Thursday, September 22, 2011


Primus is a funk-rock band from San Francisco, California.  Their lead singer and bassist, Les Claypool, originally formed the group in 1984.  Their current lineup contains guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane.

Les is most known for his eclectic, technical bass lines and bizarre 'side-show' style vocals.  Their sound has been called everything from 'thrash-funk' to 'alternative metal'.  Les, in his own words, describes it as 'psychedelic polka'.  However, their sound could not, and should not be compared to any contemporary bands, as Primus is a genre unto its own.  Their productions are very instrument-driven, with a 'goofy weirdness' that is as equally inspiring as it is alienating. 

Though Primus has predominantly been an underground band, their cult following has grown to huge proportions.  The band's third album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, went Gold in 1993, and eventually Platinum in 2001.  Their song 'Pork Soda' off their forth album debuted in the Top Ten, and their fifth album, Tales From the Punch Bowl, went Gold in 1995.

Their most recent album was released earlier in 2011, entitled Green Naugahyde.  It's their seventh studio album, and is their first full-length LP in over ten years.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tom Waits

Tom Waits is an eclectic singer-songwriter and composer born in 1949.  His distinctive voice has become renowned as his trademark 'growl', consisting of a rather raspy, gravelly folk styling.  His songs feature extensive vamping - with blues and jazz incorporated , vaudeville experience.  His melodic songwriting incorporates a lot of melodic, major key tonality.

Throughout his career, he has built up a distinctively unique music persona unlike any other.  His cult following persists, even after having had little support from radio and music video venues.

He has been nominated for several major music awards, has won a Grammy, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Tom Waits performing in Prague, 2008

Most of his songs have been remixed and covered by more popular bands, thus giving Tom Waits a lot of indirect attention.  He is steadfast in his refusal to allow his songs to be featured in commercials, and often jokes about artists who do.  After winning a law-suit against Frito-Lay in 1988, he became the first artist to successfully sue a company in regards to an un-permitted impersonator. 

To date, he has released over 23 albums and has been signed with numerous record companies.  Today, he continues to parlay his success the way that musicians were meant to;  with a steady following of fans who genuinely love the music that he loves to create.

P.S. The song has a 30 second intro before the music actually starts.  Hang in there!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bloodhound Gang

The Bloodhound Gang is a 5-man rap-rock group most notorious for their blunt innuendos, satire and candid humor.  There is nothing they won't make fun of.

The band is originally from Pennsylvania, and was put together by lead singer Jimmy Pop.  They pride themselves on being both immature and uncouth, but with an electric wall-o-sound that has prudently evolved since their band formed in 1991. 

Their songs feature a lot of political and pop-culture satire, with hard rock roots and extensive vamping.  Lead singer  Jimmy Pop explains that it 'makes us feel better' to 'hurt everyone's feelings'.  Columbia Records shared their comedy styling and released their first album 'Use Your Fingers' in 1995.

In 1998 their hit single 'Along Comes Mary' became  the inaugural track to the stoner comedy Half-Baked.  However, their true breakthrough came with their 2000 release of Hooray For Boobies.  With infectious songs like 'Bad Touch' and the 'Ballad of Chasey Lain', they finally started drawing huge audiences and were able to tour Europe with their ever-growing fan base.

Their last album was Hefty Fine, released in 2005 and still continues to evolve their sound.  This band was a huge inspiration for my musical endeavors, and I urge you to listen to them!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cole Porter

Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891.  Drawn towards musical theater at a young age, he defied the wishes of his grandfather to begin a profession in music. 

Unlike many of Broadway's composers, he was both a lyricist and songwriter.  By the 1930's, he was arguably Broadway's most prominent and influential comoposer.

Many of his timeless hit have been covered, imitated, remixed and accredited throughout the decades.  He was most renowned for songs like "Night and Day", "I Get A Kick Out Of You", and "I've Got You Under My Skin", and has composed songs for many films throughout the 30's and 40's. 

His songs feature a classically trained, big-band sound.  His lyrics are cleverly suggestive, with an intelligent rhyme scheme.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Calvin Harris

Scottish music producer, artist, and deejay Calvin Harris was only 22 when his first major-label album was dropped.

Born in January 1984, this guy is the same age as me!  He became interested in electronic music very early, and was recording demos in his bedroom by 1999.  He went from posting his 'electroclash' music on MySpace to signing with a multinational record label almost instantaneously.  In 2006, an Artists & Reportoire delegate heard his music, contacted him, and immediately signed him to a major label.

His debut album, entitled 'I Created Disco' was released the following year and featured two top-10 hits.  Soon enough, he was remixing works by Jamiroquai, All Saints, and the Brazilian new rave sensation, CSS.   A collaboration between him and Dizzee Rascal hit #1 in the U.K.  He continues to pump out #1 hits, with songs like "I'm Not Alone" and "Acceptable in the 80's".

He already has multiple number 1 hits, and is becoming more and more prominent every year.  His songs exemplify colorful disco and electronic influences with a modern r&b styling.  His vocal work features very soothing, yet powerful tonalities with excellent vocal harmonies and melodic phrasing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

La Roux

Fiery haired and French Elly Jackson is the daughter of Actress Trudie Goodwin.  She is one half of the synth-pop project "La Roux" (the red-haired one).

As a child, she was a fan of folk music artists like Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, from which she drew much inspiration for her earlier work.  As she grew and developed her music, her sound began to evolve into a more electronic brand.

In 2006, she began working with keyboardist and music producer Ben Langmaid.

Their debut single, "Quicksand" was released in 2008, and instantly became a hit, earning the band much acclaim in the U.K.  The next spring, their second single "In for the Kill" debuted at number 11, and their third single, "Bulletproof", debuted at number 1!

Though her sound continues to evolve and change paces, the headnodic beats of their first, self-titled album is renowned for its 80's influence, danceable beats, and ambiguous storytelling.  Her entire album is great; the celerity of her songs are overall very appealing and receptive, while maintaining a pace with which many artists can't parallel.

Many artists have remixed this song.  The Skream remix has made it a dub step classic, and was used in the 2010 trailer for the Sega console game Bayonetta.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Afrika Bambaataa

Kevin Donovan is an American DJ from New York, born on April 19, 1957.  Most people are familiar with his work as Afrika Bambaataa.  With quite a considerable reputation, he is considered The Father of the Electro Funk Sound, the "Grandfather" of Hip Hop, and a legend in his spare time.  His influence, and thus hip hop culture, has spread worldwide.

As a child from the Bronx, and the son of an activist, he was subjected to very conflicting ideologies.  In a life of gangs, he was always charismatic, becoming warlord of the Black Spades.  A trip tp Africa showed him how he could use his charisma to enhance relationships with his community  and promote peace.   In 1982, Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released Planet Rock, which went gold.
He has performed all over the world with a plethora of fellow legends, and he was one of 9 nominees for 2008's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.  Afrika Bambaataa's songs include new wave influences, danceable beats, and rhythmic rhyme schemes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sam Sparro

Sam Sparro is an electro-funk music producer from Australia.  He is signed to the British Island Records, and is also a child actor.  Gospel-trained vocals and multi-instrumental, his songs are danceable,  state-of-the-art productions.  His sound is said to compare with that of Prince, Jamiroquai, and the Gap Band.

In 2002, while working in a coffee shop, he wrote his hit single "Black and Gold".  His songs feature disco influences, and like most of the songs I post here, feature soothing melodic phrasing and a subtle use of vocal harmonies, with a modern rhythm and blues styling.   I guess that's my style.
He released a six-track EP in 2007, and a self-titled record in 2008 after signing with British Island Records.  I would call this 'flamboyant, gangster electronica'.  But, regardless of labels, this song rocks.  Check out his Black and Gold video!  It's awesome!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Knife

The Knife, a popular music duo from Sweden, was forged in 1999.  The two siblings, singer Karin Andersson and brother Olof Dreijer own a record company called Rabid Records.

The band transcends many genres, including a lot of experimental electronic, synthpop, and ambient 'trip-hop'.  Many of their songs feature new age influences and extensive vamping, with soothing, melodic phrasing.  They take inspiration from vintage synth pop and avant-garde sounds that are just as sinister as they are pleasing.

They were brought to the international stage with their song 'Heartbeats', which appeared in a Sony commercial.  Several of their songs have since appeared on television shows and commercials.  In 2006, they released their critically acclaimed Silent Shout album, and have won several Swedish Grammis (to which they refuse to attend the award ceremony).

They have both done solo projects since, but rumors hint towards an upcoming project which may or may not already be in the works!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Simian Mobile Disco

In 2005, James Ford and Jas Shaw formed Simian Mobile Disco.  From the UK, this duo began after leaving the other members of their previous experimental electronics band, Simian.

Hoping to break from the mold of polished, programmed dance tracks, the duo exclusively uses analog equipment - a style for which they are most known.  Their tracks feature house roots, four-on-the-floor, dancable beats, and electronica influences.

They released a remix album in 2008, entitled Sample and Hold.  A year later, an entirely original album, Temporary Pleasure, appeared with collaboration from some big-named producers.

Last year, they released their studio album Delicatessen & Delicacies, taking the names of their tracks from bizarre delicacies around the world.

Watch their video 'Hustler'.  It's hot.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Queens of the Stone Age - Go With the Flow

Queens of the Stone Age is a rock group from Palm Desert, California.  Josh Homme is their lead vocalist and guitarist, and started the band in 1996.  Their current line-up features Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, Joey Castillo on drums, and Dean Fertita on keyboard/guitar.

They feature hard rock roots, with blues and grunge influences.  Their subtle use of vocal harmonies and antiphony is a good contrast with their heavy sound. 

On why Homme settled on the name 'Queens' instead of 'Kings', he stated that "...Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls." 

Their popularity peaked when, in 2001, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl joined to help record their third (and best) album, Songs for the Deaf.   However, other projects required Grohl to leave the band.  He was soon replaced by former Danzig drummer and permanent member Castillo.

Songs for the Deaf reached gold status in 2003 at just under 1 million copies sold, and came very close to the Billboard Top 40.  However, their next album  'Lullabies to Paralyze' debuted at number 6 on the same Billboard Top 40.  Josh Homme also made a guest appearance on Comedy Central's Tosh.O for a web remix with internet sensation Samwell.

P.S.  This is one of my most favorite videos of all time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

iMonster - Daydream in Blue

iMonster is an eclectic, electronic duo from England.  It was formed in 1997 by record producers Jarrod Gosling and Dean Honer.   Together, they own their own label, Twins of Evil.

They feature very docile rock instrumentation and mellow electronica.  They are most renowned for their subtle vocal harmonies, melodic phrasing, and awesome string ensemble.

Their biggest hit came with 'Daydream in Blue' in 2001, which hit #20 in the UK.  Since their acclaimed album 'Neveroddoreven', released in 2003, the duo have done many guest DJ appearances all over the country.

Their most recent album, A Dense Swarm Of Ancient Stars, was released in 2009.  Very good stuff!  Check out some of their other videos!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Russian-born solo artist Natalia Ionova is SMOKING HOT.  Her musical accolades have escalated tremendously since her musical breakthrough in 2002.

Her more common band name, Glukoza (translated ''glucose'') is a cute, punk-pop band with danceable rhythms and major tonalities.

Her musical influences are Madonna, Moby, Mumiy Troll and Agata Kristi (not to be confused with the most boring, horrible mystery author Agatha Christie)

Her first album, titled 'Glukoza Nostra' featured two of her biggest hits, Nenavizhu (I Hate) and Nevesta (Bride), which shot her to the top of the Russian music charts.  After the first two music videos featured a computer animated Natalia, it became common-place; now, all of her videos feature a smooth, CGI version of her band.  Her computer generated charicature was named ''Character of the Year'', and she has won the MTV-EMA award for "Best Russian Act"

Since 2003, she has performed over 500 concerts.  She is a spokeswoman for Motivi, the face of Avon Color Trend, and has been featured on many magainzes, including Elle Girl and Seventeen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alkaline Trio

The Alkaline Trio is a punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois.  They are a 3-piece, formed in 1996 with their lead guitarist Matt Skiba being the only original member.

For a 3-piece band, they still cover many sounds and continuously refine their tenor.  The band started small with lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba, bassist Rob Doran and drummer Glen Porter.  In 1997, Slapstick singer and bassist Dan Andriano replaced Rob Doran in 1997, and the band thereafter began to actuate a sizeable fanbase..

Since Dan's arrival, he has added a complementary voice to Matt's singing.  The two write their own songs and lyrics, for which they both do their own vocals.  Due to their contrast in vocal quality, their songs each have a unique feel to it, yet evoke the same fervent  response.

To date, the band has released seven studio albums, with their newest album - "This Addiction" - having been released in February 2010.

Throughout my time in high school, there was always one band that summed up my wasteful youth with its alluring and magnetic sound.  This band was my biggest inspiration for musical endeavors.  My rebellious, adolescent phase syncopated perfectly with their punk roots and omnipotent vocal harmonies.  They are most renowned for their electric wall-o-sound, rhythmic syncopation and verbose melodic phrasing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Muse

The Muse trio is from a sleep town of Teignmouth, Devon.   They started their British rock band experiment at age 13, more popularly known at first as the Rocket Baby Dolls.

Muse - by Warner-Music
By 1997, the band had decided on the name 'Muse', and released their self-titled debut EP with Dangerous Records.

Their first full-length album was called Showbiz, released around New Years of 1999.  The band reached platinum status with the release of their hit album The Origin of Symmetry.

The trio consists of guitarist and vocalist Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme on Bass Guitar, and Dominic Howard on drums.  Their fusion of progressive rock, electronica, and Radiohead-influenced experimentation have lead to an amazingly unique sound.

Knights of Cydonia is by far their best video.  It introduced me to this band, and definitely left a lasting impression.  Check out some of their other videos on Youtube!

Friday, May 13, 2011

100% Chromeo

Chromeo is an electrofunk duo from Montreal, Canada.  The band formed in the mid 1990's, and are most known for their electronica and disco influences, their house roots, and their extremely danceable beats.

The band is composed of P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel), who plays synthesizer, keyboard and talk box, and Dave 1 (David Macklovitch), the duo's guitar player and lead vocalist.

The two, who were childhood friends, sarcastically define themselves as the "only successful Arab / Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture".

Their debut album, 'She's In Control', dropped in 2004.  It instantly became a world-wide hit, being played in clubs overseas, as well as at home.

After a three year break, the band released their second album, Fancy Footwork.  And another album, Business Casual, on September 14, 2010.

On February 21, they performed their hit-song ''Hot Mess" on TBS's Conan.  Watch it here!

This is one of my all-time favorite bands.  Their videos are awesome, and they seem to respectfully enjoy their fan-base, and their success.  Not to mention - they're incredibly good at what they do.  They seem to be a convivial duo who are trying to create something new in a world of repetition and monotony. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pizzicato Five

No, not pizza.  Pizz-i-ca-to.  5ive.

Pizzicato Five actually started as far back as 1979.  At a local music society meeting, two university students - Yasuharu Konishi and Keitaro Takanami, met and agreed to form a band.  They recruited fellow member Ryo Kamimiya, but would not find a suitable lead vocalist until 1984, when the band settled on Mamiko Sasaki.

(Sorry, no official video.)  Their first single, "Audrey Hepburn Complex" set the tone for their impending popularity, and after their 1990 single "Lover's Rock", they became one of the most popular acts in Japan.

Unfortunately, after establishing a legacy, the band announced their separation in 2001.  They are known throughout Japan as the "Godfathers of the Shibuya-kei scene, Tokyo kitsch-pop deconstructionists." 

Pizzicato Five features jazzy, electronica dance beats with hard rock roots.  Their songs are uptempo, with major tonality, danceable grooves and a subtle use of vocal harmony.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

International Pony

International Pony is a German funk band known for their house roots, disco influences and four-on-the-floor beats.  They feature classic beats made for dancing and un-syncopated ensemble rhythms.

The band was formed in 1998 when singer Cosmic DJ and turntablist DJ Koze met up with keyboardist Erobique.  'We Love Music' was their debut album, released in 2002.

The band blends funk and electro, and is really easy to listen to.  I've followed them since I first heard 'Gothic Girl' in 2006.  Check out 'Solid Gold' and 'Gothic Girl' as well!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bob Crosby and his Bobcats

Bob Crosby, younger brother to Bing Crosby, primarily found himself in the awkward seat of being the least important member of his own orchestra.  He was incapable of reading sheet music, and couldn't play an instrument.  He dropped out of college to get a job as a singer, and from 1932 to 1934 was the vocalist of friend Anson Weeks' band. 

After a couple of infinitesimally small venues, producing agent Cork O'Keefe helped Bob land a gig as the singer of a popular group of musicians,  under the direction of saxaphonist Gil Rodin.  The popularity of the Crosby family would help propel their band's status, and actually helped  launch his career.  Over time, he helped turn a newly established Decca Records into a major record label.

This song can be found in Bethesoft's 'Fallout 3' soundtrack.  It makes this song a lot more amorous to associate it with strolling the ruins of post-apocalyptic America, mowing down everything that moves with an assortment of death machines.

This is a relaxing, feel-good song.  Most Bob Crosby songs consist of very classy New Orleans jazz elements, big lead band, melodic tenor sax, and major trumpet and piano tonality.


Yelle is an amazing French band founded by Julie Budet.  She was born January, 1983 and became prominent when an early version of their song 'Je veux te voir' appeared on MySpace in September 2005.  Later that year, it reached the top 5 songs in France, and in 2007, their debut album, 'Pop Up' was released.

The band includes lead singer Julie, drummer Jan-Francois Perrier, and keyboarder Tanguy Destable.

Their sounds include electronica influences, mild rhythmic cyncopation, heavy use of vocal harmonies, synthetic sonority and minor key tonality.

Listen to her!!!