Tag Archives: best of the b sides

Best of the B-Sides: “Now I’m All Messed Up”

Source: Rock On Philly

Tegan and Sara‘s latest album Heartthrob released on January 19th, 2013 by Warner Bros. Records caught the attention of music lovers with hits like “Closer” and “I Was a Fool.” While “Closer” is a fun, energetic love song, many tracks on the album describe heartbreak and pain.

Now I’m All Messed Up” is simple, yet heavily emotional. The keyboard entrance has a twinge of melancholy, and right off the bat something is off. This is about a relationship where it is dominated by one person who inflicts emotional abuse on the other by constantly ...

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Best of the B-Sides: “Screen”

Source: Rock On Philly

[Vessel Album Cover]

Twenty One Pilots, also known as “the biggest band you’ve never heard of” according to Stereogum, have had tons of success, especially with their most recent album Blurryface (check out our review here!).  Their major musical start, however, was with their debut album Vesselunder Fueled By Ramen. The band did have previously released works before Vessel, which were 2009’s self-titled album and 2011’s Regional At Bestbut Vessel was the band’s worldwide introduction to who they were. Many who are familiar and/or are fans of the duo know of ...

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Best of the B-Sides: “Metanoia” by MGMT

Source: Rock On Philly

No good ever comes from being that person who complains that a band’s most popular songs are overrated. But MGMT is that person in regard to their own music, and against all odds, some good has come from it.

When MGMT released the Time To Pretend EP in 2005, fresh out of school at Wesleyan University, the synth-heavy, psychedelic duo blew up over night, it seemed. The first and last songs on the EP, “Time To Pretend” and “Kids,” launched the band to instant popularity, earning attention from Columbia Records, who put out MGMT’s debut album  ...

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Best of the B-Sides: “Don’t Forget Whose Legs You’re On”

Source: Rock On Philly

It was an iconic moment in British indie music – finally, after the golden age of Oasis and Blur was long gone, a new, acne-clad crew of Sheffield boys had arrived to save rock ‘n’ roll.

“We’re Arctic Monkeys,” said lead singer Alex Turner, only nineteen years old at the time. “Don’t believe the hype.” It was 2005, and Arctic Monkeys were about to play on national television for the first time. With his shaggy bowl-cut and schoolboy demeanor, Turner played the first chord of “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” the hit single ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Always In My Head”

Source: Rock On Philly

I know, I know that I unreservedly bashed Coldplay‘s latest album Ghost Stories (2014) over the summer. I’m not quite retracting my review, but I’m amending it this week to bring you a truly beautiful track from Ghost Stories that’s deserving of recognition. A small reminder that in the shadow of the truly awful track “A Sky Full of Stars” there is hope that Coldplay’s songwriting prowess and musical ingenuity haven’t quite sold out yet.

“Always In My Head” pulls together many of Coldplay’s best skills for a moving album opener. First of all, the employment ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Truth No. 2″

Source: Rock On Philly

Let is be known that I’m not really a country fan. I have given it its fair shake and it is just not up my alley. That being said, I have never not loved Dixie Chicks‘ Home (2002) (okay, okay, I admit it’s more bluegrass than country, but it still counts, right?). It’s one of those albums that I listened to on repeat when I was really young, and I just revisited it a few weeks ago. It’s even more delightful now that I can really appreciate how complex this music is. It’s the epic album with “Travelin’ ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)”

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s Superbowl Sunday! The day of the year where I make the mistake of finally going over to Trader Joe’s only to realize why I’m waiting outside in a line! No, but I love the Superbowl. I don’t understand a thing about football, but the camaraderie, the commercials, the excuse to sit around and do nothing but eat chips and salsa all day are all I need. Man, I love it. And last night a precedent was set — I went to my first NHL game. My brothers were so proud. So I’m in a high octane, sportsmanship mood, and ...

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Best of the B Sides: “The Sun”

Source: Rock On Philly

Unpopular opinion: what in the world happened to Maroon 5?! Their newer work is fine, I take no major issue with it. It is decent pop. I find myself jamming out to “Animals” every time it comes on. But what in the world happened after Songs About Jane (2002)? Songs About Jane is one of my all time favorite albums — it is sincere rock, built from unique melodies and lyrics with a heavy reliance on jazz tones and a certain shock factor. Top hits “This Love” and “She Will Be ...

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The Best Mixtapes I Ever Made

Source: Rock On Philly

When I was fifteen, I met my friend Madison. We’d been going to the same school for about six years, but our paths had never really crossed until we were in a play together. Madison’s a musician and I’m, well, not, but we both had a feeling that our music tastes were on par, so we exchanged mixtapes one day. While “Madison, Vol. I” had prevailing dark tones and Madison’s mix for me was mostly of the WombatsMcFly, and Alphabeat persuasion, we overlapped on one song – The Hoosier’s “Goodbye Mr. A.” Truth be ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Small Town Moon”

Source: Rock On Philly

I saw Regina Spektor play in 2012, just after What We Saw from the Cheap Seats came out. She’s quite simply one of the most enchanting artists currently recording. To sum up her style perfectly (in her own words): “It doesn’t feel natural for me to write some diary type song. I want to write a classic like ‘Yesterday‘ but weird songs about meatballs in refrigerators come into my head – I can’t help it.” Her music is decidedly quirky, both elementally simple and endlessly complex in the same beat. 2012’s What We Saw from the Cheap Seats ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Sincerely, Jane”

Source: Rock On Philly

I’m going to hijack Best of the B Sides once again to talk about an album that went way under the radar and remained there. Janelle Monae was another of those artists that I admittedly loved a long time ago, before she was a Covergirl, before she released “Tightrope,” before she became the pop culture phenomenon she is today. Before all of this, she had a whacky but fantastic EP called Metropolis: The Chase Suite which follows the story of an android who fell in love with a human and is therefore set to be destroyed. ...

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Best of the B Sides: “One Week of Danger [Demo]”

Source: Rock On Philly

When I was in high school, I used to hear a song I liked and buy the band’s entire album. So I’ve ended up with Sohodolls, The Dollyrots, The Virgins, and several other small time bands on my iPod in their entirety, pretty much all thanks to Gossip Girl and the show’s discerning music taste. Unfortunately, I don’t revisit these albums terribly often, but I happened to be in the mood for The Virgins last weekend on a long drive home. Their 2008 self titled debut is a delicious slice of indie rock snark with the album’s ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Prytania”

Source: Rock On Philly

Mutemath are the unsung heroes of twenty-first century rock. So far they have three excellent albums under their belt and a sweet spot on the Twilight soundtrack with their hit “Spotlight” from 2009’s Armistice. Their sound is acid rock mixed with psychedelic rock, but it all flows together with a pure rock soul. 2011’s Odd Soul is one of my all-time favorite albums as it takes their sound a little closer to strict rock rather than experimental rock. It’s clean, tight, and beautifully orchestrated. The album’s singles “Odd Soul” and “Blood Pressure” sandwich my ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Wild Heart”

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s no secret that I’m an unrelenting fun. fan, so Bleachers — the companion project by fun.’s own Jack Antonoff — is like fun.’s hipster, contemplative, but 80s obsessed younger cousin. In the best way. Bleachers’ debut Strange Desire (2014) is a deliciously synth-filled romp through Antonoff’s world, hitting highs like the superb “Rollercoaster” and beautiful lows like “Take Me Away,” featuring subtle vocals from Grimes. There’s even a guest spot from Yoko Ono, which is a little out of left field, but Antonoff manages to weave Ono’s sound into his own to create ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Pretty When You Cry”

Source: Rock On Philly

I am four months behind on Rolling Stone. I’m reading about the hits of the summer and how Coachella went. The stack under my desk is getting so tall and heavy it’s difficult to move. I have never been in this much of a magazine deficit in my life.

Because of this, Lana Del Rey is on my mind yet again. Not only did I just finish reading her profile in the late July Rolling Stone (whoops), but I’m listening to Ultraviolence (2014) again. When I decided to review it, I thought I was in for a trashing, bashing, ...

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Best of the B Sides: “It Will Come Back”

Source: Rock On Philly

I really cannot stop listening to Hozier. His debut album is a beacon of elegance, grace, and poetry. From track one to the end, there isn’t a single dull moment or misguided song. It’s got fairly universal appeal as it extends through rock, jazz, folk, gospel, and blues traditions. An eclectic mix, to be sure, but Hozier has the skills to make it work.

Of course, “Take Me to Church” is the song that got him noticed and “Jackie and Wilson” quickly became a favorite as soon as the album dropped. There are countless other ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Signs”

Source: Rock On Philly

Let’s get down with another perfect fall/winter band: Bloc PartyGossip Girl actually used Bloc Party quite a bit in the first few seasons of the show and the band has unfortunately fallen off the map since. It’s uncertain whether Bloc Party are finished or not. Though they haven’t had a full-length release since 2012 it’s rumored that the band is working on a fifth LP. Either way, the band already has an impressive discography.

I’ve gotta say, I’m a big fan of 2008′s Intimacy, an effortlessly cool, electric rock album with a unique and cohesive tone. ...

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Best of the B Sides: The Grey Album

Source: Rock On Philly

Am I this far behind? I was reading an article about Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne tour and mention was made of Dangermouse‘s The Grey Album, a mashup of Jay-Z‘s The Black Album with The Beatles‘ The White Album. Sound crazy? It’s excellent.

I’m such a Kanye fan that I haven’t really heard many hip hop remixes or mashups in a while. Kanye is, admittedly, difficult to remix successfully. With other rappers, their verses aren’t as tightly integrated with the underlying beats, so it’s much easier to lift the vocal track and place it ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Better Off”

Source: Rock On Philly

Haim is another one of those bands that each time I come back to them I’m overwhelmed by how talented they are. I’m just itching to see the Haim sisters perform. Watching them perform (at least, on YouTube) brings a totally fresh clarity to just how talented they are. Usually when you hear popular songs, there’s an unconscious knowledge that most of the song is performed by other musicians and usually pre-recorded for the stage. Not so with Haim. Here’s the trio performing “The Wire” on SNL:

Este slapping that bass gives me chills. I mean these girls are mad ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Comin’ Home”

Source: Rock On Philly

I’ve been listening to Hozier like crazy this week. If any debut this year packs a huge punch right out of the gate, it’s Hozier, and it’s been putting me in the mood for City and Colour. City and Colour is another fabulous fall artist, writing acoustic pieces that are just perfect for the turn in the weather. We saw him perform at Made In America and, truth be told, it wasn’t the right audience for him. He played an amazing set, but it fell on the ears of festival-goers just yearning for an EDM beat. So let’s ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Radar”

Source: Rock On Philly

I’m dying to talk about Blackout (2007). You know the one, Britney Spears‘ infamous comeback album that was actually a comeback rather than a misguided jaunt in the ring. Whatever the critics may say about Blackout, you really can’t deny that it’s a good album. A really, really, really good album. Excellent pop. Cold, crisp, autotuned perfection.

This is actually, I hate to say it, the only full Britney album I own. My double-feature Britney/Nsync album went missing around fourth grade and I have regretted that loss ever since. Now let’s actually talk about Britney. I ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Safest Place”

Source: Rock On Philly

If you’ve been listening to any internet radio (or actual radio for that matter) you’re sure to have heard Echosmith‘s “Cool Kids.” It’s a shimmery, tight synthpop track with significant catchiness. I started listening to the band’s entire album and was blown away. You should know by now how thrilled I am that synthpop is on the rise, and sibling quartet Echosmith are added to my list of new favorites (you read that right, it’s three brothers and a sister).

So while “Cool Kids” is great, I’ve got to give props to “Safest Place.” It comes pretty ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Heart Skipped a Beat”

Source: Rock On Philly

As promised, it’s a the xx b side for this week. The weather’s starting to get chilly and there’s something about the xx’s minimalism that perfectly suits that crisp turn of the air. The xx have always been good and have always been popular, but their music hasn’t really held a place in popular culture beyond “Crystalized” from their self-titled debut. They’re a bit of an odd band in that their vision and tone is so unified that all of their songs sound pretty much the same. But it’s a good same! They’re like The Strokes in that ...

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Best of the B Sides: “The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future”

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s coming up on that time of the year where the perfect soundtrack is a mixture of Los Campesinos! awkward pop and the xx chillwave electronica (more on the xx next week!). There’s something about the sparse, tight sound of both bands that makes it perfect for fall and chilly weather. Los Camps! have always just sounded cold to me, like they’re singing on the tundra or something. Probably because my favorite Los Camps! experiences always involved listening to them in the freezing cold, but either way, it’s time for a Los Camps! b side.

Last fall’s release No Blues ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Heartbeat”

Source: Rock On Philly

I know, I know that this isn’t technically a b-side, but hear me out. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) is a vastly under-appreciated hip hop artist and his debut album Camp (2011) also went kind of overlooked. His sophomore album Because the Internet (2013) gained a larger popular response than Camp did. Sure, Camp did well with the critics but the paranoia Glover raps about on Camp — that he wouldn’t be taken seriously as a recording artist because he was initially known as an actor — is an actual problem he faced, not just a vague fear. It ...

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