Monday, 27 June 2011

Dear Reader- Replace Why With Funny

The Ratio of good music to bad music now-a-days is a blight and has left some of the most incredible bands I've ever heard in the dark and therefore don't have the popularity they so rightly deserve! I mean, come on. Britney Spears has had a long enough "Reign" in the charts, so let someone with talent have a chance. Bands in South Africa have it much worse, very rarely does a South African band (No matter how original and talented) make it into international charts.I can't think of a single South African band who wrote a Rock Anthem! Many South African bands should get famous, and Dear Reader is definitely one of them!

Now Dear Reader have gotten play on VH1 and MTV Europe, but they still don't have the popularity they so deserve, after all I believe that "Replace Why With Funny" is one of the most incredible albums I have ever heard, South African or otherwise. A masterpiece.

Dear Reader are an indie/folk/pop band with a refreshingly different female vocalist, Cherilyn Macneil whose voice and brilliant songwriting makes them as amazing as they are. You may know them as Harris Tweed. They had to change their name to Dear Reader because the clothing company, Harris Tweed complained.

The album starts out with a simple strummy acoustic song, "The Way of the World" which I assume is about how busy the world has become and that  people should just slow down. Musically, it is rather simple, but I'm not complaining because it really works. The lyrics are brilliant and it's a very happy and very chilled out song. Well, it's a very happy and chilled out album.

The Next song on the album, "Dear Heart" is once again brilliant, simple and has amazing lyrics. Not much can really be said for this song because if I were to describe it, I wouldn't make any sense, so I'll post a link to this song.

Now onto the highlight of this album, Track 3, "Great White Bear" which is about forbidden love. Stunning lyrics and beautiful music to accompany them. It is once again beautifully simple in the way that if they tried to do anything else it wouldn't have been as good. This is probably my favourite song at the moment and when you listen to it, I hope you understand why.
I am the type of person that will absolutely love a song for just one phrase, and while I love this song in it's entirety, my favourite part of Great White Bear is just after the first chorus, there is a single sustained note on a guitar, and this gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. So beautifully simple. I absolutly love this song and I hope to get you guys to love it as much as I do. And along with this amazing song is a great music video that explains the storyline of the song brilliantly. Check it out too, I'll post a link.

So now moving onto Track 5,"Out Out Out" which starts out with only an acoustic guitar and Cherilyn's beautiful voice. When moving into the chorus they introduce a violin or cello (Not sure which one) which dies away as the song enters it's second verse. And then after the second chorus, starts a beautiful bridge and introduces drums which cut out instantly as the verse starts once again. (Very Cool) This is a beautiful song, as is the whole album.

One of the happiest songs on the album is Track 7, "Never Goes" which can only be described as, very Christmasy! This song puts a new spin on describing our "Rainbow Nation" and that even though we are different, we still have the same heart. My favourite lyric in this song, explains a brilliant view point racial equality, "No I don't listen to Kwaito [South African variation of house music] I wasn't born is Soweto. I don't understand you, but I want to, you know." brilliant lyric in my opinion.

This is a great album and they really deserve your support. I really recommend it to anyone who is hoping to find new music out there. I hope I can get their good name out there with this blog, because they really deserve it. And if they are ever doing a show in Jo'burg, leave a comment and tell me!

Here's the links to Great White Bear and Dear Heart on youtube, check them out!

Thanks alot for all the support I've been getting with my blog so far. Please follow my blog, the follow button is in the top right hand corner, you can't miss it!

Please leave comments telling me what you think of Dear Reader and my page, I'd love your feedback.

And so I'll give you guys another recommendation next week, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head.

Xtian Zzyzx

Monday, 20 June 2011

Flogging Molly- Float

Every band has that ONE album that made them super famous. My Chemical Romance- The Black Parade, Nirvana- Never Mind, Green Day- American Idiot and Billy Talent- Billy Talent II, just to mention a few. But more often than not, that album that got them where they are, just isn't their best, and you just wish that the public would listen to the stuff you listen to, to see what you see in that band.

Now don't get me wrong, those albums are great, but not their best. And if people would just listen to the stuff we plug in our heads, those bands would be viewed very differently. And Flogging Molly are no exception to this rule.

Flogging Molly are mostly known for their 2002 album, "Drunken Lullabies," which is an AWESOME album, but it's just not their best. For you deprived people who haven't heard Flogging Molly before, they are an Irish/American Punk Band, Doing very folky music, with an American punk twist. To you who haven't heard them will think this sounds bizarre, but they are exactly that.
 In "Drunken Lullabies" they really did a good job in giving it that Irish/American Punk feel, but no matter how much I listen to it, I just can't take it seriously. Drunken Lullabies, is just too in your face with their image of this genre and that's why I love "Float," 'cause you can take it seriously.

Now, it starts with a politically charged punk song, with their signature Flogging Molly twist, "Requiem for a Dying Song." And where as in a normal punk song the Electric Guitar would carry the song, they manage to get that same feel with... An Accordion! Now it does have Guitar but I love the way this band has managed to modernise this pretty old instrument to the extent that it doesn't seem out of place in a punk band, but their originality (in this very unoriginal era of music), doesn't stop there. It carries out throughout the entire album.

One of the most genius songs on the album is the title track, Track 3, "Float." I loved this song from the very first line, "Drank away the rest of the day. Wonder what my liver'd say? Drink, that's all you can." Very Irish and very Flogging Molly, that lyric, but after that, it's actually a pretty sombre song. However the lyrics aren't what I love about this song. After the chorus there's a brilliant part with the Violin and Banjo. Once again that sounds completely odd, but the way the banjo is mixed to complement the violin in that way is just brilliant! And speaking of mixing, the way the Acoustic Guitar is mixed to so sound tinny works very well in this song.

This is one of those songs that, in every verse or chorus a new instrument is added, it's done very subtly, until just before the last chorus where the drums come in very powerfully. (goosebumps) If you can't get the whole album, check that song out at least. I'll post a link at the bottom.

After Track 4, " You Won't Make a Fool Out of Me," (Which is a really cool punk song, but just not that note worthy) is Track 5, "Lightning Storm" which is very note worthy if you ask me!I love it because it's my favourite vocal melody of all time, And it just wouldn't be the same without the violin which harmonises with the singers voice in a way I haven't heard before. And it's a very emotional song because of it.

I could talk for hours about this album, but I would end up talking about the same thing over and over again, and this thing is the exact reason I love this album and take it more seriously that, Drunken Lullabies. That one constant which makes this album. The Violin.
It is said that the Violin is the most emotional instrument there is, and I agree! And that is what makes the emotional songs so emotional and the happy songs so happy, they really know how to use it. And yes there was Violin in Drunken Lullabies, but just not this quality and skill.

Their violinist really matured between the two albums and I think so did the whole band. Float is a lot more mature than Drunken Lullabies and is their best album in my opinion.

To any fans, I would definitely recommend this album, and to you who are new to Flogging Molly, also listen to Drunken Lullabies so you can see what I'm talking about. And to those of you who try and Troll me. Yes I know there was an album between Drunken Lullabies and Float, "With in a Mile of Home," I just didn't think it was important to mention.

And here's the link I promised! Flogging Molly- Float (YouTube Video)

Please tell your friends about my blog, and leave comments telling me what you think of Flogging Molly and of my page.

And so I'll give you guys another recommendation next week, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head.

Xtian Zzyzx

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Contact Me

Hey guys, I made this Blog with you guys in mind, so If you want any new features on the blog, want me to change something or would like to recommend ME some music, don't be afraid to send me an e-mail.

My e-mail is

I'd like some feedback on my blog, tell me what you think and please tell your friends!
So until next week, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Raconteurs- Consolers Of The Lonely

Has this ever happened to you?
You're really into this band and you say to your friends,
"Check these guys out! They're awesome!" and so you play them your favourite song by this awesome band but the entire time you can help but notice the slight little twitches their face makes or a little yawn they let off, and your paranoia tells you that all this means that they CLEARLY don't like what you're playing them. So you turn it off and let them play something.

Well this happens to me all the time and in fact this happened to me today, I played my friends at school the title track of The Raconteurs' masterpiece (in my opinion) "Consolers of The Lonely".

The song starts out with a pretty sick riff for the first one or two bars and then completely halts to make way for a drum line that is apparently completely out of tempo. Now either these men are musical geniuses, coming up with such an idea or their drummer is REALLY crap!

Now by this time in the song I'm already paranoid that my friends don't like what they're hearing, but if you're more open minded than my friends are you will listen on to hear a CRAZY-ASS SONG!

Being the fan boy of The White Stripes that I am I just assume that all this musical genius is the workings of my idol, Jack White, who is the apparent front man of the 4 man Detroit rock outfit, but you gotta give credit to every member and instrument in this band! 'Cause this is one of the few bands I know of that are still around that use a mandolin! (Which is one of my favourite instruments) and the fact that they don't treat the piano as back round noise, like most pop stuff lately as you'll clearly hear in Track 3 "You Don't Understand Me". I also love the use of the hammered organ and fiddle in the next track "Old Enough."Clearly when one makes it as big as Jack has with The White Stripes you can really go crazy in your side band! Of course following the recent demise of The White Stripes in February 2011 this may not be the "Side Band" anymore.

The highlight, for me, of the album is the blues narrative, Track 14 "Carolina Drama," which tells the story of love, homicide and red necks in the state of Carolina! This is my favourite song on the album and I think it's a great way to finish off! AND IT'S GOT MANDOLIN!!!

This is the second album from The Raconteurs and it's a great one! This bluesy album is great for almost any mood, 'cause it's got a song for any occasion!

Check them out. Here's a link to  The Raconteurs- Consolers of the Lonely  track.

Please tell your friends about my blog and leave comments telling me what you think of The Raconteurs and of my page, I' m still working everything out so there will be changes to this page.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian Zzyzx
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