Datarock - Fa Fa Fa

Datarock is a Norwegian electro rock duo of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes. Formed in 2000, the band has had more members, but soon settled down to two memeber.

Their first release in 2005, the redundantly titled, DataRock DataRock was and accidental success. Although they spent almost no time recording the record, their songs were licensed all over the world in films and advertisements.

Fa Fa Fa is off Datarock Datarock and has been featured in both Coca-Cola and IPdo advertising and is featured in NHL 08, FIFA 08 and NBA Live 08 and The Sims 2: Free Time.

Devo - Girl U Want

Today's Hump Day Retro Closet track is dedicated to my buddy Gene because next week he is actually going to see Devo. How cool is that!

Devo formed in Akron, Ohio in 1973. The early band was very fluid changing members and size several times. The band took their name from the the term 'de-evolution' which is the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.

They gained some fame in 1976 when their short film "The Truth About De-Evolution" won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The same year, they released their first single, Mongoloid, followed by an odd electronic version of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

It was 1980's, Freedom of Choice, that catapulted Devo to the limelight. The single, Whip It peaked at #14 and Devo's mastery of the new medium, Music Video, kept them in the spotlight. Although subsequent releases, New Traditionalists in 1981, Oh, No! It's Devo in 1982 and Shout in 1984 lacked the success of Freedon of Choice, they remained a very success live band.

More unsuccessful releases followed and the band "broke up" in 1991. In January 1996, Devo performed a reunion concert at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and went on join the Lollapalooza tour. The members also did many side projects, releasing a multimedia CD-ROM adventure game, The Adventures of the Smart Patrol, recording a number of songs for various films, including a cover of the Nine Inch Nails hit, "Head Like a Hole" for the film Supercop and a remake of Girl U Want for the film "Tankgirl", forming a surf band called The Wipeouters.

Most recently, in December 2007, Devo released their first new single since 1990, "Watch Us Work It" and in September of this year, Warner Brothers and Devo announced a re-release of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice, with a tour performing both albums. And current rumors are the band is working on a new album.

Girl U Want is off the eternally classic 1980 release, Freedom of Choice.

Michael Bublé - Call Me Irresponsible

Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, is a throwback to the past with his Sinatra-style sound. Helped by his italian grandfather, he he began singing in nightclubs at the age of 16 facilitated by his Italian grandfather, a plumber who offered free plumbing services to get his grandson on stage. His grandfather also paid for his singing lessons with opera baritone, Joseph Shore.

When he was 18, he entered and won several local talent contests but that did not translate into much success. For seven years he would sing in anything from talent shows, conventions, cruise ships, malls, hotel lounges, bars, clubs, corporate gigs, theatres, music revues, and even the occasional singing Santa Claus.

He was about to give up and pursue journalism when he got his big break in 2000. Michael McSweeney, an aide to former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, showed the album to Mulroney and his wife. Subsequently, Bublé was invited to sing at the wedding of Mulroney's daughter Caroline. At the wedding, Bublé was introduced to David Foster, a multi-Grammy Award winning producer and record executive who had worked previously with artists such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand, Kenny G., Cher, Josh Groban, and Andrea Bocelli.

This led to a record deal and the release of his first album in 2003, a self-titled release, which was a success. Subsequent releases have only built on his success and he has accumulated many awards including a Grammy for 'Call Me Irresponsible'.

Call Me Irresponsible is off his 2007 album of the same name.

Zac Brown Band - Chicken Fried

The Zac Brown Band is a true working band, despite their success, playing over 200 shows per year. They began with humble roots in Georgia, playing at a restaurant owned by Brown and his father and going on the road during the week. After they sold the gourmet Southern-style food restaurant, they bought a tour bus and the touring intensified.

They released 2 albums independently and Atlantic released their third after the original label, Live Nation, went under. The 3rd album reached #2 on the Country Album chart and #11 on the Billboard 200.

Even with this success, Brown remains down to earth and is a devoted philanthropist. He bought land for his own summer camp, a venture he plans to run in cooperation with Brain Balance, an organization that works with kids with autism and ADD. This was a dream of his since he attended a summer camp and worked with mentally and physically challenged kids making him aware of how lucky he was.

Chicken Fried
is off their third release, Foundation, and went to #1 on the US County charts.

The Swell Season - I Have Loved You Wrong

The Swell Season is the musical duo of Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová. The duo were approached by the Czech film director Jan Hřebejk while touring in the Czech Republic, and were asked by him to record songs for his upcoming film Beauty in Trouble. It was the first album that Hansard, the singer for The Frames, had released independently of his band. This led to them recording their first full length album, a self-titled release.

Their popularity rose when they recorded the the soundtrack for the movie Once, in which both starred. The album when gold and they received an Oscar for Best Original Song. Hansard and Irglová were a couple on stage and off. Although they broke up earlier this year, they continue to record and perform together.

I Have Loved You Wrong is a haunting beautiful song off their sophomore release, Strict Joy.

Trivia: The group's name is derived from Hansard's favorite novel by Josef Škvorecký from 1975 bearing the same title.

The Call - The Walls Came Down

Santa Cruz, California band, The Call, is an incredibly underrated band. They released three albums in the early 80's with little success. They went 2 years without a contract due to to what singer and guitarist, Michael Been, describes as "legal bickering" between The Call's former record label and their management company. It wasn't until the 1986 release, Reconciled, that they had commercial success with the songs, Everywhere I Go and I Still Believe. Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds's Jim Kerr, and from The Band members Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson all helped out on the album.

1989's release, Let The Day Begin, was the height of their success with the title track reaching #1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The band has not officially broken up, but has not recorded or toured since 2000. Been's son is currently the frontman for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Michael Been tours with them as their sound engineer.

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is an excellent song, The Walls Came Down, off their 1983 release, Modern Romans.

Medeski, Martin & Wood – End of the World Party

Martin, Medeski and Wood, MMW, is Billy Martin on drums and percussion, John Medeski on keyboards and piano and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar. They all met when they were introduced by Billy Martin's instructor, Bob Moses. The trio originally began as an acoustic jazz group, playing mainly in the New York City area. Due to the trouble of touring with a piano, Medeski switched to a Hammond organ.

MMW gained significant exposure outside of the New York City jazz scene when they performed with Phish in October of 1995. Their inclusion in the Jam Band circuit and, their performance on John Scofield's 1997 album A Go Go helped increase thier fan base. This led to many future collaborations with Scofield, including 2006's release Out Louder with Scofield.

End of the World Party is a funky jazz, almost pop, track off their 2004 release End of the World Party (Just In Case).

The band members were introduced to each other by jazz drummer Bob Moses, who had performed with Medeski and Wood, and was Martin's instructor.

Gary Jules - Mad World

Despite incredible songwriting talent, Gary Jules remained obscure after his first solo release, 1998's Greeting From The Side, because of poor handling by his record label. It would take three years before he released a second album independently, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets. The album was even more stunning than the first.

Jules began his musical career forming the band, The Origin, with childhood friend, Michael Andrews. The band released two very good albums, but were not big commercial successes. They disbanded and Jules began his solo career, but despite his talent, he did not gain success until he released a cover of Tears For Fears' Mad World for the Donnie Darko soundtrack in 2003.

The song would be featured in many TV shows and was famously covered by Adam Lambert on American Idol. It's ironic that a song that he did not write was the one that pushed him into the limelight.

Mad World is off the Donnie Darko soundtrack and his 2001 release, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets. If you have a chance to check out his work, it is worth it.

Lyle Lovett - My Baby Don't Tolerate

Many people place Lyle Lovett in the country music category. His music does have a county/western sound, but he incorporates elements of folk, swing, blues, jazz, rock and even gospel music. This blend along with his voice creates a unique sound.

Lovett grew up in Texas, attended Texas A&M and studied German and Journalism. While in college he lived next to Robert Earl Keen. The two became friends and performed together on the front porch many evenings. This eventually grew into inspiration for a song entitled "The Front Porch Song", which both would add to their repertoire.

After several albums, Lovett was thrown into the limelight in 1993 when he married Julia Roberts. The two met on the set of the movie, The Player. After a 3 week romance, the two eloped. The marriage lasted less than two years, but the divorce was due to the amount of time they had to be apart because of their careers and the two remain close friends today.

Besides music, Lovett has starred in several movies, primarily Robert Altman directed ones, The Player, Short Cuts, Prêt-à-Porter, The Opposite of Sex and Cookie's Fortune.

My Baby Don't Tolerate is off his 2003 release of the same name. His latest release, Natural Forces, will be released on October 20th.

INXS - The One Thing

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is from INXS. They started out in 1977 as the Farriss Brothers in Sydney, Australia. They released their first album, a self-titled release, in 1980 gaining moderate success in Australia. Shabooh Shoobah, released in 1982, was the first release to gain a foothold in the US, peaking at #46 on the billboard charts.

They became international stars with Listen Like Thieves in 1985, Kick in 1987 and X in 1990 and had several top 10 singles. The band's sound that made them so successful was also a cause for their downfall as the were boxed in by that sound as people tastes changed. But they continued to record and tour throughout the 90's. The band hit the low point in 1997 with the dead of front-man, Michael Hutchence. They continued to tour with several different singers like Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stephens, finnaly settling on a new singer, a former Elvis impersonator from Canada, J.D. Fortune. They released the album, Switch, in 2005 reaching #17 on the Billboard Top 200.

The One Thing, off Shabooh Shoobah, was the first song I ever heard from INXS, first hearing it on a low-watt local St. Louis Radio station, KYMC and then seeing the video on MTV (when MTV showed music videos 24 hours a day).

Will Dailey - Eliza

Boston based singer-songwriter, Will Dailey has released three full-length albums since 2000. But his most recent project is unique. The project, Torrent, is being digitally released as a burst of new music approximately every 3 months, and then compiled, along with bonus material, as a physical and digital audio package twice a year. He has released Torrents 1 and 2 this year.

To raise money for his first release, GoodbyeRedBullet, Dailey sold his car. Although he made enough to fund the release, he did not have any money to pay for a tour. He relied on his family and friends to generate publicity, and built up a mailing list of more than 25,000 worldwide. The release sold more sold more than 10,000 copies.

Eliza is off his 2006 release, Back Flipping Forward.

Laura Pausini - Love Comes From The Inside

Italian pop star Laura Pausini started to sing in local piano bars with her father Fabrizio, a musician and singer, when she was only 8 years old. At 13, she recorded her first album and then in in 1993 she launched her professional career when she signed a contract with Warner Music Italy to release her first professional album, Laura Pausini. She was a success in Europe. She released future albums in Spanish as well as her native Italian.

Pausini released her first English album, From the Inside, in 2002. Her first single 'Surrender' peaked at #1 in Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts.

Love Comes From The Inside, off the From The Inside album, is a soulful funky tune that seems much more American than Italian. This post is presented by my sister, Maria, who has pretty good taste in music, too.

Sheryl Crow - Detours

Sheryl Crow burst onto the scenes in 1993 with the song Leaving Las Vegas off her debut release Tuesday Night Music Club. But there is a lot that happened leading up to that.

Crow was raised in Kennett, Missouri (a small town in rural Missouri) and attended the University of Missouri, majoring in Music. She became a music teacher in suburban St. Louis. This allowed her time sing in bands on weekend where she met local musician and producer Jay Oliver. From his home studio he helped her record advertising jingles for local and national ads.

From this she eventually became a back up singer with Michael Jackson on his Bad World Tour from 1987-1989 and often performed with Jackson on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". After that she recorded several songs for TV and movies. In 1992, she joined a group of musicians known as the 'Tuesday Night Music Club' which was a casual songwriting collective that rapidly developed into a vehicle for her debut album after her arrival.

In 1993, she released 'Tuesday Night Music Club' and her success has only grown, releasing 8 albums and winning 8 Grammys.

Detours is an excellent song off her 2008 release of the same name. The album was written as perpective on her life after her battle with breast cancer, her relationship with Lance Armstrong and her adopting a baby.

Suzanne Vega - Calypso

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is from Suzanne Vega who I love because she writes very intelligent literate songs. While attending college at Bernard College, she was a regular contributor to Jack Hardy's Monday night songwriters' group at the Cornelia Street Cafe and had some of her first songs published on Fast Folk anthology albums. In 1984, she received a major label recording contract, making her one of the first Fast Folk artists to break out on a major label.

Her self-titled debut album was released in 1985 and reached platinum status in the United Kingdom and got great reviews from critics. She then release Solitude Standing in 1987, which was a critical and commercial success with two hit singles, Luka and Tom's Diner. Luka was unique in that it was one of the first successful pop songs to really address child abuse. Tom's Diner was one of the first songs used in testing the MP3 format, making Vega the 'Mother of MP3'. Tom's Diner was released as an a cappella tune and also made into a dance track my UK's DNA.

Trivia: The diner shown in Seinfeld episodes is the Tom's Diner from the song.

Vega continues to record and release music, not for commercial success, but the songs that she wanted to write. Calypso is off the Solitude Standing release. Although Luka and Tom's Diner were the hits from this album, Calypso was always the song that I gravitated to when I was was listening to the album.

Owl City - West Coast Friendship

Owl City formed in 2007 is one person, Adam Young. He states he started making music and created Owl City as project in his parent's basement as result of his insomnia.

Owl City's initial success was through it's MySpace page with the track 'Hello Seattle' had more than 6 million hits. They released the first two albums while not being signed to a record deal. However, with the help of entertainment attorney Ken Abdo, he was signed to Universal Republic.

West Coast Friendship is off their debut self label release, Maybe I'm Dreaming (probably a jab at his insomnia).

Trivia: Owl City was named after Adam Young's hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota.

Beck - Orphans

Beck is one of the most creative and idiosyncratic musicians around. He grew up in Los Angeles and was strongly influenced by all the music that LA brings. Struggling early, he became a sudden success with the single, Loser. His success also brought criticism that he was a one-hit wonder.

With the release of his Grammy winning 1996 release, Odelay, the critics were silenced. Beck continued to create unique music, taking inspiration from anything and everything around. This mashup of musical tastes has allowed Beck a freedom many artists don't have; namely he can record almost anything and it's accepted as Beck's sound.

Orphans is off his 2008 release, Modern Guilt. This is the first collaboration between Beck and producer, Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). The pairing works well and the album shows.

Interesting Note; Beck is second-generation Scientologist. His wife, Marissa and her twin brother, Giovanni Ribisi, were delivered by Beck's mother, Bibbe.

Change in Posting Schedule

I love spreading my love of music through Hoi Polloi. But, my real life has become very busy and I need to reshuffle my priorities. I don't want to stop Hoi Polloi, but to be able to keep it up along with everything else. To do this I will need to change my posting schedule from every day to 4 days per week. Starting today, I will begin posting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Once things settle down, I hope to pick back up again.

If there is anyone out there who is interested in being a guest poster to help out, please send a comment on this post.

Thank you all for your support.

Groove Armada - Hands of Time

Groove Armada
is the English duo of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay. The two were introduced by Cato's girlfriend and eventually started a club called Groove Armada. They began to release songs in 1997, eventually releasing their first album, Northern Star, in 1997. The duo started out by creating chill-out music, but have moved into the dance and club music as well. Since their debut release, they have released several albums and their music can be heard in everything from advertising campaigns, movies and TV shows to computer games.

Hands of Times is soulful tune with the great Richie Havens joining in. Havens also sang on two tracks from the 2001 release, Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub). Hands of Time is off their 2003 release, LoveBox, and was also included on the 2007, from the vaults release, GA10. The song is included on the soundtrack to the movie, Collateral, as well as the ending track for the pilot episode of the TV show, Trauma.

Charlie Mars - Listen To The Darkside

Mississippi born, Charlie Mars, released three independent albums before finally catching a break with the 2004 release of his self-titled album on V2 records. Since that release, he has toured relentlessly. He made the album on his own, borrowing the money to pay for it and the CD is pretty much what was recorded with very minimal post production mixing.

Mars has good mix of southern rock with some more friendly pop sound. He polished his songwriting skills by majoring in English at college in Dallas and concentrating on the romantic poets.

Listen to the Darkside, is a solid Mars tune off his 2009 release, Like a Bird, Like a Plane. Interesting note: Mary Louise Parker stars in his video.

Dolores O'Riordan - Human Spirit

Former singer for the Irish group, The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan, took several years off after the band breakup in 2001, to take care of family affairs. In 2006, she went back to the studio to record a solo album.

During the time between 2001 and 2006, she was not musically inactive. In 2004, she teamed up with Italian artist, Zucchero and recorded 'Pure Love' for his album Zu & Co. The same year, she worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti on the Evilenko soundtrack, providing vocals on several tracks, including "Angels Go The Heaven", the movie theme. In 2005 she appeared on the Jam & Spoon's album Tripomatic Fairytales 3003 as a guest vocalist on the track "Mirror Lover". O'Riordan also made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler comedy Click, as a wedding singer performing an alternate version of The Cranberries' song "Linger", set to strings.

In 2006, she went into the studio to record her first solo album, Are You Listening. Human Spirit is a excellent tune of he debut solo release. Her second solo release, No Baggage, was release in August of this year.

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