Saturday, December 31, 2011

Album of the Year...According to Me: U.S. Royalty - Mirrors

Normally at the end of the year, I put together a series of posts “reviewing” records I didn’t get around to mentioning throughout the year. This year, I wanted to change things up a bit. I considered putting together one of those nifty little best of lists. But then, I started thinking... that happens from time to time! There are several records that came out this year that I like be it because they were well crafted, catchy or just because. But, how many of those albums do I really listen to? By really listen to, I mean in regular rotation and can sing-a-long to sort of thing.

I did some highly complicated scientific calculations based on my listening habits and I determined the Quirky NY Chick Album of the Year...According to Me honor goes to, U.S. Royalty for their much listened to Mirrors.

The DC area band released Mirrors, their full-length debut, in January of 2011. When the record landed in my inbox (note to me, order physical copy!), I put it on and it has stayed in regular rotation since then. I’ve listened to it a lot. It’s um, playing right now as I type. Yeah, let’s just say, they would likely even say I’ve listened to their record too much! Is it a perfect record? No, but what is? There are a couple of songs, “Vacation Vacation” and “Old Flames,” that I don’t feel as much as the rest of the album, sorry fellas. That being said, the highlights far outweigh the “I ain’t feeling it” moments. I was initially drawn to “Hollywood Hollows.” I tend to listen to music before I listen to lyrics; it’s just how I work. The stomp blues rock of “Hollywood Hollows” is frankly some of the sexiest sounding rock ‘n’ roll to hit my ears in a while. The first several times I listened to the song, I frankly didn’t care what the lyrics were. The music combined with vocalist John Thornley’s phrasing dripped of musical sexiness and, I happen to like when my rock ‘n’ roll is sexy and a little dirty sounding. However, it’s the catchy “Monte Carlo” that gets stuck in your head for hours at a time. It is quite simply one of those wonderful pop rock songs that is worthy of being #1 on the Billboard charts. The fact that it is reminiscent of some of those classic Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac songs (check out Paul Thornley’s guitar work on the track, Buckingham would be proud) just adds to the charm. From there you’re led into “Equestrian” full of driving rhythms that sound incredibly grand. “The Desert Won’t Save You,” another song I listened to several times before even listening to the lyrics, is also rather grand in sound with it’s Zepplinesque vibe. It just sounds intensely heavy reeling you in with seductive guitar work that weaves throughout the song then it pounds you hard before easing you back down through a maze of rhythm to let you go gently. Put on some headphones, grab a glass of wine (or some mother nature if that’s your thing), light some incense and candles and just let it take you away; it’s that kind of song.

Mirrors is an incredibly strong body of work. When I first mentioned this record on my little corner of the internet world, I put it on my list of recommended listens. Almost a year later, I still feel the same way.

U.S. Royalty also get kudos for putting on one helluva live show. They’re full of Stones like bravado giving you a show full of sweat, swagger and good old fashioned, no holds barred, we came to entertain you rock music. My only complaint would be that due to some bizarre cosmic deprivation conspiracy happenings, I only got to see one of their many NYC shows this year!

For those who were curious, the remaining two on my top three ridiculous number of listens list were... Nicole Atkins’ seriously wonderful Mondo Amore and I’ve worn out Jump Into The Gospel’s four song Self-titled EP... more songs, please fellas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Upcoming: WAZU at Cameo Gallery, January 10 + MP3

New York based, Australian duo WAZU will be taking the stage over in Brooklyn at Cameo Gallery on Tuesday, January 10 at 8PM. Swing over and check them out. If you aren’t familiar with the duo, we have for you in our MP3 Grab at the bottom of the post, the first single, “Murder 1” from their upcoming debut EP. The Kevin McMahon produced EP is scheduled for release on January 10 via Anti-language Recordings.

WAZU is Matt and Rizz – an Australian-American glam/grunge/electronic/pop duo based in New York City by way of Sydney. Matt and Rizz met as freshmen at The University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, and after writing and performing together in several influential Sydney bands, including Open the Gates and Captains, the two decided to officially become a duo and further explore the chemistry and ideas that so naturally occur between them.

In their first week as WAZU, the duo performed seven shows in six nights at the Top 10 “Best of the Fest” Festival at Toronto Indie Week 2010. “We showed up planning to play three shows, but [we] kept winning!” Shortly after, the band performed as part of the CMJ Festival at Lower East Side staple The Living Room, the Neon Reverb Music Festival in Las Vegas, and the Dropout Party at Don Hill’s in New York City.

MP3 Grab: “Murder 1

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Video of the Day: Lenny Kravitz - “Push”

Today we have for you the new video from Lenny Kravitz. Why? 1) We like Lenny. 2) It’s in b&w. 3) It’s a good song. 4) He roams about shirtless in it. What? It’s my corner of the internet world and I can be shallow if I want! At least I refrained from making that the number one reason for posting the video. The video is for “Push” which is from his latest album, Black And White America.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Video of the Day: Amy Gore & Her Valentines - "Drivin' Around"

Today we bring you the new video from Amy Gore & Her Valentines. The video is for the song "Drivin' Around" and was produced and directed by Brittin Richter. I'm a huge Gore fan and once again she has delighted me. Check out the video at the bottom of the post. Also, you can purchase the song using the handy dandy fantastical widget below.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Video Flashback: Hank & Cupcakes at Mercury Lounge

Back in October, we were at Mercury Lounge to watch Hank & Cupcakes heat things up. So, today we have for you a clip from that show. They're performing their cover of "She's Lost Control." Even though the camera audio is a bit dodgy, you can see why they're a must see band; they're infectiously fun and funky.