Neil Young wants you to truly hear the music you listen to. Over the years, the trend in audio has prioritized convenience over quality. Last week at SXSW, I had a conversation with Neil Young about an idea he has to change that trend. In this interview, he talks about Pono, the new audio player he's been helping develop. Just before the interview, I spent time listening to Pono. It's impressive.
Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:26 am
DIY punk bands from around the country are getting a bit more attention these days, largely due to Twitter and Bandcamp, and one of the turning points was Merchandise's 2012 album, Children of Desire. The Tampa-based band was a revelation to a lot of different music lovers; instead of the DIY garage-band stereotype, Children of Desire sounded like The Smiths. (Granted, a rough-hewn version without Morrissey's way with words, but The Smiths nonetheless).
Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 11:31 am
At Quilt's core are Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, who met at Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts. They bonded over a shared fondness for '60s idealism and a love of stacked harmonies. On the band's second album, Held in Splendor, warmly interwoven harmonies and playing go a long way toward explaining why its members chose the name Quilt.
The Leeds-based post-punk band Eagulls hit the stage at Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Texas, ready to deploy some serrated weaponry. From neatly attired singer George Mitchell's assured yelp to a guitar attack that's clean and direct, the group generated a stormy sound that roared and banged with sleekness and power, while hinting at the doomstruck beauty of forebears like Joy Division.
Remember when you were little and you relied on friends or music videos to learn the latest dance moves? You couldn't rewind MTV to break down the steps, and you might look a fool for sashaying left instead of right, or whatnot. This is the beauty of the GIF, a motion suspended in looped animation that allows you all the time in the world to get that shimmy down. SXSW was full of crazy dance moves and we had Adam Kissick capture five worth emulating.
Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 8:26 am
South by Southwest 2014 is a wrap, and it's hard to quite comprehend how much was packed into its five days. Which is why we've put together a handy guide to a small sampling of the massive quantity of music we consumed in Austin last week.
On Eve, Angelique Kidjo's new album named for her own mother as well as the mythical “mother of all living,” the Beninese born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter builds on this ever-evolving legacy with a 13-track, three interlude set of melodically rich, rhythmically powerful expressions of female empowerment.
It's been more than a decade since New York darlings Cibo Matto mixed up their unique batch of hip-hop-infused cocktail-pop. What have they been up to since their 1999 album, Stereo ★ Type A? With downcast eyes and a wink, vocalist Miho Hatori told KEXP, "Well, we were in jail." Bandmate Yuka Honda quickly picked up on the ruse, "We worked out ..." "... read lots of Bibles ..." "... learned how to cook with the smallest equipment."
Aside from U2, Bell X1 is the Irish band with the most airplay in their native country. They got together as schoolboys in County Kildare, calling themselves Juniper. Back then, the lead singer was Damien Rice. He left soon after, with Paul Noonan taking over as lead. They changed their name to that of the aircraft that first broke the sound barrier (flown by West Virginia native Chuck Yeager).
Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:12 pm
If you think you know what Middle Eastern music sounds like, think again — because Beirut-born electro-pop singer Yasmine Hamdan is positioning herself in an incredibly interesting place. She's singing at the intersection of sexy electronica and iconic Arab tradition, fed in equal parts by PJ Harvey and the legendary Syrian-Egyptian vocalist Asmahan.