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Artist That I’m Digging Right Now [12 November 2012]

12 Nov

For November’s Artist That I’m Digging, I decided to do something kind of different and go to an artist that I have loved for years but I have recently had a refreshed excitement for.

This band of course, is Shiny Toy Guns. Five years ago (almost exactly), I attended my first concert. STG were the headliner and this adorable band called Liam and Me had opened for them. It had taken Shiny Toy Guns forever to take the stage but when they did come on – I knew instantly that the bar was set extremely high for all of the concerts I would go to in the future.

Fast forward to five years later. I am still in love with Shiny Toy Guns, they’ve gone through a brief change in frontwoman, and they have just released their third studio album. It had been about three years since I had seen them last and during a late night twitter session, I saw a string of words that almost made my heart explode – Free Shiny Toy Guns Show. This was posted by my favorite concert venue (shout out to Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY!) and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was out of nowhere and according to the post, the show was going to be the next day. I had to go – even though I had injured my knee the day before.

And let me just say – bum knee or not – going to that show was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I was there with two of my best friends in the world, the show was free* but we had to donate to victims of Superstorm Sandy – which I was going to do anyway, they played some of my favorite songs, and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. After the show – even though they had to leave for New Jersey in a few hours – the band talked to me like I was an old friend and one of them even remembered meeting me five years ago. The level of love and kindness in that little club was off the charts and left my icy heart defrosted for at least a few days.  It made me want to go out and be kind and change the world – but then I decided to play Splinter Cell instead.

So of course after that, I have been on a Shiny Toy Guns kick for the past week. I have been blasting We Are Pilots and Season of Poison. But most importantly…falling in love with III. It’s so sexual*. *It’s important to note here, for future reference, that I sometimes use the word “sexual” in place of the word “sexy”. Songs like “Waiting for You” and “Fading Listening” have the classic dance/electro/party/awesomeness vibes found on the first album, the more seductive vocals established by the temporary frontwoman on the second album, and manages to maintain a sound that is distinctively…Shiny. As with all of the other Artists That I’m Digging Right Now, STG are a band that I didn’t think I would like and kind of accidentally fell in love with. My favorite bands in the universe (minus STG) are Chevelle, The Who, The Clash, The Misfits, and Queens of the Stone Age. So, it’s kind of hard to see how STG fits in there. But shit, you could say the same thing about any one of the bands I listed. I traditionally seek out punk, hard rock, shit like that…but when you see STG live it’s easy to see how they can unite music fans accross the board. When listening to “Fading Listening”, I saw how Shiny Toy Guns are like my beloved Clash. The Clash are given the “punk” label, and they make their fans fall in love with songs that bring in elements of reggae, disco, R&B – genres that are decidedly un-punk that the fans of punk music don’t generally listen to. Well, STG is labeled as dance/electronica – a type of music that I typically hate. Yet, they draw in rock, punk, R&B, and other elements and have a stage element that brings fans of all music together.

With that said…listen to III! It’s perfect! Don’t believe me? Check out my favorite song from the album, “Fading Listening”

– And yes, I do still play Splinter Cell. Sam Fisher is my bro.

Kai xxx

Five Songs I’m Digging Right Now – 09 October 2012

9 Oct

Hey Ladies!

I don’t have a new artist that I’m into this month. Honestly, I’ve been listening to mostly the Clash and Chevelle. However, there are five songs from different artists that I find quite catchy!

1. Alex Clare “Too Close” – Yes, this song does always end up reminding me of that one commercial. But it’s still so catchy! Also, this Alex Clare guy can actually sing. “Too Close” has crossover appeal and plays on the local pop stations, the alternative rock station, and I’m pretty sure it plays on the R&B station. Add that to the commercial and the fact that I listen to it on my own…I’m pretty sure I am listening to this song at least 20 hours a day. Always stuck in my head, and I still belt it out every time I hear it! Revel in the pop glory that is “Too Close”

2. The Lumineers “Ho Hey”. It’s very catchy, what can I say. And the lyrics – including lines such as “I belong with you, you belong you’re my sweetheart…” – tell a genuine love story that actually warms my icy heart unlike the “Call Me Maybe”s of the world that just make my heart freeze over. And the kind of folksy guitar is just…sweet. I love listening to this song while the sun is rising. Okay, I’m done being a pansy. Just listen to the fucking song.

3. Green Day “Oh Love”. What can I say? It’s fucking Green Day. I have always loved Green Day. I will continue to love Green Day until the end of time. It’s one of those songs that you just want to sing outloud and dance around your room. After you hear it, I dare you to go a day without belting out “Oh love! Oh loooooove! Won’t you rain on me toniiiiiiight?” Added bonus, the video is full of sexy girls and sexy Green Day.

4. Muse “Madness” Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-mad, mad, mad. ‘Nuff said.

5. Three Days Grace “Chalk Outline”. I am so glad that TDG is back. Hopefully, more and more hard rock bands keep coming back and new hard rock bands come out and it can be like the early 2000s again when hard rock was king, yeah? Oh, Adam Gontier, never leave me again.

Honorable mentions –

Flyleaf “New Horizons”

Wombats “Jump into the Fog”

 

Artist That I’m Digging Right Now – 05 August 2012

6 Aug

It’s a little late, yes. But the second monthly “Artist That I’m Digging Right Now” comes with a new format. Who doesn’t love new things?

Artist: Young the Giant

Super Short Bio: Founded in 2004 under the name The Jakes, the California band is currently comprised of Sameer Gadhia, Eric Cannata, Jacob Tilley, Francois Comtois, and Payam Doostzadeh. The band’s first single as Young the Giant was the wildly popular “My Body” and since then, they have toured with the likes of Minus the Bear and Incubus.

Why I’m Digging Them?: Sameer Gadhia is simply stunning. If you look at him, he just looks like a regular guy. Yes, he is attractive, but he looks and acts like someone you could know. Someone you could be friends with. Listening to The Jakes, you can hear that this is a band capable of commercial success, but they’ve got something…extra. And that something extra becomes something truly otherwordly as the Jakes evolved into Young the Giant. More mature subject matter in songs and music that can adequately showcase Gadhia’s more polished and soulful voice took a band that I heard a song from and liked, sacrificed it, and allowed it to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

I once said on Facebook something along the lines of “Young the Giant’s music is the aural equivalent of being wrapped in a cashmere sweater that’s my favorite shade of my favorite color” and I strongly stand by that statement. Some songs give the feel of comfort, others recall strong memories of frolicking on California beaches (and I’ve never even been to California) and what can I say…Young the Giant’s self-titled album is full of all types of warm and fuzzies. Regardless of the subject matter, you can feel Gadhia’s pain and then still be overcome with joy just because you get to hear his voice. And going to a Young the Giant concert is somewhere in between a religious experience and a fun bonfire on the beach with friends. I recall seeing Gadhia and Cannata bounce and flail about the stage while Doosztadeh, Tilley, and Comtois remained virtually in the same spot, concentrating on creating beautiful music. It was a sight that I definitely recommend seeing.

Five Songs You Need to Listen To:

  1. “Strings / Strings (Reprise)” Young the Giant, 2011
  2. “I Got” Young the Giant, 2011
  3. “Paid the Piper” Shake My Hand EP, 2008(as the Jakes)
  4. “Apartment” Young the Giant, 2011
  5. “Cough Syrup” Young the Giant, 2011

Also, definitely listen to the band’s In the Open sessions. So hauntingly beautiful and absolutely breath-taking.

Aside

Artist That I’m Digging Right Now – 03 Jul 2012

3 Jul

Ahoy!

Why the pirate talk? Because the artist that I’m digging right now – I’ve just decided that I am making this a re-occurring thing for the third of every month – has got me feeling quite nautical. Am I good at dropping hints yet? Have you guessed who the artist is? It’s Los Angeles based five piece, AWOLNATION.

My road to digging AN has not been an easy one. And to be honest, it’s been very recently (read: within the past two hours or so) that I have officially made up my mind about the group. In 2011, there was one song that myself and other listeners of alternative rock radio were talking about “Sail”. The local rock station – The Zone 94.1 – played the shit out of “Sail” in 2011. I went through several stages with “Sail”, similar to what happens with many people listening to a catchy song that gets the shit played out of it on the radio. I listened to it at first and thought “well, this is…weird”, but I didn’t really think much of the song.   I’d hear it a few more times and think “okay, here goes that weird, electronic, rap-rock song again.” After that, I’d be singing – almost uncontrollably – “blame it on my A.D.D., babaaaaaaay!” Random places. In the supermarket. In class. I had AWOL-DD, for sure. Next was the point where I absolutely hated the certified-platinum hit – “If I hear ‘Sail’, one mo’ time…I swear…”. It was the day that I saw that my loves, Middle Class Rut, were coming to my hometown with those “Sail” guys, that I realized I could never hate the song again. I was an MCRut girl in a sea of “Sail”ors. My band had already played, but I didn’t want to leave yet. When AWOL played, I found myself actually jamming. Not bobbing my head to the music or just listening, I was dancing my ass off. Not only that, but I belted out every single lyric of “Sail” as if it were my favorite song.

Now, after hearing a few songs from Megalithic Symphony, I had dubbed AN my “guilty pleasure”. “Yeah, I know AWOLNATION is weird, I mean, they’re like a weird guilty pleasure. I think it’s because I had seen them live.” Their upbeat and sometimes downright heartwarming songs such as “People”, “Jump on My Shoulders”, and the adorably claymated video for “Not Your Fault” made them a permanent fixture on my feel good playlist. The musical equivalent of hot cocoa, I listen to them when I want to dance and when I am in major need of a pick-me-up. I would never have listed AWOL as a band that I love, yet I found myself listening to them everyday.

The band’s latest release from Megalithic Symphony, “Kill Your Heroes”, is one that I heard for the first time today. I probably heard it at the concert, so I guess today was the first time that I have actually listened to the song. The lyric video Aaron Bruno and co. have released with the song shows the band’s astronaut-helmeted mascot going about his awesome, helmeted life while yellow lyrics trail along the bottom of the screen, the words “We love you more than you know” in all caps and a larger font. The song instantly made me feel…good. It’s one of those songs with catchy percussion that you can feel vibrating through your entire body and that combined with the lyrics and this delicious ass chamomile tea that I am drinking actually made me feel that maybe I am loved more than I know, and maybe I can fly. Or, maybe it’s because I’m menstrual and overly-emotional right now. But fuck it, I have to admit…I am digging AWOLNATION right now.

– “Never let your fear decide your fate.”

Kai xxx

Here’s the official lyric video of “Kill Your Heroes” from AWOLNATION’s Megalithic Symphony (Red Bull Records)