Freelance Whales' members make huge tiny music. Their instruments tend to produce delicate sounds: banjos, violins, xylophones, drums played delicately with brushes. But their songs are arranged in such a way that these small sounds form grand, swelling passages that start out softly, then build to something majestic.
In this segment of Latin Roots, Alt.Latino host Jasmine Garsd discusses how the Brazilian artistic movement of Tropicália, also known as Tropicalismo, emerged and became a prominent force in Latin American music. Tropicália is a unique style which conflates traditional Brazilian music with elements from other genres, ranging from avant-garde to rock 'n' roll. The movement developed in the 1960s, as widespread corruption and oppression spread throughout Brazil.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 2:34 pm
"Dense" and "lush" have long been necessary adjectives for anyone attempting to describe Yeasayer's sound. The band's approach entails folding many disparate elements together, twisting and pulling them until they decide to play nice. Although its first two albums, 2007's All Hour Cymbals and 2010's Odd Blood, don't sound terribly similar, they at least have this wide-reaching approach in common.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 4:48 pm
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins and bassist Judah Baer — has kicked out the jams for more than 20 years. Formed in 1991, the band draws on punk, blues and rockabilly, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Elliott Smith to Solomon Burke to Martina Topley-Bird to Steve Albini and even Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys.
Sometimes it pays to be somebody's little brother. Were it not for his fraternal ties, singer and multi-instrumentalist Asa Taccone probably wouldn't have been able to get acclaimed songwriter and producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) to produce his band's debut album. Taccone's older brother, a friend of Burton's, asked the producer to listen to the songs his little brother had been working on and give some constructive criticism.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:41 am
Though the shock value of dropping a sitar into Western pop music has decreased since George Harrison's Hare Krishna days, the metallic, resonant drones of the instrument can still take a normal pop song and twist it into something unexpected. Rishi Dhir, sitarist, bassist and founding member of Elephant Stone, takes full advantage of the juxtaposition.
Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 2:46 am
Three albums into a thriving career, Ben Folds Five abruptly announced it was over in 2000. Luckily for fans, Folds got the band back together 11 years later and even released a new album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, this September.
The album is classic Ben Folds Five — at times irreverent, cerebral, quirky, wistful and playful. The Sound of the Life of the Mind peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and the video for the first single, "Do It Anyway," features Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry and the cast of Fraggle Rock.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:33 pm
It's not easy to pin a single genre on Calexico. Joey Burns and John Convertino's band blends Americana, Tejano and indie rock music. Burns and Convertino began recording under the name — borrowed from the California border town — in 1996 in Tucson, Ariz., and have released several well-received albums, including this year's Algiers.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 1:53 pm
Siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes — three of the four lead singers in the American folk-rock band Delta Rae — first learned the power of a good story when their parents read them mythological tales. In fact, the band's name is inspired by a fictional story the Hölljes' mother intended to write. Flash forward to 2012, and the band has put those lessons to good use.
It's hard to write a biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on Earth. But that's exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.