Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mêlée: Devils and Angels

I'm happy to say that I got a copy of Mêlée's Devils and Angels and after many months I finally got to answer the question that had been floating around my head. Is the rest of the album as good as the six or so songs I'd become familiar with via band web site and Myspace? You bet. The disc has twelve tracks plus a bonus and from those, I already wrote about "Built to Last," "Rhythm of the Rain," Frequently Baby," "Drive Away," "You Got," and "Stand Up." The rest range from energetic piano pop to slow and sweet ballads. As always, the lyrics are clever and slick. One favorite of mine comes from "Biggest Mistake," chronicling a lapse in judgement involving a girl while in New York. "Hand full of friends and some dynamite, set to explode if you do it right. Right off a cliff on a Saturday night." The Mitch Ryder reference isn't too shabby either. Award for sweetest song goes to "She's Gonna Find Me Here." All in all it's a great album and Chris Cron's voice never ceases to evoke admiration for it's clarity and youthful tone. It's sunny stuff and the first record in a long time to really say something to me beyond an uninspiring proclamation of adequacy. If you're looking for something to put you in a good mood, Devils and Angels comes highly recommended.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Death Cab for Cutie in 2008

I've got to say that 2008 is shaping up to be quite a year for new releases. Death Cab for Cutie has put a video on their web site heralding a May 2008 album. There's no word yet on a name or anything of the sort, but if the song they were playing in the video is a part of the new album-- then I'm predicting good things. The group will be in the studio in the early part of this year. It'll be their sixth album(excluding You Can Play These Songs with Chords). Stay tuned.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Musically Inclined's Top 10 Discoveries of 2007

Obviously, The Musically Inclined is no major establishment on the receiving end of countless promotional cds, so it would be pretty difficult to compile a list of top albums of the year. So, the spin is "discoveries" meaning these songs weren't necessarily released this year but were discovered this year. Crafty, ain't it?

1. DRIVE AWAY BY MÊLÉE- TMI loves Mêlée and this song is a perfect example of their excellent lyrics and energetic musical stylings.
2. SECRET MEETING BY THE NATIONAL- Paste Magazine's pick for album of the year...told ya they were headed for big things.
3. FINE CHINA BY ANDY DAVIS- This Nashvile artist has got a terrific voice and this song is beautifully piano-driven.
4. TRANQUILIZE BY THE KILLERS- Points for being bizarre yet promising.
5. HEY THERE DELILAH BY PLAIN WHITE Ts- It's got to be the #1 anthem of lovers this year.
6. MASSIVE NIGHTS BY THE HOLD STEADY- More literate lyrics and straight up rock.
7. DETROIT WAVES BY MATT NATHANSON- It's just a great song to listen to/sing with/get stuck on.
8. DON'T LET GO BY PACHA MASSIVE- The very definition of the term "groove."
9. THE WAY I ARE BY TIMBALAND- Surprisingly addictive. Just add strobe light.
10. THE PRETENDER BY FOO FIGHTERS- The first FF song that I've actually liked. That's got to count for something.

In other news, you can now subscribe to The Musically Inclined via email. Every time there's a new posting a lovely little email from yours truly will roll into your inbox. It's as easy as typing in your address and confirming the subscription request, so check it out! Also, The Musically Inclined now has an email address so if there's something on your mind, drop a line. The address is at the very bottom of the page.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Defying Logic and Better Judgement

I rented a certain unspecified movie last night and was listening to the songs that play over the credits and there was one song that was so familiar but I couldn't place it. Of course, I wrote down a few lines and got on Leo's Lyrics to discover it was "Best Days" by Matt White, a music video that I caught on MTVU a while ago. Instantly that morning came back to me, standing in front of the TV, trying to decide if I liked it. Maybe it was his voice, maybe it was his face, but I was undecided when the video ended. "Best Days" seemed like a ballad worthy of James Blunt and I don't mean that in a good way. Having heard it again last night, I suppose it's okay but there is something about that song that is annoying and sub par but catchy all at once.

It's those paradoxes that drive me up the wall. Take the mystery of Maroon 5. Extremely popular, fairly reliable pop-- but what can anyone make of Adam Levine's voice? It's high, whiny, scratchy, and nasal. Yet somehow, it doesn't appear to matter because Maroon 5 is fun to listen to and appealingly commercial. It's an odd place-- critically they are nothing spectacular, so it's not that. Musically they're also average-- nothing mind blowing. My theory is that Levine is not one more lead singer in the vain of the ones from SImple Plan, Good Charlotte, or any other singer of that mid-range pitch. Won't complain about that.

I'll listen to Maroon 5 and Levine's voice doesn't bother me. It perplexes me. I don't get why it doesn't ruin everything when I know that it doesn't sound that good. Oh well, I guess in the end all that matters is that people get enjoyment from the band. What else is there to ask for?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Indie Rock: Take Some Time to Educate Yourself

It's really easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of music there is these days, even within one genre. Trying to learn as much as possible about music in general is certainly a noble pursuit, so I found this little jewel of a feature story of sorts on the "Indie Rock Universe" from Rolling Stone and happily filled up an afternoon. The genre is comically mapped out via what looks like doodles on the back of some future art major's history notes. After a quick Rhapsody Player download, listen to the songs listed under each part of the universe. I'm not doing this thing justice...check it out if only to look at the cool artwork.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Green Day is Headed for the Studio

It certainly seems as though there has been an abundance of announcements recently. The latest of which comes courtesy of Yahoo news: Green Day is going to be back in the studio in January.

These 3 are a talented bunch and I'm not talking about their musical ability. Somehow they manage to maintain that whole "I'm really pissed off" persona but then turn around and act like they care by getting involved in Instant Karma and what not. Remember their participation in "Across the Universe" after Katrina? Even their site has links to Greenpeace, USA Harvest, and ONE-- and I know there's stuff I'm forgetting. We have on our hands a socially conscious band who still hates everyone in the true spirit of the punk genre. Points for being a complete paradox.

No release date has been announced, so really-- who knows? Also, they're casting off the themes from American Idiot (leaving me to wonder what's left to complain about).

We'll see where this goes, folks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jack Johnson: "If I Had Eyes"

One of the greatest and most inescapable influences on music has to be location. Where an artist lives or is from originally just seems to seep into the their music more often than not. I think it's pretty cool when that happens-- take the obvious reference of the Beach Boys, or the reputation Detroit has for producing a lot of tough and loud stuff like the MC5. Music is always better when it's got roots. I like Jack Johnson a lot for that reason. He produces some quality music and leaves no doubt in any mind that he's from Hawaii. His latest single, "If I Had Eyes" is yet another of his creations built on the citrus-y goodness of island influence. The guitar is as steady and light as ever while "oooh"s in the background bring to mind swaying palm trees. I have a hard time finding fault with the breeze that blows when I hit the "play" button.

I can't say that the song blew me away. It sounds like a cohesive part of his collection-- but don't go expecting much of an evolution. As a fan, I think I'm okay with that. If I want to hear major progression I'll listen to a few choice Beatles albums. Most of the time I listen to In Between Dreams because it puts me in a good mood and the music and lyrics (good grief, do I love his lyrics) are extremely appealing. There have definitely been times when that's all I want. Reading up on Johnson's background, it just sounds like he's having a good time with life, making surfing movies and starting up a record label to release the soundtracks before recording himself. Good times. Great locale. Can't wait for the next audio dose Hawaii to roll into stores sunny-up gray old February.

In case you missed the last entry..."If I Had Eyes" will be available on iTunes this Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jack's Back Too

Yes, I know it's been a week and you've missed me greatly. These are busy times. That aside- I was clicking around and discovered that Jack Johnson is due to release a brand new CD in Feb. 2008. Let me just say I can't wait for another helping of mellowness from the king of Hawaiian chill. I just checked back on his site and found out the name of the album is Sleep through the Static and his new single "If I Had Eyes" can be heard at More to follow on that later. The single will be available on iTunes Dec. 11.

Here's to sitting, waiting, and wishing for February.