About Author: Sara

Posts by Sara


Editorial – Lil Wayne … Shut up, dude.

It’s not enough that I hate Lil Wayne’s voice, but now he’s done something else that makes me want to punch him in the mouth.

Thursday night, the obnoxious “rapper” tweeted that he was denied into Chesapeake Energy Arena that night when he wanted to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals (that’s basketball, for those who aren’t into sports). According to Billboard.com, team rep Dan Mahoney clarified to the public that the only reason he was was not allowed in the arena was because the game was sold out.

If Lil Wayne knew anything about sports, which I highly doubt since it appears he’s the worst kind of bandwagon fan, he would know that playoff game tickets are very difficult to come by, especially if his highness wants to sit in the front row. What does he expect? For OKC to shove aside paying customers and/or hometown fans to accommodate this celebrity that goes to games dressed like THIS!?

Speaking of hometown fans, Ticketmaster wasn’t even selling tickets to most people outside the general geographic area apparently. Why’s Weezy gotta make it all about him? All that shows is that he didn’t even make an attempt to try to buy tickets, otherwise he would have seen that notice. And to top it off, after insinuating that OKC didn’t have a valid excuse for denying him in his tweet, he finished it with “Wow. Smh. Go Spurs!” In computer speak, ‘smh’ means ‘shaking my head.’ What are you shaking those dirty ass dreads for, Weezy? He must be thinking, “How dare they!?” Then he automatically jumps onto the Spurs bandwagon after OKC doesn’t give him a ticket that doesn’t even exist in the first place.

When stars act like this, it makes me hate the human race. Weezy has this delusional idea that he is someone who can walk up to the ticket window of one of the best basketball teams in the world and demand front row tickets for the post season. Musicians and other celebrities who live their lives with this sort of mind set are in for the harsh reality that no, you’re not super human. You’re only human.

A disgusting one, at that.


Artist of the Week (Legend Series) – Blondie

Call Me. Rapture. The Tide is High. Heart of Glass. Denis. Maria. X Offender. Dreaming. Need I say more?

Probably not. But I probably should.

For this month’s installment of the Legend Series, we honor new wave sensation Blondie.

Fronted by blonde bombshell and former Playboy Bunny Debbie Harry, this band came out of the Big Apple and into our hearts! Not only was Harry a hottie, but the band’s music was bad ass.

From the Caribbean/summer feel of “Island of Lost Souls” and “The Tide is High” to rapping in “Rapture” to rocking out to “Call Me” to an implementing an Oldies sound in “Denis” to its new wave-y  “Heart of Glass” and “Dreaming,” Blondie had its sound on lock. And you know what? You could probably argue that any of those songs could go into any other genre, just because every person’s influences came through in each song.

Not only did Blondie leave its footprint in the musical world with its music, but Harry left a stiletto-print of her own. According to an unauthorized biography entitled, “Blondie, From Punk to Present: A Pictorial History,” multiple authors and figures in pop culture saw Harry as the “mother of New Wave.”  Despite this attention though, Harry was modest, reminding us of the other female greats like Patti Smith and Joan Jett. Today we have bad ass chicks like Gwen Stefani, Hayley Williams, Karen O, Brody Dalle, Shirley Manson and Courtney Love who owe their thanks to this great band and front woman who brought its smart rock to the forefront of the music scene in the 70’s.

Harry was the perfect mixture of hot chick with a rockin’ attitude, and for that, we thank her!

Useful Links

Official Website




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Artist of the Week-Gogol Bordello

This week’s Artist of the Week is none other than Gogol Bordello. Not only does the band put on raucous shows, this band is all about the fans as it proves with its persistent touring.

Fusing gypsy music similar to Devotchka’s influences with punk influences, Gogol Bordello creates high-energy, mosh pit-inducing tunes, many of which directly focus on immigrant life. Lead singer Eugene Hütz was born in Ukraine and made his way to New York through a long journey with his family after hearing about the Chernobyl disaster. This journey included many stays in Eastern European refugee camps. This, coupled with his relationship to a line of gypsies, makes for great song writing to go along with the great music.

Gogol Bordello have acquired Artist of the Week for, as we say here in America, keepin’ it real. By sharing the struggles of immigrant life, and even pointing out that we are ALL immigrants in America (unless you’re NATIVE American, of course), Gogol Bordello reminds us that no one has the right to bring others down, even calling immigrants to revolt at points in its catalog.


In the end, it seems Gogol Bordello and Hütz are calling out for justice in America, and for fairness amongst its people so everyone can just have a damn good time. And maybe that’s just what we need!


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Artist of the Week-Julius C

This Artist of the Week is going to a short-lived band that broke up before its potential was ever realized by the general pop public: Julius C

Originally, I had chosen this band for the mere reason that these guys rocked my socks off more than any other lesser-known band ever has. So when I began researching for this week’s post, I came to the grim discovery that the band decided to take an “extended hiatus” (according to its Facebook account) in September, and played its final show this past December. This week’s AotW is one that will pay tribute to the untimely passing of one of the greatest band no one had ever heard of (unless you are avid Enter The Shell readers!).

Julius C comprised of four guys from New York but it started with two. According to the band’s bio, they went through so many changes and sounds that only four years after they formed, the band was already in trouble.

But as is the case in many artists’ stories, heartbreak brought out the best of the band. With an EP under their belts, the two founding members decided to finalize the band and hole themselves up in a worn down house in New Jersey. What resulted was their pop-rock super-fun-time debut, Ok, Ok.

The album has a flurry of influences and genres ranging from pop to classic rock and from punk to funk. When I first heard this album, it was the catchiest thing I had heard in awhile. Lead singer Jay Stolar’s infectious choruses and hooks paired well with groovy dance beats to make for a fun, light-hearted album. Even the album’s more “somber” songs were undeniably catchy.

Though this reviewer wrote raves when the album appeared on the ETS blogosphere in the summer of 2010, Ok,Ok had not been officially released as the band was trying to self-release. They began a Kickstarter page and met their goal, releasing the album officially later in the year.

This young-at-heart group even took it a step further and shared its joy outside the CD player and iPod. In the summer of 2010, Julius C embarked on a 30-day tour sponsored by Silly Bandz (“You can use them to put your face back together after it gets rocked off, OK?”) that had some proceeds go to benefit programs helping homeless pregnant/parenting teenagers. Stolar even started Rock Star Camp which brought more art activities to summer camps. Julius C traveled to different summer camps and taught the kids songs and played shows at night, spreading their joy throughout the Northeast. Finally, the band even embarked on a mini tour of sorts again when it began recording a series of YouTube videos where they would play songs for unsuspecting bystanders (the elderly, a baby, etc.).

Julius C’s fun attitude came through in its album and in how the band interacted with its fans and in the end, that’s what making music is all about. Unfortunately, the band’s departure leaves a hole in my heart but here’s to hoping they find the success they are looking for in other ventures … Or back in Julius C.

Check out Julius C’s YouTube Page

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Artist of the Week-Robyn

In honor of today being a day that ends in “day,” our Artist of the Week is 32-year-old Swedish dancehall queen Robyn. “Why,” you may ask? Because this chick is fierce, that’s why.

Robyn got her first taste of success not singing but with voice acting, voicing a character of 1989’s Swedish/Norwegian film, “The Journey to Melonia,” as well as the Swedish version of “All Dogs Go To Heaven” as a 10-year-old.

Two years later, she was discovered and upon finishing middle school was signed to Ricochet Records Sweden, a subsidiary of BMG. At 16, she signed with RCA Records and released her debut single, “You’ve Got Somethin’” in Sweden in 1994. The song wasn’t exactly a success, but her next single “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” was her breakthrough in Sweden and gave her some momentum for Robyn is Here, her 1996 debut album.

In typical American fashion, we were late to the party but we still caught the bus. Her U.S. breakthrough was “Show Me Love,” a song released in 1997 in the same vein as those Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore songs that were in constant rotation. The song peaked at No. 7 in America and is her last song to reach the Top 10 since. But don’t think that that means she has been unsuccessful.

After a move to Jive Records and a couple subsequent albums, Robyn grew tired of the wholesome teeny-bopper pop scene and recorded “Who’s That Girl” in 2004. Jive was not happy with this new Euro/electro pop sound but Robyn fought the good fight and ultimately decided not to let suits dictate her passion. Thus, Konichiwa Records and the REAL Robyn were born!

Robyn started Konichiwa Records in order to give her the freedom to do whatever she damn well pleased and it worked. Robyn was released in 2005 and she burst back onto the Swedish music scene in a big way. Using huge electro poppy beats yet mixing it up by implementing rap and reggae sounds as well, the album is a perfect way to introduce the new Robyn to the world. The opening track, “Curriculum Vitae,” sets the tone with an eerie, pump-up intro, touting Robyn as the end-all be-all bad ass and the rest of the album follows suit. The U.S. version of the album wasn’t released until 2008 and three of the songs were Top 10 club hits, one of which (“With Every Heartbeat”) getting some radio play.

In 2010, Robyn embarked on an ambitious challenge: releasing three albums in one year. She succeeded. Kind of. Body Talk, Pt. 1 was released in June and featured eight songs, including the Top 10 hit, “Dancing on My Own.” In September, Body Talk, Pt. 2 was released, which also included eight songs and the single, “Hang With Me.” Here is where Robyn only kind of succeeded. Instead of releasing a third album with all new material, the final installment, simply entitled Body Talk, is an amped up version of many of the songs off the previous two albums, plus a few new tracks and the single, “Call Your Girlfriend.” Though some may argue that she kind of cheated, it doesn’t change the fact that all three albums are full of dance hits while every once in awhile still paying tribute to the type of music that made her successful in the first place.

Robyn’s fiery spirit appears in great form with songs like “Konichiwa Bitches,” “Who’s That Girl?” and “U Should Know Better” She’s a bad ass, she knows it and she knows how to work it. But while she touts her strength, she also shows some weaknesses and human struggle in songs like “Dancing on My Own,” “Crash and Burn Girl” and “Be Mine!”

Though she has never won a Grammy (she’s been nominated four times), Robyn has definitely made her mark on a global scale. She’s performed at Nobel Prize ceremonies, become an ambassador for UNICEF, had top hits all over Europe and has won several Swedish Grammys. She’s also made her mark with other artists and in pop culture. She’s worked with the likes of The Knife, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Royksopp, The Teddybears, Katy Perry, Deadmau5 and others. She was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 2011 and most recently, her hit song “Dancing on My Own” was featured at the end of the April 29 episode of the HBO show Girls entitled, “All Adventurous Women Do,” further proof that she is one ferocious female.

Useful Links

Official Website




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Sara’s Best Albums of 2010

As you may or may not know, I have decided to leave Enter The Shell and this will be my final blog. It has been an amazing two and a half years and I have nothing but love for Turrtle, Mailo, Richard, Ky and Justin. All walks of life have been in and out of the shell and I have enjoyed every single moment of it…And if I didn’t enjoy it, I definitely learned some lessons along the way. Being a part of ETS will be something I will always look back on fondly as an incredible life experience and as a professional training ground. There will be a huge void in my life without the shell! But I know I have made friends here and a little of the pain will be dulled because of that. So to all of you who have supported me, and most importantly, THE SHELL, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now, onto my picks for the best albums of 2010 [Click the titles for individual album reviews]!

The best album of 2010
The ArchAndroid: Suites II and III by Janelle Monáe

Well, I know you all saw it coming. From the moment I was exposed to this album in May, I was hooked. Not only does Monáe transcend genres perfectly in her debut, but this young woman is the role model that young girls need these days. In an era of the oversexed media and population, Monáe’s flare for fashion, dance and acceptance of all things music reminds girls (and people in general) to keep an open mind and be your own person. Her music is catchy, smart and fun. Hopefully Diddy (her mentor) doesn’t turn her into a pussycat doll somewhere down the line. Click here to buy it on Amazon!


2. Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son of Chico Dusty by Big Boi
I was never a huge fan of OutKast but for some reason, I was looking forward to Big Boi’s highly anticipated solo debut and purchased it the day it came out. It planted its seed and what grew within me was something massive…A Georgia peach tree from the dirrty south! Armed with the coolest beat in song-of-the-summer “Shutterbugg”, Chico Dusty is 2010’s gem, especially with smart lines like: “My recitals are vital and maybe needed for survival/Like the Bible or any other good book that you read/Why are 75 percent of our youth reading magazines?/’Cause they used to fantasy and it’s what they do to dreams/Call it fiction addiction ’cause the truth is a heavy thing/Remember when the levies screamed, made the folks evacuees?/Yeah I’m still speakin’ about it ’cause New Orleans ain’t clean/And when we shoutin’ ‘Dirty South’ I don’t think that is what we mean.” Click here to buy it on Amazon!


3. Body Talk by Robyn
“Please state your full name for the record: ROBYN!” This Swedish firecracker left 2010’s pop starlets in the dust when she released three albums within one year. Body Talk, Pt. 1 was a good start and provided a universal list-topping single in “Dancing on My Own,” but Body Talk, Pt. 2 stepped up the game and left us wanting more! When the third installment was released, it was met with a little confusion (by me) as to why she would cheat us out of our money by making it consist mostly of songs from the first two releases. Upon listening to the album though, the listener discovers she wasn’t cheating us at all but really exposing us to the best pop explosion of 2010! Konichiwa Records was built on the foundation of musical freedom, as Robyn began it when Jive began to confine her vision. Well, one thing is for sure: Jive is kicking themselves in the ass right now. She has proved that, in her own words, “the whole industry knows better than to fuck with me!” Click here to buy it on Amazon!


4. I Learned the Hard Way by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
After spending most of her life trying to make a career out of singing but only getting as far as the back-up mic, Sharon Jones was finally given the opportunity to shine in 2002. Her soul group’s fourth album, which was released in 2010, is further proof that this feisty mid-50-year-old is on the top of her game. So what if it took her a few decades to get noticed? The important thing is that in her prime, she is blowing away the competition in the neo-soul/revivalist musical movement and the group’s live shows are a living, breathing, dancing, grooving testament to that. Jones, at 54, still moves like she’s in her early 20’s and sings like she has all the wisdom in the world. The Dap-Kings are the perfect back-up band for Jones’ personality and lively voice, making this combo a 1-2 punch! Click here to buy it on Amazon!


5. Distant Relatives by Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
Though this album was released in May (the same day as Monáe’s, actually), I only recently discovered it. This Nas and Marley collaboration displays the talent of both artists. Their respective flows have such different styles yet they merge together nicely, all while delivering a profound message of togetherness and peace. Nas has always been known to have his own style in flow while Marley’s back-and-forth between singing and rapping add some softness and bite. A positive album out there is what this world needs and Relatives provides that in expressing love, peace and even questions that will hopefully make things better. The first step towards making change is asking questions, right? This album does that while still being creative and musically appealing. Click here to buy it on Amazon!


6. Stuck on Nothing by Free Energy
The James Murphy-led outfit LCD Soundsystem has been on plenty of “Top Albums of 2010” lists with their recent [and final?] release, This Is Happening. The album is good, but didn’t make my list. Instead, Murphy made an appearance in another way: with his perfect producing on Free Energy’s debut album. Stuck on Nothing is the perfect pop-rock record, reminiscent of 70’s and glam rock with a heavy dose of pop. The delicious hooks do their job and keep you hooked and the album has gotten great reviews across the boards from numerous musical outlets. Though Murphy’s little pet project (the band is also signed to his DFA label) has yet to break through into the “popular” realm, it is certainly making a name for itself as one of Spin Magazine’s favorite new acts. And more importantly, one of mine. Click here to buy it on Amazon!


7. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
Despite Mailo’s scathing review of West’s fifth full-length, West just won’t go away. Fueled by his own need for perfection, West pulled out the big [creative] guns for Fantasy. Melding together the perfect mix of classic College Dropout Kanye with the new 808’s and Heartbreak Kanye, the polarizing performer boasts what many are saying is the best of the year. I don’t agree that this album tops any of those above it, but I do agree that this album kicks ass. The production and engineering is superb (it even prompted an L.A. Times interview with the otherwise looked-over engineer of the album), the lyrics are typical emotional, silly, sarcastic Kanye and his celebrity pull is demonstrated in tracks like “Monster” and “All of the Lights.” Kudos, Kanye. Click here to buy it on Amazon!


8. Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates by The Bird and the Bee
As I said before, when I heard the opening track of TBATB’s latest release, I exclaimed “ALBUM OF THE YEAR!” based solely on that. The album was released in March so obviously I was a little premature. But at any rate, Inara George and Greg Kurstin’s latest indie-pop-fest holds its own and did so for two months before Monáe bumped her down. Even though I don’t usually like to count cover albums as a legit album, Interpreting the Masters has shown me that that is not necessarily always the case, especially when the new act completely reinvents classic songs and still makes them work. George and Kurstin introduced a classic duo to a new generation with this release and I’m looking forward to them doing the same with [hopefully] some new volumes. Mailo and I have expressed our love for George for her creativity, uniqueness and style, but only I have a special song dedicated to me! Click here to buy it on Amazon!


9. Contra by Vampire Weekend
VW have had a busy year having a commercially successful album, having their songs featured in seemingly every commercial on TV and a lawsuit filed against them by the woman on the cover of the album. Overshadowing that though is the greatness of the album in general. Lead singer Ezra Koenig’s charmful and sweet voice paired with rock and electronic sounds and beats makes this album a guaranteed way to make you move. Additional help from strings to New Wave influences help make Contra one of the best albums of the year. From songs about Mexican “aguas frescas” to reminiscing about gay, sugar daddy love affairs, Vampire Weekend makes anything sound cute. Click here to buy it on Amazon!


10. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager by Kid Cudi
After releasing one of 2009’s most highly anticipated albums which then became one of the best of 2009, Cudi turned around and released Rager. Dealing with the downfall after the success of MOTM1, Rager is considerably darker in tone and more mellow in sound as Cudi has suffered some dark times. Rager is quite personal and the listener almost finds him or herself in a conversation with the troubled man himself. The album’s single “Erase Me” is deplorable, despite it featuring Kanye West and “McLovin'” in the music video but the rest of the album is rife with gems like “Marijuana,” “Ashin’ Kusher,” “The Mood” and “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young.” Cudi has gone on record by saying he’s tired of hip-hop and is starting a rock band, which I’m not too thrilled about since “Erase Me” is probably a preview of what’s to come. If that’s the case though, at least we have two great original Kid Cudi albums. Click here to buy it on Amazon!

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Shunda K :: “The Most Wanted”

Now that we’ve hit 2011, here is a preview of things to come. Though you may not have heard of Shunda K (except for maybe a free download from ETS), she has been making the rounds and establishing her name in the underground hip-hop circuit. She began her career as one third of Yo Majesty with fellow female rapper Shon B and Jwl B. K has since then pursued a solo career and the result is one of 2o11’s first album’s: The Most Wanted, to be released on Jan. 11.

Serving up an interesting mix of old school hip-hop beats and big club beats, The Most Wanted is a fun listen when it comes to musical aspect. Lyrically, K is known for her no holds barred lyrics, which are displayed upon immediate listen of the album. Her lyrics have powerful messages about female empowerment, religion and sexuality among others, making her album fun, smart and powerful at the same time.

Opening with “I Am Yo! Majesty” and “I’m Da Best” featuring Shon B, The Most Wanted gives the listener flashbacks to 80’s/early 90’s hip-hop. Then comes “Here I Am To Save The World,” which offers deep-thumping and dancey hi-hat beats that will definitely get you moving. The rest of the album continues in that fashion, giving the listener a reason to dance while not having to dumb it down.

What stands out the most in The Most Wanted is Shunda K’s lyrical fearlessness. Her songs have bite and she can definitely keep up with the boys without letting you forget that she is a powerful woman on a mission to save the world. Though her lyrics are so inspirational that they can be borderline cheesy at times, the overall message is what is most important and is to do you and don’t worry what anyone else says or thinks. The Most Wanted is definitely worth a listen and an album to look forward to in 2011.

Buy the album at our record store on Amazon

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Sara’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

The title explains it all so let’s just dive right in!

Blink 182 – TBA [TBA]
After a tumultuous 2004 that resulted in an “indefinite hiatus” that began in early 2005, Blink 182 reunited in 2009 citing a new found appreciation for life and friendship after drummer Travis Barker was one of only two survivors in a small airplane crash. Potty-mouthed kids-at-heart rejoiced! Blink has gone through some dark and very adult things in the past few years and has experimented with different genres outside of their pop-punk roots, so it will be interesting to see what direction they go in. The band embarked on a reunion tour and released the name of the potential first single (“Up All Night”) which only fueled more anticipation. Now all that’s left is for the band to announce a title…and a release date. I’m still stoked.

No Doubt – TBA [TBA]
No Doubt’s hiatus/solo projects/reformation time-line coincides pretty closely with Blink 182’s and coincidentally, the bands’ co-headlining tour in 2004 was the last tour for each before their respective hiatus’. With the news of a new album and a tour with great supporters (Paramore, Katy Perry, Janelle Monae, just to name a few), the band has built up more anticipation by signing Rock Steady producer Mark “Spike” Stent. Personally, Tragic Kingdom will always be my favorite and I couldn’t wrap my head around Rock Steady when it first came out. But with a much more open mind and better appreciation for a groovy dance beat than I did a few years ago, I’m curious to see what these O.C. veterans come up with.

Bayside – Killing Time [2.22.11]
One of my few emo leftovers, this band holds a special place in my heart. I’ve watched them grow from side stages to headlining, was star-struck when I met the members on my birthday and really made me question my love for bands who write such morbid and bloody lyrics that you should probably remove all sleeping pills, razorblades and nooses from your home. Sure that sounds dark, but like every band they grew up but in doing so they’ve managed to keep their character. Not to mention, lead guitarist Jack O’Shea is barely 5′ tall but shreds like a giant.

CAKE – Showroom of Compassion [1.11.11]
With lead singer John McCrea’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics and audience-shaming shows, you can’t help but love CAKE. They served us piping hot hits like “Going the Distance,” “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” and “Never There” in the ’90s and early 00’s. It’s been seven years since the band has released a new album and our cravings are definitely hitting hard, especially since the band has released the tasty preview of the album’s first single, “Sick of You.” Not enough food puns? Wait till the album emerges from the oven.

The Strokes – TBA [March-ish, 2011]
Another band coming off of a hiatus, The Strokes’ New York style has been missed. Lead singer Julian Casablancas released a solo album which sounded like The Strokes on a computer. He has said that the music sounds like a mixture of 70’s rock and “music from the future”…So I’m assuming the album will sound like his solo debut. I have no problem with that.

Justice – TBA [TBA]
Not having released an album since 2007’s Cross (the album is actually a cross but I don’t know how to make that character), Justice’s no-name, no-release-date, no-song-titles, future, metaphorical album is looking to be amazing. Especially if Cross‘s recognition is a sign of what’s to come (Grammy nom for Best Electronic/Dance Album; No. 15 on Pitchfork’s best albums of 2007 and No. 18 on Blender’s).

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch My Throne [TBA]
Kanye West. Need I say more?

Lupe Fiasco – Lasers [3.8.11]
Fiasco’s album, The Cool, was one of my favorites of 2007. It covered topics of heavy politics (“Little Weapon”), struggling to make it (“Hip-Hop Saved My Life”) and fun (“Go Go Gadget Flow”). It was a great balance of everything while still being smart. With a drama-filled back story of the album’s inception mixed with Fiasco’s talent, Lasers will surely be one of 2011’s best.

Devotchka – 100 Lovers [2.12.11]
If you don’t know the name, you should. I reviewed the eclectic foursome’s 2004 album, How It Ends and you’ve heard half that album on the soundtrack of the movie “Little Miss Sunshine.” This band (somehow) seamlessly merges Romani, Greek, Slavic influences with Bolero, Mariachi, punk and folk. Sure it seems like a hot mess on paper, but in your ear it’s heaven.

Cut Copy – Zonoscope [2.8.11]
Soothing sounds and club beats dance around Cut Copy’s albums. The electropop band draws inspiration from 80’s New Wave and synth pop so their albums aren’t overly thumpy which is a nice break sometimes. We previewed a song from Zonoscope (in remix form) and it is looking to be a good one to continue a solid line of releases.

Pusha T – TBA [TBA]
Spitting clever lines as a featured player in some of Kanye West’s songs (GOOD Friday releases and on his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and as one half of Virginia Beach duo Clipse, Pusha T has proven his worth as a rapper. His rough-and-raspy delivery impressed West and has given fans yet another reason to anticipate one of his productions.

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“Take Me Over” – Cut Copy, remixed by Thee Loving Hand

I only just recently discovered Cut Copy and I’m stoked that they’re releasing a new album on Feb. 8.

To promote Zonoscope, Cut Copy have released a remix of “Take Me Over,” touched by the hand of their In Ghost Colours producer, Tim Goldsworthy. The dark and slow intro lulls you into a sense of under-water-abyss-floating-relaxation before building up with high synths and exploding into a club rager. It’s a slow starter and takes a while to build up, but when it does it’s totally worth it. As the band says, the remix was “designed for a new futuristic main room that fits over the top of the old main room.”

Pre-order Zonoscope now on iTunes

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Peter Wolf :: “Midnight Souvenirs”

In an era when many bands are going retro and trying to bring back that old style (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, She & Him, etc.), Peter Wolf LIVED that old style (as the lead singer of the J. Geils Band) and his new album, Midnight Souvenirs, reflects his wisdom while being one of the year’s best albums.

With his Neil Diamond vocal appeal, Wolf channels his inner Country influences, diving right in with the first track, “Tragedy” featuring Shelby Lynne. The track begins with a soulful guitar that turns into acoustic strumming while Wolf almost sorrowfully sings about losing love. Lynne is the perfect compliment to Wolf, adding to the Country feel, which also includes some gospel organ.

The entire album has a very strong Country presence thanks to the guitars, harmonicas, pianos and straight-to-the-point storytelling songwriting. Another highlight is “Watch Her Move,” which along with all of those elements, features blues and soul elements quite prominently. Wolf’s scratchy and soulful voice is perfect for this track, especially with the dips in his voice.

Midnight Souvenirs takes an odd and uneasy turn when it comes to the 10th track, “Overnight Lows.” After emitting one sound vibe throughout the album, this track turns into a total R&B, baby-makin’ jam. Though “Watch Her Move” gives the listener hints that Wolf can accomplish this, “Overnight Lows” and the following track, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky,” abruptly flips the script which totally throws off the listener, until Wolf gets back on track with “Don’t Try To Change Her,” which continues the album’s main sound until the end of the album.

As Turrtle’s pick for 2010’s Album of the Year, Midnight Souvenirs is definitely worthy. Even though it probably won’t be my top pick, I can definitely appreciate its greatness. It’s a solid disc by a seasoned veteran who knows what he’s doing. The lyrics are soulful and meaningful and the arrangements are music to your ears. If that sudden funky, R&B jolt near the end didn’t completely throw off the listener, this album would be perfect.

Buy the album at our record store on Amazon

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