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Music Is My King Size Bed

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hot Video Alert: Crystal Bowersox - Farmer's Daughter

THIS is why Crystal Bowersox got my votes during her season of American Idol. Watch the video for Bowersox's first single, "Farmer's Daughter" and tell me you don't think she's talented. While I initially didn't see the appeal whatsoever in Season 9 winner Lee Dewyze, I've since admitted that those feelings were premature. That being said, I still maintain that Crystal Bowersox should have won her season and listening to her sing this stunning, emotional and autobiographical new single I think I am right. Listen to the POWER behind those vocals. Bowersox mixes strength and vulnerability in her performance and the fact that she wrote the lyrics makes it all the more meaningful. While she's clearly living her dreams now as an artist, it's clear to me who she's really doing this for - her beautiful boy.

Crystal Bowersox's debut album, Farmer's Daughter, is out now (HERE) via Jive Records. Check out the video below and watch Bowersox perform the single live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (HERE).

Check out Crystal Bowersox on the web:

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Hot Video Alert: Elizabeth & The Catapult - You and Me

From the looks of things, I should have known about Brooklyn-based pop/rock trio Elizabeth & The Catapult YEARS ago, considering the band formed in 2004. Where the eff have I been?!  I've definitely seen the name "Elizabeth & The Catapult" floating around my musical periphery but I guess I've never stopped to look (or listen).  Typically, when going through my press releases and emails I flag things based on a couple of factors: have I heard of this artist? If not...does it sound like something I would dig? If the answer to both questions is "NO" then I delete. If the answer to just one of those questions is "YES" then it goes onto my TO-DO/REVIEW list. Lucky for me, Elizabeth & The Catapult's music video for "You and Me" made it onto my "YES" pile.

"You and Me" is the lead single off the band's sophomore record, The Other Side of Zero (Verve Forecast) and the video for the single is absolutely beyond adorable. Directed by Ben Richardson, the video chronicles the end of a relationship between a pretty girl and a funny-looking blue alien (no, really) and the ultimate realization that they just can't live without one another in their lives. Frontwoman Elizabeth Ziman plays the part of the girlfriend, while the part of the little blue alien is played by...a little blue alien? Elizabeth's lover looks like a strange mix between ET, Roger (the alien from the American Dad cartoon) and the sad little bouncing rock from those old Zoloft commercials. In other words - FRICKIN' WEIRD. The video takes us on a trip through their day-to-day lives without one another, ultimately ending in a chance meeting on the street that reunites the lovers. I do love a good happy ending.

Elizabeth Ziman is mesmerizing to watch and a pleasure to hear. She's a little bit Zooey Deschanel (She & Him) mixed with Sara Bareilles with a little bit of Feist and maybe a sprinkle of Kate Nash thrown in for good measure. Go pick up the single "You and Me" on iTunes HERE and if you like what you hear, why not download the new album The Other Side of Zero (HERE) or maybe first album Taller Children (HERE). You won't be disappointed!

Check out Elizabeth & The Catapult on the web:

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Ray LaMontagne featured on 'Live From The Artists Den', Releases New Live EP

I don't know about you but EVERY TIME I hear Ray LaMontagne sing a note live, I just get shivers down my spine.  Shivers and goosebumps. WOW.  I've seen Ray perform live a number of times now (mostly recently co-headlining with David Gray) and each time is it's own experience.  Sure, he sings some of the same songs over and over again but each time he tweaks it different, whether it's the arrangement of a different's always a unique and completely original performance.

On December 15th VEVO premiered a new live video of LaMontagne as part of the new season of Live from The Artist Den.  Ray and his Pariah Dogs turned out two riveting performances live from a small ranch in Boerne, Texas.  The video features a brief but intimate little chat with LaMontagne who talks about his love of rural America and performing in such a beautiful space.  Ray starts the set out with "Beg, Steal or Borrow," the lead single and Grammy nominee for Song Of The Year, off his 4th studio album, God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise.  Next up - "Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's A Shame)," off his third album Gossip In The Grain.  Ray starts out with a MEAN harmonica solo and it just gets better from there.  In watching this video I realize quickly that this is the closest I've ever gotten to seeing Ray LaMontagne.  Tickets sell out so fast that I'm lucky to get a seat at all and it's usually pretty far back.  He's a really handsome guy! Rugged and mountain-man-ish but in a good way!  I love his soft-spoken, humble way of speaking and how all of that goes out the window when he starts to sing.  This video is a treat for any fan of Ray LaMontagne.

While a visual is always great you can't really take it with you on your iPod.  No problem! Enter Live - Fall 2010, a new digital EP, released December 21st exclusively through iTunes.  Featuring 5 tracks, including 3 from the new album, it's a must download for me.  Get your copy HEREGod Willin' and The Creek Don't Rise earned 3 Grammy nominations this year including Song of the Year ("Beg, Steal or Borrow"), Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. What a way to end 2010!  Check out Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs on Live from The Artist Den below.

Check out Ray LaMontagne on the web:

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Hot Video Alert: Scissor Sisters - Invisible Light (Un-Censored Version)

WARNING: This video may be considered offensive to some. Check out the EDITED version at the end of the post!

Those Scissor Sisters sure are pushing the envelope with this video. "Invisible Light," the third single to be lifted off the band's third studio album Night Work features a myriad of uncomfortable, unsettling themes including (but not limited to) kidnapping, rape, and crucifixion.  Still undaunted?  Well, then you should be fine with the creepy clown, cigarette smoking and nudity.  There is a unicorn at the end as well as an angelic Virgin Mary-looking character who shoots rays of light out of her eyes. On the whole the video is quite  unnerving...haunting even. I gotta hand it to director Nicolás Méndez, it's a beautifully and artfully shot video that really plays like an X-Rated movie from the 70s (I think that is a compliment).

As bizarre and unsettling as the video is, the Stuart Price-produced song remains one of my favorites off of Night Work. For those of you easily offended, check out the CLEAN version of the video HERE and tell me how it is. No release date yet for "Invisible Light" but you can pick up Night Work on iTunes HERE. Look out for remixes by Stuart Price, Boys Noize, and Siriusmo.

Check out Scissor Sisters on the web:

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Hot Video Alert: Coldplay - Christmas Lights

The video for Coldplay's new holiday single, "Christmas Lights" is magical. Filmed in London, this video actually has me all revved up for a new Coldplay album. I can't believe it's been since 2008 that we've had a new Coldplay record! "Christmas Lights" was released on December 1st via Capitol/Parlophone. The song was written and produced by Coldplay (with Rik Simpson and Brian Eno assisting with the production) especially for the holidays, not for the new album as some thought initially. The Mat Whitecross-directed video features everything from fireworks, a Christmas pageant stage set and brightly colored player piano to a line of violin playing Elvises (see if you can spot British actor Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame in that line!). The video also features an appearance by 100 of the band's fans, who release a bunch of brightly-colored balloons from a boat. A very cool video for a very mellow song, made even cooler by the GORGEOUS artwork, designed by Yu Matsuoka Pol.

The single peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as #12 on the Billboard Digital Songs chart. Over in the band's native UK the single peaked at #13. Why not check out the video below, buy the song on iTunes (HERE) and while there, check out a special behind the scenes clip over on Ping.

Check out Coldplay on the web:
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Hot Video Alert: Katharine McPhee - It's Not Christmas Without You

Looks like Katharine McPhee's move over to Verve back in 2009 was the right move for the American Idol runner up, who released her first holiday album, Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You, on October 12th. McPhee, who made her Verve debut with her sophomore album Unbroken in January has yet to find success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (her debut American Idol single, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" peaked at #12 back in 2006) her holiday album has been doing surprisingly well. The album debuted at #11 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and sold 1,000 copies it's first week. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," the album's first official single peaked at #16 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and now we have the video for her new holiday single, "It's Not Christmas Without You," one of the non-cover versions appearing on her album, co-penned by McPhee. The video, directed by Judson Pearce Morgan features McPhee playing girlfriend to actor Joel David Moore (Dodgeball, Avatar), who's trying his best to get back home for the holiday. Truly heartwarming. While not especially memorable of a song, it's lovely to see McPhee still thriving in her element.  Download Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You on iTunes HERE.

Check out Katharine McPhee on the web:

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Hot Video Alert: Natalia Kills - Activate My Heart + New U.S. Tour with Robyn

Well this is a pleasant surprise, isn't it? I wasn't expecting a new video from Natalia Kills until the next single! This makes me OH so happy. You know what also makes me happy? Natalia Kills is coming to Boston, opening up for Robyn at the House of Blues! I might get to see her live! AH-MAZING!  Now I've already seen Robyn live TWICE before but the chance to see Natalia Kills live doing her thing on stage would totally get me in the door for a third time. Now...before we get into the tour, let's talk about the new video.

"Activate My Heart" was originally released as a buzz single back in April following the release of "Zombie" in June. The trippy-cool video was directed by long time Natalia Kills collaborator Guillaume Doubet (Frankmusik) and produced by Kills herself. Now that the official first single, "Mirrors," has been released it appears that this video was released to keep her fans satisfied while we wait for the next big thing. Now - what that 'Next Big Thing' is...I do not know. It could be the album, Perfectionist, which is due in the Spring. Or maybe it's the second season of Natalia's web series Love, Kills xx. It could also be featured collaborations on new albums from Cherrytree Records label-mates' Far East Movement and Frankmusik. Whatever the case may be, the "Activate My Heart" video definitely satisfies my Natalia Kills craving for the time being, although I do not like how the release date for Perfectionist appears to have been pushed back. That being said, Spring is the perfect time. I'll be coming out of hibernation and wanting to dance.

While we're waiting for the new album, why not familiarize with Natalia's releases so far. We have "Zombie" (available HERE), "Activate My Heart" (available HERE), "Mirrors" (available HERE) and of course, the "Mirrors" remix EP (available HERE) which I mentioned before. Oh! And obviously check out the "Activate My Heart" video below. Very cool indeed. NOW, onto the tour dates for Natalia's shows with Robyn. Here they are! Get excited!

Tour Dates:
1/26 - The Sound Academy - Toronto
1/27 - Metropolis - Montreal
1/28 - Imperial Theatre - Quebec
1/29 - State Theater - Portland, OR
1/31 - Higher Ground - South Burlington, VT
2/01 - Ram's Head Live - Baltimore,
2/03 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
2/04 - House of Blues - Boston, MA
2/05 - Radio City Music Hall - NewYork, NY
2/07 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH
2/08 - The LC Pavilion - Columbus, OH
2/09 - Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI
2/11 - Riviera Theatre - Chicago, IL
2/12 - Rave Ballroom - Milwaukee, WI
2/13 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
2/15 - Canopy Club, Urbana
2/17 - ACL Live at the Moody Theater - Austin, TX
2/18 - South Side Music Hall - Dallas, TX
2/19 - Warehouse Live - Houston, TX

Check out Natalia Kills on the web:

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Hot Video Alert: Mariah Carey - Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)

"Does anybody really know the words?" Mariah Carey asks in the middle of her New Years Eve dance anthem, "Auld Lang Syne (The New Years Anthem)." Oh Mariah. What happened? Before I discuss the song let's first talk about the cheapo video that we're presented with.  I don't understand what happened?  Did she break the bank with the "Oh Santa!" video?  I don't remember that one being too spectacular, out of this world either but MAN. This video takes the (cheap) cake. This is the saddest excuse for a music video that I've seen in quite some time. Standing in front of a screen with projected fireworks shooting all over the place, I am brought back to Katy Perry's "Firework" video, which was actually kind of cool...visually speaking. I mean hello! Fireworks shooting out of Katy's breasts! This video has none of that.  This video just has Mariah meaninglessly flailing her arms about as she does her riffs and sings the chorus of the song over and over again against a dance beat.

"Auld Lang Syne (The New Years Anthem)" is the second single to be lifted off of Mariah's new Christmas record, Merry Christmas II (which peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200)You, following the moderately successful "Oh Santa!" which went on to peak at #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart as well as on the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart.  Mariah's version of the Robert Burns poem is just cheap sounding and the video makes it cheap looking.  I may be stating the obvious here but her vocal acrobatics just aren't what they used to be.  That being said, she holds her own as best she can. Overall - not a fan.  This song is clearly Mariah's attempt to cash in on the lack of any real solid New Years Eve dance anthems. Enter Mariah Carey and a trash-tastic dance version of an old classic.  NEXT!  At least we have remixes brought to you by Ralphi Rosario and Johnny Vicious.

Check out Mariah Carey on the web:

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