New Music Discovery | The Mowgli’s

I was listening to the radio the other day and I felt like I was hearing the same songs over and over again. It made me wonder why I hadn’t heard anything new and exciting lately. Oddly, the very next song that came on reached up and grabbed my attention. I had never heard it before, so I whipped out my cell phone and Shazam’d the jam. The result — The Mowgli’s San Francisco.

The Mowglis | San Francisco

The Mowgli’s

I don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of The Mowgli’s before. I’ve done some research on them since my introduction a few days ago. The Mowgli’s are an eight-piece band from the San Fernando Valley. They definitely look and sound like a group from southern California. The info section of The Mowgli’s website says “their harmonies carry a message of universal love and togetherness.” They released a fun-filled, five-song EP titled Love’s Not Dead at the end of October.

The EP is highlighted by The Mowgli’s San Francisco. It’s a catchy tune that you can sing along to. I’m not sure how to describe the band’s sound. It seems like a mix of pop, punk, folk and rock. I know that’s a terrible description, but that’s the best I can offer you. All I really know is that it’s hard not to smile when you listen to San Francisco (especially when you watch the music video — it’s like a glorified Coke commercial). Take a look and a listen!

The Mowgli’s San Francisco is the best jam on the EP, but there are a couple other interesting songs. Time is an acoustic solo by the band’s lead singer (I have no idea what his name is). The song touches on a dislike for work and hoping to win the lottery “so I can tell B of A (Bank of America) to kiss my a**,” and it also encourages listeners to not care what other people think and “just be who you want to be.” The song definitely isn’t for everyone, but that clearly doesn’t bother The Mowgli’s. In fact, that just might be the point.

The Mowglis | San Francisco

The Mowgli’s

Carry Your Will honestly sounds like a song you’d hear in church. The lyrics include ”Lord have mercy on me,” and the song refers to a “house built on sand” like The Bible verse Matthew 7:26. The Mowgli’s constantly repeat “Let your faith guide your faith” and “If you carry your will, I will carry my will.” I’m definitely not deep enough to understand this one, but believe it or not, it has a decent sound (again, not knowing what in the world — or out of this world – The Mowgli’s are singing about).

The Mowgli’s Love’s Not Dead EP also features The Great Divide and Slowly, Slowly. I’ve listened to each of them a few times, but I haven’t put as much effort into those tunes as San Francisco, Time and Carry Your Will. The Great Divide seems like a pretty catchy tune, too. I’ll report back after I’ve given it a few more listens.

All in all, I think The Mowgli’s EP is a bit up and down, but there’s one really good song – San Francisco. For that, I don’t regret paying $4 for the EP on iTunes. The Mowgli’s appear to have a committed following, and they’re kicking off a cross-country tour this spring, which includes stops in Seattle, New York, Boston, Milwaukee and several other cities. I’m really interested to see what the future holds for The Mowgli’s. We’ll find out soon enough.

What did you think of The Mowgli’s San Francisco? Had you ever heard the song before now? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more from the world of music right now on http://allaroundtim.com.

 

The Lumineers | Don’t Wanna Go

I thank Pandora over and over again for introducing me to songs and bands that I’ve never heard before. I recently created a station for The Lumineers, and I can’t stop listening to it now. Pandora even showcases some of The Lumineers songs I’ve never heard before. One of the jams that really grabbed my attention was ’Don’t Wanna Go’.

There are probably a lot of Lumineers fans who don’t know ’Don’t Wanna Go.’ I hadn’t heard it until it randomly came across Pandora. ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ is from The Lumineers demo EP which was released on December 15, 2009. The group sounds much different on their demo than they do now. It’s probably even hard for some people to realize it’s The Lumineers actually singing ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ (I had to double-check as well). It really shows how much they’ve grown and developed as a band since then. Take a listen:

It doesn’t sound much like The Lumineers, does it? I still think it’s a solid song though. Believe it or not, The Lumineers still appreciate how ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ and the six other songs (including ‘Flowers In Your Hair’, ‘Classy Girls’ and ‘Submarines’, which also appear (jazzed up a bit) on The Lumineers debut album) turned out on their 2009 EP:

Don't Wanna Go | The Lumineers

The Lumineers demo EP cover art

“Our EP was a demo quality and we liked the way it sounded,” drummer Jeremiah Fraites told PhillyBurbs.com last July. “It took us four or five years to find our humility and find our vulnerability and we stand behind that, having that vulnerable sound and letting it all hang out. We thought, if someone can play any of these songs on just a guitar or just a piano, then it’s probably a good song. Then we loved dressing them up with drums, cello, violin…but we really liked that raw quality.”

The ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ lyrics are a little darker than you’re probably used to hearing from The Lumineers (“There’s some blood around her, etc.), but that was more common for the band a few years ago. Fraites’ brother Josh died of a drug overdose when he was 19 (a tragedy that actually sparked Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz to start making music together), so Fraites says he understand the depths of grief and misery. He admits The Lumineers used to write “depressing songs that were about darker stuff.” ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ seems to fit that “darker stuff” category. They felt if they were “serious,” people would listen to them. The Lumineers obviously changed their tune since then, and folks are listening to them more than ever.

I’m a fan of The Lumineers, but I don’t consider myself a crazed fanatic. I couldn’t tell you where the band is playing right now, their favorite foods, or anything wild like that. I do know that I love their music and I continue to be blown away by them. Whether it’s ‘Don’t Wanna Go’, ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem‘, a new song I saw them perform in concert, or anything else that randomly pops up – the hits keep coming from The Lumineers. I can’t wait to hear what come up next!

Have you listened to The Lumineers ‘Don’t Wanna Go’? What do you think of it? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more from the world of music on http://allaroundtim.com!

New Music Discovery | The Apache Relay

I was listening to Pandora the other day when a song reached out and grabbed my attention. I was shaving at the time, so with my hands sopping wet, I risked the life of my iPad to see what it was. The song was called ‘Lost Kid’ by The Apache Relay. It’s the first time I’d ever seen or heard the name The Apache Relay. ’Lost Kid’ made enough of an impact on me that I decided to investigate the band more tonight.

I downloaded The Apache Relay’s American Nomad album a few hours ago and I already can’t get enough of it. The album isn’t new to most fans (it was released on April 12, 2011), but it’s new to me. ’Lost Kid‘ appears to be the most popular song on the album, and it’s probably my favorite as well. I started the album from the top and listened to the whole thing (I’m listening to it again as I write this). Right when ‘Lost Kid’ came on, I couldn’t help but start snapping. Take a listen for yourself!

I like most of the songs on the album. ‘Can’t Wake Up‘, ‘Sets Me Free‘, ’Home Is Not Places‘, ‘Mission Bells‘ and ’American Nomad‘ also really stick out. I started singing along with these guys and I had never even heard their jams before. That’s how catchy the album was for me. There are a couple of songs on the album that didn’t really grab me right out of the gates, including ‘When I Come Home‘ and ‘State Trooper‘ (although I’ve come around on State Trooper after listening to it a couple of times).

The Apache Relay

The Apache Relay

I think The Apache Relay already has an awesome sound, but some argue they’re even better live.

“They’ve got kind of an Arcade Fire meets boys raised on gospel and Bruce Springsteen approach to what they do, and they’re called The Apache Relay,” said the Huffington Post. ”They’re a fantastic live band.”

One of the commentors on the American Nomad page on iTunes backed that up by saying, “I really like this album, but to see these guys live is much better than the album.”

It sounds like The Apache Relay tour the country like crazy (they reportedly performed more than 100 dates in 2011 alone), so finding a show shouldn’t be too difficult. The only problem is — it doesn’t look like they travel out west very often. I’m still going to keep my eyes peeled for a show in Seattle, because I definitely want to see and hear more from The Apache Relay.

Have you ever listened to The Apache Relay? What is your favorite song? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

The Apache Relay Live

The Apache Relay

 

How AWOLNATION Won Me Over

I watched every act at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 in Seattle (there were nine different bands), and there wasn’t a bigger surprise than the AWOLNATION concert. They arguably put on the best show of anyone (aside from maybe The Killers) at the eight-hour musicfest. Not only did AWOLNATION keep you guessing at what was coming next, they also kept you really active.

AWOLNATION Concert | Deck The Hall Ball

AWOLNATION performs at Deck The Hall Ball

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the AWOLNATION concert at Deck The Hall Ball. I knew their hit song ‘Sail‘, but I had to do some research to learn more about them. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to their album. I assumed most of AWOLNATION’s songs sounded like ‘Sail’, but that wasn’t the case. They had much more range than I expected — and that’s exactly what they showed during their concert as well.

The AWOLNATION concert started with the group coming on stage and immediately head banging and screaming “AWOLNATION” over and over again. With a name like AWOLNATION, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I wasn’t really expecting that. The band then stopped rocking out, and kicked into their first song which was much more calm. It was a strange introduction to them.

The routine of head-banging one second, and then kicking into a song with a much different tone continued for the first chunk of the AWOLNATION concert. You never really knew what was coming next, so it was also a little hard to follow. I know I wasn’t the only one thinking that, because my friend Tove and my sister, who were with me at Deck The Hall Ball, were confused to. Aside from the passionate AWOLNATION fans, I honestly think several people in the crowd weren’t really sure how to respond.

The AWOLNATION concert started to shift in the right direction when the group performed ‘All I Need’. The song is as far from head banging as you can find. It’s actually a good jam, and one I downloaded before Deck The Hall Ball. Before he kicked into the song, AWOLNATION lead singer Aaron Bruno encouraged everyone to put their arms around the people next to them. As he was singing ‘All I Need’ the crowd swayed together in unison. A little later into the song, Bruno asked everyone to wave a lighter or cell phone to “make it really cheesy” (in his words). This was easily one of the most fun moments of Deck The Hall Ball, and one that definitely won over the naysayers (including my sister and Tove). The video of AWOLNATION performing ‘All I Need’ at Deck The Hall Ball is actually the most watched video on the 107.7 The End (the station that hosted Deck The Hall Ball) website right now. Check it out!

After the song was over, Bruno admitted that AWOLNATION doesn’t normally play in front of huge crowds like Deck The Hall Ball (capacity at KeyArena for concerts is more than 16,000). He said while that was probably cool for us to see, it was cool for them as well, staring out at the large audience from the stage. You could tell it was a moment that really meant a lot to him.

Everyone was sold on AWOLNATION after that. The place bobbed, weaved and rocked (yes, there was even a mosh pit) to their next few songs. Bruno wasn’t done having fun with the crowd. He was the puppeteer and we were his puppets — happy to do whatever he told us. He even started the wave in KeyArena, and did a stage dive while still singing AWOLNATION’s final song of the night.

Since it was a nine band event, the AWOLNATION concert was only about 50 minutes. That was more than enough time for me to decide that I’d go see them again without hesitation. I’ve even downloaded their entire album since Deck The Hall Ball. I’m sure AWOLNATION isn’t for everyone, but I know they’re definitely for me.

Have you ever seen an AWOLNATION concert? I’d love to hear what you think about them. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

The Lumineers Perform Untitled New Song

It should come as no surprise, but it sounds like The Lumineers are working on some new tunes. How can I tell? They performed a new song at Deck The Hall Ball in Seattle this week, and I was there to see it live. The Lumineers say the song is so new that they don’t even have a name for it yet (although I’m guessing they’ll call it ’Falling’ in the future).

The new song is a duet between Wesley Schultz and Neyla Pekarek (with the two often repeating “falling” in the lyrics), and they’re joined by Jeremiah Fraites on the keyboard at the end of the song. I just so happened to be recording on The Lumineers’ set when they performed their new song at Deck The Hall Ball. Take a look/listen!

NOTE: The Lumineers need to utilize Neyla Pekarek’s voice more often — she’s obviously a fan favorite.

The new song already has several fans. My sister, who was at Deck The Hall Ball with me, immediately asked if I recorded the new song (I should probably just call it ‘Falling’, so I don’t keep writing “new song” over and over again). Once I told her that I did, she insisted that I send her the video right away. I also posted a link to my video on Twitter, and a friend of mine responded by saying that “The @thelumineers new song is already a favorite of mine. So very sweet.”

The Lumineers | New Song | Falling

The Luminers at Deck The Hall Ball

The Lumineers seemed to enjoy their time at Deck The Hall Ball. On top of ‘Falling’, they performed ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem‘, ‘Classy Girls’, ‘The Big Parade’, ‘Ho Hey‘ and several others. ‘Ho Hey’ actually received one of the largest cheers of the night at KeyArena (nine bands played at Deck The Hall Ball, so that’s really saying something). The crowd erupted after The Lumineers played the first note of their hit song. The band also led a fun sing-along to ‘Stubborn Love’, which included the audience singing the chorus (“So keep your head up, keep your love”) at different volumes. At one point, The Lumineers even asked everyone to put their cell phones away to “just be in the moment” with them. I thought that was pretty cool, so I put my phone directly into my pocket.

The Lumineers truly seemed to be in awe by the Deck The Hall Ball crowd. It wasn’t just your ordinary artists-sucking-up-to-the-audience either. It seemed very genuine. They admitted that KeyArena (16,641 capacity for concerts) is the largest venue they’ve ever played. The Lumineers also reminisced about some of the smaller joints they headlined in Seattle leading up to their appearance at Deck The Hall Ball. They even credited Seattle for jump-starting what turned into a huge year for them (some say the band’s leap to stardom began at the 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party). A big year got even bigger for The Lumineers the day after Deck The Hall Ball when they were nominated for a Grammy. The group is one of three bands up for Best New Artist.

It’s still to be seen if The Lumineers new song (‘Falling’ — or ‘Fallin” as one of my YouTube friends suggested) is going to end up on a new album, or if The Lumineers will just perform it in concert like ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem’. My friend Tove says it sounds like a song they came up with in their tour van (or whatever they cruise around in). No matter where the new song ends up, The Lumineers are coming up with new material and that’s a huge bonus for all of us.

What do you think of The Lumineers new song? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Nine Bands, One Great Show

It’s not often you find The Killers, M83, Metric, Awolnation, Passion Pit, The Lumineers, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men, and The Joy Formidable all on the same stage in one night, but it happened at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 in Seattle. I was one of the few people who was actually there from beginning to end, and it was worth every second of my time.

The Joy Formidable jump started Deck The Hall Ball 2012. KeyArena was pretty empty at the time, but that didn’t prevent them from straight rocking out. There are only three members of The Joy Formidable, but it sounds like there are more people on stage when they’re jamming. They play hard, especially lead singer Ritzy Bryan. She’s a little fireball, springing all over the stage like the Energizer Bunny. They only had time to play four songs, so The Joy Formidable left their mark by smashing their instruments at the end of their set (guitars were thrown and drums went crashing to the stage). One of the personalities from 107.7 The End (the station that puts on Deck The Hall Ball) came out afterwards and called it “the most ferocious start to Deck The Hall Ball ever.”

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

Next on stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012: Of Monsters and Men. This was one of the groups I was most interested in seeing. I bought their album months ago (before their songs were even on the radio), but I wasn’t sure how they’d sound live. I was really impressed by Of Monsters and Men. They have a very mellow tone on their album, but they weren’t afraid to jam out on stage. Of Monsters and Men kept the crowd involved as well. They split the audience for a sing along on ‘Mountain Sound‘ (half of KeyArena sang “Hold your horses now,” while the other sang “We sleep until the sun goes down,” etc.), and everyone in the crowd sang every word to ’Little Talks‘ without urging from the band. I really wish Of Monsters and Men had more time on stage at Deck The Hall Ball, but that’s the way these events go. I’ll just have to hunt them down again.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 rolled from Of Monsters and Men right into Grouplove. They started their set with ‘Itchin’ On A Photograph‘, which got everyone amped up for them. The crowd gave Grouplove their largest ovation after ‘Tongue Tied‘ though. Grouplove also played the only cover at Deck The Hall Ball by rocking their own version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Aside from Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi (the most recognizable members of Grouplove), drummer Ryan Rabin stole the show. He rocked out the entire set and then did some crowd surfing before he left the stage.

There was no group I was more excited to see at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 than The Lumineers. It was honestly a little hard to come down to their level at first, because everyone else had rocked so hard before them. The Lumineers were easily the most mellow band of the night. I definitely don’t mean that as an insult, because they put on a great show (and they were just as rad as I hoped they’d be). Leading up to their set, no song got a bigger burst from the crowd than ‘Ho Hey‘. The place erupted after The Lumineers played the first note. The Lumineers loved to engage the audience as well. They had a lot of fun with ‘Ho Hey’, but the best follow-the-leader was ‘Stubborn Love‘. The Lumineers even performed a new song (it’s so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet) at Deck The Hall Ball. I just happened to be recording when they played it, so take a listen:

Passion Pit took the stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 after The Lumineers. This was actually the second time I saw Passion Pit this year. I also watched them perform live at Bumbershoot in Seattle over the summer. I was pumped to see them again this time around, but I wound up a little disappointed. It’s not their fault though. Passion Pit had the KeyArena crowd moving the entire time. The biggest problem is that I was in the upper deck, so I wasn’t anywhere near the active audience (unlike Bumbershoot when I was in the middle of the fray). After Deck The Hall Ball came to an end, I remember raving about so many bands, but Passion Pit never came into the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, Passion Pit put on a great show but they just didn’t do anything extremely memorable. I’d still go see them again the next time they roll through town.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Awolnation

Awolnation

Awolnation was one of the great unknowns for me at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. If you’ve listened to their album, you know they have a lot of range, and they really showed that off during their set as well. They were actually a little hard to grasp at first. One second Awolnation was headbanging, and then the next they were playing the more poppy ‘Kill Your Heroes‘. I think there were a lot of people who didn’t know what to think of them early on, but Awolnation won the crowd over with ‘All I Need‘. It’s a slower song, so frontman Aaron Bruno had everyone put their arms around the folks next to them as they played. Everyone swayed together to the music, and then Bruno encouraged the crowd to wave a lighter or cell phone (to make it “really cheesy” in his words). I think it was the most entertaining moment of the night. Bruno wasn’t done after that. He led the audience in the wave, and then crowd surfed while singing his final song. I think Awolnation put on arguably the best show of the night. I’d definitely pay to see them perform again.

Awolnation was a tough act to follow, and unfortunately it was up to Metric to keep the crowd going. They failed miserably though. I didn’t know anything about Metric (aside from the one song (‘Breathing Underwater‘) they played on the radio leading up to Deck The Hall Ball), and I don’t care to know more about them now. I can’t be the only one who feels that way. The audience seemed disinterested during their set. There was no movement in the crowd, no one was taking pictures or video of them (like they were for all the other groups), and several people actually walked out during their performance. It was relatively dead inside KeyArena for Metric. They just never captured the crowd. They were easily the biggest flop of the night.

Let’s talk about a group that did capture the audience — M83. These guys are unlike anyone else who played Deck The Hall Ball 2012. M83 is more electronic and instrumental than anything. They’re more about flashing lights and jamming out than signing many lyrics. Several people in the crowd even whipped out their glow sticks for their set. I have to admit that M83 doesn’t exactly tickle my earlobes, but they were very entertaining. They jammed and jammed and jammed for a full 50 minutes. I took this video of M83 performing ‘Midnight City‘, so you could get a feel for what their set was like:

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | The Killers

The Killers

The Killers were the headliners for Deck The Hall Ball 2012. There’s a good reason they were the last to perform. The Killers put on an incredible show. They just seemed so much more seasoned at performing live than the rest of the acts at the event. They had a more dynamic setup than anyone else, including a 30+ foot video board hanging behind them and confetti that came shooting out during one of their songs. The stage just seemed bigger for them, and lead singer Brandon Flowers kills it (no pun intended). The Killers were the only group to get everyone in the crowd on their feet for their entire set. They were also the only band that had every person singing every word to every song. I honestly didn’t realize The Killers had so many hits until Deck The Hall Ball. They just kept coming one after another. It was an awesome atmosphere and a perfect way to wrap up the night.

The Joy Formidable took the stage at 3pm and The Killers walked off the stage at 11:30pm, so it was nearly nine hours of music at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. I was introduced to new bands, rocked out to some of my favorite songs and even waved my cell phone (in place of a lighter) at a concert for the first time in my life. It was easily worth every penny I paid for my tickets. I’m already bracing myself for Deck The Hall Ball 2013.

Were you in the crowd for Deck The Hall Ball 2012? Who was your favorite/least favorite band? I’d love to hear how the night went for you! Please leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

Hot Cheetos And Takis | Viral Rap Video

There are too many times I wonder, “How in the world did this video get so many views?” Some videos go viral, they get their 15 minutes of fame, and then we never think of them again. This is NOT one of those videos. I was introduced to ‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’ last night, and now I can’t get the song out of my head.

‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’ is performed by the Y.N.RichKids. They have a really, really, really cool story, but I’ll let you watch the video before I get into that:

NOTE: For those of you who don’t know what Takis are (I didn’t know either) –> click here.

‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’ is pretty good, right? I’m personally a big fan of the first kid named Dame Jones, but I also really like Ben 10 (the little guy who comes screaming onto the scene at the 2:45 mark of the video). Those two are my favorites, but let’s be real – all of these kids are rad.

Hot Cheetos And Takis

Screenshot from ‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’

Here’s the best part:

These kids are part of a YMCA after-school program in Minneapolis called Beats and Rhymes. The program gives kids the opportunity to make rap music as a reward for keeping up with their schoolwork. Each kid has to finish their homework before they can take part in that day’s rap session. The end result — awesomeness on all levels.

The ‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’ video has nearly four million views in just three months. You can even find it on iTunes now. The fun doesn’t stop there either. The Y.N.RichKids actually have several other completed music projects that you can find on their website.

What do you think of ‘Hot Cheetos and Takis’? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a message below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports, travel and more!

New Music Discovery | Grouplove

I honestly didn’t know much about the band Grouplove until about a week ago. That’s when I bought tickets to Deck The Hall Ball in Seattle which features The Killers, The Lumineers, Passion Pit, Grouplove and five other bands. I obviously wanted to get a feel for everyone I’m going to see at KeyArena in December, so I did some research into Grouplove (which is also often written as GROUPLOVE).

I was familiar with two of their songs, but had no idea it was Grouplove that sang them. Their most popular song ‘Tongue Tied‘ was featured on an iPod Touch commercial. It’s a good jam, but I actually like ‘Itchin’ On A Photograph‘ better. They recently started playing it on the radio around here, and I even Shazam’d it a couple of weeks ago because I liked it so much – again not realizing it was Grouplove at the time.

If you’re not familiar with Grouplove — this song might sound familiar to you:

Grouplove | Never Trust a Happy SongAside from ‘Tongue Tied’ (which reached No. 1 on the Billboard alternative chart) and ‘Itchin’ on a Photograph’ (watch the official video), Grouplove is new to me. I literally just bought their debut album Never Trust A Happy Song (and I’m listening to it right now), so you’re getting my first reaction to all of their songs. The album name is actually pretty misleading (which was probably the point) because most of Grouplove’s songs sound like happy songs. I really like ‘Colours‘, ‘Lovely Cup‘, the catchy ‘Chloe‘ and the slowed down ‘Cruel And Beautiful World‘. At the same time, Never Trust a Happy Song seems to lull through ‘Slow‘ and ‘Naked Kids‘ (it’s either a terrible pop song or they’re making fun on pop songs — I can’t tell — and that’s not a good thing), before picking up steam with ‘Spun‘ and then finishing pretty strong from there.

There’s no voice coach in the world who would praise lead singer/songwriter Christian Zucconi, but I think he’s what makes Grouplove what they are. The iTunes review of Never Trust a Happy Song says “Zucconi has a wonderful quality in his voice, part unleashed puppy and part unhinged young artist.” When Grouplove strays from Zucconi in the lead role, that’s when the album loses it’s luster. When he’s in charge — it’s hard to find a more unique sound.

Have you listened to Grouplove before? What do you think of them? I’d love to hear from you! Simply leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports, travel and more!

Searching For That Original Sublime Sound

This might sound crazy to you, but I love Sublime. That’s right — Sublime. They’re my favorite band of all-time even though they haven’t recorded an album in more than 15 years. I’ve searched over and over again to find more of that unique Sublime sound, but it’s hard to find a replacement. More than a few bands have tried over the years though…

Sublime album art

My favorite album of all-time

Sublime is the first band I ever attached to. I remember listening to their self-titled Sublime album when I was in the shower one day as a teenager. My sister, who is seven years older than me, had never heard me listening to music like this before, so she peeked into the bathroom and asked, “Are you listening to Sublime?!” I couldn’t see the look on her face, but her voice told me she was stunned. Her little brother was finally growing up and listening to real music.

The self-titled Sublime album is still my favorite album to this day. I rocked out to it with friends through high school (it’s how I even got the nickname Lew Dog), and it became our album in college as well. It was also my jam every time I made long road trips home after I moved away for my career. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to that album, but I’d guess thousands of times. I can sing every word to every song, and I still crank my stereo when I hear Sublime come on the radio. They’re as fun to listen to now as they were when I was 16.

You can never replace Sublime, because they were so unique. Every since Bradley Nowell overdosed on drugs in 1996, the other members of the band have tried repeating the sound several times. Bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh formed the Long Beach Dub Allstars, and then later created Long Beach Shortbus with singer RAS-1. Long Beach Shortbus broke up in 2007, so Wilson and Gaugh finally went separate ways. In 2009, the two came back together with Rome Ramirez to restart Sublime. Nowell’s estate wouldn’t allow them to use the name Sublime, so they changed the band’s name to Sublime with Rome.

Rome Sublime

Sublime with Rome

Sublime with Rome only played original Sublime songs for a long time, but they finally recorded their own debut album called Yours Truly in 2011. I own the two Long Beach Dub Allstars albums and the one Long Beach Shortbus album, but Yours Truly seems like the closest thing you’ll find to the real, old Sublime. The best (and most Sublime-like) song on the album is ‘Panic (the acoustic version on the Delux Album is good too), and ‘Lovers Rock has a very Sublime sound as well. With all that said, Sublime with Rome is still not the real Sublime.

I was actually listening to the radio the other day when I heard a random song. I honestly thought to myself, “This sounds like Sublime!” I quickly pulled out my cell phone and Shazam’d it. The title: ‘Lay Me Down’ by The Dirty Heads featuring Rome from Sublime (at this point I didn’t even realize Sublime with Rome existed). I liked the song enough to check out The Dirty Heads on iTunes. The group released its second album in June. Again, The Dirty Heads have a very similar sound to Sublime (I like the song ‘Spread Too Thin), but they just can’t match it (not that they’re even trying to do that). As weird as it sounds – The Dirty Heads just aren’t explicit enough. Sublime jammed about sex, drugs and riots, while The Dirty Heads sing about hanging out with friends at a cabin by the sea.

The Long Beach Dub Allstars, Long Beach Shortbus, Sublime with Rome and The Dirty Heads are all solid in their own right (and I’ll probably listen to more of their jams as time goes on), but they definitely don’t matchup to the original Sublime. I realize now that no one ever will compare to Sublime, but that’s OK. Sublime’s old recordings are never going away and I’ll surely play them on repeat for the rest of my life.

Are you a Sublime fun? What do you think of the alternatives like Sublime with Rome or The Dirty Heads? I would love to hear from you! Simply leave a comment below or connect with me on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to check out more of my take on music at http://allaroundtim.com!

New Music Discovery | Lucas Field

What happened to Low vs Diamond? That’s the question I asked myself this morning. So, being the music nerd that I am, I jumped online to find the answer. It turns out the group disbanded in 2010, and all of the members have shot off in different directions. Former Low vs Diamond frontman Lucas Field has actually started his own solo act, and he’s already released his debut LP.

Lucas Field Low vs Diamond Frontman

Low vs Diamond performing in Seattle

Before I dig too deep – I want to share a little background about Low vs Diamond: My sister introduced me to the band a few years ago after she saw them perform in Canada. Since we have a very similar taste in music, she knew I would like them — and I did. I listened to their album over and over again, especially when I was at the gym. I guarantee ‘Don’t Forget Sister‘ is one of the most played songs on my old iPod. ‘Heart Attack‘ and ‘Cinema Tonight‘ weren’t very far behind. I liked Low vs Diamond so much, I even saw them perform live in Seattle (probably not long before they broke up). My sister and I were both convinced these guys were destined for stardom. They even received rave reviews from Rolling Stone, performed on the Late Show With David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and then Low vs Diamond went silent.

Fast forward to 2012…

Lucas Field Singer Songwriter

LucasField.com

Low vs Diamond lead singer Lucas Field now lives on a houseboat in Seattle with his basset hound Andre. At least that’s what his Twitter account says. Field released his debut LP called Conquest of Happiness in November of 2011. It’s a much, much different sound than I was expecting. I thought there would be some glimmer of Low vs Diamond in there, but it’s not even close. Field’s voice is familiar, but that’s about it. The album actually has an R&B/soul feel to it, and his website describes the LP as “old school lounge.”

It’s easy to hear that Lucas Field is a talented singer-songwriter, but his album definitely doesn’t blow me away. There’s just not a ton of variety, so a lot of the songs sound the same. I feel like I’m hearing to the same track over and over again, but I’m really not. With that said, there are a few jams I like. My favorite song on the album is ’Start From Scratch‘ and I also dig ‘Givin It All Ya Got‘.

I don’t know what’s ahead for Lucas Field, because there are no future tour dates listed on his website. Aside from a couple shows in California, it looks like Field pretty much just plays in Seattle (which is OK with me since I live in the Emerald City).

If you didn’t know Low vs Diamond, you might love Lucas Field as a solo act (and I hope you do). But for a guy who really liked Low vs Diamond, I find Lucas Field’s album disappointing. That’s not his fault; it’s mine. I went into this hoping to hear a new version of Low vs Diamond – instead I found “old school lounge.” I set my expectations way too high and they fell plenty short. It’s still honestly a little hard to swallow.

What do you think of Lucas Field as a solo act? Were you a fan of Low vs Diamond? I would love to hear from you. Simply leave a message below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more of my music reviews right now on http://allaroundtim.com.