Balkan Beat Box – Bulgarian Chicks
The first time I heard this group was through one of my favorite bands, Galactic. I was listening to a live performance and heard this Middle Eastern influenced jam mixed with their funky New Orleans style. I tried to find another live performance of the same song and that’s when I discovered it was a cover of a Balkan Beat Box song. Reaching our ears all the way from Israel, this group has an extremely diverse and eclectic sound. They also happen to be one of my favorite bands to dance to!
System of a Down – Science
I remember purchasing the album Toxicity as a young teenager after seeing their video “Chop Suey!” on MTV. At the time, I was just starting to discover heavier bands, and SOAD was one of the artists that seemed to find a good balance between harmony, melody, and distortion guitar. The album, Toxicity, as a whole is a phenomenal project and is a great entrance into heavier music if you want to get your feet wet.
Alberto Rigoni & Marco Minnemann – EvoRevolution
I discovered Marco through his work with the Aristocrats. He is one of the most technically adept drummers I have ever watched or listened to. This 32 minute epic composition is quite the undertaking and is an immersive, extensive listening experience. For me, lengthy compositions take multiple listens to help me understand and appreciate the different themes and ideas within the piece. Good luck with this one!
Oscar Peterson Trio – Green Dolphin Street
My first real dive into Jazz was spurred by my high school guitar teacher who played in a Jazz trio named Ran Tan Too… or something of the sort. He suggested a handful of artists and I remember listening to Wes Montgomery, Herby Hancock, and The Oscar Peterson Trio. I realized I had been missing out on a simply wonderful style of music. These artists helped solidify my appreciation, respect, and enjoyment of Jazz music.
Audioslave – Getaway Car
The news of Chris Cornell’s passing was shocking and heartbreaking. As a teenager, Audioslave was one of my favorite bands. I owned every album by them and this track remains one of my favorites to this day. I think it’s message is ever more present today. Sometimes the idea of having a getaway car to escape the stress and problems of everyday life seems pretty nice.
Feed Me – Grand Theft Ecstacy
After dubstep reached it’s peak around 2010, a new wave of artists started to show that there could be more focus on the overall composition of EDM rather than just a simple repetitive bass with the usual drop and crazy noises. This UK artist uses his expertise in digital software to create tracks that are through composed and constantly shifting. While we may hear the same melodies and harmonies, the effects and frequencies are manipulated ever so slightly as to not repeat the same thing twice.
Nobuo Uematsu – To Zanarkand
I first heard “Zanarkand” in 2001 and it is my most favorite video game composition ever. The song is presented at an extremely critical point in the story of Final Fantasy X and brings back so many memories of not only the game but also my childhood. It reminds me of spending time with my brother which is a warm and comforting feeling. This one definitely hits me in the feels.
Sound Behaviour – It’s My Life
During the winter, I was extremely lucky enough to visit the islands of Indonesia. At one of the cocoa plantations, I heard island style covers of popular western songs. I immediately went to the cashier and to find out who the artist was. One thing I love as much as a great original song is a tasteful reinterpretation. The experience was similar to one I had over 10 years ago when I heard Latin versions of Pink Floyd in Mexico. If you like listening to the radio but get tired of the same songs, these reworks are a great option.
Jeff Beck Group – Going Down
This version of Freddy King’s “Going Down” is the perfect homage to his legacy. The song was way ahead of it’s time during it’s release and has earned it’s spot as one of the greatest and most covered songs in the genre. Jeff Beck’s tasteful guitar playing and Max Middleton’s piano work make for a great listen.
HOMESHAKE – Not U
This song has kept me company on day’s that seem mundane and uneventful. The spacious synth harmonies combined with the hypnotic drums provide a perfect accompaniment to the ambient and almost indistinguishable lyrics. It’s my personal favorite track of their album Fresh Air.