Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:00 am
I first found the music of Gashcat buried among 2,000 other songs in a playlist NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson put together to help us prepare for South By Southwest earlier this year. I assumed I wouldn't like them and only listened because I thought the name was ridiculous. Gashcat. What does that even mean?
After 15 years as the singer of Death Cab for Cutie, Benjamin Gibbard has finally released his first solo album, titled Former Lives. The record moves beyond the indie-pop confines of Gibbard's band, touching on Latin music, alt-country and '70s power pop. It largely consists of songs written in the last eight years that never fit the themes of past Death Cab records.
Bob Mould has spent the last couple years exploring his past. He published his autobiography, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, last year. More recently, he revisited the complete recordings of his '90s band Sugar for the purpose of reissuing them. All that looking back gave Mould the idea that the time was right for a return to the earlier sounds of his legendary '80s band Hüsker Dü, which blurred the lines separating punk, rock and pop.
Scott Yoder and Brendhan Bowers formed The Pharmacy in 2002, envisioning it as a garage-punk band before also embracing dance-pop and psychedelic rock. In 2007, classically trained pianist Stefan Rubicz joined the group, which has since maintained a steady schedule, earning positive reviews and touring with Vivian Girls, Matt+Kim and Japanther.
Sometimes, it's hard to know what constitutes a band. Billy Corgan wrote and sang all the songs for The Smashing Pumkpins and still records under the name, even though the other original members are long gone. Same deal with James Mercer and The Shins.
They were there in the 1970s,through the '80s and on into the '90s. Aerosmith has managed to become one of the most enduring bands in American rock history. Now, the group is releasing its first studio album in 11 years. It's called Music from Another Dimension!, and it's out this week.
The album is a labor of love, one that lead singer Steven Tyler says almost didn't happen. Speaking with NPR's Rachel Martin, Tyler points to a particularly rough experience in the time between albums: the day in 2009 when he fell off the stage during a live performance.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:03 am
Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday Alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.