Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music bargain of the week

I recently received this bargain in my daily email as a member of Amazon Prime, but figured it was too good to not share.  I have a huge passion for classical music, reflective of my professional dance career but also based on personal music preferences.  Classical music, especially Bach, has such a distinguished sound and is often calming when I'm working or busy at my home.  It's a good soundtrack that has no words and doesn't distract one from the work they have to accomplish.

This album, featuring Bach and great classical hits, is 9 hours of music for 99 cents.  Such a bargain whether one is new to classical music or has a large collection already.  According to Amazon, this album is being offered at such a great price because Bach's birthday is on March 21st.  You can check out the Amazon bargain here!

Awesome Audio iPhone Apps

Whether it's listening to your favorite music on your commute or figuring out artist and song info on a song you hear, these apps for iPhone should be additions to complete your musical needs.

Pandora-The Pandora iPhone app is the iPhone version of the free personalized radio which is completely integrated with your web based Pandora account. It is easy to use and offers all the Pandora features you would usually find on the web based site. You can create a station from the current song or artist, tap the album art to get more information, email the station to a friend, bookmark songs and artists, buy tracks from iTunes and get a nice view in the landscape mode by rotating your iPhone sideways.
You can download the Pandora app and it's completely free here.

Shazam-Shazam is an innovative iPhone app that solves the chronic question of "What's that song"?  It happens to all of us, doesn't it? We hear a song, love it, know we have heard it before but just can't recall it. Or that title and artist is just on the tip of tongue and we can process it fast enough.  With Shazam you don't need to. Just hold your iPhone near the speakers of the device playing that music. Through iPhone's microphone Shazam gets hold of that song and identifies the album, artist and song title for you. This app is free too!
You can download the Shazam app here.

Ocarina-Ocarina makes one of the most unique uses of iPhone's touchscreen by turning it into a flute which you can play with your fingers. Ocarina transforms your phone into your own instrument.  You can blow into the mic and tap the four virtual holes on the screen, all of which give a cool experience of playing a real flute. In fact users of the Ocarina community can hear what you are playing in the globe mode and it provides sharing among users. The cost of the app - $0.99.  
You can download the Ocarina app here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Singers make "Smash" an audible success

"Smash" made its USA broadcast premiere on February 6, 2012 on NBC.  The show is an American musical drama produced by Steven Spielberg and created by Theresa Rebeck. The show revolves around the creation of a new Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

The cast boasts many well known actors and actresses, including Debra Messing and Angelica Huston, but newcomers to TV show Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty give the show the vocals that will enchant and lure viewers.
Katherine McPhee, previous American Idol runner-up in 2006 and American pop singer, released records and hit songs on the Billboard Top 200 and Billboard Top 30 respectively.
Megan Hilty, an American stage actress with some TV acting experience, is most renowned for her roles in Wicked as Glinda and in 9 to 5: The Musical as Doralee Rhodes.
It is the voices of these two women that carry and perform the entertaining songs in Smash.  Both vie for the role of Marilyn Monroe in the musical and it is the realness of the series that helps to give audiences the accurate competition environment in Broadway auditions and the creation of Broadway shows.  For each actress is gifted with a fabulous voice and stellar dance skills, it is often hard to choose just one actress for a Broadway lead.  We'll have to stay tuned to find out how this dramatic Broadway audition turns out...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekend Playlist

The weekends are the best for relaxing and hanging out friends.  I try my best every Sunday to have a few friends over to my apt for wine and appetizers to connect with them when we all have time outside of our busy work weeks.  I usually play music that I've recently discovered mixed with old favorites and songs that allow a conversation to flow.

My most recent playlist featured two new songs that I recently discovered, "We are Young" and "End of the Line".  I chose to start and end my playlist with these songs since an audience usually remembers beginning and ending impressions.  I wanted my friends to like these songs as well and hopefully they would remember them after hearing them at my apt.  I chose to "Caring is Creepy" by the Shins because it's a band I've always liked since the movie Garden State featured it.  The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, and Beirut  have a very mellow sound to most of their songs and are easy to listen to.  I chose TV on the Radio's song "Will Do" because it's a very different type of sound that this band usually produces and I wanted others to recognize this band for their versatile qualities.  The songs I chose from Blur, The Arcade Fire, and Phoenix are well known but they mix in with the rest of the selections well and fit the overall tone.  This playlist is great for entertaining, hanging out, or playing on a lazy sunday.

The tunes behind the best commercials

TV commercials have become a source for discovering new (or already known) music and artists. Some of my favorite musicians have been featured and I've become fans of news ones as result of seeing them in a commercial. 

The Chevy Sonic commercial, shown above, features "We are Young" by the band Fun.  This is the perfect anthem for all of the stunt fun shown by a Chevy Sonic car. "We are Young" is a top 15 alternative songs hit and has also been featured on the TV show Glee.  For me, I had never heard of the band Fun before seeing the commercial and after viewing it on TV, I had to download the album and listen to it from beginning to end.  It was a good musical choice for Chevy, for the band is reputable and the entire album is a great one.

For an artist, the more exposure their song receives the better.  For a company, if they feature an artist that many viewers like, then the possibility of their product or message being received is exponentially greater.  The relationship between corporation and artist is beneficial between both parties with the release of a TV commercial.

The video above, one for Audi, an automobile company, features the song "The Killing Moon" by Echo and the Bunnymen.  "The Killing Moon" was a hit off of the band's 1984 album Ocean Rain.  The song has been used in commercials before, but the song relates to a vampire theme expressed in the commercial.  Audi calls their commerical "Vampire Moon" and is targeting fans of the popular Twilight series.  Though the song utilized is not a new artist, the way it's been placed in this commercial helps to relate it to the well known series of vampire films and books.