips are highlighted, but they do not detract from the music. Summit features some glitch meets french horn which like many of the fusions on this album is odd, but it just works. My favorite part of Formantine is the Oboe.

Yeah, the Oboe. You hear it right at the beginning of Crasher and the instrument makes its presence known all throughout the album. It's a peculiar, but penetrating instrument that really has a great sound to it. For those unfamiliar with the Oboe, Tony Kushner described its sound as:

"sounding like that of a duck, if the duck were a songbird" - Angels in America, Kushner

You can enjoy the oboe-y goodness of this album here: Formantine - Emmalee Crane

Keep Rocking.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mail the Horse - Guilt and Luck

First day of finals! AHHH!

Today's album comes from the Brooklyn based band Mail the Horse (formally AMPM). Guilt and Luck is the first album from Mail the Horse and also the first blues rock album featured here on Ipod and Headphones. The vocal's are a major part of this album, so not everyone will be able to study while listening. (I normally don't study to music with words, but last night as I forced my way through admin all I wanted to hear was some blues rock). The band doesn't reinvent the genre they stick to pretty standard blues styles (12 bar blues, crunchy distorted guitar and mellow vocals). While it won't win any awards for the most creative album of the year, Mail the Horse uses tried and true blues formula's to put out a solid album that is an easy listen. The vocals are a major part of blues rock, and what is being said is really important. So I didn't get the chance to fully explore the complexity of the songwriting since I listened while doing work. I look forward to giving this album a proper listen after finals, but for now I am mostly just listening to the music, and not the words.

The album can be found here: Mail the Horse - Guilt & Luck

Keep Rocking.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The World of Trip-Hop

Here's a solid trip-hop playlist I found while exploring soundcloud. Enjoy.

Keep Rocking.

Subsense - Tales for Positive Minds

It's the day before finals period begins and therefore the worst day of the year. So when I saw the name of today's album, I knew it was destined to be the album of the day. Subsense's album Tale's for Positive Minds is a miscellany of chill beats and electronic melodies. It's easy listening as you wade through endless Supreme Court cases, hating Justice Brennan's prolix opinions.

You can hear the album here: Subsense - Tales for Positive Minds

Good luck to anyone taking an exam tomorrow.

Keep Rocking.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beats Antique - Blind Threshold

Todays album comes from Beats Antique, a California band that has been working together since 2007 creating music that combines a variety of styles from the electronic genre with middle eastern and orchestral instruments. The style is often placed in the "electronic/world" music category, but I hate the lump term "world music" being used to define any style coming from outside the states. So lets stick with "electronic/glitch/hip-hop/dubstep/afrobeat/orchestral/middle-eastern" for now.

There are a ton of guest musicians that join the Beats Antique trio for Blind Threshold playing instruments ranging from the Darbuka and Kalimba to Banjo's and Accordions. There are a lot of new sounds that mold together on this album to produce a unique and interesting sound. While there are a lot of different sounds coming together on this album, it maintains a familiar foundation of hip-hop beats and electronic sounds.

The album can be found here: Blind Threshold - Beats Antique

Keep Rocking.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Like Button

Hi all,

Many of you may have noticed the recent addition of the "like" button to my blog:

I wanted you all to be able to share any music or posts that you like with your Facebook friends. Unfortunately, because I am not good at editing html I did it wrong. Every time you clicked the like button, it would like the entire blog, instead of the individual entry. Well I changed that (hopefully). So now you can like the individual posts as you want. You can also like the entire blog by clicking the like button on the right hand side.

The main goal of this blog is to share music, so "like" away. Not so much this post though, cause this one kind of sucks. But all of you scrolling down to get to Plants v. Zombies feel free to press the new better like button.

Also, please check out this song sent to me from an esteemed music lover, Ben:

Keep Rocking.

Homestuck - The Felt

Today's album The Felt by the guys over at MS Paint Adventures is an electronic/orchestral score. The album comes from the newest MSPA, Homestuck. After a quick perusal of the website MSPA adventures seems to be like a giant game of mad libs! Where readers can submit their additions to the overarching story and this will either continue the story, or tangentially affect the main character. The creator of the website describes it as a story told through the vehicle of a "mock-game" where readers submit new content to aid in pushing the story along (This may be wrong but if you have a better description, I have a comment box). The addition of music to the "mock-game" is a new feature that the MSPA creator has been working on with readers. While the site may be silly at times (sometimes taking a spin for the puerile) the music here is really well put together. I listened to the album before visiting the site, and I have yet to reach a point in the adventure where I can mash up the two. The site is funny and is a great time kill, but I have yet to make it to the end of Homestuck (exams and all).

The album was created in conjunction with the readers of MPSA, and is a pleasure to listen to. At Chartreuse Rewind it takes a turn for the epic, and (fair warning) Omelette Sandwich has parts that get downright distracting. But still it's a good listen.

The soundtrack to Homestuck, The Felt can be found streaming here: Homestuck - The Felt

If you want to "play" the game, I encourage you to visit MS Paint Adventures.

>Readers: Keep Rocking

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Laura Shigihara - Plants v. Zombies Soundtrack

Whenever I water a plant, I think to myself "In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, what's this plant going to do for me?". Lucky for me, my questions have finally been answered by the folks over at PopCap with their quirky tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies. In the event that zombies come to your neighborhood, run out to Lowes and buy a ton of sunflowers (you'll need those for extra sun to grow the rest of your botanical army). Strategically arrange your plants for pure flora destruction as you sit and watch from the comfort of your Zombie-free home.

The soundtrack to this game is a fun, quirky arrangement that is far beyond that of your average flash game. For those of you who haven't enjoyed the Electronic explosion in the study music series, here is some indie-classical music...and zombies. The composer Lisa Shigihara has put together an impressive score for this addicting tower defense flash game that is worth listening to even when not playing the game. Shigihara is new to the under-appreciated genre of video game music composition, but the success of this game should open many doors for her.

You can find the soundtrack here: Plants vs. Zombies Soundtrack

Also, (so you don't have to go searching for it) click on the link below to play the web-version of the game:

(What's finals without some flash based distractions?)

Keep Rocking.

Govinda - Amethyst Noise

This album by Govinda. the moniker for Texas born Steve O Madden, is entitled Amethyst Noise. The album blends electronic beats with Middle-Eastern, Indian, Celtic and Spanish musical styles. A plethora of different sounds from contrasting genre's make up this 11 track album. For instance, a prominent violin glissando's opens up the first track Dervish. Later on in the album you can hear a sitar melody embossed upon the electronic beats. There is a bit of singing on this album, the majority of which is not in English, so I still use it to study. It's a cool creative style, mixing genre's that do not often come together and certainly is worth checking out.

The album can be found here: Govinda-Amethyst Noise

Keep Rocking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Polish Ambassador - The Phantasmal Farm

I would like to visit The Phantasmal Farm and see what the hell is in that silo to make it glow like that. Today's albums cover art drew me to the album (which happens often) luckily upon listening, I was pleasantly surprised with this electronica, chiptune, glitch album (which does not happen as often). It's a busy album, so if you're going to study with this album be aware that there is a lot going on here.

The synthesizer takes the forefront in this album, and I'd be surprised if there were any other instruments on here. The Polish Ambassador makes the most out of the instrument, exploring a litany of sounds on this 14 track album.

The music can be heard here (or bought for 13.99): The Phantasmal Farm

I know the study album list has taken a turn to the electronic, its because this is what I listen to when I don't want to study. Electronica's upbeat tempo's help my internal metronome tick a bit faster, thus I read faster and LEARN FASTER...maybe that's not true. But I like to think it is.

Keep Rocking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Zenodub - Cosmic

The newest addition in the study album series comes from Denver. Colorado. The album Cosmic by Zenodub combines dubstep, breakbeat and trip-hop styles. The dubstep influence means that this album has a TON of bass, so be prepared for it. But when finals get you down, and you need something to steadily power you along this is a good album to turn to.

The album can be found (and you can name your own price) here: Zenodub - Cosmic

Keep Rocking.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


While looking for a 4th study album I came across the work of Emancipator. I began listening to his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, and started to work. Within three minutes, I had to put down my books and just listen to the music. I sat and listened to Soon It Will Be Cold Enough all the way through and as soon as it finished I fired up Emancipator's second album Safe in the Steep Cliffs. After finishing the album, I started listening to it again. I have not been so impressed by electronic/trip-hop since I first heard DJ Shadow's album Entroducing. Safe in the Steep Cliffs features strong jazz and Asian influences and grows upon the success of the first album. The music is beautiful, and masterfully produced. On his blurb on the website bandcamp, Emancipator (Doug Appling) describes his beats as "organic"; I was unfamiliar with the term before listening to the album, but when I first heard the opening track, Lionheart, I began to understand. There is a purity to the sound that is uncommon in this genre.

I had to find more of Emancipator's music after listening to his albums, on his website I found that he was a part of a tribute project for Hydeout Productions producer Nujabes. Nujabes is the moniker for Jun Seba, the Japanese Hip Hop Producer and head of Emacipator's record label Hydeout Productions. Nujabes was tragically killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. Emancipator composed the song A Day by Atmosphere Supreme.

I enjoyed the music of Emancipator so much that I reached out to the artists with some questions. Luckily, he responded! So here for you all, an Ipod and Headphones first, an interview with Emancipator:

(I & H): First off, how would you define your music? Meaning, what kind of genre would you see yourself in?

(Emancipator)-It's electronic music production infused with live instrumentation. Experimental downtempo/trip-hop? Genre labels are tricky.

(I & H): Your music has been categorized as Trip Hop, what's trip hop to you?

(Emancipator)-I think my song 'When I Go' has a lot of traditional trip-hop elements. For example, a mid-tempo beat featuring rhodes, smooth bass and guitar licks, jazzy vocals, and ambient layers.

(I & H): How did you arrive at this style of music?

(Emancipator)-It's the music I want to hear. I have a classical violin background, played drums in various bands, and produced all kinds of dance music at first. I listen closely to all different genres too. My music is a reflection and combination of my musical past and all that I've heard.

(I & H): What sort of gear do you use to produce/write your albums?

(Emancipator)-I produce my music using Acid Pro and Reason, various guitars, keys, violins, voices, and a healthy library of oneshots and samples I've gathered.

(I & H): I've always wondered how instrumental/electronic artists come up with names for songs, can you explain your process on this?

(Emancipator)-My song titles are often undecided until the song is complete. Each song paints a scene in my head and that helps me choose a title.

(I & H): Do you have a favorite set of headphones?

(Emancipator)-I mix on AudioTechnica ATH-900's.

(I & H): What was it like to have the opportunity to work with Jun Seba before his tragic accident?

(Emancipator)-Jun was an exceptional, genuine person with a golden ear and great musical vision. He is one of my favorite producers of all-time. It was an honor to have been heard by him and have my music introduced to the world through Hydeout Productions.

(I & H): A Day by Atmosphere Supreme turned out beautifully, how was it working with all these different artists to produce the memorial album?

(Emancipator)-I had met most of the Hydeout family for the first time at the Nujabes tribute events in Tokyo last August. Having experienced that, this combined tribute effort is even more special and heartfelt.

(I & H): Finally, what's next for Emancipator?

(Emancipator)-Working on new music as much as I can this winter. Spring tour will be announced soon, so heads up!

(I & H): Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, my readers and I really appreciate it.

That concludes Ipod and Headphones first ever artist interview. EXCITING! I would like to thank Emancipator for taking the time to answer my questions.

I encourage all of you to check out his music at the links below:

This isn't study music, this is just good music.

Keep Rocking.