A weary, smoky, and scratchy voice is what you hear in each an every note that Graham Isaacson sings. He is not broken or lost. In fact, he is just the opposite. He sings with emotion and vigor and his deep dark voice is the backbone of some intense songs, that sometimes don't even have intense subject matter. On his latest EP he continues to amaze and mix it up with instrumentation and arrangements that don't always match his Johnny Cash vocal vibe. "Shot Me At Sunrise" is his closest thing to a Cash song, and the EP's significant standout. "Hot Lovin' Lady" "Angel Underneath" are also excellent tracks. Isaacson is a unique soul and an individual that makes music at his own pace, on his own terms, and in his own way. His music comes from an honest place and is delivered with the same honesty. His latest EP proves that he is a singer not to be overlooked.
After brilliantly bursting on the scene with their last album, despite releasing it after suffering tragedy, Ra Ra Riot have returned with an album equally as excellent and a bit more grown up. Ra Ra Riot doesn't create indie music or pop music in the traditional sense. They follow their own path and they create music that is purely individual. "Boy" is surreal and beautiful and plays on each facet of the members of the bands abilities, influences, and heart. Ra Ra Riot has transcended the mold of the indie band with their new album and will definitely make new fans of many listeners of all kinds of music.
After an incredibly long hiatus from creating new music, UK techno act Underworld have returned with a stunning new album. This album feels almost like a throwback to the early days of Underworld's career and if you close your eyes you get the sense you are right in the middle of a UK dance club or an Underworld live performance. Each track is as hard hitting as the next, except for the beautifully written and performed final song, "Louisiana." "Louisiana" is a riveting slow and ambient track that is as magical as it is mind blowing. "Bird 1," "Always Loved A Film," and "Scribble" all take your mind and body over with their incredible beats and lyrics and catapult you into a collection of songs that is more of an experience than just an album. Underworld is a product of the 90's techno scene and they have retained their magic and reminded us just how awesome their sound is with their newest release.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Ben Folds - Lonely Avenue
- Jesse Harris - Cosmo
- Ingram Hill - Look Your Best
- Jimmy Eat World - Invited
- Pete Yorn - Pete Yorn
Brendan James could very well be this generation's Billy Joel. His mastery of blending traditional pop songs with the emphasis on his piano skills is very reminiscent of Joel's style. Although James is not as hard hitting as Joel, he still displays the same qualities though his musicality. His new self titled album is head and shoulders above his debut album. Although he had some stellar songs and his songwriting was excellent on his debut, he hits full stride on this album. It's fitting that he self titled this one as wears his heart on his sleeve and opens himself up throughout each song. His vivid imagery combined with catchy hooks highlights the songwriting on tracks like "The Fall" and "Stupid For Your Love." It's tracks like "The Lucky Ones" and "Emerald Sky" that show off that he's not just another cookie cutter pop singer/songwriter. His heart and emotion in his lyrics and his delivery are his calling card. Brendan James may have just solidified himself as one of this generations new greats and it seems that, although he has put together an excellent sophomore release, the best is still yet to come.
As a special new treat to the readers of THISisMODERN.net, a music player has been added to the sidebar to the right. On the first day of every month, THISisMODERN.net has published the monthly BURN THIS playlist, featuring 20 of the best new songs by some of the best musicians around. Now, along with the publication of the playlist, for the entire duration of the month you will be able to listen to the playlist while you are reading all the posts at THISisMODERN.net. Just click play at the top of the music player to the right to start the first track playing. Feel free to listen straight through the 20 track playlist or click around and listen to songs individually in any order and as many times as you desire. Enjoy this new feature as THISisMODERN.net enters a new decade of bringing you the best in new music.
When the 80's began to come back into style Chromeo was there spearheading the movement. With their throwback synth rock mixed with modern electronica, Chromeo has now released a third album of danceable and singable tracks the likes of which haven't been seen since the real 80's ended. This is the type of stuff you can't get of your your head and you don't really want to. The album's signature track is "Night By Night" which has a killer hook and and even better beat. Fans of 80's synth rock and modern bands like Passion Pit, Datarock, and the Chemical Brothers will surely fall in love with this release. The Chromeo guys have continued to set the bar high for 80's throwback tunes with their latest.
The bottom line is that Guster has created one of the best 5 albums of 2010. That being said, how exactly did they do it? They took the best elements of their band and their music and their experiences from their previous five albums and mashed them all together, mixed them with a bit of surprise, and wrapped them all up in a package that they had full control of producing. Guster is one of the hardest working bands in the music industry and they have managed to gain incredible success while remaining just below the radar. The album's first single, "Do You Love Me?" is a familiar Guster track with a bit more of a traditional pop feel. The entire album features Guster taking some twists and turns and introducing some unfamiliar elements into the mix like the use of new instruments such as the harmonica and ukulele. The banjo makes a prominent reappearance in two songs, "This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart" and "Hercules," and keyboards and pianos are featured throughout the album. The instrumentation throughout the entire disc seems a bit more orchestral than in the past. Many of the songs are sure to become staples in Guster's live setlists, especially "What You Call Love," "Bad, Bad World," and "This Could All Be Yours." The album's lead track, "Architects & Engineers," is a perfect addition to the band's repertoire and sets the tone of the entire album. The disc makes a departure from the band's traditional roots rock and features much less hand percussion (the band's first 3 albums featured it almost exclusively) and much more drum set. Guster has also included two more songs featuring Jesus in the title ("Jesus & Mary," "Stay With Me Jesus"), tripling their total number of Jesus songs as of now. The band plans on releasing a music video for each of the 12 tracks on the album, and there are four bonus tracks featured on several digital and physical editions of the disc. Guster is a band that does not compromise their music to fit any mold or any genre or any trend. They have made yet another awesome album and have proven that they can still make new and exciting music that doesn't sound like everything else they've released before. Guster's music is a magnificent experience that everyone should have in their lives, and despite the band's excellent past musical endeavors, their newest album is definitely going to create enough buzz to create a whole new generation of Guster fans.
As a special 10th birthday gift to the readers of the site, THISisMODERN.net has added two link groups to the sidebar to the right of the page. You'll find a new "Quick Links" section which will link you to special categories of blog post as well as other places to check out THISisMODERN.net on the web. Also, the "Links" section has not been split into two sections: "Non Profit Links" and "Other Links" to emphasize the non profit organizations supported by THISisMODERN.net. Check back often as new links are added all the time.
Some might say that for a band as established as Linkin Park, taking a left turn and doing something uncharacteristic and different is not the best way to go. In a music industry where the young guns are taking the world by storm, it's hard for the vets to keep up. So keep doing the same thing or do something different? In Linkin Park's case they decided that the right thing to do is whatever came from their voices and instruments. The end result is can be characterized as a piece of performance art just as much as an outstanding alternative rock album. Abandoning the rap-rock blueprint that was evident on their first two albums and flirting with the new wave alternative that their third album featured prominently, the band decided that they'd experiment with some new sounds, and with super producer Rick Rubin and co-lead vocalist Mike Shinoda working the board, they've created a work of art. The songs are catchy without being overly cookie cutter. "The Catalyst" is the first single off of the album, but because the flow of the album and the feel of the collection as a cohesive performance the song is buried at the end of the album. Songs like "Iridescent" and "When They Come For Me" are familiar Linkin Park experiences with a updated twist. The album also features several instrumental pieces and samples 3 speeches including one from Martin Luther King, Jr. and a very famous snippet by Robert Oppenheimer. Linkin Park have raised the bar for alternative rockers and longevity in the rock industry with this new album and have proven that as long as you do it well, the music that you create will be excellent as long as it comes from a place of honesty, sincerity, and creativity.
Although Matt White has already released an album which was met with great praise, his new album is actually the album that shows his talents off the best. After Geffen Records dropped White, despite a critically acclaimed record, White shopped around and landed on Ryko to continue his music career. His newest album shows off his first love, his piano, and a ton of the album features White performing his heart out on the 88 keys. The album's first single, "Falling In Love (With My Best Friend)" is the epitome of pop greatness, and the subject matter regarding the ins and outs of a close friendship is one that any listener can identify with. "She's On Fire" and "And the Beat Goes On" are album standouts . Matt White's greatest strength on this album is his incorporation of outstanding lyricism with his pop frenzy. He has really hit his stride with this collection of songs, and the freedom that he has achieved through his new record contract has reinvigorated his love for the music and the ones who benefit the most are his fans.
Led by indie folkster Jose Gonzalez, Junip finally got around to releasing new music after being on a pretty long hiatus. Since Gonzalez was busy with his solo career, and the critical praise that went along with it, Junip sat on the shelf. The new release is a familiar sound, now that Gonzalez has had a few recognizable hit songs and developed a following. Jose Gonzalez's signature vocals are layered on top of an amped up version of his familiar folk which is a lot like psychedelic 70's prog rock. "Always" and "Rope & Summit" are awesome songs that will surely become the recognizable cornerstones of this album. Junip are not going to be the next big alternative rock sensation, however, this album is certainly one of the most interesting of the year. Junip should definitely continue to write, record, and release music because there is no one out there that is doing quite what they are with their updated throwback sounds.
A little bit of country twang, a little bit of blues, and a whole lot of folk make up the parts of The Pines' latest release. This new album has the band graduating to a new level of indie folk excellence. The song "Lonesome Tremolo Blues" is both beautiful and haunting and is lyrically awesome. "Pray Tell" starts off the album and gets the listener in the mood to take a journey through Americana that is well worth the trip. The traditional instrumentation of Americana music is in full effect here, yet the Pines are far from traditional. The Pines are an underesitmated force of indie folk music and their new album has proven that huge radio hits and flashy production are not the way to impress.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Zac Brown Band - You Get What You Give
- Matt Costa - Mobile Chateau
- Michael Franti & Spearhead - The Sound Of Sunshine
- Maroon 5 - Hands All Over
- Ryan Montbleau Band - Heavy On The Vine
- Andrew Ripp - She Remains The Same
Check out the new video for Jack Johnson's latest single "At Or With Me." The video features a hilarious guest appearance by Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live. The premise of the video plays off of Andy's skit "The Mellow Show" in which he portrays Jack Johnson in a comedic way. Jack of couse seeks his revenge and hilarity insues. In the end we are all better for having participated, even Jack and Andy. Oh yeah, check out G. Love making an appearance on stage with the band!
Over the span of the last few albums that Ryan Montbleau and his band have released the band has really come into their own. With each album the songwriting, the cohesiveness, and the energy has gotten better and they have become a band on the verge of greatness. This latest album mixes familiar songs (several were featured on Montbleau's last solo live acoustic release) with a mess of new tunes, creating a collection that is the band's best to date. They mix general rock and roll with a bit of funk and a little jazz, and bring their live band energy into the studio putting it all down to tape just as if they were delivering it live on stage. "Chariot (I Know)" is one of Montbleau's best three songs (the others coming on his previous RMB release). Other standouts on the album include the acoustic driven "My Best Guess," the country twinged "I Can't Wait," and the brief but funky instrumental "Hands." Ryan Montbleau & co. have outdone themselves and have elevated their game. This album, along with Monbleau's recent songwriting successes, will have them gaining national attention, airplay, and praise.
Indie rock musicians making independent films is not a common thing. "Wah Do Dem" is a thoroughly indie film featuring musicians Sean Bones and Norah Jones showing off their acting skills. Norah's character doesn't spend a lot of time on screen, but we know Norah can act from her other film appearances. Sean Bones' acting is a bit like real life. Throughout the entire movie it is as if you are watching an incredible artistic and well shot documentation of a real life Sean Bones vacation. The majority of the film takes place on a cruise ship from New York City to Jamaica, and finally in Jamaica. It chronicles a vacation of a young man who is forced to spend his tropical time all alone after his girlfriend dumps him before the big trip. Sean Bones' character (who is a musician) spend his entire time finding himself while taking in all that the trip has to offer. His time solo on the cruise ship shows off his awkwardness and allows his character to not only subtly mock the experience but to take in a bit of cruise life that is not always seen by the typical vacationer (he spends some time with the crew in 'crew only' areas of the ship. When in Jamaica he is robbed and spends the remainder of the movie lost, broken, and trying to get to the US Embasy in Kingston. The soundtrack is excellent featuring both Sean Bones and Norah Jones as well as MGMT, Yeasayer, Santigold, and some killer deep roots reggae from The Congos (who also appear in the film). The film has received critical praise and has rightfully won a handful of awards. It shows off life and leisure in a tropical paradise in a new image and brings a whole new take on adventure to the viewers of the film. It's a must see for anyone who wants to experience life and film in a new light.
Where dancehall and reggae meet politically charged and protest music is right where you will find Australian rockers Blue King Brown. Never has a band created to much music with so many positive and thought provoking messages. Blue King Brown's latest endeavour is split into two parts on two discs labeled 'Northside' and 'Southside.' The first of the two discs features a slew of excellent reggae and dancehall music for fans of artists ranging from Michael Franti to State Radio to M.I.A. It also features a handful of guest appearances from some reggae elite (Sly & Robbie, John Brown's Body's Elliot Martin) and some lesser known collaborators (Voodoo Dred, Queen Ifrica). The standout tracks include the singles "Women's Revolution," "Moment Of Truth," and "Never Fade Away." The most killer reggae/dancehall can be heard on "Not Too Late" and "Hammer" and the lyrical messages in songs like "Teachers Are Leaders" and "Our Word Is Our Weapon" are incredible. The second disc in the sit features some incredible dub reggae. Blue King Brown is at the forefront of conscious music and are becoming leaders in this genre. Part 2 of this set is sure to be just as thought provoking and after hearing this collection, it is highly anticipated.
After releases a couple of albums and EPs, The Alternate Routes finally released a live album featuring some of their best songs in their best state. The Alternate Routes show off just how they became so popular on this album, bringing their live energy to the masses through a short collection of songs recorded live in Seattle, WA. The album features killer performances of "Hollywood," "Ordinary," "Ain't No Secret," and "Love Me For Nothing." The band trutly shows off their rock chops on the live version of the single "The Future's Nothing New," proving that at their core they are a live rock and roll band. This live album is a great way to satisfy the appetites of die hard fans while they wait eagerly for the release of the Alternate Routes' new album.
World music artists don't exactly get a ton of exposure in the world of pop music. Toubab Krewe is one of those artists and they march to the beat of a completely different drummer. Combining a jam band attitude and rock music with their training and love for West African music, Toubab Krewe make some incredibly unique tunes. Their second studio release is heavier on the rock side, showing off more of their live energy and jam band sensibilities throughout the entire album, and consequently only one song clocks in at under five minutes. Unlike their first studio album and their live release, the world music elements act as more of an influence than a centerpiece of many songs. "Holy Grail," "Gine Fare," and "Area Code" are the album's standout compositions. The maturity that they show on the entire album takes them to the next level as musicians and really sets them apart from other instrumental acts. They are not out to be a dance band, or a world music band, or even a rock band. They are only trying to be themselves and do what they love and do it well, and "TK2" is a testament to all of that.
Taylor Carson is a talented young singer/songwriter, and after having released a few albums, he has finally made the album that is going to take him to the next level. His newest album is full of great songs that showcase Carson's masterful lyrics and his uncanny ability to tell stories through songs. He is able to convey his feelings and emotions through each word and each guitar chord. "Someone To Love" is the anchor of the album, having been released for quite some time. The rest of the album that encompassed this song is a trip inside the life and mind of Taylor Carson. It's not a far stretch to compare Carson's lyricism to the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, and James Taylor. "Five" and "Freight Train" are instant classics, and the vivid imagery depicted in songs like "Moonshiner" and "Baby Away" transcends just simple storytelling. Taylor Carson's new album is his heart, soul, mind, and life set to genius song.
Weezer is that band that everyone loves. There is no way that in your lifetime that you have not at some point loved a song that was released by Weezer. Lately they've been pumping out new albums so fast that they are all beginning to be blurred into one giant awesome album. Their latest, which was probably named after the lovable character (pictured on the album cover) from TV show "Lost," is a grown up version of some of the same style of music that they started creating over fifteen years ago. Their song "Memories" has the band looking back at the beginning and reminiscing about what it was like when they were just a young band and how much has actually changed over their careers. "Smart Girls" is a tongue-in-cheek testament to all the girls that lead singer Rivers Cuomo involved himself with during his time earning his degree at Harvard during Weezer's hiatus. The bottom line is that Weezer is probably the best power pop rock band that has ever graced the airwaves. They are fans of everyone and everyone is a fan of them, and on their newest album, their first to be released on an indie label, they continue to prove why they have survived and succeeded for almost 20 years.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Trey Anastasio Band - TAB At The TAB
- Michelle Branch - Everything Comes And Goes
- Taylor Carson - Defending The Name
- Chromeo - Business Casual
- Brandon Flowers - Flamingo
- Cas Haley - Connection
- Junip - Fields
- Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns
- Jake Smith - Everyone Comes From Somewhere
- Underworld - Barking
- Weezer - Hurley
- Matt White - It's The Good Crazy
When Andrew Ripp released his first album, it was quite well received, and it defined him as an incredible singer/songwriter. His latest album defines him as an incredible musician. He has graduated from acoustic guitar driven pop to all out hard hitting rock music. It's true that he is still a songwriter at the core, and there are several songs on the album that show off exactly what he is excellent at. But it's the edgier songs that make this album so good. "Star" is on the border between pop and rock music, and is one of the more tamer songs on the album. It's "Rider" and "Savior" that really get your head rocking and heart pumping. The guitar riffs and the bass rhythms are on point and the lyrics are as creative as ever. Andrew Ripp has shown he is the real deal with his latest album and he has also shown that an independent musician can make a great album without the backing of a major label.
Every now and then a musician comes along that just makes a great impression upon first listen. Isaac Russell is the latest singer/songwriter to showcase his skills and wow listeners with his blend of subtle pop rock. His vocals are a bit familiar, similar to artists like Matt Hires and Howie Day, and his lyrics are beautiful and show off his ability to tell a story through song. "Lighthouse" is the song that leads off the album and just draws you in. It's not your typical pop song, but it still has catchy lyrics and you'll find yourself wanting to replay the song once it has ended. His song "Elizabeth" is his most beautiful, and despite its somber tone and subject matter, listeners will be able to grasp his heavy emotion within the first verse. "Golden" is another of the five tracks that has a catchy feel, and although it seems as though "Lighthouse" will begin to define Isaac's career, it's songs like "Golden" that will have Russell hooking and keeping fans for a long time. It's quite a tease just to hear a few tracks from Isaac Russell, but surely he will definitely be back with a full length album as this EP definitely warrants a follow up.
Old souls seem to be few and far between these days, but Jesse Dee has found a way to mix the new with the old on his newest album. The entire album sounds like it was made in the 50's with the smooth sounds of jazz, funk, and big band permeating through the speakers. Jesse's vocal delivery makes the album current and accessible to listeners, combining the modern take on rock music with the classic sounds of old school pop and jazz. Martin Sexton and members of Ryan Montbleau's band appear as a few of the extensive array of backing musicians. "Slow Down," "Alright," and "Around Here" are some of the album's best tracks. Jesse Dee's music has bits a pieces of the sounds of Maroon 5 and Rustic Overtones and his vocals are reminiscent of Amos Lee, but it is still all original. It's nice to hear musicians doing something all their own these days in a world where doing the same thing is the way to gain success. Jesse Dee is a true original and by the sound of his new album, he also seems uncompromising.
Matt Wertz has been on the indie scene for a while, and for a brief time flirted with the big time with a major record deal, so he's got a lot of songs under his belt. Being one of the most talented songwriters around, it's only fitting that he should show off his craft in the best light possible, and with this live album he does just that. The album features Wertz performing 16 of his best songs, spanning his entire career, in the purest of forms: just his voice and his guitar. On the album are some incredible variations of the songs "The Day Forever Died," "Everything's Right," and "The Way I Feel," all of which have been fan favorites for quite some time. The stellar performances of songs like "5:19" and "Marianne" show off his songwriting to the max. Also contained in the set are awesome performances of "Summer Sun" and "Carolina" and the show is closed with on of Wertz's best fan favorites "Red Meets Blue." It's true, if it ain't broke don't fix it. So, Matt Wertz keep doing what you are doing!
Halloween, Alaska make the most organic sounding version of live electronic music of any artist in this relatively new genre. Their music is not at all in the same vein as traditional electronic music, but it has a feel and a quality of ambient electronic music that has only been mastered by true electronic artists. Their combination of voice, lyrics, and ambient sound along with a straightforward indie rock style delivery make their music more than unique. The title track is outstanding and other songs such as "The Ends" define the band from the very first note. Ever since these guys were featured during an episode of the first season of the television show "The O.C." they have proven that their music is head and heels above anyone that remotely tries to compete. Halloween, Alaska are a true pillar in their genre and they have proven it with all three of their albums, and this latest is a huge exclamation point.
Indie pop bands are everywhere, so it can be hard to decipher which ones are the best. Jukebox The Ghost is making a stellar case for themselves with their newest album release out on Yep Roc Records. Their energy is amped up and their mix of pop rock gold and lyrical cleverness puts them at the top of their game, and one of the best at this craft in recent months. Songs like "Schizophrenia" and "Empire" prove that the pop song is alive and well and that stuff that claims to be pop on top 40 radio doesn't hold a candle to the real thing. Fans of everyone from Jimmy Eat World all the way to Josh Ritter will find something they love about this band and this album. It's no wonder these guys will be sharing the stage this fall with the likes of Guster and Elizabeth & The Catapult. Jukebox The Ghost have released one of the year's best indie albums and now they will show the world what they are made of.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart
- Interpol - Interpol
- Brendan James - Brendan James
- Jukebox The Ghost - Everything Under The Sun
- Toubab Krewe - TK2
Tom Freund is one of those musicians that doesn't get the recognition he deserves. Sure he's been around for a while and made a ton of great records. His last was produced by and featured Ben Harper, and although he did get some more exposure, coupling with Ben Harper again didn't give him the boost he needed to become as recognized as acts like Jack Johnson and Ray LaMontagne. Needless to say, Freund continues to make music and he continues to get better. His music is perfect California folk rock and is rooted by his lyrics and his love for the influence of jazz. Upright bass has always been a staple for Fruend, and the subtleties of the music showcase both his unique voice and his outstanding skills as a musician and songwriter. Songs like "Ghost In This Town" and "Little Room Of Mine" are welcome additions to his repertoire and consequently two performances that are among his best. "Truly Mellow" shows off his truly mellow side, and although this EP is just a quick five songs, Freund shows off more than just his mellowness. He's shows off how spectacular a musician he is, and despite the fact he isn't selling out stadiums and amphitheaters, he still is making music just as good, if not better, than those who are making it big.
Jaymes Reunion's debut album is a bit of pop rock that is right in the vein of Maroon 5 and OneRepublic. Their funkiness is a lot less than Maroon 5, however, the delivery of all their music, both slow and fast songs, has the same pop flavor. Songs like the radio gem "Fine" and "Let It Shine" are going to prove to be big hits for these guys. The music on this album can be enjoyed by anyone from top 40 listeners to alternative rock junkies. This debut album has the makings of a true pop rock success story, and with their great songs and tight performances Jaymes Reunion will certainly be turning heads out on the road.