The Catalyst – Linkin Park

Earlier this week, Linkin Park released “The Catalyst,” first single from their newest album. “A Thousand Suns” is to be released in mid-September, so this gives fans and critics alike plenty of time to take this first morsel of Linkin Park creativity and enjoy it. It should get us pumped up to go out and buy it, despite the slight letdown that Minutes to Midnight was.

Right?

And then, there was this:

I didn’t like it at all upon first listen. It debuted on the morning show I listen to on the way to work, with most listeners calling in saying they didn’t like it at all. This was my initial reaction as well.

I gave it a few more listens, and my opinion of it is improving, gradually.

The of electronia melody and synthetic beats, while not really entirely new to the LP brand of music, is much too prevalent- at least for a single. There are plenty of songs in the LP catalog that make great use of sampling by the band’s mixer. What has made them great in the past is HOW Chester’s piercing voice and lyrics combine with Mike Shinoda’s clever rhymes. How samples of violin (Faint) and woodwind instruments (Nobody’s Listening) come together with their talented musicians on guitar, bass, and drums. Or how rap and rock come together to form EPIC songs (In the End, One Step Closer)

LP can be raw emotion (Crawling), a screamfest (Given Up) or a gentle reflection (My December). The most important part of every song LP writes is the cohesion of the parts, because there are so many. The cohesion of instrumentation with computer generation. The cohesion of genres. (Collision Course, wth Jay-Z)

Now don’t get me wrong, “The Catalyst” is not a bad song at all. It just isn’t great, and it doesn’t set any sort of expectation for the album. Then of course, perhaps this was done on purpose.

I’d even venture to say that it is a very well written and produced song, harboring an industrial, futuristic sound. The song seems to take the form of a prayer for humanity in the backdrop of a chaotic near apocalyptic setting- a setting where even the non believer might have no resort but to pray for salvation when humanity’s sophistication becomes the supreme oppressive weapon. The electronic melody towards the end of the song fades away and all that is left are words and piano.

“The Catalyst” is a prologue, and nothing more. I don’t know why this song was chosen as a single. This is the type of song that as you’re listening to the entire album you stumble upon and you’re like, “Hmm, that’s different. It’s not bad at all. It’s kind of catchy, almost infectious.” This song does NOT get my excited for the album. It is a new direction, but I would hardly call it refreshing or ground breaking.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

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The Heap: Streaming Event Scheduled- Story of The Year Concert

After a few months of waiting, one of my FAVORITE bands of all time is in town! St. Louis’ own Story of the Year makes a stop here in the Tampa Bay area, and you better believe I will be there. So of course, I will be stream a segment of the concert live on the blog. You can expect footage from 9-10 pm… anywhere in between.

It’s been a long time since I have seen these guys live. There were at Warped Tour a few years back, but I wasn’t able to make it that year. Though I did see them at Warped waaaaay back in the day circa 2004/2005, where they absolutely ROCKED it. They know how to put on a performance, I am am excited to see them at the State theatre in St. Pete, a smaller venue.

They’ve also recorded two albums since I’ve last seen them as well. In The Wake of Determination was just coming out when I last saw them, so I’ll get to hear songs from The Black Swan and The Constant performed. And of course, along with the random live streams, you can expect a nice reflection later this weekend, as well as finally, a review of their newest album!

The Heap’s Recommended Songs: Until the Day I Die, Anthem of Our Dying Day, The Antidote, I’m Alive, The Hero Will Drown

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Band of the Day

Music has become probably the only saving grace for me when it comes to making it through the day here at work. With all of the constant bombardments from patients and pharmaceutical companies, sometimes you need a little something to escape for a little bit… maybe something to get you into the groove and process all the paperwork you have to do rather quickly.

As I’ve posted previously, Pandora usually fulfills my musical needs. But, after receiving a desparate plea from Pandora’s founder to stop listening to so much damn music I’ve had to find other avenues. (I’ll post the actual email later this weekend).

Playlist.com¬†lets you search for any song by any artist and lets you listen to it streaming. From here you can add it to your own playlist and share it with the rest of the playlist.com community. They’ve even added some social networking capabilities via meebo. So you can now talk to those who discover your playlist! It’s pretty neat.

Anyway, this brings me to The Band of The Day. Every once in a while, I get in a mood where I just want to hear every single song by one band to see how the “other songs on the albums” are.

Today’s band of the day is Paramore. I’m almost through the entire list, and let me tell you, It certainly doesn’t disappoint. I don’t think I skipped a song for not liking the sound or words! I might have to buy some albums on itunes. Though newer stuff hasn’t made it on this list yet. You can’t beat a hot rocker chick with an absolutely amazing voice and blond red hair singing to my heart’s content. I want a Hayley!

Check out what I’m listening to here!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

FTDO: “Wait Till I Get My Money Right”

Pandora: The Music Genome Project.

Perhaps one of the greatest cyber-inventions available on the internet, Pandora allows the average Joe to expand their musical horizons. To those who aren’t familiar with this revolutionary music player, the process is quite simple. After registering an email account, you pick an artist- any artist, and more often than not, the first song is by your chosen band. After this, Pandora (as it actually explains this to you) plays artists of similar music style! As you like stuff, you can hit the like button to ensure it stays on your “station” or dislike to ban the song (and even artist) alltogether. The online software then learns your preferences and chooses songs that you might enjoy.

My favorite stations¬†are the “Gym Class Heroes” station, playing an awesome mix ranging from Kanye West to Lupe Fiasco and reaching as far out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the “Maroon 5” station. Also, if you are into rock/alternative stuff, the “My Chemical Romance” station is pretty sweet as well. Bachata lovers will enjoy the “Aventura” station.

The songs do end up getting a bit repetitive, and if you listen on different days, you end up hearing a lot of the same songs, just in a different order. But free music is free music. Anything is better than hearing the constant ringing of phones and the resounding clacking of keyboard strokes.

Register at Pandora so you can experience this! Feel free to share your favorite stations so that I can give them a listen. Be on the lookout for the Pandora Widget on the sidebar soon!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

My Band

Oh the memories. I just heard this on the radio on the drive back home. I had forgotten how frickin hilarious the song was, not to mention the music video itself. Enjoy!

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From The Desk Of… “Currently Listening To:”

A fantastic Arctic Monkeys playlist.

Check it out by clicking on the link above!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

In This Club

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Perhaps the greatest collection of musically talented rodents, forest dwellers, ventriloquists, and heavenly bodies to ever grace the stage of a children’s pizza parlor… The Rock-afire Explosion is a set of animatronic characters from the 80’s and 90’s that were the centerpiece of “Showbiz Pizza” parlors.

Though they group was disbanded in the mid 90’s due to “contract disputes” hardcore fans have been trying to get them back together. Heck, they’ve even programmed them to sing to present day songs. Thanks to Mike Hatke for providing the youtube link.

Without further ado, The Rock-afire Explosion performs Usher’s “In this Club!”

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser