Bruno Mars

So a lot happened at the MTV VMAs last night. Justin Timberlake put on the world’s most ridiculous performance, proving himself as the President of Pop. NSYNC reunited. (Which is second only to Destiny’s Child reuniting in terms of my excitement level. Come on. We all know those ladies crushed the boys.) And Miley and Robin Thicke had the weirdest, most sexually uncomfortable act I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, Miley was completely off her rocker crazy in that, but can we not forget that Robin Thicke is a grown man with a wife and child? Come on, dude. Make better decisions.

However, the highlight for me was actually the reminder of just how well Bruno Mars can sing! Seriously, it is insane how much vocal control he has every single time he performs. I’ll admit, Gorillas is not my favorite song. I like something a little more subtle in my lyrics, but the straight singing was phenomenal. It is easy to forget how much I enjoy Bruno because his songs get so overplayed on the radio, and you eventually begin to hate them with a passion. Don’t let that happen to you! They are actually amazing little pop gems. They should be considering Bruno started his career writing hits for everyone else.

I decided to list a few of my favorites that have not been on heavy radio rotation. Give them a try if you love Bruno’s style but are tired of Locked Out of Heaven and Grenade. From Doo-Wops and Hooligans, I personally love Runaway Baby. It is on every workout mix I’ve ever made, and the beat just drives and drives straight through to the end. I also love Talking to the Moon, an ode to a lost love that is quite beautiful. Count On Me is the most adorable bestie song to ever be created, so throw that on and call up every friend you know. From Unorthodox JukeboxNatalie is hands-down the sickest revenge song I have ever heard. It’s a tiny bit twisted, but you kind of forget once the beat kicks in. Show Me is great if you wanna slow it down and grind a little bit, and Treasure has such a fantastic 70’s vibe with the horns that it is probably my all-time Bruno favorite. I’m really hoping the radio doesn’t kill that one for me, but the odds are not in my favor.

Bruno Mars

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Single of the Week

I’ve been asked a couple of times how I find new music. The radio gets stuck on the same ten songs, MTV and VH1 haven’t played actual music in years, and I have the world’s most limited budget for buying music if I’m not sure I like it. The answer is simple. For one, Pandora. I mean, come on. Free streaming music that takes bands I enjoy and finds similar groups to match my tastes? What’s not to love? I also creep on blogs and Twitter accounts of musicians I like to see who they are discovering, hence the plethora of LA-based bands on this account. And finally, I download the free single of the week on iTunes. Now, this may sound super cheap and silly, but it’s genius marketing on Apple’s part. They take bands and artists that are on the verge of breaking and put them at the forefront of the page. I can try out a song for free to see if I’m interested. And it works! An example? Last week’s single was The Wire by Haim. You all know of my love for Haim.

I’ve also discovered Bastille’s Pompeii, the world’s most upbeat song and Kacey Musgraves’ Blowin’ Smoke, a fantastic country hit about spinning your tires in a small town. This week’s The Way We Touch by WE ARE TWIN is a perfect blend of electric guitar riffs and floating vocals. Hell, Ed Sheeran’s A Team was a single of the week before he became mega-popular as the opener for Taylor Swift. Boy’s Little Numbers was another classic gem that gave me a leg-up on my brother-in-law. Her voice is so innocent and carefree, and the subject matter of waiting for a new crush to call is guarenteed to put a smile on your face.

There are occasional misses, evidenced by Coco Jones’ Deja Vu and Classixx’s All You’re Waiting For, but who cares? It was free. You can just delete it from your library if you don’t like it. No harm, no foul.  And with options like Ed Sheeran, Haim, Boy, and Iron & Wine in the mix, why not take a chance?

Also of note, if you have any suggestions for bands to explore, songs to catch or just want to hear my opinion on someone, let me know! I’m always open to new ideas!

Lorde

Alright. I’m the first to admit. 16 year old singer-songwriters make me skeptical. I mean, Taylor Swift writes catchy tunes, but they aren’t exactly life-altering, and she has moved way past her teenage years at this point. But, Lorde is the exception to the rule. (Let’s be real. Her actual name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, but that’s just a mouth full.) This New Zealand native has got a spooky good voice and lyrics that are shockingly self-aware for her age. So far, she’s only released an EP, but the debut album will drop in September. Royals is the current single in the US, and it is just a fantastic choice to introduce herself to America. A chorus you can get behind, amazing vocals, and a ridiculous blend of pop, indie, and just a sprinkling of R&B. Other personal favorites include Tennis Court and The Love Club, which is the name of the EP. Take a peek on iTunes, YouTube, or just turn on the radio. I’m sure Royals will pop up after a minute or two…

Additional side notes if you follow my blog: 1) Haim is ALSO releasing an album in September. Same day as Lorde, in fact. Get. Excited. 2) Mad Moon Riot is making some rumblings on Twitter about music videos and albums. Seems they may be on the edge of signing a deal themselves. Get the album on bandcamp for free while you still can!

 

Lollapalooza: Part Two

The second day of Lollapalooza brought about some interesting revelations. We started off our morning with Shovel and Rope, a pretty chill Folk group that were solid enough to kick off our day. Next, we went to Little Green Cars, a band I am completely obsessed with, and got a pretty legit view. Faye O’Rourke, the band’s lone female, lost her voice that morning, but she still managed to belt everything out. Seriously, if that’s how she sounds with laryngitis, she has got to be ridiculous and full capacity. The intricate harmonies of that group are just as satisfying live as they are on the album.

Next, we went to Ben Howard, who was as vocally amazing as you would expect, though his stuff can get a little too chill for large crowds. Then, we hit up Matt and Kim, a DJ duo that talk way too much and should just get back to the music. The beats they made were pretty amazing, there were just far too many speaking interludes.

To end our evening, we did the three-peat of Haim, Mumford and Sons, and Postal Service. Best. Decision. Ever. Haim was completely fantastic. Those girls are super hot rocker chicks with crazy good vocals. They said they are working on a debut album, and I cannot freaking wait! Buy it! We wandered over to Mumford for a little bit. They play a mean banjo, and we caught most of the highlight songs before heading to Postal Service. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mumford and Sons, but two hours of their music gets a little monotonous. Ending the night with Postal Service was such a blessing in disguise since it was their last show! This is tragic news. I’ve seen Postal Service twice in one year, and have not been disappointed. Highlights included Brand New Colony and Such Great Heights, so YouTube those gems if you want to check them out!

Overall, the weather is beautiful, the music is fantastic, and the people are having a good time. I still maintain, however, that high-waisted short-shorts are overrated.

Lollapalooza: Part One

There are a few things I learned at Lollapalooza’s opening day. 1. Emeli Sande’ can seriously sing. I mean, it’s ridiculous how good she sounds live. 2. Every single person should get the chance to see Mr. Brightside performed live. It was one of the single best performances I have ever seen. And 3. The high-waist short-shorts need to go back out of style. They do not look good on anyone. (Ok, fine. The last is more of a fashion observation, but it needed to be stated.)

We started our day out with Emeli Sande’, and she was as fantastic as I expected. 45 minutes of amazing vocals. Next, we traveled to Icona Pop, who were mildly disappointing. Sure, I only knew the one song, but the other numbers were weirdly timed. Everything felt a bit jumbled up and spliced together, including the mega-hit I Love It to end the set. Not exactly a massive success.

Timeflies somehow managed to freestyle over Under the Sea, so that gets automatic props from me. If you’re into the DJ/rap trend, give them a try. Jessie Ware was a surprise to me, as I’ve only heard a song or two from her. She’s got an impressive Adele-like soul quality to her sound. (Though not quite the same pipes. I mean, who does?) Band of Horses were pretty fantastic, though we only caught half of the set. That lead singer has got some pipes, even if he is a little awkward with the segues between songs.

For our final two acts, we attempted to see Imagine Dragons. Sadly, their audio was not working very well, and we bailed. I was lucky enough to see them at the House of Blues earlier this year, and they are definitely worth seeing when the sound works. They put everything into their shows, evidenced by the lead singer’s attempt to serenade the crowd with no electricity today. Finally, we closed the night with The Killers. Brandon Flowers is such a performer. They opened with Mr. Brightside, and the hits just kept on coming, jumping from album to album with grace and ease. The guitar and drum solos to introduce each band member were also quite impressive, even causing Mr. Flowers to sit back and watch.

Overall, opening day of Lollapalooza was quite successful. The weather was beautiful, the music was impressive, and I can’t wait for tomorrow. On tomorrow’s agenda: Little Green Cars, Haim, Local Natives, The Lumineers, and Mumford and Sons.