Category Archives: Rock

The Black Keys, a concert, and house-hunting

Just bought tickets to see The Black Keys in Chicago!

Okay, I couldn’t hold it in. I needed to shout that out. Although I am not going to see them for another month, I am so excited. Like always, I am going to the concert with my dad. This will be the third concert I have gone to with him and it is sort of our special thing.

I don't have a good picture of just my father but I do love this photo of my parents.

However, this trip is going to be more amazing than just a concert. We are also going to go house-hunting in Iowa City for a place for me to live when I go to grad school starting this summer! I have already been looking at houses on-line and I have found a few that are nice, close to campus, and reasonably priced. I have also found one that is $1.5 million, huge, beautiful, amazingly decorated, and has a children’s playroom in the attic complete with a built-in massive dollhouse (I mean, what more could you ask for than a kick-ass dollhouse). I feel though that it is a bit out of my price range.

Because of this momentous, happy occasion, I am including not one but TWO songs in today’s post. Okay, the real reason is that I couldn’t pick my favorite The Black Key’s song so I just had to include two. 🙂 And my favorite songs pretty much change daily for this band. I have yet to find a song I dislike.

“Gold on the Ceiling”

“Money Maker”

Favorite Concert you have been to?

Right now, my favorite is definitely the U2 concert I saw almost 7 years ago.

ll

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Filed under Alternative, Rock, The Black Keys

“This Is War”- 30 Seconds to Mars

Did anyone watch the 90’s tv show “My So Called Life?” It starred young Claire Danes as a outsider high school student. Through the one season, it addresses many hard topics (unlike many shows today) such as alcoholism, homelessness, and homophobia while still keeping the audience wanting more from the well-developed cast. I found the show last year and over a week watched all 19 episodes. I was drawn in with the superb acting, well-plotted storyline, and believable characters. I was sad when I realized this show never aired a second season, nor did any of the actors (besides Claire Danes) really continue in the TV or film business (or at least movies or shows that I was familiar with).

"My So Called Life" Cast

Last week though when I was searching Youtube for new artists, I found 30 Seconds to Mars, a band featuring Jared Leto. At first, I knew that I knew that name from somewhere but couldn’t place from where. But soon, I remembered that Leto played the love interest (Jordan Catalano) of Danes in “My So Called Life.”

Jared Leto

Apparently, 30 Seconds to Mars formed in 1998 and has had some hits in the past (that I was of course unaware) such as “A Beautiful Lie” and “The Kill.” However, the song that caught my attention was “This is War.”

It really does makes you think about the life we sometimes take for granted, a life that we feel is inevitable and unchangeable. What would happen if it changed? What would happen if something so fundamental as modern warfare would become impossible. Would this be for the better, creating a world where leaders would discuss problems before resorting to violence. Or would violence just regress to simpler means of harming humans. I don’t know, but the video and song does a good job as raising these questions.

ll

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Filed under 30 Seconds to Mars, My So Called Life, Rock

“Call It What You Want”- Foster the People

Okay, so I featured Foster the People before but I NEED to talk about them again since they are rapidly becoming one of my favorite bands. Although many people know them because of their hit song “Pumped Up Kicks,” they are missing out if that is the only song they listen to. People compare Foster the People to MGMT, but I think this is an unfair comparison. I love MGMT, don’t get me wrong. But some of their songs are so-so at best. I literally love every song on Torches, Foster the People’s first album.

My favorite song on the album? Oh, don’t ask me that question. It is too hard. But right now I am in love with “Call It What You Want.” If I were to describe it in one word, I would stay that it is a song about non-conformity. It is a song declaring that the world is way too concerned about gossip, looks, and what people think about others. This over-concern then gets in the way what people say, do, and eventually think. I would definitely check out the lyrics.  My favorite verse…

You’ve taken your words and you take your judgments
And stick them onto everything
If it don’t conform to what you were born into,
Then you run the other way

And, like “Tighten Up” by The Black Keys, the music video makes the song even better. How I interpret the video is the three band members Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink, and Mark Pontius are all doing crazy, fun, and “non-conforming” acts basically the whole time. Every action would be deemed “inappropriate” by society for an adult to do: bouncing on bubble wrap, sticking your head in a fish bowl, playing drums in a bath tube, putting lipstick on as a guy,  …etc etc. These actions are mirrored by the “Foster the People Girls” who walk together in a pack, fauning over the band or the other girls in black that all dress alike and move simultaneously.

Clearly in this video, non-conformity (and Foster the People) wins. This video is fun and whimsical but at the same time demonstrates, along with the lyrics, that conformaty is dull. Being yourself and thinking for yourself is much better.

Since I have gushed long enough about my love of this video, what is your favorite part? Mine is by far when they create their own “light show.”

And, I am not even going to talk about how attractive they are. Lets just say, I have already ordered two posters of the band for my dorm room. ::blush::

ll

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Filed under Foster The People, Indie, Pop, Rock

“Tighten Up”- The Black Keys and an life update

I AM BACK!!!

Sorry for the break from posts (and basically from all things related to blogging). Lets just say the last weeks of the semester were stressful. But finals are done and I ended up passing all my classes, including Physical Chemistry. But the most amazing news is that I got into graduate school!!! For you that follow my blog regularly or actually know me in real life, I finally got word today that I am accepted into a great MD/PhD program. Basically this means that next year, I will be embarking on a 8 year journey to obtain a doctor of medicine and biochemistry. Crazy? Well yes. But I am so excited!!

Okay, so enough with the update about my life. Back to the music!! And boy do I have some music I want to share. My parents decided to put in a surround sound stereo system in the basement right after my brother and I left for college. How nice of them. Though, it does mean that I have basically been living downstairs listening to music very loudly.

I thought I would start out with a group that I have just recently “discovered.” The Black Keys have been around for a while (since 2001), but really became mainstream after their 2010 Brothers Album was considered one of the best albums of the year. “Tighten Up” is from Brothers and it is amazing. Dan Auerbach’s voice coupled with Patrick Carney’s percussion and both on the guitar produces this sound that is uniquely The Black Keys.

Not the most visual exciting album cover, but one of the best I have seen. The tongue-in-cheek-ness of this cover just highlights the quirkiness of the groups music.

Although the song is addicting by itself, the music video makes it even better. The actors that they got to play Dan and Patrick’s sons were great. And the parallel actions of the grow adults and the children almost had me crying in laughter. From Patrick and his son giving the bird, Dan and his son swearing in disbelieve, and the girl and her mother coquettishly playing with their hair, it was a great visual for the lyrics of the song.

And maybe it is just me and my love of nerdy guys talking, but does anyone think Dan and Patrick are sort of geekily hot?

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's poster for their SNL performance

 

ll

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Filed under Alternative, Rock, The Black Keys

“Rebellion (Lies)”-Arcade Fire : The Reason I Love Canada

Fall break is unfortunately almost over since classes start up again tomorrow bright and early. I wanted to get one more break-inspired post in before diving into school 24/7. This song is actually also because of Saturday Night Live since another one of the episodes I watched featured Arcade Fire, a group I have been meaning to listen to for a while. I got their first two albums from Alenka over at Six Thousand Songs but never got around to listening to them. Their performance for SNL changed that. I have been listen to their albums on repeat for the past day as I slowly ease into schoolwork again, making the process so much easier.

Arcade Fire's numerous band members

If you don’t know about Arcade Fire yet, they are a Canadian band that has been active since 2001, released their fist album in 2004, and are finally getting the recognition they deserve by winning a Grammy in 2011 for Album of the Year for The Suburbs. I, being behind the times again in music, have just discovered them and are hooked. I might be doing a few posts on them in the upcoming weeks but right now, “Rebellion (Lies)” is my favorite from them right now.

I love the mix of guitars, drums, violins, piano, and the myriad of other instruments they use. It creates a unique sound that I have never quite heard before. And their lyrics are not superficial like Bieber’s (the other big Canadian artist) but full of political meaning. To me, this song is about how people sleep or walk around in a dream like state to avoid things they disagree with in society (“Sleeping is giving in/no matter what the time is”). Many times they are told lies they try not to investigate since they are afraid of knowing the truth. The music video fits this description since the band must wake up the children from their sleep, or their “avoidance to see the truth.”

My favorite picture of Win Butler, Arcade Fire's frontman

As one fan said on you tube, “Arcade Fire is the reason I love Canada, not Justin Bieber.” I couldn’t agree more.

Justin or Arcade Fire? Or no love for Canada at all?

ll

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Filed under Arcade Fire, Indie, Rock

“Pumped Up Kicks”-Foster the People

This fall break week has been catch-up week—for homework but more importantly for missed tv shows. One of the shows I occasionally watch if I actually know the host is Saturday Night Live. Ever since Tina Fey left, it has not been as good but it still has some good skits every episode. But more importantly, they normally have some really good guest artists. Foster the People was the music guest for one of the episodes I watched. I had never even heard of this band before but apparently they are from Los Angeles and released their first album Torches in May. Now, Pumped up Kicks is third on the Billboard’s Hot 100 just under “Someone Like You” by Adele and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5.

Foster the People: Mark Pontius, Cubbie Fink, and Mark Foster

Although “Pumped up Kicks” is a great song, I have a feeling people don’t really understand the meaning behind it. Sure, the beat and chorus is catchy but lets analyze the lyrics a bit.

He’s a cowboy kid
Yeah, he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad’s closet hidden in a box of fun things
And I don’t even know what
But he’s coming for you, yeah, he’s coming for you

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks 
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun

Yes, the song is about a a kid and his downward spiral towards homicidal tendencies. As Mark Foster, the group’s frontman, states in an interview, he wanted to know “what would it be like to be inside of a kid’s head that’s a teenager and is basically losing his mind.” It is a interesting idea for a song and the happy feel of the song even adds to the character’s insanity. But I hope the audience understand the meaning behind the song and doesn’t just blindly sing it, or worst think the band is advocating said behavior. I can’t help comparing this song to NIN “Closer” since they were/are both popular but the audience didn’t really understand the extremely dark undertones of both songs.

All in all though, I am really excited to see what Foster the People are going to do next. In their first effort, they have created a popular, controversial, and dark song. I have high hopes for the band.

Heard of this song or anything else by Foster the People? If not, do you watch SNL?

ll

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Filed under Foster The People, Indie, Pop, Rock

“Discotheque”-U2

I love U2. My dad loves U2. Our favorite album is of course Rattle and Hum, since it is the best U2 album ever. However, I happen to love the Pop album also, and my dad cannot understand why I like it at all. Yes, Pop is a totally different sound for U2 and is more “poppy” sounding. But, it is still U2 with the smooth voice of Bono and the sick guitar from Edge. And they are so catchy. So very catchy. That is why I think I love U2 as much as I do. Every album is a little different and cutting edge for its time but they all have this essence of U2.

My favorite on the album is hands down Discotheque. As you can imagine, it is about a disco dance hall and the trippy music video is prove of that. Sorry for the grainy quality. You Tube failed me on this video. But quality aside, look for U2 impersonating the village people at the end!

I recommend playing this song with the bass up and just taking in trippy, techno beat.

Favorite U2 Album, if you have one? If not, have any other video viewing websites that I should know about since You Tube has been slowly going down hill, mostly because of the influx of ads?

ll

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Filed under Pop, Rock, U2