10 Albums to Check Out

Below is a list of 10 albums I think musically open people will appreciate. This is NOT meant to be a top 10 by any means, just a few suggestions for anyone looking to check out some new tunes. The list is fairly diverse, ranging from indie and hard rock to hip hop and instrumental/electronic. Each one is good in its own way, so give them a chance. Happy listening.

  1. Runnin’ Wild- Airbourne (no deep lyrics here, just guitar-driven hard rock with AC/DC-esque vocals. roll down the windows and turn up the stereo)
  2. Man on the Moon: The End of Day– Kid CuDi (really well put together hip hop album. lyrics, beats, and production are all top-notch)
  3. Rubber Factory– The Black Keys (dirty, heavy, sexy, bluesy, distorted guitar-driven rock)
  4. Boys and Girls in America– The Hold Steady (great brooklyn-based story-telling alt rock with a unique vocal style and catchy piano/keyboard. lyrics are full of drugs, girls, and memories of youth)
  5. Baby Darling Doll Face Honey– Band of Skulls (bluesy indie/alt band with both male and female vocalists. solid album, but the first few tracks and the last track are the best)
  6. I Started Out With Nothing And I Still Got Most of it Left– Seasick Steve (great blues from a crazy old homeless guy. a lot of singing about drinking, riding in boxcars, and being poor)
  7. BlakRoc- BlakRoc (collaboration of the Black Keys with various hip hop artists, including Mos Def, RZA, and NOE. some songs are better than others, but overall really cool and creative album)
  8. Ratatat- Ratatat (great instrumental/electronic/rock album from the Brooklyn-based duo that did the backing beats in CuDi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”)
  9. Broken Bells– Broken Bells (Danger Mouse and James Mercer, the singer from the Shins, combine to produce a dreamy, spacey, melodic, yet catchy album)
  10. Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures (this rock supergroup consisting of Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, and Josh Homme, came up with a solid debut album that seems to be both a throwback to ’70s hard rock and a progressive experiment at the same time)

A Few Early Summer Albums We’re Looking Forward To

There are a ton of great albums being released this summer, but here are a couple we are anxiously awaiting the May release dates for:

Stone Temple PilotsStone Temple Pilots

Release: May 25th, 2010

The first effort from this 90s mainstay in over 9 years, the self-titled album has been anxiously awaited by many STP fans for a long, long time. It’s good to see Scott Weiland getting himself back together and making something happen. The album promises a varied sound, with psychadelic and heavy blues riffs coming from guitarist Dean DeLeo and lyrics reflecting Weiland’s numerous struggles over the past decade. It will be interesting to hear what the STP boys come up with after such a long hiatus. Tour dates have been announced to promote the album as well. Keep an eye out.

The Hold SteadyHeaven Is Whenever

Release: May 4, 2010

The Hold Steady recently lost their famously mustache-clad keyboardist, Franz Nicolay, and so their familiar keyboard and piano sound will be giving way to a more guitar-oriented sound on the new album. Guitarist Tad Kubler said this about the new album: “I think this is a much more dynamic record than anything we’ve done. I feel as though the last four records, with the exception of the odd track here and there, have been pretty much loud rock albums. This album is sonically more diverse. And I really believe it exposes new elements of the band that we hinted at on other records but weren’t able to fully realize until this one.” We’re anxiously awaiting the new sound here at Kicknote. In the meantime check out the new tracks “Rock Problems” or “Hurricane J“, and be on the lookout for tour dates in your area. The Hold Steady put on an awesome live show, don’t miss it.

The Black KeysBrothers

Release: May 18, 2010

The new album from the Black Keys promises more of the same dark, raw, heavy, distorted guitar-driven blues-rock that fans have come to love and expect from the group. Danger Mouse produced the track “Tighten Up,” which can be heard streaming online. Another track from the album, “Next Girl” is also floating around the internet. If you like the Black Keys, it seems like you will love the new album. We’re extremely psyched for it, and will be checking out the Black Keys in Central Park this July. More tour dates coming up as well!

New Feature: Artist Video Feeds

Kicknote is happy to announce the release of the next step in our push towards the Artist Newsfeed.–the YouTube video feed. Kicknote now scans YouTube and automatically grabs new videos about your favorite artists and puts them right into their Kicknote profiles and your custom artist feed (if you have it set up).

If you haven’t set up your custom artist feed yet, you can set it up by either logging in or registering for Kicknote. Once logged in, you can have Kicknote read your iTunes and create a custom artist feed for you based on the artists in your iTunes. Your Kicknote Artist Feed will then provide you with a single place to find all the latest Twitter updates, Flickr photos, and YouTube videos from & about your favorite artists. It’s as simple as that!

New designs and layouts are currently in the works to accommodate our new features. Also, there are plenty more features on the way. Check back soon!

Kicknote Charts: Week 10

Our top 3 artists this week were Grizzly Bear, Owl City, and Ke$ha.

Grizzly Bear is an indie rock band based out of Brooklyn, NY. They’ve released three studio albums to date, the latest being Veckatimest. Grizzly Bear has made numerous appearances on various talk shows over the past few months, including David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien. Single to check out: “Two Weeks.”

Owl City is a synthpop/electronica act from Owatonna, MN, consisting solely of Adam Young. Owl City has been around since 2007, but only recently gained mainstream popularity. Be on the lookout for tour dates in your area, as Owl City has a bunch of dates coming up in the Midwest and South in the coming months. Single to check out: “Fireflies.”

Ke$ha is a pop/dance artist out of Los Angeles, making her fourth appearance in the top 3. She first burst onto the music scene with an appearance in Flo Rida’s“Right Round.” A popular inquiry about Ke$ha involves her height, as she is a fairly tall woman at 6’1.” Single to check out: “Tik Tok.”

Kicknote Charts: Week 9

The Kicknote chart-toppers this week were Justin Bieber, Them Crooked Vultures, and Ke$ha.

Justin Bieber is a 15 year-old Canadian pop singer who has a deal with Island Records. His first full-length album just released last week. Bieber has been in the news recently because of a borderline riot at a Canadian mall involving hoards of teenage girl fans. Single to check out: “One Time.”

Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup consisting of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). Their debut album was just released on Nov 17th. Single to check out: “New Fang.”

Ke$ha is a pop/dance artist out of Los Angeles, making her third appearance in the top 3. She first burst onto the music scene with an appearance in Flo Rida’s “Right Round.” Single to check out: “Tik Tok.”

New Feature: Artist Sites Categories/Filters

Here at Kicknote we’ve been hard at work to keep the site steadily evolving. A ton of stuff is currently being worked on behind the scenes (and it’s almost ready), but we’re trying to release little updates as often as possible to keep improving the user experience for you guys. Our latest update was adding categories & filters to the artist sites box (check out the screenshot). Now you can select one of seven categories (artist updates, videos/pics, streaming music, tix/concerts, get music/merch, bio/info, & social networks), and Kicknote will show you which of the artist’s sites have what you’re looking for. This is especially helpful if you’re not exactly sure what some of the sites “do,” or you’ve never heard of them before.

A full artist profile redesign is on the way, which will include a more robust version of categories/filters, a new layout, and an artist-specific newsfeed of real-time updates, among other things.

Lots of great new features will be out soon, so be sure to check back often!

Comments/suggestions are always welcome: comments@kicknote.com

Local Show: Fiction 20 Down

Eve 6 008.JPGSome of us guys from the Kicknote office went to check out a show last Thursday at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ. The venue is a pretty cool place–it’s just a dark little bar with a stage, and the walls completely covered in stickers and posters. There were some really interesting old show posters up on the walls, including Ben Folds and Cake (keep in mind the max. capacity of this venue is 175). Those shows must have been incredible to attend.

The lineup for the night included The Juicy Grapes & Fiction 20 Down. We got a chance to hang out with the guys from Fiction 20 Down before and after their set, and it was a really good time. Fiction 20 Down played a solid set of originals with some covers thrown in for good measures. They have a reggae-rock sound somewhat reminiscent of bands like Pepper and Sublime, and they actually did a couple of really good Sublime covers in their set, including “54-46 That’s My Number,” and “Don’t Push.” My personal favorite cover was Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend;” very creative and well-done.

So be sure to check out Fiction 20 Down on Kicknote and find out when they’ll be playing near you. CDs are available on iTunes. Good luck guys.