Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 7:08 am
The Montreal pop band Stars wears many faces, literally and figuratively: Singers Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell swap lead vocals in songs that range from effervescent pop-rock to grandiose dance music to melancholy, string-enhanced dirges. With so much to choose from in the group's toolbox, a few gems are bound to get left off its records — a wrong Stars will help right with a new single next month.
The Glaswegian dance-rock champions in Franz Ferdinand took a brief hiatus, but they never missed a beat; in fact, they sound better than ever. Upon their return to Morning Becomes Eclectic, Franz Ferdinand's members seemed to be having a blast. In songs like "Love Illumination," you can hear the group's signature bass lines and crisp drum fills making it seem as if no time has passed at all.
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle spent the 1990s recording his songs — just a voice, an acoustic guitar and bracingly articulate lyrics about catastrophe and survival — on low-fidelity equipment like boom boxes. It got to the point where the tape hiss felt like another instrument, but in the last decade, the Mountain Goats' music has become ever more polished.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:46 pm
Rose Windows' debut album, The Sun Dogs, is steeped in '60s classic rock, recalling the heavy organ sounds of The Doors and the folk-infused flutes of Traffic. Formed in 2010 by songwriter Chris Cheveyo, the Seattle septet signed a label deal earlier this year, then put together an album that's layered with Middle Eastern influences.
Hear two songs from The Sun Dogs, a mellow combination of psychedelic folk and blues-rock instrumentation.
The Lumineers may have on the pop scene out of nowhere — scoring a worldwide hit with the band's self-titled 2012 debut album and its multimillion-selling single "Ho Hey" — but the Denver group had tooled around in obscurity for quite a few years before its breakthrough. These days, though, it's one of the biggest folk-rock outfits in the business, joining a suspenders-clad Mount Rushmore with the likes of Mumford & Sons.
Last weekend the Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon lashed out at his audience; an audience that had already been lashed by winds and rain during what was pretty terrific set in a spectacular new waterfront venue in lower Manhattan.
When Big Country founder and lead singer Stuart Adamson died in 2001, most would have assumed that the Scottish band was finished. But in 2007, the group reunited for a 25th-anniversary tour with a new lead singer in its lineup. Though Adamson was a hard man to replace, Big Country found comfort in recording and playing with Mike Peters, formerly of The Alarm.