Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 11:30 am
Playing a free concert comes with risks. Sure, more people will show up, but they may care less about who's on stage than they do about catching up with friends; ironically, it often means the band has to work harder to win over the crowd. Seattle's Ivan & Alyosha did just that on the final night of the 2013 South by Southwest music festival, at a club called TenOak in Austin, Texas.
This July, The Rolling Stones will play London's Hyde Park for the first time in 44 years. The band's last concert there — July 5, 1969 — turned out to be a defining moment in musical history, which those who were there will never forget. Mick Jagger hasn't.
Think of Lord Huron as an imaginary world as much as a rock band. Bandleader Ben Schneider has created characters and stories that fit together within an entire narrative filled with mystique. It's a bit dreamlike. To get an idea of how many layers there are in Schneider's invention, look at this website for author George Ranger Johnson. According to the site, George Ranger Johnson lives in Tuscon, Ariz. and writes adventure novels whose titles are identical to the song titles of the band Lord Huron.
Son Volt’s Honky Tonk has received some great reviews since its recent release.
Writing in Rolling Stone, Will Hermes declared, “Ever since Jay Farrar’s Uncle Tupelo days, you could imagine his big, bourbon-y voice fronting a country band in a Bakersfield roadhouse circa 1963. Honky Tonk comes close to realizing that sound, and it’s a gorgeous thing.
The Boston Globe’s Sarah Rodman pronounced the album “beguiling,” while Walter Tunis of the Lexington Herald-Leader called it “a beautiful listen.”
I love the crazy surprises you get when two or more artists get together and turn their creative ideas over to one another. When the band Junip wrote the song "Your Life, Your Call," frontman José González says, it was meant to be an unambiguous meditation on growing up, moving on and taking responsibility for your life. But in the hands of video director Mikel Cee Karlsson, the song, from Junip's new self-titled album, takes on a whole new (and disturbing) meaning.
Night Beds is the work of Winston Yellen, who originally started making music in his hometown of Colorado Springs. But he traveled to Nashville to write the songs for Night Beds' debut album, Country Sleep, in a pre-Civil War cabin once owned by Johnny Cash.
Tuareg bands are natural rockers. These desert nomads have a history of harsh physical challenges, long separations, nostalgia and rebellion — elements that give their music gritty authenticity. There's something about their ambling, tuneful songs that fits perfectly with the bite and snarl of electric guitars.
The Keaton Henson who appears on the new album Birthdays is an avowed hermit with a profoundly broken heart. He also has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard. The 24 year-old singer from London, who says he rarely leaves his bedroom, bares his wrecked emotional remains in an arresting new video for the song "You."