The Heavy Resurrects Soul with “Can’t Play Dead”

As a self-professed anglophile and fiancee to one very cheeky Brit, I certainly appreciate the many aspects of our wry, Founding Fathers. From stodgy meals, statuesque cathedrals and sublime music, England is a nation enriched in all aspects: cuisine, culture and most importantly, creativity.

My most recent English example? Indie/blues/rock/soul/funk mash-up musicians known as The Heavy.

Hailing from Britain’s rain-sopped turf are The Heavy; four very talented lads who emerged onto the music scene circa early 2000s. Their most notable song, “How You Like Me Now?” has been featured in countless adverts, movies and video game trailers (and was the first tune that sparked my fan frenzy).

The Heavy reeks of rawness. They’re uncut and unparalleled artists who perform as well at gigs as they do on VEVO. I would know; I’ve frequented three of their concerts within the past two years, and have yet to be disappointed.

While The Heavy is relatively under-the-radar, their undeniable talent is worthy of high accolade. Take a peek at the ghoulish video for their new single, “Can’t Play Dead,” and let us know your take on this British, bass-heavy/bad-ass band.

It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me: Gary Clark, Jr. Resurrects Classic Rock Vibes

While most kids ran around the park, scrapping elbows and playing Pirates, I sprawled out on my bed and copied the lyrics of my favorite Petula Clark song. My name is Melanie, and I am the oldest 25-year old that ever lived.

I was born with the heart of a 1960s hippie, twenty years too late. I blame my folks for this. My parents spent their youth as bell-bottomed teens with a penchant for the classics, particularly music birthed from Great Britain. In turn, they passed their “peace and love, man” ideals to yours truly. In middle school, I was the musically misplaced ‘oldies fanatic’ during ‘NSYNC mania. I hummed doo-wop songs before I even knew what  ‘hip-hop’ was, and Justin Timberlake had nothing on a young Paul McCartney, bowl-cut and all. (To this day, I’m pretty sure I can belt out any Beatles tune if you ask nicely.)

What’s the point of this pretentious anecdote? To showcase the moment I nearly lost faith in contemporary music, upon stumbling across Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video on MTV. Once I had processed the mind-numbing chorus of: “Baby, baby, baby, oh // Like baby, baby, baby, no // Like baby, baby, baby, oh // I thought you’d always be mine, mine,” I could only sit on the sofa, absolutely dumbfounded. I felt as if I had just witnessed the decline of all human effort, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only person in the world who would actively campaign to get his songwriter fired.

To my relief, Bieber soon went bye-bye and a new video emerged like a musical Godsend. A solo artist named Gary Clark, Jr. swooped in to restore my optimism in the modern music industry. For the next five minutes, I was in guitar-riff heaven; captivated by this musician who shredded his way into my heart with a classic Gibson ES335.

Brazenly referred to as the modern-day Jimi Hendrix, Gary Clark, Jr. is the Texas-based crooner making waves with his commanding “cool cat” persona and fuzzy guitar rhythms. Though he has gained some notoriety on the indie-blues rock scene, Gary Clark, Jr. is relatively under wraps. For someone who has harnessed old-school influences to produce a modern blues vibe, this is one artist truly deserving of global recognition.

Listen to his first single, “Bright Lights,” a song chronicling his journey of self-exploration in the unforgiven metropolis of NYC. What’s your take on this up-and-coming artist? Is Gary Clark, Jr. the reincarnation of old-school rock?

Brooklyn Couple Breaks Up in YouTube Video

If only every relationship could end in an amicable music video.

Brooklyn-based couple Jonathan and Ivory are making viral headlines with their YouTube sensation song that chronicles their relationship’s demise in light of opposing views.

According to the song’s lyrics, Ivory takes an adamant stance against having children, in contrast to her pro-kid partner Jonathan who makes clear that he “wants to have babies.” After five years of dating, the couple have concluded their conflicting desires leave no other choice but the inevitable break-up.

The song delves further with its lyrics, assuring mutual friends that they “don’t have to choose” sides, “though it will be awkward, yes.” The ex-couple additionally requests invitations to friends’ parties, assuring they will still remain cordial:  “No, don’t feel weird; we love all of you! After five whole years at each other’s sides, there’s just some things no relationship can survive.”

The YouTube video concludes with an eager Jonathan admitting he wants a couple of children, juxtaposed to a negating Ivory who simply shakes her head in disagreement.

What’s your take on this couple’s breakup rendition? Do you believe this civil break-up ballad ends on a musical note, or nonsensical approach?

Chase & Status: The Creative Concept Behind “Flashing Lights”

It’s hard to believe MTV started as a hosting platform for music videos. Flash-forward some thirty years and the channel is a mere shell of its piloting concept. Reality TV now dominates the slots that were once intended for ‘music television,’ but given our generation’s lackluster videos it may have worked out for the better. In recent years, creativity has taken a back-burner to the generic glorification of riches, bitches and “YOLO” fever. With all the ways to showcase talent, I don’t understand why I see the same stock models rotated around for different videos.

I’m a believer that creative video concepts can amplify a musician’s appeal. Visionary artists who detour from the ordinary will often generate intrigue due to their avant-garde approach. Just take the London-based duo, Chase & Status, as a prime example.

Chase & Status are music producers who have created a fortune by navigating away from the norm. The eclectic pair won ‘Best Video’ for their song, “End Credits,” at the 2010 Q Awards, in addition to several nominations for their original and collaborative mixes. Their 2011 “Flashing Lights” video is now regarded as a sinister success; coupling macabre undertones with a buildup of dubstep, break-beat rhythms.

I found “Flashing Lights” to be the perfect blend of drama and drums, but what’s your opinion? Is this video the new wave of creative expression, or the projection of your nightmares?

Seen Your Video: The Cars, “Sad Song”

When Greg Hawkes and Elliot Easton teamed up with Todd Rundgren, Prairie Prince, and Kasim Sulton in 2005 and set out on the road (and, briefly, into the studio) under the name The New Cars, some fans were amused and entertained with the results, but most cried, “Blasphemy!” It’s not as though Ric Ocasek had decried the project – if you can trust Wikipedia, he actually gave his blessing, saying, “I want Elliot and Greg to be happy” – but, really, if the line-up of the band doesn’t feature Ocasek or the late Benjamin Orr, be it old or new, it simply isn’t The Cars.

In July 2010, however, something very surprising happened: out of nowhere, the official Facebook page for The Cars – not The New Cars, mind you, but The Cars – posted a photo of Ocasek, Easton, Hawkes, and even the previously-retired David Robinson back in the studio together.

By October, they’d posted a snippet of a new song entitled “Blue Tip,” and November brought the news that the band was recording an entire album and was toying with the idea of touring behind it. A few other snippets turned up here and there, along with confirmation that the new album would be entitled Move Like This. Now, at last, we have a video for the first single from the album.

You’d be hard pressed to ask for a track that sounds more like the classic Cars sound than “Sad Song,” and the video definitely tries to go for an ’80s feel with its odd visuals (hands pressing through walls, circus people, a mad scientist, weird lighting all around), but while there’s no question that the guys are taking this reunion very seriously, there’s one major element that’s missing from this thing: Mr. Ocasek. He used to be the star of the band’s videos, but if he’s in this thing at all, then it must be only the quickest of glimpses, because it didn’t even register.

Still, it’s a hell of a song. Can’t wait to hear the whole album.

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