Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:11 pm
I saw forty shows during the CMJ Music Marathon this year, and the one by the Brooklyn-based band People Get Ready was by far the most creative. Part of what I love about the band is the way its members think outside the box ... way outside the box. For brevity, I'll describe People Get Ready, led by guitarist, dancer and choreographer Steven Reker, as an indie-rock-performing-art-dance troupe. This is magical musical theater.
Bloc Party is back. The British band whose debut album, Silent Alarm, was a sensation in 2006 released its new album Four this year after a lengthy hiatus. The group's latest departs from recent electronic forays and returns to the artful post-punk sound of Bloc Party's heyday.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:00 am
I first found the music of Gashcat buried among 2,000 other songs in a playlist NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson put together to help us prepare for South By Southwest earlier this year. I assumed I wouldn't like them and only listened because I thought the name was ridiculous. Gashcat. What does that even mean?
After 15 years as the singer of Death Cab for Cutie, Benjamin Gibbard has finally released his first solo album, titled Former Lives. The record moves beyond the indie-pop confines of Gibbard's band, touching on Latin music, alt-country and '70s power pop. It largely consists of songs written in the last eight years that never fit the themes of past Death Cab records.
Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 10:29 am
Bob Mould has spent the last couple years exploring his past. He published his autobiography, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, last year. More recently, he revisited the complete recordings of his '90s band Sugar for the purpose of reissuing them. All that looking back gave Mould the idea that the time was right for a return to the earlier sounds of his legendary '80s band Hüsker Dü, which blurred the lines separating punk, rock and pop.
Scott Yoder and Brendhan Bowers formed The Pharmacy in 2002, envisioning it as a garage-punk band before also embracing dance-pop and psychedelic rock. In 2007, classically trained pianist Stefan Rubicz joined the group, which has since maintained a steady schedule, earning positive reviews and touring with Vivian Girls, Matt+Kim and Japanther.
Sometimes, it's hard to know what constitutes a band. Billy Corgan wrote and sang all the songs for The Smashing Pumkpins and still records under the name, even though the other original members are long gone. Same deal with James Mercer and The Shins.