Posts Tagged 'Led Zeppelin'

What I’m Hearing, Vol. 15

{for last month’s What I’m Hearing, click here}

July’s iPod update was an extremely diverse one, not just for the artists, but for the songs themselves. Taking a new tact, I made July an all mash-up month, checking out some of the ways in which DJs have started taking on the mix and match genre full-throttle. While Danger Mouse helped pioneer it with the Grey Album and AmpLive took it another step with his remixes of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, the mash-up culture is far past those now. But while there is much to be said for the style of Girl Talk where there are more layers than you can reasonably dissect in a listening, I find the club mash-ups utilizing 2 to 3 songs to be a most effective use of the genre. The best news? As all of these are off the grid, they’re all available for download, so follow the links to check the music out for yourself. July’s iPod update included 118 songs.

50 Cent vs. The 50s, DJ Doc Rok: Currently residing in Washington, D.C., DJ Doc Rok’s (djdocrok@gmail.com) work is among the strongest of all artists I heard this month. What’s more is that while he does have a collection of odd mash-ups and various artists, he also sets out to create complete albums of one to two artists. On this album, Rok focuses on all lyrics from 50 Cent songs and combines them with Golden Oldie hits from the R&B and Pop genres. The result? 50 Cent party songs with a touch of flair, moved out of the straight club motif that dominates so many of his songs and saturated with style and soul. Using songs like Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and Booker T. and the MG’s “Green Onions,” Rok flips the 50 acapellas on their head with fantastic result. Definitely my favorite download of the month. Don’t Sleep On: “Rowdy Rowdy/It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To),” “Like My Style/One Fine Day,” and “The Good Die Young/Little Susie.”

Best of 2007 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: If you’re looking for a comprehensive blog that provides a vast cross-section of the variety of mash-ups available online, check out Mash-up Your Bootz. They provide comprehensive year-end wrap-up mixes, links to other mash-up sites, and breaking news in the genre. I downloaded both their 2007 and 2008 Best of Mixes and wasn’t disappointed with either. Beck takes on Green Day, AC/DC meets 50 Cent and the Scissor Sisters, Peggy Lee and Iggy Pop collide and Peter Bjorn and John find their whistle backing both Bloc Party and Amy Winehouse. Some of the mashers on this mix include DJ Peaking, DJ Le Clown, CheekyBoy, DJ Lobsterdust, and Party Ben. Perhaps the most pleasant track is by Norwegian Recycling who put together a very simple acoustic mash-up called “How Six Songs Collide” featuring Jason Mraz, Howie Day, Five For Fighting, Angela Ammons, Boyzone, and 3 Doors Down. This one is mirrored nicely with the eerie and melancholy mash of Placebo, Kate Bush and the Pet Shop Boys called, “Love Comes Running Up That Hill Quickly.” Don’t Sleep On: “Young Folks Rehab” by DJ Topcat (Amy Winehouse’s v. Peter Bjorn and John), “Love Comes Running Up That Hill Quickly” by DJ Magnet (Pet Shop Boys v. Placebo v. Kate Bush) and “Break Through Love” by DJ Zebra (The Doors v. Led Zeppelin)

Best of 2008 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: The 2008 mix picks up where 2007 left off and offers an impressive array of very different artists finding their songs blended with people of opposite genres. The album kicks off with Bryan Adams going head to head with Metallica, James Brown duels The Offspring, and Rage Against the Machine gets thrown together with AC/DC, Joan Jett, Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers. To say that these songs stretch the concept of mashable genres is an understatement. Contributors include Wax Audio, MadMixMustang, DJ Morgoth and Divide and Kreate. Best track has to come when DJ Schmolli brings the haunting guitar lilt of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and fills it with a slowed down Billy Idol singing “White Wedding.” The result is astounding. Don’t Sleep On: “Wicked Wedding” by DJ Schmolli (Chris Isaak v. Billy Idol v. HIM) “The Low Anthem” by Bass 211 (Flo Rida v. Pitbull) and “Dance Dreams” by Divide and Kreate (Eurythmics v. Lady Gaga)

Michael Jackson: With the unfortunate and untimely death of Michael Jackson last month, I decided to go back and flesh out my Jackson music collection. Sure, I had Thriller and parts of Bad, but I was still missing a large chunk of music from the Jackson 5 days as well as the tracks he did as part of The Jacksons. In all of these outings, Michael’s voice is distinct and easy to pick out, and his energy serves to carry most of the songs. So if you’re looking for some tracks you may not have heard, Don’t Sleep On: “Too Late to Change the Time,” (Jackson 5) “State of Shock,” (The Jacksons) “Another Part of Me” (Michael Jackson)

Jay-Z vs. Led Zeppelin, DJ Doc Rok: By taking the lyrics from Jay-Z’s soundtrack to American Gangster and mashing them with various Led Zeppelin songs, Doc Rok succeeds again in creating an album that can stand on its own. Darker and more subdued than the 50 Cent album, this outing utilizes Zeppelin songs like “Immigrant,” “No Quarter,” “Tangerine,” and “Kashmir.” The result is a new way to think of Jay-Z, liberated from much of the standard hip-hop and rap tracks he’s been tied to, the guitars and gritty classic Rock from Led Zeppelin provide a new canvas which comes off fresh. Don’t Sleep On: “Success/Moby Dick,” “Party Life/I’m Gonna Leave You,” “No Hook/Tangerine”

Party Vol. 25 (Mash-Up Your Bootz), Various Artists: Where the 2007 and 2008 span every genre, what you find most on this party album are mashes primarily utilizing hip-hop, dance and rock. DJ Lobsterdust brings The Police and Coldplay together while DJ BC brings together George Harrison, L’il Kim and Notorious B.I.G. The nice part of this album is that all of it is danceable and will appeal to most anyone on the dance floor. When Gloria Gaynor and Fall Out Boy meet each other at the hands of Mighty Mike, just about anything is possible. Don’t Sleep On: “Get the Day ‘n’Night Started” by Pheugoo (Pink v. Kid Cudi), “Beautiful Journey” by DJ MashUP (Journey v. Akon) and “Lady and the Usher” by Divide and Kreate (Usher v. Ladyhawke)

Tra.kz Artist Spotlight: Fishbone (“Behind Closed Doors”)

Nobody bridges the gap between the funk of George Clinton and the blare of Rush like Fishbone. Their sound is a hybrid fusion where Led Zeppelin and Sly Stone dance to a frenetic ska beat that fuels any party. The band was formed in 1979 in the ghettos of South Central Los Angeles. From their childhood together in the hardcore South Central Los Angeles wasteland to years of forced school-bused integration, Fishbone’s influences were kaleidoscopic and never-ending. While the song “Behind Closed Doors” was recorded live in Bordeaux, France, you can here it here from the comfort of your internet connection!

The current Fishbone line up released their 8th record in 20 years, “Still Stuck in Your Throat” in March of 2007. This current lineup has steered Fishbone into a unique Jazzy/Gospel feel that has to be seen live to understand how a band could be considered “jazzy/ska/gospel/punk-rock/reggae”, as described by Fishbone’s Angelo Moore when asked to describe their newest direction. Recently, Fishbone did an amazing energetic cover of Sublime’s “Date Rape” on the album “Look At All The Love We Found: A Tribute to Sublime”.

Live audiences around the world have been surrendering to the band’s stage flash and magical rhythms with uninterrupted regularity. Such passionate devotion is not lost on Fishbone, who refer to their friends on the road as “The Familyhood.” Get a taste of their live chops here. Always be on the lookout for the bone to be touring near you; their tour schedule can be found here.

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Krista Interview

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While some are subdued or destroyed by the hardships and circumstances facing them, others are strengthened by the struggle and formed by it. Growing up in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, J Records’ new artist Krista has come through a difficult home life and youth to write music that combines various elements of Rock, Hip-Hop and R&B that is then filtered through an incredible voice that can range from pure vocal to unfettered rap. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Krista about her debut album set for release early this year, her first experiences touring and what you can expect from her music.

AC: Growing up, what were your musical influences?

K: Basically everything influenced me. I listened to a lot of dance music because my mother likes to dance, and I listened to a lot of hip-hop and R&B because of the neighborhood I lived in, but then I always felt like I related a lot more to Rock and Roll every time I listened to the lyrics in the songs.

AC: Any specific artists or acts?

K: I would say that I based a lot of my vocal scales on Mariah Carey, I listened to her and tried to follow her scales. Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant because the voice that came out of him and the way that he looks are totally different. This slim tall guy with a fro and then his voice comes out like this beast.

AC: When did you start viewing your writing as a potential career?

K: When I was about 12, my uncle was inspired by the way I would write lyrics to his guitar playing. He would come over and play guitar after dinner sometimes and I would come up with old school doo-wop type songs that he really liked.

AC: I read that you got into a bit of trouble when you were younger?

K: Yea…

AC: What was your process of growing out of that, and was there a specific turning point for you when you decided that you were going to go in a different direction?

K: Growing up, my household was not really stable. We lived in one place, but it was very dysfunctional. My father worked at night, my grandmother was super conservative. I acted out a lot, but I started meeting people who didn’t have it as bad as I did and they would tell me that I had potential. One day this kid came up to me in the street and told me that I should be hanging around with people who were doing things with their lives and not just in the street and that really woke me up because I never thought that someone would look at me and think that they wanted more for me.

AC: Talk about going from writing to actually working on an album in the studio. What was that process like for you?

K: It was surreal and a dream come true to be able to have unlimited access to an amazing studio and I made use of that as much as possible.

AC: Did using the studio change anything about your writing style or the way you were approaching your music?

K: The producer I worked with on the album is a writer and he’s very structured. He helped me learn how to focus and structure my own songs more

AC: What can people expect to hear on your album?

K: Aggression, emotion, honesty and personality.

AC: You have two singles out right now. Talk about them in terms of what they sound like and their subject matter.

K: “Temporary Insanity” is the Gorillaz single, that’s what everyone calls it, and that’s a song that I wrote about a situation that was going on in my house when I was younger that was making me feel like a crazy person that didn’t belong here. My second single is “Missile” and that song is just about a past relationship and feeling like I’ve been with the person for so long that I don’t even know who I am anymore, and when I’m by myself I know who I am but when I’m with them I’m lost.

AC: What has touring been like for you?

K: It’s been going fast and it’s been a little scary for me going from a studio and having never seen the country or any other states before and all of a sudden getting thrown into an RV, flown here, flown there, and all these different sceneries in a matter of hours, it’s overwhelming. But I’m very excited and very humbled by the experience because its definitely been my dream.

AC: Your music mixes and matches different genres. Talk about those and how you think that this blend is going to speak to fans.

K: Well I never approached my style as a formulated idea. I wasn’t, “Ok, I’m going to sing, then I’m going to rap.” It’s just something that happened because with my generation and all the different types of genres that have been introduced to the music world in just the past 15 years, music has changed a lot, and that includes the way people listen to it and the way people take it in. I grew up in a neighborhood where everybody loved to listen to Hip-Hop, but I loved to listen to Rock. Music was a way of life in my neighborhood. The people who listened to certain types of music created certain cliques and if you didn’t listen to it and you weren’t down, then you were an outcast, so that’s what I was. I started my first band in 3rd grade.

AC: What other artists are you listening to now?

K: I always go blank when people ask me that. I’ve been listening to Shwayze’s album a lot while I’ve been on tour with them, and I like a lot of underground artists who haven’t broke yet because I like to feel personally attached to them from an early stage, and that’s what I’d like to do with my fans. I’m listening to a lot of dance to keep my energy up.

AC: What MixMatchMusic does is gather artists from all over the world and give them a space to collaborate and take a little bit of this, a little bit of that and see what happens when you start putting things together. But there’s also a strong emerging culture of people remixing artists. How do you feel about fans interacting with your work in this way and putting their own touch on it?

K: I would love that, I would love to hear it. It would be flattering to think that people were interested in taking my songs and flipping it their own way.

To read more, hear music and look for the upcoming album, check out either of Krista’s links:
MySpace:
http://www.myspace.com/Krista
Official Site:
http://www.kristaofficial.com/

Odes to Rain

It’s been raining and freezing here in San Francisco, and that got me thinking about the emotional effects weather can have on people. Some feel refreshed and invigorated after running in the rain, some curl up by the fireplace and read a book, some whine about bad drivers and wet socks…

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Weather – and rain specifically – has surely inspired more than a few artists to write music. Let’s get nostalgic and take a look at some odes to rain from years gone by.

Gene Kelly – “Singin’ in the Rain”

Beatles – “Rain”

Dinah Washington – “September in the Rain”

CCR – “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

Led Zeppelin  – “The Rain Song”

Milli Vanilli – “Blame it on the Rain”

Madonna – “Rain”

Missy Elliot – “The Rain”

Blind Melon = “No Rain”

And of course, one of YouTube’s own celebrities…

Tay Zonday – “Chocolate Rain”

Got any others? Leave a comment.


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