Weekend Download Recommendations: Mars Volta, Kid Cudi, Moody Blues And Kay Kay's Weathered Underground
By Joseph Giannone 2011-07-31 14:49:55
The night is a time dedicated to the most fascinating aspects of human life. Numbers of people experience different attributes to this completely subjective experience. Some will sleep when the sun sets, many will slumber once their biological clock hits the off mode, and others will stay up all night due to a number of reasons. Many identify the sleepless nights with insomnia; geeky movie nights, television show binges, gaming sessions or worse, late night World of Warcraft raids, but staying up all night is not limited to those either. A variety of different drugs could be involved, as well as creative cultivation. As many in the same position as I know, there is never a specific time that a writer writes. Writing knows no time, so I work all hours of the day and night, and I have a completely different schedule day to day. Most of the time when the clock strikes midnight my body tells me to hit the hay, but if my ideas start to race and the time feels right, my mind will keep me awake.
For how subjective experiencing the moon and stars for each person is, there’s still one unifying similarity that always brings most of us together. Music is the bounding element to our lives, and as day turns to night, our close relationship with songs, albums, and music videos is inseparable. Like last week’s Weekend Download Recommendations , I will be using this column to facilitate the idea of how well each music listed eases our journey through the night. Or to put it simpler: this week’s editorial recommends a variety of music for all us night owls; the many of you who stay awake after 12am. Here’s this week’s Weekend Download Recommendations :
The Moody Blues “The Night (Nights in White Satin)”
To start off the singles section for this week is the song “The Night (Nights in White Satin)” by The Moody Blues. Nobody does 1960’s progressive rock like the group who began this trend in 1967. With an ominous string section and orchestral style rock music, “The Night” is a dreamy reminder of the moment when your clock hits midnight. Lead singer Justin Hayward’s deep voice belts out the verses “because I love you, yes I love you, oh how I love you,” which is a romantic ballad for the sleepless nights of contemplation. The lyrics sprinkled throughout this epic ballad will turn anyone’s writing session into a bank of withdrawn ideas on poetic love verses and depressing angst. Nothing speaks more than a darkly lit tune that can bring anyone with a past of denial from woman, or vice versa, than “Nights in White Satin.” Many of you are thinking, why would I want to listen to this depressing song? Well sir, because it’s a beautiful single that when you’re up late contemplating the world, is an adequate passenger along your long mental journey.
Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground “Bloodstone Goddess”
Though I started this column off with a jarring tune, it’s time to get Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground out from the bottom of the basement stairs. Many of you might not know who they are, but it’s about time you do. If your jittering on coffee and it's 2am, put on this song and it’ll aid any ailment you might have. “Bloodstone” is a groovy tune that can only be described as a song that would’ve been made by The Beatles if Yoko Ono never came along. The classically trained musicians accompany lead singer Kirk Huffman and the tripped out pop verses that ensue. With changing time signatures, going from an orchestral lead into a psychedelic pop influenced organ breakdown, then immediately segueing into the crashing sing along and ending segment that all accompanies this 5 minute plus tune, it’s a great song for the stoned member among our late night musical. There’s enough energy and spontaneity throughout, to entertain your scattered mind and it’s a song that any group of people participating in the moonlit smoke out session will adore. Sit back and relax, because the morning is nigh.
Kanye West “Lost in the World” & “Who Will Survive in America”
Which of you would expect the master of hip-hop production, Kanye West to create a set of rap songs that expertly assists the nightly writer to acquire a plethora of concepts to write about? I hope all of you, because West’s smash hit My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is chalk full of elaborate tunes about the issues of excess and celebrity, which includes decadence, grandiosity, escapism, sex, self-doubt, wealth, romance and self-aggrandizement. “Lost in the World” is a song that starts off the record's amazing finale with a disco infused electro tune that any writer could utilize to gain inspiration, but this is just the beginning of an even greater picture. “Lost” segues into the master piece “Who Will Survive in America,” and is speculative piece that renders, as music writer Greg Kot interprets, the ideas of: “retain(ing) its essence that of an African-American male who feels cut off from his country and culture.” True to this form, West samples the groundbreaking spoken word poem “Comment No. 1” by late artist Gil-Scott Heron, which discusses ideas on the African-American experience and our countries fated idealism of the American dream. This set of tracks are a beautiful way to gain inspiration late at night when your body tells you to sleep, but your mind with bubbling contemplation won’t let this happen.
Portugal. The Man Censored Colors Portugal. The Man is a group who is known for creating a variety of varying styles and genres depending on the album you’re talking about. Their records are so widely different from each other, a single record can accompany any type of situation life brings to your doorstep. Censored Colors is a perfectly developed record that accompanies those folks who suffer from the debilitating insomnia, or those who choose to simply join the owls in gazing at the stars. Starting off with the striking intro “Lay me Back Down” then altering into the Beatles inspired “Colors,” the first half of Censored , accurately titled Colors, is a continuous flow of singles that compliments any form of your own personal witching hour experience. “And I” is the anthem to my nightly writing sessions, as it provides me with a loving sense of bliss in the harmonized vocals of John Gourley and his men who encompass Portugal.
The second half of this album, called “Twenty-Five Minute” is a crescendo to our journey through the darkness of night. Every song segues into each other, providing Portugal. The Man with the accurate moniker “progressive rock's most ambitious group,” and they are not even a progressive outfit. Beginning the section with “New Orleans,” this slow churning southern night beau, introduces Gourley’s unique lyrical styling’s, like: “Mother, father, brother sister, son daughter. We are the rabbit that let the fox lead us out in the sun with the cold war fever. Don't need to beg for your money just please don't eat us. Deaf like the big guns foaming at the mouth their gnashing, quiet like our words that roam and roll about,” and then continues to supply the listener with a whirlwind of cosmic chamber pop and psychedelic rock. The next songs that sashay themselves to the finale are “Sit Back and Dream” to “1989”. All in all, it is an exceptional set of tunes that is perfect for any lovers of a warm night’s dream.
Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon
The Dark Side of the Moon is a timeless record that has moved generations of fans the world over. Nothing speaks more about transparent belief systems and the greed we all endorse when buying leer jets and fancy cars than Pink Floyd's most popular album. An accentual aspect of this progressive milestone was the thematic ties to its lyricism. Themes of greed, the passage of time, death and insanity, were all inspired by their ex-band member Syd Barrett's deteriorating mental state. From “Time” to “Any Colour You Like,” the record moves through a sonic stream of movements that provide the most aesthetic experience in music to date. The Dark Side of the Moon is a delicate album with songs that are thick with meaning, and it takes an equally dense person not to appreciate the deeply rooted philosophy behind each song.
This record is perfect for those seemingly “minor” experiences, for any person wishing to accompany their walk through the woods on a full moon, or to just lie back in bed and stare at a lava lamp. “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” explore the subject matter Dark Side is known for, and the British man discussing how he was “really drunk at the time,” provides the affect of this record creating a heavy movement through different forms of enlightenment and philosophies that only a group like Pink Floyd could characterize. If you are daring enough to listen to a record that is as dark as the sky outside, accompany your late hours with this pinnacle effort about insanity, time and death. If for nothing else than to simply bask in England’s most profound rock album by an equally prolific band.
Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of Day
“This is the story of the man on the moon.” Out of all the records and singles in this week’s column, the most enticing one of them all should be Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day. Cudi’s debut LP is a concept album. Yes, it tells a story, and is a true experiment among the hip-hop genre. Mashing together numerous influences like Pink Floyd, Kanye West, Ratatat and MGMT, this effort is a pinnacle in psychedelic hip-hop. The grooves Cudder develops will make any drug addled mind go wild with delight, or even if you’re a sober person, will immediately make the time spent with Cudi an experience all its own. The introduction “In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem)” explains how you are now in his mind, and if you are willing, you’ll join Cudi through the developing story of his most personal dreams and life experiences. After rapper Common’s deeply moving introduction to the narrative, this record cascades into a plethora of sounds, beats and samples that puts his hip-hop Yoda, Kanye West, to the test. The album continues onto the amazing single “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” which many of you probably know, but in the confines of this album it turns from a simple catchy single, to a pertinent piece in this puzzle of a narrative.
The issues, emotions and pains the Cudder explores are truly remarkable, because in an album that encompasses so much reality, it’s really a dreamy escape into another’s dreams. Electronic rock group Ratatat makes a handful of appearances on Man on the Moon, utilizing their famous guitar riffs on each songs, complimenting the obvious Pink Floyd influence. Words can’t describe how moving this record is, and the fact that it’s one of hip-hops most imaginative works is more of a reason to experience rap's best experimental album. It’s the perfect lullaby for those who want a visceral story to compliment their sleepless night. If you are daring enough, accompany your sun down to sun rise with Kid Cudi’s most elaborate dreams and his most terrifying nightmares. You won’t be disappointed.
The Mars Volta "The Widow"
To finish off, The Mars Volta is a band that can simply attract any type of drug induced euphoria without ever taking a substance. After a night of writing, or after a night of sleepless insomnia, “The Widow” is there as a reminder: the ending of this night is near. Or was it all a dream? Were you sleeping the entire time? Watch the bizarre music video and find out…