Tori Amos’ out-of-print masterclass performance from Sessions at West 54th proves the incendiary power of live rock
There are times words fail, and many of them occur during the viewing of these seven incredible live videos taken from Tori Amos’ performance on the oft-missed program Sessions at West 54th. Amos and her backing band set these songs afire in a series of performances which rival the Sessions release by Ben Folds (one of the few remaining in print). This is rock music the way it’s meant to be experienced, so powerful and raw in its depth you can only absorb it more completely with an ear pressed suicidally against the side-stage speakers. I’ll let the songs do the talking, thanks to the wonder that is YouTube.
Enjoy, and feel free to post in the comments some live performances which inspire you as a listener. The more the better!
Guitar: Steve Caton
Bass: Jon Evans
Drums: Matt Chamberlain
- – - – -
SONG #1 — “Precious Things”
SONG #2 — “iiieee”
SONG #3 — “Past the Mission”
SONG #4 — “Caught a Nice Sneeze”
SONG #5 — “Take to the Sky” (Solo)
SONG #6 — “Cooling” (Solo)
SONG #7 — “The Waitress”
Bhangra Revolution: Red Baraat’s “Shruggy Ji” opens up incredible pop possibilities with wide-ranging jam
All Songs Considered beat me to the punch, ferreting out Red Baraat and their song “Shruggy Ji”, a maddeningly twisty take on global dance music which covers all the bases from Bhangra (a blend of Punjabi and western sounds) to the jazz sounds of New Orleans and good old-fashioned Brooklyn funk. Not that I begrudge them that discovery, aside from that they’ve had that much more time to enjoy the song’s beguiling hook. Music this amazing needs to be heard, however you wind up finding it.
The band’s debut album, Shruggy Ji, comes out Jan. 15 via Virtual Label, and though I’ve yet to hear the rest of the album, the live cut below from their Louisville show last year has me primed to press repeat with reckless abandon. If last year was the year of folk revivalism, could 2013 be the year world music breaks into the mainstream? Here’s hoping. Anything that packs this much rhythmic punch deserves to have an audience equally willing to throw all caution to the wind.
Jesse Plemons does it all. From Friday Night Lights to Breaking Bad, the real revelation is Cowboy and Indian
Consider my mind blown. I’ve come to expect the unexpected from Jesse Plemons, who has worked his way from Friday Night Lights to Breaking Bad, earning himself some of the wildest meth-infused scenes of the current fifth season. But I’d never heard his band Cowboy and Indian until this morning, and the music they make is definitely worth more than a cursory listen. I submit for your approval “Trouble,” an older song they’ve reworked via a video with The Sessions, wherein the band merges Mumford and Sons with Fleet Foxes, with more than a hint of one of my favorite folk songwriters, Danny Schmidt, in the melody. This is folk music for those of us who more than love the genre … we soak in it. Consider this band part of my official desert island list.
There are some things which are simply beyond words. You’ll understand when you hear LP’s magnificently full voice resonating as she strips Lead Belly’s “In The Pines” down to its rawest fury. I haven’t been literally forced back in my seat by a voice since I first heard John Jacob Niles sing. The whole solo ukelele thing is so played out, I wanted to say, but that voice! I can’t stop listening to it. If the rest of her Into The Wild: Live at EastWest Studios album is as good as this, I may just have to be committed to an asylum where it’s just me and that voice. Excuse me while I listen again a few more times. Listen below yourself, and you’ll know why I can’t help myself!
Lay down, heaven can wait
You think you’re right, I think you can change
Draw some blood … I’m not going hungry tonight
Won’t it be fun to howl in the night?
Kyle Nicolaides is my new favorite guitar-rock mind-bender! The 21-year-old’s been channeling the hell out of his Led Zeppelin-era idols, but what really stands out about his band Beware of Darkness’s latest, “Howl” (off the EP of the same name which officially drops today) is just how much they’re able to modernize about these riffs which have been around for decades; it’s a twisting forward-marching maelstrom which does more to refute the “rock is dead” mantra than any other album this far into 2012.
If you’re lucky enough to be in LA tonight, get on this: The band’s playing a secret showcase at 8 p.m. at the Viper Room, in advance of their upcoming performance at the Sunset Sessions radio convention this weekend in Palm Springs (get your tickets!). Even if you can’t, trust me — this is a band you’ll want to catch live when you get even the slightest opportunity. There’s a raw energy here you simply cannot capture on a mere YouTube clip or mp3 bastardization … though at least it’s a start!
The eye of the pyramid never blinks.
This riveting spoken word masterpiece exposes the bitter truths behind the creation and worldwide reach of Scientology, the religion created by a science fiction writer who knew how you really make money. I’ve never posted any spoken-word here at “Hear! Hear!” but this was too mind-blowing to pass up. Every family has its black sheep, but rarely is the story behind it as intriguing as Jamie DeWolf’s tale of his great great grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard, and the son who spent his life running from “what he saw behind the curtain”:
When your father has created a religion in your lifetime
There’s no sun big enough to ever escape his shadow
Threats and intimidation make for one of the greatest stories never turned into a James McMurtry song. And the ending will have you instantly hitting repeat.
From the legendary performer’s official website:
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.
Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration… he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage…
We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy
All I can think about in this regard is expressed most fully by Marc Cohn. The world’s surely going to miss Levon Helm when he’s gone.
I’m no Luddite, but there are some aspects of technology which give me pause. I wrote this morning on PJ Media’s Lifestyle page of Tupac’s Coachella resurrection via hologram, and the potential future implications of such technology. I’m posting the link here so my “Hear! Hear!” readers can join the conversation. What do you think? Should posthumous record releases be enough, or would you pay to see Tupac live … or any band for that matter? Would it be even remotely fulfilling to see the Hologram Beatles onstage for one night only? Or would it be simply soul killing?
10:30 p.m. – And that’s a wrap! Feel free to comment the hell out of the comments section if anyone reads this, and I’ll respond through the day tomorrow!
10:25 p.m. – Sir Paul McCartney got “a little help from his friends” and is finally in his proper element. These are the best pop songs of all time for a bloody reason! He should have skipped his new song and just done this, but what a way to bring the night to an end! Beats seeing the credits roll over Adele’s final acceptance speech.
10:21 p.m. – Okay, Adele sealed it … not that anyone expected anything else.
10:20 p.m. – Album of the Year — Adele and all the others. If Foos win this would it be the upset of the decade?
10:17 p.m. – Not that I hate Paul McCartney or anything, but with this show going as long as it is, he’d better own those Beatles songs and rock this show out in the next few minutes. Because his first song did nothing for me.
10:12 p.m. – Record of the Year is won by Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” as expected. She’s now tied with the Foos, and soon to beat them with Album of the Year as well, barring an act of pure Grammy Insanity.
10:10 p.m. – Record of the Year — Adele should win this hands down.
10:10 p.m. – Proof the Grammys are out of touch with women in music. 1) They skipped over Nicki Minaj in any major awards; 2) They force fed us Chris Brown all night. Nice to see they at least gave her Roman character some room to shine on the show, though I’m sure half the audience in middle America are like “what the fuck was THAT?” I like seeing someone original, crazy and willing to showcase it taking the stage.
10:05 p.m. – I LOVE THIS SONG by Nicki Minaj!
9:57 p.m. – Nicki Minaj gets to perform but not win anything. And hey, Deadmau5 was actually pretty solid, I thought. Not that I know much about his brand of music.
9:50 p.m. – My wife Aimee: “Who gives a shit about CHRIS FUCKING BROWN?” Agreed.
9:48 p.m. – This is insane! Can’t keep your gun to yourself for more than three hours, Lil Wayne? Seriously … way to overshadow your “music,” Weezy. At least maybe you’ll get another prison book contract!
9:47 p.m. – That was the best performance of the night not done by Adele.
9:43 p.m. – Jennifer Hudson knows how to sing Whitney songs, let’s just say that right out front. I like that they kept this part vocals only. The rest of the arrangement, with the piano backdrop, kept the focus where it belonged, on the timeless song.
9:36 p.m. – I think that’ll be the new standard against which acceptance speeches like Pearl Jam’s will be judged.
9:35 p.m. – Glad they played him off, after he was so iffy about whether he even wanted the award.
9:34 p.m. – With discomfort, he has gratitude, and Justin Vernon pisses on his great opportunity to thank his fans and be grateful for those of us who buy his music and think it’s solid that he won, even if he doesn’t respect it.
9:32 p.m. – The Band Perry? Sucks. Bon Iver? Good. J Cole? Eh. Nicki? Awesome. Skrillex? Fuck that! The Grammy goes to ……. BON IVER! CALLED IT! Grammy’s biggest fuck-up of the year, is what folks are going to call this, at least all the Nicki fans!
9:30 p.m. – An hour to go! Grammy for Best New Artist … could this be an upset? Nicki Minaj SHOULD win, but I’m thinking this could be a “Grammy moment.”
9:20 p.m. – There he is! He’s still got the sound down to an art, and it’s nice to see a songwriting legend up there having gotten the chance to clean up his life rather than flaming out. It’s too bad he’s soon not going to have any memories of it all left.
9:15 p.m. – Taylor Swift introduces the tribute to Glen Campbell. Out with the old, in with the new. With the help of the Band Perry and Blake Shelton, neither of whom is relevant enough to warrant not just letting Glen sing a couple of his best songs unencumbered by Grammy trappings.
9:05 p.m. – Adele’s performance: at long last! Apparently she’s won four awards so far, not the two we’ve seen on TV … her voice is still in top form, that’s for sure! “Rolling In The Deep” is definitely the song of 2011 people will still remember in 2031. It’s also proof that the best songs are the ones with the most emotion behind the writing and performance. You can tell she’s invested in this song to the core. Same goes for the entire album 21.
9:00 p.m. – Entering hour three … we’re officially halfway there. Wow. I’ll buy an album if the money goes to the Grammy Foundation for Making Grammys Shorter and Awarding More Music On Screen. Join me!
8:57 p.m. – Best Country Album — Should go to Taylor Swift. Actually goes to Lady Antebellum. Double yawn. That album sucked!
8:53 p.m. – Katy Perry, one of the many who will lose to Adele, performs … by which I mean lipsynchs the hell out of things. Glow in the dark outfits are fine, but there was nothing about this “E.T.” performance that made me disappointed when the sound cut out. Then there was more. Yawn.
8:50 p.m. – An AWARD presented by Neil Patrick Harris: Song of the Year — four nominees + Adele. The award goes to Adele, who gets her second! Who thought “Rolling In The Deep” wouldn’t win?
8:41 p.m. – Chris Brown blowback:
Chris Brown, Imma let you finish, but first Rihanna gonna beat the shit outta you—
Bruce VanWyngarden (@sylamore1) February 13, 2012
Congratulations, Chris Brown! When does Jerry Sandusky accept his Grammy?—
Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) February 13, 2012
8:40 p.m. – Taylor Swift may never be someone with wide non-country appeal, but I like her sound. At least she keeps things interesting, and her voice is better than she gets credit for. She brings out a banjo tonight and wins extra points from me.
8:35 p.m. – Common’s presentation of Gil Scott Heron was a nice touch — Best R&B album though: Chris Brown and R Kelly are terrible … of the five I preferred Kelly Price, but they gave it to Chris Brown. Disappointing. “Look at me now … I’m getting paper for being an asshole …” Ugh. Thank God and the Grammys for letting him “do his thang” …
8:32 p.m. – Stevie Wonder introduces Macca on the show, after busting out some “Love Me Do” on his harmonica … but man, I want to see Paul McCartney rock, not listen to this standards shit. Can’t we have a few more years of him as a pop singer and Beatle, rather than as the next Tony Bennett?
8:25 p.m. – Finally the Beach Boys show up and take over the Grammys with the real deal rather than lame cookie cutters of the real deal. “Good Vibrations” actually benefited from having Maroon 5 and Foster the People to add oomph to the layered harmonies. Maybe I was too harsh on both of those acts; they did good workmanlike covers of hard to imitate songs. But I wish there’d been more with the REAL Beach Boys.
8:20 p.m. – Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to hear Foster the People pretend to be relevant? We want the Beach Boys!
8:18 p.m. — Grammys take credit for the Beach Boys reunion. Lovely … by bringing in Ryan Secrest to then introduce Maroon 5, doing a surprisingly decent version of “Surfer Girl” which still doesn’t introduce the Beach Boys we want to hear from.
8:16 p.m. – The award goes to a garage and a tape machine! Long live rock … “the human element is most important!” DO YOUR CRAFT!
8:15 p.m. – Best Rock Performance: 1.) Coldplay isn’t rock. 2) The Decemberists aren’t rock. 3) Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower” isn’t rock. 4) Mumford isn’t rock. Give a fifth to the Foos!
8:07 p.m. – As the Grammys enter their second hour, as much as I’m enjoying it, I have to wonder why they booked three and a half hours for this, when they are only giving a handful of actual awards. So far we’re two awards in, and the score’s tied Kanye 1, Adele 1.
8:02 p.m. – No medley is complete without “Paradise,” the flat-out strongest pop song on the entire album! Hard not to do this song justice.
8:00 p.m. – Rihanna is proving why she’s the one who America wants to continue to hear more from (not that particular ex of hers who will not be named anymore on here.) And Coldplay’s not bad either … this is one of the better songs off their Mylo Xyloto album. So far the Grammy performances are definitely doing it for me for the most part!
7:46 p.m. – At least I can hear the Foos … so far, despite Adele’s best efforts, they’ll remain Grammy’s biggest winner for at least another couple hours.
7:45 p.m. – Shut up idiots! I can’t hear Jack Black talk!
7:38 p.m. – She’s a guilty pleasure, but damn it, I like Kelly Clarkson! And her new album’s nothing to sneeze at either. This performance is solid, but a bit odd coming right after Best Rap Performance gets handed out.
7:35 p.m. – The Grammy for Best Rap Performance goes to Jay Z and Kanye, so Kanye can … not show up! SUCK IT, GRAMMYS!
7:30 p.m. – I just got retweeted by Bruce VanWyngarden!
7:28 p.m. – I’m fine with turning up the music, if I can turn down Chris Brown. Weakest performance of the night so far.
7:25 p.m. — “Someone Like You” gives Adele her first award. No surprises there, it was definitely the best pop vocal performance.
7:20 p.m. – Alicia Keys is among the few today who can still do Etta James real justice. I love this performance!
7:12 p.m. – Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops and Hooligans is better as an album than the sum of its parts, and he’s a great performer. This one gets the feet pumping and does a lot to lead credence to the idea this is going to be a celebratory night, not a mournful one.
7:05 p.m. – I had no idea the Grammys needed a host. Let the music speak for itself, do we really need a voiceover? At least in the case of Whitney’s death, I think so.
7:00 p.m. – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the Grammys with their new single, and I stand by my opinion that the Boss could sing from the phone book and still draw a crowd into a frenzy. But “We Take Care Of Our Own” does a good job of introducing an album I suspect will be more varied than the song’s detractors would expect. Seemed a good way to get the show started.
6:54 p.m. – Should Chris Brown get a pass on his past re: Rihanna and being a spousal abuser?
6:50 p.m. – Spin’s spin on Adele’s 60 Minutes interview just went up here. My favorite quote: “I don’t want to be some skinny mini with my tits out. And I don’t want people confusing what it is that I’m about. I just stand there and sing. And I don’t do stunts or anything. if I wanted to do all that, I don’t think I’d get away with it.”
6:10 p.m. – We’re still an hour out from the broadcast, but just keeping an eye on Twitter and Grammy.com, there’s a great deal going on that won’t make the broadcast but which is still worth noting — among the leaders being, as Jian Ghomeshi, co-creator of Q on Radio & CBC TV, notes:
Nice to see the Foos getting noticed for White Limo, which was a leader among the notable lack of solid rock albums from 2011. Too bad none of their glory is going to make it into the live broadcast.
As expected, Whitney Houston is also dominating pre-Grammy conversation. I particularly liked Eric Alper‘s take on comments by Tony Bennett, who for once was spot on:
Tony Bennett says Whitney Houston was "The greatest singer I ever heard" & the U.S. should legalize drugs. God just thanked HIM.—
Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) February 12, 2012
- – - – -
I tend to badmouth the Grammys a great deal, but was thinking about it today and realized I actually haven’t “watched” the live ceremony in several years. So my wife and I are going to “take one for the team” and give this year’s proceedings a live viewing, and we’ll be posting our commentary on this page throughout! That way those of you reading here can view vicariously through us.
1. What will the tribute to Whitney Houston be?
3. Will Bon Iver translate into a “good winter” evening for Nicki Minaj in the “Best New Artist category, or will indie rock rule the day?
Drop me your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll be updating this page throughout the night, starting at 7 p.m. Central!
For those of you who missed it, here’s Will Hoge’s excellent performance of “Fool’s Gonna Fly,” off his latest album Number Seven. live from last night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Though the popular sentiment is that the late night circuit does little for overall fan growth, here’s hoping Hoge bucks the trend — this song, and the album it’s on, are among 2011′s best to not reach wide national acclaim. Next stop: Letterman!
I haven’t watched an episode of the X-Factor yet all the way through. Call me a victim of “too much Fake Reality” overload syndrome. But man, if there’s a reason to watch, I’d say it’d be to see how far Brian Bradley can go in the competition, because this kid’s got swagger and he totally slayed the judges, proving that he had stage presence and the ability to rock the mic to the beat of his own making. If you want to skip to the meat, jump into the video below at the 1:57 mark, as he goes straight into his performance by taking Simon to task:
What you lookin’ at?
What you starin’ at?
I see your eyes
I ain’t surprised
Just ’cause I’m a shorty
Don’t think I won’t do you no harm
Stop lookin’ at my mom!
Boom! The kid takes the stage as if he’s been there his whole life, completely commanding the audience as he rips into some great meaty lines: “I don’t understand why these dudes is lookin’ / Like they ain’t never seen a beautiful strong woman! / She just happens to be the one who birthed me / The one who burped me / The one who nursed me …” Seriously, I didn’t take the kid seriously when he said he wanted to be (in five years) the equal to the likes of Jay Z or Kanye, but he’s already off to a classier start, no matter what Simon may say.
“Brian, just let me say this,” Cowell scowled. “You are arrogant, obnoxious, argumentative, but you are one of the most talented young people I’ve heard in a long long time.” Judging by his comments, maybe the kid needs to ask for a DNA test, ’cause the way Cowell described it, he’s damned close to Cowell’s double, only with talent to boot. It ought to be fun to see where the show takes Bradley as the judges morph into mentors.
Somehow I suspect he’ll end up on Team Cowell.
One problem with having eye problems is that sometimes I miss how awesome something is the first time I see it. I have to see it more than once, take it in up-close, study for details and then something clicks. But I could tell from the first time I watched this on So You Think You Can Dance last week that this routine by Melanie Moore and all-star Twitch, choreographed to Nicki Minaj’s tongue-twisting, mind-molesting beast “Roman’s Revenge,” was a true keeper.
I didn’t expect the routine to continue to grow on me the more I watched it, but here I am early Monday morning, five days later, still watching, still wondering just how the hell anyone can do these moves and make it look so simple.
I know this is a music blog, and I don’t have any background to properly critique dance.
Or watch the video, below and try to tell me dancers aren’t athletes.
In a burst of excellent news, Okkervil River will be streaming a live performance of their complete, new album I Am Very Far, which won’t otherwise be available until May 10th! You can get this stream courtesy of NPR Music, starting at 6 p.m. central / 7 p.m. eastern time as an audio / video webcast for a limited time at this address.
The webcast marks the first chance to hear ‘I Am Very Far,’ which has already garnered critical acclaim. SPIN raved that the album “often [recalls] Dylan in deep-basement mode.” Billboard said the new songs “push sonic boundaries even by Okkervil River standards” and Uncut praised it as “thrilling” and “their best album yet.”
Today, JAGJAGUWAR released “I Am Very Far: The Lyrics Book” by frontman Will Sheff, a hardbound lyrics book meant to function as an entrance point into the album’s music. Order it here: http://bit.ly/fzgDmW
Okkervil River has also added several new headlining dates to their upcoming tour in support of ‘I Am Very Far,’ which includes a show at NYC’s Terminal 5 on June 7th. See below for a full tour schedule.
4/28 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
4/29 – Oxford, MS – Double Decker Festival: AT&T South Stage
4/30 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion (w/ Arcade Fire)
5/31 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse * #
6/01 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle * #
6/02 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club * #
6/03 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theatre * #
6/04 – New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place * #
6/07 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 #
6/08 – Boston, MA @ Royale * #
6/09 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom * #
6/10 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre * #
6/11 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall * #
6/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue * #
6/14 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown *
6/15 – Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater *
6/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
6/17 – Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theatre *
6/18 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre *
6/20 – Vancouver, BC @ The Vogue Theatre * &
6/21 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom * &
6/22 – Oakland, CA @ The Fox Theater * &
6/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern * $
6/24 – Solana Beach, CA @ The Belly Up Tavern * $
6/25 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre * $
6/27 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater *
6/28 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s * $
* w/ Titus Andronicus
# w/ Future Islands
& w/ Julianna Barwick
$ w/ NewVillager
- – - – -
For more information, visit http://www.okkervilriver.com.
You almost certainly haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Milo Greene before, but once you do, that first tantalizing hint won’t be nearly enough. With suggestions of a more upbeat Wilderness of Manitoba meets L’Altra, the trio of UC-Irvine alums (named after a fake PR flack they used to send promotional emails on their own behalf) has built its music the hard way, working the bay area’s concert venues while trading demos back and forth until they were able to get the sounds right.
No word yet on the band’s future debut, though they told LA’s Buzz Bands that they’ve got more than a dozen songs written and in various stages of development. But in what has to be a good sign, at least now their official website lists an honest-to-God management and legal team … so they’re definitely on the way up from doing all the legwork themselves.
Hopefully we’ll hear more from these talented musicians in the months to come. Until then, check out their song “1957,” recorded live at the Downtown Loft:
Austin, Texas’s Band of Heathens really has the quintessential alt-country sound, and they deserve to find an audience beyond the confines of central Texas. Featuring three principal songwriters (Colin Brooks, Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist), the band has gained a great deal of acclaim in the region, including a 2009 nomination for “New Emerging Artist” from the Americana Music Association. Their upcoming third studio album, Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son, is due out later this year. Here’s hoping it makes a bigger national wave than their past material, because they deserve to be household names.
Check the band’s performance of “L.A. County Blues” on Austin City Limits:
And hear them talk about the new album, courtesy of The Texas Music Scene:
Chris Thile and Michael Daves, two legends of modern bluegrass (Thile as a mandolin phenom and Daves as a superior guitar picker) have decided to team up with Jack White at Third Man Studios in Nashville to record Sleep With One Eye Open, due out May 10th on Nonesuch. The album, which features the two phenomenal musicians recorded during four days of marathon studio sessions, may be the closest Thile has come to recording a “straightforward” bluegrass record, but no one’s expecting the duo to play it staid and conventional.
“Mandolin and guitar and two male voices—it’s such a good sound,” Thile says of the new album. ”It was important for us was to get that brother duet thing, but with this Lower East Side punk energy. One of the most enjoyable things about this experience was to underline the slightly delinquent side of bluegrass.”
And while Thile has frequently been something of a bastard stepson to the bluegrass elite, who have accused him of modernizing the genre at the expense of centuries-old traditions, he’s always been at the forefront of creating inventive, original concepts that push this roots music forward into a new century. Here’s hoping this album helps bridge the gap between the new guard and the traditionalists, because Chris Thile is by all accounts the most interesting musician bluegrass has had to offer a new generation.
Check out the title track from Sleep With One Eye Open below:
Me Talk Pretty draws you in from the word “go,” sounding like Regina Spektor if she’d joined a pop-punk band and added some wild Romanian flair to the mix. Move over, Hayley Williams, because there’s a new woman in town ready to take the genre hostage one vocal at a time. Julia Preotu is the real deal, and it makes sense — they are coming up in the same NYC scene that developed Spektor, among many many other amazing artists of the last decade.
I’ll admit their name had me skeptical, but a few songs and I was as addicted as anyone! This is exactly the kind of hybrid pop radio could use a hell of a lot more of, and if the Internet’s going to have anything to do with it, live vids like this one won’t have 2,000 views for long.
Check out their latest EP We Are Strangers at Amazon!
EDIT: Sorry for the misspelling in the address on this one. I’ve corrected their name throughout the article to Me Talk Pretty.
If you love professionally produced podcasts that focus on all the greatness of indie music, prepare to have your minds blown. Enter The Shell benefits from being based in Hollywood, so they’re never going to have a shortage of artists willing to make the trek to their “NoHo2″ Studio to record the weekly “Enter The Shell Show” podcast. But what really blew me away was the depth of the quality of this free-to-the-world endeavor. They’re not charging a red cent, but for an hour or so each week music fans get what they come in for — a broadcast-radio worthy exploration of why “music moves us.”
I don’t know what more you can ask for. But I can guarantee you I’ll be checking this show out from here on when it goes up on Thursdays. It’s impressive when a duo of interviewers can come off with the professional sound of a “morning drive” show but actually make more impact for the quality of their interviews and overall music journalism.
Check out Enter The Shell interviewing Pocket Rockets via YouTube:
Fresh off their huge and elaborate mention in one of Bob Lefsetz’s most recent Lefsetz Letters, Fitz and the Tantrums have announced a handful of new tour dates, for which fan-specific early ticketing is now on! If you haven’t heard the band — and by all means, you should get out there and HEAR THIS BAND! — what better time than now is there to go out and catch a great live band doing what they do best? Anyone can record something well in a studio and make it sound good. But it takes a unique group of artists to go out night after night and make their music come alive, staying fresh and original all the way.
To order tickets, visit the band’s ticketing site and register with your email address, and you’ll get a password to order tickets free of the whole Ticketmaster surcharge game. The following shows are available as of this posting:
April 10: 20th Century Theatre (Cincinnati OH)
April 11: The Orange Peel (Asheville NC)
April 12: Music Farm (Charleston SC)
April 14: The Loft (Atlanta GA)
April 17: Soul Kitchen (Mobile AL)
April 18: House of Blues Houston (Houston TX)
April 19: La Zona Rosa (Austin TX)
April 20: House of Blues Dallas (Dallas TX)
April 22: Santa Fe Brewing Company (Santa Fe NM)
April 24: Club Congress (Tucson AZ)
And for those of you out of the loop still, here’s a great reason to check the band out, courtesy of our friends at YouTube:
And if you want some background on the band’s hard-working ethic, you can read their response to Lefsetz’s letter. It’s an interesting read!
If you like hip-hop but frequently feel maligned as someone who must be a woman hating, gay-bashing, violence loving asshole, this guy may be your savior. Tell your friends to check out Theophilus London’s performance on Letterman tonight (CBS 11:35pm EST/10:35pm CST) … he’ll be playing his single “Why Even Try” (right click to download!) at the end of the show, with Sara Quinn of Tegan and Sara fame. The song’s a classic in the making, and you may wind up changing a few minds about the overall quality of hip-hop in general.
I can’t think of a better way to end Valentine’s day … at least not musically.
- – - – -
Enjoy the full Letterman performance below!
I’m still way too busy listening to the new Decemberists’ album, letting it soak in, to dare write a review of it yet, but for those of you who haven’t heard, give the band a listen via their World Cafe performance on the NPR website! A great performance for a great show. And buy a copy of The King Is Dead while it’s still fresh! You won’t be disappointed.