Simply, shed your skin and
howl at the moon, with me…
ATHRS, the EDM punk rocker comes through with a quite deeper and more depth diving meld of deep house music and pop-punk vocals in “Shed Your Skin.”
The beat breaks down and builds up around deep house synths and an atmospheric soundscape prompting powerful emotions of breaking free and letting go (of troubles, the past, etc.). Do yourself a favor and check out this very unique track.
You can check out a feature I did on ATHRS and his response to an interview I did with him after his performance at Imagine 2018 on his experience at the fest.
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 (as featured in Life is Strange)
[Music Video “Something Good”]
Get high, hit the floor.
Before you go…
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.
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 Engage, Silverstein (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
If you tell me that you don’t bend…
if we’re keeping score,
we’re all choir boys at best (interested and arrogant)
[Eurodance / Techno:] Movin’ On (Extended Moon Mix) – Ellen Gee
Once again letting my nerd/gamer geek flag fly, in today’s origins post I will be highlighting “techno” music. The first track I’m highlighting, is Ellen Gee’s “Movin’ On (Extended Moon Mix)“, best known for its inclusion in the Japanese music-and-rhythm dancing simulation game, Dance Dance Revolution 5th Mix. This somewhat rare song, was featured on only one version of the game and for a LONG time was only available in its 1:30s length form (all DDR songs are cut from their full version to make them more playable and less exhausting). DDR sampled MOST of its licensed music through a Japanese DJ/mix series called Dancemaniathat was hosted by Toshiba-EMI, along with a lot of original productions from Konami (the publisher) itself. Some of these original productions actually made the video game singers into real stars/artists (ex: Naoki, beForU, dj TAKA, Paula Terry, Riyu Kosaka, Aaron G., Des-Row, DJ TaQ and more…) For more info about DDR, see below:
[Dance / Electronic:] Neon Trees – Lessons in Love (Kaskade Remix)
Next up, we have two songs of the same name, but both good in their own right. Neon Trees “Lessons in Love (Kaskade Remix)” remixed by the legendary, on-of-a-kind, kaskade, featured on his EP Fire & Ice. The song is a great combination of electronic sounds and alternative rock feel.
Our second “Lessons in Love” comes from TCS vs. Level 42 with their re-make of the 1985 classic rock song of the same name, remixed by EDM artist/producer, SideChain. Check it out above!
About Dance Dance Revolution:
Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) was a revolutionary arcade game, that later expanded into the console market (on Playstation 1 and 2, but subsequently almost every system of its time), where players would step on a dance mat (or metal dance pad at the arcade) with arrows on the ground. As the music plays (much of it was Japanese pop, eurobeat, techno, dance music, but DDR was known for having a little of everything), arrows rise on the screen and once they reach the top, the player must step on them. The game became wildly popular in Japan after its initial release in 1998, eventually made its way overseas and had quite a cult following in America as arcades imported Japanese arcade cabinets and people around the country met up specifically for “DDR seshs” and even tournaments arose, with prizes in the $1,000s or more for those competing in national and international tourneys.
[Alternative Rock:] Saints of Bliss – Born on the Wrong Side
Born on the wrong side, mixing with the wrong kind,
Misunderstood, and I blame it on the hard life Life is unfair, when you haven’t got a rich dad, And I cannot pay the rent ’cause I’m playin’ in a rock band
As part of the division of genres into pages that will follow on this music blog, I am highlighting one of our first Alternative Rock song features, this one from the band Saints of Bliss with their track “Born on the Wrong Side”. With plenty of alternative and indie feel behind the song, the track is a nice solid listen with plenty of emotional depth in its borderline angst, but pleasurable lyrics, down-tempo chords mixing with alternative-pop rock riffs.
You can check out more from the British band on their sites here:
Our first throwback comes to us from electronic producer, Two Fingers, with his bass thumping, head-bangingly good track “Stripe Rhythm.” Props go out to [adult swim] for playing this gem during their bumps.
Last, but certainly not least we have the alternative/electro band you can never go wrong with, Bloc Party. Their hauntingly good, rhythmic string of consciousness that is “Compliments” is worth taking note of. “Letter to My Son” is another epic Bloc Party cut, much more alternative rock in feel and sound. Don’t sleep on either!