Looks like the Mayans were wrong. And thank God (or Quetzalcoatl) for that. Of course, the Mayan doomsday prophecy was gratuitously misinterpreted by the Western world and looking back, it’s embarrassing how easily we got swept up in it all. With that said, 2012 was indeed an eventful year…
Starting today, November 29th, 2012 at 7:00 AM PST, George Harrison’s YouTube page began streaming Concert For George. This amazing tribute concert was shot at The Royal Albert Hall in London on November 29th, 2002, ten years ago today and one year after George’s death in 2001. The show features Eric Clapton, who also served as musical director, along with Jeff Lynne (ELO), Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, the Monty Python players and an incredible group of rock music’s dignitaries and visionaries, including of course George’s son Dhani Harrison on guitar.
Building off the success of their first major label debut I and Love and You, the Avett Brothers are back with their special mix of gut-wrenching vocals and banjo-filled “grasspunk” in a new album entitled The Carpenter. Yes, the banjo is back! The longevity and consistency should not be overlooked, as it doesn’t matter how many albums they’ve released, this band from North Carolina manages to exude the same level of free-spiritedness, forceful balladry, and a sense of optimism that infuses their rich and varied sound.
This was our second year at Bumbershoot, Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival. Three days to soak up the warm summer sun and bathe in the cool evening moon. Three days to enjoy the sounds of some of the best music happening right now. The main stage is inside Key Arena but most of the other stages are outside, scattered around Seattle Center and within eye shot of the Space Needle. Last year was great. I hoped this year would be as good. As it turns out, it was even better.
The world famous All Tomorrow’s Parties will present the I’ll Be Your Mirror USA festival this September 21st-23rd at Pier 36 in Manhattan, New York. Pier 36 is a new indoor venue sitting on the edge of the East River between the Manhattan & Williamsburg Bridges, with an outside area that boasts glorious views of Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.
There are some people who exist on a completely different level than the rest of the world. They possess such incredible talent and their creations are so complex, with every detail tuned to perfection. After seeing Jack White play the WaMu Theater in Seattle on August 14, I am convinced that he is one of these people.
When artists Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor harmonize their sounds under the moniker Azure Ray, listeners have come to expect a dreamy essence to the pop duo’s sound but on their forthcoming six-song EP, As Above So Below, Fink and Taylor take Azure Ray into an alternate universe. The dream-like quality remains, but these songs are almost eerie-sounding, far more electronic, minimalist and sonically rich. The album is inspired by parallel realities that seem cruelly just out of reach when lulled into a state of calm by their honeyed and wispy vocals, as though the words float above you like clouds your hands will never grasp.
They say that Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil. If he did, then quite possibly he has been reincarnated as a white man from New Zealand. If you think that this sounds like the ravings of a madman, wait just one moment and let me introduce you to Willy Moon.
If the name Josh Tillman sounds familiar to you, it might be because you recognize him as a former member of Fleet Foxes. Or maybe you know him as J. Tillman. Since 2005 he has released seven beautiful solo albums that were somber, acoustic, quiet, and moody in nature. The same cannot be said for his eighth album Fear Fun. And yet it’s Tillman’s best work yet, as he takes listeners on an adventurous spin under his new moniker, Father John Misty.
Life’s winding roads can take us down many paths, but when you’re committed to navigating the world on your own terms, it follows that you’ll cover enough ground for a wealth of experiences that are ripe for musical picking. This is particularly true for the long and varied career of Paleface, who has released a dozen records, toured all over the country, and inspired and collaborated with a boatload of talented artists. Recorded at Thunderdome Studios, One Big Party, produced by Paul ‘Ena’ Kostabi and Paleface, is his second full-length release under Ramseur Records, which houses notable acts like the Avett Brothers (bonus note: Paleface has collaborated and performed on three albums by the Avett Bros).
It’s not every artist that can hit all the right notes when covering an eclectic mix of musical genres, but singer/songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra from Hurray for the Riff Raff is far from ordinary, and that’s especially evident when you hear her amazing voice. Segarra is the principal writer behind this band and their latest album, Look Out Mama, still stays true to their southern-folk origins. Yet it also manages to touch on a wide range of musical styles like soul, psychedelic, Americana, country, rockabily swing, blues, and 60’s surf.
To answer one of the more popular questions asked after returning from the Sasquatch! Music Festival held at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington (good one, Washington State) it should be stated first and foremost that yes, Tenacious D did have a giant blown up penis casually stationed behind the pair onstage. But more about that later.
The current state of a majority of mainstream R&B/Soul music in the States is rather discouraging when compared to its heyday, as it’s now comprised of little in the way of refreshing or original-sounding talent, so who knew that a young London artist raised by Ugandan parents could inspire a little hope for this genre by building off the styles of venerable singers like Otis Redding, Bill Withers, and Marvin Gaye. The artist is Michael Kiwanuka, and there is a lovely hazy quality to his debut album Home Again as if it’s straight out of the 1960s or 1970s, thereby evoking a timeless quality. Kiwanuka’s music can be described as rootsy, folk-inflected modern soul with hints of jazz and contemporary R&B.
Last year we published an article that listed the UK’s Richest Rock Stars. With recent IPO events unfolding, we thought it might be a good idea to take another look at that list. At the time of our original publishing, Sir Paul McCartney was at the top with approximately $750 million in personal wealth. With a quarter of a billion dollar lead over his closest rival Sir Elton John, it seemed like it was going to be quite some time before anyone unseated the great Macca. Indeed, even Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (#3 & #4 consecutively) didn’t stand much of a chance since there was a half billion dollar gap between the Beatle and the Stones.
Sometimes the best concert experiences are instances in which a band takes you by surprise because you hadn’t planned on seeing them, and it must be said that accidentally stumbling upon musical awesomeness is one of those few unrivaled feelings that put a smile on my face. The band Big Harp in particular fits this description. I had never heard of this husband-and-wife duo but they were one of many performers at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles recently and their set was outstanding.
Tis the season for new albums fa la la la la la la la la. Yes folks, they’re coming at us rapid fire at the moment. Everyone and their mother (that’s a good band name) are releasing this year’s new musical offerings, while we in the press weed through the lot looking for some nugget or shiny new ditty that we can cling to. As usual most of it doesn’t hold up and ultimately offers very little in the way of in-depth listening and enjoyment. Not to say that I expected anything like this from Miike Snow, but you never know what that second album will hold. It’s been a career killer for many an artist and band, especially following up an effort as well done as Miike Snow’s self titled debut.
Ethereal a cappella folk trio Mountain Man‘s intuitive, soaring harmonies are almost impossible to describe — lush yet minimal, reverent yet earthy. Formed when they were students at Vermont’s Bennington College, Mountain Man has captivated listeners with the sonic alchemy created by the blend of their voices. This magical sound – three voices that join to create one beautiful instrument – caught the notice of Leslie Feist, who extended an invitation for the trio to join her onstage as part of her band. They agreed, and will accompany Feist on her world tour, which continues in North America beginning in April.
Who needs alcohol to lower inhibitions when you’re at a Reptar show? Hailing from Athens, Georgia these electro popper’s reputation for putting on a lively and boisterous show precedes them. Reptar’s music is upbeat, catchy and most importantly dance worthy. The second these musicians took the stage it was obvious that this normally quiet and still LA audience wouldn’t stay that way for long.
In 2011 Paste Magazine named The Lumineers one of the best new bands of the year and at the time the band listed as its goals the following: “Make music that makes you smile, cry and stomp your foot simultaneously. Make music for years with these dear friends of mine. Be proud of our music. Play Letterman and Europe.” Based on listening to this band’s self-titled debut album, which is out April 3rd from Dualtone Records, the Lumineers are well on their way to fulfilling these goals, as this band’s first full-length album is a fantastic continuation of the roots revival that has taken a hold of music fans thanks to heartfelt melodies and soul-stirring songs.