All posts tagged: Music

3Bubble and J. Gray Present Hip-Hop for Pop Lovers

Most people are surprised to learn I like hip-hop. Let me clarify — I like certain kinds of hip-hop that appeal to my pop sensibilities. Growing up with artists like the Black Eyed Peas and Outkast was the perfect time for me to indulge and get to know this diverse sector of music. Perhaps that’s what makes 3Bubble and J.Gray so appealing — that melding of dyed-in-the-wool hip-hop with a melodic edge certain to attract listeners of every ilk. Because of their diverse sound, I knew there had to be more lurking beyond the surface, so I asked these two Houston artists to talk about five influential albums and songs. Take a gander below, and be sure to check out their new full-length release Live From the Pentagon, out now. 1. Room For Squares, John Mayer Hearing this song for the first time sparked the desire to go out and explore other artists from different genres. You feel soul accents throughout that resonate from where we come from but you also connect with him, the artist. …

Alexandra’s New Single and the Surprising Act That Inspired It

In the past decade or so, music has seen a resurgence of empowered female artists. Voices like Hayley Williams of Paramore, the resilient Rihanna, and revered singer-songwriter Sia have ushered in a renaissance — we are women, hear us roar! Add to that list Alexandra, an Australian songstress who takes the music industry by the ears and leads it in a new direction. Unafraid to tell her truth, she embraced the label of “unusual,” stamped on her by a teacher, and used it to create a career on her own terms and sound that’s majorly shaking up playlists around the world. Inspired by echoing gunshots on a nearby farm, Alexandra took the melody she heard in the pops and bangs as a basis for her new single “Criminal.” Adding lyrics and arrangements, she illustrates her creative process, which is anything but typical. “It’s like being possessed when a wave of inspiration hits [me],” she says. “It won’t let go until what needs to be said has been said and explored from every abstract angle.” Take a …

How FLAUNT Came Together Over Social Media and Crafted a ‘Radio-Ready’ Sound

In this day and age, there are lots of ways to form a band. Friends become bandmates, networking leads to collaboration, and so on. But one of the most interesting and, indeed, modern ways is via social media. Such is the case for FLAUNT, an indie rock/pop duo based both in Colorado and Maine (thanks, interwebz). What brought Justin Jennings and Joe Vitterito, two seemingly disparate musicians, together across such a long divide? The goal of creating song cycles in the era of the single — the devotion to creating art within music. In that same vein, the pair has released an unheard-of 13 music videos over the past four months, along with their latest album, RAVE NOIR, released last month. With the accolades mounting (they received an Independent Music Award in 2014 and three nominations from New Music Weekly‘s New Music Awards), and a curious teaser like, “We wanted to make an album that was reminiscent to some extent of what radio used to sound like,” the duo’s throwback vibe is heartening — at least for …

‘Citizen Kane’ and the Ukraine: Jim Wellman’s Strike Back at the Media

I’ve been lucky enough to get the chance to write about artists with a social conscience that fit into the tradition of mid-’60s folkies by broadening the masses’ awareness of what’s going on in the world. Singer-songwriter (and founding member of the Brand New Heavies) Jim Wellman is no different, using his new album, Dawn to Dusk to bolster social issues. According to Wellman, “The album is social commentary but viewed through perspectives of human psychological evolution and analysis of mass communication and propaganda. The core of the work is the understanding that Man lives in a world of amazing technological development, but is still encumbered with medieval forms of government by representatives who serve mainly the interests of the elite.” We wanted to know more about what inspires Wellman (including how Citizen Kane apparently inspired this collection of songs), so we sent him five burning questions. Here’s what he said. 1. Your album is heavy on the social commentary. How did the events in Ukraine in 2014 inspire and inform your music and lyrics? The …

Folk Duo Oakes and Smith’s Legendary Roots in 5 Songs

I love folk music. New folk, old folk, it doesn’t matter. But I will admit that there is good folk and great folk, the kind that steals the show at Newport and breaks into the mainstream. That kind of folk is rare, but when you find it, you want to shout about it. Enter Oakes and Smith, a Berkshires-based duo based in folk but unafraid to incorporate any musical spice they feel would enrich their sound. Their new EP, Between the Earth and the Sky, is as much a tribute to old-time great as it is carving a new path for the next generation of folkies. Hearkening back to legends like Simon and Garfunkel (in more than just a name), Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell, their sound is as harmonic and gorgeous as anything on vintage vinyl. So we just had to probe Robert and Katherine (Oakes and Smith, respectively) for five songs that influenced them. Okay, maybe we were fishing for song recommendations from the folk pros. Either way, they didn’t disappoint. Here’s what they said. 1. …

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5 Songs That Inspired the Otherworldly Talent of Robert Nix

“No, I won’t go with the flow, because if I do, I’ll end up where everybody else goes.” Those are probably the most descriptive and autobiographical words taken straight from Robert Nix’s lead single, “Won’t Go With the Flow” from his new album, Blue Moon. Self admittedly inspired by music from a plethora of eras and venues, he’s created a subgenere all his own, with a blend of rock, New Wave, indie, and a bit of psychedelia all his own. (If you with Talking Heads would have collaborated with early Syd Barrett, you’re in luck.) We were dying to find out more about how Nix invented his infectious sound, so we asked him for five influential songs that inspired him. Here’s what he said. 1. “Magical Mystery Tour,” The Beatles The energetic opener to the Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece of an album and probably some of the first music I ever heard courtesy of my sister’s vinyl record. This album in particular made its way into my bloodstream — I never did get off that bus, it seems. 2. “Strange Days,” …

Around the Soul of Daniel Grinberg in Five Questions

Just when you think you’ve heard everything there is to hear in pop, along comes Daniel Grinberg. His new album, Short Stories, is the kind of audio journey that takes the listener from wherever he or she is and sonically transports him or her to a completely different realm, one where speech is replaced by song and where emotions emanate audibly. If that sounds like purple prose, you obviously haven’t heard Grinberg’s stuff. (But you will at the end of this post.) It’s no wonder, then, that we were clamoring to grill Grinberg on his decision to devote his life to his music and leave behind his past in the world of tech. Here’s what he had to say. 1. Everyone has a turning point. What was it that made you say “I want to be a musician”? I don’t think anybody decides to be a musician. It is something that happen and you cannot avoid. Music is part of you, and you are part of it. It is not necessarily by playing an instrument. It is by …

Music in Motion: How Chris Wirsig Sets the Scene in Films and Video Games

In music’s new frontier, one genre stands as what might become the hottest (and quite possibly only) way to make a living as a creator: video games. Despite Germany’s Chris Wirsig’s classical training, he’s been able to carve out a nice piece of the artistic pie for himself as the composer of music and sound effects for projects like “Alien Tribe 2,” a top-10 iPad game. Now, he’s brought his talent creating ambient and electronic sounds to the soundtrack world for the short mystery film, 20 Matches. We just had to know more about Wirsig’s diverse career and how he got into composing for video games and film. He took a second out of his insanely busy schedule and indulged us. 1. What’s your favorite thing about creating? What inspires you? I really like the whole of the creative process – from the writing of a song, arranging it, to mixing, and finishing the production. It all adds up to the creation of atmosphere and emotion in a musical piece. And I don’t think too …

Real-Life Puppet Pat Campo’s Pop Passion – And Where It Came From

Lots of musicians claim the title of “artist,” but few really walk the walk. Pat Campo, pop/rock artist from Los Angeles, lives the credo so devoutly, however, that he has a stand-in puppet for his films. As Campo says, “People can find my picture online, and there’s no harm in that. That’s just not what I’m selling.” What he is selling, however, is a sound that, while reminiscent of bands like All-American Rejects, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and recent radio darlings Walk the Moon, is all Campo’s own. His loving care — nay, curation of his craft is evident in every note. His latest release, Clouds In My Head is full of that melodic pop that gets stuck in your head and sounds consistently fresh, no matter the year. It’s not hard to see why Campo was named one of Music Connection’s Hot 100 Unsigned Artists in 2012. It’s a title clearly that still applies today. With such a cool sound, we were dying to know more about where Campo’s influences lie. Here are …

The Five Songs That Shaped Vein’s Pop-Infused EDM Sound

Miami EDM/pop artist and producer Vein, otherwise known as Gavriel Rafael Aminov, counts Pitbull, Ashanti, Belinda, Enrique Iglesias, J Balvin, Jay Sean, Leona Lewis, Red Foo (LMFAO) and Robin Thicke as clients and collaborators. He’s toured the world and been nominated for a Grammy. Now, with his new single, “I Feel It,” Vein is finally making sure his name — along with his signature sound — is synonymous with his brand of music. We wanted to find out more about where exactly this sonic chameleon’s inspiration comes from, so we asked him for five songs that influenced his art. Here’s what Aminov said. 1. Bob Sinclar, “World Hold On” “World Hold On” was the record that allowed me to see how big the world really was. I was a bouncer at a club called Mansion in South Beach at the time, and when Bob Sinclair played, the reaction I saw from the crowd was polarizing! 2. The Notorious B.I.G, “Hypnotize” “Hypnotize” was the first song I ever memorized. I was able to sing the whole …

The Beach Boys to Bowie: LA’s Hot Rumour Spill the Songs That Shaped Them

Though Hot Rumour has only been a tangible unit for, oh, four months, the three members have enough musical cred among them to more than make up for what they lack in longevity. Renowned LA producer and Hot Rumour’s bass/synth player Frankie Siragusa — who’s hit the studio with the likes of Reggie Watts, the Decemberists, and REM — is joined by brothers Aaron and Josh Ficchi on guitar/keys and drums, respectfully. With their first EP just around the corner, the trio is planning a summer tour and is already feeling the love with their first single, “Run to Me” (take a listen below). Intrigued by the band’s alt- and indie-rock sound reminiscent of acts like Muse, we asked them for five of their most influential tracks. Here’s what they came up with. 1. “Monday Morning 5:19,” Rialto Says Aaron: “From the big, orchestral drums, to the jagged guitar riffs, and Bond-esque imagery, this track was a big influence on me. I’ve always been very interested in the use of minor, diminished chords and sevenths in …

After Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Stones, and Allmans, Billy Crain Deals With ‘Family Matters’

You’d probably recognize Billy Crain’s guitar before you’d recognize him. That’s not a slight against Crain; on the contrary, he’s shared the spotlight with the Dixie Chicks, the Outlaws, and many more, while opening for bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers with his late brother, Tommy. And this is just literally scratching the surface. It would take a full book to list all the incredible musicians Crain has stood beside. Now, his musical focus has expanded to include a philanthropic angle. Through his church, Crain’s completed missionary trips, including one to Haiti, and taken up the cause for fostering, parenting and adopting two children, Stella and Dallas. His humanitarian efforts shine on his latest release, Family Matters, which is sure to delight classic rock fans with its Southern Rock lean. But it’s truly a winning disc for any and all music lovers — and knowing Crain’s a good guy doesn’t hurt, either. We chatted with Crain about his incredible past, remarkable present, and bright future. First off, your resume is amazing. You’ve performed …

From Woodstock to Springsteen: Spain’s Stormy Mondays and the American Dream

Despite hailing from Spain, Stormy Mondays have completed some ultra-American milestones: sharing a mic with Bruce Springsteen (in New Jersey, no less), playing at one incarnation of the Woodstock festival, jamming with Slash, and having a song blasted off into space — quite literally. (Okay, so maybe having your song played on a space shuttle isn’t wholly American, but somewhere in there is the American dream, right?) Now, they’re unleashing a double EP onto wanton ears all over the world. Wading the River and The Lay of the Land contain the kind of Americana/rock/pop hybrid that’s kept music flowing for decades. We wanted to know more about how the band’s impressive list of accomplishments, and how they generated their can’t-miss sound, so we went to the source: Stormy Mondays themselves. Your sound is similar to current hit makers like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, but definitely all your own. What artists inspire you? We like to be a part of the rock and roll tradition. I think it’s our duty to know and respect rock and …

Soul Men: The Idiot Grins on Stax, Gram Parsons, and Bringing It All Back

Lots of music lovers would declare soul dead, or at least convalescing. (Unless you count artists like Bruno Mars who meld soul with funk, pop, and hip-hop.) Lots of artists wouldn’t even know where to begin with the genre, but if they had to take a stab in the dark, they’d probably begin with the Stax catalog learning from the greats. Oakland, California, five-piece Idiot Grins are not only dedicated disciples of Stax legends, but actually walked the walk by checking into Ardent Studios and using actual mastering equipment from the infamous tracking sessions for their latest release, Big Man. We had a chance to pose a few burning questions to Idiot Grins’ guitarist Randy Strauss, who told us about the band’s roots, blending country and soul to create a unique sound, and playing Gram Parsons’ guitar on the album You cite great Stax artists like Sam and Dave, Booker T & the MGs, and Otis Redding as influences. How did you first fall in love with their music? We’ve always liked the music of those …

ALBUM REVIEW: Gideon King & City Blog, ‘City Blog’

Though Gideon King’s band sounds more like a digital music publication than a collaborative group of musicians, “City Blog” is actually an amalgamation of who’s who when it comes to jazz, rock, pop, and fusion. Don’t believe me? I don’t often simply list the members of a band, but when you have players like this, how can you not? Joining guitarist, composer, and producer King are: Bassists James Genus and Matt Penman. Genus serves as bassist for both Herbie Hancock and Daft Punk (begging the question of how versatile can one person possibly be?), as well as sitting in with the Saturday Night Live band, while Penman is a noted upright bassist in the New York City jazz scene. Both noted for their eclectic skills, Willard Dyson and Donald Edwards contribute drums, while Kevin Hays, who’s toured with John Scofield and recorded with Brad Mehldau, is master of the keys. Donny Mccaslin, one of the hottest names in New York jazz, sits in on tenor sax and flute on two tracks as well. On vocals are Marc Broussard, who’s well known for his …

Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue. Can you guess the song?

CONCERT REVIEW: FLOW 93.5 Throwback Birthday Bash featuring Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Maestro, Fat Joe and Choclair, TD Echo Beach, Toronto, ON, September 27, 2015

FLOW 93.5 has long been Toronto’s pre-eminent R&B/hip-hop radio station, but in recent years it has begun to tweak its format to move away from contemporary/Top 40 hits in favour of a classic hip-hop format. The FLOW 93.5 Throwback Birthday Bash—I’m still unclear as to why a station launched in March 2001 would celebrate its birthday in late September, but feel free to chime in with an answer in the comments—was certainly a reflection of that shift to “All The Best Throwbacks,” featuring a lineup of classic acts headlined by En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa. Kicking things off on Sunday afternoon was Choclair with a brief set that closed with a medley of hooks from standout hits from the 90s (“Hip Hop Hooray,” “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) and a short rendition of his debut single, 1999’s “Let’s Ride.” Choclair was generally well received by fans who made it out to the sand-filled venue before sundown, but it was a bit disappointing to watch him finish with an abbreviated version of what remains to this day his biggest …

POPDOSE PREMIERE: Lyndzie Taylor, “What Do I Know”

Every once in awhile, a strong female vocalist comes along who, besides having the chops to carry some truly radio-ready anthems, adds her own voice to a list of lady rockers along the lines of Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. If that seems like high praise, then you obviously haven’t hear Lyndzie Taylor. Migrating to Los Angeles when she was young, Taylor began pursuing her musical dreams while still in high school. Her upcoming release, Phoenix, is her second full-length album. Where her earlier efforts have included a bit of introspection, her latest release is all rock. “My music is loud, bold, and in your face,” says Taylor. “It felt good to match my creative expression with my personality in the studio.” Single “What Do I Know” carries the trajectory where female rock stars of the 1980s left off. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned that’s true, it’s that when the pushing comes to shove, you can’t rely on anyone but you,” sings Taylor, flavoring her lyrics with feminist credos, which, at a time when Top 40 …

ALBUM REVIEW: Mark Kraus, ‘The Story of Everything’

Okay, honesty time. I love music probably more than anything else in the entire world, and it’s no secret that my tunage of choice is typically that which is a half-century old. Many of the artists I write about here on Popdose are not that, but I see them as being rare exceptions to my preference. Mark Kraus, however, is probably the best stepping stone between the two; his raw, stripped-down, no-frills brand of music is refreshing in the way your favorite old record is. It doesn’t pretend, because it doesn’t have to. It’s appropriate, then, that the first single from his new album The Story of Everything is entitled “Put an Old Record On.” See, Mark and I have something in common already! The song itself is the jewel in the crown of this album. Emotive, beautiful, and haunting, its melody is augmented with simple strings and poignant percussion. Frankly, the same could be said about the rest of the album. The bounciest it gets is the title track, with its finger-picked backbeat and “You …

ALBUM REVIEW: Slim Loris, ‘Love and Fear’

Although Slim Loris hails from the land of Ikea and Abba, the Swedish quartet embraces a lot of universal influences, many of whom are of interest to my regular readers. We’re talking 1960s British Invasion, classic rock, and even another genre of music that’s close to my heart: 1990s alternative. That’s not to say that their sound sounds dated. Not at all. In fact, Slim Loris somehow combines the best parts of all of these things and rolls them into one modern-sounding, unstoppable record. Love and Fear, the band’s sophomore release following 2011’s Down to Earth, finds the band in a good place, just coming off of a tour across the UK, including an appearance at Liverpool’s world-famous Cavern Club, last year. Album opener “Never Danced Sober” embraces a pop backbeat reminiscent of bands like the Searchers, while the rawer feel of “Higher” showcases the band’s introspective side. “Sparkling Sun” conjures some Revolver-era Beatles, “Violet Haze” features a sparkling, catchy guitar riff and playful lyrics, and “Better Than I” shows off the band’s CSNY-like harmonies, proving that …

The New Investors Channel Psych-Pop Gods in New Single “Atún”

If you’re wondering, atún means tuna, and yes, it does have something to do with the New Investors’ premier single. As the band, which hails from Copenhagen, explains, the song was inspired by a set at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when drummer Kristian Karup noticed what appeared to be an audience member eating a tuna sandwich. Karup called out, “Tienes un boccadillo con atún?” (“Do you have a tuna sandwich?”). At first, the audience was silent. I mean, when’s the last time you’ve heard tuna used as stage banter? Finally, another guy responds with “Pero no hay!” (“But I don’t have any!”). And apparently, that lack of tuna is what led to this tune(a). Although the New Investors are native Danes, they chew up and spit out an American surf-rock sound that would make Dick Dale proud. Melded with shades of psych, bossa nova, and a touch of jazz, “Atún” hints at what’s to come on the band’s debut album, out this August. Check out the video below, and watch out for the tuna sandwich cameo amid …

REVIEW: Nick De La Hoyde, “The Longest Way”

The disparity that exists between modern musical content and the real lives of its listeners is a very real problem. Lorde, for one, has been an outspoken critic of privilege in hip-hop lyrics, most notably documented in her smash hit “Royals.” The conundrum still stands, though; how is it possible to be invested in a genre with subject matter that’s just plain unrelatable? Enter Nick de la Hoyde, a 21-year-old rapper/singer hailing from Australia (a hotbed for the up-and-coming hip-hop crew of the moment). After moving to Brazil to become a football (that’s in European terms, not American) player, de la Hoyde became disenchanted with his dream and found that putting his emotions to words was therapeutic. Thus, his hip-hop career was born. Since then, his profile has exploded with thousands of new followers on Instagram and Twitter, amassing over just five months. What’s the attraction? Could it be that this largely DIY artist (until recently, anyway) struck a chord with the populous; that his subject matter details the roller coaster of broken dreams and …

ALBUM REVIEW: John Helix, ‘Chronic Happiness’

Though upon first listen it’s evident that a whole host of influences came together to create the artist known as John Helix, the San Diego-based singer/songwriter himself uses Weltschmerz — a German word literally translated as “world sorrow,” or, in this case, a sense of romantic ennui. On Chronic Happiness, Helix’s second album recorded in his “man cave” studio, he explores the theme from the perspective of a sociological philosopher. What does it take to achieve happiness in today’s socially connected world? How many anti-depressants to successfully pull us out of everyday misery? Overarching these heady elements is, of course, the music. Helix makes no secret that Elliot Smith is the star of his influence, immediately evident on the title track, with its echoing, reverb-laden instruments and pleading vocal. Throughout the album, the tracks fluctuate from the truly beautiful (“Up This Time”) to lush (“Psychotropic Dreams”) to lumbering (“Conceptual Whistling”). Chronic Happiness never veers too far into the rock ‘n’ roll arena, but that doesn’t seem to be Helix’s style. Instead, he keeps it breezy and easy, and crafts …

MUSIC REVIEW: Blunda, “Surrender”

You’ve probably never heard of Andy Blunda, but I guarantee you’d recognize his work. Lately, he’s been a mainstay in the television world, composing scores and themes for hot reality shows like Showtime’s Polyamory, Storage Wars, and American Hoggers. His roots, though, lie in classical training and serving as a sideman in a number of ’90s and 2000s outfits, including one of my favorite bands of the era, Fastball. Now, Blunda is expanding his solo repertoire after releasing his second EP, Messages, last year. “Surrender” finds him pouring his heart and soul out within his North Hollywood home studio, channeling his inner demons into a song that’s both ethereal and tinged with a rock backbone. One can almost hear the catharsis as the song progresses, Blunda’s multi-instrumental background allowing him to mastermind most of the arrangement (though he’s joined here by Luke Adams). Yet, for all of its dreamlike qualities, there’s something universal and attractive about “Surrender” that, for sure, leaves the listener wanting more. Hopefully, we’ll get it.

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2014 PICKS – A PLENTIFUL YEAR

Since I didn’t do this last year, I’m throwing my hat in with every one of the fine folks here at Popdose as 2014 was one of the most interesting, diverse and fruitful years – especially musically.  So rather than pontificate on the “why”, etc., I’m going to jump right in with both feet and revisit some of the music, et al., that stood out for me from January to now…: Albums by “new(er)” artists: LITTLE CHIEF:  Lion’s Den This wonderful, solid piece of work is the debut album from a recently-formed band out of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  I was immediately drawn into its warm, almost-understated production; the sharp on-pointness of the harmonies and the lushness of the arrangements.  Rarely have I ever been so moved immediately but Lion’s Den has lived with me from the first listen. JIMMY STEPHENS JR & THE BLUES CITY ROAD DOGS:  Road Ready The most explosive, pure rock & roll album to enter my consciousness in years.  Jimmy Stephens, Jr. is as fine a singer, songwriter, bass player (and guitarist) …

ALBUM REVIEW: The Workers, ‘Totem’

As synonymous with the New York every-man music scene as a protagonist in a Billy Joel Song, Dan Greenwald’s Workers have been a mainstay on the local scene for over a decade. A three-time ASCAPlus Popular Award, Greenwald has nothing to prove and no one to answer to; the Workers’ new EP, with a trio of tracks reminiscent of the Beatles, REM, Elliot Smith and a mishmash of other alt-rock favorites finds him and his band — along with master mixologist Will Hensley (Coldplay, Electric Ladyland Studios) — in top form and ready to rock. Over Totem‘s trio of tracks, Greenwald explores a couple of heady themes. On the pop-infused “Death Race,” he tackles drugs and driving (one in the same, really), while “Boomerang”‘s lovely pedal steel backdrop provides a dreamlike frame for lyrics of independence and the fear of never achieving your full potential (“nothing slows the march of time / and I’ve yet to yield my prime”). But it’s lead single “Big Time” pairs heart-wrenching words to a Talking Heads-esque tune as Greenwald relates what was, …

ALBUM REVIEW: The Society Islands, ‘The Big Sleep’

Sometimes when an artist is nondiscriminatory with his or her influences, the result is unfocused, muddy, and downright confusing. Many feel compelled to use a whole spice rack of ingredients when thoughtfully mixing and matching would service their music and lyrics in a far better way. Cologne, Germany-based Boris Rogowski believes there’s no such thing as a bad influence, yet it’s clear that in his new release, The Big Sleep, no matter if the influence is good or bad, it’s been carefully integrated and, in some cases, upgraded. In the vein of digitally based artists like Gotye and Daft Punk, Rogowski, who was a founding member of psycho pop quintet Die Sonne, relates his own dreamlike vision and generates possibly the most aptly named album ever. Under the guise of The Society Islands, Rogowski takes the listener on a journey bordering on consciousness and something catatonic. Is it a dream, or is it something darker? Opener “Square 1” is a catchy, rhythm-driven pop tune cloaked in analog effects, just for good measure. Of course, not everything on The …

Star Wars Episode VII is coming. What else do you need? (starwars.com photo)

24 current reasons to be thankful in 2014

Sure, the government’s a mess, the environment is spiraling out of control and American cities are actually burning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take time to consider some of the reasons we all have to be thankful. So everyone, please put down your torches and pitchforks long enough to appreciate the following blessings: 1) Your job doesn’t require you to balance anything on Kim Kardashian’s big shiny butt. 2) You’re not married to Robin Thicke, probably. At least not anymore. 3) Statistically, if you get pulled over by a police officer you still have a very good chance of not being shot to death. No matter what Nancy Grace says. 4) You’re not on Nancy Grace. 5) You’re not a Red Sox fan. Oh, you are? Er, sorry. 6) You weren’t in the last “Expendables” movie. Oh, you were? Er, sorry. 7) You didn’t let yourself get too attached to “Selfie.” 8) Your professional success doesn’t rely on cooperation from the Republican Party. 9) You didn’t have everything riding on that damn Benghazi report. 10) You …