Sunday, 25 January 2015

10 Great Songs About Sleeping

Sleeping is the best. It's pretty much one of the most fun things you can do. Think about it, when you're sleeping you're relaxed. It makes you feel better. Typically warm and cozy. What can beat that? Musicians obviously feel the same, because there are countless songs about sleeping and dreaming. Here are 10 Great Songs About Sleeping

1. The Postal Service - "Sleeping In"

When Ben Gibbard branched out on his for a side-project away from Death Cab For Cutie he would send demos and portions of songs through the mail to his producer friend Jimmy Tamborello. Include Jenny Lewis on some backing vocals and The Postal Service was born. Though they officially only made one album (though when it's as good as 2003's Give Up that's all you need) they released some b-sides and rarities in 2013 for the album's 10 year anniversary. The band played it's last performance at Lollapalooza that same year

2. The Smiths - "Asleep"

The Smiths were one of the bands that dominated the 80's. With 4 albums released in the decade their sound and style of song continues to influence many bands to this day. "Asleep" was a b-side from the single for "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" in 1985.

3. The Seekers - "Morningtown Ride"

Written by Malvina Reynolds in 1957 "Morningtown Ride" was a children's lullaby that talks of little kids being on a train ride as they sleep heading for "Morning Town". The song was covered and released numerous times. Once by The Seekers, an Australian folk band, in 1964. I was in a play when I was younger and this was one of the songs I remember having to learn for the production.

4. City & Colour - "Sleeping Sickness" feat. Gord Downie

City & Colour is Dallas Green, one time front man of Canadian hardcore group Alexisonfire. City & Colour was his side project which allowed him to get out some of his acoustic creations and more folk-inspired music that wouldn't fit on an Alexis album. "Sleeping Sickness" welcomes Canadian icon Gord Downie known for his frontman status of the Tragically Hip.

5. REM - "Daysleeper"

REM's 1998 album Up saw them end a 10 year relationship with longtime producer Scott Litt, and enter a more electronic-enfused musical direction versus their previous guitar-driven rock sounds. Michael Stipe said he set out to write songs that play a certain type of spirituality against the modern technology age tapestry. "Daysleeper" is a very relatable song for many people who find themselves working the nightshift yet still trying to keep up with society and maintain an identity.

6. Metallica - "All Nightmare Long"

Alright I know I said at the beginning that sleeping was fun and peaceful and cozy. Guess I forgot about the nightmares and we have artists who write songs about those too. Metallica's last album, 2008's Death Magnetic (Hey Metallica, you can release a new album anytime now) was something of a return to form for many fans. The proper link between ...And Justice For All! and The Black Album. One of the album's shining moments is "All Nightmare Long".

7. Latefallen - "Sleep It Off"

Latefallen are a hard rock/metal group from the Toronto are of Ontario, Canada. The first song I heard from them was "Sleep It Off". Great track and yeah sometimes you need to sleep off the painful effects of the night before. Doing some research here it appears that Latefallen called it quits in 2009.  We can still enjoy their music though.

8. Against Me! - "8 Full Hours Of Sleep"

Going all the way back to Against Me!'s humble beginnings when it was the name Laura Jane Grace would use when she performed alone with her guitar, "8 Full Hours Of Sleep" is the perfect song to reflect the power of sleep. Whether it's a health benefit or being used as an escape from something in the waking world. For better or worse. Sleep is an escape.

9. Semisonic - "Singing In My Sleep"

Best known for their 1998 album Feeling Strangely Fine which features the current last-call staple song "Closing Time" Semisonic come out of Minnesota and are currently on hiatus after a 3 studio album lifespan. "Singing In My Sleep" was the second single off of the same album but sadly didn't reach the same success as "Closing Time". Lead man Dan Wilson has since had a long and fruitful career as a solo-artist, producer, songwriter and visual artist. He has collaborated with artists like Nas, Adele, Weezer, Spoon, Pink and Taylor Swift.

10. Queensryche - "Silent Lucidity"

Lucid dreaming is the phenomenon that occurs when you are aware that you are dreaming and can control parts or all of the dream. Some people dedicate alot of time towards practicing dream control. Queensryche guitarist Chris DeGarmo wrote the song based off the idea he got from a book called Creative Dreaming. "Silent Lucidity" became Queensryche biggest hit in North America and is still played to this day on rock radio stations despite being over 24 years old.

Thanks for reading! Feels good to be back!!


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Top 15 Songs of 2014

It's a little later than usual this year, but i've finally narrowed down 15 great songs from the 2 dot one four. Not to be snide, but the delay wasn't because there were too many great songs to sift through. This list was much more difficult than years' passed and i'm sure a few weeks into 2015 i'll want to change it all anyway. Without further ado here we go. The best 15 songs of 2014.

15. The New Pornographers - "Bill Bruisers"

The title track from this West coast Canadian rock group's album released in August is "Bill Bruisers". It's got an anthem vibe yet it clocks in under 3 minutes. I love the constant ba-ba-ba of the backing vocals, almost Beach Boy-esque. I haven't heard much else from this album, but i've seen a few tracks off it on several other "best of the year" lists. No surprise there, The New Pornographers are one of those consistently great under-the-radar bands.

14. Mark Ronson - "Uptown Funk" feat. Bruno Mars

Ronson definitely came up with the perfect title for this track. You'll know within the first several seconds of this song if you dig it or not. Really not much else to say, let the music speak for itself on this one.

13. Phantogram - "Fall In Love"

Electro-rock duo Phantogram released their much anticipated second album in 2014, Voices. You may not recognize "Fall In Love" until the hook kicks in and then it becomes instantly nostalgic and memorable.

12. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "Kelly"

People all over the world named Kelly rejoice!!! The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are an indie-pop group from New York of multi-instrumentalists and several talented vocalists. "Kelly" is a bouncy, pop track similar to that of The Cure yet a little on the lighter side. A solid effort and if you like what you hear, check out an earlier song by them "Twins".

11. The Trews - "Rise In The Wake"

Alright back to the rock and back to the Canadians. The Trews' self-titled album, released in April, re-established their place in the world of pure rock here in their native land.  Producing plenty of introspective tracks and gratifying toe-tappers like "Rise In The Wake". "Age Of Miracles", "65 Roses" and "Under The Sun" could all of easily made this list as well. Love the constant pull-off guitar riff through this one.

10. Dan Mangan + Blacksmith - "Vessel"

I love when you hear a song for the first time and  dig it, but when you find out who the artist is it turns out to be one you're familiar with. Love that. It shows diversity in their abilities and courage to switch up their style and get out of their own comfort zone. I look for that trait in friends, lovers and of course musicians that I dig. "Vessel" is one of those songs.

9. Schoolboy Q - "Man Of The Year"

This album was released in February, but even now I still nod my head to the verses and hooks of "Man of The Year".  Schoolboy Q is Quincy Hanley from Los Angeles, CA who got his start looking up to West coast rappers like 2pac and Kurupt as well as Nas, Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan. After 2 albums his 2014 effort Oxymoron was the first to be released on a major label. Yeah it's content is typical for hip-hop, Partying and being awesome, but the way it's delivered with a face-slapping rhythm and slick beat, makes it worth the listen.

8. Kyng - "Electric Halo"

Metal's not dead, shit there were tonnes of great Metal albums released this year, but I admittedly haven't absorbed them enough to honestly include them on this list. "Electric Halo" was a single that instantly caught my ear when I heard it. Kyng hail from California and are starting to get a big following from touring with the likes of Danzig, Megadeth, Static-X and Metallica.

7. Big Wreck - "Ghosts"

I'm slipping in my old age. I wasn't even aware Big Wreck released an album in 2014 until recently. I instantly went out and grabbed it and it was fantastic as expected. That should be my New Year's Resolution to not allow myself to be closed off from great music anymore.

6. Hopsin - "Ill Mind Of Hopsin 7"

Continuing with his intriguing and often controversial series of opinionated and scorching songs, Hopsin released his highly anticipated "Ill Mind Of Hopsin 7" on July 18, 2014 and it got over a million views on Youtube in a single day. It's a very real and honest anthem about his struggles with his own religion and details why he decided to leave it. A must listen for anyone who doubts religions and the connections it has with history and governance.

5. Future Islands - "Seasons (Waiting On You)"

Fueled by an energetic and mercurial performance on Dave Letterman which instantly went viral, Future Islands sky-rocketed into the public eye in 2014 and their song "Seasons (Waiting On You)" has earned the best song of the year monicker in many circles. While it hasn't quite had that much of an effect on me, it's dreamy and atmospheric vibe combined with funk bass and synth hooks are good enough to reach #5 on this list.

4. Chromeo - "Jealous (I Ain't With It)"

From the album White Women released in May of this past year, "Jealous (I Ain't With It)" sounds like it was pulled from a time capsule from 1988. Full of pop sensibility, but just starting to get that grungy tinge that the 90's would soon bring. Lovin' that slap bass too.

3. The Black Keys - "Gotta Get Away"

Remember what I was talking about with Dan Mangan? This song had that going on with me. Love how diverse The Black Keys are, they remind what you what you love about them but then keep you excited about what could come next. "Gotta Get Away" has got that vibe that even classic rock radio stations will play it. It's the type of song that makes listeners want to play guitar. I like to think that there are plenty of kids out there picking up instruments to be like The Black Keys and that's cool.

2. Against Me! - "Transgender Dysphoria Blues"

In 2012, in one of the purest punk-rock moments of all time Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! came out publicly as a transgender woman. The band's next album was 2014's Transgender Dysphoria Blues which was a bit of return to form for the band. I attributed it to Laura finally being able to express her properly and happily, even though many of the songs (this one included) come off as aggressive. More like finally reaching the end of a long and tiring journey and letting out a loud primal scream of joy. If you haven' Transgender Dysphoria Blues and listen to it.

Before I get to the #1 song here are a few tracks released this year that didn't make the list, but definitely deserve a nod

- Panda Bear - "Mr. Noah"
- Father John Misty - "Bored In The USA"
- The War On Drugs - "Red Eye"
- EMA - "So Blonde"
- Real Estate - "Talking Backwards"

OK on to the best song of the year...

1. The Balconies - "Boys & Girls"

It's grimy and dirty. It's loud and furious. It's totally 100% badass. It can be danced to, it can be screamed along to, it can be fucked to. All great qualities of songs and music. Toronto's The Balconies obviously known it too, they left "Boys and Girls" as the kick off single for their fast-paced album Fast Motions and it barely slows down from there....yes, ok, there is a song called "The Slo" but it kicks ass too!!

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed 2014!

Bring on the sheep in 2015 !!

Follow along ----> @jonnyzhivago