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.

April 29, 2010

Codeine Velvet Club - Hollywood

Album: Codeine Velvet Club

Codeine Velvet Club is a side project of Jon Lawler (of The Fratellis, known as Jon Fratelli). Jon has recruited Lou Hickey to join in, and they released their first album at end of 2009 in UK. Even though I’m a fan of The Fratellis, I didn’t know about this band, until I got an email from The Fratellis official mailing list just a couple of weeks ago, where I got to download this song for free. It’s a decent song, but lacks the fun factor that The Fratellis is so good at creating.

Cypress Hill - Rise Up /ft. Tom Morello

Album: Rise Up

When I first heard this song, I thought, “what a rip off of Rage Against the Machine” until I realized that it was in fact Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello playing the guitar for hip-hop group, Cypress Hill. I haven’t heard anything by them for six years, and I was quite excited to hear their work and wanted to hear more. For their latest album, they recruited other stars such as Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Pitbull, Marc Anthony and Everlast.

DJ Khaled - All I Do Is Win /ft. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross

Album: Victory

Despite the fact that a lot of DJ Khaled’s songs sound the same with either T-Pain or Akon singing the hook in auto-tune voice and really really dramatic beats, I have to admit that his songs pump you up whether you are about to enter a big game, or just jogging around for a block.

Hole - Skinny Little Bitch

Album: Nobody's Daughter

Welcome back Courtney Love, or at least, a lot of people are saying that for her latest album. Although Love is the only remaining member from their 90s heyday lineup, she decided to release the album as “Hole” instead of “Courtney Love” (her last solo effort wasn’t successful). I don’t know the whole story, but several of the songs on the album were apparently written by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins while they dated. But now that they have broken up, Corgan is trying to stop Love from releasing the album. That’s what I read months ago, but now that the album is actually released, I’m guessing Corgan must’ve settled (or there is going to be more lawsuits). Whatever the backstory is, the album sounds rocking.

MGMT - Flash Delirium

Album: Congratulations

When I first heard MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” when it was given away as a free download on iTunes, I immediately fell in love with the band and saw them live twice in the same year. I had been looking forward to the latest album, like everyone else, but the reviews have always said something along the line of, “fan of the first album maybe disappointed.” And the first single was “Flash Delirium” which has flute and kiddie style singing. Yes it is weird. I’ve only heard snippets of their album so far, but the whole album seem to sound weirder. Some people would probably appreciate that, and I think it’s cool that they are tackling and breaking another barrier, but at the same time, I’ll miss being able to sing along to their songs in my car.

Monica - One In A Lifetime

Album: Still Standing

I wasn’t aware that Monica was releasing a new album, until I found that AmazonMP3 was giving away this song for free (for limited time). I had seen an ad for her reality TV show, but was happy to see that she had a new recording. This latest album, Still Standing is her second highest charting album to date (best was 2003’s After the Storm). “One in a Lifetime” is not a single (yet), but I thought it was catchy and preferred over her other two singles.

Mumford & Sons - Cousins [Live]

Album: Radio 1's Live Lounge

I am really digging this UK folk rock band, Mumford & Sons. I was really excited to hear that they had covered Vampire Weekend’s “Cousins” on BBC’s Radio1 Live Lounge (I love that show). The original song is unique enough, but with Mumford’s twist, it is even more unique, and makes me love the song even more. Check them out performing live on this video clip.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I Learned The Hard Way

Album: I Learned The Hard Way

I like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. They have been known as the group that has brought back the 60s soul/funk sound which has become common sound, especially in UK top 40. They manage to combine the new sound with the older style successfully. For their latest record, it sounds like it is actually from the 60s. I still enjoy it, but I thought maybe it was too real to the decade.

Spose - I'm Awesome

Album: I'm Awesome (Single)

In the last couple of years, there have been several “promising” white rappers to surface the music magazines such as Pittsburgh Slim and Asher Roth, though both of them have been stuck at one radio-hit. Add Maine based Spose to the list. His SNL style rap of poking fun at himself (“I talk to myself on the Facebook wall”) has hit many American’s heart, and his now a top 40 hit. It is catchy, and he managed to get a record contract with this single but half a year from now when he does release an album, could he prove himself again?

Usher - OMG /ft. will.i.am

Album: Raymond v. Raymond

Just when I thought that none of Usher’s latest singles were going to break top 10 this time around, a track produced and featuring will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas proved me wrong. The song starts out slow, but goes into soccer fan type of chanting. I’ve heard few singles from his latest album, Raymond v. Raymond, but I’m still not convinced that his latest album is going to be as good as The Confessions from 2004.

April 15, 2010

Barenaked Ladies - You Run Away

Album: All In Good Time

Founding member and lead singer of Canadian rock group, Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page left the band to pursue a solo career (his drug arrest is rumored to be the reason). Page did most of the songwriting for the band, but co-vocalist, Ed Robertson stepped up and took the lead vocalist and songwriting duties. The first single, “You Run Away” is supposedly about Steven Page leaving the band. It’s a sensitive song, which is rare for Barenaked Ladies choice for a single.

The Flaming Lips - Watching The Planets

Album: Embryonic

When The Flaming Lips released their new album (double disc) last October, I listened to some songs, but nothing really hit me. Recently a friend of mine forwarded me a link to their latest video, “Watching the Planets.” Good thing I was at home when the video started as everyone in the video was completely nude from top to bottom, including the lead singer. There was definitely a shock value to the video, but what stayed with me in my mind were not the bare bodies, but the chanting of this song. The video can be found here (remember it’s not work safe):

Free Energy - Free Energy

Album: Stuck On Nothing

Philadelphia newcomer band, Free Energy has been one of the most talked about bands recently. They have been covered in Rolling Stone magazine as Best Bands of 2010. They take inspiration from Juicy Fruit commercial jingles and create catchy rock songs. Their debut album, Stuck On Nothing is selling for only $4.99 at Amazon MP3.

Goldfrapp - Dreaming

Album: Head First

British electro duo, Goldfrapp, lead by vocalist Alison Goldfrapp is back with their fifth studio album, Head First. The whole album is very 80s-ish, including this single. Just as the title suggests, it is a dreamy track, but it gets a little boring after the first few minutes.

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys Of Neptune

Album: Valleys Of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix has been dead for forty years, but his music still lives on. The album, Valleys of Neptune, includes 12 previously unreleased studio materials, including the title track, which hit #1 in Japan just a couple of weeks ago. This song was supposedly recorded after the release of Electric Ladyland.

Manafest - Everytime You Run /ft. Trevor McNevan of TFK

Album: The Chase

I had never heard of Manafest before, and when I saw this track chart on Japanese market, I thought I would give it a listen. I liked the 30 second preview clip I heard and went ahead with the purchase. It reminds me of Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go” and Flipsyde’s “Happy Birthday.” Manafest turned out to be Canadian Christian rapper (quite odd that charted in Japan) that has been rapping since 2001.

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Album: Sigh No More

I saw a clip of them performing on David Letterman and fell in love with their style right away. They are a new folk band from UK, lead by Marcus Mumford (but his group members are not his sons). When you think folk rock, you think something slow and a bit boring, but these guys turned folk rock into Arcade Fire style of jam session.

Paper Tongues - Trinity

Album: Paper Tongues

This band from North Carolina ran into Randy Jackson (a judge from American Idol) at a restaurant during lunch hours and handed their Myspace address and a phone number. A few hours later, Jackson himself called them up to say that he is interested in working with them, and now they have signed onto his management. They have an unique sound to their rock music, mixing soul, rock, funk and a little rap.

The Soft Pack - Answer To Yourself

Album: The Soft Pack

This indie rock band from San Diego used to call themselves, The Muslims, but decided to change their names as it was hard to sell with the name due to racism (none of the members seem to be a Muslim). A lot of music publications have been raving their sound, but I haven’t really felt that strongly yet. Maybe I need to listen to it a few more times.

V.V. Brown - Shark In The Water

Album: Travelling Like The Light

There are so many throwback soul female singer in UK nowadays (lead by Amy Winehouse, Duffy). Add VV Brown to that list. I haven’t paid much attention to all the copycats, but this song was just so addictively fun. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole album, but I may have to bump her up to Duffy’s league.