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When real musicians play

July 10th, 2013 No Comments

They don’t need synthesizers or all that jazz.

Luke is one of my favorite voices on the planet. The band supports it beautifully. I feel like that’s so rare these days.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you’re already fans of Atomic Tom. The first time I posted about AT was in 2010: their viral video my music contributor loved .  Seems like forever ago because their music is so engrained in my life now.

I’m going to rock out with these guys at The Troubadour tonight (9pm, if you’re around, join us!).  Excited is an understatement.  I’ve bounced around to their songs in NYC, Atlanta, and Austin, not to mention my spin classes.

Part of me is dying for them to make it big so they’ll get the respect they deserve.  The other half….well, I love bouncing around to my boys in small bars. Selfish, yes.  But if I were really selfish I wouldn’t be writing about them, now would I ;)

Take a listen.  Download at least one song.  Thank me later.

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Do you like drugs

May 22nd, 2013 2 Comments

I was just going to write about the Daft Punk album that dropped this week, but I’ve discovered so many other “electronic” tracks I love recently!  Here is a playlist of a few new favorites, one of which is “Do you…like drugs.”  I think you’ll find the songs all add a little addictive beat in the background of your life.  Subscribe to the playlist on rdio here.

Besides being a music streaming service that syncs to all of my mobile devices, rdio is my favorite place for music discovery.  When I log into my Rdio account, without fail on my “Heavy Rotation” page, there is always an album by a band I’ve never heard of that I instantly fall in love with.  This week, Elizabeth Harper’s voice and the bouncy, swag beat of Class Actress grabbed me.  I want to spin to it, get dressed to it, do laundry to it.  The sound makes me feel sexy no matter what I’m doing!

Andrew McMahon, the lead singer of Jack’s Mannequin (that I have loved for a while now), released an EP last month I’ve been trying to get into.  He has such a good heart that is based in an incredible life story.  When he puts it all to music, I feel blessed in my life.

As for Daft Punk, like everyone else I’ve been anticipating their new songs.  For the first time, the duo used real instruments and a synthesizer instead of a computer, which seems impressive.  It’s fun and mesmerizing as the single “Get Lucky” suggested.

Also included here is Miguel with some R&B action.  Love, a fellow SoulCycle trainee, played “Do you….” the other day to start her class and had us all bouncin’ on the bike.  Seductive would be an understatement :)

If you have any bands you’re loving right now, I would love to hear about them.  Please leave your love notes in the comments below!

 

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Return of the Phoenix

April 24th, 2013 No Comments

Phoenix Bankrupt!

The Parisian band Phoenix, that writes and sings songs we love like “Liztomania” and “1901″ on their Wolfgang
Amadeus Phoenix album from way back when in 2009, has finally released a new album – Bankrupt! Before I read reviews of what the experts think, I take a listen and see how well my ears are tuned. Kinda like when you taste wine and guess the flavors before you ask
what the sommelier what’s really on your tongue. I do the same with music. On first listen, what struck me was the irony of their trendy, digital, “bouncy” sound that departs from the harder rock beats in their first album coupled with the name of the songs. Maybe it’s all of the dubstep, remix, cool kid music I’ve been listening to in SoulCycle training, but the songs make a huge effort to be cool. Then I read the song titles:

Phoenix Bankrupt album songs

Funny, right?! That being said, I really like the sound and their evolution. Bands need to grow with the industry, in most cases. Now, here’s what the experts have to say:

“The band concocted a delightfully varied collection of dizzy synth swirls and bubbly hooks.” — iTunes

“At its best — “Chloroform,” “Entertainment” and the title track — the group offers more joyous opportunity to sing along to the grand vocal melodies of Thomas Mars. The singer has a knack for delivering runs that nestle their way into the brain’s musical crevices, while the band (bassist Deck d’Arcy, guitarists/multi-instumentalists Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai) pushes its sounds in engaging and occasionally urgent new directions.” — LATimes

I think iTunes nails it. The sound is mesmerizing, and I have a hard time grabbing onto any of the
lyrics. All of the songs seem to run together. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Take a listen, see what you think.

ONE LAST THING: DAFT PUNK IS COMING OUT WITH A NEW EP ON MAY 21!

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The best remixes on the web RIGHT NOW.

March 27th, 2013 No Comments

Hypemachine Screenshot

The other day I asked musician and SoulCycle instructor Kym (we taught together back in the day), “Where do you guys find all of the killer music you play in class?”  Her response: Hypemachine.

HypeMachine – HypeM.com – aggregates the songs being played across all of their vetted hipster music blogs.  On the homepage you’ll find a list of the most popular songs being played right now.  If you refresh the page, the list changes, that’s how current the popularity engine is!  Above the list you’ll see you can filter the list with options like “Remixes Only” or “No Remixes”  which seems to have some songs without techno beats.

As I’m writing this post, I’m just letting the site stream whatever it wants.  It’s a pretty cool mix of stuff that isn’t too intrusive.  I think the more I dig, the more fun workout and party songs I’ll find.  You could just turn on HypeM in the background of a party and not have to worry about it.

The killer for me is that if you want the song, you have to buy it, which means I can’t include it in my rdio collection.  I found the artists on Rdio, but not their HypeM remixes.  I’m totally spoiled by unlimited music synced across all of my devices on Rdio.  I expect those of you who use Spotify can simply download the mp3 and add it into your library.

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For those of you poppin’ tags right now

February 6th, 2013 No Comments

20130206-071732.jpg

I’m still loving the Macklamore & Ryan Lewis album The Heist…well, the songs they don’t play every five seconds on the radio.

But I think I found it’s new replacement on Rdio the other day. (I love discovering artists in their New Releases section – barely any Top 40 to be found.)

K-OS apparently has been around for a while. I’ve never heard of him (shocker). He’s a hip hop guy that has garnered some respect in the industry and created this new “two-sided” album that showcases his hip hop style as well as his love for rock and the classics (a la Paul Simon and the Beatles. There are tons of collaborations; my favorite being “C.L.A.” with Gym Class Heroes at this point. It’s one of those “get-ya-goin” kinda albums!

There are two versions of this album, one with K-OS commentary, which is cool to hear about his sources of inspiration, but only once. While you’re cooking or something. Then I’d hit up the album that’s just songs.

**These links are to Rdio where you can preview the songs if you aren’t a member. I really think you need to dowload the whole album, no matter what platform you’re on. It’s that good.

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Nice Buds

December 12th, 2012 No Comments

 

Along with sending 2 pairs of “amps” (in-ear headphones starting at $59) for you guys in the MTM Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway (have you entered yet, it’s quick and easy!), the generous people at Sol Republic sending sent me a pair too!

I’ve been wearing them daily for my workouts and absolutely loving them over my Bose pair.  As you can see, the bud shape looks a little funky the way it’s curved.  Instead of hugging your ear like you think that curve would do, it actually makes them stand away from you ear while the rubber tip holds the speaker part steady in your ear.  And the sound is LOUD – I love that!

I also have a pair of their famous headphones called “Tracks” (starting at $99). These bad boys are super comfortable and great for plane trips. Michael Phelps wore them before every race in the Olympics.  (I wonder what he was listening to??)

Needless to say good quality headphones are a great gift for music lovers (tracks) and athletes (amps).

 

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Tight beats to get you going – Listen cover to cover!

October 22nd, 2012 No Comments

 

Desperately searching for new music to fuel my workout a couple weeks ago, I found The Heist on Rdio’s “New Releases.”  I have listened to the album at least once a day cover to cover ever since!

The first song, “Ten Thousand Hours” instantly caught my attention with its light attitude.  Following is the familiar “Can’t Hold Us” that we hear on the radio.   As the songs continue, the “tight beats” grow with intensity (as did my workout). Macklemore’s lyrics don’t focus on the “good life” of luxury, sexual positions, or demoralizing women.  Instead they are introspective and passionate without being angry. For a more detailed review, go here.

Here’s the funny part: I had no idea who “The Heist” was or what they looked like.  Then my BF sent me this pic:

I would have never pictured these two clean-cut guys considering the sound of his voice or the music.  Not that it matters, I just felt like I had been on The Voice and my chair turned around to a surprising appearance.

It was love at first listen for me with The Heist and now I turn it on to get my day going, clean the house, and spin. I hop on the bike and listen to songs 1-11 for a  journey of hills, sprints, and jogs.  Use the beat on the bike or elliptical and adjust the resistance accordingly for a solid workout.

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So many great new albums I don’t know where to begin

September 12th, 2012 1 Comment

All of these albums have one thing in common.  They sound like their predecessors, which is good, but they aren’t necessarily superior.  On a positive note, we can think of them as extensions of the albums we already love so much!  Below are a few notes and a Rdio playlist for you to get a little taste of each.

The xx  is the one I was most excited about.  It’s a little depressing, but good. I haven’t decided if it’s as good as the last one.  All of the qualities are there, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  Mellow music, thoughtful and provocative lyrics, and a hypnotic flow.

You’ve probably already heard Matchbox Twenty‘s “She’s so mean” countless times on the radio and knew this would be a throwback to the 1996 album.  The collection has some variety in sound, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.  One critic says, “To the band’s credit, they have tried to tweak their sound at times to sound more contemporary but there’s a feeling this is more out of necessity rather than playing to their strengths that brought them success two decades ago.” He and I both like Parade, the opener. My favorite song, The Way, is actually sung by another member of the band while Rob Thomas sings backup.

The Irish boys seem to offer more energy on this album than the last, if that’s even possible.  Critics are not ready to throw their weight behind Beacon, even after Two Door Cinema Club‘s lead singer performed at The Olympics this summer.  I like it for working out or background music at a party because it keeps you bouncing around the room.

Right off the bat, Imagine Dragons’ Night Vision might be my favorite of all of the new releases.  The songs have variety in sound and energy; the lyrics are captivating and poetic. As one critic says, “Night Visions is packed with magnetic hooks and massive drum architectures, making for a well-muscled percussive record of hits-in-waiting.”  I could listen to it cover to cover on a daily basis and look forward to it!

I don’t follow many electro-pop bands so Stars’ sound has always been unique and interesting to me.  I also love Amy Millan’s voice.  I read a couple articles that said The North is “lacking urgency” and has “cloudy intentions,” but, who cares?  I have enjoyed it thus far.  It’s another one I can just have on in the background while I work or get dressed.

 

For more of my music, you can click here to see other bands I love and follow me and subscribe to my playlists on Rdio.

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