Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cute.

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Cute little ditty from a French-Canadian artist.

Monday, January 30, 2012

No Longer M.I.A.

M.I.A.


Welcome back, sister. It's about time - we missed you! Check out MIA and the fly beat on her latest, "Bad Girls."  A thumping undertone, flashy Middle Eastern-inspired sample and lyrics like "My chain hits my chest when I'm banging on the dashboard?" Yowza - this song packs a lot of heat.




Friday, January 27, 2012

Warm Invite


Remember this song? How sweet.


How great are custom wedding and party invitation/stationary pieces like this? Happy little song lyrics and quotes printed ever-so-plainly on the front of the paper card, warmly extending an invitation and a little bit of cheer to your guest or reader. It's just lovely. Well, even just lyrics popping up ANYWHERE in decor is wonderful; words and their meaning are so subjective and appreciated differently by each person who hears them, so much so that I could probably never guess what half of my own friends would have printed.
I love easily customizable ideas like this - I can already think of a million and one quotes I would put on my pieces of cardstock or walls.

What would you print?


Song Lyric Art


Song Lyric Art

All I Want Is You Art

Custom Lyrics on Record

 NYC framed digital typographic print lyrics quote big lights will inspire you






Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bright Lights, Big City


Wine - Blondes


How much does this hazy trance track remind you of a big metropolis? Or one of those aerial views that films traffic, speeding it up, so you only see strips of blurred neon lights zipping up and down a transitway? I love flashy electronic songs like this  put you in a daze, comforting you the way the big lights of a skyline do - despite how huge and far off they feel. Something about these blurry tracks just give you life and inspiration, don't you think? Washed over with keyboard effects and shiny beats - it just zones me right out! Here are some awesome shots of city glamour and that buzzing life in the city:

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Lana Leak



Five days, folks. The new Lana Del Rey album is continually proving, through little leaks and previews, that it is going to be absolutely bananas. Based on every.single.track. I've heard out of this young vamp to date - I know that we're in for one of 2012's biggest treats yet.

There's no doubt that the latest leak, "Off To The Races", features a poppier and more feminine flare than her darker, haunting first tracks - which I think she needed in order to establish herself as something other than another pretty face with a bubblegum hook. But regardless, it is still utterly fascinating how she chooses to lay-out and decorate her new songs. Bumping beats, vocal squeals, orchestral back-up and quirky samples - often featuring yelps, hollers and bits of newsflashes - are only a few of the oddities you'll find within a (less than) typical Del Rey tune. Maybe she isn't the best thing since sliced bread in many people's books, but one thing is for sure - this girl sure keeps me on my toes musically. Oh, forget it, I'll admit it's more than that - it's turning into the beginning of a longstanding musical love affair. We're all aware of that based on the hype this blog has given her. But, since I first covered her musical emergence in September, and again in October (1,2) and December, I maintained it was because I knew that we had only seen the first and tiniest boom out of this curious new star. Sure enough, she's off to the races.

Come on, January 31st - come faster so we can relish in the latest and greatest from this alluring new classic.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Relax.

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I love this picture of the city.

I had a very busy weekend now that I'm looking back on it, but it's as if the entire thing started from Saturday morning onwards. From that point, it was non-stop - but Friday night was a different story. Starting with a chilly after-work stroll around shops before retreating to my toasty little apartment in the sky, experimenting with a delicious new dish and then curling into my bed (despite having the option of dining room and/or living room) under the blankets with magazines and tea. I wasn't long for the world that night, but it was so relaxing being cozied up under my duvet in comfy clothes, reading recreationally (imagine that) and completely zoning out after a hectic week. I also hit the jackpot with my Feist playlist - a smooth, jazzy flow of songs that put me right in the sleepy Friday night mood. How perfect is this cover she crooned of her old rock collective's famous ballad?





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Friday, January 20, 2012

Rap It Up



Since it's Friday (which means celebration and feel-good jams any week) and tomorrow I'm attending (actually sponsoring) a hip-hop festival featuring huge Canadian rap acts -  I'm 'rap-ping' up hip-hop week with a few of my all-time favourite tunes. What a great end to a week that was dedicated to honouring this awesome genre - one that hasn't necessarily gone down the tubes, but certainly needs to be dusted off every now and again to remind us where it came from. Here are a few final old-school beats, and a peak into local hip-hop power duo Philly Moves whose album leaked online this week/drops tomorrow - and who are playing two time slots at Ottawa's Winterfest this weekend. Check them out, they're a glimpse into the new twists on old-school hip-hop that contemporary rappers are capable of.



The Old...











And the new...

Seven Years - Philly Moves: Peep the new album online, or pick it up tomorrow. Hats off to this local pair for bringing good sound back!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Real.

Freckles? A true sign of character and fibre if you ask me.

OK, not necessarily underground or old-school - but this jam sparkles with jazz and soul influences, and is oh-so-groovy. This song just sounds like a crowded downtown street on a warm spring day with people milling across crosswalks and in and out of shops - don't you think? And when that suave horn swirls, the scene switches to night, with sparkling skirts swooshing against legs and suited men stepping out of cars into the nightlife. Common has one of the most "real" and well-spoken hip-hop voices - spitting rhymes that matter and teaching his audience just a little with each new jam. He's one of those real people, that's for sure.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Step To These

Ah, Souls of Mischief, Hieroglyphics (a group the S.O.M. collective is a part of also) and People Under The Stairs. Three of my absolute favourite groups and three of my absolute favourite tracks. This hip-hop heavy week is completely making me miss the good ol' days of hip-hop, the yesteryear of beats and the fathers of underground. As People Under The Stairs say - let the music take over your soul, body and mind, kick back, relax, one time and you will find:



Step To My Girl - Souls of Mischief: I love the lighthearted saxophone undertone to this classic Souls track, combined with the young and raspy shouts. It's a strange lyrical and instrumental combination, but it totally works when the theme of the song ("don't even look at my girl on a slow jam") and the feisty ode to his girl clicks in. Snappy beat and turntable scratches? That's real hip-hop right there.



Powers That Be - Hieroglyphics: And we might as well toss in a number from the hip-hop collective that bred Souls of Mischief. Again, a song that features a contagious skat beat and bouncy guitar licks; one that is perfect for any occasion, particularly while strolling down any street - jiving to the sassy rap jam in your ears.



Acid Raindrops - People Under The Stairs: "Out on the porch..." is probably one of the most iconic opening phrases in hip-hop, because everytime that dusty voice chimes in - you know what's in store.  Rolling drum pats, confident and powerful delivery, genius rhymes and a plainly perfect chorus. People Under The Stairs certainly hold a special place in my underground heart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We've Got The Jazz


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Stay in today and listen to music.

I don't know where you're reading from, but where I'm writing from - we are getting piled under snow. Busses are chaotically cancelled, kids are frolicking on their newfound day off, offices are sparse and the streets are a mess. On such a nasty, cold day, it's going to take a lot of mustered energy for those who are pushing through the weather and carrying on with their business - so why not hook everybody up with some relaxed and smooth old-school hip hop. Like I said yesterday, I'll be re-visiting my old hip-hop music collection this week to remind myself what kind of tunes made me very much of who I am as a listener. These songs, undoubtedly, were two very big ones. From when I was younger, I recall a few different occasions that featured headphones, cold afternoons curled up on the couch, in a zoned-out-half-nap place - with these songs playing. Enjoy! And try to stay warm with these cool tracks.


 

Brooklyn Masala - Masta Ace: (this song was is.my.jam.) Masta Ace literally strolled with me all over the province in 2004-2006. A simplistic and sweet storyline, addictive instrumental and embedded movie clip/Nas lyrics samples - it might be a girly or 'emo' hip-hop jam to some, but is still so dear to me. The number of times my family looked at me like a strange adopted child when I would rhyme out loud from under my headphones - "...You gotta see how I look on Monday - word." Classic, classic tune.


Jazz (We've Got) - A Tribe Called Quest: Look at young lil' Q-Tip! What a baby. And you hear that thumping kickdrum beat? The clever rhymes? Calm and effortless vocals? Sultry jazz lounge horns? Those, to me, are the best parts about hip-hop. And then "Buggin' Out" comes in? Perfection. Listen to that explosive vintage beat, and the awesomely throwback rhymes that accompany it. "The five foot assassin with the ruffneck business/ I float like gravity, never had a cavity/ Got more rhymes than the Winans' got family/ No need to sweat Arsenio to gain some type of fame/ No shame in my game cause I'll always be the same/"

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Bigger Than Hip-Hop



After interviewing a booming local rap duo last week, I was inspired by their throwback sound, old-school themes and crafty sampling, so much so that I thought - why not throw back and dive into my old hip-hop library? This library was a huge part of my upbringing - the socially conscious and political messages, the soulful sound infiltration and the thoughtful concepts that made up "underground" or "old-school" hip-hop all contributed to my love for a good beat and rhyme combination. As a teenager, my iPod was crammed with it; the sounds walked me all over town, warmed me up for games and fueled my love for writing even more. In more recent years, it's been noticeably sparse and hard to come by such thought-provoking hip-hop gems. So, why not dedicate this chilly week to some very chill songs, some very important moments in music history, and celebrate a sound that shaped too man societal and cultural happenings to name. As for the local duo, expect a post on them when their newest full-length drops this weekend.

For the first day, Monday, let's just reminisce:


Pete Rock and CL Smooth. What a classic.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pink and Gold and Glittering



Well, I'm racing off to a big city for less than 12 hours tomorrow to hopefully sign for a new apartment. How exciting!  A quick rat race-like adventure to secure myself a sweet little home, a new life and the beginning of a fascinating chapter. I really hope everything works out; in the mean time, when it comes to short day trips where you find yourself dashing across towns, field, miles and highways to arrive at a skyline that will soon become your new eye candy - songs like this are playlist heaven:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Supermen

The Black Keys

How fantastic is this cover page? Despite the fact I'm still holding a slight grudge from when Rolling Stone shrunk it's pages from the large 10x11 iconic format to a "rack-friendly" and "polished" standard-sized magazine (it happened in 2008 - I really, really should let go) - I always appreciate the covers and aesthetic of this beloved publication. I mean, don't Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney just look on top of the world here? Gosh, they're cool. The blues-rock duo, who are consequently in a little tiff with a Canadian group for what they said in this issue ("Rock 'n' roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world"), really are one of the most influential bands on the earth right now. Everyone - those who thought rock 'n roll might have died, those who are longing for the soulful blues that used to pour out of Southern nightclubs and those who appreciate modern flare and innovation in a new rock album - loves them. They are what I consider to be the better part of the whole package and in seven albums, they have yet to demonstrate any intention of backing down or discontinuing the scorching stomp-rock they've coined. If you ask me? The headline on this cover is absolutely bang on. (Also, the writing in the article is impeccable).

Pick up the January 19th issue of RS. In the mean time, let's a pay a little homage to the pot-stirring boys with an oldie, a slow(ie?) and a goodie.





Monday, January 9, 2012

I've Said This Before...

...and I'll say it again! In some cases, they just don't make 'em like they used to. Retro and romantic doo-wop, groovy Motown ballads and boppity pleas have certainly been re-created in contemporary ways (see Adele, Duffy, Rafael Saadiq and the late Amy Winehouse for examples) - but have not replaced the soulful sisters and brothers who crooned the originals in front of variety shows and swooning crowds of teenagers.

I spent my weekend holed up in coffee shops (cliche, right?), penning budgets and plans to facilitate my impending move to a big city (more on that to come!), blowing my nose ever four seconds and totally in the mood for the classics. The lovestruck rhymes, girl-group harmonies and catchy melodies sent me into a mellow and happy daze - dreaming of what days gone past must have sounded like when this music was first sweeping the nation.

I hope you like these little ditties as well; but after all, who couldn't?


Baby It's You - The Shirelles (an absolute favourite of mine)


Wishin' and Hopin' - Dionne Warwick



Be My baby - The Ronnettes


Twistin' The Night Away - Sam Cooke

Friday, January 6, 2012

What A Year For A New Year


Raise your hand if you've experienced the weight of the work world on your shoulders this week? Getting back into the groove, tackling outrageous to-do lists and trying to dig yourself out from under heaps of work? Or maybe, like me, you can relate to all of this work being that much more strenuous because you've picked up a little of that phantom virus that's always "going around". Yuck.

Regardless, I took a little heal/work/sloth hiatus after my 2011 countdown and am (despite my lingering sickness) back and ready to turn up the tunes, baby. Here are a few new songs that are getting me excited for these few new artists. Let's see where they end up, shall we? Happy New Year! I can't wait to hear what happens in 2012.


"SPEAK IN" - Not An Airplane: This alt-country band has recently self-released It Could Just Be This Place, a taste of their seasoned-sounding bluegrass romance and rambling stories. I really think we should keep our eyes out for these guys. Check out David Fricke's critical acclaim of the twangy release here, where you can hear more songs as well.




"AFRAID OF SUMMER" - Lost Landers: Resembling a strange atmospheric mix between The Shins and Fleet Foxes, if a ghostly female voice were added to either, this new Oregon-based band is blowing up all over the internet with their spacey California-ready first jam. I like, and I think the world will too. Free download here. Here's an older (wicked) track of theirs called "Cold Feet":
          


"DIE LIKE A ROCKSTAR" - Danny Brown: (*Listener Discretion: Explicit Lyrics) Like I've said before, I'm a gigantic fan of old-school hip-hop. All of it, including the beat-heavy and battle-friendly gangster rhymes. Danny Brown, whether he tones it down or not, will be a part of new hip-hop. This Pharoahe Monche/Odd Future sound-a-like is quick, crass and ruthless on his most recent EP; his vocal delivery and high-pitched bark is feisty, piercing, freakishly honest (taking a page out of the Tyler, The Creator book) and will kick his opponents when they're down. Random note about the artist? He's a hipster - currently digging St.Vincent and Jack White, and rocking a Skrillex haircut and skinny jeans. Yeah - weird, I know. Not everyone's cup of tea - but he's going to do something.



"IN YOUR NATURE" (David Lynch remix) - Zola Jesus: I.love.this.song. I've always loved Zola Jesus, but the fact that David Lynch, the acclaimed filmmaker, remixed this song to be as stunning and breathtaking as musically possible, makes me love her and it even more. I think the two should put out an entire album together. Listen and ADORE.