Music Blogs - Blogged Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, September 25, 2009

29 in 2009 - Joni Mitchell: "Blue"

Joni Mitchell:  Blue
Originally Released:  June 1971
Genre:  Folk
Rating:  9 out of 10 Stars

Literally about 30 seconds into my first listen of Blue, I thought to myself, "Wow, if this album continues to go this way, I am going to love the heck out of it!"  The song, "All I Want" is such a gorgeous track, that I thought for sure that it was the highlight of the album.  How, after all, could anything top this?

I was wrong.  Blue is an incredible album from start to finish. 

This is one of those albums that makes me hate my parents.  Not because they were bad parents, mind you; but because when they were too busy introducing me to Michael W. Smith and Carman rather than Joni Mitchell.  I had never heard a Joni Mitchell song before I listened to this album.  That's sad.  And while I typically adhere to my strict, "I'm not really into folk music" policy, I'll go ahead and make an exception for this album (and a few others, sure) simply because it's rather awesome.

My favorite song is "California," a song so simple, yet so catchy.  James Taylor rocks some mad guitar skills on the song (and elsewhere on the album).  But the true awesomeness comes only from Mitchell, whose child-like voice is perfectly suited for such a pretty song.  The least-favorite goes to the title track, "Blue" where Mitchell shows does perhaps a bit too much with her voice.  But really, that's the only track on the entire album that isn't completely awesome.

It started with Nick Drake and it continues with Joni Mitchell.  If this 29 in 2009 series keeps going this way, I may have to rethink my whole "I'm not really into folk music" policy.  Granted, I'm not there yet...but it's definitely going in that direction.

Verdict:  Classic

Click to

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wallpaper.: "Doodoo Face"

It was over a year ago that I received a copy of T Rex, the debut EP from Oakland pop/soul duo, Wallpaper.  I must admit that, at first, it was something that I didn't entirely understand.  "Oh great, auto-tuned, dancey, pop music,"  I thought.  "Just what the industry needs."  But then I actually listened to the CD and discovered that it was so much more.  Granted, it is still auto-tuned, dancey, pop music; but it's also complex, brilliantly produced, and most importantly, smart.  You see, Ricky Reed - the frontman alter-ego of Eric Frederic - seems to only be interested in making music that is undeniably fun.  More often than not, this results in tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted, egocentric lyrics that have me laughing out loud.  One thing is for sure though, Wallpaper. is not a group that takes themselves too seriously despite the fact that there is some serious talent and skill all over Doodoo Face.

The album starts off with "Indecent," not the strongest song on Doodoo Face, but a good introduction to the music of Wallpaper. and the character of Ricky Reed.  The production on the song is top notch, with some absolutely killer drums and vocal effects going on.  It's followed by the only song to make the leap from their earlier EP, "T Rex."  Though less than 3 minutes long, the song is absolutely irresistible - proven by the fact that I have yet to tire of it after over a year of listens.  Reed sings about going "big on the weekends," emphasizing, "I go T Rex."  That phrase, as it turns out, has already made it into my vernacular (i.e. Them: "Why you dressed so fly?" Me: "Just goin' T Rex"); proof of a truly great pop song, I suppose.

The albums first single shows up next, and is easily one of Wallpaper's best tracks to date.  "I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted" has only been available for about 5 weeks at the time of this writing, and it's already racked up over 60 plays on my iTunes.  While that may seem obsessive, it's just a completely infectious song that I can't get out of my head!  Once again the production is masterful, and I find myself hearing new bleeps, bloops, and bass lines each time I listen to it.  "ddd" is just as awesome, featuring some of Doodoo Face's most-quotable lines.  My favorite is when Reed skips a beat in the vocal line, only to say, "Just skipped a beat to emphasize I date models," though one could also make a case for his musings on paying utilities, stolen iPods, and "rando dude(s) sippin' on wine cooler."  This song, like its predecessor, has been getting constant spins since I fearst heard it.

The album takes a quick dip in quality with "Celebrity," a song that has a lot of cool elements, but just doesn't come together well enough to repeatedly satisfy.  "It's My Birthday" is pretty much anyone guy's new b-day jam, featuring Reed hinting at his ultimate birthday gift - sex.  He sings, "Oh, do what I want to/ and I want you/ I want you" in the chorus to great effect!  This is also the first song where the saxophone plays a really significant role (though it appears in "Indecent" as well), giving the music a very retro-pop vibe to it.  I don't want to commit entirely to the idea that it sounds like a totally rad Lionel Richie song, but I'll throw the idea out there for discussion.

"I Ain't Most Dudes" continues the retro-feel, but has the added benefit of an absolutely flawless vocal melody and backing female vocals.  Reed sings, "Yes, I will be a gentleman if you want me to" in the chorus, creating probably the catchiest, funkiest moment on all of Doodoo Face.  It's definitely a song to keep on repeat.  The first time I listened to "Fine GF," I hated it.  It begins very minimalistically (probably not a real word); Ricky and some notes.  That's all.  Eventually it builds into a somewhat touching ballad, complete with a fantastic trumpet section, which is a nice touch.  However, if Wallpaper. was insistant on a ballad for Doodoo Face, I would've rather it been "Txt Me Ur Love" from T Rex.  It's not only better than "Fine GF," but the best song on that EP.  Its omission from the album is a minor travesty in and of itself.

"Frk Scn" was my least favorite song on Doodoo Face the first time through, but I'm warming up to it.  The harmonies in this song are unbelievable, and the creativity of it is equally mind-blowing.  It did seem to be a little heavy on production and light on vocal effectiveness at first, but I like it.  "Gettin' Drip" is probably another one of those terms that'll soon enter the vernacular.  It obviously refers to drinking, though more specifically, "pre-partying" which shouldn't really need an explanation.  The song itself sounds like an updated "P.Y.T." which I'm totally okay with, seeing as how its one of my favorite MJ songs.

And this brings us to the title track, and closer, "Doodoo Face."  Lacking any sort of traditional pop song structure, "Doodoo Face" still excels at being both endlessly quotable and ridiculously catchy.  Whether it's "You smellin' like soccer practice," "Look at my funky moon boots," or "Deep sea diving in your junk," chances are there's something in this song that you're going to laugh at, or at the very least smile.  Doodoo Face is filled with these moments and is one of the most fun musical experiences I've had in quite a while.  There are no "girl you done me wrong" moments, no malice or negativity in the lyrics, or occasions where you feel they went too far.  Only the most shallow of critics could dismiss Wallpaper. as another over auto-tuned pop act.  They are so much more.  With wit and talent, Ricky Reed has given us both a pseudo-satirical look at the excesses of the party culture and easily one of the best mainstream pop albums of the decade.  All that from an album featuring an ridiculously iced-out face on its cover.  Not bad.

Key Tracks:
1. "T Rex"
2. "I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted"
3. "ddd"
4. "I Ain't Most Dudes"
5. "Doodoo Face"

8 out of 10 Stars

Click to

Monday, September 21, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Thanks to all of you who entered into the Wallpaper. Giveaway!  In the end, only one person could walk away the winner (duh), and that person is Janell from Chicago!  Congratulations, Janell on the win.  I hope you enjoy the heck out of your album/t-shirt!

For everyone else, remember that Wallpaper's debut, Doodoo Face hits stores and iTunes tomorrow, September 22.  If you're on the fence about it, never fear.  Eenie Meenie has provided the album in its entirely for your streaming pleasure.  CLICK THIS LINK TO CHECK IT OUT! 

Review up by the end of the week.


Click to

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stream the New Flaming Lips Album, Courtesy of Stephen Colbert

If you missed last night's Colbert Report like I did (strict 9:30 pm bedtime policy), then you missed a rousing performance of the song "Convinced of the Hex" from their upcoming album, Embryonic.  Never fear though, because I've embeded the video below for your viewing pleasure.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Flaming Lips - Convinced of the Hex
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

In addition, you can stream Embryonic in its entirety directly from RIGHT NOW!  Personally, I'm abstaining from listening to it until I can get a copy of the album in my hands.  The digital age has made record releases much less of a big deal than they used to be (with leaks and streams, etc.), and a new Flaming Lips album is, to me, a big freakin' deal!  There's nothing like walking anxiously to your car from the record store with a fresh CD in your hands, getting to your car and ripping the shrinkwrap off, and then basking in (what is hopefully) the glory of a fantastic album!

But if none of that matters to you...head on over to and check it out.  Embryonic releases to stores on October 13, 2009.

Click to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Win a Copy of Wallpaper's Debut Album, Doodoo Face and a T-Shirt!

Long time readers of the blog will know that I'm a huge fan of Oakland pop/soul group, Wallpaper and that I'm crazy-excited over the release of Doodoo Face, their debut LP.  Now, it's time for YOU to get excited, because Audio Overflow is giving away a copy of Doodoo Face and a Wallpaper t-shirt courtesy of Eenie Meenie Records!
That's right, folks!  Whereas I paid good money for a pre-order of this hotly anticipated release, you can get Doodoo Face and a totally rad, pharoah-themed shirt for absolutely nothing!

To enter, send an email to with "Wallpaper" in the subject line.  Include your shirt size and contact information in the body of the message, and keep an eye on Audio Overflow for the winner to be announced on Monday, September 21, 2009. 

More details, official rules, and privacy policy are below.  Good luck everybody!

Audio Overflow Wallpaper. Giveaway!

What's Up for Grabs?
1 copy of the Wallpaper. album, Doodoo Face, and
1 Wallpaper. Pharoah Tee
Official Rules:
  1. To enter the Wallpaper Giveaway Contest, send an email to with the following information:
    • Your First and Last Name
    • Primary E-Mail Address
    • Mailing Address where we can send you your prize if you win
    • Your t-shirt size (Adult S, M, L, and XL ONLY)
    • Be sure to enter "Wallpaper" in the Subject Line of your E-mail
  2. The contest will end at 11:59p (Central Standard Time) on Sunday, September 20, 2009.  You will be initially contacted on Monday morning (please provide an E-Mail address to which you can be reached at this time).
  3. The winner of the contest will be chosen at random by the Audio Overflow staff.  Only one entrant will win this contest.
  4. Upon winning the contest, you will be contacted by a member of the Audio Overflow staff via E-Mail.  Should we be unable to contact you after a reasonable amount of time, we will move on to the next person selected at random.
  5. Audio Overflow will share your mailing address to Eenie Meenie Records, who will ship the package to you promptly.  Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
Privacy Policy:
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will Audio Overflow provide your E-mail address to third parties.  In fact, we'll probably delete it it from our E-Mail after this is all over with.  Eenie Meenie Records will only have access to the mailing address of the winner of this contest, and for the sole purpose of getting the prize to the intended recipient.  Trust us, your personal information is of the utmost importance to us.  It's not going anywhere.

Click to

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Muse: "The Resistance"

Muse just barely disappointed me with Black Holes and Revelations, an album critically acclaimed to be their crowning achievement that I found slightly uneven.  I've never thought twice about naming Absolution as my favorite album by the band, and as a follow-up, Black Holes just seemed to be lacking the same focus and drive.  This left room for The Resistance to come in and reclaim what I felt they had lost.  In a way, it does.  Resistance takes the best moments from each album and tries to put its own unique spin on them.  The result is far more hit and miss than Black Holes could have ever dreamt of being, yet still a somewhat rewarding experience for any Muse fan.

What Muse does exceedingly well on The Resistance is the same thing they've always done;  craft loud, smart, beautigul rock music.  "Uprising" feels like a Muse take on a Marilyn Manson song - at least initially.  By the time the third chorus rolls around, you'll most likely be rocking out to the harmonies and Muse-peggios that you've grown accustomed to over the years.  As far as pure, unadulterated rock goes though, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything on this album more satisfying than "United States of Eurasia."  The song is so pretty, yet so raw and real that you'll think you were listening to Queen.  When Matt screams out, "United States!  United States!" I get goosebumps at the sheer awesomeness of it all.  This is classic Muse; something that any long-time fan can instantly fall in love with.

But as I said, The Resistance is a highly uneven listen, and where songs like "Eurasia" will rock your junk clean off, others like "Guiding Light" fall absolutely flat.  It's this album's "Invincible" - really good until you start to see all the flaws in it.  "Undisclosed Desires" is Muse's completely misguided attempt at making a Britney Spears song, which may pander to the "Twilight" crowd (I can't even begin to tell you how much it annoys me when people describe "Supermassive Black Hole" as "that song from Twilight), but it has absolutely no place on this album!  In all fairness, it seems like they're trying to recreate that same song right down to the lyrical content.  But where "Supermassive" had an irresistible rock groove to it, this one is simply boring.  As far as the poppier Muse is concerned, I'll be just fine with "I Belong to You," easily one of the album's finest tracks.  It's got a danceable beat and an infectious feel.  The French interlude is strikingly beautiful, and when everything comes back together again, well, it's just magic!

A review of The Resistance wouldn't be complete without mentioning the 3-part "symphony" that closes out the album.  "Exogenesis" is straight from the Absolution-era of Muse, and for that reason, I can't help but love it!  "Overture" sounds like a roided-out version of "Ruled by Secrecy," the eerie closer to the band's 2003 masterpiece, "Cross-Pollination" is straight out of "Butterflies and Hurricanes," while "Redemption" sort of just stands on its own merits.  As great as these songs are though, they feel entirely tacked-on to the album, which takes away from their greatness a bit.

The biggest flaw of The Resistance in my opinion is the lyrical content.  Matt Bellamy has seemed compelled to write socio-political songs as of late, so seeing it appear all over the album is no big surprise.  But Muse's music alone has always made me want to go take on the whole world.  Writing a song about how we need to rebel against the powers that be and "watch our flag ascend" just seems like a dumbing-down of the music.  Popular music has always been an outlet for speaking out against governments and "fat cats," but Dylan did it much better in the 60s.  Bellamy's lyrics come off as a Saturday-morning cartoons version of the same thing.

Still, there's a lot to like about The Resistance.  There are some fantastic songs on this album, and if you can get over the 3 or 4 dud tracks and the sometimes-silly lyrical content ("Love is our resistance?"  Dear  god, really?!?), you'll find that it is an entirely worthy album to add to your collection.  Yes, Muse is officially an "arena" band, but they're endlessly more talented than any of the other bands occupying the sub-genre.  Take solace in that, and in knowing that in the last 10 years they have yet to let any of us down entirely.

Key Tracks:
1. "Uprising"
2. "Resistance"
3. "United States of Eurasia"
4. "I Belong to You"
5. "Exogenesis: Symphony Pt. 1:  Overture"

7 out of 10 Stars

Click to

Monday, September 14, 2009

29 in 2009: The Final 9

Many thanks go out to all of you who voted for your favorite albums to be featured in the final 9 slots in the 29 in 2009 series.  As of the moment of this writing, I've added up all the votes and come up with the winners of the voting.  Unfortunately, not every record could make it (obviously), but I am pretty happy with the results of the voting.  It's filled with stuff I've heard in passing, stuff I've never heard of, and stuff I'm pretty sure I'm going to loathe (lookin' at you, Sonic Youth).

Check out the full list of 29 after the break, as well as the total votes that each album received.  Click HERE to check it out!

Click to

29 in 2009 - R.E.M.: "Murmur"

R.E.M.: Murmur
Originally Released: April 2, 1983
Genres: Alternative Rock
Rating: 7 out of 10

One Word and One Sentence

1. "Radio Free Europe" - Overrated. This is a good song, but it has been hailed as this great game-changer in rock music which unfortunately leaves me with unrealized expectations.

2. "Pilgrimage" - Lacking. It's got boring verses and a semi-weak hook, which I've always sort of associated with R.E.M. anyway.

3. "Laughing" - Good. I like the guitars and the slight harmonies enough to call this song a classic in and of itself.

4. "Talk About the Passion" - Influential. This song just sounds like it could've been a Nirvana song 10 years later, only it would've had to be severely dumbed down for that to happen.

5. "Moral Kiosk" - Meh. The song's got a really cool groove, but its wasted by Michael Stipe's lyrical and melodic nonsense.

6. "Perfect Circle" - Lame. The obligatory ballad makes an appearance.

7. "Catapult" - Perfect. The only song on this album that I've actually been compelled to listen to over and over again.

8. "Sitting Still" - Worthy. The groove of "Moral Kiosk" with the catchiness of "Catapult"...yes, please.

9. "9-9" - Disappointing. Guitars this cool shouldn't have to deal with Stipe.

10. "Shaking Through" - Late. I feel like I would've loved the heck out of this song in 1995, but nowadays it's just not doing a thing for me.

11. "We Walk" - Simple. Proof that basic riffs and a classic sound don't always equal a poor, outdated song.

12. "West of the Fields" - Worst. Hook...ever.

Verdict: Almost Classic

Click to