Hear more from The String Tribute to Switchfoot here
The Olympics call for total conviction, pure determination to win, raw adrenaline and Muse’s ear-scorching rock anthem, “Survival,” encompasses the thunderous energy of it all. VSQ’s vigorous rendition pays tribute to this official song for the London 2012 Olympics.
Available now on iTunes
One of the most popular new year's resolution is the goal to get in shape, put on muscle, or drop some pounds. As we make our way past the first month of the new year, however, we see a definite slump in our efforts to buff up and slim down. After spending the whole month of January in the gym pumping iron and sweating hours out on the treadmill, we're ready to trade it all in once February rolls around for a much comfier spot in your lazy boy, propped in front of the T.V. with a big bowl of chips and soda in hand. "Sianara, fitness aspirations. It's been fun but Ronnie from Jersey Shore can take it from here." If you've hit the February slump, don't worry. I've got some good news for the stray lifters and runners everywhere: I'm here for you. Allow me to help you with this VSQ-friendly playlist of songs that will help get back on that bench press and warm up the running muscles again. Remember: stretch beforehand, and keep your headphones cord away from moving parts. 1. A Perfect Circle - "Judith" We all know some angry, guitar-driven stuff is always good for extra energy, and with its driving bass line, sweeping riffs and vocals that toggle between soaring and growling, “Judith” is as good a candidate as any. It's the kind of rock song that would be a good soundtrack for a UFC fight promo. Just make sure that after you set down the weight, don't jump onto the bench and let out a vengeful howl, as tempting it may be. 2. Kanye West - "Good Morning" Look, we all know the obvious Kanye choice is “Stronger,” but if it's the obvious choice you don't need me to include it on my list of limited space. On the flip side, “Good Morning” has a minimalist, meditative beat that almost mimics a grandfather's clock pendulum. That makes it ideal for getting lost in its hypnotism, and that's all we're trying to do when we're on our third mile and up, right? Anything to divorce our mind from our bodies. 3. Linkin Park - "Session" The screeching emotional catharsis of a normal Linkin Park song might be a bit too much for someone just trying to do crunches, but this shiny instrumental offering should do the trick. Anything beat-based helps, and the drum machine/DJ scratching tag team definitely fills that role. All the elements come together to form a pretty ambient track that is oddly motivating and self-assured. Plus, you can pretend you're in a scene from The Matrix in your head. 4. Neil Young - "Harvest Moon" Because, shut up, I like to listen to softly swaying folk rock when I'm pumping iron. There's no conflict here at all. The sad, lovelorn lyrics will make your heart swell, and that's good for pumping blood through your body, right? Either way, you should try it, folk music will recontextualize your workout into a sad scene from an indie film. 5. Nine Inch Nails - "Down In It" Something about the electronic drums and synthy backing makes this seem like a great aerobics song. Sorry. Related: String Quartet Tribute To A Perfect Circle, The String Quartet Tribute to Kanye West, String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park: Meteora, Rusted Moon: The String Quartet Tribute to Neil Young, String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails
High school is rough. Falling out with friends, break-up's, bullies, failing classes, parents are fighting again; nothing going the way you'd hoped it would. For so many of us, escape came in music, and Blink-182 was one band that we could put on and instantaneously be bolted off to another place when we had nowhere else to go.
They were there with the toilet humor to remind us there's always time to laugh and the courage to stand up, move forward and not give up.
If you're as happy as we are that they're back, take a listen to our tribute to the infamous pranksters, the men who saved our lives everyday and, really, a tribute to our teenage years.
Available now at iTunes
I learned a lot this past year. For example, did you know that Nicolas Cage could have been Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings? Crazy. But for more substantial learnings about life, let's turn to this year's music, and what it told us along the way. 1. Surprise People. 2011 in music was a year of surprises and generally stepping out of one's comfort zone. Usually this was in the form of collaborations – Kanye West reached out to reigning indie king Bon Iver, and Jack White worked with Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert and even the Insane Clown Posse just to screw with you. Sometimes it came out as wild ideas like The Flaming Lips producing a 24-hour song. Certainly, stepping out of your comfort zone doesn't always produce fantastic results, but sometimes the act itself is all the incentive you need. As the saying goes, the only reward of the easy path is that it's easy. 2. Two Great Tastes Don't Always Taste Great Together. Metallica and Lou Reed taught me that you can't just smash two things together and hope for the best. In the event that you do decide to smash two wildly disparate things together, avoid the hubris of talking it up in interviews. Do not, in any situation, tell people that this is the best you've ever been, especially if both of you happen to be legends in your respective field. I know I said surprise people – but do it in a way that is self-aware of the surprise, either with humor or humbleness. 3. If You're Amazing, You Will Last Forever In 2011, everything old is new again. It seems like every year, high quality box sets and reissues of classic material ramp up, and this was no exception. Whether it was The Smiths, U2's Achtung Baby or the mythological Beach Boys' Smile, there were enticing pieces of music history given new life in today's market. Maybe you lived through their heyday, or maybe it's all new to you. The lesson here is that the past doesn't quit, and that there will always be value in yesterday's best. 4. Know When, and How, to Quit. This year saw the end of Rilo Kiley, R.E.M. and LCD Soundsystem. Each had at least a healthy amount of success, especially R.E.M., so it's not like we didn't get to enjoy them while they were around. But things happen, and there's no shame in quitting. It's just a matter of how it ends. For Rilo Kiley, it was an ugly dissolution of relationships described as “deception, disloyalty and greed.” For LCD Soundsystem, it was a case of going out on top, and they did it in supreme fashion with a sold out Madison Square Garden. As the year ends, you'll be reflecting and evaluating how it went, and what emotion you want to attach to its passing. Here's hoping your year warrants more of a last hurrah than a quiet fade out.
The sometimes-lovely Los Angeles has a reputation for being more of a hub for the film industry, but it's always been a vibrant music center that grows more exciting every year. The weird structure of the city – many towns tied together by endless freeways – allows a cultural variety that facilitates the production of some pretty great music. It would be a stressful task to try and define this L.A. style with just a short list, so don't think of the following as a who's who, but more of a quick tour of the city's soundscape. You're speeding by on the freeway at night, and every passing mile is a whole world of music. It would be easy to start with some big time stars off the top of my head, such as the Beach Boys and recent artists Incubus. But someone in L.A.'s music culture should try and claim is Jeff Buckley. He didn't get his notoriety until he moved to make a name for himself in New York, but L.A. is where he was born, raised and learned. Buckley died young and on the verge, in the fashion of young L.A. tragedies like James Dean, leaving us with his first and only album, Grace. It remains a classic of the '90s and his rendition of “Hallelujah” will likely continue showing up on soundtracks. When I think of the artists that exemplify today's Los Angeles brand, chief among them is Best Coast, whom Los Angeles Times described as the sound of being young in California. They take the Beach Boys' penchant for surf rock and harmony and blend it with a feel-good girl group indie pop sound. I know that's a lot of adjectives and genres, so think of it as music that always sounds like daylight. LA at night would be Flying Lotus. The experimental electronic artist's music is elegant, mysterious and hypnotic. It would be the perfect soundtrack for a walk at night, lost among sickly yellow street lamps and endless cars. Finally, there's No Age, the leading name in lo-fi indie. They're the keystone band of The Smell, a downtown venue that acts as home base of an honest-to-goodness music scene, full of noise and punk and all-ages shows. They're noisy, melodic, impulsive, beautiful in their brief bouts of chaos – all things that reflect on the south land. Related: The String Quartet Tribute to Jeff Buckley Available at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quarter: Per Versions Available at iTunes and Amazon
Available now at iTunes
- Two Princes Spin Doctors
- MMMBop Hanson
- You Get What You Give New Radicals
- Shine Collective Soul*
- Right Here Right Now Jesus Jones
- Closing Time Semisonic*
- Your Woman White Town
- The Way Fastball
- Flagpole Sitta Harvey Danger*
- Walkin’ on the Sun Smashmouth
- Circles Soul Coughing