Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Big Cache of Musical Finds

Today is your lucky day, ladies a gents. We have a smorgasbord of musical finds for you.

First, an intimate behind the scenes look of Justin Vernon and Sean Carey making beautiful music. Two pianos, two musical geniuses, 24 minutes, go watch.

Second, the National played a shot at the Glenn Gould Studio last Thursday in Toronto and the fans were in for a treat in the form of two brand new, unreleased songs: "Rylan" and "I Need My Girl".

Third, a really cool calendar a fan made for the National, which each month occupying a different song.

Fourth, the Boss is at it again!!!

He will start touring March 18th in Atlanta, Georgia, and tickets are on sale. He is promoting an all new album called Wrecking Ball.

And a single...

The single isn't incredible but I still hold out high hopes for the album.

Fifth and last (because it deserves to be) is Skrillex. I am not a fan of dubstep in any way, shape, or form. But my high-school friends firmly believe it is the future of music. So, to mock their beliefs, I'll post a song and let you guys be the judge.

Note: If the song is played at under 150 decibels, odds are, you will realize it is abysmal.

Finally, a hilarious video of Kramer listening to Skrillex. 100% believable.

Happy President's Day Weekend,


Friday, February 17, 2012

Music News

Hey An Ocean of Noise Fans,
Sorry about the technical difficulties. Those of you who don't live under a sound-proof rock probably know all the news. But in any event, a brief highlight of what's been going on recently.

Whitney Houston past away last Saturday, the day before the Grammy's. In her illustrious career, she sold over 170 million albums and singles world-wide. She is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You"; "How Will I Know"; "Greatest Love of All"; "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"; "Didn't We Almost Have It All"; "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go.

Jennifer Hudson sang a moving tribute to Whitney Houston the following day.

Also during the Grammy's, Bon Iver won Best New Artist! Apparently, someone forgot to tell the Academy that he's been making phenomenal music for 4 years now...but nevertheless, publicity towards good artists making good music is always appreciated.

I would finish off without mentioning Adelle, because I find that listening to her reminds me of the terrible pain whales feel upon being harpooned, but the fact that she won 6 awards bears some sort of saying.

So, RIP Whitney Houston, you will be missed. Congratulations Bon Iver. Though you should have won it years ago. And Adelle...apparently people seem to like you.

Keep rocking, folks!

OKGOing Strong

The treadmill quartet (OKGO) are at it again, with two unbelievably cool music videos.

The first, “This Too Shall Pass,” already at 33 million views, features an unbelievable Rube Goldberg Machine. A Rube Goldberg Machine, essentially a more complicated version of dominoes, features stuff knocking other things down, which leads to other things being knocked down. A lot of it is quite cool, particularly the notes “struck” on glass, and the allusions to previous OKGO music videos. Let hilarity and chaos ensue. Then be amazed to see it had all been done live.

The second music video, “Needing/Getting,” premiered in a 30-second ad during the Superbowl. You can watch the whole thing here:

I must say upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Needing/Getting. I have always believed that OKGO’s primary fault is that they have always put more emphasis on style than substance. Then again, that seems to be the direction the music industry is headed, so maybe they’re just ahead of the curve. In any event, when the “style” is this mind-numbingly awesome, it’s definitely worth 4 minutes of your Friday.


[Official info: The new music video from OK Go, (Needing/Getting) was made in partnership with Chevrolet. OK Go set up over 1000 instruments over two miles of desert outside Los Angeles. A Chevy Sonic was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the car. The video took 4 months of preparation and 4 days of shooting and recording. There are no ringers or stand-ins; Damian took stunt driving lessons. Each piano had the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so that they'd play the right note no matter where they were struck.]


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Song of the Week: Pumped Up Kicks

Foster The People has been making a lot of noise lately. Their first album, Torches, released on May 23, made major waves. The youtube video below has 37.5 million views...numbers normally reserved for the viral videos your family sends you of panda bears doing cute things.

Rock On People

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Art Garfunkel

We here at An Ocean of Noise would like to wish Art Garfunkel a very happy 70th Birthday and a speedy recovery from his recent health troubles.

Art Garfunkel is best known for his role in Simon and Garfunkel (one of my all-time favorite bands), although his talents are wide-ranging indeed. Garfunkel received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Sandy Kaufman in Carnal Knowledge. He also appeared in the classic Catch-22 as Lieutenant Nately. Garfunkel is also an accomplished poet. In 1989, he published a collection of prose poetry entitled "Still Water" to wide acclaim. He even dabbled on Broadway!

But he is best known for his music. Garfunkel met his co-songwriter Paul Simon in 6th grade and it was said that Simon first became interested in singing after hearing Garfunkel sing a rendition of "Too Young" by Nat King Cole, in a school talent show. The duo went on to great acclaim, releasing "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM" splitting, re-uniting, then recording four more influential albums, Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends, and the wildly successful Bridge Over Troubled Water. The duo split again after the release of Bridge Over Troubled Water, in 1970, over supposed personal differences and divergences in career interests.

While split, Garfunkel and Simon re-united a number of times for concerts, the most famous being 1981's The Concert in Central Park, which attracted more than 500,000 people, making it the 7th most attended concert in the history of music. I would give anything to have been at that concert.

Below are a number of songs that best illustrate Garfunkel's unbelievable voice.

Bright Eyes

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Old Friends

April Come She Will

Art was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Happy Birthday Art Garfunkel!


Song of the Week: New Slang

Ahh, The Shins...An indie rock group based in Portland, Oregon who makes great music and lots of it. This week's Song of the Week is "New Slang" from their album entitled "Oh, Inverted World." If you don't have the album, well, then, you're missing out. Big time.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Song of the Week

Well, folks, it's been a few days since the release of Mylo Xyloto, and to the surprise of absolutely no-one, Coldplay's album is at the top of all 35 iTunes charts around the world. Romania, Malta, India, you name it: People love Coldplay there. And so it's only fitting that this week's song (or songs) be from their new album.

The first is Us Against the World which sounds very X&Y-esque. It is great to hear them play like they remember their pre-Viva La Vida success.

The second is Charlie Brown. I can't stop playing it.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Song of the Week: Kill the Director

This week's Song of the Week comes courtesy of The Wombats, a ridiculously fun British band who keeps it simple and keeps it beautiful.

Rock&Roll Folks,

Friday, October 21, 2011

3 More Days Till Mylo Xyloto

Coldplay's long-awaited fifth-studio album, entitled Mylo Xyloto, will be released on October 24, 2011. It is a concept album in which "two protagonists: Mylo and Xyloto, who are living in an oppressive, dystopian urban environment, meet one another through a gang called "The Lost Boys", and fall in love."

The track list can be found below.
Get excited!!!

"Mylo Xyloto" 0:42
2. "Hurts Like Heaven" 4:02
3. "Paradise" 4:38
4. "Charlie Brown" 4:45
5. "Us Against the World" 4:00
6. "M.M.I.X." 0:48
7. "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" Berryman, Buckland, Champion, Martin, Eno, Peter Allen, Adrienne Anderson 4:01
8. "Major Minus" 3:30
9. "U.F.O." 2:18
10. "Princess of China" (featuring Rihanna) 3:58
11. "Up in Flames" 3:13
12. "A Hopeful Transmission" 0:33
13. "Don't Let It Break Your Heart" 3:54
14. "Up with the Birds" Berryman, Buckland, Champion, Martin, Eno, Leonard Cohen 3:46
Japanese bonus tracks – Live from Glastonbury 2011
No. Title Writer(s) Length
15. "Charlie Brown" 4:48
16. "Life Is for Living" Berryman, Buckland, Champion, Martin 2:30
17. "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" Berryman, Buckland, Champion, Eno, Martin, Peter Allen, Adrienne Anderson 4:38

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Noble Beasts

Today, the amazing Sofia Ortiz writes a blog post about Andrew Bird's album, "Noble Beasts." I have long been interested in Andrew Bird, and this review has convinced me to go out and buy the record. Enjoy...

If ever there were a musical paradox, Andrew Bird would be it. For decades, the Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist has been challenging the limits of genre and composition while maintaining a unique sound that is unmistakably and undeniably his own. So it should come as no surprise that his fifth full-length studio album, Noble Beast (2009, Fat Possum Records)* breaks the mold once again.

In an article written for The New York Times in 2008, Mr. Bird explains that he writes his songs backwards; the melodies come first, words second. This seems like a minute detail until one stops to absorb the lyrics of the album’s first track, Oh No. (“Past the silver bridge/Oh the silver bridge/ Wearing nothing but a onesie and a veil”). The rhythm and syncopation of the arrangement meshes near-perfectly with the enunciation of the lyrics, yet there is no theme, nor is there a linear point of reference for them; they are not what we’re here for.

Although all of Andrew Bird’s albums exhibit creative musicianship, Noble Beasts is a prime example of his evolution as an artist. Occasionally, a song from a previous album will be repurposed later on, or part of a song will become the basis for another. Such is the case with the album’s twelfth track, The Privateers. Its predecessor is The Confession, which was released in 1997 (Oh! The Grandeur, Rykodisc). Both share almost identical lyrics, yet reflect such different thought processes and inspirations. It is evident that the former comes from Mr. Bird’s early-jazz roots; the latter, more loyal to his current audio-collage-laden alternative flamboyance. Yet there lingers a sense of nostalgia when the two are heard in succession. Other similarities occur throughout his discography, but none seem to be quite as prevalent.

It should be noted that much of Andrew Bird’s style comes from extensive looping (the process of recording a very small segment, repeating it, and then recording complementary melodies over top to achieve a sort of layering effect). His instrument of choice is his violin, which he proves to have mastered time and time again, as well as his impressive whistling ability. An alternate version of Noble Beasts’ “Tenuousness” illustrates this for those who are convinced that “seeing is believing”. The album is a boast-worthy piece of work that not only captivates the listener, but entices and fascinates them as well. Will the next one be as eclectic or original? To quote the lyrics of Wait, (Oh! The Grandeur):

“Wait a little and listen.”

*Noble Beasts was originally released as a double album, with nine bonus instrumentals following the main tracks. They were eventually re-released as a separate album, Useless Creatures, in October of 2010.