Tonight Is Just Your Night

I promise I’ll have an actual post for you tomorrow but for now, please feast your eyes on Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski throwing it down in a lip syncing contest (you read that right) that covers both Katy Perry and RUN-D.M.C. and ends with Krasinski belting out a ballad from one of the best quartets ever to record music.

Seriously, I wish my job included acting like a goofball on national television with hilarious people while getting paid shit tons of $$$.

~Nikki

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Gatsby

We were originally told Christmas of 2012.  Then, March of 2013.  Now, the release date for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire is May 10 of this year, less than a month away.  At this point, I’m more eager for the soundtrack, which will be out May 7th.  Here’s a convenient little sampler:

You know Florence + The Machine and Jack White are favorites of mine (I am fucking DESPERATE to get my hands on Love Is Blindness) but that Lana Del Rey song sounds promising as does the remake of Together by The xx.  Nero’s Into The Past and Sia’s Kill And Run have got my curiosity piqued as well.

The full playlist:

1. 100$ Bill – JAY Z
2. Back To Black – Beyoncé x André 3000
3. Bang Bang – will.i.am
4. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock
5. Young And Beautiful – Lana Del Rey
6. Love Is The Drug – Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
7. Over The Love – Florence + The Machine
8. Where The Wind Blows – Coco O. of Quadron
9. Crazy in Love – Emeli Sandé and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
10. Together – The xx
11. Hearts A Mess – Gotye
12. Love Is Blindness – Jack White
13. Into the Past – Nero
14. Kill and Run – Sia

And, thanks to E!, here’s Over The Love in full by Florence + The Machine.  Shit, is it good.

~Nikki

Can I Wake You Up?

Awesome music-share alert!

I just discovered a band that is not even remotely new, but that I had never really heard of until my MOM and sister brought them to my attention. I’m talking about Bombay Bicycle Club, and oh shit, am I in love.

Their latest release, A Different Kind of Fix, came out this past January and it had me at first listen. It’s rock, indie (what even IS indie, I ask you?), alternative, moody, slightly electronic…. the closest thing I can come up with is the love child of Arcade Fire and Duran Duran, with a sprinkle of both Belle & Sebastian and The Fleet Foxes. If that doesn’t pique your interest, what kind of shitty music do you listen to?

Of course these guys are from London, because EVERYTHING GOOD COMES FROM ENGLAND. Apparently they formed around 2005ish, and then won some Virgin Mobile battle-of-the-bands contest. Lucky them, and us. Sidenote: They are also really freaking cute. *waves* I’m single, guys!! *bats lashes*

This album, so far, has made me want to, in no particular order: Sleep, cry, fall in love, get it on, run, drive really fast, chill, stare at the wall, contemplate deep shit. You know, all the good things about being alive.

‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ manages to be both soothing AND toe-tap-inducing. How is that possible?

My favorite track is ‘Bad Timing’, which just completely sounds like a lost Arcade Fire track. Haunting and lush. My favorite yummy ways to describe music.

The songs ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Lights Out, Words Gone,’ will make you instantly happy and feel like doing a little shuffle yourself. They are light and airy; happy and melancholy.

Oh my god, I forgot about ‘Leave It’ and ‘What You Want’ – which are both just achingly awesome. See?! This album is so good, as I go through each track I keep being reminded how great it is. I’m just putting the spotify box in here with the whole damn album so you can take a listen yourself. As long as you have a heart and soul and ears, ye shall not be disappointed.

~Annie

Awake My Soul

Mumford & Sons, Columbus OH, 8/14/12

Well, my friends, something amazing happened. Nikki and I got a huge wish granted last week, amidst a parking lot full of thousands of dirty, filthy assholes, farting with abandon, seizing, and fainting, all whilst getting inebriated. I’m talking about the Mumford & Sons concert in Columbus, Ohio. Another concert bucket list alert. 🙂

Aside from all the human bodily atrocities we were accosted with that steamy night, came the glorious, soul-stirring sounds of the band that consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwayne. Having experienced this show with my own eyes and ears, I can tell you they are even more talented than I originally thought. Every song was played to perfection, with Mumford’s gravelly voice and the entire band’s tremendous skill on every instrument they touched. Really though, I don’t know how Mumford’s forearm doesn’t fly off at the elbow while he’s destroying the guitar or banjo.

Babel, their new album, arrives on September 25th, so I knew the show would be full of lots of new stuff. I was a little bummed about this, only because I love being familiar with all the material a band is putting out. Shame on me, because every. single. song. off the forthcoming album was stupendous. Phenomenal. First-listen good. After each one I leaned to my cohorts and exclaimed “That was AMAZING!” Here are a few videos my crew took of their new stuff….

This one REALLY blew me away…

And finally, this is the single, which I had heard a couple of times, and am in true, deep love with. 🙂

The foul crowd. Seriously, people, stop farting at concerts. You’re making me choke on my own puke.

Of course, they played most of their first album, Sigh No More, as well, although sadly, they did not play the title track, which is a song that never fails to soothe/depress/destroy/invigorate my life force. The other heavy hitters, “Roll Away Your Stone,” “Little Lion Man,” “The Cave” (an EXPLOSIVE final song. I might venture so far as to say I’ve never seen a group of people completely erupt as these ones certainly did. The look on the boys’ faces as they are playing this one, watching everyone go ballistic is priceless – they always seem overcome with joy. Try screaming this at the top of your lungs while jumping with around 4,500 people. Nature’s drugs, I tell ya), were all there, and NO SOUND that came off that stage disappointed.

Since I can’t in good faith post my own video of “The Cave” (as I was leaping and screaming, and at one point just gave up filming), I have scoured all the vids on youtube to find one that best conveyed how it felt to be in the audience that night. I give you, the 1:15 mark:

Marcus Mumford, up on a big screen

They were gracious, funny, charming (they kept doing the typical Ohio State chants, “O – H!” – to which everyone replies back, “I – O!” I found this incredibly adorable as they are from the UK). They are obscenely talented musicians. Their catalog of music is literally some of the best that can be found today. This band is no joke, and live (where you always find out the truth about a band), they proved all of this, unequivocally. Mumford & Sons, I’ll love you til the day I die.

~Annie

Set List:
Lovers’ Eyes
Little Lion Man
I Will Wait
White Blank Page
I Gave You All
Timshel
Roll Away Your Stone
Lover of the Light
Thistle & Weeds
Ghosts That We Knew
Below My Feet
Awake My Soul
Whispers in the Dark
Dust Bowl Dance
Encore:
Where Are You Now?
Winter Winds
The Cave

Somebody’s Heart is Broken and It Becomes Your Favorite Song

Being a playlist fanatic, I find the “break-up playlist” to be an especially intriguing subject.

Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A relationship ending can inspire a list of songs for many different reasons and feelings. There’s the empowerment list, where you’re proud to be single and on your own. The wallow list, where you just want to feel sad and reminisce. The holy-shit-please-come-back-because-I-will-die-without-you list. (Whew. That was more high school era, that intense drama) Regardless. It’s a varied topic.

And, as is par for the course, I hate when people make break-up playlists, because they do it wrong. Everybody just uses generic shit that they have never even listened to during a break up. Every single breakup list has Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” on it. No offense to that tune or its sentiment, which is fantastic, but does anyone honestly listen to that song whilst in the throes of a relationship ending?  People need to make the lists with songs they actually listen to. Accuracy, people!

Huge opening-up-to-strangers alert:

As I went through a huge, life-altering (for the better), massive, grown-up, might-as-well-have-been-a-divorce-break-up last year, I thought a break-up playlist was well in order. Although, mine is a mix of pretty much all of the above lists, but the important thing to note here is that these are all songs I have listened (and sobbed) to, throughout the course (20 years, holy fuck) of me knowing the guy that used to be Mr. Annie. But let’s not get too serious here, folks. The side effects of reading this list will be severe eye-rolling, intense nausea, and either uneasy or hysterical laughter.

And because Spotify just doesn’t have EVERY SONG EVER, here are a couple more:

Phil Collins – Against All Odds

Oh my god.. this song.. destroys me.

Kenny Chesney – “I Remember”

Brandy – “Have You Ever”

HAHA YES – High school Annie curled up in the fetal position and cried to this song. Go ahead, crack up, I don’t blame you.

~Annie

Belly Belly Nice

First Niagara Pavilion, 7/14/12

Summer means a lot of things to a lot of folks – cookouts, swimming, vacations… all the regular players. For me, above all, it means seeing one of my favorite musical acts –  the Dave Matthews Band, in concert, more than once.

What the what? you might ask. As any fan knows, this band plays a different set every night. You read that right. So, if you ever have the chance to see them at a 2-nighter extravaganza, you now get why lots of people try to go to both and make an awesome weekend of it. If you happened to go to both nights, for example, outside of Pittsburgh at First Niagara Pavilion on July 13th and 14th, you would have seen a total of 41 songs played, almost 5.5 hours of show time, and NOT ONE REPEAT. Not ONE. What kind of band gives you that sort of bang for your buck?! But enough of me selling these guys, I have already done that over here.

Our tailgating team

I was a lucky attendee of night 2 (my 31st show! One for every year I’ve been alive), which sort of broke my heart, as I am usually at both nights. See, I love the First Niagara Pavilion (formerly Post Gazette, formerly Star Lake). It’s not Alpine or SPAC or the Gorge (the big guns), but it’s got a sort of dirty, hillbilly, midwestern charm. Burgettstown is just outside of Pittsburgh, and there’s honestly not SHIT there. Little convenience stores, creepy backwoods bars, and some campgrounds. Lots of folks brave the camping but seeing as I refuse to be somewhere with no running water, my friends and I usually stay in the nearest hotel, in Weirton, WV, just a few miles away. And we have a tradition of going each year. Tailgating all day (as long as you’re over 21 and drinking out of cups or cans, they don’t care WHAT you do here) is a complete and utter blast, that is almost as fun as the damn show. I find myself always leaving our site begrudgingly.

But on to the show… and my goodness, what a show.

Considering the Dave Matthews Band has been touring for over 20 years, I think it really says something that my 31st show is hands down one of the best I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s from working on the stellar material from their new album that’s coming out next month (squee!!), but they all seemed to be having the absolute time of their lives. I’m talking pure, unadulterated joy. I often wonder how they can play the same songs for multiple decades and act like they still love to play them – but I think I finally discovered the answer. They’re not acting. They really do love to play, and their enthusiasm bleeds into their fingers, voices, and ginormous assortment of instruments. Dave’s voice has a tendency to go scratchy/death metal/is his throat filling up with blood? as the summer progresses, but of the two shows I’ve seen this year, it I liken it to butter, or honey, or any other smooth, delectable substance.

The show opened with ‘Squirm‘, from their last studio album, Big Whiskey and the Groogux King, and goddamn, I forgot that this song rocks, and was a fantastic opening to the ridiculously steaming hot evening. ‘Proudest Monkey’ and ‘Satellite’ are beloved, old-as-time tracks that are always great to hear, but they mellowed everyone out after getting us going with ‘Squirm’. But as I said, I couldn’t be disappointed because they looked so full of happiness. It was infectious!! When Dave announced, “I’ve got a sister named Jane, and this is ‘The Song that Jane Likes’,” I thought, okay… this is getting good. ‘Jane‘ is an ancient track that is a great sing-along and higher energy than the previous two songs.

Next up was ‘Shake Me Like a Monkey‘, continuing Dave’s need to lyrically discuss primates, and you know what? I adore this song. It is FUN, SEXY (“I’d rather be lickin’ you from your back to your belly” – Jesus Christ Dave, yer killin’ me), and a blast to belt out.

The opening notes of #41 always inspire the most ecstatic cheers and screams from the crowd, and since this is in my top 5 favorite songs, I also went ballistic. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this. (Yes, I cried) To this day, it’s still crazy special to me. When 20,000+ people are all screaming “I wanted to stayyyyyy I wanted to playyyyyy I wanted to LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU” you will most certainly have an orgasm. Dave hit the crazy high-ass notes like they were nothin’, and Jeff Coffin’s saxophone talents were on full display. Pure, aural magic.

Throughout the 2012 tour, the boys have been playing several new tracks off their upcoming release. At this point, Dave informed us that we were going to see one that had NEVER BEEN PLAYED LIVE. Orgasm alert! Nothing pumps up a bunch of DMB fans than feeling like they’re getting something at a show that nobody else is! So began ‘Belly Belly Nice’, which was fantastic. Thanks for giving us a special treat, guys. 🙂

Dave Matthews Band, First Niagara Pavilion, 7/14/12

Big Eyed Fish‘ is a song you don’t hear a lot, and it’s one that has always been hauntingly beautiful to me, (“but oh God, under the weight of life, things seem brighter on the other side”). I could easily say I’m tired of the next run of songs, but they were all played to such perfection, with such enthusiasm, and to the obvious delight of everyone there, it’s just not possible. ‘Don’t Drink the Water’ was as good as it’s ever been, which is to say fucking astronomically amazing. That song basically tears the roof off the pavilion, with its precise mix of power and darkness. It’s still shocking to me when I realize how different that one is live from it’s slower studio origins. ‘So Much to Say’ into ‘Too Much’ is basically a 20- minute Zumba dance session (oh woops, or is that just me?). ‘Dancing Nancies‘ is a HUGE favorite of mine, and the world’s, so when those familiar opening notes began, with Dave uttering “Could I have been?”, it was easy to go apeshit. Dave Matthews does darkness SO WELL (“23 and so tired of life, such a shame, to throw it all away) – this song is a fantastic ode to questioning how we all are who we are and why. Add in the simultaneous swelling of joy at “Dark clouds may hang on me sometime, but I’ll work it out, and I look up at the sky, my mouth is open wide” – fucking hell, do I love it. Boyd Tinsely’s CRAZYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY violin-playing will surely drop your jaw. You know you want to see a jumping/dancing guitar/violin duel (as Dave and Boyd execute each time this is played).

The Dreaming Tree‘ is another of my all time favorite tracks, and it’s haunting beauty is almost unparalleled in their catalog. It’s a song that’s not played often, and of the tragically few times I’ve seen it, it wasn’t done in its entirety, or a verse or two was skipped or altered (it’s LONG). But not tonight. Oh fuck, tonight, it was played to perfection, its whole self, and for my tailgating buddies who have been fans since the beginning, it was their first time seeing it live. You can be a fan for OVER 20 YEARS AND GO TO TONS OF SHOWS AND STILL NOT SEE IT ALL. ! Think about that.

‘Gaucho’ is a new track, mellow, yet enjoyable (still growing on me), but ‘You and Me’, I despise. Apparently though, the rest of the free world does not, as the whole house was chanting “You and me, can do anything, BABY!” (groan). ‘Pig’ shocked the hell out of me, as this song brings immediate exhilaration, and to go from that high into ‘Rapunzel’, a rapturous dance/sex/glee-fest, was a STUPENDOUS way to end the main set.

The encore featured a BEAUTIFUL acoustic version of ‘The Space Between‘ (when did they start doing this?!!! It’s brilliant!), ‘Typical Situation’ (another dark/uplifting haunting/joyous goody that I adore and have only seen a handful of times), and the be-all and end-all (in my opinion) of Dave Matthews Band-ness, ‘Ants Marching’. If you don’t like this song when you hear it on the radio, if you think it’s old, over-played, then you’ve most certainly NEVER experienced it live. And yes, it is an experience. The ultimate end to a night of supreme elation, feeling ‘Ants Marching’ with 1000s of other people is a drug of the purest happy brain chemicals.

This band (every man on stage, truly) pours out their out their whole souls for almost 3 hours every night. As part of your experience on this earth as a music-loving human being, you have to feel the dopamine/serotonin/spectacular live-music cocktail for yourself.

“It’s not where but who you’re with that really matters.” – Dave Matthews

~Annie

Full set list:

Squirm
Proudest Monkey
Satellite
The Song That Jane Likes
Shake Me Like a Monkey
Blue Water (partial)
#41
Belly Belly Nice
Big Eyed Fish
Don’t Drink the Water                                                                                                                     The Dreaming Tree
So Much to Say->
  Anyone Seen the Bridge->
Too Much
Dancing Nancies
Gaucho
You and Me
Pig
Pantala Naga Pampa->
Rapunzel
Encore:
The Space Between
Typical Situation
Ants Marching

Music Making Me Lose It

Hello citizens of the internet, X here. I was asked on some seriously short notice to write a post this week in place of Nikki, for whatever reason (nobody tells me anything around here). I’ve spent the past couple months or so sweating profusely and fulfilling relentless social obligations, so I haven’t had any deep entertainment-related thoughts that I can conjure up and share with you. But no matter how much of my brain power is robbed from me via endless human contact or the melting fires of the sun, I will always be jamming to new tunes. Seriously, I added 20 GB of music to my iPod in the past year…that’s TEN IPOD SHUFFLES, folks. Since we’re now past the halfway point of 2012, I decided to share with you my favorite albums of the year so far. If you read the blog regularly, you’ll already know about one of these, thanks to Annie–but I was the one who told her about that album in the first place, so I think it’s high time that I do this post, and share with you all the other glorious music I try to tell Annie about but she doesn’t pay attention to.

I shall be using Spotify to embed each album for your listening pleasure and ease. If you don’t have Spotify, do yo self a favor and get it!

School of Seven Bells – Ghostory
Release Date: 2/28/12
First song I heard: Scavenger, thanks to an iTunes freebie.
Favorite: Lafaye

I don’t know how to describe this, other than “good.” Also I’m pretty sure #5 is Tron with lyrics, no joke.

spotify:album:4YiInHo3nbnLoYtLkt6ZoD

Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart
Release Date: 7/10/12 for all you American fools, 30/4/12 for Brits or those who wish they were
First song I heard: Radioactive (released last summer, actually)
Favorite: Lonely Hearts Club? Shut up, don’t make me pick one.

This is Marina’s second album, and it’s just as good as her stellar first. It’s electropop with depth. You will dance, but you will think whilst you do.

Let’s talk about shit that pisses me off for a minute: differences between UK and US releases. You can view them here if you’d like, but all I’ll say is this: I hate when I have to jump through hoops to obtain music just because of where I live, why do there have to be differences between countries, it is GOOD MUSIC so why didn’t you just put it on the US release too, and I want to move to the UK. And that is all I have to say about that.

I’ve linked the Spotify album below, which is the US release, but the missing UK tracks are Living Dead, Lonely Hearts Club, and Buy the Stars.

spotify:album:5N1aNUXaHDD7YsjhbCM9JZ

Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe
Release Date: 5/1/12
First song I heard: Go!
Favorite: God From the Machine

Annie has said all that there is to be said about this album, so I’ll make an attempt at brevity and just link that here.

Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon
Release Date: 6/15/12
First song I heard: Anna Sun
Favorite: Jenny

Indie happy dancey lovely. I don’t think they could be any catchier if they tried. Sometimes they remind me of Two Door Cinema Club, but maybe I’m on crack. At the first listen, this CD had my heart. Well, all of these albums did, really. That’s why they’re on this list!

spotify:album:1QhonXpNQq8wrGEKX0ofbk

Purity Ring – Shrines
Release Date: 7/24/12
First song I heard: Lofticries (also released last summer)
Favorite: Saltkin

You know, I don’t know why everyone makes fun of Canada all the time, they make great music! This is some shimmering, dark, dense, beautiful electronic music. The closest thing I can think of to compare it with is The Xx, in that it’s at times sparse yet paradoxically full of emotion.

spotify:album:7ppypgQppMf3mkRbZxYIFM