The Fratellis

Recently I was browsing the iTunes Music new releases page when I saw The Fratellis had a new album “In Your Own Sweet Time”.

I had first learned about the Fratellis over a decade ago when their songs were featured on the soundtrack of a terrific movie, Hot Fuzz. I had really enjoyed their debut album “Costello Music” and was delighted with their follow up “Here We Stand”. Then for some unknown reason, I just stopped paying attention. Perhaps the responsibilities of middle age got in the way. I find it so easy to stick to the tried and true when it comes to music and forget that great tunes are still out there. Especially by artists I enjoy.

So I previewed the new album, loved what I heard and promptly filled the gaps in my digital music library with all their other the albums that I never thought to look for. WOW, so glad I did. Their entire catalogue is solid, catchy fun.

You too can listen to “In Your Own Sweet Time” at this link.

If you like the Fratellis’ sound, then this new batch of catchy tunes won’t disappoint you. I wish I had the skill to describe why I like certain types of music. I cannot find the words to describe how some music just connects. There is often a rawness to the vocals and the instruments, for sure. The best I can do is include a few links to my favourite tracks and let the songs speak for themselves.

Here are some of my favourite tracks on this new album

 

And if you are feeling nostalgic, below are some vintage Fratellis videos

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New Politics: a review of something old and something new

I have been in a bit of a music rut recently, listening to the same few albums over and over again. I am pretty lazy and don’t like to create playlists. I usually gravitate to a particular artist and listen to their oeuvre for a while or I just hit random and let my iPod select from my entire library (gotta love the 160 Gb iPod classic).  I always have my ears perked for an artist/band who has a collection of solid albums chockfull of catchy tunes. I try to stay on top of what is new, as a way to convince my failing body that I am still relevant and not completely out of touch.

While lamenting that I haven’t added anything excitingly new to my music library, a song by Danish band New Politics came on the car radio and caught my attention.  A quick check of my iPod revealed that I indeed I had one of their songs (Harlem) buried in a NOW! compilation from a few years back. I listened to it and loved it. I then went to Freegal and managed to download the rest of the album (A Bad Girl in Harlem). What a  find! I have subsequently downloaded 3 other albums and I can honestly say that I have some new music to be excited about (Thank you iTunes and Freegal). Each album is a fun listen all the way through.

I find it hard to describe music without drawing comparisons other artists. My tastes are pretty diverse so I will use the words of my youngest daughter (whose tastes favour top 40 and hip hop). She said New Politics sounds like most of the stuff I play in heavy rotation. My elder daughter, whose musical tastes are more in line with mine, asked if this was a new album by the Struts (not a bad guess at all), when I had them playing in the car. New Politics is a mash up of pop-punk, dance, alt-rock, art-rock, with throwbacks to the 80’s and 90’s. They remind me of the best of Muse, the Fratellis, Keane, Sum 41, the Killers. It is no wonder that I fell for them hard.

 

So if any of those bands appeal to you and you are looking for something new to listen to, you may want to check out New Politics. Their latest album was released this past fall, adding another gem to solidify their reputation as catchy tunesmiths.

 

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The Struts: Glam Rock 2.0

struts

The Struts is a new band I had read about. They had favourable reviews in magazines that I subscribe to (Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly) so I decided to take a listen online.  I liked a few songs a lot; enough to buy their debut album Everybody Wants on iTunes. Wow, they have a great retro sound, echoing Freddy Mercury and Queen at their best. If you get nostalgic for 70’s glam rock but refuse to become fossilized, check this new band out. Warning, some of the videos are NSFW.

 

 

 

 

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Alternative Finds on Freegal part1: The Vaccines

Vaccines

I love music and usually listen to my iPod in the car or at work. As a Gen-Xer, determined not to get frozen in time with regard to musical taste, I struggle to find new alternative/indie bands to enjoy. Many of the terrestrial radio stations I enjoyed have switched to a heavily pop/mainstream playlist, which just doesn’t do it for me. Then I noticed a link to Freegal at my public library’s website. It is a streaming music service that allows a limited number of weekly downloads. The online collection is vast and consists of artists associated with Sony Music. With a bit of googling “Bands that sound like the Killers/other band that I like” and cross-referencing on the Freegal website, I landed on a few awesome indie acts. I am proud to say that they are of not only of this century, but some are of this decade. Yet, they evoke an essence of the 80’s, similar to The Killers. So I thought I would share my favourites, in a series of posts, starting with  The Vaccines. They are an intelligible fusion of the Strokes (mood), the Ramones (tempo and sound) and Bob Dylan (lyricism). Plus I just love their name.

Check them out below with a smattering of songs from their 3 full length releases. Their 3 albums are full of great songs that I can play on a loop anytime. And use the Freegal link above to see if your library subscribes to this service. If your taxes are paying for it, you might as well check it out.

From What Did you Expect from the Vaccines? 2011

 

 

 

Come of Age 2012

 

 

 

English Graffiti 2015

 

 

 

 

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AWOLNATION: I Am (Late to the Party)

AWOLNATION is a band that I was vaguely familiar with. AWOLNATION had a hit song “Sail” that got a lot of airplay a few years ago.

 

 

I could take it or leave it. My kids mentioned that they liked it, which I thought was interesting. It is unlike much of what either of them listen to and they don’t agree on most songs. I find it difficult to describe music. The best I can do is to call AWOLNATION a heavy electric rock band.

When I recently I heard their recent hit  “I Am” on the radio, I really liked it and didn’t make the connection with “Sail”.

Before long I started hearing “I Am” everywhere because it was used for a Red Bull video advertisement. No surprise as their label is Red Bull Records. I never knew that the energy drink also had a record label. Go figure.

I decided to download AWOLNATION’s 2 most recent albums (Megalithic Symphony-2011 and Ran-2015). What a treat! “Sail” is still my least favourite song, but now I have so many more AWOLNATION songs that I do like. Better late than never. These songs are perfect for a workout, a commute or listening to at work.

My favourite is “Knights of Shame.” At over 12 minutes long, it has varying styles reminiscent of a clever mashup. There is no official video, but you can at least hear it at the embedded Youtube link below.

If you like what you have heard, check out some of my other favourite AWOLNATION songs, which include the following:

“Hollow Moon”

“Kill Your Heroes”

“This Kids Not Alright”

 

 

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‘Tis the Season 2014 – The Killers style

Every year at this time I look forward to The Killer’s Holiday song. They have released a Christmas charity single every year, since 2006, in support of Product Red, which has the noble goal ending HIV transmission in Africa.

The songs often have a melancholia that resonates with me. This year’s “Joel the Lump of Coal” is in that vein and I just love it. Check out the adorable video and feel free to skip over (5:20) the Jimmy Kimmel intro. His cheesy schtick is thankfully absent on the audio single.

Check out The Killers’ previous Holiday singles by clicking on the Playlist in the upper left corner of the embedded video.

The Killers’ Christmas single marks the beginning of the holiday season for me.

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Middle Class Fashion: Jungle

I can’t stop listening to this album! It is Middle Class Fashion‘s 2nd LP and it is solid.

I heard a snippet of their song “Stuck”

playing on a podcast episode of “This American Life” and couldn’t help but use my Shazam app to identify the tune. I promptly downloaded the album from iTunes after a quick preview listen. There isn’t a bad track among the 14 songs. If you love strong vocal harmonies and a piano heavy, electro-folk-pop sound then check out a video for their song Golden Rose, if you like it, you’ll probably enjoy the whole album.

On a whim I just downloaded their first album “Girl Talk” and was not disappointed. Great fun listening!

 

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