Category Archives: Music

On My iPod: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

bigwhiskepThe Dave Matthews has been my favorite musical group for as long as I can remember. Their album Before These Crowded Streets happens to be my favorite album of all time. One of my silly traditions is to listen to this album each and every New Year’s. The Dave Matthews Band has accompanied me on many trips and filled the air as I set out on many an artistic adventure. So it pleases me to say that their newest album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, was released today—it is their first studio album since Stand Up (2005).

Before I talk about the album, I want to share a segment that aired on CBS’s Sunday Morning this weekend. In his interview of the band, Anthony Mason covers topics ranging from the album itself, to the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore, to the band’s near break-up. The piece is very well done. The Dave Matthews Band has always struck me as being very down-to-earth. I admire that the concentration is on their music, rather than flashy promotional videos, fame, and fashion.

This album does not disappoint. I would go so far to say that I have not quite loved anything like it since I first discovered Before These Crowded Streets. The Dave Matthews band has created another work of art in that familiar, well-loved, and unique sound—something that no other band has really come close to. Despite the heavy themes and emotions housed in the lyrics, I could not help coming away feeling good about life and the world after listening to this album. In a sentence: This album leaves me feeling optimistic.

There is not a song on this album that I did not enjoy. A few of my favorites include “Squirm,” “Lying in the Hands of God,” and “Seven.”

Incubus “Love Hurts”

In keeping with the poetry theme and as the quote in my last post has always been a source of inspiration, I thought I would continue down this road. I find this song to be quite inspiring, so I hope you will, too. Enjoy! 

On My iPod: Tonic’s Lemon Parade

My Dad always used to tell me that I would know an album was great if I sat down to listen to one song and when the next song started playing I had to listen to that one, too; and before I knew it, I had listened to the entire thing.  The last few years have left me disappointed with the music industry. I have bought a few CDs over the past year or so, and though there is always a song or two that I fall in love with, the rest of the tracks always seem like filler.

 

You have to love the weird cover-art, right?

The past few weeks, however, have seen me revisiting some of my favorites. Near the top of the list is Tonic’s album Lemon Parade. This is certainly one of those albums where I can’t only listen to one song.

 

What do I love about this album? The varied content. There are tracks that have a heavier rock feel, such as “Wicked Soldier,” “Thick,” “Mountain,” and “Bigot Sunshine.” At the same time, interspersed within the album are a few fantastic ballads, such as “My Old Man,” and “Lemon Parade.” The rest of the tracks vary in their intensity and the order of the tracks is such that it adds a sense of balance to the work as a whole. Tonic subjects their listeners to a variety of sounds, emotions, and ideas throughout the album—a trait that seems lacking in many more recent releases from artists.

Another thing that I love about this album is the guitar work. This trio certainly knows what they are doing when it comes to producing great rock music reminiscent of classical rock greats. The only downside is that, after a while, the vocals tend to become a little tiresome. Emerson Hart’s vocals aren’t generally varied or distinctive, but Tonic more than makes up for this in both their lyrics and melodies.

My favorite tracks include, “Lemon Parade,” “Wicked Soldier,” and “Mountain.” However, these generally seem to change with my mood. I remember many a night in high school writing to these songs.