Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:31 pm
Youth Lagoon's second album, Wondrous Bughouse, is one of the most arresting headphone records you'll hear this year. Trevor Powers, the band's sole member, layers strange but alluring synth textures under quirky melodies and simple pop beats, in the process creating an expansive and endlessly engrossing world of sonic curiosities.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:41 am
As one of the most thoughtful singer-songwriters around, Josh Ritter isn't one to write angry, over-the-top, knee-jerk breakup songs — even though his new album, The Beast in Its Tracks, was written entirely in response to his own recent divorce. Gentility and empathy are wired into Ritter's songwriting, so his idea of a breakup anthem is the gorgeous and glorious "Joy to You Baby," in which he closes the book on a relationship by wishing everyone well, himself included.
Hello? Can you hear me out there? Let me be the first one to tell you: be yourself, don’t ever fall down, speak up, shout out for what you believe in. Let everybody know who you are, and I promise you’ll go very far. Getting ready for battle and he’s trying to hold his ground. His heart is racing, numb with fear and doubt. The reign of bullets begin, as missiles streak the sky. Everything’s about to change in the blink of an eye. She feels like closing door. Oh, reach a little further and you will find, that you can walk the distance, discover bravery inside. Outrun the resistance, keep on persisting, and it will be alright. Oh, reach a little further. They watch with pity as her pain takes its toll. She takes a deep slow breath. She’s longing to feel whole. Despite uplifting words, they can’t help anymore. She’s fought for so long; she feels like closing door. Learn how to stand up. Learn how to fight. Whether you’re wrong or right, think like a bird or a butterfly, ready to take flight. Finally, you need to learn. Stand up, be strong, be heard, ready to fight, ready to lead. High and tall, you’ve got to exceed. Break the barriers. Jump the hurdles. Run the distance. Take off when you hear that startin’ gun. Don’t wait for resistance. Be brave and don’t let nobody ever push your fire. Speak what’s on your mind, then learn how to take steps higher. Everyday, relentlessly, they try to break him down. (Don’t let ‘em get ya.) Their laughter echoes as they push him down. He’s trying to speak up, to break through the walls. No matter how hard he tries, no one can hear his calls. (Come on, come on.)
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:11 pm
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Say what you will about some of the biggest songs of the 1980s — go ahead and badmouth electric pianos, and by all means bemoan the prevailing production quality — but the decade continues to cast a long shadow over popular music. Given its enduring popularity on dance floors and on radios, not to mention the rise of '80s-emulating singers like Gotye, you could do far worse than look to that decade for tips on connecting with audiences.
It’s a Musician! It’s a Scientist! It’s… an Asteroid?
What does New Wave music and DNA chromosomes in E. coli have in common? Mira Aroyo, vocalist of Ladytron, an English electropop band, was working on her PhD at Oxford in genetics when she quit research science to pursue a music career.
In an interview with London’s Daily Record in 2008, she explained the transition.
As the European editor of Rolling Stone, Jonathan Cott spent his time interviewing legendary musicians like Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend. But in 1968, he finally got the opportunity to meet his hero, John Lennon. Cott was nervous.
"He said, 'There's nothing to be nervous about,'" Cott recalls. "'It's going to be OK, and we're doing it together, and that's what really matters.'"
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 5:21 pm
As televised prize-givers, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are slouches. The dozen prizes given out in a typical Grammy Awards telecast is the lowest of any major awards-show telecast, from the Oscars to the Emmys. NARAS gives out the bulk of its little gramophones in an untelevised ceremony.
But as sales-juicers? The Grammys are unparalleled.