Hervé & Zebra Katz - Tear The House Up
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.
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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.
Why 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'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.
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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.
Well 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.
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