Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 1:20 pm
The basic overlays and spectral effects used in '80s music videos are so rough and out-of-place, they now seem cutting edge. The prolific, endlessly inspired lo-fi garage-rock musician Ty Segall re-creates that psychedelic vibe on his latest video, "The Hill."
For 25 years, the London synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys have done one thing better than any other duo in the UK: sell records.
In fact, they've sold 50 million records worldwide since Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met at an electronics shop in 1981.
Many people were reminded of the Pet Shop Boys when they helped close out the 2012 Olympic Games in London with their biggest hit, "West End Girls." The duo, however, continues to make new music and has just released their 11th studio album, Elysium.
For more than a decade, The Raveonettes' members have been making albums filled with fuzz-guitar feedback and tight girl-group harmonies. The duo's latest album, Observator, takes on a different sound, thanks in part to its embrace of a new instrument.
The shaggy-haired Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs released three albums independently before entering Rolling Stone magazine's "Choose the Cover" competition in 2011. The group beat out 15 other competitors to win, and in the process scored a major-label record deal â€” not to mention an appearance on Project Runway.
For many people, the definitive soundtrack of the mid-1990s was a band out of Virginia with unusual instrumentation and an unmistakable sound. Born and partially raised in South Africa, Dave Matthews was a bartender in the college town of Charlottesville when he founded the Dave Matthews Band in 1991. Two decades on, the group has sold 40 million records and become one of the biggest live acts in the world.
I recently listened to the first single from the new Cat Power album with some fellow fans, and the room was deeply divided. Some thought the song was fabulous, but others were startled and upset â€” which I could understand, sort of. Chan Marshall's songs generally speak to pain and trauma with a hushed and intimate musical vocabulary. But this song, "Ruin," was different â€” not just a rock 'n' roll song, but one you might even want to dance to.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:20 pm
I'm a sucker for a stuttered guitar sound. It's a sound I came to love listening to Fela Kuti and other African greats in the '70s and '80s. American rockers often tend to crank their gritty guitars to 10 â€” they get loud and gritty about two and a half minutes into the tune. But it's that sweeter, stuttered sound that grabs me right away; you can hear it these days in bands like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:57 am
Whitney Houston's 1992 Bodyguard soundtrack was a huge hit. Huge! It sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. Remember "I Will Always Love You"? It's from that record. But according to last week's poll, a staggering 90 percent of you either don't like it or haven't heard it.