Born in a New York City bar from the minds of Londoner Terry Wolfers and Brit/Swede Petter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross crafts a distinct variation on American roots music. The band's use of folk and blues traditions within an old-school rock template works off the firm foundations laid by the likes of The Band and Neil Young.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 2:40 pm
Maybe we should all write our autobiographies and boil them down to 5 minutes. Loudon Wainwright III makes it look so easy in this music video for his song "The Here & the Now." There's a poignancy here that is so bittersweet and a trajectory that is both unpredictable and undeniable.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:31 pm
Birthdays come but once a year, but for music lovers, what I like to call "that birthday feeling" is a semi-regular thing. I'm talking about the rush, tinged by anxiety, greeting the first download click on an album you've been longing to hear for months. It's a complicated wash of emotions, boosted by conflicting hopes and assumptions. You're about to get exactly what you've wanted; but what if it's not exactly what you want? And boy, that bike Mom promised to buy had better be cherry red.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:56 am
The huge popularity of EDM — electronic dance music — has led to a sea change in concerts lately, as huge crowds gather to watch brand-name DJs like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Avicii. Nothing wrong with that, but it was great to be reminded last night at Celebrate Brooklyn that there are still bands playing dance music the old school way: with multiple human beings and instruments being played in real time.
Bear in Heaven, the brainchild of Jon Philpot, spent the winter trimming down (from a quartet to a trio) and stocking up, releasing its third album I Love You, It's Cool this spring. To promote the record, Philpot posted it in its entirety on the band's website, but not before slowing the audio down 400,000 times. At its original tempo, Bear in Heaven's music is at once ambient and energized, resonating in synth-driven waves that swell and pulse through an electric sea.
Bahamas' music has really grown on us at KCRW. The group is led by Afie Jurvanen, who previously played guitar with Feist and is such an aficionado of the instrument that he doesn't even have a bassist in his band. Instead, he's accompanied by a drummer and a pair of backup singers who reinvent his gorgeous pop songs in a live setting.
If you don't know Taken by Trees, the solo project of Swedish singer Victoria Bergsman, then perhaps you're new to All Songs Considered. In 2009, Taken by Trees' made my year end top 10 list and then seemed to vanish. The album, East of Eden, was made in Pakistan but embodied American popular music in the way only a Scandinavian could do (as in so many cases, that meant "better").