Welcome to Musical Druggernauts

Unlike your ordinary, run-of-the-mill music blog, Musical Druggernauts is dedicated to providing you with pertinent album release reviews, and do so in our own unique way. The fact that you are even reading this section means a lot, but please stop reading this and read about what hot new albums we have reviews for. Why are you still reading this? Since, we have grabbed your attention even further, if you like what you read, please send us any artist/band album that you feel would make for a great blog review. You can stop reading this now, we promise.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dirty South - Speed of Life

Another week is coming to a close and what better way to put on those Friday party hats than with a review of some electronica/dance music? Even more so, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami is on the horizon and it only makes sense to review someone who has in fact played at this iconic musical setting. With that said, Dirty South’s first full-length studio album, titled, Speed of Life, just dropped this week and is ready to take the EDM world by storm. Read on to see if this seasoned DJ/producer has what it takes to keep us out of our seats and on the dance floor!
One of the more captivating tracks of Speed of Life is without a doubt “Until the End” feat. Joe Gil. Like “City of Dreams,” Dirty South utilizes a vocal accompaniment that is honest and sincere with lyrics that say things we couldn’t.  A sonically entrancing electric guitar riff and piano synth opens the track as an upcoming artist in his own right, Joe Gil, divulges us with his lyrical prowess. “I can see you breathing/but you’re hardly moving/a life with no light is hard to define/but you don’t see you’re holding/all the keys to all the dungeons/let yourself out/just let you be found.” This first verse encapsulates the true essence of music and its ability to cross genres in a way that still hits close to our hearts.  EDM is more than just tripping balls or sweating your ass off to intoxicatingly catchy beats. It’s about the joy and sanctity in life as well as its ability to bring people from different walks of life together to share in this musical catharsis of sorts. Songs such as “Until the End” delineate that life is to be savored like a fine wine—getting better as we go on.  As Gil states in the chorus: “It’s you and I, ‘til the end of time.”
“Reset” is definitely one of the more club-thumping inspired tracks off of Dirty South’s debut LP.  Trying to describe an EDM song and do it any justice whatsoever is like trying to tell a fat guy that he doesn’t need that last donut from the dozen box he just bought 10 minutes ago—there’s just no use. That said, “Reset” can best be described as that iconic upbeat mix that will have you in a state of utter delirium from all the head flipping and jumping up and down like a kid who got an N64 for Christmas that one year in 1997 (I know that’s exactly what the hell I did).
In all honesty, this review wouldn’t feel quite complete if we didn’t give our two cents about the new song Ruben Haze is featured on: “Gods.” Starting off in more of a hypnotic trance, Dirty South takes us on a musical journey that one would envision is exactly how Hundred Acres Woods would feel if you and Winnie the Pooh dipped your hands in too much “honey” one jolly afternoon. The drawn out synths add a feeling of anticipation that magically intertwine seamlessly with the serenity that the guitar brings to the track as well. To some, it may get a little monotonous by the end, unfortunately. The main drawback, however, is that Haze’s vocals are very minimal. Even more, his voice is so distorted that it’s hard to make out what he is singing. At the end of the day though, EDM isn’t known for its proverbial musings, so you can’t really harp on this any longer than that Harlem Shake craze, which beat more than one dead horse to death over the past few weeks.
If you’re a fan of Dirty South and EDM music in general, than it is definitely worth taking a mandatory listen to Speed of Life. Even if this isn’t your cup of tea, it’s definitely worth giving it that old college try. All in all, Dirty South shows that he has the talent and musical repertoire under his belt to make an even bigger name for himself. The only question is, when?  Until then, Druggernauts!!!

Stream the entire album here!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


            Bands are back on the radar once again, people!!! The DJ is still hanging around, but thanks to a variety of successful acts, there has been a glorified resurgence.  With that, we give you RDGLDGRN, a three-piece band from Virginia that has worked with iconic names in the industry, which include Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams. They are a conglomerate of several musical backgrounds, including pop and hip-hop, covered under that Indie umbrella. Their self-titled debut EP is out now and 2013 is the year in which we’ll see if RDGLDGRN has the makings of a group that can reach a massive audience. Read on to see their true colors show in this highly anticipated debut.
The first track off of RDGLDGRN’s self-titled EP, “I Love Lamp,” is a great choice in showcasing this group’s hybridized sound.  Starting with an up-tempo electric guitar chord progression, anticipation builds as the doors of musical bliss open up, the drums kick in, and a guitar riff that emulates the same tones of Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” blasts us in the face. Trying to classify this is more of a juxtaposition than anything else. It’s Indie with a bigger sound. The vocals hint at a lo-fi sound while the production has such a pop-rock infused styling that it comes together in the strangest of ways. It’s like the accidental combined forces Peanut Butter and chocolate coming together, where we don’t know why it works, but we sure are glad as hell it does.
            Further evoking an indie sentimentality is the record’s name itself: “I Love Lamp.” Anyone who is a true fan of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 Evening News Team would automatically spot this reference, but to the common man, not so much. Interestingly enough, nowhere in the song is this phrase iterated, making it a red herring of sorts, further adding that Indie sentimentality. 
To put it in a nutshell, it’s a happy sounding song that coats over sad, morose thoughts/phrasings.  This is especially evident in the second verse:

“I got a new guy, that's what she said

I never knew I'd feel like I'm dead

Cause I lost my bottom lady for a one-night stand

She said I thought that you should know that I don't wanna be friends.”

Lyrically speaking, there is a lot going on here. In this stanza, the victim seems to be the male in this scenario, but then it shifts to the woman’s side. This coining of the term “bottom lady” refers to someone’s number one girl; the one whom he just lost because of a night of infidelity. The real question at hand then is, does he only feel this way because he got caught?
            Like any great song, however, the melody is what has to be there. “I Love Lamp” definitely delivers on this end, intermixing indie rocker and hip-hop verses with an earworm of a hook that shies away from being overtly pop.  But is this song an anomaly in comparison to the rest of their self-titled EP? Well, telling you now would be no fun so read on, people!!!

Check out their video here: "I Love Lamp"

            The next track, “Doing The Most,” goes off on a different tangent than that of “I Love Lamp.” Here, the pop element fades into the background and is replaced by what could be best described as a party rock anthem of sorts. It’s very much got an inkling of a Neptunes feel, which makes sense because Pharrell has penned his name on this record. The incorporation of a blasting trumpet section and multilayered background vocals are synonymous with that slightly non-mainstream sound that Pharrell is known for a la Timberlake’s “Senorita.“ These variants in production serve as the guiding force throughout the song; further implementing that different is not a bad thing (insert Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Thrift Shop” reference here).
            Lyrically, this is a song that isn’t meant to blow you out of the water with metaphors and figurative language aplenty a la Springsteen.  It’s more about the feeling and “Doing The Most” captures this essence. The chorus is simple and makes it easy for anyone to holler at the top of their lungs before slugging one back. There it is. The cat’s out of the bag. This is a great song to bop up and down like a Frat boy and drink to. If you can’t remember these simple lyrics (below) you probably didn’t do too well in school, but we’re not here to judge.
            “You should do less
                        Cuz you’re doing the most
                        You should do less now
                        Cuz you’re doing the most”

Reading these lyrics, it’s hard to tell what exactly RDGLDGRN is hinting at here. Is there a sexual innuendo here that we need to extract and make up our own theory about? Or is this about that stage 5 clinger who just won’t leave you the hell alone? With that, we have to look at the verses, which state the following: “Is there something wrong with saying hi…catch me if you can, I’m messaging a friend.”  Frankly, it’s apparent that it’s about some crazy ass significant other that should probably pop a Prozac or something to settle those nerves. Abort mission! Abort mission!
            Shifting gears, “Million Fans” is the most hip-hop centered track of the EP. It’s got a very Jurassic 5 feel about, which is great when you love Chali 2na as much as we do here at Musical Druggernauts. This is the song meant to bring the house down. Follow these steps accordingly: 1) Turn off the radio that is playing the same song you heard thirty-seven minutes ago 2) Fill up your beverage of choice 3) Walk over to whatever music is being played out of 4) Put this song on 5) Crank that shit up to the “ears will ring tomorrow” setting 6) Prepare to get in a scuffle with that bro who is going to come at you for turning down his “jam.”
            Overall, RDGLDGRN’s EP is a complete and utter tease, topping out at only 4 songs. In this span of less than 15 minutes, however, it is evident that this is a group that has something special going on. It’s hard to dictate how their sound will evolve on their full album, but “I Love Lamp” is a smash that is already garnering airplay on alt radio stations. That said, turn that shit up! Until then, Druggernauts!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Josh Groban - All That Echoes

We here at Musical Druggernauts aren’t gonna lie to you, our loyal fans. We have missed you dearly. This past month without you has been more miserable than finding out on your 18th birthday that Santa Clause doesn’t exist. The time has come, however, to return the favor…to give it back.  That said, our first review of this new year is a little bit off the beaten path from something that we would normally cover. But we are pioneers in broadening those musical horizons for everyone, so without further adieu, let the journey begin.
This week we cover that guy you wanted to punch directly in the face in Crazy, Stupid, Love. That guy whose song you always hear at church’s that have enacted this hip, cool feeling by covering a contemporary song (whether every week or just on Easter…you know who you are). Yeah, I’m talking about Josh Groban, people. The man whose voice is so perfect in tone that you can’t help but wonder if he is half man/half machine.  It’s been awhile since we have really heard Groban’s name in the music scene. Rumors have been flying around that with this new album, All That Echoes, he is looking to get into a more pop sounding realm. After all is said and done, however, will he stay true to his musical roots or come up flat? Read on to find out!!
The opening track, “Brave,” has a very Groban feel to it with a slow building instrumentation that really helps highlight his voice. When it comes to Groban, less is more. Rather than hitting us in the face with too much production, a great use of string accompaniment, drums, and a hint of piano is all it takes to add enough depth to Groban’s already powerful chops.  It is at the chorus when we get this full orchestra sound that makes you envision him singing this before a crowd of thousands. It is very operatic feeling, which is his textbook sound, but the melody flows so effortlessly that it has a pop sensibility in it that keeps you drawn in.  If you gave this song to someone who only listens to the melody and not lyrics, it would definitely pass the first listen test.
            Lyrically, this is a very empowering song, much like that of “Raise Me Up.” Although it isn’t necessarily as religious in nature or as lyrically prophetic, it still has a great message in it that will hit a nerve with many. In the second verse this rings true:
            “Hold on, hold on, so strong, time just carries on.
            And all that you thought was wrong is pure again.
            You can’t hide forever from the thunder.
            Look into the storm and feel the rain.”

What is great about actually listening to these lyrics or reading them on paper is that no matter the current situation you are in, you can relate to this on a personal level. It could be about a job, relationship, anything. From this verse, it’s more of an affirmation that time does heal all wounds and knowing this, we have no reason to fear the things that stand or get in our way from being happy with who we are.
Although the majority of Groban’s songs have that feeling of endearment, “Happy in My Heartache,” really sticks out on All That Echoes.  The beautiful intertwining of both piano and guitar makes this song special. Even with its incorporation of a string section, it feels as if Groban is singing directly to you, adding a whole other dimension. It is a light, airy sounding song despite having a melancholic theme about lost love. This juxtaposition is effective and further delineates Groban as a real artist, at a time when those are seemingly few and far between.
             Lyrically, “Happy in My Heartache,” has some of the best writing in the entire album. From the first verse, the reality of an aching heart is described so succinctly that it serves a deep, unveiling sentiment, which only poetry can do at certain times. Groban sings:
“Coffee is on the table, and I
            Just can’t seem to wake up this aching heart of mine.
            One more day without you and I’ll be fine.
            I know I’m good for waiting, but waiting’s wasted time.”

These words are hard enough of “truth pills” to swallow, but Groban makes it that much more cathartic and emotionally wrenching. (Stop having the absolutely right things to say that pull on those heartstrings!!) Interesting enough, is how Groban once again focuses on this idea of time and how it complicates things. Sure, we can wait out things until the pain is less severe with each and everyday, but living in the now is something we have to force ourselves to do. Relationships, whether intimate or not, always have their ups and downs. There is something I read recently that really hits the nail on the head with this: “You were fine before you ever met this person. Soon enough you both will be fine again.” It’s a declaration of sorts, in that we should cherish what we have and to not regret the things that we don’t. Groban, himself, seems to know of this all too well.
Overall, Groban’s music might not be your cup of tea. His voice is a lot like James Blunt in a sense that it is good, but you can only stand it in minor doses. If you are a diehard of Groban or are looking for something new, then this may suit that empty void in your heart where Santa used to be…I digress. Other great tracks to check out include: “Falling Slowly” and “Un Alma Mas.” Until then, Druggernauts!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Albums That Rocked Our Socks!

Hey there, Druggernauts!

Well, the year is about to come to a close and because the world is supposed to end at some time today, every word we type is all the more important. This will surely go down as one of those sacred texts that the next civilization on Earth will discover (once they reinvent the internet that is). Rather than do our usual thing of reviewing a new album for the week, we thought that it would be good to do something different and make a list of yours and ours favorite albums for 2012. Although we can't really choose our favorite albums of the year in any numerical fashion, rest assured, we are here to provide you with what we felt really summed up a great music year. Without further adieu, check out what we have on our top 10 list. Until next year, Druggernauts!!!

Click the "Watch on Youtube" link on the videos so you can watch! (for copyright reasons)

Kendrick Lamar - good kid m.A.A.d. City

Rarely does an artist prove that you don't have to have a radio smash to sell records and generate a mass following. Lamar is a true master of his craft and his debut album is definitely something that everyone should open their ears to.

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Few bands are able to branch out these days and garner a real following. With a ton of blog buzz and a debut studio album that has taken years to bring to fruition, Alt-J shows that timing is everything.

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Anyone who isn't living under a rock knows who Frank Ocean is by now. In short, he is his own genre. Real artistry is not dead and Ocean proves this.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - The Heist

Many acts jump at the first opportunity to sign to a major label. Macklemore, however, has shied away from this and proven that while it may be exponentially more difficult to manage all facets of your career, the reward is definitely worth it.

Imagine Dragons - Night Visions

No rock band's debut album has sold more albums in its first week in the past six years than Imagine Dragons. The scary thing is that they only continue to grow and the ceiling doesn't appear to be remotely in site for this Vegas based band.

John Mayer - Born and Raised

He's been on the scene for over a decade and remains able to not be bound to one particular genre. "Born and Raised" is the album he has been waiting to write for several years and with the question of will he ever be able to sing again looming, this would be an honorable way to walk off into the sunset.

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

The wait finally came to an end this year and the Dirty Projectors came out with a new, full length album. As one who listens to them would expect, they only continue to get better.

The Lumineers - The Lumineers

With a massive hit, "Ho Hey," under the belt and a sound that is refreshingly organic, The Lumineers show that bands don't have to sacrifice who they are as musicians to make it big.

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon

With two top 40 radio hits under her belt already and a voice that is intoxicatingly different from the norm, Goulding breaks the conventional norm by being a non-bubblegum pop female artist.

Jack White - Blunderbuss

Jack White finally decided to make a solo album and lord are we happy he did! He may be an extremely awkward person (so we hear), but he has the musical gift for writing and creating bad ass guitar licks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox

            Bruno Mars broke into the major music scene almost three years ago with his feature on B.oB.’s hit song, “Nothin’ On You.” Since then, he has gone on to pen some of his own hits, which have included the platinum selling hits, “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.” With his first album, Doo-Wops and Hooligans, Mars has shown that he has a specific niche in the music marketplace and that he is a force to be reckoned with. Now, the time has come, for his sophomore effort, titled, Unorthodox Jukebox, which hit stores earlier this week. His new, hit single, “Locked Out of Heaven,” paying a certain homage to The Police, has climbed to the top of the charts and made any doubters into resonant believers. The future seems even brighter than before, but does Unorthodox Jukebox pack the same punch as its predecessor? Only one way to find out…
            The opening track off of Unorthodox Jukebox, “Young Girls,” is an interesting choice to say the least. It is a confessional of sorts, in which Mars battles with who he is. Garnering this critical acclaim as an artist by being in the celebrity limelight has affected him in an adverse way of sorts it seems. Rather than come out with a happy-go-lucky song, Mars delivers a punch right in the stomach. He wants to stay true to himself, but isn’t sure exactly what that means anymore. Pretty thought provoking stuff, whether you can fully relate or not; in the end, we all question our core selves at times, so in some tangential manner this song strikes a nerve.
            With a kick drum that doesn’t let up throughout the entirety of the song and a heavy array of synthesizers, “Young Girls” sounds like a faster version of Mars’ earlier hit, “It Will Rain,” minus the grand, operatic hook.  This is not one of his type-A songs, but more importantly, it serves that greater purpose in opening Mars up about his own life. Making this the opening track, he is bleeding himself out for the rest of the record. From the second verse alone, this is apparent:

    “I get lost under these lights

     I get lost in the words I say

     Start believing my own lies
Like everything will be okay

     Oh, I still dream of a simple life

     Boy meets girl makes her his wife

     But love don't exist when you live like this
     That much I know, yes I know

With this now being the reported second single from the album, it is evident that Mars wants to let the world know that his musical styling and topics are not limited.
If this can reach a big audience, who knows, but being Bruno Mars sure as hell doesn’t hurt!!
            Continuing down this tunnel of self-discovery, Mars strikes it big with “When I Was Your Man.” This song is great because of its simplicity. Absent of an overly produced track, the elegant sound of the piano is all that is needed, coupled with captivating melody. Gavin Degraw would definitely want this song on one of his albums in another life. Heartbreak and regret is a poignant theme throughout this album, but in this track it is done with such sophistication that it is vicariously felt through the pain in Mars’ voice.
            Having only the piano is a gutsy call because the strength of the song rests entirely on the melody. Fortunately, the Smeezingtons (Bruno’s writing crew) get this and do not disappoint. The verses are brutally honest and the chorus is something that cuts through the surface and brands itself on our heartstrings.  Love is something that requires our full attention and effort, like anything worthwhile, and fully understanding this is something that comes only after the fact, more times than not.  Thankfully, the world has Bruno Mars to help us learn. He writes in the chorus:
    “Hmmm too young, too dumb to realize

                 That I should have bought you flowers and held your hand

     Should have gave you all my hours when I had the chance

                 Take you to every party cause all you wanted to do was dance

                Now my baby is dancing, but she’s dancing with another man.”

Other great tracks include, “If I Knew,” “Natalie,” and “Treasure.”  Overall, it’s a great effort from Mars, but is it an album that is great throughout? No.  His own sound is standing in the backdrop for a lot of these records. Vibes reminiscent of The Police, Phil Collins, and Peter Tosh, make it appear like he is just overtly implanting his influences into his own material.  Nothing wrong with this, but people fell in love with him because he was so original in the first album. Hopefully we can see that side of Bruno soon enough again. Until then Druggernauts!!!