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.

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!!!