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.
Tempest is Bob Dylan's highly-anticipated 35th studio album and coincides with the 50th anniversary of his 1962 eponymous debut album. Produced by Jack Frost and recorded with the members of Dylan's touring band and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, Tempest has received worldwide critical acclaim.
In its five-star review, Rolling Stone calls Tempest, ''musically varied and full of curveballs....Dylan now stands virtually alone among his 1960s peers.''
Grizzly Bear began in 2004 as a bedroom recording project for Massachusetts native Ed Droste. His early songs were mostly trippy, atmospheric and roughly sketched soundscapes, but by 2006, Grizzly Bear had evolved into a full band and released the slightly more polished album Yellow House. The group's 2009 breakthrough, Veckatimist, and the new Shields are both richly layered productions with gorgeous, soaring harmonies and artful melodies and rhythms.
The Portland, Ore., rock band Menomena has just released Moms, its fourth album — and first since co-founder Brent Knopf left the group last year. The band's core members, Justin Harris and Danny Seim, carry forward Menomena's musical hallmarks (meaty baritone sax, bassline spines, rhythms that turn on a dime), which have made its sound such an original all these years.