Category Archives: Rock & Alternative

[Commercials with Cool Music:] Microsoft Surface – The Salmon Sisters [Throwback to PS2’s Amplitude:] Garbage – Cherry Lips


[Alternative Rock/Pop:] Garbage – Cherry Lips

Go baby go go, (yeah we’re right behind you)
Go baby go go, (yeah we’re lookin’ at you)
Go baby go go, (oh, we’re right behind you)
Go baby, go baby, Yeah we’re right behind you!

Microsoft’s recent ad for the Surface Go has surfaced feelings of nostalgia in many people who heard the song featured in the ad, Garbage’s “Cherry Lips.” For me personally, I first heard the song on the Playstation 2 music game, Amplitude.

From the makers of Dance Central, the unconventional music game had you piloting a space ship that coasted along “tracks” of music. Each track had notes that you would blast and after getting through a “section” or “verse” with no misses the track would blast away and disappear and it’s element would continue to play for awhile. Each track was broken down into vocals, bass, drums, synths and FX, and basically the better you play the game the better the song would sound, you could also choose to completely ignore the vocals track to make an instrumental version, or only play the drums and bass for an acoustic/percussive “remix.”

It wasn’t until it resurfaced in the Microsoft ad that I found out more about Garbage and that the lead singer actually wasn’t Gwen Stefani (it sure sounded like it to me). Enjoy the ad and it’s original music video above and below take a look at what it was like playing the song in Amplitude.

 

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[New Music] [Alt. Rock] Alex Clare – Open My Eyes


[Acoustic Alternative:]
Alex Clare – 
Open My Eyes

British singer-songwriter, Alex Clare, released “Open My Eyes” yesterday on Youtube. The multi-talented singer has released music spanning many genres including, electronic, blues, alternative rock, pop, drum & bass, and R&B.

This acoustic single invites his sultry smooth vocals over acoustic guitars and minimalist soundscapes. This gives the track a deep atmosphere, something present in many of Clare’s songs. Clare is most popularly known for his electronic single, “Too Close” that was featured in numerous ads and commercials, particularly, Microsoft’s ad for Internet Explorer 9.

[Throwback] [German Rock/Alternative:] Tokio Hotel – Dogs Unleashed (2009)


Throwback Jam: [Alt. Rock/German Rock]

Dogs Unleashed – Tokio Hotel

We are dogs unleashed,
Out of control
Full of dreams, nobody knows
Unleashed, time to escape
We don’t wanna suffocate…

Today’s throwback highlight is to German alternative rock band, Tokio Hotel. The band took the world by storm quietly after the release of their 2007 album, Scream. “Dogs Unleashed” continues their melodic foray into dark, but still light rock and has a nice catchy hook/chorus.

“Dogs Unleashed” comes from their 2009 album, Humanoid. Fun fact: I was on a school trip in Rome, Italy when I heard one of the band’s most popular singles, “Monsoon.” It played on the Italian equivalent of MTV, with it’s accompanying video. I also was introduced to Mika’s “Relax, Take It Easy,” a light-hearted dance-disco EDM cut, also released in 2007.

When I returned to the States, I found Tokio Hotel had become very popular and was beginning to make waves  in the US. Select singles became available in the US iTunes store. “Monsoon” was also featured in Guitar Hero: World Tour (the international themed iteration of the popular game).

[Alt. Indie Rock] Alt-J (∆)- Something Good


[Alt. Indie Rock] Alt-J (∆) – Something Good (as featured in Life is Strange)

[Music Video “Something Good”]

Get high, hit the floor.
Before you go…

Matador, estocada
you’re my blood sport.

This alternative indie-rock song is perfect for chilling out and hits you right in the feels. Whether you just happened across the song by chance or were like me, and heard it on the highly popular, play-as-you-go, “Choose Your Adventure” style video game, Life is Strange, Alt-J (∆)‘s calming soft-spoken, yet powerfully moving “Something Good” is a great song for these upcoming colder months. With relaxing guitar chords and keyboard arpeggios the abstract, and also very concrete lyrics create a warming, joyful ambiance.

Appearing in the game as the typical Pacific-Northwestern alternative-rock cut your main character, Max, just be chillin’ to. Its delivery (at the start of a brand new day the song plays as an “alarm” to wake you up) comes at a perfect time in the game’s story arch and really draws you into as the misfit archetypal high-school senior just trying to fit in.

Life is Strange is a downloadable video-game available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game revolves around an angsty 18-year-old teenager named Max, who has moved to Oregon to attend a private art-school for photographers. A place where her interactions with her teachers, peers, parents and others are determined by your choices alone. Decisions made during the games dialogues have lasting effects down the line; like whether you make fun of the class bully or help her during her bad day, or leave a window open to save a bird’s life or simply lament the sight of its dead body.

The twist which takes this beyond a game of storytelling and essentially a visual virtual graphic novel is the fact that Max learns one fateful day, when an off-kilter jock brandishes a gun in the school bathroom and shoots one of Max’s friends, that with the thrust of her hand and enough effort she can reverse time.

After the shooting Max awakens in class, about 10 minutes before she first walked into the bathroom and watched a student get shot. All the conversations, from the teacher’s lecture on Daguerreo-type photography, to class bully Veronica’s verbal jabs at Max play out exactly the same way as during the game’s intro with Max realizing she’s not dreaming. From there on out Max is faced with situations typical of young adult life; going to parties with the popular kids, rekindling a relationship with her stoner best-friend and the like, but with major ramifications and consequences for seemingly benign decisions.

Life is Strange is a refreshing breath of air in what technically could be called a role-playing or Adventure game, but pulls it off in a way never fully explored before in a video game. The result is like playing a movie or a TV show that you have control over, or if you’re real old-school, exactly like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books except the book is presented in 3D graphics right in front of you. So far I’m loving it.

[Throwback] [Alternative / Rock:] Taking Back Sunday – Liar (It Takes One to Know One)


Today’s throwback:

Alternative, pop-punk, post-hardcore emo band Taking Back Sunday was a band I heard a lot about in my high school days but didn’t particularly check out, or like too much. However, “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” was one of several songs from the genre I particularly enjoyed, along the same time I was listening to early Fall Out Boy, Killswitch EngageSilverstein (whose first CD I bought), Breaking Benjamin, Incubus, The Killers and Modest Mouse. Journey back to 2006 with this single from the album, MakeDamnSure.

All our secrets they are tailored trouble
draped loose now around your hip —
your spotless instincts are valid
We co-exist…

If you tell me that you don’t bend…
Liar, Liar
if we’re keeping score,
we’re all choir boys at best (interested and arrogant)

[Throwbacks] [Intelligent/Meaningful Hip-Hop] Kanye West – Eyez Closed (feat. Snoop Dogg & John Legend) & Jaylib – Survival Test (J Dilla) // [Reggae / Punk / Summer:] Slightly Stoopid – The Fruits [Legalize Them]


Hey there cool kids, I’ve got some new throwbacks for ya today. First off we start in the genre of “real” meaningful hip-hop as I like to call it. You could say it’s as opposed to, whatever you think it is, everyone’s “definitions” of real hip-hop is different, regardless this soulful, never-realeased rare track from Kanye West featuring Snoop Dogg & John Legend is a perfect song to bring back for Summer2k15. With production from Kanye himself, the beat, melody and sample in the chorus are make an irresistibly groove-inducing song.

Next, though still dance-able, but much more conscious: this song could be seen as for dancers like b-boys, as a head-banger for the whip that increases your hardness as you vibe at the light and people think you’re a badass, or even just one you sit there not-moving still, taking in the rawness and lyrical prowess of Jaylib, the combination of underground hip-hop group Madlib and deceased, super-producer, J Dilla.

A tribal-sounding horn, hard beats and kicks accompanied by booming bass and a flute-like arpeggio make this a perfect listen (or beat to freestyle over, see the instrumental).



Finally to wrap up our series of summer-suitable throwbacks we have the absolutely chill, “Hey man, just be easy” relaxation inducing single “The Fruits” from Californian psychedelic rock / reggae band Slightly Stoopid. “The Fruits” is a great listen with its calming sounds that remind one of the ocean, the carefree rhythm and vocals the lead singer provides and its borderline no sensemaking, yet easily understandable lyrics emphasizing being free and happy in life. Check it out above!

[EDM Origins House & Alternative:] Kaskade – Steppin’ Out // Kosheen – Same Ground Again


Kaskade is probably one of the most popular and sought-after American producers of electronic and house music. Chances are, if you watch TV, play video games or went to the movies you’ve heard one of his songs. His music is featured in many different forms of media, much akin to fellow EDM producers and DJs, like BT and Paul Oakenfold.

Our feature is one of Kaskade’s signature songs from the early 2000s, the completely chilled-out, smooth house single “Steppin’ Out

Kaskade is largely known for growing the house music scene in his hometown of Chicago in the early 2000s. Though Kaskade has varied in musical styles during his growth, as a whole, his music can be said to be fulfilling for the soul, or music to put you at ease. Much of his house music includes sultry female vocals alongside soft, harmonic melodies that become instantly recognizable, simply from their uniqueness. Take the song that introduced many, including myself to Kaskade, his absolutely astonishing remix of David Morales & Tamra Keenan’s “Here I Am” featured in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada.


Next up was a random song that my iPod shuffled to today. An EDM/progressive-house tune I bought and downloaded back when I was a senior in high school (2007). This one comes from Alternative Electronic band Kosheen, one of their bigger breakout singles, “Same Ground Again“. In fact, their whole 2007 EP, Damage is chock-full of good alternative-sounding electro music that still holds up today. Check it out above and see more from Kosheen at the links below: