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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

From Left: Ryan Lewis, Ben Haggerty (Macklemore)

During the months prior to release of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ debut studio album, the duo leaked a number of singles. While “My oh My”, “Wing$” and “Can’t Hold Us” made minor leeway on the charts, it wasn’t until Macklemore leaked his single “Same Love” with the vocal assistance of Mary Lambert that they really made a splash. As for “Can’t Hold Us”, I can scarcely imagine listening to this in the car without even the slightest temptation of weaving in and out of traffic.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us Feat. Ray Dalton (Right Click & Save As)

“Return of the Mack, get em! what it is, what it does, what it is, what it isn’t,
Looking for a better way to get up out of bed,
Instead of getting on the internet and checking a new hit me,
Get up!fresh out pimp strut walking, little bit of humble, little bit of cautious,
Somewhere between like rocky and cosby sweatergang nope nope y’all can’t copy”

When Macklemore & Ryan Lewis independently recorded, produced and released their debut studio album on October 9th, 2012, The Heist hit #1 on iTunes within hours. Did I mention they accomplished this with no mainstream promotion or support? Respect. The song with Mary Lambert, “Same Love”, was released in support of Washington State’s Referendum 74 regarding gay marriage.

All love is beautiful.

Wait a second. He’s advocating equal rights and gay marriage? That’s right. Not only will Macklemore approach these issues on his tracks, he will firmly take a stance and staunchly defend it. He promotes gay equality in “Same Love”, racial equality in “A Wake” and expounds the social injustice wrought by Nike’s marketing campaigns targeting inner city youth in “Wing$”.

Macklemore & His Lady in Oahu

Macklemore & His Lady in Oahu

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – A Wake Feat. Evan Roman (Right Click & Save As)

“I wish I didn’t care
Acynical hispters with long hair
Cocaine problems, like my music
It’s not my issue, I can’t solve it”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis aren’t just about equal rights and social justice, which could make a good book or documentary; but for today’s demanding hip hop connoisseurs, nothing less than crystal clear production, the heaviest of bass, thoughtful lyrics and flow that goes for days will do. Not to mention catchy hooks from people you’ve never heard of, this album really has something for everyone.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – White Walls Feat Schoolboy Q and Hollis (Right Click & Save As)

Old school like old English in that brown paper bag
I’m rolling in that same whip that my granddad had
Hello haters, Damn y’all mad
30k on the Caddy, now how backpack rap is that?

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Gold Feat Eighty4 Fly (Right Click & Save As)

Gold coins, gold phone, gold car
Costs at least 10 racks to get 16 gold bars
Gold rush, suck on my gold dust stuntin
Under these gold trunks, that’s 2 golden nugget
Flyin’ on the gold eagle, flier than the rest of ‘em
Pass the space needle, golden shower on pedestrians

Ryan Lewis

Ryan Lewis – “Chest hair don’t care”

That Ryan Lewis knows how to produce a track with the best of them. I sincerely hope they collaborate on the next album released. I also hope you do yourself a favor, go to iTunes and spend the $10.00 in support of these incredibly talented guys with the purchase of their album.


Colossal (adjective) – extraordinarily great in extent, degree or size.

The precise word I would use to describe the sound of Florence + the Machine. Colossal The kind of music that begs to be blasted through your car stereo or a set of really good headphones;  Florence + the Machine consists of English-born lead singer Florence Welch and backup vocalist Isabella “Machine” Summers, among others. Having been described as indie, soul, rock and many other genres, I believe some of Florence’s songs represent exactly what religious choirs aspire to be.

Florence + The Machine – Leave My Body (Right Click & Save As)

I’m gonna be released from behind these lines
And I don’t care whether I live or die
And I’m losing blood, I’m gonna leave my bones
And I don’t want your heart it leaves me cold”

Florence at Coachella

Florence at Coachella April 2012

In her latest album, Ceremonials, Florence’s background vocals and instrumentation have finally caught up with her voice. She went big. It’s been very interesting to see her sound evolve from her debut album of 2009, Lungs. The stark contrast between her colossal vocals and everything else was what made it so appealing to me. Although, if Ceremonials is any indication of where her sound is going, I think I want to come along for the ride.

Florence + The Machine – All this and Heaven Too (Right Click & Save As) 

“And I would give all this and heaven too, 
I would give it all if only for a moment, 
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see, 
‘Cause I’ve been scrawling it forever, 
But it never makes sense to me at all. “

Florence + The Machine – Remain Nameless (Right Click & Save As)

“I was born in a big gray cloud 
Screaming out a love song 
All the broken chords and unnamed cries 
What a place to come from”

Florence + the Machine doesn’t just corner itself into an indie/rock/soul genre though. Of course not. Don’t be silly. With a voice like Florence’s, there’s no reason not to foray into a cover of Drake and Rihanna’s “Take Care”.

Calvin Harris also did a pretty good remix of Florence’s witchtastic song Spectrum, which you can listen to below.

“When we first came here, 
We were cold and we were clear, 
With no colours on our skin, 
We were light and paper-thin. “

As I mentioned before, Florence and the Machine’s debut album, Lungs, had a certain appeal to it in the way her voice was just so big, and the rest of the sound paled in comparison. For those of you looking to delve deeper into the world of Florence, here’s a taste of her debut album, Lungs.

“The fabric of your flesh, pure as a wedding dress
Until I wrap myself inside your arms I cannot rest
The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound
I hunt for you with bloodied feet across the hallow’d ground”

Wow. That Florence. She’s something else.

Florence + The Machine – Cosmic Love (Right Click & Save As)

“I took the stars from my eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you”

That’ll do, Florence, that’ll do.

Florence is a Witch

Florence is a Witch

Given that her rise to fame, thanks in large part to BBC Radio 1, has only occurred in the last 5 years or so. It is not too late to hop on the Florence + the Machine band wagon. Given the trajectory of her career thus far, Florence has proven her worth as a spot in your iPod.

Her dress matches the guitar!

Beach House – New Year (Right Click & Save As)

“All you ever wanted
Is it getting away
Visions of a feeling
The footsteps at bay
You were getting stronger
Memories again
Now you’re open wider
It’s better this way

While not excessive, the layering in Beach House’s latest album, “Bloom” is thick and heavy. It wraps you up like a big, warm blanket, even though you weren’t really cold in the first place. When asked what they do in a band consisting of only two, french-born lead singer Victoria Legrand answered, “[O]ne of the reasons this has been such a fulfilling experience for me is that with two people, it’s so much easier to achieve things that feel exciting and new.” While they’ve added a guitarist for select songs on Bloom, which was released in May of this year, the exciting and new feeling is definitely prevalent.

Back in 2010, Beach House released their 3rd album ” Teen Dream”. It wouldn’t be a stretch for me to say that was my #1 album of the year. With songs like “Zebra”, “Norway”, “10 Mile Stereo” and my summer theme  song “Take Care”, this duo from Baltimore quickly captured my heart.

Here’s a few of my favorite songs from their 2010 album, Teen Dream.

Beach House – Take Care (Right Click & Save As)

“I’d take care of you
Take care of you
That’s true”

Beach House – 10 Mile Stereo (Right Click & Save As)

“The heart is a stone and this is a stone that we throw
Put your hand on this stone, it’s the stone of a home you know
They say we will go far, but they don’t know how far we’ll go
With our legs on the edge and our feet on the horizon”

Beach House – Zebra (Right Click & Save As)

“You know you’re gold, you don’t gotta worry none
Oasis child, born and so wild
Don’t I know you better than the rest
All deception, all deception from you”

If you’re ever in the mood to take a psychedelic trip without taking any hallucinogens or stimulants, Beach House is an adventure I encourage you to embark on.


In this Tennis, Love means Something

Such an unassuming couple…

I love love Love when bands like this come onto my radar. This Denver, Colorado couple decided to go on a 9 month sailing trip. Upon returning, they created this album.

Tennis – Marathon (Right click & Save as)Coconut Grove is a very small cove
separated from the sea by a shifting shore
we didn’t realize that we had arrived at high tide, high tide
Will we make it out alive?”

The simplicity of this band is what makes it oh, so endearing to me. Its lo-fi production and simple guitar chords suck me right in. Not to mention the 50’s esque distortion in her voice, this definitely beats the alternative of occasional grunts and squeaking sneakers.

Tennis – Take me Somewhere (Right click & Save as)

Tennis – South Carolina (Right click & Save as)

Although the full LP isn’t yet available, you can download the Baltimore EP from itunes here.

Not so Broken Bells

Broken Bells Album Cover


10. Broken Bells – The Mall and Misery“Use your intuition it’s all you’ve got keys are rare and there’s a thousand locks
standing in your way
so goes the doorway to your entire life.”

I came across this self-titled gem of an album a couple months ago and haven’t looked back. As cliche as it sounds, if you like music then you’ll love these guys. Composed of Brian Burton, better known as “Danger Mouse”, and James Mercer, (former frontman of The Shins), they describe their music as “melodic but still experimental, too.” I describe their music as heaven with a touch of magic.

The song doesn’t start until 1:30 in. When it does, it is awesome.

The  stunning guitar and solid baselines matched with Mercer’s amazing voice take me to a place I never want to leave. One of the unique aspects of this album is its ability to change the mood and tempo in an instant. Not only from track to track, but within the songs as well!

3. Broken Bells – Your Head is on FireTo turn away from the night
Allowing the light a low
He’s surely fooling yourself
Leaving life on the shelf”


 8. Broken Bells – October“Through the give and take you’ve had to learn
How to cross the coals and not get burned
But you’re really just a little
Playing in the park until the sun goes down”

 This album is undoubtedly full of authentic talent and at the very least, worth a listen. You can buy it on Amazon here and from itunes here.


Santigold “Santogold”

  She is undeniably talented. Her lyrics are both insightful and portray genuine emotion. Her production is among the best in the industry. If I haven’t made it obvious, I adore this woman. She spits gold! Dropping her self titled debut album in 2008, Santogold was quickly named an “artist to watch” by Rolling Stone, Spin & BBC. 

  Santigold – Superman  “Well you’re a liar and
Your cues are all wrong
but I can’t count all the ways you woo me
I watch you capture
What I can’t hold
Now make it make some sense to me”



Santigold – Lights Out“Wiped out
They could see me; that’s what I want
A casualty, but I am upfront
And I know what it’s about”


 In 2008, “L.E.S. Artistes” placed number 2 on Rollings Stone’s Singles of the Year, second only to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Often compared to MIA, this resemblance couldn’t be further off. While it is difficult to pinpoint either artist’s genre, I would put Santigold as a cross between 1980’s pop and The Pixies. MIA’s sound is forever evolving and I won’t even try to call it out, in this post anyways. 

  She belongs on a horse.        

Due to a potential lawsuit, formerly named “Santogold” was forced to change her name to “Santigold.” Leave it up to a gold corporation to sue the best free PR imaginable.

Santigold = Awesome

Santigold – I’m a Lady “I like to watch the way the wind blows
What does it know that I don’t yet
Ooh, oh, look so pretty now
You’re just so sweet
Let’s see how far you can get
See just how far you can get”

You can download her ablum from itunes here or from amazon here.

Cudder is Back

Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Well, almost that is. Kid Cudi’s first album, “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” dominated my ear-space  for well over a month. I have eagerly anticipated his follow up ever since. The most popular track off this LP is hands down, “Day N’ Night”, which after being remixed by Italian Producers “Crookers”, became ranked #15 of 25 by the Rolling Stones’ best songs of 2009.

Kid Cudi & Crookers – Day N’ Night

Also appearing on his first LP, was a track sampled from Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” With the help of Kanye West and Common, Cudi transformed it into a song about poking her face.

The track, “Pursuit of Happiness” was a definite hit as well. Ratatat and MGMT made this contemporary hip-hop song into a summer anthem that continues to frequently be covered.


Lissie – Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi Cover) 

Some incredible songs have already been leaked from his upcoming album, along with a few floaters. I recommend you give all of these the opportunity to invade your ear-space.

Kid Cudi – Mr. Rager

Kid Cudi – Revofev

Kid Cudi – Cudder is Back (Feat Vampire Weekend)

Cudi & Kanye

His new album, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” is set to release in late October. Though with all the drama surrounding the release, who knows when it’ll come. Hopefully these tracks tide you over until it does.



Sleigh Bells “Treats”


Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells have recently dropped their first aptly named album, “Treats.” This album is full of treats indeed. The obvious contrast between the heavy guitar riffs and Alexis Krauss’ casual vocals make for an intense listen. Tracks like “Tell Em” and “Crown on the Ground” do a great job of proving this. I think this Brooklyn duo is a band worth watching and I encourage you to buy their first LP.  Here’s a copy of the track list.

Album Cover "Treats"

1. “Tell ‘Em”
2. “Kids”
3. “Riot Rhythm”
4. “Infinity Guitars”
5. “Run the Heart”
6. “Rachel”
7. “Rill Rill”
8. “Crown On the Ground”
9. “Straight A’s”
10. “A/B Machines”
11. “Treats”





In the meantime, I recommend you give a listen to “Rill Rill” and “Tell ‘Em” below.

 Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill

Sleigh Bells – Tell Em