Archive for the ‘Electronic’ Category

Music Discovery: a musician who completely changes the way you hear, see and experience music. Cheers to 2020!

The Civil Wars

The female-male vocals within this duo, along with their folksy/ twang/indie sound bring many textures to their music. Their tracks are done with such grace and poise, that it feels like the music is physically moving, causing it to flood through the listener.

Where to start listening:  “Poison & Wine,” “Falling,” “I Had Me a Girl”

James Blake

I can safely say I’ve never heard another musician who sounds anything even close to James Blake. His ethereal vocals and incredible use of sound – not to mention his frequent collaborations with artists from every genre – produce exquisite albums, each guaranteed to let your mind drift off to the best parts of outer space.

Where to start listening: “Retrograde,” “The Wilhelm Scream,” “I Need a Forest Fire (feat. Bon Iver)”

Alabama Shakes

You’ve got funk, soul and good ol’ rock ‘n roll vibes with Alabama Shakes. But the real star is Brittany Howard’s bad ass vocals – they tell so many stories with each and every lyric. Completely untouchable.

Where to start listening: “Hold On,” “Don’t Wanna Fight,” “This Feeling”

Hozier

This Irish indie-rocker’s music is all power. Whether it’s with a full backing band, or just him and his guitar, his voice is always the strongest instrument. His music alone allows him to say so much; the listener remains forever moved.

Where to start listening: “Work Song,” “Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples),” “Movement”

London Grammar

A 3-person band, led by Hannah Reid’s stunning vocals, which carry a heaviness and wisdom far beyond her years. It’s nearly impossible to resist the pull of their music, which means you’re bound to get all wrapped up into it. You’ll thank me later.

Where to start listening: “Hey Now,” “Wasting My Young Years,” “Everyone Else”

Billie Eilish

I first heard a relatively unheard of Eilish perform on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and she blew me away. She continues to fascinate with her music, as there’s no one out there doing anything like her – from both a sound and vocal perspective. And she just turned 18 (!)

Where to start listening: “Everything I Wanted,” “Ocean Eyes,” “Bad Guy”

Florence + the Machine

There’s a magnitude to their music, an orchestral vibe that goes hand in hand with Florence’s dynamic vocals, dramatic lyrics, and whimsical demeanor. You often feel like you’re floating through their songs, watching them unfold. A truly glorious musical experience.

Where to start listening: “Dog Days Are Over,” “You’ve Got the Love,” “Long & Lost”

Bastille

It’s pretty hard to categorize Bastille’s music: it’s pop, indie, rock, electronic, but mostly so much fun. Their lyrics make you think, their sound makes you move, but most importantly, their music is infectious – once you start listening, you won’t be able to stop.

Where to start listening: Their first album, Bad Blood (or the extended version, All This Bad Blood.)

Gary Clark Jr.

Soulful, beautiful, thoughtful music. tClark knows just how to dig right in and get you to feel every emotion possible with his velvety smooth voice, and incredible guitar licks. You’ll be instantly swept away.

Where to start listening: “Things Are Changin’,” “The Life,” “You Saved Me”

The xx

I am always in awe of everything these guys do. It’s perfect music, lyrically, musically and emotionally. You feel everything all over, in your bones, and just when they’ve broken you to pieces, they bring you back to life. Their music simultaneously hurts so bad, and makes you dance. Truly sensational

Where to start listening: All 3 of their albums – The xx, Coexist and I See You – in their entirety.

 

Now that it’s 2019, and New Year resolutions are on the rise, here’s a guide on how to curate the ultimate workout soundtrack.

1. Go Techno

Whether it’s classic DJ beats, techno, drum ‘n bass, or newer age Calvin Harris-infused tracks, pick your poison. They’re all designed to make work out harder, faster and better.

2. Feel Nostalgic

Pick a song that takes you back, that you know all the words to, that makes you feel good, confident, and like you have a friend alongside with you. Then, run with it (no pun intended.)

3. Guilty Pleasures

When you’re working out, it’s you and your headphones, so be free, have fun, and laugh at yourself a little. You can go Bieber, Britney, Backstreet, or even this gem here (don’t judge.)

4. Choose Reggaeton

Reggaeton is a combination of hip-hop, Latin beats, and dance. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to the sensual Spanish lyrics and hypnotic rhythms.

5. Be Bhangra

Bhangra is high energy, drum heavy, feel-good music from northern India. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, you will undoubtedly keep you moving forward.

6. Michael Jackson

Every workout playlist MUST include a Michael Jackson track. Period.

7. Seek Therapy

At the end of a long, difficult, frustrating, craptastic day, sometimes you just want to get mad. Take that energy, and sweat it all out (while listening to these guys scream of course.)

8. Flavour of the Week

Add the song that you’ve had on repeat most recently, that you just can’t get enough of, because it’s catchy and sure to motivate you.

9. Podcasts

For those lighter, stretching kind of work outs (or whatever suits you,) try a podcast. It’s like listening to a couple of friends shoot the shit, and definitely helps the time fly by.

10. Beyoncé

Every workout playlist MUST include a Beyoncé track. Period.

11. Reggae

I’m talking anything from Bob Marley, to Beenie Man, to Sean Paul (but mostly Sean Paul.) You’ll have trouble keeping still, and will be forced to move faster.

12. 90s Hip-Hop

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 90s hip-hop is the ultimate hip-hop of of all time, and the perfect workout music.

13. Get Lost

If you like to disappear in your head, try indie music. It’ll entrance you with your deepest emotions, and innermost thoughts; all the while letting you continue your workout.

 

It goes without saying, there’s an art to covering another musician’s work. The key is to make it your own, change as you see fit, whilst maintaining the essence of the original. The following artists missed the memo on all that.

“Get What You Give” by Felix Cartal

Why on Earth did Cartal decide to cover such an underwhelming track? 90s one-hit wonder band The New Radicals birthed this back in 1998, had their 15 minutes, then quit the industry. I tried to find a way to defend his choice – he is, after all, a fellow Canadian. But in no universe, did this make any sense. It wasn’t a good song to begin with, and Cartal just made it worse.


“Faith” by Limp Bizkit

What would possess wannabe punk rockers to make a “loud” version of George Michael’s (RIP) 80s classic? Lead singer Fred Durst along with his whiny voice, roam the streets in oversized board shorts, baseball hats, and a pathetic excuse for a goatee. It’s incomprehensible to me why someone of Durst’s lack of abilities felt he was capable of paying homage to peak George Michael. Brace your ears, this is quite the abomination.

“Fast Car” by Jonas Blue feat. Dakota

This track isn’t like the rest, because technically, it’s a remix, and not a cover. But still; even that was a poor choice by this Jonas Blue character. Tracy Chapman’s original was drowning in emotion. It hung on to that bit of hope, that bit of freedom of not having your past drag you down, and it made you feel everything. This version makes you feel nothing.  Shame on you, Jonas Blue (and Dakota.)

“Under the Bridge” by All Saints

Let me get this straight: female pop group All Saints had the audacity not only to try and cover this epic Red Hot Chili Peppers’ track, but to also do it so so poorly. The DJ-scratch over the guitar intro is offensive. They try to make a song about loneliness and getting high, into something seductive and sultry and mysterious, which for some reason requires the bearing of midriffs. They completely fly over the heart of this song, and ignore its soul. How dare you, All Saints. How dare you.

“Light My Fire” by Train

Train: you are a mediocre pop/rock group (at best) that hit the top of your game in the early 2000s, with a couple of hit singles.  The Doors:  released this song in 1967, and are one the most influential bands of all time. They helped define rock ‘n roll, and this was one of the songs that paved the way. This cover is insulting, forgettable, and keeps none of the spirit of the original. So Train, I have to ask: who do you think you are?

 

(Note: all covers of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and anything by The Beatles or Michael Jackson were omitted – there are just too many horrible ones.)