There's mystery in the music of Alt-J: The band's songs are wrapped in enigmatic textures, with swift shifts in arrangements inside every song and an oddness to the drums. Mere glimpses of lyrics are discernible, even after listening over and over — and if you can decipher the words, the meanings don't necessarily follow immediately. Still, those words reside at the core of Alt-J, and they're cinematic and stunning and sometimes brutal.
Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 11:59 pm
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For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:57 pm
When two of my favorite musicians, Britt Daniel of Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, joined forces and, along with powerhouse drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, created Divine Fits, I thought it was a dream, as if someone had hand-crafted a band just for me! Divine Fits brings the prodigious songwriting and performing talents of Boeckner and Daniel together to create a captivating and energetic collection of songs that will delight fans both new and old.
On Friday night on PBS, Great Performances presents a documentary about the making of a Beatles TV special from 1967 — Magical Mystery Tour — then shows a restored version of that special. Magical Mystery Tour has the music from the U.S. album of the same name, but it's not the album. It's a musical comedy fantasy about the Beatles and a busload of tourists taking a trip to unknown destinations.
If this year the single-artist album looks to be on shaky ground — thanks to the EP's rise, the single's continuing dominance and the neither-nor of hip-hop mixtapes and online dance DJ mixes — the officially sanctioned compilation album would seem even wobblier. In the age of Spotify (not to mention the age of iTunes), most listeners make their own multi-artist playlists as a matter of course.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:24 pm
The physical environment surrounding a band can have a pronounced influence on the songs said band produces, whether it's a sunny beach in Malibu or a craggy, wind-swept hillside in Scotland.
Given that Yukon Blonde calls Vancouver home, it wouldn't be surprising if the group's music took some cues from the perpetually rainy skies that settle over the city every winter. Perhaps as escapism, though, the songs written by Jeff Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones and John Jeffrey have an inherently sunny quality to them, drawing heavily from 1970s American radio-rock.