Jan 182006
Authors: Hailey McDonald

Chemical Brothers

Not that I don't like techno, but sometimes the "Happy To Be Hardcore" underground trance kinda makes me feel like punching my own face and screaming at someone in German. I like beats and I like remixes – so I always keep my eye out for a CD that can accommodate the needs of the non-violent, dance music lover.

Fortunately for me, the same brilliant company that put out the "Six Feet Under" soundtrack and The Chemical Brothers' latest album "Push the Button" has released a 2005 music compilation with an array of hip tunes, from a select group of their participating artists, aimed to please the ear of any listener who appreciates true modern music: Music that encompasses the highest quality of lyrics, beats and melodies.

"Follow Our Tracks" from Astralwerks Records rocks the music scene with Euro hits featuring poppy dance beats, foreign mixers and a fair amount of bands that relay hints of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

The album takes off with the popular single "The Boxer" from the Chemical Brothers. Not only does the well-know track draw listeners in to an otherwise Indie album, it also sets the tone of originality that the rest of the artists follow up with throughout the CD.

Less mainstream than the Chemical Brothers is the Norweigen-based band, Royksopp. On the track "What else is There?" the Nordic duo produces a Bjork-esque sound with help from lead singer Karin Dreijer, and they will surely be an international hit.

Astralwerks proves diversity and quality within every song on the album – unlike the usual dumpster trash with meaningless lyrics on TRL. "Pop A Cap In Yo' Ass" (seemingly a misnomer) mixes a piece of poetry from the streets of London with a laid-back urban beat.

Throughout the meat of the album, the Astralwerks artists flirt with tolerable electronica beats along with radio-worthy melodies – like the track "Back to Basics" by Shape:UK that topped the dance charts last October.

The song "Into my soul" by the Italian mixing duo Gabin creates the infectious urge to strap on gogo boots and hit up the nearest cafe. Their blend of jazz, hip-hop and '60s British pop is catchy and unique.

"Back to Basics" by Shape:UK topped the dance charts last October with it's disco feel and is among the list of club hits that wrap up the CD.

If you rock to the beats of Daft Punk or Morcheeba pick up "Follow Our Tracks: 2005" and "get your groove thing" on.

John Mayer, the next in line as king of croon, has formed his very own trio. This project could easily have been some cutesy, failed attempt to establish himself as a legend if he wasn't actually a musically talented gold mine.

The John Mayer Trio group includes Steve Jordan and Pino Pallandino alongside Mayer.

The music is not polished and imperfect at times. If you're saying, "Hailey, it sounds as if you have just described an Ashlee Simpson performance," – no fears, The John Mayer Trio is anything but that – it is real. It is live. Unfortunately, real, live music hardly ever makes it to the mainstream music stream.

Since Mayer already has quite a bit of pull in the music industry after his large success with "Room for Squares" and more recently, "Heavier Things," it will be fairly easy for him and the other members of the group to bring the jazz/blues scene into the pop world. Within seconds of popping their album "Try!" into your player, you'll feel as if you are at a summer 'jazz in the park' concert. With the funky "Who Did You Think I Was?" and Mayer's typical smooth ballad "Gravity" the album is a sure-fire hit. The album's poetic lyrics and uplifting tunes are excellent for the car, your headphones or as background music in the house.

Although the CD is pretty amazing, you can expect the same chill John Mayer sound. It's like the Jack Johnson situation. If you are a true fan, you'll be able to tell how much progress Mayer has made on this album, and how it differentiates from his early hits – otherwise, it will sound like the same ole' stuff.

The trio would undoubtedly be better in concert, but look into them if you are into artists like Jamie Cullum, Fiona Apple, Blues Traveler, The Cat Empire or the Dave Matthews Band.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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