Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:55 am
I haven't been able to stop listening to Alt-J since I saw the group in concert last week. Its sound is understated. The band's lead singer has a quirky affect you may love - or not - but the songs are smart, filled with pop culture, film and literary references, from Maurice Sendak to the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 10:53 am
The mists of eternity wafted over my Twitter feed the other night. Okay, not quite — but talk of eternity, or at least of the pop scene in thirty years, did make for a lengthy and spirited group exchange. It started when a friend who's not fond of singing competitions asked whether Kelly Clarkson will be remembered in 2042.
For 27 years, the members of Neurosis have demonstrated what metal can be and what it can aspire to: transcendent, cathartic, graceful, innovative. Like the best films, Neurosis' albums are thoughtful and sometimes sublime escapes, navigating pain and salvation through Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly's words, as well as a dense atmosphere of distortion and noise. In the past decade, more deliberately paced and folkloric passages have made their way into Neurosis' sound, too.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:55 am
This will be the last in our summer-long series of polls in search of the albums everyone can love. We've featured a few hundred records since we started back in May, and have found a lot of surprises.
Experimental musician Mica Levi, a.k.a. Micachu, doesn't exactly fit comfortably into her surroundings: She cuts a vaguely otherworldly, not-so-vaguely androgynous figure, and sings strangely pretty, jagged little songs with the aid of odd tunings and a tiny guitar, which dangles from crudely tied twine. She identifies herself as a pop singer, but while her songs are catchy enough, they're no one's idea of pop-radio fodder.
Listen to Bonnie Raitt and Ann Powers at the 2012 Americana Music Conference
Last Wednesday I had the enormous privilege of sitting down with the masterful Bonnie Raitt for the keynote conversation at the annual Americana Music Conference and Festival in Nashville. Actually, I stood while blues fusion matriarch sat — I'd aggravated an old back injury moments before we took the stage, and my mentioning this to the crowd set Bonnie up for her first zinger of the chat: "What was his name?" she teased.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 11:05 am
By manyaccounts, Early Graves' Makh Daniels was a passionate, kind man, as well as a ferocious vocalist who lived for the road. That he died in a van accident a little more than two years ago while on tour with The Funeral Pyre is just a reminder that sometimes the best die young.