Ty Listens More Closely To "Let's Rock"

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So, last Friday I wrote an instant reaction to the new Black Keys album, "Lets Rock". On first listen, I enjoyed it, and said I needed more time before I could get a really solid feel for the album. Well, I have listened to the entire record over a dozen times now, and I have some thoughts.

First off, a lot of people, a lot of writers and music people love the record. Pitchfork gave it a phenomenal review. Rolling Stone loved it. Paste was on board. Someone said that the record is "garage rock at its finest". I agree with all of these people, except, I do not think it is as groundbreaking, or as exceptional as others. Again, I love love love the album. I cannot state enough. I wouldn't have listened to it as many times as I have, and continue to go back to it, if I didn't enjoy the record. But, I think an album like "Turn Blue" is a better overall record. "Lets Rock", for me, doesn't even sniff "Thickfreakness", which I think is the greatest garage rock record. I like "Rubber Soul" and "Attack and Release" more. For me "Lets Rock" is right up there with "El Camino" or "The Big Come Up". Again, love both of those records, but they wouldn't be the first ones I pick to listen to. I do think "Lets Rock" is better than "Brothers" and "Magic Potion" though.

"Lets Rock" is beautiful in its simplicity. That is what I like most about this album. The songs are no more than 3 to 3 and a half minutes, they are straight forward rock, Auerbach uses his signature distortion, Carney is hammering away at his awkward drum kit, and the record flows. It is an easy and fun listen. I have learned all the words to all the songs already. I love the opening track "Shine A Little Light". It has the classic Black Keys feel, but the instruments give it a newer, cleaner sound that I find nice. I usually prefer the dirty and distorted Black Keys, but "Shine A Little Light" grabs me. I absolutely love "Walk Across the Water". I love how it starts off like it is going to be a heavy rock song, and then totally changes into a love song when Auerbach starts the lyrics. I've grown to adore when the Black Keys do love, or ballad, type songs. They make it sound dingy, but then you listen to the words, and it totally blows me away. It is one of their prettiest songs ever. I can't wait to hear it live in September. "Get Yourself Together" is a classic Black Keys song. It's distorted, it is fast, it is grimy and it rules. "Eagle Birds" is like that too. I don't know much about cars, but when Auerbach starts to talk about twin engines and whatnot, I'm on board. I like the guitar riff in the song too. I like "Breaking Down" because it has that sitar sounding guitar flange to it. It is a nice flowing song too. "Under the Gun" is as true a rock and roll song as you can get in 2019. It is heavy and well played by the band. I like "Go" a bunch too. The video for that song rules. And the closer "Fire Walk With Me" is a perfect way to end this particular record. Its jumpy, quick and precise. See, I named the good majority of the record, and what I like about it.

My only problem is, there are a few songs that just seem like filler. I'm not nuts about "Lo/HI", but that could be because I have heard it a million times already. It was the song chosen for March Madness. "Sit Around and Miss You" is too country for me. "Tell Me Lies" is fine, but I don't like that it follows such a great song, and a sweet song, like "Walk Across the Water". And "Every Little Thing" is fine, but forgettable. I love this record. If I had to rate it out of ten, now that I have listened to it more than enough to give my full opinion on it, I'd give it a 7.5. It is good, I will love it when I hear the songs live and The Black Keys can really do no wrong in my opinion. I'm just a little more tepid than other music writers.

I need to say this one more time, "Lets Rock" is dynamite. Buy it, stream it, do whatever you have to do to hear it because The Black Keys are real writers and musicians, and that is rare nowadays. They rule.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He was going to give “Let’s Rock” 43 thumbs up, but he did not want to insult his favorite band.

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Ty Listens to "Let's Rock"

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An album I have been waiting for for about 5 years now finally came out today. The Black Keys new record "Let's Rock" was released worldwide today. The first thing I did after I woke up and fed my kids breakfast was download the record, and I have been listening ever since. I wanted to do a kind of instant reaction to this record. I wanted to try something a little different. I usually give an album 2 or 3 listens before writing about it. But, The Black Keys are one of my all time favorite bands, and I wanted to write about the record as I heard it in its entirety the first time.

So, first reactions right off the bat, I really like the record. I'm sure I will grow to love it with more listens, but right now, I just really, really like it. It has a bit of a different feel from their previous records. That is a good thing. I have said that I appreciate when bands deviate from what made them famous and try something new. That is why I loved "Turn Blue" by them so much. It was a big departure. "Let's Rock" doesn't have that psychedelic feel that "Turn Blue" had though. "Let's Rock" reminds me a ton of Creedance Clearwater Revival, who I also love. It is a rock record through and through. There are some songs that have that wonderful distorted guitar sound I instantly fell in love with, but then it shifts into a slower rock song. That surprised me in a good way. I listened to the three song EP they put out a few months ago, with the songs "Go", "Hi/Lo" and "Eagle Birds", and I loved all of those. But, they were straight up rock songs. There are some songs on this record that are way different, and I bet when I see them live in a few months my appreciation with grow tenfold.

The opening track "Shine a Little Light" starts off super hot, with a great guitar riff and drum groove, and then it slows down to an almost ballad. It is jarring at first, but as the song moves, it gets better and better. "Tell Me Lies" is one of their slower songs, but I like when they do stuff like that. I like when they slow it down and go a bit away from their comfort zone. "Fire Walk With Me" is a great closer to this record as well, I just finished my first go through. It wraps up the record perfectly. I'm going to keep listening because that is what I do, especially with Black Keys records. I want to get a real feel for it.

The second go round has just started for me, and I am already super in to it. Even more so than the first time, which is a good sign. I keep bobbing my head with all the new songs that I am hearing. Look, I was predestined to like this record. I love this band. I have been a fan since I first saw them on an MTV2 awards show back in 2002. I have followed them ever since. When I see them in a few months that will make, I believe, the tenth time I have seen them live. The Black Keys are a great band. I'm actually shocked they aren't more famous, because they are so god damn good at what they do.

First reactions? "Let's Rock" is a good mix of their old sound, and a new thing they are trying. I love that they keep adding something new to their sound with each new album. That shows growth. They have never gotten stale. Keep up the good work gentleman, and I cannot wait to hear these new songs live.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He likes to bob his head around to let his kids know how rock music should be. Up and down is a “yes, do not stop rocking”. Back and forth is “no, do not ever stop rocking”.

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Ty Listens to " Dancing on the Wind"

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A couple of weeks ago The Sloppy Boys, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis and Jefferson Dutton, all from The Birthday Boys, and several written comedy shows, released their second album, "Dancing on the Wind". They did the podcast go round to promote the record, and played some live songs while appearing on the pods I listen to. I was a fan of their first album, and I figured, with a little extra work, and touring they did, the second record would be even better.

I was right. I adore this album. I can put it on at any time of day and it will bring a smile to my face, and I will happily sing along to the songs. I love how solid they all are as musicians, and the fact that they are good at comedy, it makes the lyrics to the song so much more enjoyable for me. None of these guys had to do much to win me over, I watched both seasons of Birthday Boys on IFC, and have followed their comedy careers since, and Mike Hanford as John Lennon is one of the best comedy bits that I hope never ends. But, on "Dancing on the Wind", they made me like them that much more.

The record starts out great with "Santa Ana Winds". It is a straight forward, some may say pop, some may say punk, song that is as funny as it is good. The music is solid, the lyrics are hilarious, especially when they talk about drying off a body part with a Dyson blade, and the song is a tight 2 minutes and 40 seconds. You get the feel right off the bat that The Sloppy Boys knew exactly what they wanted to do with this record, and "Santa Ana Winds" is a great jumping off point. The second song, "Lifeguard Life", is not only my son's favorite song, but he cracks up every time he hears it. It is about as perfect as a summer guitar surfer song can get. Mike Hanford nails the lyrics, and the instrumentation behind it is wonderful. From there on out, this record has some solid hits. One of my favorites, and my wife's for that matter, is "I'm Taken". We have both asked each other, on separate occasions, what Kalpakis' wife must think of this song. I think she loves it, my wife seems to think that she thinks it is hilarious. It is a great song either way. "Give it Up" is awesome. I like that they use distorted guitars, and the song has a build to the chorus that always gets me. When they finally reach it, I am fully on board. "Radio Dayze" is ridiculous and hilarious and perfect for someone my age. Hanford sings the song about all the "good" music he used to listen to on the radio, and he name checks people and bands like Master P, Avril Lavinge, Train, Limp Bizkit and Incubus, among many others. It is a riot. "East Coast Wedding" and "Smashing the Plates" have similar tones, and they are both about messing stuff up. They both rule as well. "The Bands" is a riot. I love "Slop Head", and have taken to calling myself one, and my wife called me one the other day when I put this album on in the car. But my favorite song on the whole record is "Classic New York Night". It might be their longest song to date, but it is awesome. It has that build up that I mentioned before, but it actually makes me want to visit New York City, something I never thought was possible. They make it sound so damn cool. And I now know that "no trains go to Staten Island", from my many listens to the song.

This whole album is really good, and totally worth a listen. If you know of these guys, or are familiar with their work, you will love this record. But, I played it for a buddy of mine who listens to punk rock, and who had no idea who these guys were, and he loved it. He told me that fact the other day. Go check out "Dancing on the Wind" by The Sloppy Boys. It is pure summer music, it is funny, it is fun, but above all else, it is really good.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Much like Homer, Ty does not want to go to New York City due to the problems with pimps and C.H.U.D.S.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing

So Long iTunes and Thanks for Changing Music

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It is finally time to say good bye to iTunes.

Well not really.

Yes Apple is going to get rid of the iTunes app with the newest version of macOS, but all of your music/movies/television shows will just move over to Apple Music and Apple TV. It will be like it already is on one’s iPhone. If you do not have an iPhone, you will still use iTunes. Easy enough.

Since many news outlets are talking about the end of iTunes, let’s reflect on the importance of the little .99 cent music store that could. When iTunes hit the market I was wondering what I was going to do with all of my “illegally” downloaded music from Napster. I had a bunch of cds that were burned into my computer, but my Napster library was filled with some of my favorite songs that came from groups and/or albums I did not care for. I wanted to enjoy “It’s Raining Men” without having to purchase the whole Weather Girls EP. With Napster dying, Apple came in and let me buy my guilty pleasures, and it would only cost me 99 cents. Napster was free, but free was illegal, so Apple came in with a solution to my problems.

For a time iTunes changed music much in the same way that radio in the 1950’s and MTV in the 1980’s changed how we consumed the art form. Radio is nearly dead and MTV is now more of a legend, iTunes will follow those innovators into our collective memories. It is now time for history to be the place we talk about iTunes.

Like so many other things that Apple innovates, the competition was trying to come up with cheaper and more efficient ways to topple the giant from Cupertino. Microsoft came up with a few options (Zune and Groove we barely knew thee), lala came and went without much notice, Rhapsody tried to fill the Napster void with confusing software, and Amazon was starting to peek around the corner. In the end iTunes was king, until there was a new way to get our music.

Free was once again the dagger that went for Apple’s money making heart. When streaming services like Pandora and Spotify started to become popular, iTunes was not able to compete. The new streaming services on the block were free (with ads), iTunes was not. The new streaming services could be curated so a person could create a free radio station with the music of their choice. iTunes could only make playlists from the music you purchased. iTunes changed the music landscape with a pay per song model, the landscape was changed once again with streaming. iTunes was now being left behind.

Ironically it seems like Apple’s own streaming service (one you must pay for) will be the thing that puts the final nail into the iTunes coffin. The masses have moved on to the streaming services. Also you can now buy almost any song from Amazon for the same cost at Apple. It is more likely you will buy that mp3 from Amazon because you are already on the site buying everything else. Apple does not sell everything else. Many times you can buy a physical copy of an album, i.e. CD or vinyl, and Amazon will give you the mp3 version for free. iTunes was not the future path forward, and Apple knows it.

Like the innovators before, iTunes deserves our praise. Let’s all pour one out for the little 99 cent music store that could. So long iTunes, you made it ok for me to buy my favorite hits of the late 1970’s in a judgement free zone. I salute you.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is now wondering if Apple is going to reinvent the world of monitor stands. I think not, that is one to many 9s.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

SeedSing Listens to Vampire Weekend's "Father of the Bride"

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Let me say at the very beginning that I am a huge fan of Vampire Weekend.

Let me have it. Hipster, pretentious, whiny white boy rock lover, I have heard it all. Recently one of my favorite writers flat out crushed the band and all of their fans. The comments in the article are even more cutting.

The hipster act of criticizing other hipsters is in full force with Vampire Weekend. I lived through it with Beck, Radiohead, and Arcade Fire. I am ready to live through it when my family, friends, and readers, want to tweak me about my love for a band called Vampire Weekend and their 21st century version of whiny white boy rock. I will not apologize. I loved their first three albums, I am sure their fourth one will be just as good.

Here is the thing, I predictably really like “Father of the Bride”. As long as the band keeps putting out songs like “Oxford Comma”, “M79”, “Giving Up the Gun”, and everything on “Modern Vampires of the City” I was going to like “Father of the Bride”. Not only do I like it, I love it. I may be so bold and say that this is Vampire Weekend’s masterpiece.

The album starts of with a strange little song called “Hold You Know”. It is odd, but it has grown on me, and yes it does have a sample of children’s choir singing from the movie “The Thin Red Line”. The next song, “Harmony Hall” has been out for a while now and I believe this is the song that will define Vampire Weekend. It is their “Thunder Road”. From there on the record gets better. The B side of the vinyl, yes I bought “Father of the Bride” on vinyl, is flawless. The unfortunately named “Unbearable White” is a jazzy tune that I love, and I hate jazz. The final song on the B side, “Married in a Gold Rush” is in my opinion the best song on a killer record. It is awesome.

The second record/disc is more experimental, yet still incredible. Songs like “My Mistake” and “2021” feel like the tunes of a different band with a Vampire Weekend flavor. The record ends with the melancholy “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin” a fitting cool down to a great run of music.

I, like many Vampire Weekend fans, was a little concerned that founding member Rostam Batmanglij had left before “Father of the Bride was recorded. Rostam released his solo record “Half-Light” in late 2017 and he was not not going to record any new music with his old band for the time being. He is still listed as a writer and producer on a few songs, so his influence is not completely gone.

I do want to highlight Danielle Haim from the band HAIM. She is featured on a couple of great tracks on “Father of the Bride”. Her duets with front man Ezra Koenig are incredible. She is the number one reason that the opening track is worth listening to, and Haim and Koenig on the aforementioned “Married in a Gold Rush” plus the D side track “We Belong Together” propels the record from good to great.

I was pretty sure I was going to like “Father of the Bride” before I heard the first note. I was also pretty sure the hipster on hipster hate was going to follow the release of the album. I was ready for all of it. Yet being biased towards one of my favorite bands, I was not expecting to like “Father of the Bride” as much as I have. Months ago I downloaded “Harmony Hall”, and I figured that would be the key track. I love that song, and the all of the rest that surround it on the latest from Vampire Weekend.

Final word is that if you love Vampire Weekend, you will love “Father of the Bride”. If you are new to Vampire Weekend, this record will make you a convert. Unless you support hipster on hipster fighting.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. 

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Greatest American Music: Lizzo's "Soulmate"

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Last week I raved over Lizzo's new record, "Cuz I Love You", and today I want to talk about one specific song on there that I think will have a long lasting impact, especially as a wedding song. As I stated in my review, I am obsessed with this new record. I love the message, her voice, the lyrics and how catchy every single song is. I have been listening to it at least once a day since last Monday. I love every track on the record. My favorite is "Better in Color", because of the blending of old and new sounds.

But, the more I listen to the record the more the song "Soulmate" really, really stands out. This song, at least to me, ranks right up there for single people as Beyoncé's "All the Single Lady's". I mean, the message behind each song is to be independent and love yourself. But Lizzo takes it one step further. Where Beyoncé says stuff like, "if you liked it than you should have put a ring on it", Lizzo talks about how she doesn't need anyone, but herself, to be as happy as she can be. When listening, and then looking at the lyrics, this couldn't be more true. There are certain parts of this song that make "All the Single Lady's" seem timid and not nearly as empowering. Lizzo starts out with a bang. The opening verse has her saying, "they used to say get a man you had to know how to look/they used to say to keep a man you had to know how to cook/but I'm solo in Soho, sippin Soju in Malibu/It's a me, myself kinda attitude". That is some epic stuff right there. She rehashes what people may have told her her whole life, but then says she doesn’t need that stuff, and in fact, she is so much happier chilling at the beach and drinking by herself. She doesn't need to cook to get a dude. She doesn't need to do herself up just to get a guy. That is awesome.

The chorus is what really took me by storm when I actually looked at the lyrics. "All the Single Lady's" does have that catchy as hell chorus, but "Soulmate" is so much more profound. It goes, "Cause I'm my own soulmate/I know how to love me/I know that's always going to hold me down/yeah I'm my own soulmate/No, I'm never lonely/I know I'm a queen but I don't need no crown/Look up in the mirror like damn she's the one". Again, that is such a perfect chorus for all single people, not just ladies, to scream sing on the dance floor, especially at weddings. I mean, it doesn't get much more self empowering than that. She calls herself her own soulmate. She says she will never be letdown. She knows she is a queen, and doesn't need anyone to tell her this, or buy her nonsense. And the whole look in the mirror is just a baller ass line. It is amazing. I can picture, if I flashback to my own wedding, all of mine and my wife's single friends at the time, rocking this song. It would have been epic. Hell, I went to some weddings awhile back where "ATSL" was playing, and "Soulmate", had it been out, would have blown that song out of the water. There is another verse that I adore in the song. Lizzo says, "and she never tells me to exercise/we always get extra fries/and you know the sex is fire/and I gotta testify/I get flowers every Sunday/I'mma marry me one day". Again, perfection. In that one little verse she covers her disdain for exercise, how she eats what she wants, how she is the only one that can please herself and that she's just going to marry herself. Awesome.

Even near the end, when Lizzo talks about how you can find true love when you are by yourself, I love it. Before meeting my wife, I was by myself, and by myself a lot. I started to just be myself the more I stayed by myself. All of that led to me meeting my wife. She liked how calm and, dare I say, cool I was/am. I decided that I was fine by myself, and then I met the love of my life. I kind of think that is the message Lizzo is trying to get across. I think, I in my mind, she is saying you need to love yourself before you love someone else, and that someone else needs to love you for who you really are. I think that is just great.

"Soulmate" rules, just like every other song on this record. But, what "Soulmate" has that some of the other songs might not is the ability to become a big smash hit that resonates with all different kinds of people. I'm happily married, been with my wife for almost 13 years, 10 of which we have been husband and wife, and I yell sing this song in my car. I have other friends that listen to Lizzo, that are single, and this is far and away their favorite song on the record. I have friends that are dating that play this loudly in their home. This song truly runs the gammet. Even my three year old sings along to the chorus. It is a perfect song, and will be for the rest of time. Seriously people, start listening to Lizzo because she absolutely rules.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is all about loving yourself before you can love someone else. Maybe the incel community could learn something from Ty and Lizzo.

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Ty Listen to "On the Line"

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I’ve been a Jenny Lewis fan for some time now. The first time I really remember getting into her music was when I saw her band Rilo Kiley open for Coldplay. That sure was a lifetime ago. From that night on though, I was taken by her music. I loved the music I heard that night. I went out and listened to a bunch of Rilo Kiley after that.

Then, she ventured away from the band and did some solo, and side projects. Her first solo record, “Acid Tongue” came out at a pivotal time for me with alternative rock/folk music. I was heavy into that style, and her record really spoke to me. I listened to it so much that I had to buy a few copies. She then teamed up with The Watson Twins, and while don’t like country music, I liked their take on it. That record was heavily listened to as well. That album also came out right around the time I started to date my wife, and we listened to it together a ton. It was our album of choice.

Lewis then took some time off. I was craving some new Jenny Lewis music, and in 2010 she released the album “Jenny and Johnny”. I bought it, but I wasn’t crazy about it. It strayed from what I liked about her. It was too poppy. She came back in a big way in 2014 with “The Voyager”. That album ruled. She seemed to be coming into her own.

Fat forward to the present. Her newest record, “On the Line”, this is a work of art. This record was worth the wait. As I said, I had kind of grown a bit fatigued, a lot of her stuff sounded too similar. But, she apparently went through some personal stuff, used that for this new record, and man, it is her best. It is my favorite record of hers, by far. I love every song on the album. I have been blown away at the lyrics, music, production quality and many different genres she does. It is such an eclectic record. It’s different from her other stuff, while still sounding a bit like her old self, the stuff that hit me just right.

The opener to the record, “Heads Gonna Roll”, is great. It blends the Watson Twins stuff with rock. It is a great opening track. And from there on out, the record is a major achievement. Some of my favorite tracks are “Do Si Do”, “Party Clown”, “Wasted Youth” and “Little White Dove”. On “Do Si Do”, she gets some help from Beck, and they make some beautiful music together. Lewis is front and center, as she should be, but you can feel the Beck influence. “Party Clown” has this fanciful piano riff, but the lyrics are crushing. It’s one of my favorite types of songs, the ones that sound fun, but they’re tragic. I listen to that song once a day. “Wasted Youth” is an awesome rock song. It reminds me most of her Rilo Kiley days. It has that great alt rock feel, and it’s a great way to follow up the opening track. And “Little White Dove” is a great Fleetwood Mac impression. My wife pointed that out to me when she heard it, and it is a spot on comparison.

This whole record is awesome. It has that girl power that I’m trying to help instill in my daughter as the other 2 records I’ve written about this week. I also really like that you can hear the life she’s lived in the past 5 years between records on this album. “On the Line” is awesome, it’s continuing the trend of great new music in early 2019. She is touring with this record too, and I’m heavily leaning towards seeing her because I love the album so much.

Seriously people, check this album out. It’s tremendous. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He likes it when an old favorite artist comes out with new great stuff. Will Ma$e be the next old favorite of Ty’s to come back?

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Ty Listens to "Lux Prima"

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About a month ago I saw some stuff online saying that Danger Mouse and Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, were working together on a new record. I was intrigued by this news.

I am a big time Danger Mouse fan. I wrote a whole thing about him and Rick Rubin during our greatest American band series. I think he is the best current producer, and only second to Rubin. What I love about Danger Mouse the most is how he gets these great musicians to try stuff seemingly way out of their comfort zone. He did it with Cee Lo Green, turning their band Gnarls Barkley into a major pop success. He did it with The Black Keys, getting them to add more instruments than just guitar and drums. He did it with Jack White, who is an asshole, and Norah Jones on the record the three of them collaborated on. He has worked with a ton of modern musicians, and all the stuff they put out works, in my opinion.

I was very late to the game with Karen O. I had friends in college that always tried to get me to listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I never did. Then, when Spike Jonze made his version of "Where the Wild Things Are", he got her to do all the music with a bunch of kids. I loved that soundtrack. I still do. I still listen to it on occasion. From that, I finally checked out the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I liked what I heard, and that was all due to O's voice. She has a great voice for rock and roll. She also does great things on that "Where the Wild Things Are" soundtrack. I just recently listened to some of her solo stuff, and B side stuff, and I really liked all of that.

So, when the first couple of singles from this new collaboration came out, I listened intently. The first song, "Lux Prima", was beautiful. It has a super long, and awesome, intro and outro. But, when the intro ends, Karen O comes in and just blasts that song to a whole new level. It is perfection. It is the type of odd ball rock song that I eat up. I listened to that track over and over again. A few days later they released a second song, "Woman", and while it couldn't be more different, it was just as good. "Woman" is more anthem like and straight up rock and roll. It is also a great song for me to play when my daughter is in the car with me. It is so upbeat and powerful and forward thinking. It is about the greatness that being a woman in modern America can be. I love this song. So does my daughter. So do my wife and son for that matter. It hits us in all the right ways.

The full album came out about a month ago, titled "Lux Prima", and I have listened to it at least a dozen times now. The whole record just oozes of Danger Mouse, but it has Karen O's spectacular vocals and song writing attached. I already mentioned the 2 singles, but there are so many other good songs on the record. I love "Redeemer", another straight up rock song. "Turn the Light" is a bit more poppy, but I love it. It is fast paced and quick too. "Ministry" slows things down a bit, and it is almost haunting. It is such a good song. "Leopard's Song" totally rules. And the closer, "Nox Prima" tidies everything up like it should.

I love this record, but I already kind of new I would. I am at a point where I do not doubt Danger Mouse anymore. I'm getting there with Karen O as well. I love all the different styles they do on this record. I love Karen O trying out newer and wilder things with her music. There is some really good music coming out right now. So far 2019 has been much better early on than all of 2018, and "Lux Prima" is just further proof. Check this album out, it has a little something for pretty much everyone.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He may think that Jack White is a major league asshole, but Ty still wants to try the musician’s famous guacamole.

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Ty Listens to Lizzo's "Cuz I Love You"

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After seeing a ton of stuff on social media, and hearing from friends and family members, I finally listened to Lizzo's newest record, "Cuz I Love You" this morning.

Oh, I am listening to it as I type this by the way.

I have never listened to Lizzo before, but I have to say, this record is rad. I am blown away by how much I like each and every song on it. I have listened to it on repeat today. Luckily my wife has the day off, so I got to run my errands solo today, and that gave me extra chances to hear the record. It isn't safe for children's ears, even though I will listen to it with my kids in the car, as I have said, I want them to be exposed to good music.

Man, this lady can sing. Her voice is like the perfect mixture of funk, soul and hip hop. The opener has all three of those styles blended to perfection. It is a great, great way to open a record. In fact it reminds me of my first experience with Har Mar Superstar's music. I didn't start listening to him until he put out "Bye Bye 17", and I haven't looked back. He had that funk sound that attracted me. Lizzo has that, but she adds the soul and hip hop, and it is just awesome all the way around. She can even dip into pop music from time to time, but it is good, and fun, pop music. The song "Juice" has top 25 written all over it. From the music to the lyrics, it is all there to be a top song. I can picture a bunch of teens bumping the song at parties. What I love most about the record is the confidence that she brings. Her voice is already super powerful, but when you actually listen to what she is saying, she has no problem saying exactly how she feels, and what she wants. I wish I had that confidence.

Take a song like the closer, "Lingerie". That song is sexy as hell for one, and when she gets into the words, damn she exudes that powerful confidence. The same can be said for the song "Soulmate". That song is all about self empowerment, and it is great. The hook on the track is wonderful as well. "Like A Girl" is another track that I will play so my 3 year old daughter can hear a powerful, confident woman sing about how she is proud to be a powerful and confident woman. The whole record is going to be like that for my daughter and I listening to it together. I have been trying to expose her to more female singers, I will be writing about some more new albums from women singers this week that we listen to, but Lizzo is tops right now for the easy reason that she is doing ti best right now. She has no fear, she has no qualms about who she is, she knows what she wants and she puts it up front and center on this record. Even her Erykah Badu impression, "Jerome", is a far superior song to "Tyrone", of which I adore. I mean "Jerome" is a hit. The music is so mellow and cool and her vocals, I mean come on, she blasts it out of the park.

I am so glad that I have so many cool people in my life that introduce to me to dope stuff like Lizzo. This record will now be played on repeat in my car and house for a long, long time now. This is the record of the Spring by far, and it may be the best of the summer. I am already feeling like this is going to be on my best of 2019. It is that good.

I highly, highly recommend people listen to "Cuz I Love You". It is amazing.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is holding all his Streisand records for when his daughter reaches the right age to enjoy them. Sixty seems to be the right age.

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The Greatest American Music: Pusha T's "If You Know You Know"

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Awhile back RD and I did a podcast about the best opening songs to records. I’ve gone back and listened to every song I picked, then the record, to see if I still loved them, and I do. With that being said, we left out some great songs. That’s to be expected though. There’s so much great music, and everyone has their own personal taste. But today I want to add a song that I feel I really, really snubbed big time.

In my year end best of’s I do, I picked Pusha T’s record DAYTONA as my number one album of 2018. I still stand by that. And the opening song, “If You Know You Know”, should have most definitely been on my list of best opening songs. This is, not only his best song in my opinion, but one of the best hip hop songs ever recorded. This song really, really sets the tone for the whole record.

When the song opens, it’s a light beat with Pusha talking about a lot of things. It’s almost as if he is reintroducing himself to the public. It’s awesome and unassuming. It reminds me so much of Jay Z’s opener(s) on “The Black Album”. But, I like “If You Know You Know” better. But, when the main beat drops in, this song goes from great to classic. The beat is ridiculously bouncy and incredible. I’ve listened to the song 100’s of times, and I still dance incessantly to it every time it plays. The “bop bop’s” are an amazing touch. And when the beat drops and Pusha comes back on, I mean, come on. He is a great, great rapper. His verses are simply wonderful on the song. He also spans not just his career, but his life in this song. He talks about his drug dealing days all way to his fame and fortune. One of my favorite lyrics is, “I’ve been hiding right where you can see me, the skyboxes right next to Ri Ri”. I mean, that’s poetic man. That lyric says so much about his career. Yes, he’s famous, and yes, true hip hop fans know him, but he’s underrated. He’s so good, yet no one mentions him when they talk about the best rappers alive. That’s why I love the “hiding where you can see me” so much. It’s perfect. Then, he makes it known that he hangs with the biggest pop stars in the world. Ri Ri is Rihanna, I’m pretty sure. That’s incredible to me that he goes to games, and sits with or near Rihanna. I love that he put that in the song. I also love the chorus of the song. He talks about trap doors, car ports, and says more than once, “if you know you know”. Simply saying, the people who get this, will appreciate it. I like to think I understand what he’s talking about. Yes, I grew up in the suburbs, and I’m a white dude, but I know things. I’ve lived a kind of adventurous life. That’s why I feel like I can semi relate to this song.

All in all, what Pusha T packs into less than 3 minutes to open this incredible album is nothing short of amazing. As I said, I get hyped every time the song plays in my car. My kids, who probably shouldn’t listen to it, but I want them to be exposed to good music, love to dance to the song too. My daughter LOVES this song. “If You Know You Know” is one of the best openers to any album ever, and I felt like I had to remedy me not mentioning it during the podcast. This song rules, and everyone, if you haven’t listened to it yet, stop what you’re doing and listen to it right now. It’s that good. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Ty understands when Pusha T is talking about being the guy next to the celebrity. After all Ty is the guy next to world famous podcaster, and extremely attractive man, RD.

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Ty Listens to Some New Black Keys Music

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This morning I awoke to some wonderful music news. I checked my email, as I do every morning over breakfast, and I was pleasantly surprised to have an email from one of my favorite bands, The Black Keys.

As I opened the email I got even more excited. Today they released their first single since 2014. In 2014 they put out the excellent, and I think underrated album, “Turn Blue”. Since then, Dan Auerbach has done some solo stuff. He opened a studio, with the help of Patrick Carney. He gave some new people a chance to shine. I just learned that Carney had a child with former pop star Michelle Branch. Needless to say, they have both kept busy since “Turn Blue”. But, I was commiserating with my dad the other day that I wanted some new Black Keys music. I even brought up the fact that they may be done. That would have been a bummer, but knowing what I know now, I would’ve understood.

Today The Black Keys shocked me in a good way. After opening the email, I immediately downloaded the song, entitled “Lo Hi”. I could not love this song more. It had every blend of The Black Keys in it. It’s quick and to the point, clocking in at almost exactly 3 minutes. The guitar is fuzzy and distorted perfectly and loud and filled with reverb. The drums are punishingly good and loud too. It’s a groove that only Carney, in my opinion, excels at doing. And the singing, my goodness does it rule. Auerbach has grown leaps and bounds as a singer. I personally prefer the early singing, I like the gruffness, but like any perfectionist, Auerbach has taught himself to do wonderful things with his voice.

I have been listening to this song on repeat since this morning. I went for a run with my buddy, and on our way to the spot, he had to hear it twice himself, and hear me talk about my love for the band. I have shared the URL on my Facebook page and have really pushed for other fans to listen. I immediately told my father, another big fan, to check it out. I cannot get enough of it at the moment. I have also already played it for my daughter a few times, she gives it a thumbs up, and my son has heard it once, and asked to hear it again after school.

“Lo Hi” is a great appetizer to what I hope will be a full new record coming soon. It is classic Black Keys, but with the modern good stuff they’ve gotten into since they worked with Danger Mouse. I’m so stoked. I’m so happy they’re back. I cannot wait to hear more, and when they tour, you better believe I will see them. Go listen to “Lo Hi”, especially if you’re a fan, and I guarantee you will be as happy as I am now. This is awesome.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is still waiting for some new music from rap icon Snow. We need something to compliment the genius of “Informer”

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The Best Music of 2018

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As promised last Friday I am going to come to you all this week with my top 5 things in sports, movies, music, tv and podcasts. These lists were a bit more difficult than usual because I am very set in my ways now. I also don't get out to the movies as much, but I have seen enough to make a list. I like doing this every year though, and that has not changed at all. I'm also ready to hear why I am wrong for the top 5 things that I have picked.

Today I am going to start with my top 5 albums/music that happened in 2018. I will count down from 5 to one. It also needs to be said that my list is different from others. You will see what I am talking about as I get into my top 5 music of the year. Lets get started.

At number 5 I have the three song EP released on Spotify this year by the band Heartbones. I heard about Heartbones since I am a fan of Har Mar Superstar. I follow pretty much all the music stuff he does, and when I heard he was going to team up with Sabrina Ellis, and do the songs of "Dirty Dancing" live, I was intrigued. Unfortunately for me I did not get to see them live, but I was blessed with the three songs they put out. The songs are also originals, they are not covers from "Dirty Dancing". I love these songs. They have that 80's synth sound, but made to sound more modern. Har Mar is perfect for this type music. He is a pop singer. His voice is perfect for that style music. And he shines on these 3 tracks. I had never heard of Sabrina Ellis until now, but she rules. Her voice is also great for this style pop music. These 3 songs I can listen to in the car with the kids, and they sing and dance along with them. I love these 3 tracks. I cannot wait to see what they come up with when they do eventually put out a full album. If the rest of the tracks are 1/3 as good as "Little Dancer", "Disappearer" and "This Time it's Different", it will most likely end up on my top 5 albums of 2019. If you are a fan of either Har Mar or Sabrina Ellis, or well made pop music in general, check out this 3 song EP. It rules.

At number 4 I do have a full album, and it is a soundtrack. That album is "Sorry to Bother You" by the Coup. First things first, this is not the same record with the same name that came out in 2012. I like that record to, but this is the soundtrack to a movie that you will definitely hear more about on Wednesday. But, the soundtrack to the movie is all new material from one of our greatest hip hop groups. Boots Riley and the Coup come just as hard on this record as they do on every other one they have released. The opener, "OYAHYTT" comes at you hard. It gets you ready for the rest of the record. Boots Riley crushes the vocals, and the guitar in the song is perfect. LaKeith Stanfield also crushes his verse on the song. It is a great table setter. From there on out we get great songs featuring people like tUnE yArDs, Janelle Monae, Killer Mike and E-40. It's a relative who's who of hip hop and R&B. This soundtrack comes hard, it makes me want to watch the movie and is a good, 9 song rap record. The Coup always do good stuff, and this record is no different. It's awesome.

At number 3 I have Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats "Tearing at the Seams". This record is amazing. I loved his first record, but I was hesitant on the second. I am always hesitant on second records from people who's first record I cherish. But a friend of mine, who's musical taste I very much trust, texted me and told me it was one of the best records he had listened to in quite some time. That night I downloaded the record and listened to it three times. It was, and still is, amazing. Rateliff and his band totally crush this record. It is so good. It is a shift in the alt rock genre of music. Rateliff has that gruff voice that I love in rock music. His band is amazing. The addition of the horn section was phenomenal. The way the record is sequenced is perfect. The fact that he has a song called "Intro" that comes in the middle of the record is one of my favorite things about it. This is a record I go back to every month or so and remember why I like it so much. It is such a good modern rock record. Rateliff and his band are on a big time upward trajectory. Now I cannot wait to see what they do next. I will have no trepidations when they put out their third record. I will listen to it the day it comes out. For the time being though, I have "Tearing at the Seams", and that makes me very, very happy.

At number 2 I have more of moment than an entire record or EP. But, "This is America" is a seminal moment in music, and out current culture, and it fully deserves to be on my top 5 music list for 2018. When Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, released this song and video, you could feel a shift in political hip hop music. It is such an important song, but the video puts it over the top. That video is astonishing. It is haunting. It is terrifying and it is all true. Glover and director Hiro Murai knew exactly what they were doing this when they released it. I still, many months later, go back and watch this video from time to time. I listen to the song almost daily, especially when I exercise. It is such an important piece of music and art. It will be remembered for years to come. I would bet a good amount of money that my kids will study this song and video when they are in high school and college. Everything about "This is America" will be historically acclaimed and remembered. It is the most important piece of pop culture to come out in 2018.

And my number one record, and it is only ahead of "This is America" is because it is a full record, I have Pusha T's "Daytona". This record is the perfect hip hop record. Pusha T, from the start, crushes all the songs. He puts himself at, or near, the top of current emcee's. The opener, "If You Know You Know" has one of the best beats I have ever heard on a rap song. And Pusha crushes with his rhyming. And in a short 25-30 minutes he touches on so many important things and he nails it all. What stands out most is his "diss" track of the highly overrated Drake, and he doesn't even have to mention his name. We all know exactly who he is talking about, and like only he can do, he pulls it off without even mentioning him. I grew up listening to Clipse, they were one of the first real hip hop groups I devoured, and to see where Pusha T is now makes me so happy. "Daytona" is wonderful. I listen to this record all the way through once a week. Usually when I run. It is a perfect hip hop record. It has anything and everything a hip hop fan could want, and it is short and to the point. I love this record. I have not heard anything nearly as good as "Daytona". It is number one, and it is number one with a bullet. This record rules. It is, by far, the best record of 2018.

That's it for today. Come back tomorrow for my top 5 TV shows of the year.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He was going to wait on his best music list to see if Run the Jewels did another surprise album drop just before the new year. Only a few hours left guys.

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The Worst Things of 2018

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Next week I will spend the 5 days of the week doing my best of 2018 in movies, music, tv, podcasts and sports. I will do a top 5 of each category. Today though I want to do a similar list, but I want to do the one thing I consider the worst of 2018. I'll pick the worst tv show, movie, album/musician, podcast moment and sports moment. Before I get into it, I do have to say that this is just my opinion. I know that I will have a few things on here that will be odd and make people mad, but that is what year end lists are for, are they not? This will also be much quicker since I am just picking one thing from each category. My best of lists next week will be a bit longer. Okay enough preamble, lets get to it.

I'm going to start with sports because this was quite possibly the worst thing for me, as a sports fan, that has not only happened this year, but has happened in a long time. I am of course talking about Michigan getting absolutely crushed by the University of Ohio State in football. I have written about this game already, so I won't go as deep into detail as I did the Monday after the game. But this was awful. Michigan's vaunted defense got torched and refused to adjust all game long. This was their best chance in a long time, they were the better team on paper, and they laid a total egg. I mean, their offense scored 39 points, but it was all garbage time, and it was all for naught. They gave up 62 points, over 500 yards of offense, and it could have been much, much worse. Michigan blew it on the biggest stage for them in quite some time, and it was painful to watch. They had their best chance to beat their hated rival for the first time in 7 years, and a possible playoff berth at stake if they won the Big Ten title. They got none of that. They choked. They got crushed and it was, by far, my worst sports moment of 2018. Nothing else was even close.

When it comes to podcast/podcast moments, I have to go with "Comedy Bang! Bang!" not doing their usual Halloween episode. I look forward to this every year, and Halloween came and went with no visit to Boogie Woogie Avenue. I didn't get to hear Bret Gelman and Jon Daly do their thing. There was no Comedy Fang Fang this year. No weirdo ghosts for me to cackle with laughter at. It was a real bummer. The biggest disappointment with no "CBB" Halloween episode was the absence of Leo Carpatzi and his daughter Scaroline to sing their version of "The Monster Mash", which is always my favorite part. Although, as you will see next week, they do make up for it a bit in their Christmas episode. But, no 1122 Boogie Woogie Avenue, no Scaroline, no Mesmor, it all bummed me out. This episode is one of the few things I look forward to for a "holiday" that I am not the biggest fan of. Hopefully they remedy this next year because their Halloween episodes are some of their best.

My worst music of 2018 is kind of weird, but it struck me as odd, and kind of stupid to be completely honest. So, you all know how I feel about Drake. He is a wannabe, a front runner, a HORRIBLE rapper, he is just trash all around. So, for him to think he could even touch Pusha T was a joke and made that my most disliked music moment of the year. There is no beef, Pusha T is a far superior rapper, and always will be, when compared to Drake. He has lived that life. He has earned and grinded hard for everything he has accomplished. He isn't a fake, a phony or a frontrunner. Pusha goes about his business and makes incredible rap music. He literally started from the bottom. Drake was on a teenage high school drama in Canada when he was a kid. He is from the suburbs. He's never had a hard day in his life. He is a fake, a phony and a wannabe like I said before. He's a poseur. Pusha T will always, always be a much, much better rapper. So will thousands upon thousands of other rappers that a lot of people may not know about just yet. Drake is a rapper for white tweens. Pusha T is for a true hip hop fan. This whole beef was pointless and dull. Find something better to do with your time Drake because you are not even a top 500 rapper of all time. You are trash.

With TV I was very conflicted because the 2 shows that I think are the worst were 2 I LOVED last year. With that being said, what in the hell happened to "Westworld" and "Legion"? Am I not smart enough? Do I not get it? Am I not hip enough anymore? I don't know, and that was my biggest problem with both these shows. I feel like they decided to really just make some weird stuff and see if major critics would bite, and boy did they ever. I have read a lot of best of lists, and most have both shows on their lists. I totally disagree. Now, it needs to be said that I didn't finish either season. But I didn't finish because I was too tired of sitting there in utter confusion for hours after watching an episode. I made it through 3 of "Legion" and 2 of "Westworld" and just gave up. These shows are already confusing enough, but like I said, I felt like the writers were just messing with me now. They were intentionally trying to confuse me. I like my intelligence to be tested time to time when watching a show, but in watch these 2 shows this year, I felt like I was being made to look like a fool. Like I was stupid because I didn't get it. That is not how I should feel when watching a show. TV shows and movies should let you escape and have fun. I got none of that from "Westworld" or "Legion" this year. That was a bummer for me.

Finally, my worst movie of 2018. I have to admit that I don't get to the movies as much as I would like, but I still watch a fair amount On Demand and on streaming services. With all that being said, the worst movie I saw in 2018 has to be "Avengers: Infinity War". Now, I kind of liked the movie, but compared to everything else, it just doesn't stand up. I found parts of it dull and dragging. I don't like that Thanos wipes out half the population, but we just have to accept that most of those people are still alive because it's a "comic book movie". It would have been so much cooler if they really did kill off all the characters that Thanos killed. I found Thanos kind of dull and, while an okay bad guy, he was no Heath Ledger Joker or Tom Hardy Bane or Alfred Molina's Dr. Octopus or Ultron or even a marginal bad guy like The Mandarin. I think my biggest problem lied within my expectations for the movie. They were through the roof, and that is unfair. But still, my wife and I saw this movie on opening weekend, with a packed theater that had a 10 month old there, and we both left kind of shrugging our shoulders. It wasn't like when we saw "Black Panther" or the first "Ironman" or the "X-Men" movies. We left those exhilarated. With "Infinity War". we left unfulfilled. That is why I have it as my worst movie of the year.

Okay, I got the bad stuff out of the way. Come back next week where I will dedicate one day with a top 5 of 2018 for each category. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Ty is lucky to have survived the Thanos snap so he can dump on the movie. Others in the SeedSing virtual cube farm were not so lucky. We forward to seeing Tina S when the next movie “fixes” all the important deaths.

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Thom Yorke in Concert is not Radiohead, and it Still Rules

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Saturday night I saw one of the most interesting and entertaining live shows I've ever witnessed. Me, my buddy and 2 of my brothers saw Thom Yorke on his Modern Boxes tour.

It was incredible. I even liked the opener, which is out of the norm for me. The guy who opened, I unfortunately do not remember his name, was a very solid cellist. He played his cello really well, and he did some interesting things with it. The way he used the amplifier and pedal board he had was pretty cool. He played some rock songs, some classical stuff and did quite a bit of looping. It was cool. I found myself nearly entranced by his performance. Even when he started to play some recordings of children and people talking, and then proceeded to play cello over it, I found it very neat. I liked this guy. Then it was Thom Yorke's turn.

Going into this show I did not know what to expect. Yes, I had previously listened to the record he put out prior to this tour, and I have listened to his other solo stuff, but I had never seen him solo. I have seen Radiohead on multiple occasions, but they played Radiohead songs. I knew what I was going to see when I went to those shows. I was prepared to be surprised, in a good way, by this show though. I am a Radiohead fan. I, as I have said, listened to all of his solo stuff, so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy it. In listening to his Modern Boxes stuff I did expect a layer of electronic music. Yorke seems to be leaning towards that style with his solo stuff, in a good way. I'm not a huge electronic music fan, unless it is done right. Yorke does it right.

So, when he came on stage, I was very, very excited. He and his 2 other musicians got right into it. Yorke said hi, and they immediately jumped into their set. Yorke moves and dances and sings and does his thing on stage no matter what. Another one of his band mates was playing all different kinds of instruments and he was as in to the set as Yorke seemed. Then there was the third guy. He stood in one spot the whole time and was seemingly typing on a keyboard. I'm sure he had something to do with the entire show, but he didn't move at all, until the end when he waved to the crowd.

That being said, I really, really liked what I heard from Yorke and his band. They played some wild, jumpy, bouncy and overall cool music. It was all very, very different from what I expected. But, I loved it. Even when he did some of his older solo stuff, like "Black Swan", it was a totally different arrangement from his first recording of the song. And I loved it. His new original stuff is also very, very good. It is the upper echelon of electronic music. Yorke is a total pro, and it showed on Saturday night. I like some electronic bands, like Ratatat, but Yorke is so, so much better than the stuff they do. The songs were unique and different and fun and I even felt a bit if a hip hop vibe here and there. It was so cool.

Also, the show going on behind the band, on the 4 separate screens they had, was one of the coolest things I have seen in my lifetime. It was all shapes that would change into other shapes. He also had this cool screen that was totally white, then a black ink drawings started to fill in all the white space. It then turned into a full on crazy color palette. I'm also not big into strobe light type stuff, but I found myself completely engaged and enraptured by what was going on behind the band. It was so cool. There were times I could not take my eyes off what was going on on those 4 screens.

Finally, the double encore was great. Yorke and his band came back out after about an 80 minute set and played three more songs for the first encore. Yorke did a solo version of "Reckoner", and it was so cool to hear it in a totally different way. A song that is so drum heavy was played brilliantly, minus the drums, by Yorke and his computer and mixing board. When he came back for the second encore, he played one song, and it was the most normal one of the show, but it was a perfect ending. He played one of his new songs from the movie "Suspiria", for which he wrote and arranged all the music. It was a pretty, beautiful and scary song that Yorke, even while messing up at one point, even saying "whoops", played excellently.

This show was amazing. I am so, so glad that I got to see it live. I'm so glad that I got to experience with some very important people to me. This was a great night. It was a night I won't soon forget. This show was amazing, and it was one of the better shows I've ever been to. What a night. A special thanks to my wife who bought the tickets as an early birthday gift. She really knocked it out of the park. 

If you are a Radiohead fan, go see this show. You will love it.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He does not care for electronica, unless it is good. Let that be a lesson, if your genre of music is not widely accepted, make it good.

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Ty Listens to Charles Bradley's "Black Velvet"

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Today Charles Bradley, or his estate, or his record label, I’m not quite sure, released his final record, “Black Velvet”. This record is a great send off to an under appreciated star of the soul music scene.

I’ve loved Bradley since I first heard his entire life story about 5 years ago. If you don’t know about him, check it out, it’s amazing. He didn’t get his first record deal until he was 62. From there on out, he released many records, all of them great. He also was touring constantly and putting on some great, great shows. Unfortunately I never got to see him live, but from what I’ve seen on the internet, and heard from people who saw him, they all said the same. He was a flash of lightening and we now have his music for the rest of our lives.

Charles Bradley died about a year ago from stomach cancer. When diagnosed, he hammered out as much music as he could, until he couldn’t anymore. Today we got to hear some of his last songs, and they’re wonderful.

From what I’ve read, the songs on “Black Velvet” were from recording sessions from his last record, and some covers he wanted to do. The covers are wonderful. He does “Heart Of Gold”, a Neil Young song, and he does it great justice. It’s beautiful. He also does Nirvana’s “Slip Away”, and it’s so different, but so awesome. He takes a Nirvana song and makes it a soul song. It is a truly remarkable feat.

The 8 other songs are just as good. There’s an electric version of “Victim of Love”, from one of his earlier records, and I love it. The 2 singles, “I Feel a Change” and “Stay Away” are classic Bradley. “I Feel a Change” is so heart felt and sung beautifully. “ Stay Away” is a funky, rock and roll esque soul song. It’s my favorite on the record so far. “Luv Jones” is a cool old school song where Bradley lets his band do some singing, then he comes in and crushes it, as usual. The title track is an instrumental, and it feels like the band made it as an an ode to him. It’s their gift to Bradley. The opening track, “Can’t Fight the Feeling” is a great way to kick it all off. It really gets you wanting to hear more and more. These are the standouts to me.

This is a record I’m going to be listening to a lot for the next couple weeks. I was saddened when I heard that Bradley passed, but at least now I have “Black Velvet” to listen to and remember him. I adore this album. I cannot recommend it enough.

Charles Bradley was a star and he will be greatly missed. Do yourselves a favor and listen to his music, and enjoy how great he was. “Black Velvet” is a triumph.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

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A Newbie Goes to a Sam Smith Concert

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I've been so consumed by football lately, I need to catch up on some things that I have wanted to write about the last 2 weeks.

One of those things was seeing Sam Smith live in Saint Louis on August 18th. I know that was 10 days ago, but the great thing about the show, I am still thinking about how wonderful it was. I didn't really know too much about Smith before seeing him live. I knew of his big songs, "I'm Not the Only One" and "Stay With Me". I was also kind of familiar with the new single off his newest record, "Too Good at Goodbyes". So, I knew three hits, but that was it.

I had mentioned offhand one day that he was playing Chafeitz Arena here in Saint Louis to my mom, and she was thrilled. She loves Sam Smith. She is a tried and true fan. She knew all his songs, not just the singles. She said she wanted to go see him, but she didn't know anyone that would go with her. Well, I love a good live show. I have been more into seeing "pop stars" lately, and she did sit through Run the Jewels with me when I took her to see Lorde. So, I offered to go with her. I figured it would be fun, I had time to get more familiar with his music and it is always fun to hang out with my mom.

Well, sitting down for the show, I didn't know what to expect. I saw this very cool stage, we had great seats and after we sat down, he was coming on stage. So, among all these diehard fans, among people who live and breath his music, there I sat, waiting to see what he could do, and he did not disappoint.

Sam Smith is truly amazing. He has one of the absolute best voices I have ever heard live. The notes he can hit are truly remarkable. I don't understand how singers can do what he did, but he did it better than any other person, in his genre, that I have watched perform live. He was really amazing. He also has this very humble way about him. He talked to the crowd about pretty much everything that was going on in his life. He told us about the tour. He spent individual time with each band member. By the way, his band is great as well. He has some real pros backing him up. He kept calling Saint Louis, Saint Louie, and I appreciated that. He has the look and attitude of someone that realizes they are living their dream. He is a humble, respectable dude. And, as I have mentioned multiple times, that dude can "sang". When someone is a great singer, my wife and I say they can "sang", because "singing" doesn't do them justice. 

Smith started out by singing multiple songs off his newest record, which I appreciated since that was what I was listening to on repeat. The live versions of songs like "One Last Song", "Baby You Make Me Crazy" and "One Day at a Time" were wonderfully uplifting and beautifully sung. He also did stuff off his first couple records, which I am not that familiar with. But they were, in turn, slower paced and beautifully melancholy. He also did a different version of "I Know I'm not the Only One", with tons of crowd participation, and it was awesome. I liked that he mentioned how depressing his songs were, but you would never have known by the mood on stage and the way they played the songs. Even a slower song off his new record like "Say it First", which is very stripped down, they turned it into something lively and almost danceable. During the show I kept looking over at my mom and just simply saying, "wow". I was absolutely astonished at how great this show was.

I don't truly know what I expected, but Sam Smith and his band surpassed any expectations I had. They were great. I highly, highly recommend going to see him live, especially if it is in a smaller arena like Chafeitz here in Saint Louis. He is so god damn impressive at what he does. He appreciates his craft, and you can tell he works hard at it. Sam Smith is a wonder and someone I will most definitely go see live again. I love that my mom shared this experience with me. I'm glad she needed someone to go with and that someone just happened to be me. This will be a show that I will always remember, and it will be a show that will most likely be in my top 10 shows of all time. Sam Smith is remarkable talent. Go see him live. You will love every single second of the show.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is available to go see a concert with any moms out there. Nothing sexual, Ty just likes rocking out with women twice his age. 

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Childish Gambino Has Two New Songs for Our Summer Pleasure

Relax in a pool chair and take in the new tunes from Childish Gambino

Relax in a pool chair and take in the new tunes from Childish Gambino

Last night I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed that Donald Glover’s page had some new, very non interpretive pictures on it. The pictures were a colorful mish mash of neon, and they simply said, “Summertime” and “Summertime 2”. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Last time he did something like this, he dropped “This is America” under his rap pseudonym, Childish Gambino. You all know how much I adore, and how much that song and, more importantly, that video, affected me. So, I was hoping this would be some new songs.

Well, when I clicked the URL, much to my enjoyment, it was 2 brand new Childish Gambino songs. I was stoked. I had just gotten home from working out, cleaned up, and was greeted by this wonderful news while playing on my phone. I immediately listened to both songs at full volume. And, once again, Glover absolutely nailed it. I mean, this dude is so talented, it is almost unfair. He can pretty much do it all.

It needs to be said, both these songs don’t have the same political and of the moment feel of “This is America”. That song is its own thing, as it should be. These 2 new songs are breezy and cool and mellow. The first version, “Summertime”, is a cool, faster paced R&B song. It is such a fitting summer song. It has mellow, yet sped up instrumentals. Glover goes a bit lower with his voice on this track too. He also does, a very little bit, of rapping on this song. I was immediately on board. I love the change he has taken with his music. When he started out, he was straight forward rap. But now, he seems to be a full fledged R&B dude. He really showed that he could do this music on the incredible “Awaken My Love”, and he seems to have really found his groove.

Needless to say, after listening to the first song, I had high hopes for the second track. It did not disappoint. Glover slows things down on this song, and I love that about this song. It is an R&B song through and through. From the opening bar to the final noise of an instrument, it is like listening to old Earth Wind and Fire or, dare I say, Barry White. I like the first new song, I LOVE the second version. It is so wonderful. I immediately played them both for my wife, and even she was impressed. She’s not a big Gambino fan, but she does like the newer stuff he is doing. She likes R&B, so she was on board. I just get more and more impressed with all the stuff he does. He cannot do wrong right now. He is on an incredible hot streak, and he is striking while the iron is burning.

I highly recommend checking out these 2 new songs. They will be, or at least should be, played endlessly for the rest of summer on the radio. Childish Gambino, you’ve done it again. Maybe this means you aren’t giving up music just yet. One can hope. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He usually does not click on the links in Facebook. He wants Zuckerberg to have to guess what Ty likes.

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Ty Listens to the Gorillaz New Album "The Now Now"

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About 2 weeks ago The Gorillaz put out a new record, "The Now Now". I had heard rumors that they were going to put out one, and by they I obviously mean Damon Albarn and his collaborator, but I didn't know when it was exactly coming out. I then saw on Facebook or some other site that they were putting it out on June 29th. And, like they promised, it was released then.

I have been listening to "The Now Now" pretty much every day since I bought it. I find at least one time a day, be it a car ride, a run or shooting baskets, to listen to the record. I love it. I was a big time fan of their last record, "Humanz", but, dare I say, I like "The Now Now" even more. It feels a bit more accessible to all fans. There were parts of "Humanz" and "Demon Days" and even their first record that seemed odd or out of place. I personally love all three of those records, especially "Demon Days", which I think is one of their most underrated records. But, "The Now Now" is better than all three. In fact, it, for the time being, it is my favorite record of theirs to date. I love the simplicity of this new record. I read an interview with Albarn where he said that he wrote most of it while on tour last year. Last year was one of their first fully American tours, and by all accounts, it was a big time success. But, in the down time that they had, Albarn decided he was going to write a new record. What I appreciate most about "The Now Now" is how mellow and simple it is. Also, even though I love all the guest appearance they usually have, and sometimes the guests make the record or song, I was pleasantly surprised that they only have 3 songs with guests on the record. It was a nice change of pace to hear Albarn as the characters in the band singing most of the songs. I love his voice, so of course I was going to be on board with this decision.

In fact, one of the songs that features a guest, the first track, which is amazing, "Humility", doesn't include the guest vocals. I believe George Benson is on the song for his guitar alone. By the way, "Humility" is a great way to start this record off. The song is bouncy and fun. It has an upbeat guitar riff and Albarn's vocals are top notch. They released a video for this song prior to the record coming out as well, and I highly suggest checking it out. It is so cool and exactly what you would expect out of a Gorillaz video. It is dope. The next track, "Tranz" is another upbeat, fast paced tune. I really enjoy this song as well. It goes a little harder than "Humanity", which is more like a beach song. "Tranz" is more of a club track, or just a straight forward electronic song with vocals. It is pretty awesome. Some other tracks on the record I really enjoy are "Kansas", "Idaho", "Sorcererz", "Lake Zurich" and "Magic City". "Kansas" is a slower tune, made all the better with Albarn almost crooning the lyrics. He clearly wrote this track while in Kansas, and listening to this song makes so much sense when you see it through that lens. "Idaho", another state name song, is another slow song, but it is more of an instrumental, electronic song. I know that may sound oxymoronic, but it is the truth. It actually reminds me of a Ratatat song, and I love that about it. I love Ratatat as you all know. "Sorcerez" goes hard and strong. It is a rock song mixed with electronic elements. It really sounds like a song off their first record, and that makes it so accessible to old school fans. It is a great follow up to "Kansas". "Lake Zurich" is another song that is more instrumental than anything else. I remember the first time listening to it, I was watering my plants and I just, without even knowing, found myself dancing and grooving along with the music. My neighbor almost snapped me out of my trance by asking what I was listening to. I let him check it out, he is an older gentleman, and even he enjoyed the song. It is so cool and so groovy. I love "Lake Zurich". And "Magic City" is like a culmination of everything that makes this album so wonderful. It has the great instrumental electronic stuff, but it also has great vocals and it is just a perfect song. It rules.

I adore this record. I know that I will be listening to it for the next couple weeks, no question. I highly suggest everyone go check out this record, even if you are not a Gorillaz fan. I truly feel like everyone that listens to this record will like it. It has a little something for everyone. Well done Mr. Albarn, as usual.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. His pop culture the last few weeks has been all about animation. Today he had the Gorillaz, last week he had The Incredibles.

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"This is America" is What America Needs to See

Take a long look

Take a long look

Before I start, watch "This is America" by Childish Gambino.

I have now watched Donald Glover's, AKA Childish Gambino's, newest video, "This is America" about 2 dozen times. I'm not here to critique it, say what I think it is about, or anything like that. I'm here to praise Donald Glover as an artist, and talk about how I think this video is going to go down as one of the most important pieces of art to ever be made. I feel like my kids will be taught things from, and about, this video when they are in high school and college.

For those that don't know, Glover put this video out last Saturday night, when he was hosting "SNL" in fact, and it has been all over social media since then. Many people have given their own thoughts and takes on the video. I have done multiple deep dives on YouTube and other sites just to see all the things I missed, or didn't understand. I am officially obsessed with the music video. Now, the song is just as important, but this video is a masterpiece. The song calls out other rappers for bragging about all the guns and material things that they have acquired due to their fame. But, when put to a music video, it speaks volumes. I do have to say, for the faint of heart, this is a disturbing video. Some horrific things happen, but in this day in age, when it is so hard to shock anyone, this video does just that.

I know I said I wasn't going to interpret anything, but I do have to say, my biggest takeaway from the video is that the U.S. is way, way too obsessed with guns. And Glover puts that front and center. The video opens with Glover dancing, an older gentleman sitting down to play acoustic guitar, then Glover pulls a pistol out of his pocket and shoots this man in the back of the head. It is so unexpected, they show the blood and it hooks you. I couldn't look away after seeing this gruesome act because I wanted to see where he and his director, the awesome, and very underrated Hiro Murai, went from there.

After Glover does the unspeakable act of shooting someone, he begins to dance more and starts rapping the song. The lyrics are simplistic, but they speak volumes. The main gist is, "this is America/don't catch you slippin/ look what I'm whippin". He also says certain things that have stuck with me like, "I got the strap/I've got to carry", or the chorus that is a group of people singing, "tell somebody/you gonna tell somebody/get your money/black man". I mean, that is poetry, and speaks to the culture we live in right now.

Back to the video. After the crazy opening, if all you look at is Glover, you see him and some younger kids doing popular dances. It is almost fun, until you realize they are mocking modern rappers. It then takes on a whole new meaning when you look at it through that lens. But, after the many deep dives I took, you start to see some crazy things going on in the background. Death is represented as a white horse being ridden by a man with a black hood, and everyone scatters when they see it, except the police. There is also a person that commits suicide by jumping off a high rise in the background. We also see some random people wearing eerie masks in the background, all on their phones for some unknown reason. Glover, once again, pulls a machine gun on a choir singing with him, then hands the gun off to someone else to dust it for prints. All while this is going on, Glover and the young dancers remained unharmed. Then, in a silent moment of the song and video, Glover pulls out a joint, lights it up and takes a few puffs. He then jumps on a very old, beat up car and starts to groove again. That was another thing I found out, if you look at all the cars in the video, none of them are new. Apparently he did this on purpose, once again to mock these newer rappers who think all that matters is shiny, new expensive cars. After the dancing on the cars stops, the video cuts to black, and only now do we see Glover finally being chased, presumably by the police. The reason he is being chased you may ask? He was smoking a joint. The guns, the suicide, the dusting of prints, none of that mattered. It was marijuana that finally catches up to him. It is insane.

This video is a work of art. As I said at the top, this needs to be shown in schools as to how dangerous we have become as a society. We are gun obsessed, and it is a real big problem. This video and song also makes Glover the most influential and important rapper out there right now. No one else comes close. Jay Z isn't rapping anymore. Kanye West is certifiably insane. Chance the Rapper is sticking up for West for some reason. Drake only raps about girls. And these new guys, the Post Malone's of the world, are a joke. They give rap music a bad name. Glover, or Gambino, is doing everything right and he deserves all the accolades he is getting for putting this video out. It will go down in history as a very important piece as to what we were like in the early 21st century. I will never forget this video. I will also continue to watch it. I will tell more people to watch it. I will do even deeper internet dives. This is masterful work.

Donald Glover is a genius, and "This is America" only further hammers that point home. Go watch the video now, then watch it a second, third, fourth and fifth time. Then, watch it 10 more times after that. It is disturbing, gory, important, provocative and amazing. What a gem.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

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Ty Listens to Leon Bridge's "Good Thing"

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Last Friday Leon Bridges put out his much anticipated second album, "Good Thing". I have been waiting a long time for this record. As you all know, I am a big, big fan of Bridges. I have written many things about him, seen him live, praised his style and just overall love what he does as a musician. So, needles to say, I was pumped.

Last Friday, as soon as I got up, the first thing I did was go to Spotify and immediately listen to the record. It was much different from what I expected. His first record, "Coming Home", was a throwback to 60's R&B music. It was stunning to hear such a young guy sing music like that in the 21st century. I was blown away. "Good Thing" is not a throwback. It is something new and unique and good. I definitely like "Coming Home" more, but "Good Thing" is really starting to grow on me.

At first listen, if I am being honest, I was a bit disappointed. Then, I read some stuff as to why he did what he did on this record, and then I listened through that lens. He goes more modern on "Good Thing". He uses newer equipment. He brought in song writers and newer staff people. He really explored his options of up to date instrumentation and gear that is out now. And, when you think and listen to the record that way, it works.

The first track, "Bet Ain't Worth the Hand", is a newer R&B song. It sounds like something that should be played on the radio. It has big sound and it sounds good. "Bad Bad News" is more of the same. It may e a bit more jazzy than the first song, but still, it has that newer R&B feel that Bridges is going for on this album. His voice is amazing on this song, and every song on the record for that matter. Bridges is a wonderful singer, no matter what style music he is singing. The dude has pipes. "Shy" is a bit more up tempo, with a super cool guitar riff. He goes back to his more throaty singing that I enjoy on this song too. The groove is almost like a hip hop song, which is cool to hear from a guy like Bridges. "Beyond" is the single from this record, and it is a beautiful song. The acoustic guitar is delightful. Bridges voice is amazing. I can easily see why they chose this song as the single. It is a perfect song. "Forgive You" has a neat little drum groove at the top, then it melds into a synthy R&B song. It sounds like Prince, except with Bridges on vocals. I feel like this is his homage to Prince. I like the hand claps in the song too. "Lions" goes back to the nifty electric guitar his band uses on the record, then the song moves to an almost improvised jazz tune. At first listen I wasn't crazy about the song, but it definitely has a place in my heart now. He really takes a swing, and if you give it a fair chance, the song will grow on you, I promise. "If It Feels Good" has more of that Prince vibe, with a modern pop sound to it. I'm not crazy about the song, it sounds too much like a pop song. But, its saving grace is Bridges vocals. I just wish it wasn't top 40 sounding. "You Don't Know" has the upbeat drums at the top, but this time, Bridges sings it like he recorded it during his time on "Coming Home". The song is newer and fresh, but his vocals hearken back to his first record, especially during the chorus. The chorus is a ton of fun. "Mrs." is a very good song. They slow things down and really let Bridges shine. The electric guitar has this slow but distorted sound that I really love. But, it is all Bridges vocals. This song really lets him show everyone how great of a singer he is. We all know that, those of us that listen to him, but "Mrs." just reminds us of that fact. He is awesome. "Georgia to Texas", the album closer, has a cool bass riff at the beginning, and then Bridges gets to shine again. At first it is just him and the bass and he really belts out the song. Then, as the song picks up, Bridges only gets better and better, and I really like the song. The last 2 tracks remind me the most of his first record, and that is why they are my 2 favorites. I like when artists take chances, and Bridges definitely does that on "Good Thing".

I like this album, but like I said, I needed a few listens before I fully bought in. I hope he comes to Saint Louis while touring this record because I'd love to see how he does these songs live. Leon Bridges is one of the better younger singers out there, and people need to be listening to him right now. And while I like "Coming Home" more, "Good Thing" is a solid follow up. If you are hesitant to buy it at all, just buy it for his vocals. The guy is an amazing singer.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is eagerly waiting to stand in a line, and deal with a bunch of  drunk idiots, just to hear Leon Bridges live once again. That dude can sing.

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