Hervé & Zebra Katz - Tear The House Up

June 3rd, 2014

Logitech Ultimate Ears 600 Noise-Isolating Earphones

February 8th, 2011

These buds do not require battery power, which is nice. When you place them in your ears, things get quiet. The tips (which come in 5 different sizes) fit into your ear and block the outside noise, effectively isolating what you hear to what is piped in through the ear buds. I'm not an engineer, nor someone with the technical wherewithal to explain the science of it. If you need that information, I'm sure it is out there somewhere. What you can take away from me is that the sound-isolation works where you need it to work and they still provide a great listening experience.

The first important test for me was whether these would provide solace on an airplane. When I used these on the plane, they were great. I did not have to fight with background noise of scores of people clustered together. Thankfully my flights were devoid of screaming babies, but I can say that while these will help, they will not completely thwart the dreaded screaming baby on the plane.

My second test was at work. My work space is in a high-traffic area with a relatively constant parade of people past my door. Whether they walk by alone: with heavy footsteps, the swish of textured fabric on textured fabric as one thigh scrapes against the other in forward motion, or ruffling and rattling of things carried by; or walk by in pairs with constant chatter of only the most intellectually-stimulating and life-enriching topics, I can successfully block it all out.

These are good for the gym, too, especially if your gym pipes music in as mine does. I can block out what comes through the overhead speakers and the mechanical noises of the cardio equipment and listen to my own music uninterrupted.

I have tried these through a variety of artists and genres. I think the sound is easily as good and better than the standard-issue Apple ear buds that come with iPods, which I still have and enjoy. I just don't need them anymore since my Logitechs are better and do more. The good sound and the sound-isolation makes for a good effect of letting you immerse yourself in your music. I have been happy with how they have handled classical to rock to electronic to hip-hop. These have become my everyday-use headphones/ear buds. I have some sound-canceling headphones that I have reserved use for special sound-canceling occasions. These buds do not need to be for special occasions.

| Amazon |

Led Zeppelin - Over the Hills and Far Away

August 29th, 2008

Led Zeppelin - Over the Hills and Far Away

If it is rare for someone to find a song that seemingly takes them to another place, I am glad to be part of the lucky few. This song takes me...well basically it takes me over the hills and far away. Whenever I hear it, be I in a good mood or bad, I just want to close my eyes* and listen. The band has so many good songs that it is often hard to pick a favorite and I like many of them. This song may not even be the one I like the most, but for whatever reason it is not like the rest.

(There are only a few songs like this for me, and though you may expect the others to be similar to this, but they are not.)

* Don't worry; I don't do it while I'm driving.

November 9th, 2007
Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales - The NewsWhy don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die.
At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye.

matt pond PA - If You Want Blood EP

August 1st, 2007

matt pond PA - If You Want Bloodmatt pond PA's latest full-length album recently broke into the select company of albums I listen to most. As I started to realize how much I enjoy the sound of the album, I needed more. As if right on cue, the band releases 5 new tracks (with a new LP allegedly coming in the fall).

This EP is listed on Amazon as "Limited Edition," but I haven't been able to find any details, there or elsewhere, regarding a limited release. Limited or not, I really like these songs. If Matt Pond and the gang keep this up I will be very happy. They stay creative with their lyrics and stretch their music further than many other bands today. For example, the album features drums, percussion, an organ, guitars, bass, banjo, wurlitzer, piano, keyboards, cello, a viola and two violins. This has joined Several Arrows Later in constant rotation.

01. Reading It is clear from the beginning that this EP will be more similar to the sound from Several Arrows Later than some of the band's earlier work. I like this song, but I also think it is the weakest of the 5 (but the bar on this disc gets set pretty high).

02. Magic Boyfriend This is a great song. I love the simplicity of the music and how well the vocals are featured. It is probably the front-runner for my favorite song on the disc and is currently one of my favorites not limited to this EP.

03. Everything Until the East Coast Ends While not as fun as the last track, this is still very good. I like the whole song, but the last minute (of an almost six-minute song) is my favorite part.

04. If You Live If there will be competition with Magic Boyfriend for top honors on this disc, here it is. It might not be my favorite on the EP, but it is probably the "best" of the 5 from as objective a standpoint as I can muster. I want to say that this song captures more of the "Several Arrows Later" matt pond PA sound than the others. It is almost pleadingly hopeful and it is a beautiful song. Well done, MPPA.

05. If You Want Blood The band breathes a little life back into the album here, as the tempo picks back up. This is a nice end to the disc; after the last few songs mellow you out, this brings you back.

For more exposure to matt pond PA, there are lyrics and mp3s available to download from the band's website at mattpondPA.com.

| Amazon | iTunes | Discuss it |

July 24th, 2007
Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic - Madeline and NineAll my life I've been slow and senseless
Not struck dumb, I'm just dumb that's all

The Coral - In The Morning

April 24th, 2007

The Coral - In The Morning

I like recommendations as much as the next guy - maybe even more - but not when they crawl into my brain and won't leave. I guess I will offer my thanks to Ace, who had the poor taste to tell me about this little ditty. I cannot really say much about the song except that I like it and I feel the need to hear it over and over again. The video is ok, but nothing you've never seen before, though it does provide you with a way to sample the entire song and listen to it over and over and over...and over. I looked into a few other songs by The Coral and none did anything for me, but this one and it's catchy keyboarding won't let go. I am hooked.

Josh Rouse - She's Spanish, I'm American EP

April 13th, 2007

Josh Rouse - She's Spanish, I'm AmericanWell if your first thought is anything like mine, let me calm your nerves - this album features neither DJ Jazzy Jeff nor the Fresh Prince. What? No love for a He's the DJ, I'm The Rapper joke? You're right. That was bad. Ok, so rather than that actually being my first thought, I have been excited for this EP since I heard it was being made. Josh Rouse and Paz Suay are back at it...musically. After what I consider a successful first collaboration on Josh's latest album Subtitulo, the two teamed up for five more songs. This is a great EP.

01. Car Crash I love the jazzy beat to this song. It is a little higher tempo than material Josh has done before and despite the morbid lyrics about wanting to die in a car crash, it makes for a very refreshing sound.

02. Jon Jon They waste no time before jumping right into the second track. Everyone has a friend named Jon Jon who seems to always be in trouble and can't find his way out of a bottle right? Me neither, but this is another optimistic tune with less-than-optimistic lyrics. It is probably a theme we should get used to on this short album, especially since we're two for two on songs I like. Paz handles this one alone vocally.

03. The Ocean Always Wins A little backstory here is that Josh Rouse and Paz Suay were living in two separate places on separate continents and had agreed to move to New York City together. Before she had a chance to leave to meet him, he surprised her by moving to live with her in Spain. This song is either an accurate or fictional account of someone who is about to cross the ocean to be with the one she loves. It is beautifully sung and could put Paz Suay on your list of favorite female vocalists.

04. These Long Summer Days Josh Rouse re-enters the album vocally here. I like this song a lot. As we approach the comfort of the warmer months this is a gentle reminder of the carefree feeling summer brings.

05. Answers Josh Rouse has a very delicate and comforting voice. He showcases it very well here. I like this song, too, but just not as much as the other four on the disc. He gets a little more experimental with the sound on this track and it doesn't do much for me.

| Amazon | iTunes | Discuss it |

April 13th, 2007
Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block - Young FolksIf I told you things I did before, told you how I used to be, would you go along with someone like me?

Mat Kearney - Nothing Left To Lose

April 11th, 2007

Mat Kearney - Nothing Left to LoseI consider Jack Johnson to be the most popular "first name last name" singer/songwriter over the past few years. It might be because of that loosely-based criteria or because Mat Kearney's voice reminds me a little of Jack that I compare the two. The album bounces back and forth a few times with Mat singing or speaking his lyrics; songs in the latter category would certainly be more similar to Gym Class Heroes. And if I may step back in time only a few years to make another comparison, Mat Kearney's voice reminds me a little of Everlast. Sometimes I even hear some Counting Crows in his voice. I hate to say it, but the more I listen to this, the most all of the songs start to sound the same. This album would be much better if he stuck to singing; he has a good voice, even if it isn't the most original. There are some good songs, but the album itself is not great. This is a situation when it is great to be able to buy the songs individually.

01. Undeniable I hesitate to call it "rap" and it certainly isn't singing so I will just say that Mat speaks his lyrics in this song to begin the album. I like this song a lot, but it is due more to the chorus, which he actually sings, than the spoken verses. And the song is a nice tribute to a special person.

02. Nothing Left To Lose This title track was the single which put Mat Kearney on my list of artists to research and I believe it has finally made it to the local radio stations (I heard it first on satelite radio). I like the vocal range he shows here. I cannot come close to the high notes, but it is sometimes more fun to sing along with songs like this. Even though I could definitely see this song playing while the credits roll at the end of a bad television drama, I do like it.

03. Crashing Down I like this song, but I feel that it has been done before. I hear what might be a strong Vertical Horizon influence.

04. Girl America Just like Undeniable this is a spoken-word track where the highlight is Mat singing the chorus. I can't say for sure, but this might be a patriotic effort talking about this generation's view of the country.

05. In The Middle The chorus here is probably my favorite part of the entire album. I can just picture the energy at a live show when the whole audience sings along.

06. Can't Break Her Fall Unfortunately there is nothing to say about this song that hasn't already been said about the other songs where he only sings the chorus.

07. What's A Boy To Do This is an oasis in the desert. Just as you are ready to give up on Mat Kearney he makes a good effort with this one. I like this song. In a blind taste test I would probably guess this was Counting Crows, but I still like it.

08. Wait At parts this sounds almost exactly like Undeniable. While I liked Undeniable, I really only think it should be on this album once. Almost three minutes into the song there was a short verse that is worth listening to and well, worth being longer. So much for that brief attempt at a different sound on the album.

09. Bullet We all have our own ways of showing how much we care for our loved ones. I could imagine that this song might make some girl some where swoon...maybe. So here it is - that niche love song you've been looking for all this time if your girl is that girl.

10. All I Need This is the strangest compilation of slow grooves and love jams I have ever come across. Here is another song about that special someone which now has the album begging for some energy. The album started out with a beat and will start to put you to sleep.

11. Renaissance This is a song I have heard before. There is nothing new here.

12. Where We Gonna Go From Here We have found another bright spot on the album. While there isn't anything overly remarkable about this song, I still like it. It didn't bring any of the energy the album needed, but he got away with one here. It didn't bother me.

13. Won't Back Down This is one of the better songs on the album. It is a shame it is hidden at the end, but the disc certainly finishes strongly. His voice with the piano gives almost a John Legend sound. I like this song.

| Amazon | iTunes | Discuss it |