Heard about them but never heard of them...until now. Maybe the Audubon Society's favorite band, Owl City - the album is "The Midsummer Station" and it's on Universal Republic. There must be a secret clone factory somewhere cranking out these bands - happening hooks as sung by a great melodic frontman on perfectly concocted rock gems. Even if you think you're being played, you're not - it's entertainment by an entertainer who know what he's doing. I love stuff like this. The Owl in question here is obviously Adam Young, out of Minnesota - a very weird state that has given us Bob Himself, Golden Gopher football which always sucks, Al Franken who is always funny and Michelle Bachmann who is always a whistlehead. Owl-Man Adam makes perfectly pure power pop - just him and a bunch of machines on songs about young lust - love, whatever. Imagine a frozen Howard Jones.
Results tagged “Universal Republic” from Rockin' Roll Call
Drake - just Drake - perhaps hoping to join the well known believers in brevity such as Godzilla and Madonna - has a new one - that would be "Take Care" and it's on Universal Republic. The same machines seem to be playing the same old song as Drake does his rap lite thing - as he lets his vulnerable little boy side shine through as he says and does the right thing as his audience - women. To Drake, the fair sex and the b-word remain complete strangers, as it should be. The rhymes are a step above the usual, which admittedly is a low bar, but Drake seems to have the sweet soul man thing figured out even as he remains fully as dangerous as whistling in the backyard, but he would appear to have a future at that 3 a.m. hopefully getting lucky moment, if and when you've made it home drunk. And in a totally unrelated subject, that rapper with a hat - Kid Rock - dissed every Capricorn (who generally never lie and are always right) by coming out for Mitt Romney who is a mean rich guy that makes plastic seem authentic. Do you want a boss or a president?
"The Lateness Of The Hour" is the debut from Alex Clare and it's on mighty, mighty Universal Republic, and a definite keeper. Most of this is energetic, upbeat BritPop perfectly realized and also that perfect 3 a.m. speed freak soundtrack for scrubbing those long neglected bathroom tiles with a toothbrush. Clare has a strong, high voice - sort of like vintage Steve Winwood from the Traffic daze or a local equivalent would be Jonathan McEuen. Other times, Clare seems to be channeling Sly Stone - also a good thing - and "Too Close" will make you a fan of Mr. C., clearly a rock star to be.
King Charles has a new one - "Loveblood" on Universal Republic out a couple of months. This one is all over the place but in good ways - you'll hear some doo wop, some reggae, maybe even some calypso, some spectacle worthy of Queen, some Edward Sharpe vocals - all in a baroque vision of grandiose pop. You might even hear some Jan & Dean on my favorite song, "Bam Bam" by my new favorite band and "Love Lust" is a snappy extrapolation of Harlan Ellison's wry observation that "love ain't nothin' but sex misspelled." And for no apparent reason this King Charles likes polar bears and flamingos and is even joined by Mumford & Sons on one song, a good way to keep his head on straight unlike the other King Charles who was beheaded on 30 January 1649 and is still dead and has no new one.
Florence + the Machine gets all acoustic on her "MTV Unplugged" thing on this CD collection and also a DVD of Miss Welch doing 14 songs, all on Universal Republic. You know, I waited until I heard "Ceremonials," (her last studio album) and I even saw her on SNL the other night before I listened to this one, and I still don't get it. She sings too loud on songs that aren't that good to begin with.
As usual, in music, being dead isn't half the dodge it is for the rest of us mortals - after all, even though they entered the past tense long ago, Jimi and Elvis are still making albums, so too is Amy Winehouse. This one is "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" and it's on Universal Republic. First, let me say what a waste - Winehouse was a real talent as she breezes through a bunch of oldies. Don't like them all - but, damn - Winehouse could really sing. I like the oldies, "Our Day Will Come" and her cover of the Shirelles' biggie, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." And Lioness? Indeed - Winehouse could have the Lion King eager to drink swamp water and sleep in a hollow log and go on a blind date with a hyena just for the chance to her her purr, "Beat, it sucker." Everyone will still love Winehouse tomorrow and the day after that...
Never got this one when it came out but I have it now and that would be "Ceremonials" by Florence + The Machine; it's her second album and it's on Universal Republic from late last year. First of all - Florence is too everything - too loud, too in your face, trying too hard - so it's easy to understand why her debut album was called "Lungs." Florence Welch has two mighty, healthy lungs. "Never Let Me Go" and "Breaking Down" are the ones that'll live in your head for daze off this one, while "Shake It Out" and "What the Water Gave Me" were the hits, but these and the others remind me of the veteran sound guy whose answer to any live show is to turn the knobs up on the board to 15. Florence is already at 16.
The latest Nikki Minaj is "Pink Friday" and it's on Cash Money Records, an alias of Universal Republic. Now if a space alien happened to land some place where Lady Gaga and Nikki M. were laughing at each other - wow - would its head explode or what? Weird little robot voice notwithstanding, Minaq is nearly as ubiquitous as Starbucks - and just as wired. The dancing fools amongst us love her and why not? I'd rather see the Japandroids.
The debut from Of Monsters And Men is "My Head Is An Animal" that's creepy and it's also on Universal Republic. Maybe the coolest band in all of Iceland, it's a six-piece indie pop band with a couple of singers with way too many consonants in their names who still sing in English better than we speak it. "Little Talks" is their hoped-for hit and it is their best one - all that and a glockenspiel as well - making it for some smooth and comfy folk rock lite that's much more mellow than monstrous.
Mayer Hawthorne's latest is "How Do You Do" and it's also on Universal Republic. It's soul music, smoother than the aftermath of a fifty foot slug, just right for yuppie drones hoping to get lucky with a meaningful drunken one night stand with whatzerface/whatzisface. Hawthorne is a credible and solid vocalist who will probably make zillions for those that don't care much about or think too much about music, but it's just too - what's the word? Smarmy. It's "Mad Men" music for the new millennium.
The new one by the men with no spelling skills, Miike Snow is "Happy to You" and it's on Universal Republic. There's nobody named Miike - no matter how you spell it - rather it's a trio of Swedes and their friends, all of whom are machines playing well crafted electronic pop. The song "Vase" would've been strangely appropriate when Rummy was explaining the looting of the priceless Iraqi antiquities at the outset of the second Iraq War and "God Help This Divorce," is syrupy proof that Al Bundy was right when he noted, "There are no good ones," and also a hook-filled pop gem making these guys a certainty on any Year End List. In the Cool-Stuff-You-Can-Do-Without-Guitars-Department, these guys are Exhibit A. Love them - so did 45,000 people at Coachella who caught their set.
Mat Kearney has a new one - it's called "Young Love" and it's on Universal Republic. Kearney seems stuck in the fun part of love - the falling in part - not the much longer falling out of phase that has given us so many wonderful sad songs. Kearney, so upbeat he could sell a raincoat to a cactus, seems to be channeling "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard" by Paul Simon, but as a career. He's got a cool voice and other times, that groovy Jack Johnson groove. The ladies will love Mr. K., if they don't already.
He is the tall guy lurking in the back of all the local rock shows.
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