It’s nice to know kids are still making perfect pop songs in the comfort of their garages. Ever since Dave Grohl chastised American Idol for ruining the future of original music, I have been waiting for someone to take his advice to heart.
SoCal trio Wetwood Smokes are here to reinvigorate your faith in the ability of our youth to craft great music sans record label, established ghost-writers, hit making producers, and the like. No, no, these youngsters have hunkered down and created their own sonic blend of “what’s good” and it sounds fresher than anything out this year.
While the Wetwood Smokes bread and butter is obviously indie rock, they do adventure into the worlds of electronic pop and folk to great effect. The organ tinged highlight “Madeline” rattles along to a hi-hat driven groove, making space for the lead singer’s retro vocal distortion. The song comes equipped with the kind of ear-wormy melodies that stick around for days after first listen and will probably be picked up by you or anyone within radius of exposure.
Pre order the forthcoming Earth Tones & Red here.
Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.
“On this week’s show my ROTW is Shriek by Wye Oak. I’ll be playing three incredible songs from the album! I’ll also have my #shellshock to share with you. This weeks bouncy and bubbly number is courtesy of Tennis—it’s an ear worm you won’t want to miss!
There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases. Love music? Don’t miss it…” —SZ
During his career alto saxophonist Art Pepper cut many records, and every jazz-friendly collection should own at least a few. But if the matter boils down to only owning one, the choice is easy; it’s 1957’s off-the-cuff masterpiece Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. It features the troubled yet outstanding young horn-man in cahoots with Miles Davis’ unimpeachable rhythm team of Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.
Art Pepper lived one hell of a life, with large portions of it unpleasant, largely due to a heroin addiction that resulted in four prison terms. It’s all there in his book Straight Life, which rates with Charles Mingus’ Beneath the Underdog and Hampton Hawes’ Raise Up Off Me as one of the very greatest of jazz autobiographies.
Pepper was also one hell of an alto saxophonist, and additionally something of a rarity; a West Coaster who could make East Coasters happy. That’s to say he was able to play Cool but also wasn’t afraid of the blues. Though he was co-leader on ‘56’s Playboys with trumpeter and Cool-kingpin Chet Baker, Pepper’s often identified with the West Coast more by simple geography than by the moods and textures of his playing. In truth Pepper was versatile enough to be open to numerous settings; he even hit the studio with Lennie Tristano-disciple Warne Marsh (those cuts can be found on the ’72 comp The Way it Was).
PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Decked out in a black mini-dress, motorcycle jacket, and metallic stilettos, her bleached hair held back in a ponytail, The Sounds lead singer Maja Ivarsson certainly looks like your quintessential rock star. And with a full-volume, energetic show Saturday night at the 9:30 Club, the band proved to an enthusiastic crowd that sixteen years later, they still have it.
Despite playing an early show—The Sounds took the stage at 7:45pm—the Swedish new wave act performed as if were midnight. Formed in 1998, the band’s set included songs from all five of their albums, from their 2002 hit debut, Living in America to their most recent effort Weekend, released in late 2013. Their sound has varied little over the years, sometimes adding more punk elements or more synth or leaning toward dance or pop. This consistency allowed the show to feel complete, despite the time span their songs covered.
Within this deep history, The Sounds are not known for their sophisticated song writing or musical originality—but they are known for catchy rock and dance tracks. Most of their songs work especially well translated live, with their often-simple lyrics easy for eager fans to sing along to every word with Ivarsson.
SAMANTHA HILSENROD FOR TVD | The Civic Theatre will welcome the ground-breaking Chicago jam band to New Orleans to promote their upcoming album, Similar Skin. Set to be released June 10, Similar Skin will be the band’s eighth studio album, and the first from their new independent label Nothing Too Fancy Music, a moniker shared with one of the group’s most beloved songs.
The band promises a unique concert experience. Known for communal, fan friendly performances, Umphree’s McGee has been at the forefront of concert audio-immersion. A concept recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine, the “Headphones and Snowcones” audio immersion program is an option available at Umphree’s shows that enables fans to listen through headphones connected to the soundboard, blocking out ambient noise.
At the same time listeners preview what the live album cut will sound like. The band will also issue a free download of the performance for those who choose to enjoy the show this way.
After a rather successful self-titled debut, Jake Bugg has released its follow-up, Shangri La, and we’ve got one to give away along with a special Record Store Day 2014 release, Live at Silver Platters.
Jake Bugg was only 17 when he signed with Mercury Records after performing at the Glastonbury Festival. His self-titled debut album reached number one on the UK Album Charts. His music is heavily influenced by Oasis, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, and Nick Drake.
Jake Bugg has taken over the UK by proverbial storm, and his single “Messed Up Kids” was released just yesterday.
Tom Petty scares me. Always has. It’s that skull face of his. I always thought he’d be an even bigger star than he is if his face didn’t look like it should have crossbones underneath it. Yes, I suspect that Petty’s frightening apparition of a face (although he’s improved it a bit by growing hair on it) has kept him from being acknowledged for what he is: namely, a bona fide power pop genius.
Most people think of Petty as a rock’n’roller or a roots rocker or, ugh, a heartland rocker, but I say he’s a power pop genius and goddamn it, I’m right. And he’d be a power pop genius if the only song he’d ever bequeathed us is the great “American Girl,” which I put at No. 3 on my list of all-time favorite power pop smashes behind The Raspberries’ “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” and Big Star’s “September Gurls.” But since 1976 Petty has produced a shitload of brilliant and deceptively simple-sounding songs, from “Here Comes My Girl” to “Free Fallin’” to “I Need to Know” to “Into the Great Wide Open”—and the list goes on and on.
Petty reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, another great singles band that never—in my opinion, at least—got the respect it deserved. And unlike John Fogerty—who has been reduced to producing ilk of the “put me in coach, I’m ready to play” variety—or Eric Carmen for that matter, Petty just keeps pumping them out, like a machine, or an Android from the Planet Skull. The man is a marvel, a human jukebox, and as much as I love The Raspberries and Big Star—more than I’ll ever love Tom Petty, that’s for sure—there’s no denying the guy has produced as many—or more—great tunes than both those bands put together.
“My first memory of vinyl would have to be my brother dancing his head off to Lionel Richie right in front of the player which would cause the needle to jump and my Mom to holler from kitchen to not get so close to the stereo if he was going to be dancing like that…”
“Just like most of us now days, I listen to music in all forms but I haven’t gotten to know music like I have by listening from vinyl. Randy Newman’s Sail Away, Billie Holiday Sings the Blues, Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue to more contemporaries such as Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky and Radiohead’s In Rainbows.
Reflecting on these records conjures up not only the music but of course the cover art as well is a reward all in itself.
Fat Goth return! They’re about to release their next album One Hundred Percent Suave on May 12th and this latest video for album track “Class A” is definitely their statement of intent.
Since their last album Stud, the boys have become minor “celebrities” in their hometown of Dundee, Scotland. In the video for “Class A” we see how their stardom has effected the boys as they crash a party, leaving a path of destruction and embarrassment in their wake.
Never ones to take themselves seriously, the video for “Class A” is an insight into their personalities as they poke fun at themselves against a backdrop of brilliant music—we wouldn’t expect anything less. “Class A” will be released as a free download from April 28th.
Bobby Bare Jr.’s latest effort, his fourth with the Young Criminal’s Starvation League, is titled Undefeated. While the roots of his musical upbringing can still be sporadically detected in his recent stuff, the 10 tracks from this new record continue to present the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist as his own artistic man.
One of this writer’s earliest memories is of grooving in the living room as the 1974 LP Singin’ in the Kitchen spun on my folks’ wooden hi-fi cabinet stereo system, a long-ago state-of-the-art unit sporting durable tweed material covering its speakers, an appliance truly doubling as a piece of deluxe furniture with the hugeness and functionality leaving this young lad fascinated.
Singin’ in the Kitchen was a country sing-along album credited to Bobby Bare and the Family, its songs deriving almost entirely from the pen of Shel Silverstein. While not a children’s record exactly, the kid-friendly disc’s oft-boisterous intent was plainly to enhance familial camaraderie, and in the household of my youth it chalked-up smashing success.
To this day Singin’ in the Kitchen remains an admirable endeavor, showing off the 1970s country scene’s more progressive leanings, though its usefulness for aging bachelors (like me) or for that matter bachelorettes (perhaps like you) is truthfully pretty limited. I mainly mention the LP because Bobby Bare Jr. was a singing member of the Family; he in fact made his recording debut earlier that same year (age five) on his father’s #2 C&W hit “Daddy What If.”