31 October 2013

31 October 2013 - David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Happy Halloween! I thought I'd try to get in the spirit and find a "spooky" video. I figured, "Ooooh, I can post Ministry's Every Day Is Halloween video." Then I checked our logs and saw that Tony did that one last year. I posted a Groovie Ghoulies video last month (great planning genius). I could have done The Misfits, but I just can't accept them without Danzig and the videos with Danzig were pretty much unlistenable. I give up. Here's a live video of David Bowie playing Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) even though the song has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween scariness.

30 October 2013

30 October 2013 - Phantogram - When I'm Small

It only seems like we've posted this song about 12 times.  We haven't.  But it's been a long time coming.

Casual readers of our blogs - specifically Totally Covered - will know that this song is a favorite of mine.  I have thrice - here by Antique Firearms, here by Lizzy Land, and here by Fine It's Pink - posted covers of this song, all of which blew me away in different ways.

In that last post, I mentioned that I was upstairs in my house while a football game was on downstairs, and I heard this very song. And wondered why the hell Phantogram was playing during a Bills game.  Of course, I came downstairs and saw that Clay Mathews was doing a Gillette commercial with that as the background music.

But enough about other people's versions of this song.  This song blows me away every time I hear it, be it their original studio version or one of the many live versions they've done.  The sparse drum beat - a machine when recorded and in this video - to start the song, followed by the guitar/keyboard wall of sound, joined quickly by Sarah Barthel's breathy and increasingly intense vocal - it's damned near musical perfection.  The song is intensely angry at its crescendo.  If you've never heard this song before in its entirely, I urge you to listen right now.

This live performance is from SxSW 2010.  Here, as in a lot of live versions of the song, Sarah's breathy vocal jumps in before the wall of instrumental sound.  It's a little different, but it still works.

When I first heard this version of the song - which features Josh Carter on an acoustic guitar along with a slighty less breathy Sarah Barthel, but no drums or bombastics - I didn't like it.  It is nothing but raw emotion, and for that reason, it has grown on me. I hope it grows on you, too.

OK, one last version, this is a remix of the song done by Remix Artists Collective - RAC , who we featured here as artists a couple of weeks ago - which brings in their signature keyboard sound.  It's a completely different song - a little dreamier, if you can imagine that - and less angry.

29 October 2013

29 October 2013 - Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

A mention of this hopeful Sandi Thom song popped into my Twitter feed over the weekend. I haven't heard it in years. It still sounds good to me.

28 October 2013

28 October 2013 - Iggy Azalea - Change Your Life (feat. T.I.)

You know what I think about when I think hip-hop?

Blonde Australian women who make us use the jump break so kids who stumble upon this blog won't accidentally see nipples.

25 October 2013

25 October 2013 - Soho - Hippychick

When I first heard this on the radio, my first thought was "hey, finally 'How Soon Is Now' is a hit!"  That opening guitar rift - famously played by Johnny Marr of the Smiths - was used with permission (and 25% royalty - no lawsuit necessary).  The Soul II Soul track playing in the background - yes, that's "Back To Life" - isn't as frequently mentioned, but it's also sampled heavily.

No one ever talks about how the Smiths lifted the rift from Bo Diddley, either, but.....

Anyway, this song is poppy and dancy and pure fun.   It doesn't matter how many samples they use - this trio (the Cuff sisters who are the vocalists, along with musician Timothy London) makes them all their own.

In my opinion, live, when musicians fill in for the samples, the song really pops.

24 October 2013

24 October 2013 - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Perfect Skin

Sometime during my high school years I picked up the Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, 1984-1989 tape. I must have read about him in Spin magazine (back when people actually cared about Spin magazine) because I certainly wasn't hearing smart, well-written music like his on the radio. When I bought the tape Lloyd had already begun his solo career which is still going strong today. I've seen him a few times in the last 12 years and it's always a great show (he's a tremendous story teller). And it's always a treat hearing him play today's track Perfect Skin.

22 October 2013

22 October 2013 - Sondre Lerche - Two Way Monologue

Two Way Monologue by Sondre Lerche pops into my head every so often and I can't shake it until I actually hear this shimmery slice of indie pop goodness. Song be gone . . . Now bring back the usual voices that inhabit my noggin'.

21 October 2013

21 October 2013 - Los Lonely Boys - Heaven

I always thought that Los Lonely Boys was the dumbest name for a band.

Their biggest hit, on the other hand, is strangely adult contemporary and bluesy from a band with clearly Latin roots.  At the same time, it is a clever and catchy song.  It was also their debut single in 2004, so they started big, I guess....

17 October 2013

17 October 2013 - Toad the Wet Sprocket - One Little Girl

It's once again time for me to dig deep into the past for another 80s Thursday. Here's the One Little Girl video off Toad the Wet Sprockets 1989 debut Bread & Circus which I actually had on cassette (OK, I had their first three releases on cassette . . . I've since upgraded to CD). The band just released New Constellation, their first album in 16 years, and I'm hearing a lot of good things about it. I've seen them a couple times since they reformed and the shows were a lot of fun. I'd definitely see them again, especially since they now have new material to play.

15 October 2013

15 October 2013 - Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals

I was mostly confused by Sleigh Bells' debut album Treats when it came out in 2010. What I read about them and what they sounded like seemed to be two COMPLETELY different things. I didn't hate it, but I never really gave it another listen. It just wasn't my thing. Then this summer I somehow acquired their second album Reign of Terror, but I still haven't made the time to listen to it. So why am I writing about a band that I've been pretty much indifferent about? Well, my curiosity got the best of me after a friend suggested that I check out the first single/title track off of their latest album Bitter Rivals. I have to say it's a pretty cool tune. I still don't know if this noise-pop thing is for me (I just can't see myself sitting around listening to it for hours), but I'm starting to think that I should seriously give Treats a second chance and finally listen to Reign of Terror.

14 October 2013

14 October 2013 - RAC - Let Go

The Remix Artists Collective has been around for several years, remixing other people's songs.  So it only made sense that they'd start releasing their own stuff, even if they did partner with Kele from Bloc Party and the great MNDR (the female vocal is Amanda Warner) to do it.

And they've created a catchy sound.... and a kind of disturbing video. Enjoy!

(Update: 15 April 2014):  So, you know we like to update these posts from time to time.  Here is a live performance by RAC - who, let's be honest, is André Allen Anjos, who you can see in the background.  And while Kele's vocal is recorded, MNDR's isn't - that's her, front and center.

11 October 2013

11 October 2013 - Ylvis - The Fox

I like it when my music answers burning questions.  What is love? Where does the good go? How am I supposed to live without you?

And, of course, what does the fox say?

Ok, so this may be the biggest international earworm since Gangnam Style.  It is still an infectious, catchy dance tune.  And there's nothing wrong with enjoying it (no matter what they might say on ESPN Radio morning talk shows).

And let's all be thankful that Ylvis, unlike Psy, included lyrics in their video.

We know the evening television talk shows are a fan.  Here are Ylvis on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, recreating their video in studio.  Frankly, I've never quite seen anything like this....

10 October 2013

10 October 2013 - The Sugarcubes - Cold Sweat

Life's Too Good -- the ground-breaking debut by The Sugarcubes -- is one of the finest albums the 80s had to offer. The wild abandon in Bjork's voice can never be replicated. She would go from childlike coos to primal screams faster than you can say "Iceland's greatest band." Their subsequent albums Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! and Stick Around For Joy were great in their own right, but could never compare to the brilliance of that first record. Cold Sweat was the second single on Life's Too Good (after the amazing Birthday) and it's among my favorites. Check out the video.

09 October 2013

9 October 2013 - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations

It's such a sweet sensation.

Seriously one of the greatest hit songs of the last 20 years, Marky Mark (Wahlberg, as we know him now) started off as a hip-hop hanger-on to New Kids on the Block (his older brother Donnie was a member).  It's energetic, it's fun, and you cannot deny it is catchy.

So c'mon, c'mon.  Feel it! Feel it!

08 October 2013

8 October 2013 - Oh Land - Pyromaniac

When Borders went out of business a couple years ago I had myself a bit of a feeding frenzy when the entire stock of CDs went on sale for 75% off. Among the dozens of records that I bought was the self-titled U.S. debut by Oh Land. It looked interesting. And before you say it, yes, I still judge CDs (and books) by their covers. The album itself was filled with smart and catchy electro-pop tunes sung with a dreamy wonder (almost reminiscent of Regina Spektor, but without the quirky vocal phrasings). Well she (yes, Oh Land is the stage name for Danish singer/songwriter Nanna Øland Fabricius) recently released her latest album Wish Bone which I'm looking forward to checking out, especially after hearing the too cool first single Pyromaniac. Here's the video.

07 October 2013

7 October 2013 - Cobra Starship - Good Girls Go Bad (feat. Leighton Meester)

Their first hit single, featuring a Gossip Girl star (who really did play a good girl gone bad) (and has been here before), Cobra Starship are fun and interesting and exciting.

And clearly have a club complete with a craps table in their industrial freezer.  Why are they giving club goers actual packs of meat?  And how are the cops getting in and still people are able to flee? That's a pretty narrow staircase....

03 October 2013

3 October 2013 - HAIM - The Wire

The hype machine has certainly been working overtime for California indie poppers HAIM. I've been hearing about them for months, which was beyond me since their debut album Days Are Gone came out this Monday (I do see now that they released a couple EPs last year, but how often do bands get so much press for an EP?). Well, I finally caved in earlier this week and checked out a few of their songs. I like them. They sound like a cross between Bananarama and Wilson Phillips . . . or I should say, a hip version of those 80s and 90s hit makers.

02 October 2013

2 October 2013 - Sky Ferreira - You're Not The One

You know what we don't have enough of on this blog?

Young women doing pop/electronic music.

Sky Ferriera is another new artist playing in that genre.  But her music, while clearly electronic. has elements of pure rock.  She's released two EPs of solid material so far, and finally has a full length album coming 29 October.  The first single from this new album is our post today - it's a darkly poppy song with a hard undertone.

By the way, watch the whole video for the really dark and slightly gross ending.

01 October 2013

1 October 2013 - Grouplove - Ways To Go

How is it possible that we haven't done a Grouplove post here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures? I figured one of us would have hit upon their ubiquitous hit Tongue Tied at some point. Nope. I guess it's up to me to once again save the day. I'm used to it.

Grouplove's latest album Spreading Rumours came out a couple weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to listen to yet but I imagine it will be just as effervescent as their debut Never Trust A Happy Song. The first single Ways To Go certainly brings the indie pop joy. The video's kind of kooky too.