About This Site

Each month I select 20 songs (10 songs twice a month) that I am either hooked on or am curious about. Most of the music I select are rock, hip-hop, R&B and pop songs.

My song selection comes from 20-30 CDs I get from various sources each month, as well as recommendations from iTunes and Amazon. I also check out the charts in US, UK and Japan.

September 29, 2009

Alice In Chains - Check My Brain

Album: Black Gives Way To Blue

When I first heard this song on the radio, I knew right away that it was Alice In Chains. But Layne Staley has been dead for 7 years. Jerry Cantrell and the group recruited William DuVall, a black singer from Atlanta who used to be in Madfly. DuVall’s vocal chemistry with Staley’s guitar playing is pitch perfect. Hopefully this new lineup will prove to be a success (hopefully better than Blind Melon’s short lived stint with the new vocalist).

Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow

Album: Dear Agony

Breaking Benjamin is known for hard rock songs such as “So Cold” and “Diary of Jane”. Their fourth album, Dear Agony was released in end of September. I never knew this, but the lead singer of the group is Benjamin Burnley. The band name came after he broke someone’s microphone.

Drake - Forever /ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem

Album: More Than A Game Soundtrack

Drake somehow managed to get three of the best MCs, Lil Wayne, Eminem and once again controversial, Kanye West, who interrupted teen country star, Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for MTV Video Music Award. The news is a couple of weeks old now, but for a while, it was the most talked (and mimicked) about incident. This track is for NBA star, LeBron James documentary film called More Than A Game. I don’t know much about the film, other than it follows LeBron James during his highschool years, but the verse by Eminem, in particular, rocks.

Kate Earl - Melody

Album: Kate Earl

Kate Earl is often compared to Jewel as they are both from Alaska, and great singer songwriters. Earl is actually half Filipino and very exotic looking. “Melody” is the first single from her second album, which was also available as a free download from iTunes. It’s a nice relaxing, soothing music. If you are a fan of Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson and Meiko, you would probably enjoy her songs as well.

Madonna - Celebration

Album: Celebration

Madonna is releasing another greatest hits album titled, Celebration. The album contains the brand new track, also titled “Celebration.” Both the greatest hits album and the single is perform well in Europe, but in the US, the single seems to be only noticed in the Dance song chart. Madonna gave away the music video for this song for free on iTunes upon its release. I think it’s another great club track out of Madonna.

Paramore - Ignorance

Album: Brand New Eyes

Paramore hit big time with their previous album, Riot! They have just released their third album, Brand New Eyes, produced by Rob Cavallo (who produced Green Day’s “American Idiot” and My Chemical Romance’s “Black Parade”). The lead off single, “Ignorance” is quite similar to “Misery Business” where the lead singer Hayley Williams sings fast angrily.

Pearl Jam - The Fixer

Album: Backspacer

Seattle grunge band, Pearl Jam is back with their ninth album, titled, Backspacer. This album reunites them with producer Brendan O’Brien since Yield in 1998. The album was only sold at their official website, large retail chain, Target, iTunes and small independent record shop. Despite that, the album managed to debut at a #1 spot, which they haven’t done since 1996’s No Code.

Pixie Lott - Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)

Album: Turn It Up

There is still no US release date for this new British sensation teenage girl, Pixie Lott’s debut album, but she’s already had two #1 singles in her home country of UK. Following the style of Duffy and Amy Winehouse, Pixie Lott, still only 18 years of age, sings beyond her age. Mama Do was her first single which was a big hit in UK back in June. Her follow up single, “Boys and Girls” is currently a hit, but I was finally able to get a hold of this “Mama Do” with the release of her album.

Three Days Grace - Break

Album: Life Starts Now

Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, The Used and Three Days Grace are all good hard rock bands, but I have a hard time telling their songs apart, especially when all four of them released a new album within weeks of one another. Canadian band, Three Days Grace’s third album, Life Starts Now actually takes them on a slightly different direction, as some of the songs are much softer than their previous efforts.

Uncle Kracker - Smile

Album: Happy Hour

Michigan native, Uncle Kracker hasn’t had a major hit since “Drift Away” in 2003. He’s back on the chart with this laid back tune that would put a smile on your face, appropriately titled “Smile.” This song comes from Uncle Kracker’s fourth album, Happy Hour. It is a well known story that he was a child friend of Kid Rock, and even played turntables for his shows. And now he is doing quite well just on his own.

September 14, 2009

Chevelle - Jars

Album: Sci-Fi Crimes

While the Followill brothers in Kings of Leon are taking over the rock chart, another brothers-in-group, Chevelle has released a new album, their fifth album titled Sci-Fi Crimes. Chevelle used to consist of three brothers, but the youngest (bass) was fired and replaced by brother-in-law. The single, “Jars” is currently #4 on the rock chart.

Jet - She's A Genius

Album: Shaka Rock

Australian rock band famous for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” has just released a new album, Shaka Rock. Japan had the first release date in mid August, and US a week later. The first single from the new album, “She’s A Genius” is a catchy rock song, and was available for free download from AOL Music upon the release.

Just Kait - Sick

Album: Being On TV (EP)

Ever since Avril Lavigne proved to be a global phenomenon, record labels has been looking for another punk rocker wannabe teen girl. There has been several one hit wonders, but so far nobody. Add Just Kait as another challenger on the bill. Kait is 17 years old, and she can play the guitar, bass, drum and writes her own song. She doesn’t have a debut album yet, but her EP, Being On TV features the track, “Sick” which has been getting some airplay on MTV. But despite that exposure on MTV’s Discover and Download, she hasn’t really cracked the top 40 (or has a page on Wikipedia yet). I’m not a huge fan of her voice, but I thought the track was very well produced (especially the addicting keyboard beat). We’ll see if she will get a debut album release in the near future.

Muse - Uprising

Album: The Resistance

UK rock band, Muse has been compared to Radiohead since their debut (but I’ve always personally preferred Muse). The Resistance is their fifth album, and they are hoping that they won’t be compared to other bands and can stand on their own. This is also the album that the US label is hoping to make Muse into a major star (as they are still not headlining level in the US).

Pitbull - Hotel Room Service

Album: Rebelution

Latin American rapper, Pitbull is enjoying the success this summer. “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” was a huge hit in the club and singles chart this summer, and the succeeding single, “Hotel Room Service” has also cracked the top 10. Like “I Know You Want Me” this track samples techno music, this time from Nightcrawler’s hit song from 1993, “Push The Feeling On”

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Hanuman

Album: 11:11

If you’ve never seen Rodrigo y Gabriela perform live, you are missing out. Rodrigo and Gabriela are acoustic guitarists from Mexico, and the way they play is amazing. Similar to Yoshida Brothers, the duo just plays the instrument and don’t provide any vocal, but who needs vocals when they can play like that. Every track from the new album titled, 11:11 is dedicated to musicians that inspired Rodrigo y Gabriela. The first track on the album, “Hanuman” pays tribute to fellow Mexican musician, Santana.

Speech Debelle - The Key

Album: Speech Therapy

Mercury Prize is a music award given to best British or Irish album of the year. Previously winners include creative and successful bands like Primal Scream, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, and last year’s winner Elbow (amazing album, I should add). This year’s nominees included heavy favorites such as Bat For Lashes, Friendly Fires, Kasabian and La Roux, but the award was given to fairly unknown newcomer female rapper, Speech Debelle. Before the award was given, her debut album, Speech Therapy has sold less than 3000 copies. One of the singles, “The Key” was available for free download on Amazon MP3. It is definitely unique sounding. It’s definitely not a top 40 material, but I thought I should give it a chance.

Taking Back Sunday - Where My Mouth Is

Album: New Again

I recently saw Taking Back Sunday during Blink-182 reunion tour along with Weezer (that was fun). I’m not a huge fan of Taking Back Sunday and haven’t really followed their music, but I noticed that they sounded slightly different. After reading up on their bio, I learned that the lead guitarist had left. They still sounded good, but possibly not as loud. “Where My Mouth Is” is the second single from their latest album with the new guitarist.

The Used - Blood On My Hands

Album: Artwork

The Used has been making hard rocking songs since 2002. Their production keeps getting slicker and bigger. For this album, they tried to create a new genre called “gross pop” and worked with the producer Matt Squire (Panic At the Disco). The lead single from the new album released this month, “Blood On My Hands” is a hard rocking song.

Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill

Album: I Look To You

A lot of people were talking about this Whitney Houston “comeback” album, and lucky for her, the album, I Look To You took the #1 spot, which she hasn’t done since The Bodyguard Soundtrack. She performed live on morning TV show, but her voice failed to deliver. She blamed it on Oprah saying she talked too much during the interview a day before, and that’s why she’s not sounding that great. This track, “Million Dollar Bill” was produced by Alicia Keys, and although reminds me of wedding or cruise ship song but at least it’s doing fairly well on the R&B chart. What I want to know is if she will be able to generate any top 10 global mega hit from this album.

September 2, 2009

Bumbershoot 2009 (Sat)

Seattle’s biggest music and arts festival, Bumbershoot is returning again this year. The lineup tends to get bigger each year and no doubt that this year is another exception. I purchased the three day pass back on Christmas of last year for $60 before any lineup was announced. I always ended up going at least two days, so I figured I would just buy all three days for that price. That turned out to be a good call as I’m liking this year’s lineup. If you are planning on attending only one day, I would most likely choose Saturday for the dense lineup of musicians. This is my itinerary for Saturday 9/5.

Katy Perry - Thinking Of You

Album: One Of The Boys

Considering that Katy Perry had a couple of top 5 hit singles on the chart, I would’ve thought that she would be one of the headliners. Instead, she will be opening up in the main stage. With hit singles like “I Kissed A Girl” and “Hot N Cold” as well as current, “Waking Up In Vegas” she should get the crowd going despite starting from 1:45pm. Katy Perry was also on the lineup for Summersonic this year, but had to cancel last minute due to illness. Hopefully she will show up for this one. This track was a ballad released earlier this year, but hardly received any airplay.

The All-American Rejects - Real World

Album: When the World Comes Down

Oklahoman pop-rock band, The All-American Rejects will be taking the main stage following Katy Perry. “Real World” is supposedly their next single after a disappointing, “The Wind Blows.” They also performed at Summersonic last month and also held a free concert on the Navy base in Japan. They should get youngsters screaming with hits like “Gives You Hell”, “Move Along” and “Swing Swing.”

Sick Puppies - You're Going Down

Album: Tri-Polar

Sick Puppies hails from Australia. They had a minor hit in 2007 with “All the Same” but I haven’t heard anything from them since then. The band consists of Shimon Moore, Mark Goodwin and Emma Anzai, who was not only labeled “female Flea” for her awesome bass guitar playing ability, but also voted as hottest chick in metal. Sick Puppies recently released their new album, Tri-Polar which is filled with hard rock songs. Hopefully I will get to see them perform a few of their songs after The All-American Rejects.

Carrie Rodriguez - She Ain't Me

Album: She Ain't Me

I became Carrie Rodriguez’s fan after hearing the song, “Infinite Night” which was featured as the free download on iTunes last year. This former violin player sings bluesy songs, and has recently released a live album. Since she is basically playing the same time slot as Iglu & Hartly, I will have to split time between them.

Iglu & Hartly - Whatever We Like

Album: And Then Boom

There are so many good musicians playing around this time slot, from Low vs Diamond, Carrie Rodriguez and the rapper Wale. But I will most likely check out this Californian surfer band, Iglu & Hartly. I love their hit single, “In This City” and also am liking “Violent And Young.”

Matt & Kim - Daylight

Album: Grand

I had never heard of Matt & Kim until just recently. They are actually a married couple that plays and sings together. Something about their music reminds me of earlier Tegan And Sara. Maybe it’s the simple rhythm yet highly addicting music they create. This track, “Daylight” has been used on Bacardi commercial. I like the fun music video for this song. Also, worth checking out is the video for “Lessons Learned” where the two of them start stripping in middle of New York.

Eric Hutchinson - OK, It's Alright With Me

Album: Sounds Like This

Eric Hutchinson is a funny man, but he’s also a musician. Actually he’s a really good musician and had a hit single with “Rock And Roll” earlier this year. That got him the spot as a the opening band for Kelly Clarkson this summer. I’m looking forward his laid back music. On the main stage around the time is Old 97’s, but I had never heard of them before, and didn’t particularly dig the 30 second samples I heard, so I will stick with Eric Hutchinson for that one.

Sheryl Crow - Good Is Good

Album: Wildflower

I’ve been wanting to see Sheryl Crow live for over a decade now. Like most people, I got into Sheryl Crow after her first album which pushed out hits like “Leaving Las Vegas”, “All I Wanna Do” and “Strong Enough.” Although she’s never matched that debut success, she’s still managed to release a decent hit here and there in the past 16 years such as “My Favorite Mistake” and “If It Makes You Happy.” After looking into my mp3 catalog, I realized that I had at least one song from every album she had released, except for Wildflower. I guess this is a good time to add another one of her songs to my list.