Sunday, October 25, 2009

Everybody

For this blog I'll go in various different directions than my last one. Let's tune down and chill out, there's no need to be that angry at the world, all the time at least. One genre that I tend to be sucked into is the female singer-songwriter area. You can't help but to have respect for a woman who can play an instrument, sing, and do it all without provocatively prancing herself around the stage and every bar on the street. One of my current favorite albums right now is "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson, her most recent release.

I came across Ingrid Michaelson a few years back on a recommendation radio station on last.fm. Over the time she's developed a larger fan base and her songs have been included on shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs and One Tree Hill. She is labeled as a indie/pop/folk singer who can play the piano, guitar and ukulele.

"Everybody" is a positive and upbeat album about love and life. The opening track "Solider" starts with a quick and steady tempo. The drums come in to bring the song together and continue the almost marching beat. The song emphasizes the struggles of love and how often it can be like a battle or war. However, "it can be won." Michaelson also demonstrates her pitch range with varying from deeper to higher tones. Michaelson has the ability to have a upbeat feeling while her music often stays rather mellow. The opening of the song "Everybody" reminds me a bit of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and you can picture yourself hanging out on the beach, just relaxing and enjoying life. Michaelson actually sings "Over the Rainbow" on her second album "Be OK." 


Michaelson switches from guitar to piano in her song "Sort Of." She also plays piano during my favorite song "The Chain." A live version is preformed on her "Be OK" cd, which I actually prefer. There are very few times that someone can sing as well or better live as the do recorded, and Michaelson's live tracks do not disappoint. The live opening also includes a cello, which isn't included in the recorded version, which I believes adds depth and emotion to the song. I also fine the song unique because she sings a round. Yes, first thought would be, "didn't we do rounds of "Row Your Boat" in kindergarten?" However, for this song it's a beautiful attribute. She sings about waiting for a lover to return and the ache of dealing with that. "The sky looks pissed" and your "room seems wrong" because your "love is gone."


"Everybody" has a balance of quick tempo song such as the the inspirational "Mountain and the Sea" which says that "you can move a mountain if you want to." The album evens out with slow and melow songs such as the waltz "Men of Snow" and bluesy "Incredible Love." 


All together Ingrid Michaelson has put together a strong and personal album that anyone who might need their day brightened or spirits raised. Michaelson has some brilliant talent vocally, instrumentally, and lyrically. 








Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Glassjaw

Have you ever had a bad day? I'm not talking a  Daniel Powter "Bad Day" or even a Fuel "Bad Day." I'm talking about from the moment you wake up everything just seems to go wrong. It's one of the days you start to question what you must have done to have karma smite you so bad after you are only able to deodorize one armpit before the last bit of the deodorant falls out onto the floor, you're late for class because a four-way stop is an anomaly for so many people, and to top it off your comfort food when you get home burns, even though you cook it for its normal time.

A day like that can make any laid back person livid and ready to snap.  And for me, just about any emotion can be paired with music. In the case of a truly bad day, I turn to the band Glassjaw to let off any steam. Honestly, I can casually say "I was listening to Glassjaw when..." and get the reply, "Oh wow you must be pissed." I believe thought that music can be one of the best outlet when you have no other way for expression.


I was introduced to Glassjaw a few years ago, and I believe they are a band that tends to remain unknown. This is probably also due to their couple year long hiatus, which they appear to be coming out of finally. Glassjaw has two complete studio releases so far, Everything You Need to Know About Silence (2000) and Worship and Tribute (2002). They are categorized under post-hardcore, experimental rock, and melodic hardcore. The band has had many change ups in their line-up, but the  band is fronted by vocalist Daryl Palumb (also lead for Head Automatica) and guitarist Justin Beck.


Everything You Need to Know About Silence
is a fairly raw, aggressive album, and a handful of the lyrics would shock my mother. She would probably try to confiscate the music if she could. I'll agree, some of the word and theme choices are a bit intense. However, Glassjaw finds a way to tie in the lyrics with talented musicians as well. This includes some really good bass lines, like for the opening of "When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros." This is an album mainly about relationships, or the lack there of. This is when you're in love, but the other person isn't as much as you are, and they screw you over and now you're pissed. However, Glassjaw is able to express these feelings without crossing the line to emo and asking for pity. Although Palumb is relentless towards his characters in the lyrics, his unique singing of style of mixed shouting and melodic sounds adds power overall to the music.

Worship and Tribute
is a more organized and more abstract album. The lyrics tend to be less in your face and are more up to interpretation. Do I always know what they're singing about? No, but that's ok, because it's good, developed music. Although the material is different, the same sort of energy is passed onto the second CD. Two of my favorite tracks have to be "Cosmopolitan Bloodloss" and "Two Tabs of Mescaline." Both albums are strong, because the all the pieces, from the lyrics to the layout of the tracks, fit. And personally the albums are good, because Glassjaw can always make a bad day better.