Must Hear: Let It Rain – Living Things

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There’s something about drums and electric guitars that makes me unexplainably happy.

Rock has long lived with the misconception that all rock songs consist of music so loud it sounds like just noise and vocalists that have perfected the art of screaming instead of singing. St. Louis rockers Living Things prove otherwise with the fabulous Let It Rain from their 2009 album Habeas Corpus released on Jive Records.

The band consists of brothers Lillian, Eve and Bosh Berlin and their friend Cory Becker who describe themselves as “political junkies high on the poet and the layman’s right to intellectual freedom” (the album title itself suggests that these young men are politically-minded). According to Eve Berlin, “we really value our Constitutional right to express ourselves. When somebody says ‘rock ’n’ roll,’ to me it means freedom, being who you are, running wild and letting it all hang out.”

More reasons why I love rock.

Artist Alert: The Weepies

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I first heard The Weepies on the absolutely fantastic TV show Everwood (which I’m still upset that they cancelled) when it featured The World Spins Madly On. I’m not always that easily sold, but The Weepies do that amazing thing with acoustic music that makes it easy to hear true talent that doesn’t need to hide behind fancy instruments and production. Plus Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody is a huge fan, which automatically holds them a little higher in my esteem.

Deb Talan and Steve Tannen released Say I Am You in 2006, which features one of my favourite Weepies songs – Gotta Have You. They released Hideaway in 2008, and you can listen to the husband-wife duo on their MySpace page, which unfortunately doesn’t feature Orbiting from the newer album. Thankfully there’s iTunes.

Artist Alert: The Idan Raichel Project

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It’s actually a little sad that I have to write about an artist as renowed and talented as Idan Raichel in a blog about music that isn’t given the due recognition it deserves.

The Idan Raichel Project emerged in 2002 as an experiment by Idan Raichel, an Israeli keyboardist, producer, and composer, with astounding results. The Project marries the sounds of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East with perfection to create music that breaks through geographical boundaries to bring simply beautiful songs to those aren’t afraid to listen to unconventional music.

The Project’s MySpace page has some excellent songs such as She’eriot Shel Ha’Chaim (Scraps of Life) and Mi’Ma’amakim (Out of the Depths), but I would strongly recommend listening to Im Telech (If You Go), Bo’ee (Come to Me) and Siyaishaya Ingoma (Sing Out of Love) if you can get them from iTunes. The good news is that the Project tours extensively over the world, including multiple US and European cities, so if you like what you hear you can always catch them live at a venue near you!

Must Hear: These Roses – Gin

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Tempting as it is, I’ve resisted the urge to crack far too many corny “gin” puns. Instead, I’ve spent the past half hour doing some research on Gin Wigmore so I can post something that’s of value rather than tell you how gin the drink and I are well acquainted.

The 22-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand was recently signed to Universal Motown Records, and just one listen to These Roses makes it easy to see why. Gin’s voice sounds like a cross between Duffy’s and Macy Gray’s, and her music has an edgy yet blues-y tone that is addictive and blends perfectly with her raspy voice that the New York Post described as “cigarettes and whisky”.

These Roses works because of the simplicity in both the lyrics and the music. For the most part, Gin’s voice controls the song so well you barely pay attention to the minimal music (primarily the piano), and I for one was hooked from the first verse.

Watch These Roses on YouTube and then hope along with me that her debut album releases sooner rather than later.