Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 2:04 pm
In the immediate wake of The Sex Pistols' dramatic 1978 breakup, John Lydon shed his "Johnny Rotten" persona and emerged with Public Image Ltd., a new band whose dark, strange sound defined the new direction the U.K. music scene would soon pursue. Post-punk — less a genre than a loose and eclectic coalition of arty, angry and cerebral aesthetic impulses — viewed the scorched-earth sonic violence of the 1977 punk explosion as fertile breeding ground for new sounds (a direct inversion of the Pistols' "no future" ethos).
The Brooklyn band People Get Ready has been combining music and performance art since 2009, when the group first performed at The Kitchen's Dance and Process series in New York. The band released its self-titled debut earlier this month, and it's a fine collection of harmony-rich pop.
Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos is a fussy sonic craftsman: A keyboardist and singer who started out working solo on his laptop, he now makes fizzily catchy electro-pop that orbits around monster hooks. He's not, in other words, the first musician you'd associate with a stripped-down performance behind NPR Music's Tiny Desk, where Technicolor production tends to give way to unfiltered voices and bare instrumental essentials.
In the late 1990s, Beth Orton set the music world buzzing with her singular sound: part folk, part electronica. But six years ago, she found herself at a life-changing juncture: pregnant with her first child — and dropped from her record label.
I'm convinced that I will write about Jack Rose for the rest of my life. Truly, few things in music could make me happier. In his 38 years on earth, Rose ignited not only a small revolution in acoustic guitar, but also a holistic way of thinking about sound, and what it means to move forward with decades of tradition at your callused fingers.
There's something strangely hypnotic and charming about "New Century," an immensely infectious bummer from Neighbors, which consists of a guy named Noah Stitelman and anyone else who happens to be around to help. For all of Stitelman's fretful miserablism — "I wanna lie down and hide in the dark 'til I don't have to figure it out," he sings early on — Neighbors' music is steeped in smoothly pleasing brightness. If anyone out there remembers the D.C.
Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson was born April 30, 1933, in the small farming community of Abbott, Texas. His early interest in music came about through singing in church, and he wrote his first song at age 7. By age 9, he'd begun playing in a local band; after high school, Nelson served briefly in the Air Force and studied at Baylor University. In the mid-'50s, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas and Washington state, played in honky-tonks and continued to write songs.