Archive for Music

RedFang_FBEarlier this fall, Portland-based heavy metal band Red Fang released their third album, Whales & Leeches, another raucous set of songs akin to Mastodon, High on Fire, Pelican and more. To continue their celebration, they’ve sent Music Unlimited an exclusive version of the album that includes track-by-track commentary about each song, available now here.

While heavy metal can sometimes been pigeon-holed as angry and aggressive, this commentary version shows the hilarious side of a band who has gained notoriety for just that. They even have a brand new video featuring themselves and SNL’s Fred Armesin fighting beer-drinking (not brain-eating) zombies (Save the beer!) They do give thoughtful insight into the songs, but they also lighten things up by sparring with each other and often returning to talking about sandwiches . . . multiple times.

The band wrapped up a North American tour not long ago & will be playing their hometown right after Christmas. Next year, they will be spending most of the winter and early spring in and around Europe, the Netherlands, Russia & more. Check out the full list of dates here.

We hope you enjoy this exclusive, personal look into this relentlessly high-energy album!

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We’re rounding up some of the great new Featured Playlists you can find on the Music Unlimited web app, tailored for many different occasions. Check out our special Holiday-themed collection below!

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Kelly Clarkson Holiday Picks
Hear favorite holiday songs hand-picked by the pop star, including her own take on classic seasonal tunes from her new album, Wrapped in Red.


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Xmas Rapping
We don’t know exactly why rappers avoid the Holidays but we had to do a lot of digging to come up with these hip-hop Christmas tracks. Ironic, since during the birth of rap Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang and (especially) Run-DMC put out solid Xmas tunes. Kanye delivers as usual and Ghostface, of all rappers, lays down real, from-the-heart rhymes.
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Every year, we’ve brought you a collection of the best, most played and critically acclaimed music of the year as we did this year with our Best of 2013 Channel and upcoming genre-based playlists. This week, the Music Unlimited has highlighted some of their favorites so you can get a personalized perspective on some of the greatest music from 2013. Here’s the last of them! Enjoy!

Best of 2013: Jon Pruett, International Curator

KurtVile_JonIn a year when so many songs and artists clamor to be the first to hit you over the head with a hook, Kurt Vile stands out for his willingness to amble along at his own pace. Most of Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze sounds impervious to the surroundings of the modern world. It’s a warm and insular record that starts with the 9-minute-plus title track, a curious mix classic rock dynamics and underground hominess. His lazy drawl is some kind of mixture of Iggy Pop and J. Mascis while his layered guitars pile on the sweet melodies. He gives off an aura like an extra on the set of Dazed and Confused but his songwriting and disarming sweetness also show off an intelligence and depth that goes beyond 2D characterizations. He’s a full-bore rock dude, a long-haired Philly poet, and his album was a clear-eyed favorite of 2013.

If the songs on the rest of this mix have any thread running through them, it’s that of a singular vision. William Onyeabor made records that no one even heard for nearly two decades, and they are some of the most alive and colorful recordings you’ll ever hear. Plugging away at his synths, fusing African rhythms to Herbie Hancock-style funk, there is nothing like him. Bob Dylan too, has few peers, and the unreleased sessions for his most divisive album find that the muse so often thought lost during this period of his life was willfully disguised. Disparate artists Wolf Eyes and Danny Brown completely inhabit their own corners of the world, and end up making music that defies any categorization and sounds like the vital pulse of some unknown creature.

Pop songs, guitars, reissues and an album that might make you realize it’s actually possible to reinvent guitar playing (courtesy of Bill Orcutt) also make appearances. Tracks from Daft Punk and the Sly Stone box are dropped in as a reminder that even at the top levels of success, it’s still possible to create music that pushes forward, looks back, and, in the eternally relevant words of Curtis Mayfield, keeps on keepin’ on.

Listen to Jon’s full Top 30 Tracks Playlist here.

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Every year, we’ve brought you a collection of the best, most played and critically acclaimed music of the year as we did this year with our Best of 2013 Channel and upcoming genre-based playlists. This week, the Music Unlimited staff will highlight some of their favorites so you can get a personalized perspective on some of the greatest music from 2013. Enjoy!

Best of 2013: Jeff Safran, Marketing Manager

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1. Jake BuggJake Bugg

Being labeled the next Dylan is quite a stigma, but there are songs on Bugg’s debut, (“Simple As This”), that evoke 60′s folk and carry the same lyrical depth as the living legend. Tracks like “Two Fingers” are equally adept at channeling the best of Noel Gallagher and Oasis. Unmistakably working class British in a Paul Weller kind of way, and a great guitar player to boot, Jake Bugg is this year’s most exciting new talent. He’s already released a follow-up album, Shangri La, which is also very, very good.


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2. Queens of the Stone Age – … Like Clockwork

They are the Radiohead of hard rock, constantly pushing boundaries and eschewing their “stoner rock” label without alienating their core audience. …Like Clockwork is distinctly different than anything the band has ever made, yet sounds unmistakably like a Queen’s record. Not an easy task. “Kalopsia” is great example and features a guest appearance from Alex Turner of The Arctic Monkeys.

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FlossLate last week, Chicago-based EDM duo Flosstradamus released an explosive new single, “Mosh Pit (ft. rapper Casino)” releasing it alongside a live stream of a sold out show in D.C. They’ve garnered a strong following throughout the years through mash ups and original collaborations alongside extensive touring and producing tracks for artists like Iggy Azalea.

The sheer energy of their sound makes them an ideal fit for placement with brands including partnerships with Toyota and NIKE as well as even appearing on Yo Gabba Gabba. Most recently, they contributed a song to NBA2K14, a great musical companion to a fun and interactive game.

The guys took their interaction to the next level by creating their ideal NBA2K14 Playlist for Music Unlimited, with songs that fit the action while they play the game. It kicks off with the new single, ends with the song that is featured in the game and has a lot of great tracks in between. Enjoy!
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Bestof_StaffPicksEvery year, we’ve brought you a collection of the best, most played and critically acclaimed music of the year as we did this year with our Best of 2013 Channel  and upcoming genre-based playlists. This week, the Music Unlimited staff will highlight some of their favorites so you can get a personalized perspective on some of the greatest music from 2013. Enjoy!

 Best of 2013: Nick Dedina, Music Curator

For all the talk about albums being discarded for single tracks in the digital age, one of the little secrets about music services such as Music Unlimited is that listeners, no matter their age, still love listening to entire albums. From Daft Punk’s  ultra-fun Random Access Memories to the new Eminem LP, our subscribers love long listening sessions with entire albums.

For me, the music story of the year is also the album of the year: David Bowie coming back strong with The Next Day.

Bowie had been out of the spotlight for a decade and talk of ill health has never stopped during his absence. Working in secret, he went back to recording, reportedly cutting a few dozen songs with a group of old friends who, like him, can do things off-the-cuff and quickly, using instincts gleaned from decades of experience instead of polishing everything with endless overdubs and re-dos.

Bowie_BlogThe album is both elegiac (“Where Are We Now?”) and rebellious (“I’d Rather Be High”), strangely upbeat (“Valentine’s Day”) and apocalyptic (uhhmm, pretty much every song), rushing towards the new while looking back on an amazing career with echoes of everything from old favorites such as “Five Years” to “Ashes to Ashes” to an album cover that obscures the central image from 1977’s  “Heroes” sleeve.

While David Bowie isn’t the artist to turn for a reaffirmation in humankind’s basic decency, it’s gratifying to see the public and the critics embracing the work of someone they took for granted back when the excellent Heathen and Reality were met with collective shrugs at the start of the 2000s. Turns out that making people miss you is a good career move (likewise, Bowie counter-promoted, offering no interviews or commentary for our 24/7 consume and discard culture).

 The Next Day isn’t perfect but it plays like a cohesive, complete experience. The bonus tracks on the Extra Edition are strong but are better played separately from the album. The one exception is James Murphy’s reworking of LP cut Love Is Lost,” which draws out Bowie’s mournful yet menacing vocals, improving on the original even as it deconstructs it.

In a completely different direction, Josh Ritter’s hopeful Joy To You Baby”  was my favorite song of the year.

Foals’  Holy Fire is so addictive that it had me, once again, wondering why this indie dance band isn’t played on the radio like Phoenix or Daft Punk.

A good sign for 2013 was that it was hard pairing my list of favorites down, with excellent releases by the likes of Quadron, Laura Marling and Villagers  getting reluctantly dropped from my Best of list at the last minute for inclusions by the likes of Arctic Monkeys &  Billie Joe Armstrong + Norah Jones.

Still, at the end of the day, I can sum up 2013 with “Thank you, Mr. David Bowie.”

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HolidaySaleWeek3Blog

Things are picking up in the Holiday Sale on PlayStation Store. This week you can enjoy films like Man of Steel, games like Lego Marvel Super Heroes and shows like Psych all at great discounted prices. So pick up some of your entertainment titles now until December 31st at discounts of up to 50% off!

See what’s newly discounted this week in the Holiday Sale through 12/23:
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Every year, we’ve brought you a collection of the best, most played and critically acclaimed music of the year as we did this year with our Best of 2013 Channel and upcoming genre-based playlists. This week, the Music Unlimited staff will highlight some of their favorites so you can get a personalized perspective on some of the greatest music from 2013. Enjoy!

 Best of 2013: Ashley Harris, Marketing Specialist

I’m pretty sure I start making my Best of 2013 list from the moment that first album I’ve been looking forward to drops in January. Over the past few years, I’ve become more organized in tracking released throughout the year, creating playlists like my 2013 Jukebox that houses everything. With so much music available on Music Unlimited, I try to make sure that I give everything a fair shot. This year, I even decided to cache my playlist and make it the only thing I listen to in my car while driving. Living in L.A., this a good amount of how I spend my time.

That said, here’s what made the cut. My usual criteria are albums on my list are ones that I like front-to-back, no hiccups. Since we all have shorter attention spans thanks to the internet, I’ve summarized them in 140 characters or less, giving you my favorite track, an idea of what they sound like and links to listen to them on Music Unlimited. Enjoy!

SaraB
Sara Bareilles The Blessed Unrest
Song: “1000 Times”
RIYL: Colbie Callait, Christina Perri, Jason Mraz
In 140 characters or less: I still want to be SaraB when I grow up. I like to think her recent GRAMMY noms are a nod to her entire body of work, including this.

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NewReleases1217Check out what’s new on the Music Unlimited service this week! Read the highlights and browse new albums below. That about does it for big releases in 2013! Keep an eye out next month when we ramp up on the latest and greatest in 2014!

Highlights:

  • B.o.B’s third album, which he considers a continuation of his first two albums and features appearances by Chris Brown, Future, 2 Chainz & more.
  • A live album from rapper Mac Miller, recorded during his 2012 tour when he first introduced tracks from his latest effort, Watching Movies With the Sound Off.
  • An extended version of Lorde’s debut album, which has five tracks from an earlier EP, including the smash song, “The Love Club”
  • More Christmas blockbuster soundtracks, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written by Theodore Shapiro & Junip’s Jose Gonzalez

New Albums Available This Week [12/17/13]:

New Singles Available This Week [12/17/13]:

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Earlier this year we told you about how you can use PayPal to add funds to your Sony Entertainment Network Wallet, and last month we mentioned you could now do it right through the PlayStation Store on PS3.

Well now we’ve got even more good news: Beginning today (December 17) through December 23, 2013, when you add $50 to your SEN Wallet using PayPal we’ll give you $10 bonus cash! You can use that extra cash to buy games, watch the latest hit movies or TV shows from Video Unlimited or listen to the hottest new music with a subscription to the Music Unlimited service.

After you add $50 to your SEN wallet using PayPal, you’ll get an email and/or XMB message 12-16 days after December 23, with a voucher code to claim your free $10 in SEN Wallet cash. Visit Sony.com/PayPal for details and then sit back and enjoy that extra $10 in your account.

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