Now let me say singer-songwriter Jake Bugg is hands down my all time favourite artist in the whole world, so when he released his newest single around two weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised by the harsher, tougher, sound of What Doesn’t Kill You, marking a huge shift from the indie folk/rock sound of his debut album Jake Bugg. For his fans who prefer the tracks with just Bugg’s voice and his acoustic guitar (Simple as This, Country Song, Note to Self, Someone Told Me), it may take some time for the new single to grow on them, but Bugg’s charismatic voice and intimately personal lyrics only get better with each listen.
We already know it’s wrong to friendzone Biz Markie. As the precursor to the post-quake. This blogger offers 5 more reasons why.
This past Friday and Saturday marked the 3rd year of the return of Atlanta’s Music Midtown Festival to Piedmont Park. The two-day festival included three stages and a diverse line-up ranging from rap genius Kendrick Lamar, to classic rock titans Journey, to live show titans Red Hot Chili Peppers. I attended the festival with a friend who is a graduate student in chemistry at Georgia Tech. In short, it was an amazing weekend. After the jump, I’ll be giving you a look at it day-by-day, and then summarizing the festival experience as a whole to wrap things up.
You’ve heard him on Rudimental’s track Feel the Love (and if you haven’t here’s a link), but John Newman is making it big. Call it soul, r&b, funk, whatever you want, but Newman’s music is unbelievably catchy and charismatic, and although he’s only released a handful of singles (his debut album is set to release October 14!), his climb to fame is attracting attention throughout the UK and seeping its way into America.
Everyone has “that one band.” That one band that first exposed you to what would become your taste in music (Modest Mouse for me). That one band that expanded your horizons as to what music could be (Radiohead, specifically the album Kid A for me too). Bands or artists that exposed you to various genres: metal, hip-hop, jazz, what have you. The National is that one band that I listened to every time when things just seemed to suck as a teenager. Of the top 25 most played songs in my iTunes library, 9 of them are by The National (including 2 of the top 3). I have a deep and abiding love for Matt Berninger’s velvety dark-chocolate baritone, Bryan Devendorf’s jittery, spastic drumming, and the Dessners’ genius arrangements. But despite this, I’d never had a chance to see this juggernaut of my teenage life in concert (hence why I woke up early for the pre-sale and refreshed the Ticketmaster page until it actually went live). Thus, this review may be a little skewed. Even on the off chance that the live show didn’t quite match the power of their records, I would be head over heels for that Sunday night. However, I’m happy to report that this (like my experiences with Death Grips, The Mountain Goats, The Hold Steady, My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor) was not just a great show, but a defining moment of my year.
I discovered The 1975 while browsing r/listentothis on Reddit last year, probably in September or October. I was immediately enthralled with this band with an interesting name and a catchy, if unpolished, sound and I began looking for a larger catalog . Or, attempting to find one rather; at the time they had only two EP releases to their name. Very little information was to be found. And so I was left to wait patiently for a debut album to appear, only to be met by consecutive EP releases that were interesting, but at the same time so short and left me wanting something fuller. However, after all of my waiting, their self-titled debut album has finally arrived, filled with songs that sound like they could all be singles yet still find cohesion as a whole work. Suffice it to say that I am not disappointed.
Bon Iver may be done for a little while, but between popping up on hip-hop albums big (Yeezus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch The Throne) and small (P.O.S.’s We Don’t Even Live Here), playing with his band The Shouting Matches, and collaborating with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Justin Vernon hasn’t exactly been quiet. Nevertheless, the announcement of another album from Volcano Choir, a collaboration with post-rock band Collections of Colonies of Bees, was a bit of a surprise. Their 2009 album Unmap was a solid collection of abstractions with the occasional killer song (“Island, IS”, if you haven’t heard it, is still awesome), but it was a bit unstructured (and quite strange for my tastes). However, it seems to have been an important project for Vernon. Just look at the world of difference between For Emma and Bon Iver, Bon Iver: all the layered, more complex instrumentation. The odder, instrumentally complex, direction of Volcano Choir definitely had a hand in influencing that album’s left-turn from the dude-in-a-cabin scrappiness that defined his debut. On Repave, however, it’s Bon Iver that is influencing Volcano Choir.
On a seemingly random day in 2010, California MC Blu drops the theGODleeBarnes(lp) via his twitter account. It comes as a single, large mp3 and is totally unmixed. Fans aren’t pleased and Blu doesn’t seem to care. And why would he? The man had produced a lo-fi masterpiece .
Like many of you (or at least those who don’t have their ear to the ground in the Vancouver indie scene), my first exposure to The Belle Game came from indie-rock kingmakers Pitchfork, who named their single “River” as a Best New Track earlier this summer. They were right, but to call this band “new” isn’t entirely correct. After amassing much acclaim in Vancouver with two EPs over the course of four years, debut album Ritual Tradition Habit is a chance to cement The Belle Game as a new player in indie-rock (and another chance to prove the good ol’ Pitchfork effect). While it doesn’t quite follow through on the promise of that aforementioned revelation of a track, The Belle Game’s familiar sound lends itself to a solid debut.