Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:41 pm
Blur was never huge in the U.S. Even the British group's best-known song (the two-minute explosion "Song 2") failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. So the moment the group is having right now might be confusing for casual listeners. Blur has reunited in recent years to play live (it'll headline the closing ceremony of the Olympics this weekend) and release a few new songs (last month's "Under the Westway" is lovely). Last week, the band put out a career-spanning box set.
Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 8:04 am
Predicting the sound of any given Stars song takes some doing: The Montreal band traffics in everything from joyfully guitar-driven power-pop to synth-based dance music to string-swept ballads that detail the heartbreaking minutiae of doomed romance. Even the lead voices shift from song to song, with Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell singing to, over and about each other, occasionally swapping verses.
Let's start with the familiar. Three fifths of the band Black Prairie are members of The Decemberists. The band's new album is produced by one of music's finest producers, Tucker Martine. And it gets better. In addition to The Decemberists' Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee and Nate Query, Black Prairie also includes Annalisa Tornfelt (violin and voice) and John Neufeld (guitar), both very talented players.
Dan Auerbach, one of two founders of The Black Keys, also maintains an active side business as a producer for other bands that share his love for blues- and country-influenced rock. Auerbach's production work can be heard on two new records: Hacienda's third album, Shakedown, and the major-label debut of JEFF The Brotherhood, titled Hypnotic Nights.
The English piano-rock band Keane formed back in 1997, but it wasn't until 2004 that the group's album Hopes and Fears took off on the strength of the smash single "Somewhere Only We Know." A Best New Artist Grammy nomination followed, and in the years since, the group has released three more albums: 2006's Under the Iron Sea, 2008's Perfect Symmetry and this year's Strangeland.
New Jersey has a proud heritage in rock music, from punk legends like Misfits to the Boss himself. The sonic imprint of the Garden State is unmistakable in the music of The Gaslight Anthem, which carries on in Jersey's proud rock 'n' roll tradition.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:58 am
Like many artists performing under the broad umbrella of "folk music" at this year's Newport Folk Festival, Gary Clark Jr. isn't settling inside any genre, let alone folk. Working off a template of bluesy rock, he infuses the gritty songs on his Bright Lights EP with elements of soul, pop and even reggae. Above all, he's a positively ferocious young guitarist, with a reputation as an up-and-comer poised for one of those 30-, 40-, even 50-year careers.