Tuesday, 28 January 2014

10 Great Songs By Women and Their Pianos

Women are sexy. I especially enjoy it when a woman gets in front of piano and belts out a tune. Can't exactly put my finger why i've always been partial to this combination but it has been one of the longest constants in my music appreciating career. Here are 10 Great Songs By Female Pianists...thats a tricky ending right there.

1. A Fine Frenzy - "Almost Lover"

A Fine Frenzy is Californian artist Alison Sudol's stage name. In 2007 she released her debut album One Cell In The Sea and much of it's success was fueled by the dark, reminiscing single "Almost Lover". Unrequited love...a globally accessible theme.

2. Regina Spektor - "Samson"

As a Russian-born singer songwriter, Regina Spektor found herself on the indie scene of New York's East Village. Some songs on this list are fully produced with backing vocalists and accompanying instruments, yet this one is simply a girl and her piano. So divine. I love the parallels Regina plays with here, between a modern and biblical relationship.

3. Chantal Kreviazuk - "God Made Me"

Canada's Chantal Kreviazuk burst on the scene in 1996 with her album Under These Rocks & Stones. Her talent and likeability made her a common feature on Much Music (Canada's MTV...don't worry it doesn't play videos anymore either) and she would later go on to form one of the Country's first power music couples when she married Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida.

4. Amanda Palmer - "Runs In The Family"

You may know Amanda Palmer as one half of The Dresden Dolls, a punk-cabaret fusion group from Boston. Lately she's been branching out on her own, but the old Dresden style hasn't gone far. Her debut solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer was produced by Ben Folds and featured this fun little track "Runs In The Family"

5. Tori Amos - "A Sorta Fairytale"

Perhaps the Queen of modern pianists Tori Amos was the youngest person ever to be awarded a scholarship to The Peabody Institute, a musical school at John Hopkins University. She was five. Her path took to her a more rock influenced sound and has enjoyed a successful, if not cult, career ever since. Her songs were praised for their emotional content and controversial subjects such as abortion, sexuality and religion.

6. Imogen Heap - "Thriller"

Yes it's a Michael Jackson cover, but it's an incredibly well done cover. Really focuses in on the isolation and helplessness the song speaks about by removing all but one instrument. Fabulous.

7. Lenka - "Everything At Once"

Lenka is Lenka Kripac from Australia who has also dabbled in acting and has been in a few TV shows down under. Her songs are quirky, yet catchy and is known to use a tiny, strapped piano during her live shows. You may know this song as the theme to a recent Windows 8 campaign.

8. Halestorm - "Break In"

Halestorm is a Pennsylvania group formed by siblings Arejay and Lzzy Hale. While their songs feature more instruments than just the piano Lzzy has gone out on her own to do solo pianist work. Even performed this song "Break In" before a Halestorm concert with Amy Lee from Evanescence.

9. Vanessa Carlton - "A Thousand Miles"

I'm sure this one is known to many people as the song with the video with the flying piano. Vanessa has been playing piano since a young age and even toyed with ballet. Her first album in 2002 Be Not Nobody got her the attention she needed to begin a long, successful career as a solo artist. Countless hit songs and 3 Grammy nods later i'd say she made it.

10. Alicia Keys - "No One"

Ending with the talented Alicia Keys. Nothing much to say about this one besides letting the music speak for itself. Imagine if someone wrote a song like this for you?

Thanks again all!

Hit me up with some ideas!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

10 Great Songs About Monsters

Since the dawn of time man has been blessed with curiosity. Through that curiosity ancient humans had discovered some things that maybe they didn't understand or couldn't explain and often what that resulted in was a creation of a god or a beast who could be held responsible. Every culture has it's folklore and myths full of fantastic creatures that were inspired by real animals or unknown phenomena. Today our own art, movies, stories and even music are being inspired by those ancient chronicles. Here are 10 great songs about monsters.

1. 3 Inches Of Blood - "Destroy The Orcs"

For our first inductee we don't have to journey that far back into the annals of myth. What people generally refer to as orcs these days were created by JRR Tolkien in his Lord Of The Rings saga. Orcs were usually described as evil, deformed humanoids known for their war mongering. "Destroy The Orcs" can be found on British Columbia band 3 Inches Of Blood's debut album Battlecry Under A Winter Sun.

2. The Unicorns - "I Was Born A Unicorn"

Though Unicorns aren't typically called "monsters" they are still figments of myth from days long passed. Many cultures have stories of horses with large spiraled horns protruding from their foreheads, the Chinese, Medieval England, even the Bible wrote about Unicorns which stemmed the joke that they missed the Ark. Montreal's The Unicorns included an allude to that joke in their namesake song  "I Was Born A Unicorn"

3. Caribou - "Yeti"

The yeti is Bigfoot's Himalayan cousin, also known as The Abominable Snowman. Sherpa's and explorers of the mountains have reported large hairy apemen causing all kinds of ruckus through the snow. Though no concrete evidence has ever been brought forward, tales and sightings are still reported every year. Caribou is  one of Canadian musician Daniel Victor Snaith's stage names. Hmm 3 Canadian acts to kick off this list....we really dig our mythology up here.

4. Chixdiggit - "Chupacabras"

Fourth Canadian group!! The Chupacabra is Mexico and Latin America's resident crytpid (fancy word for unknown animal). It's reported as being the size of a fox with large spines on it's back and glowing red eyes. Another name for it is the goat sucker because of it's habit to kill livestock and drain them almost entirely of their blood.

5. Mastodon - "Megalodon"

There are many Mastodon songs I could've picked here but I went with "Megalodon" off their knockout album Leviathan. Mastodon. Leviathan. Megalodon. Any of those would've worked I guess. I love metal bands. The Megalodon was a prehistoric giant shark that would grow over 50ft long and had teeth over 7 inches! There is some speculation that they still swim the deep waters today. A rumour that the Discovery Channel did no help of crushing when they kicked off Shark Week with a mockumentary about the beast.

6. Coheed & Cambria - "Devil In Jersey City"

While this song is not about the famed Jersey Devil as Coheed's songs all follow the same narrative of the fictional Amory Wars. This song off their first record does play on the legendary creature's name. The Jersey Devil gained attention when Pine Barrens residents reported hoof-like footprints in the snow that seemed the scale walls, jump fences and walk upon rooftops. Since then a strange devil-like creature has been claimed to be observed with bat wings, claws and a terrifying screech.

7. Sweet - "Medusa"

Medusa is a famous legend from Greek mythology. A hideous woman with snakes for hair whose gaze would turn anyone to stone. In the legend Perseus defeats Medusa by wielding a mirrored shield. I'm not exactly sure what this song is about, but being named after Medusa i'm led to believe that the woman who inspired it must have been quite the catch.

8. Manic Street Preachers - "Leviathan"

I was reminded of this one after talking about Mastodon's album earlier. Leviathan was supposedly a huge sea creature, the biggest actually. It was mentioned in the bible under the book of Job. Along with Behemoth, Job was to marvel at these two gigantic creatures and know that the Lord could simply claim them as his pets. A way of showing how powerful and omnipotent he is. This song by the always great Manic Street Preachers was off a charity album Help! A Day In The Life for War Child.

9. Buck 65 - "The Centaur"

Back to the Canucks. Buck 65 is an east coast Canadian rapper, producer and occasional radio host. The centaur he is comparing himself to is a fantastic creature from Greek mythology that had the upper torso of a man and the lower torso of a horse. Buck 65 has possibly won the award for most clever way to rap about having a large dong.

10. Cradle Of Filth - "Manticore"

Like i said...I love metal. Any you kids out there starting a metal band and are struggling with coming up for a great name? Look no further than your Dungeons & Dragons Monstrous Manual.  Pretty much any of those names for the creatures inside are more than fitting in the metal scene. Cradle Of Filth here already had a badass name, but named their latest album after the Persian mythical beast that had a lion's body, scorpion tail and the face of a man.

Thanks again for reading!
Will always appreciate comments and suggestions!

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