Songs You Forgot You Loved: "Finding Out True Love Is Blind," Louis XIV (2005)

2005 was a pretty solid year for me, both musically and personally. I was in the middle of my high school years - which, unlike many others' experiences, were arguably incredible: my forever-loved Green Day were at their career peak (perhaps also arguably), there were a fair amount of actually fantastic pop records sitting on the charts (think Mario's "Let Me Love You," Amerie's "1 Thing"), Nickelback's "Photograph" was released...

...oh, wait. Shit. That was horrible for everyone.

But beyond that band from Canada we won't talk about and even the classic Kelly Clarkson karaoke-night-ruiner "Since U Been Gone," 2005 was solid because of the slow but noticeable upturn in alternative-ish, garage-ish, post-punk-ish rock bands that we still have trouble fitting into a genre. Bands like Fall Out Boy, in their heyday. The Killers. Franz Ferdinand. Kaiser Chiefs. Hot Hot Heat. These were the bands that my close group of friends and I were constantly burning each other CDs (and drawing all over in Sharpie) of, the bands we really hoped we would get to see at least open for My Chem or whoever. The most rewarding part about this particular small era of alt music, for me, were the bands that flew just under the radar and released a single or two that got stuck in your head for the next five years.

David Bowie loved Louis XIV, and so did you. Remember this?

Ohhh, yeah. That song.

I bring Bowie up because not only did he allegedly love these guys but he also apparently asked these guys to play with him for a benefit show in NYC. In truth, I'm not familiar with the whole of Louis XIV's discography. A quick Google and a glance at their Wiki page shows me that they broke up for a bit there in 2009 but have recently reunited. No other singles of theirs have found there way onto a Billboard chart, despite the Bowie nod. "Finding Out True Love Is Blind" is a perfect #throwbackthursday, Song You Forgot You Loved because Louis XIV's entire discography honestly doesn't matter too much, with apologies to the maybe-back-together band. All that really matters is that clap drum, those five piano notes, and those weird, catchy - let's call it what it is, kinda offensive and kinda gross - lyrics that you still remember. This guy and his guyliner want all the girls ever in the history of the world, especially if they have questionable, stereotypical attributes he can easily point out.

Watching the video for this track (which I'm honestly sure I ever saw up until today) made me feel a little less enthusiastic about it, but, hey. I still played the hell out of this on my yellow Walkman CD player while sitting in front of my locker and eating untoasted Pop Tarts, my friends sitting with me in a circle, drawing fake tattoos on our hands and wrists because that was about the most individualization you could muster in an all-female school governed by uniforms.

No matter what he's saying and no matter if it's all in good fun, "Finding Out True Love Is Blind," that one-hit alt wonder from when I was in high school, still rules. Dig out your old mix CDs - I bet it's on there.

Haven't You Heard? - New Music Releases of January 2013

Mini review collection, graduate class exercise; published 1/27/13: http://lifeabr.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/havent-you-heard-what-you-need-to-know-about-new-music-from-january-13/

Not all of us have the time (or the interest) to stay completely up to date on pop culture, especially music. It'll often seem like so many things are being released at such consistent rate, it would be near impossible to keep up.

January is almost gone…were you able to get some new music into your library? If the answer is no, fear not; here's a (small) list of what you should've heard in January  - and why you should've heard it!

twenty one pilots: Vessel
Released: January 8, 2013
Why you need it: On their first major label release, twenty one pilots let the mainstream know why they've got such a devoted cult following - lead vocalist (and rapper - yes, really) Tyler Joseph commands you to listen with his piano poetry, while drummer Josh Dunn just doesn't quit.

New Order: Lost Sirens
Released: January 14, 2012
Why you need it: New Order is a cornerstone in the alternative rock genre, having been around since 1980. Lost Sirens, their ninth studio release, is a collection of songs recorded while they were working on 2005's impeccable Waiting for the Sirens' Call but never made it on the record. Not to mention, this is their first album in seven years!

A$AP Rocky: Long. Live. A$AP
Released: January 15, 2013
Why you need it: There's a new genre emerging underneath the hip hop and rap you think you might hate, and A$AP is at the helm. This release will change your notion of what good hip hop is. I promise.

Bad Religion: True North
Released: January 22, 2013
Why you need it: If you know anything about punk, you know the name Bad Religion. This is their sixteenth album. Their SIXTEENTH! And not only is it getting wide critical praise, but it's impressively accessible. Put this on your "Hell yeah!" playlist.

Cazzette: Eject pt. III
Released: January 22, 2013
Why you need it: This small EP is the third installment of Swedish DJ duo Cazzette's Eject series, earmarking a full-length album that brought "Beam Me Up" into every single club in America. They manage to maintain their distinct electro house style while still making everyone want to dance - and that's why you need this.

Honorable Mention:

Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob
Set for release: January 29, 2013

Why you need it: All pop music blogs are talking about Tegan and Sara's seventh studio album, and for good reason. Wanna be ahead of the curve? You can listen to Heartthrob in full at Rolling Stone.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tegan-and-sara-continue-pop-evolution-on-heartthrob-album-premiere-20130124

Now you've got enough new music knowledge under your belt to schmooze even the savviest of hipsters. Make sure to turn it up

We’re Alive, Alive: Semi Precious Weapons skyrocket in a new direction with “Aviation High”

Review for thelineofbestfit.com; graduate class exercise (non-submitted)
2013

When it comes to the in-your-face attitude that’s so quickly associated with rock and roll, Semi Precious Weapons has got it down to a science. They’re loud, they’re brightly colored, and their dirty glam-rock shows have captivated – and perhaps even perplexed – audiences all over America and the UK. When you get to open for an act like Lady Gaga, it’s not surprising that Vogue would refer to you as “unabashedly crass and deliciously animated”; sounds just like Gaga herself.

After the 2010 release of You Love You, an aptly named follow-up to 2008’s We Love You, and nearly three straight years on the road, the New York City-based motley quartet took a brief hiatus to disappear into Los Angeles with producer Tricky Stewart, known for bangers like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The result of this collaboration is Semi Precious Weapons’ dreamy new single “Aviation High,” released on February 18. While pretty boy (always doused in eyeliner) lead vocalist Justin Tranter’s signature breathy croon is still to be heard, believe me when I say this is something a little different from the band’s norm.

Listen.

Clocking in at just under four minutes, the new single takes the listener up into the air over dark instrumentation and an electrified drum beat. It can really be likened to the feeling of taking flight: light and feathered, while still maintaining the slow-churning power of a jet engine propelling an aircraft. The repeated chorus tilts itself like a wing into a cloud, over and over: “We’re alive, alive / we’re alive, alive.” Fans of the band’s previous scream-it-out anthems like “Magnetic Baby” and the eponymous “Semi Precious Weapons” might not be immediately turned on by this ethereal effort. But after a few listens? It’s bound to get them talking. Just watch the user comments on the SoundCloud stream as they pop up through your flight:

“Beauty is as beauty does.”

“Love this track. The drums are minimal, the vocals are on point, the guitar riffs are hypnotic…”

“I totally love this new sound.”

“Aviation High” is a reinvention of self and sound that didn’t set Semi Precious Weapons back in the slightest. While it’s not as grimy and angsty of a song as the group became known for, it manages to pack a powerful sucker-punch in a pretty, flawlessly produced package. A track like this is already turning heads, and their to-be-announced 2013 album is, as a result, one of the most promising new alternative records we’ve got to look forward to this year.