Posts tagged with "MAY 2012"

SUMMER FESTIVALS

SUMMER FESTIVALS
   MAY  THE BAMBOOZLE  Headliners: Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Skrillex, Brand New, the Gaslight Anthem, All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, Incubus, Mac Miller Where: Asbury Park, N.J. When: May 18-20 Website: thebamboozle.com Promoted as the largest beach-based music festival in the U.S., the 10th annual Bamboozle offers more than 100 acts. This year the sounds will continue well into the night, as the lineup has expanded to include... 

WOOD WORKS

WOOD WORKS
WOOD WORKS What to look for in an acoustic guitar—from strings to wood, body and beyond Even though someone had the earth-shaking notion to run electricity into a guitar a few decades ago, the acoustic guitar remains just as potent as it ever was. The instrument spans genre and culture, from the Gipsy Kings’ flamenco grace to Bob Dylan’s folk strumming and Jimmy Page’s driving leads. In the right hands, the simple combination of wood and... 

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Neil Young & Crazy Horse Americana  [Reprise] The stories adults tell children are often sanitized. In the original version (spoiler alert!), Little Red Riding Hood gets eaten by the big, bad wolf after being tricked into cannibalizing her grandmother. The jealous villain who orders Snow White’s murder isn’t her stepmother, but her mother. The same is true of the folk songs we learned as kids, many of which have origins far darker or more... 

JOHN MAYER

JOHN MAYER
JOHN MAYER Born and Raised [Columbia] On his fifth album, John Mayer continues his slow shift away from the pop-rock mainstream and back into the singer-songwriter territory of his early days. The mostly mellow tone evinces some country leanings, with his gentle fingerpicked guitar, pedal steel and even some ’60s folk harmonica. But there are a couple of low-key classic-rock jams with quiet, rambling electric guitar leads and subtle Hammond organ... 

SANTIGOLD

SANTIGOLD
SANTIGOLD Master of My Make-Believe [Atlantic] Four years is an eternity in pop music, yet Santigold sounds as distinctive on her second album as she did on her first, 2008’s Santogold. (Born Santi White, she changed her stage name slightly in 2009 to avoid legal entanglements.) Like her debut, Master of My Make-Believe is a mix of styles, blending elements of new wave, dub reggae and electro-rock into a compelling hybrid, with writing and production... 

BEACH HOUSE

BEACH HOUSE
BEACH HOUSE Bloom [Sub Pop] On their first three albums, Beach House architects Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand built one of the more recognizable sounds in modern indie rock. With the fourth, they don’t change things up so much as they focus and improve them. As always, the songs mix drum-machine beats with the dizzying slo-mo whoosh of keyboard, echo-rich guitar and Legrand’s stately, often unintelligible vocals. It’s a recipe for gloriously... 

THE CULT

THE CULT
THE CULT Choice of Weapon [Cooking Vinyl] It’s been more than 20 years since the Cult achieved platinum success with Electric and Sonic Temple, records that appeared to establish the band as goth-metal’s reigning power. Unable to sustain the momentum, the group ultimately disbanded in the mid-’90s, with frontman Ian Astbury going on to gain notice as the fill-in for Jim Morrison in touring configurations of the Doors. The group’s latest album... 

SIGUR RÓS

SIGUR RÓS
SIGUR RÓS Valtari [XL] Sigur Rós’ indefinite hiatus certainly didn’t last long. A mere two years after the Icelandic quartet publicly questioned its own future (and frontman Jónsi released a solo album), they have returned with a sixth studio album. Clocking in just shy of an hour, Valtari is in many ways a more subdued affair than previous efforts. Tones are soft, and anything remotely raw is muted into a subtle buzzing in the background.... 

ALABAMA SHAKES

ALABAMA SHAKES
ALABAMA SHAKES  Boys & Girls [ATO] Alabama Shakes plays in a pocket deep enough to lose your keys in. It’s like a protective bubble for the quintet, which has managed to ignore inflated industry expectations to record this fierce, compelling debut LP. Although the band insists it’s not a retro-soul act, Boys & Girls is drenched in guitar, organ, round bass and edge-of-the-beat drums. What truly elevates Alabama Shakes, though, is Brittany... 

GEORGE HARRISON

GEORGE HARRISON
 DVD/BLU-RAY  GEORGE HARRISON  Living in the Material World   [UMe] From the relatively tender age of 20 until the day he died from lung cancer in 2001 at age 58, the world’s eyes were locked on George Harrison. At the same time, he was looking at the world—from the early days of Beatlemania, through his worldwide journeys in search of spiritual enlightenment and musical enjoyment, Harrison was rarely without a camera in hand. His personal... 

JOEY RAMONE

JOEY RAMONE
JOEY RAMONE …Ya Know? [BMG Rights Management] Joey Ramone embodied rock ’n’ roll at its most joyous and elemental, from the mid-’70s—when he and his fellow Ramones basically invented punk—to his death in 2001. The lovably gawky frontman bleated fast and catchy songs about loving pop culture and living the life of a weirdo outsider. His second posthumous solo album revisits these ideas, and if “Rock ’N’ Roll Is the Answer”... 

PAUL THORN

PAUL THORN
PAUL THORN What the Hell Is Goin’ On? [Perpetual Obscurity]  Its title comes from one of the songs contained in this set of covers, but Paul Thorn has earned such a reputation for his own singular, sometimes autobiographical material that its existence might well provoke the titular question from fans. What’s going on, according to Thorn himself, is simply an effort to paint beyond his usual palette. The results turn out to be as idiosyncratic... 

MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES

MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES
MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES Nashville, Vol. 1: Tear the Woodpile Down [Sugar Hill] Over the course of his four decades in Nashville, Marty Stuart has transformed from 13-year-old bluegrass prodigy to radio hit-maker and finally elder statesman. He’s one of the genre’s protectors now, amassing a museum’s worth of memorabilia, hosting his own TV variety show and championing a sound that’s all but vanished from mainstream country.... 

PANTERA

PANTERA
REISSUE PANTERA   Vulgar Display of Power (Deluxe Edition)   [Rhino] Few albums in rock history have boasted a cover that so perfectly matched the contents. Pantera’s groove-metal landmark Vulgar Display of Power is indeed a musical blow to the head—and the fist that delivers it was never more tightly clenched than in 1992. Singer Phil Anselmo, guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, bass player Rex Brown and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott together... 

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Older Than My Old Man Now [2nd Story Sound] Wainwright’s latest finds the singer, songwriter and satirist typically wry and reflective, contemplating mortality and musing about life’s tangled trajectory. Mirth and melancholy are present in equal measure, from the humor infused in “My Meds” (“If the side effects don’t kill me, meds might save my life”) and “I Remember Sex” (a brassy duet with the wacky Dame... 

VIOLENS

VIOLENS
VIOLENS True [Slumberland] Two prevailing indie trends of the day come together on Violens’ second album—with sexy, sexy results. The guitars are crisp, cool and prismatic; set against bouncing bass and snappy beats, they recall the finest U.K. jangle bands of the ’80s. But mastermind Jorge Elbrecht paints from memory, and memories are unreliable. His songs are abstractions, and thus the album’s leadoff single and not-quite-title-cut “Totally... 

EVE 6

EVE 6
EVE 6 Speak in Gold [Fearless]  It’s been a while since the members of Eve 6 were rocking Gen-X radios with hits like “Inside Out” and “Promise,” but the band’s first new album in nine years proves they never surrendered their knack for creating hard-driving pop songs. In fact, they’ve gotten even better at it—tracks like “Victoria” and “Situation Infatuation” could pass for a sped-up Fountains of Wayne minus a little wit.... 

THE WACO BROTHERS AND PAUL BURCH

THE WACO BROTHERS AND PAUL BURCH
THE WACO BROTHERS AND PAUL BURCH Great Chicago Fire [Bloodshot] Great Chicago Fire comes to us, so the story goes, as the serendipitous result of Paul Burch and members of the Wacos knocking back margaritas together at an industry gathering. What they’ve whipped up brings together the characteristic Waco Brothers strum und twang with Burch’s melodic classicism. The jointness of this joint undertaking doesn’t extend to songwriting (with one... 

THE DB’S

THE DB’S
THE DB’S Falling Off the Sky thedbsonline.net In power-pop, there’s no success quite like failure. For whatever reason, the genre’s best and brightest tend to be cult heroes rather than the Top 40 superstars their tunefulness would seem to suggest—and this is certainly true of the dB’s. During their original 1978-1988 run, the North Carolina-born, New York-based foursome played earworm ’60s rock with an arty New Wave bent, influencing... 

JOEL HENDERSON

JOEL HENDERSON
JOEL HENDERSON Locked Doors & Pretty Fences joelhenderson.com The sound of a heartland rocker losing heart, Locked Doors finds Joel Henderson shuffling begrudgingly into middle age. On opener “Growing Up (Is Hard to Do),” he sets the tone, trying in vain to remember even the previous night’s dreams. On “Heartless Kisses” he stews in the ashes of a once-blazing romance, and on “This Time of Year” not even the onset of spring can brighten... 

J.D. BLAIR

J.D. BLAIR
J.D. BLAIR 2012? vixrecords.com Only one song on the latest from this groove master comes with the parenthetical “(Smooth Mix)” appended to the title, but the tag could apply throughout. An ace session and touring drummer, Blair has played with everyone from Bootsy Collins to Yo-Yo Ma, earning special recognition for his country work. It all comes together on 2012?—an album that, true to its title, transcends time and place. Blair’s Nashville... 

CHARLENE SORAIA

CHARLENE SORAIA
CHARLENE SORAIA Moonchild charlenesoraia.com The debut from this British songstress begins with high, wordless vocals, equal parts Karen Carpenter and John Carpenter. As “When We Were Five” progresses, the line between love song and horror flick only grows blurrier. “I’ll declare you’re mine,” sings Soraia (who attended the same performing-arts school as Adele), but then Moog synth creeps in and she’s making that pledge from The Twilight... 

LOGAN MIZE

LOGAN MIZE
LOGAN MIZE Nobody in Nashville loganmize.com Had Tom Petty anticipated Shania Twain’s savvy marketing strategy of releasing country and pop versions of her 2002 Up! for his 1989 classic Full Moon Fever, he’d have come up with something like Nobody in Nashville. Logan Mize doesn’t have Petty’s sarcastic seen-it-all wit, but he’s still young—and besides, his outlook is fundamentally sunnier. Mize bucks rock clichés and yearns for the simple... 

ARCHIE POWELL & THE EXPORTS

ARCHIE POWELL & THE EXPORTS
ARCHIE POWELL & THE EXPORTS Great Ideas in Action archiepowellandtheexports.com  The big idea on Great Ideasis pairing crisp power-pop hooks with complex lyrics about careening into adulthood. Powell puts this particular notion in motion by spewing nervous words nearly as quickly as he strums his palm-muted chords. Conjuring riffs that somehow recall both the Stray Cats’ “Stray Cat Strut” and Richard Hell’s “Blank Generation”—twins... 

PEELANDER-Z

PEELANDER-Z
PEELANDER-Z Space Vacation peelander-z.com No band relishes outsider status quite like Peelander-Z, sci-fi-loving Japanese musicians who came together in New York City but claim to hail from outer space. The group makes vibrant B-movie rock in the spirit of Devo and the Ramones—wearing costumes like the former, using pseudonyms like the latter and absorbing musical ideas from both. Here it adds up to a synth-punk concept record about surfing the... 

WHITEJACKET

WHITEJACKET
WHITEJACKET Hollows and Rounds whitejacketmusic.com “Let me take you down,” Whitejacket mastermind Chris McDuffie sings on “River’s Song.” His next words aren’t “… ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields,” but they might as well be. The former Apples in Stereo keyboardist paints with Beatlesque brushstrokes on much of his debut, recreating George Harrison’s guitar tones, Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” picking (on “Single... 

WALTER TROUT

WALTER TROUT
WALTER TROUT Blues for the Modern Daze waltertrout.com What would Blind Willie Johnson have thought about Facebook and Occupy Wall Street? Guitar great Walter Trout ventures his best guesses on his 21st album, using Johnson’s country-blues style as a jumping-off point. The fun is hearing where he lands. On “Money Rules the World,” the former John Mayall sideman busts out his wailing wah-wah and rails against politicians and fat cats. With “Lonely,”... 

BALKAN BEAT BOX

BALKAN BEAT BOX
BALKAN BEAT BOX Give balkanbeatbox.com From Jamaican dancehall and American hip-hop to Arab Spring street chants, the music of the oppressed shares a certain rhythmic and lyrical toughness. As Israeli musicians based in New York City, the members of Balkan Beat Box are well positioned to take it all in. On its fifth album the trio aims for mass mobilization, lobbing hand-grenade slogans—“Money leads to more money!” “Fight the urge to be violent!”... 

PEASANT

PEASANT
PEASANT Bound for Glory iampeasant.bandcamp.com From the sound of things, Damien DeRose is having a few problems with the ladies. They leave him standing on street corners and “laying on the carpet” (as he notes in “The Flask”), and he’s not quite sure how to put things right. The young Doylestown, Penn., native spends his third album under the Peasant banner sorting out his girl troubles, setting heartbreak and confusion to hushed indie-folk.... 

WORLD BLANKET

WORLD BLANKET
WORLD BLANKET 2012 worldblanket.com When not fronting World Blanket, Mike Pomranz writes for Comedy Central and blogs about beer. It’s funny, then, just how sober (in both senses of the word) he sounds on 2012, his Brooklyn-based band’s first album since 2008. With more electric guitar and less violin, these songs would hit like bar-rock anthems. Instead they push ahead with pensive energy, their downcast strings contrasting nicely with Pomranz’s... 

THIRD WORLD LOVE

THIRD WORLD LOVE
THIRD WORLD LOVE Songs and Portraits thirdworldlove.com Make no mistake, this international foursome plays jazz—all cool-cat bass, dynamo drums, lyrical trumpet and color-splash piano—but rock fans will find plenty to dig. Amid sonic trips to Spain and the Middle East, the players stay melodic and direct. On “The Abutbuls,” they’re positively psychedelic.  Read More →

THE McEUEN SESSIONS

THE McEUEN SESSIONS
THE McEUEN SESSIONS For All the Good themceuensessions.com John, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s enduring “string wizard,” teams with his sons on this warm and virtuosic country-folk affair. Bittersweet covers “Long Hard Road” and “Leader of the Band” could have been written by the youngsters to their dad; Jonathan’s rose-tinted instrumental “Banjormous” almost certainly was.  Read More →

LOGAN VENDERLIC

LOGAN VENDERLIC
LOGAN VENDERLIC Logan Venderlic myspace.com/loganvenderlic This wordy West Virginian lets lyrics spill forth like Bright Eyes and Bob Dylan, but he hasn’t forgotten those Blink-182 records he rocked in his youth. Hence the punky pep of “Blue Pills/Red Cups” and “Jerkwater Town”—heavy-subject folk with a wonderfully light touch.  Read More →

WHITE WIDOW

WHITE WIDOW
WHITE WIDOW A Psychological Thriller whitewidowmusic.com Austin-based Carla Patullo excels at gothed-out ’80s balladry—think Quarterflash or Bonnie Tyler on an Evanescence kick—and that’s the perfect sound for this imaginary film score about twisted romance. Spoiler alert: It ends with a dream of white horses, leaving plenty of mystery for the sequel.  Read More →

SILVER SWANS

SILVER SWANS
SILVER SWANS Forever myspace.com/silverswansband Ann Yu is filled with secrets. That goes for “Secrets,” obviously, but also the other 10 dance-floor daydreams conjured up by these San Fran synth-poppers. “I’m spinning you around in my head,” she sings on “Diary Land,” as if dizzy is the only way to be.  Read More →

MEIKO

MEIKO
MEIKO HOMETOWN: Roberta, Ga. INFLUENCES: Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, Sade ALBUM: The Bright Side, out now WEBSITE: meikomusic.com Growing up in a small rural hometown with a population of 800, Meiko Sheppard learned to entertain herself. She picked up her father’s guitar and was writing songs by age 5; three years later she made her public debut singing “White Christmas” at church. “Being an awkward, bored middle-schooler was really helpful... 

SPEAKERS

SPEAKERS
SPEAKERS HOMETOWN: New Orleans MEMBERS: “Keon B” Brown (vocals), Blair Taylor (music) ALBUM: New Frequency EP, out now WEBSITE: speakersmusic.com Blair Taylor was getting established as a go-to musician and producer in his native New Orleans when singer and rapper Keon B moved to town from Waynesboro, Ga. When Keon heard Taylor’s production work, he was impressed enough to try contacting him. “I called and texted Blair for a whole year after... 

SHANNON LABRIE

SHANNON LABRIE
SHANNON LABRIE HOMETOWN: Lincoln, Neb. INFLUENCES: Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, James Taylor ALBUM: Shannon Labrie EP, out now WEBSITE: shannonlabrie.com The daughter of an opera-singing mother and guitar-playing father, Shannon Labrie took to music early—she astounded her first vocal coach with her four-octave range, and began writing classical piano pieces as a child. She got her first guitar at around 10 and began learning chords from her dad, who... 

RACHAEL SAGE

RACHAEL SAGE
RACHAEL SAGE Romance, record deals and the reality of making it  on your own terms   Singer, songwriter and pianist Rachael Sage’s 10th and latest album, Haunted by You, is a song cycle about love, loss and immediate entanglement. Its tale parallels Sage’s own recent personal trajectory, which began with the dissolution of a longtime relationship, followed by a torrid overseas affair—one she soon realized was doomed to fail. But don’t... 

GOSSIP

GOSSIP
GOSSIP Beth Ditto on personalities, producers and rocking for the right reasons   Creating the follow-up to a hot-selling major-label debut can be downright stressful, but Gossip was looking to do so with as little drama as possible. After 2009’s Music for Men proved a success, the Portland trio’s members readied a new batch of songs—but found themselves unsettled on the album’s direction. “Being just a three-piece, it would be easy to... 

ANDREW BIRD

ANDREW BIRD
ANDREW BIRD Breaking out with his barn, his band, his baby and his books     After a long stretch of working mainly solo, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird was in a more sociable mood while making his latest album, Break It Yourself. It’s easily Bird’s most collaborative effort in years. He recorded the 14 songs during two week-long stints playing with his band in a barn on his family’s farm in Western Illinois.... 

SPECTRUM ROAD

SPECTRUM ROAD
SPECTRUM ROAD Jack Bruce and friends pay tribute to one of fusion’s founding fathers    The word “supergroup” gets tossed around a lot, but Spectrum Road makes an impressive case for itself. Each member of the quartet comes with a wildly impressive résumé. Guitarist Vernon Reid is the prime mover behind Living Colour, the juggernaut that helped define rock-funk in the ’80s. Keyboardist John Medeski, one-third of Medeski Martin &... 

DAR WILLIAMS

DAR WILLIAMS
DAR WILLIAMS  Making sense of the modern world through the myths of an ancient time   When she titled her eighth and latest album In the Time of Gods, singer and songwriter Dar Williams wasn’t just looking for something that sounded lofty. On the contrary, Williams has lately been fascinated with Greek mythology and its gods and goddesses—Zeus, Hermes, Athena and their compatriots, whose tales she considers a prism through which to see the... 

THE HIVES

THE HIVES
THE HIVES Sweden’s super-caffeinated, supremely confident rockers rediscover one another   Onstage, Hives frontman “Howlin’” Pelle Almqvist has moves like Jagger and the personality of a carnival barker. Comically arrogant, he’s there to tell you how great his band is and how thoroughly you’re about to be rocked. Discussing the group’s latest studio effort, Almqvist is less prone to bold proclamations. He’s plenty confident, but... 

GARBAGE

GARBAGE
GARBAGE Pioneering alt-rockers push forward, leaving the labels and the ’90s behind   On the eve of Garbage’s first tour in more than seven years, guitarist Duke Erikson is puzzled. “I’m trying to figure out how the hell to pack all this stuff,” he says, facing an unruly pile of clothes. “I can’t remember how I did this before.” Luckily, he and his bandmates had no such trouble reminding themselves of the chemistry that propelled... 

GLENN FREY

GLENN FREY
GLENN FREY The Eagles’ co-leader takes a solo flight through classic love songs  “The Eagles is the mothership,” says Glenn Frey. “We venture to and from that.” For his first solo album in 20 years, the 63-year-old Detroit native ventured far indeed: After Hours is a collection of love songs dating from the ’40s to the present. Producing with Richard F.W. Davis and Michael Thompson, Frey gives candlelit treatment to such gems as Johnny... 

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—now let’s dance      After spending a few years exploring esoteric pursuits like composing the opera Prima Donna and staging a Judy Garland tribute at Carnegie Hall, Rufus Wainwright was ready to aim for the mainstream. “My listeners have been very patient with my little dalliances,” he says. “So I wanted to give them the kind of record you can bring to a party and... 

RODNEY CROWELL

RODNEY CROWELL
RODNEY CROWELL  A unique teaming with poet Mary Karr brings it all back home   After more than three decades, 13 solo albums and collaborations with some of music’s greatest names, Rodney Crowell knows a born songwriter when he sees one—even if that particular songwriter has never written a song. When he read poet and memoirist Mary Karr’s 1995 book The Liars’ Club, he couldn’t help but see the parallels between himself and the author—they... 

HOWARD BENSON

HOWARD BENSON
HOWARD BENSON  From aircraft to songcraft and from aerospace to star power            By Michael Gallant For multiplatinum, Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson, the crucial skill that led to success in the music business was … aerospace engineering? “Music has a math component to me,” Benson explains. “It’s complicated and fun, and I’m blessed to do it every day. Plus the same organizational skills apply. Just instead of making... 

NOTION MUSIC NOTATION FOR iPAD

NOTION MUSIC NOTATION FOR iPAD
NOTION MUSIC NOTATION FOR iPAD Take note NOTION Music has developed an award-winning line of applications designed to streamline the process of creating, editing and notating music. True to form, the new NOTION for iPad harnesses the popular tablet’s touch-screen capabilities for an impressive end-user experience. The 24-fret interactive guitar fingerboard makes it easy to transcribe nearly anything you’d play on your instrument to tab or music... 
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