Thursday, 23 April 2015

10 Great Songs By Bands With Abbreviated Names

I've noticed a new trend in band names recently, it seems vowels are becoming uncool. Take a look at my list and you'll see what I mean, but the trend is ongoing as bands are taking longer names for their bands, removing all those pesky meaning less vowels and capitalizing all the remaining letters. Here are 10 Great Songs By Bands W/ ABBRVTD NMS

1. MSTRKRFT - "Heartbreaker" feat. John Legend

These guys might have been the first to stylize their name in this way. When Toronto's Death From Above 1979 called it quits back in 2006 it gave Jesse K. Feeler more time to work on his synth-oriented side project Master-craft. When it came to bring the band to the spotlight however, there were disputes with the major tool company with the same name, so they got around it by spelling their band name as MSTRKRFT though it's still pronounced the same way.

2. MGMT - "Time To Pretend"

I always have a hard time with these guys' names. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden met while attending Wesleyan University and released a couple demos under the name The Management. When they realized that another group already used that name they went by simply MGMT. They released their major label debut Oracular Spectacular in 2008 to raving reviews. Since then they've been known for their psychadelic brand of synth-pop and have 2 more albums to their name.

3. CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"

Pronounced Churches, I suppose this one isn't really an abbreviation, but it's still subs a vowel for a consonant and is often stylized in ALL CAPS! CHVRCHES hail from Scotland and currently only have one album out, but are currently working on a follow-up for a 2015 release.

4. SBTRKT - "Temporary View" feat. Sampha

Geez not only do some of these artists remove all the vowels, but they'll sub a hard C with a K. Complete anarchy. NRKY!! Aaron Jerome is the man behind SBTRKT and the man behind the mask. He is known for his remixes of popular songs, but also has a few studio albums under his belt. "Temporary View" is a great chill track from his 2014 release Wonder Where We Land.

5. INXS - "Beautiful Girl (Stay With Me)"

Alright I guess these guys beat MSTRKRFT by a few years, Australia's INXS released their first album in 1980. A modest career storied by band turmoil and drug abuse, INXS were able to stay relevant and record many classic songs and vintage albums namely 1987's Kicks, 1990's X and 1992's Welcome To Wherever You Are.  After a bit of a hiatus the band returned in 1997 with Elegantly Wasted and were enjoying something of a successful comeback. Sadly while on tour in Australia, lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room of an apparent suicide which stopped the band in it's tracks. They attempted to revitalize their band by using a reality show to find a new lead singer, but they never recaptured the heights that they once knew.

6. STRFKR - "Rawnald Gregory Erikson the Second"

Starfucker is an electronic band from Portland, Oregon who thankfully frequently use STRFKR to refer to themselves.  At one point an agent urged them to change their name, which they briefly did choosing Pyramiddd (no clue what those extra D's are for...word bling I guess), but the band decided they did not want to market the band that way so they fired their agent and changed the name back.

7. BLK JKS - "Lakeside"

I recently discovered these guys and like what I hear. Pronounced "Black Jacks" BLK JKS come out of Johannesburg, South Africa. I say I recently discovered them, but their latest EP was released in 2010. Their 2009 debut album After Robots was reviewed favourably by some major players in the media, namely Pitchfork Media and Rolling Stone. Hopefully we hear something new from these guys soon.

8. CHLLNGR - "Change"

That's Challenger if you're wondering, CHLLNGR is Steven Jess Borth II a Copenhagen-based producer who was also known for his remixes.  His debut solo effort came in 2011 called Haven and it fused R&B with elements of dub and reggae. "Change" is a cool little track. Check it out.

9. HTRK - "Feels Like Love"

Hat Rack? Hit Rick? Hi Track? Nope...this is Hate Rock, an Australian art rock project. They bounced around a few labels after forming in 2003 and finally released a major debut in 2009 after a long legal dispute. Tragedy struck when bass player Sean Stewart died of an apparent suicide in 2010. HTRK came back in 2014 with a new release Psychic 9-5 Club which had a more laid back and minimal style.

10. DLRN - "Reset"

Don't know much about these guys i'll admit. In fact I first saw this video yesterday, which was kinda fun. The song is great and the hook was stuck in my head for hours. I know the name was supposed to be Delorean but another group had it, so they simply removed the vowels. Watch the full video and you'll get the rundown of the group's members and guests.


Frig, that isn't convenient at all!


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

10 Great Songs By Artists Who Only Released One Album

Wow it's been a while. Totally my fault. One thing that does keep me from doing consistent lists is that i'm running out of cool ideas to do song lists about. If you got something in mind let me know! Comment below or tweet at me @jonnyzhivago. And tell people! Let them know. This list came to me the other day, for one reason or another a band comes around releases an album and then is never heard from again. Here are 10 Great Songs By Artists Who Only Released One Album

1. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" - The Postal Service

The Postal Service was a side project of Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. Him and Jimmy Tamborello, a producer in Los Angeles would send music back and forth through the mail (which is how they took their name) and it eventually became an album known as Give Up. Give Up was an immediate hit among Death Cab fans and non-fans alike. The songs were accessible, catchy and many featured guest vocals by Jenny Lewis which gave them a conversational feel between her and Ben. Though a new track was released in 2013, a second album was speculated but never made and the band has been officially disbanded.

2. "Anarchy Of The UK" - The Sex Pistols

Often named among candidates as the best Punk Rock Groups of all time, it may come to a surprise to some that The Sex Pistols released only one official studio album 1977's Nevermind The Bollocks...Here's The Sex Pistols. Like all classic albums the recording of Bollocks did not go without a hitch. Bass "player" Sid Vicious could not play bass to save his life, so several session musicians were used. The band were dropped by their label after recording only 4 singles and near the completion of the album Johnny Rotten and producers Chris Thomas and Billy Price were attacked at a local pub, which of course after word got out, helped promote the dangerous nature of the band to Britain's youth. To this day Nevermind The Bollocks is considered one of music's most important rock albums.

3. "There She Goes" - The La's

The La's were an English rock band from Liverpool who got their start in the mid-80's. They managed to record and release a few singles in the late 80's (which includes their biggest hit "There She Goes"), but finally landed a deal with Go! Records to record a full length album in 1987. Problems emerged finding the right producer who could get the sound that frontman Lee Mavers envisioned and went through as many as 8 producers before finally settling on Steve Lillywhite and Mark Wallis. Even though Mavers still wasn't fully satisfied. Couple that with a virtual revolving door of volatile musicians that would argue and butt heads with one another before quitting or being replaced and it's not wonder that The La's would not only never release another album, but shortly call it quits in 1992. Their self titled debut was released in 1990.

4. "I'm Hardly Ever Wrong" - The Would Be's

Silly Songs For Cynical People was the name of the 8 song EP released by the Irish group The Would Be's in 1991. Decoy Records was the obscure label they decided to release their album on, even though a reported 14 other labels expressed interest and were turned down. Eventually the band crumbled as not enough attention was gained and album sales were poor. The members will occasionally reunite here and there, but have made other projects their primary objectives.

5. "Since I Left You" - The Avalanches

The Avalanches are an Australian electronic group. whose 2000 debut album Since I Left You was a wonderful effort that combined funk, pop, hip-hop and electronic elements as well as sampling older songs and fusing them together other musical styles. The album had 9 nominations at the 2001 ARIA Music Awards in the UK and the album is viewed as one of Australia's best by many music critics. The Avalanches have not faded from obscurity and a second album has been apparently in the works since 2005. Ten years later and the project seems to have stalled, especially since longtime vocalist Darren Seltmann left the group in 2014. Fuckin' great video though...

6. "Last Goodbye" - Jeff Buckley

While some artists on this list have only made one album due to a personal choice or for financial and logistical reasons, Jeff Buckley was all but slated to release multiple albums full of fantastic music had it not been for his untimely death in 1997. Grace was released in 1994 and still is listed on critics top 100 lists and personal favourites all over the world. Though a few live albums and EPs of demos and unfinished material have been released posthumously, nothing has matched the impact and success of Grace.

7. "Respiration" - Black Star

Mos Def and Talib Kweli make up the hip-hop duo Black Star that formed in 1997. The album came about when Def and Kweli, who were releasing solo albums around the same time, realized their chemistry and decided to merge two albums into one. Black Star is known for their socially conscious lyrical content which is sometimes critical of hip-hop culture. Though Black Star have performed many times since the album's release Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star remains their only album. Maybe they said all they needed to say?

8. "The Music Sounds Better With You" - Stardust

Only releasing one album isn't cool, you know what's cool? ONLY RELEASING ONE SONG!!
Stardust consists of two producers (one being a member of Daft Punk) and vocalist Benjamin Diamond. The song came about simply by creating an instrumental track and having diamond sing over it. A sample from a Chaka Khan song was thrown in to flesh it out and "The Music Sounds Better With You" was released. The song was a hit all over the world and Thomas Banglater, one of the producers, was even offered 3 million dollars for a full length Stardust album. Alan Braxe the other producer has not worked with either other member since, leaving Stardust a thing of musc legend.

9. "Stroker Ace" - Lovage

Lovage is a musical project of famed producer Dan The Automator who was worked with such bands as The Gorillaz, Ben Lee, Kasabian and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. Dan enlisted vocal contributions from Mike Patton (Faith No More) and Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields) and released an album full of songs called Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By in 2001. Other contributors include Kid Koala, Astacio The Nudist, SweetP and Daniel Spills. It's a visionary album and one of the most unique musical experiences you'll ever have.

10. "Get What You Give" - The New Radicals

The New Radicals, also known as that band with that guy in the hat, were known in the late 90's for their single "Get What You Give".  Hailing out of LA, the guy in the hat was Gregg Alexander who was the band's founder and lead singer. He was known for his political activism and awareness of social aspects and current events which were featured heavily in his songs' lyrics. After the success of their first album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too they were slated to release a new album in the early 2000's. A few mysteriously cancelled tour dates led to speculation about the band's future. Those speculations were confirmed when Alexander announced the group had disbanded in July of 1999.

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