Archive for April, 2010

DISSECTING AGUILERA THROUGH THE LENS OF A RACY NEW MUSIC VIDEO

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

The pint-sized blonde bombshell formerly known as X-tina is back and this time around, she’s definitely not going back to basics.

Aguilera, who adorns more skin than actual clothes in the just-released video for Not Myself Tonight (via Vevo this morning), seems to be back to her roots and they’re definitely black. No bubblegum watered-down pop explosion coming from this diva and proud wife of music executive Jordan Bratman, who claims settling down and becoming a wife and mother has made her more confident in her skin. All I have to say to that is this: I had no clue she was lacking confidence beforehand? Lord, if Aguilera gets any more confident we may have to call for backup. Chick is definitely on fire and out of control yet in charge and in control all at the same time.

Aguilera is a bomb that’s exploded time and time again, leaving the other female pop singers lagging behind in the race as her vocal chords are, without a doubt, #1 in the game. According to Rolling Stone, Aguilera is the only female vocalist under the age of 30 whose voice was good enough to make the magazine’s list of the best voices of all time. And rightfully so, as Aguilera’s chops are undeniable.

My only beef: I wish the landscape of mainstream music would allow a woman to be stripped of all the nonsense of the exterior, to showcase what truly simmers underneath. In my opinion, Beautiful is Aguilera’s best work–a song that became an instant classic with its message of hope, acceptance, love, and compassion bleeding from a girl with multiple piercings, crazy sunless tanner lines, assless chaps, with a messy hairdo that stood on its own, which was a message in itself, backed against the lyrics of the song.

Even though, I am all for freedom of expression, I’ve got to say that my favorite Christina, out of all the personalities she’s tried on over the years, is the sultry, demure, classy one–the one who doesn’t need to show skin or act like a kitten in a video to get attention, for her talent shines without all the excess.

What are your thoughts on another re-invention from Aguilera?

Check out the racy premiere of Not Myself Tonight followed by the classic Beautiful, below.

BAND OF HORSES GALLOP TOGETHER

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Galloping into major label territory for the first time, Band of Horses is back. Single NW Apt. off of the May release Infinite Arms is dope. Simply dope. In the battle of the beards that runs rife through indie/alt rock, Band of Horses are concrete contenders sporting some serious facial fuzz. And behind the scruff lies lyrical madness.

Upon preview of the new album, I was totally in the zone. Tracks on Infinite Arms are fire; in my opinion, the group’s most focused and forceful recordings to date. Banding together for the spotlight, all members make priceless offerings to the distinctive sound that lead singer, Ben Bridwell, has crafted since the band’s inauguration. Songs such as Older and Compliments show the band’s extensive growth. Aside from the amazing music, the best part of the album is that it seems to get better with each listen. You pick out more things, more concealed instruments and sounds. It is a marvelously rendered jewel, one of the few that will most likely be enjoyed by EVERYONE I know. If you are a fan of first-class music, you owe it to yourself to get this album.

May 18th is the day to get stampeded by the horses. Take a few hits and really let it sink in, for you will find it’s gleaming, layered, and smartass emo-pop fully ready for saturation. On tour this spring with the- oh-so-amazing Pearl Jam, this tour will be one for the books. After all, riding horses is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion, a Band of Horses.

INTRODUCING PRETTY FACE 4 RADIO

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

FROM SCRATCH is a new section on BTB where unsigned artists sound off!

High spirited, edgy, forceful, addictive. What does that add up to? Pretty Face 4 Radio, a single act also known as Kyle Carey, a dynamo of talent fuelled by fire and emotional electricity. Usually this genre isn’t my thing, but this man’s music is raging with so much vigour that it’s impossible not to listen, enjoy, and repeat.

His music is a rockin combo of electronic and pop influence, with a little bit of alternative mesh rock thrown in, and has enough strength to rip through you with every chorus line. It’s blazing with the beat and heavy on the synthesizers, which, by the way, weld perfectly into his awesome dance tracks. I especially found his latest song, Hello Chicago really rivetting. There’s something about the percussion that adds an extra beat to your heart, making you almost anxious to get something done and reach out to the world.

Everything about his songs is charged with an enigmatic flair, a smooth grace combined with ruthless magnetism. It’s the best antidote when you need to just get up and dance, and not even think about how much of the world may be watching. And don’t we all need something like that? Some snappy song that makes us happy, revs us up, encourages us to let go and be ourselves? Aren’t some of the best types of music the ones that engage our inner wildness and unleash our natural highs?

Kyle Carey may be a one man show, but he does more than enough to make a creative sound. He started as a drummer and quickly picked up a guitar, along with the inspiration to be a lyricist and artist. Everything about him demands dedication, and he’s definitely preferable to the unoriginality ones often found playing on the radio.

Currently unsigned, Kyle has shown that the best drive comes from bright energy and an undying devotion to the rhythm in his soul. He says it best himself: “Every second of free time is about the music.” That’s a philosophy all musicians should live by.

Give this guy time, and he’ll definitely have the potential to turn some heads (and open some hearts).

You can check out his most recently released track below. Cue the wicked tunes!

Hello, Chicago! (192 Kbps)

Pretty Face 4 Radio Myspace

TIMBERLAKE DEALS LOVE TO ESMEE D.

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Timberlake is one slick love dealer.

Not long after BTB was created, one of the first artists I wrote about was Esmee Denters. The former pancake house waitress who captivated the world with nothing but a webcam and her powerful voice had just released her debut music video for Outta Here, after being signed by Justin Timberlake (who, like everyone else, first saw her videos online).

The Dutch-born singer hasn’t been pushed really in America but that could all change now with her new music video for Love Dealer, which features Timberlake doing what he does best: bringin’ sexy back with his coy demeanor and relaxed pop hop (pop + hip hop, def just made that up) vibe.

Speaking of Timberlake, when is that kid going to drop some new music?! It’s obvious that he’s having a good ol’ time producing songs and filling the guest hot spot on other acts’ tracks but it’s been way too long in my book.

Until we get some new fresh solo music from JT, you can check out his muse below in a before and after look at the just-released music video ft. Timberlake.

Interview // Behind The Scenes of Love Dealer

Official Music Video //

RARE MGMT INTERVIEW: BROOKYLN DUO TURNS DOWN GAGA, COLDPLAY, U2

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MGMT has no desire whatsoever to be pop stars.

The New York duo (Andrew VanWyngarden & Ben Martin Goldwasser) was approached to tour with a number of super famous acts, but they immediately turned down the offers saying: “We’ve recently been offered support slots with a ton of big bands. Really huge, enormous, big bands – Like Lady Gaga and U2 and Coldplay and Foo Fighters,” said Andrew, “and we turned them all down. We really didn’t want to do any of that.”

Call MGMT pretentious for not wanting to support mainstream acts but I respect their decision. In a world where pop stars are viewed as products (hell, even Lady GaGa who claims to be about the “art”, released a nearly 10 minute video earlier this year with nothing but product endorsements slayed across the screen), the boys of MGMT view their music as something a bit more personal than simply a tool to earn buckets of money.

It’s now more clear than ever, that MGMT is about the art of music and not the product, which often pigeonholes singers and bands into boxes with little to no control over a vast majority of the creative process.

MGMT band mate Ben also feels that their music has been “blown out of proportion by everybody”. Contact Music quotes him as saying: “We don’t feel like pop stars, we feel like a rock band. We don’t want to play arenas. It’s not our mission.”

“I think on some level it is a reaction to the success of the first one. I mean, of course we were happy and felt lucky that stuff happened, but it wasn’t really what we were shooting for.”

MGMT’s Congratulations was released on April 13th.

Check out the interview with MGMT, below.

WHAT A DOLL: PUSSYCAT PLANS TO OPEN MUSIC CAMP FOR THE DISABLED

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls is looking to use her talents to give back. Inspired by her aunt, who has Down syndrome, Scherzinger says she wants to open up a music camp for the disabled.

Says Nicole: “I grew up with my aunt who is actually younger than me because my grandmother had her at an older age and she has Down syndrome. She has always had a special place in my heart and is such a wonderful addition to our family. I used to tell my girls in the Pussycat Dolls that I would have my own musical camp or school where I would teach people with special disabilities or Down syndrome.”

Scherzinger hopes her camp will raise awareness of people with Down syndrome. Nicole’s boyfriend, Formula 1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton, has also been inspired by someone in his family as well.

Lewis’ brother Nicolas suffers from Cerebral Palsy and in his autobiography, Lewis wrote: “I only have to think of one person to keep me motivated and put a smile on my face, my brother Nicolas. I often try to imagine myself in Nic’s position. I don’t think I would be anywhere near as strong as him. There’s so much to admire in him. So, whatever I am doing, I say to myself, ‘If you think it’s hard to do this, then think again.’ ”

Lewis has his own charity, the Lewis Hamilton Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children and young people in ill health or poverty across the world.

KUDOS!

Take a flashback to Nicole’s Whatever U Like (ft. T.I.), below.

MATT & KIM: SUMMER PLAYLIST FRONTRUNNERS

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


It’s the most wonderful time of the year; summer is almost upon us, and it’s time for a serious jam session. Boy meets girl, boy and girl make magic. One of my favorite duo’s, Matt & Kim, will get those car windows down and speakers up. Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare will take you down the “side streets of life”. It’s about accepting the fine and terrible in people and in life, something we all deal with everyday of our existence. While their upbeat dance-pop is fresh, their ethic is straight outta’ the early ’80s, and it’s totally attractive; legwarmers and headbands welcome. I’m sure you have all seen the masterpiece of nakedness for Daylight, but trust me, Matt & Kim are more than hard bodies.

Two people with only drums and keyboards; the sound is minimalistic, but the higher level of production fills out the sound in a positive way. The lyrics don’t make too much sense upon first listening, but that’s part of the charm: “The skyline looks brighter tonight, let’s go smash out every light”. The beat will make you want to do just that, but please kids, don’t try this at home. Smack in the face sing-alongs that roll off your tongue whether you want them to or not.

Add Brooklyn’s darlings Matt & Kim to your summer playlist, and dance the night away. Although the album has been on the shelves for a little while, find a new track and bang the shit out of it. Their insistent, invigorating sound will leave you wanting more.

SUCCESS IS THE GREATEST REVENGE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This made me cry like a baby!

Yes, cry. I said it! I think anyone who has ever been criticized/bullied for being different can relate to this young man’s story of triumph. In many ways, the kid’s a hero.

Lin Yu Chun is a name you may not recognize, but his chubby body meshed with his pudding-bowl haircut and his one of a kind voice has become instantly recognizable. After his performance of I Will Always Love You on the Taiwanese version of American Idol, he has shot to fame, gaining the (much deserved) attention of the world.

Since his rise, the 24-year-old has been compared to Susan Boyle, who was also judged critically by her age and appearence when she stepped into the spotlight on Britain’s Got Talent last year. Now, despite not winning the show, the singer who confessed that she had never been kissed released a record-breaking album and has made well over $2 million dollars.

I think the same could be in store for Chun. He deserves it! It’s about time people start seeing beyond the shallow lens of judgement and instead take a look at what lies behind the curtains.

Check out Chun on Ellen, below.

HOOKED: ROBYN/’DANCING ON MY OWN’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Don’t be bothered if his eyes can’t see your beauty. Dance until you find someone who can.

Robyn announced earlier this year that her new album would actually be a mini-series (3 parts/discs in all). At first, when I heard the news, I thought this was either a bit much or a bit ambitious but after hearing the first single I have no doubts that the project(s) will be neon, heartbreaking, with the attitude driven fierceness that the Swedish singer usually brings to all of her music.

If you’ve ever been in love with someone who took you for a ride, someone who overlooked all you sacrificed, someone who lead you on only to turn you off without a second glance–then this song’s for you.

Somebody said you got a new friend
Does she love you better than I can?
There’s a big black sky over my town
I know where you at, I bet she’s around
Yeah, I know it’s stupid
But I just got to see it for myself

I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her
I’m right over here, why can’t you see me
I’m givin’ it my all, but I’m not the girl you’re takin’ home
I keep dancin’ on my own

Listen to DANCING ON MY OWN, below.

TRUE BLOOD’S ROCK N’ ROLL MIXTAPE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


[photo cred: details mag]

“I love rock. My favourite artist is an Australian guy called Johnny Diesel, and my fave overseas band has always been The Beatles – you can’t top them.”
//True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten on his favorite music

SHEDDING A DIFFERENT LIGHT: IDOL GIVES, UNDERWOOD IGNITES ‘CHANGE’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

A few days ago, before his face appeared on Idol Gives Back, President Obama arrived in Los Angeles to help raise money for the re-election of Senator Barbara Boxer. An exclusive dinner was arranged, and the guests in attendance had to pay $17,600 dollars per dinner plate. Let me state the obvious: most in attendance were wealthy corporate types or celebrities of various branches. When given a second thought, it’s clear that sometimes in order to feel you have a voice in America you need wealth (or at least the luxury of spending $17,600 for dinner). The ironic twist is the event took place in LA, a city on the verge of bankruptcy, with 80,000 residents homeless and 12 percent of the city’s population without jobs.

I mention the Obama angle, because I think it’s a common factor in deciding whether or not to give. Trust me, I’ve been there, to that place inside that selfishly overlooks the truth, by feeling as if I have nothing to give in comparisons to those with celebrity style bank accounts (which, let’s face it, should be giving in the first place, with or without the positive attention of the camera). The truth is, you do not need $17,600 to truly leave your footprint in the dirt of the world. Even as little as $10 bucks a month can literally feed children on the brink of starvation and catastrophic diseases.

Idol winner Carrie Underwood performed the beautiful track Change during the two hour event. Underwood talked to reporters after the show about the importance of supporting charitable causes: “This is the stuff that really makes a difference,” she said. “We’re coming up on 10 seasons of American Idol. Twenty years later, people might not remember who won what, but this is the kind of stuff that can make lives better and people will remember that.”

The track from Underwood’s Play On album was written by Katrina Elam, Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins. “[The song] talks about how the smallest thing can make a huge difference, and it really fits with tonight’s concept,” Underwood told reporters. During her fall tour, 36 cents of every ticket sold will benefit Save the Children’s programs in the U.S. The amount parallels a reference to “36 cents” in the lyrics of the song.

You can listen to the track, below. You can also check out Keep A Child Alive (a program I personally advocate), by clicking here.

ADDICTED: FLORENCE + THE MACHINE COVER ROBERT PALMER

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Upon writing, I try to focus my energy on artists and their originality, but every once in a while copy-cat syndrome can be a juicy thing. This is the “go-green” age, so why not recycle a song by spinning it in a way that’s modern?

Big ups to Florence + The Machine for this charming rendition of the Robert Palmer classic Addicted to Love. Although a fan of Florence and her posse’s personal work, I can’t get this off of repeat. Normally if I heard this song on the radio, I’d most likely turn the dial; in this case, only thing to turn is the volume, higher.

Her voice is a machine, and although some may find the original hit a bit trite, this new rendition is epic, and improved drastically. Sometimes cover songs tend to catch a bad rap; even when our beloved artists record one, we usually last about two or three listens before ready to discover something original.

Florence + The Machine will definitely benefit from borrowing this material, for it showcases a completely new range and style. Hell, might as well face it: I’m addicted to it.

“COURTNEY LOVE” IS DEAD

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

You may believe she was the ruin behind Kurt Cobain. You may think she’s trash. You might even call her evil. But there’s no denying that Courtney Love is truly a raw & fascinating person.

“Courtney Love is dead,” said the Hole singer (via Us Magazine), who now apparently wants to be known only as Courtney Michelle. Michelle is Love’s middle name.

Says Courtney Michelle: “We’ve all decided we don’t like her (Courtney Love) anymore. We love her when she goes onstage, but I don’t need her in the rest of my life.”

Love’s new album with Hole is the first record the singer has recorded while sober.

The rocker who is known for being in sticky hot messes said: “Courtney Love is a way to oppress me,” and has determined a new name will deliver a new-and-improved Love.

Here’s to hoping!

Check out a very FASCINATING (and believe it or not, endearing) interview with Love (via Amazon), below.

AGNES BREAKS UP ON THE DANCEFLOOR

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


“Even though they can have a deep subject (such as un-returned love in Release Me) I want my songs to inspire people to have fun and dance,” –Agnes // in an interview with Scan Magazine.

At the ripe old age of 17, small-town girl Agnes Carlsson was the youngest contestant to ever win Swedish Idol. Now at 22, after huge success in the UK where she is known simply as Agnes, the pop tart (who says Beyonce is her role model) is planning an international takeover. And judging by her video for her massive hit Release Me, Agnes might have the Leona Lewis-esque vocals to pull it off.

Check out the video for Release Me, below.

A breakup/heartbreak song that actually makes you want to move…on.

ALKALINE TRIO: NEW DIRECTION, SAME GUT-SHOCKING SOUND

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


What’s something you look for in a gothic punk rock band? Chilling imagery, wicked style, overwhelming choruses, smoky, pungent lines? Well, you don’t have to look any further. Budding from Chicago, Alkaline Trio can fill every musical void you have (in fact, when they’re done with you, you’ll be overflowing).

Anyone who can appreciate mastery can appreciate Alkaline Trio. Their unbridled ambition and keen exploration results in a perfect union of heart cracking sensitivity and sensual, dark undertones. And with their new album This Addiction, they’ve continued down that same road, switching up their own inner direction.

This Addiction has a deadly ring to it, with crisp vocals and a heavy bass that keeps the sound air-tight. The drums control your eyes, and the guitar decides how you move your feet and hands. Everything, including your heart is drawn to the rhythm that these characters have in their system.

Though their music continues to overpower indefinitely, this album seems more mellow than their previous ones, as if the band has become more comfortable with the strength in their own music. Such a newfound maturity (as well as a switch to a new record label) has given the band the initiative to zap up the power grid while still managing to hit brain cells like a vial of pure lithium. With that breath of fresh artistic air, they’ve managed to go back to the old style punk roots of The Velvet Underground.

Matt Skiba, vocalist for the band, says that This Addiction is a melded expression of all the various romantic struggles the band had dealt with in the past year, and speaks of a united theme throughout regarding the pain and toxicity of love. He explains that the title song of the album ‘takes heroin addiction as a metaphor for love’.

The pure honesty you’re confronted with by this album makes it clear that the lyrics have been taken from real-life inspiration, genuine heartbreak and genuine pain. Now that’s something anyone can relate to. These guys aren’t washed out, plasticized, or corporatized. They’re full of strength and crammed with poetry.

Be prepared to have your guts shell-shocked and your circuits rewired, because Alkaline Trio is ripping through the ears of the world, and they’re not leaving anyone behind.


Alkaline Trio – “This Addiction”

Alkaline Trio | MySpace Music Videos

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