I have also included if there's some explicit lyrics by posting exp next to the song.
Bastille - "Pompeii"
Recommended to me by my sister, I knew I immediately had to buy this track when I heard it on Ann Arbor's 107.1, pretty much the best radio station EVER. And if it's on 107.1, it's going to be pretty great. (Except Jack Johnson. I don't understand how people like his stuff. It just drives me nuts.)
This group is straight outta London, and you may have heard them on SNL earlier this year, where they did play this song.
The reason I like it: It's the male vocals at the very beginning. The words also hit close to home.
The 1975 - "Chocolate"
I discovered this song as I was searching frantically for another song that I had heard on the radio. I still can't figure out what the other song was, but I was happy to stumble across this gem. These guys are from Manchester, England. And if you can figure out the difference in their accents compared to Bastille, then more power to you.
The reason I like it: About 2 8-counts in, the guitar comes in with this great riff that I adore, and the rhythms aren't straightforward. It doesn't hurt that it's titled "Chocolate" either.
John Mackey - "The Frozen Cathedral"
I'm not sure what it is about wind symphonies and cathedrals, but when the two combine it makes for incredible music.
When I was a 5th year senior in college I joined the Wind Symphony, and we played Claude Debussy's "The Engulfed Cathedral," and the percussion gets to do some fun stuff in that. The overwhelming sound in the middle of the piece is great. Oh - and it uses a gong. (I'll make you search for that one yourself.)
This piece is supposed to reflect the most majestic of mountains - Mount McKinley. Mackey didn't just use regular percussion for this one - he used crystal glasses, crotales on timpani, and a waterphone. I heard this one live at the University of Colorado -Boulder campus, and the percussion was not only in the back of the band, but also way up in the balconies surrounding the audience. It made for a very ethereal experience. I got shivers listening to it.
The reason I like it: The song changes from a minor key to a major key in a very subtle way. If you weren't listening closely you wouldn't even notice.
Smallpools - "Dreaming"
I don't normally link to the actual videos of a song, but the video is actually what got me into this song. The guy is at a house party, but every time he tries to leave he gets sucked back in. Problem is, he's the only one that's aware of it. It's a giant ripoff of Groundhog Day, but it's fun watching his bandmates performing with gusto while he's going through the motions.
The reason I like it: Pretty much the video.
Francis and the Lights - "Fell On Your Head"
This came from a movie that I could have included in my "Procrastinator's Movie Review" had I been writing that last year. The movie this came from is called Robot and Frank. It's a near-future tale of an old man whose children buy him a robot servant, but he ends up using it to rob people that tick him off.
However, this song is what plays over the end credits, and for once I watched the entire thing. It's crazy techno, but great. The only caveat is when the dude starts singing about 2/3 of the way through. I used to hate that, but I guess I'm okay with it now.
The reason I like it: This is a really quirky song that is not like anything I've heard. It is great!
Madeon - "The City"
Selected as one of my "I heard it on So You Think You Can Dance" songs, this one probably has a catchy video, too, but I like the video I made up in my head where someone is doing an uninterrupted cut video while a person dances in the Denver Airport's terminal.
The reason I like it: It actually isn't the beginning for once. The introduction is okay, and it builds up the momentum, but once the bass kicks in at the 0:56 mark, that's when it gets amazing.
Eric Paslay - "Friday Night"
Yup, I included a country song. There's no references to blue jean babies, trucks, or beer, so that means this country song is better than 99.99999% of all country songs out there. To the best of my knowledge, "candy apple rag top" means a red convertible.
This was on one of my friend's CD mixes when she got married back in November, and this also was her Grand March music. Initially I groaned (because that is what I am supposed to do when I hear a country song), but it is really catchy.
Oh - it's also way better than the Lady Antebellum version.
The reason I like it: The fiddles. And the banjo.
Imagine Dragons - "On Top of the World"
Imagine Dragons is The Band That Snuck Up On Me. First it was "It's Time." Then it was "Radioactive." Then it was "Demons." Now it's "On Top of the World" - probably their most marketable song of the bunch. I own all of them - I probably should have just bought the album in the first place. I think I like "It's Time" the best, thanks to the piano, but I'll include their newest one, just so you can say, "That song is by Imagine Dragons too?" Just like I did.
The reason I like it: NBC used this as a closing montage for this year's Winter Olympics. So it gets a huge boost in my book from that.
The Royal Concept - "World on Fire" exp
I first heard this song as I watched season 1 of the TV show Arrow, which airs on Wednesdays on the CW. It's pretty much the only show I would ever voluntarily watch on the CW, considering its other programming. But I've enjoyed Arrow, even though I am not a follower of the comic books.
As I watched one of the club scenes, this song popped up, and I immediately thought, "What is this awesome track?!" I had to look it up, and luckily the Internet has lots of people providing questions and answers, and it didn't take long for me to find out the name. It's a Swedish band that's gone through a couple of name changes, but you can't even tell!
The reason I like it: The initial synthesizer really drags you in, and that pulsing beat continues for the whole of the song. By the time it all comes together in the refrain, you're on your feet!
Vasen - "30-ars Jiggen" (Thirty Year Jig)
This is my absolute favorite song from the preshow music at Epcot. This used to be played before Epcot's nighttime water show "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth." It's still played every night on a website called mouseworldradio.com around 7:45pm. (If you love Disney music, that website is the place for you!)
It took me a while to find this piece, but I'm so glad I found it. This is also a Swedish group that's released 15 albums. This song is clearly their best.
The reason I like it: The pulsing rhythm underneath while the fiddle plays that great tune at the beginning. Dance with me!
That's it for this edition of The Music Zone. Hope you were inspired to pour more money into iTunes or Amazon Music or wherever you purchase your music!