Alt-J's Joe Newman has a funny way of singing — especially for the uninitiated, it can seem cartoonish or, worse, affected. He bends his high, twisty voice in strange ways, wrapping it around inventive arrangements that burble and boom and otherwise ramp up a sense of unease. The easiest way to embrace Alt-J's idiosyncratic charm is to witness the band live; to hear how often Newman sings quietly and subtly, and to get a fuller feel for the prettiness at the core of Alt-J's songs.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:00 am
A studio wizard still in his early 20s, Youth Lagoon's Trevor Powers makes music that documents the spiraling uncertainty of a worried mind. It must have been tough to translate to the live stage, where the comfort and cover of the studio are stripped away and every fussy swirl has to be thoughtfully re-created or excised entirely.
If Katie Crutchfield ever becomes a solo star, it's hard to imagine how the Waxahatchee singer's most bruised and beautiful songs will translate to a gigantic stage. Tucked into a back room at Stubb's during SXSW on March 13 — and following in the immediate aftermath of Nick Cave's swaggering turn under the stars — Crutchfield opened her 25-minute set with a string of fragile solo songs, each more delicate than the last. This was interior music, made of guts and nerves and other viscera we don't share easily.
Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link.
The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.
What do Best Coast, Boba Fett, Beach Fossils and street yogis have in common? They were among the many artists and fans who came for the first day of South by Southwest. See a gallery of photos by Adam Kissick here and follow us on Flickr for much, much more.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 2:12 pm
Three decades after giving the world The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden is poised to release its latest work — and it's a beer. That's the latest from the Metal Injection website, whose "Bands and Booze" section makes it uniquely qualified to present such news.
The All Songs Considered gang has made their way to Austin, Texas for this year's South By Southwest music festival. The five day event, which showcases performances by over 1500 bands and artists, takes over the city, and this year officially starts one day earlier than in the past — Tuesday night.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:28 pm
Longtime college friends from Syracuse, N.Y., Ra Ra Riot gained notoriety with their unique blend of indie and orchestral pop songs. With their latest release Beta Love, the group moves towards catchy dance beats and synth sounds you can hear in "Dance With Me."
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 3:52 pm
At 25 years old, Trixie Whitley is already a veteran of the music industry. Growing up, she toured the world with her late father, singer-songwriter Chris Whitley, and gained repute as a DJ in Europe, spinning records in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and New York City.
Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 11:03 am
Roots-rock band The Iguanas make their third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. Combining jazz, zydeco, blues and Tex-Mex music with R&B and roots rock, The Iguanas have spent nearly 25 years cultivating a loyal live following.