Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Music

I received an iTunes gift card from a friend for Christmas, and I have finally gotten around to using it. When I started thinking about what I wanted to get, I realized that I almost always go back to the same ol' groups, and genre's where I buy more of the same. There are a few songs that have been banging around in my head thanks to The Current (which I listen to pretty much everyday regardless of the fact that I live 1200 miles away.) I think if somebody decided to give you an iTunes gift card, you should let them know how you decided to spend that money. Since I only had couple of songs that really wanted to purchase, I petitioned friends to recommend one song they felt was a "must have." Here is what we came up with.

First I will go with the songs that I wanted:

Brother Ali:
  • Truth Is: I remember going to see Brother Ali at "The Entry" when he was opening for Atmosphere and I remember thinking that he was an weak rapper with little creativity and an over-inflated ego (of course when you are opening for Slug, you are pretty much going to suck in comparison). Truth Is - bounces from the beginning and is one song I could listen to ten times straight and still hit the back button just one more time.
  • Fresh Air: The smooth beats and lyrics make this song for me, and I would bet that anybody who has listen to BA over the years feels like this song reflects the maturity of age.
The Avett Brothers:
  • Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise: I am a sucker for piano, and this song (heck, the whole album) has great piano. This album makes me think about the mountains and open spaces and friends - like a great road trip where you know the most memorable parts are completely unexpected and you will talk about them less each year as life takes you each in different directions. However the connection will always remain.
  • Kick Drum Heart: Fun Fun Fun - This song is like a Dum-Dum sucker, every time you have one it is a fun little surprise you never expected.
  • Laundry Room: Piano takes a backseat on this one, and makes way for guitar and vocals. I especially like the call and response section about halfway through the song. The song is calm.
Josh Thompson:
  • You Ain't Seen Country Yet - Heard a review of this album on Fresh Air on Friday and really liked the catchy songs. I have heard a number of other songs off this album, namely "Beer on the Table", because Mrs B listens to country radio pretty much all the time now. I have listened to every song on this album and just liked this song. Although I spent a number of summers throwing hay for Grandpa, I am not country by any stretch of the imagination, but I am pretty sure I will be cranking this song when we head out to Bertram next time.
Now we have gotten to the section where I solicited song recommendations from friends. Here are my initial thoughts on each song. On that note, I will start with the recommendation of my best friend, Mrs B.

Zac Brown Band:
  • Chicken Fried: As previously mention she is pretty much country all the time in the car, but this song makes her want to move out to, or at least visit, Bertram. We may complain how far away it seems, but the truth is, we always have a great time being country for a couple of hours. We don't get to shoot guns at anybody else's house and what can be more fun then playing washers and drinking beer (I can't think of anything).
The XX:
  • Intro: This song was recommended by Pat, an college buddy with a funny Philly accent. He liked the dark and moody beginning. After listening to it a number of times, I just keep hoping it would go longer - this seems a little too hipster and electronic for Pat, but times do change.
Justin Townes Earle:
  • Can't Hardly Wait: Recommended by Julie, wife of my former roommate. If the last song surprised me because it wasn't what I expected, this song delivers exactly what I expect out of the Maas Clan - guitar driven alt-country. As it so happens, I can't get enough of this crap, I make it a point to listen to The United States of Americana every week and this song would slot right into that playlist. I keep hitting repeat - very enjoyable choice.
The Rosewood Thieves:
  • Untitled #1 - Recommended by Aaron, former college teammate and bandmate. Never hear of this group before tonight, but I will admit I had a difficult time choosing a song because they all had a melancholy folksiness which is the kind of thing you want to listen to while sitting on the back patio drinking bourbon. I settled on this one because of the upbeat opening.
David Bowie:
  • Heroes - Recommended by PleasureDan, educational philosopher and chef. Not really a big Bowie fan, but in the spirit of experiment I didn't question the choice, I just bought it. What was with the weird background singers toward the end of the song? Will have to listen to this some more to see if it grows on me.
Mary J. Blige:
  • Just Fine (feat. Lil Wayne) - Recommended by Dr. Nelson, coffee fiend and diversity queen + low context communicator. She just shot off the first thing that came to her mind, and this is what she came up with. She wasn't sure I would like it, or at least it wasn't what I was looking for. She was wrong. Come on.....Lil Wayne, Mary J. what is not to like. It appears to be a hit with "the boy" as well. This song is hopping right into the party mix.
Justin Nozuka
  • After Tonight - recommended by Kristi, teacher and tennis freak. Never heard of this guy either, which was the point of this whole experiment. My first thought as I was listening to this song was "booty music." That may still be the case, but it is also catchy, and what is wrong with booty music anyway.....not a damn thing, that is what I say.
That brings us to the end of the gift card. I did receive a number of recommendations I already had, or got to me to late for this time. I will add them to the "Wishlist" for future gift cards. On a related note, if you want a free nine song sampler, you can go here and get songs from bands that will be performing at this years SXSW in a couple of weeks.

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