With the shoegaze band Slowdive, the country-rock group Mojave 3 and his own solo albums, Neil Halstead has carved out a 25-year career just outside the pop mainstream. When he was only 17, Halstead helped start Slowdive, which morphed into Mojave 3, which then released a string of highly celebrated albums that merge jangly alt-country with dusky indie-pop.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 7:40 am
There's a special place in my heart for sad bastards who howl through crushingly loud amp stacks. Dinosaur Jr, Hüsker Dü and Warning, for example, all offer opportunities to stare weepily out the window while subtly banging your head. But not enough heavy bands seeking the musical equivalent of failure-through-distortion follow the hung-head example of the Athens, Ga., trio Harvey Milk.
After the pioneering glam-rock band Mott the Hoople dissolved in 1974, Ian Hunter kicked off a solo career that stalled in the '80s. It took the death of Hunter's close friend and Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson in 1993 to reinvigorate his music career. But one thing has remained constant: Whether with Mott the Hoople or in politically charged albums nearly 40 years into his career, Hunter has never held back.
Joy Williams and John Paul White call their Grammy-winning band The Civil Wars, but the two have built a gentle, harmony-rich folk-pop sound in which warm chemistry more than counteracts the tension under the music's surface. Though not a couple themselves — each is married, and Williams just had a baby — they convey many hallmarks of a loving union, particularly in the way she stares at him sweetly as they sing.
From the opening chugging guitar sound, this song could only be The Rolling Stones. For the first time in seven years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood got together to record two new songs, and you can hear "One More Shot," which was recorded in Paris with Don Was producing, right here.
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.