Serving as the first single from his upcoming album, “Around The Block” features a poignant verse from underground superstar Talib Kweli. The hip-hop electronic mix will be featured on A Color Map Of The Sun, which is set to be released on July 2, 2013.
TV Sitcom star darling Zooey Deschanel and indie singer/songwriter M. Ward join forces once again for the third and best installment of their musical group, She & Him. What makes Volume 3 better than its predecessors is that is more accessible. Volume 3 grabs your attention right away and the songs ensure that is never wanes throughout the 14 tracks on the album. I enjoyed Volumes 1 & 2 by She & Him but it was a one trick pony a lot of the times. A throw back to an older sound and style is nice, but as some point you need variety and their first two albums lacked that. Many of the songs blended together too much and some of the better songs were lost in the shuffle.
What makes She & Him work as a whole is the guitar playing of M. Ward, which is very evident on Volume 3. In my opinion, M. Ward is the most underrated guitar player out there making music today. When Jim James of My Morning Jacket talks about learning so much about how to play guitar from M. Ward, then you know that is high praise. M. Ward doesn’t play really fast or loud but his ability to meld his distinct sound with Deschanel’s throw vocal style found the perfect balance this time around.
Based off of my and others’ experiences, it seems there are only two kinds of music festivals: rainy and oppressively hot. The Beale St. Music Festival in Memphis this past weekend fell in to the former category. While the heavy stuff held off for the most part during the performances, there was still plenty beforehand to make the concerts a muddy mess. Nonetheless, the conditions did not stop people from enjoying some great music on the banks of the Mississippi.
Now I myself have only been to one other music festival; the inaugural Kanrocksas in 2011. So I inevitably made comparisons from that experience to the BSMF. That led to a slightly campy idea for this feature. But I’m rolling with it anyways. So without further ado, The Undercard presents…. The Kanrocksas Music Festival music festival awards!!
The Grace Potter and the Nocturnals “Why Isn’t This Band A Bigger Deal?” Award: Heartless Bastards
In 2011, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals blew me away with their high energy songs along with Potter’s amazing vocal ability. The Heartless Bastards presented a similar style. While their songs are for the most part a little more mellow, the lead singers’ vocals are very comparable. The Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom has a big powerful voice. She can’t be much taller than 5 foot, so it’s kind of a shock to hear such a big sound come from such a tiny source. Seeing her perform live is a treat because you can really see her putting every inch of her body into her vocals.
The Kid Cudi “Exceeding High Expectations” Award: The Roots
Heading into Kanrocksas, Kid Cudi was one of my favorite artists. He had already put out 2 fantastic albums (the Kid Named Cudi mixtape and Man on the Moon: End of Day) and had just released Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, which had some decent tracks on it as well. So needless to say, I was looking forward to see him. However I was still a little worried about what I may see because of past rap concerts I had seen. Thankfully, Cudi killed it and those worries were quickly put to rest.
I entered the BSMF with similar expectations for The Roots. I looked forward to a great show because they are one of the coolest bands out there right now and I’m a sucker for hip-hop made with real instruments. However, I admittedly don’t know many of their older songs and really hadn’t heard anyone talk about their live performances. But again, I was worrying about nothing. The Roots put on one hell of a show, complete with a “call and answer” drum-off and a tuba solo. They’re so fluid with their production that each song flows into the next. Along with their own songs, they managed to work in covers/ samples of a wide variety of songs including, but not limited to: Kanye’s “Mercy”, Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache”, Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”, and GnR’s “Sweet Child of Mine”.
The Black Keys “Failure To Meet Expectations” Award: The Black Keys
Back on our recap of Kanrocksas, Craig Brenner said The Black Keys were one of the low lights of the show citing their short set. I agreed with him that The Keys didn’t quite give the performance I was expecting, perhaps through no fault of their own.
At BSMF, I was anxious for a redo with the Ohio duo. Unfortunately, despite what I thought was a better set, I was left with the same slightly unsatisfied feeling. So at this point, I don’t know what to make of The Black Keys. I kind of think they’re a small venue band with a big venue popularity. Although, their sound may be a little too big for a small venue. So maybe they’re an enclosed venue band. Either way, I’m willing to give The Black Keys another chance. I’m pretty sure they’ll get infinite chances.
The OK GO “Non-headliner That Stole The Show” Award: Big Boi
OK GO has long been known for their inventive and entertaining music videos. At Kanrocksas, I found out they put on one hell of a live show as well. And that was ascertained in just the 3 songs I saw them do. In that time, the lead singer joined the crowd to sing the outro to “This To Shall Pass” and the band called upon a crowd member to play the guitar riff to “Here It Goes Again”.
I considered Big Boi a bit of a wild card going in to the show. Would he do some Outkast stuff or stick to his solo tracks? This question was immediately answered when he opened the show with “Rosa Parks”. With the exception of maybe one song, if I was hoping to hear it, it got played. “In The A”? Yup. “Shutterbug”? You got it. “B.O.B”? You damn right. And then, just when I didn’t think it could get better, out came Killer Mike. He and Big Boi performed “Bust” and I thought that was the best it could get. Wrong. The familiar bass drum and handclaps of “The Whole World” started and the place went nuts. On the car ride home, someone asked what everyone’s favorite performance was. Big Boi was a unanimous 3 for 3.
The Royce da 5’9/ D12 “Best Cameo” Award: Killer Mike
The namesake of this award is kind of a stretch and is really just because of lack of options. But their inclusions in Eminem’s set did allow for a wider catalog of songs to be performed.
The BSMF winner is pretty obvious: the aforementioned Killer Mike. But a close second is a potentially intoxicated Sheryl Crow running out on stage during Hall and Oates and joining them (kind of) in a song. This didn’t seem planned at all, especially since Crow left and then came back out during the same song. Potentially to vomit. The bands reaction was priceless. “I guess Sheryl really liked that song.” said Daryll Oates. I’ve never been more proud of a Mizzou alum.
The Fitz and the Tantrums “Bands I Didn’t Get To See” Award: several
As I wrote in a “Now Playing” soon after Kanrocksas, after hearing more of Fitz and the Tantrums, I immediately regretted not getting to see them perform.
As for BSMF, the combination of a 6 hour drive and being responsible led my friends and I to miss some pretty big names. I would have more than happy to see Edward Shape and the Magnetic Zeros, Charles Bradley, ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Public Enemy, The Flaming Lips, Phoenix, Gary Clark Jr., and The Black Crowes. Of all of those, Clark Jr. was the one I wanted to see the most. Not only am I a huge fan, but I know he would have put on a great show.
So there you have it. All in all, The Beale St Music Festival was an enjoyable experience, despite missing several show. I’m definitely looking forward to going next year. But I also am looking forward to another trip to Kansas City for this year’s Kanrocksas.
Immediately upon hearing this track, we were impressed. The New Zealand native’s debut EP, The Love Club, is now available on Spotify and ITunes, as well as her website: http://lorde.co.nz/ . Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.
And just for good measure, here is Lorde covering Kings of Leon.
Spree Wilson and The Flush joined forces to create a concept EP inspired by vivid and feel-good memories of young love and carefree summers during the “Golden Days” of Atlanta’s bass music scene.
Drawing inspiration from the sounds of legendary bass music pioneers from Kilo Ali, KP & Envy, So So Def Bass All-Stars to Raheem The Dream. This project, self-proclaimed as “audio artwork” clearly embodies the true essence of fun times and summer love growing up in the city of Atlanta.
Mix a lot of “baby” with some amazing drums and what do you get? You get Vampire Weekend’s first single off their third album, Modern Vampires Of The City, due out May 14th. Two other tracks from the upcoming Modern Vampires have also been released and can be seen below. After listening to the new songs, make sure to click here and check out their interview with Bob Boilen of NPR.
By now almost everyone has heard Daft Punk’s amazing first single off their upcoming album, Random Access Memories, due out May 21. The track, featuring Pharrell Williams, is an early front-runner for song of the year.
Maybe more impressive though is the cover of “Get Lucky” by indie-trio Daughter. I first heard of the band a few months back when I came across their EP, TheWild Youth. I immediately fell in love with the track “Youth” which has since popped up in Kansas City on 96.5 The Buzz. As good as that track is, the Daft Punk cover is what may gain them more noteriety across the country in the near future.
Mosquito has moments where Yeah Yeah Yeahs show why they glossed with being the next great band to come out of the New York music scene. Then there are moments where they go a little too off course in order to achieve a certain sound. The biggest problem with Mosquito is there aren’t enough good old fashion loud guitars on this album.I have been a huge fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for many years and one of the things that made me a fan was the guitar playing of Nick Zinner.For my money he ranks up there with the Jack White and Dan Auerbach as the premiere guitar players out there today.I appreciate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs trying to expand who they are and their sound, but I do miss some Nick Zinner guitar shredding.
The order of the tracks on this album was also an issue for me and it starts within the first three tracks.Sandwiched between the ultra catchy single “Sacrilege” and the title track “Mosquito”, is the slow and melodic song “Subway”.It feels out of place and hinders the flow of the album.That being said, the last three songs on the album ( “Always”, “Despair”, “Wedding Song”) are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their finest.This album isn’t as good as past Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ albums but it is still better than most of the other music being put out there days.
I came across this Now Playing artist through a random encounter.
I went out for drinks with a friend and we were joined by someone else that we know. He happened to bring one of his friends along with him. Said friend is in a band and used to be a DJ on a local radio station. So we began to talk music and she told me I should listen to an artist named ZZ Ward. I looked her up on Spotify, listened to a couple songs on my way home, and liked what I heard.
Ward is a soulful singer/ songwriter who also plays guitar. As a female in her genre, it is easy to compare Ward to Adele. But she is probably more like Amy Winehouse; soulful, but a little more gritty and modern. But only if Winehouse grew up in Memphis. Ward has a slight hip hop element to her songs. The beats used in some of the tracks could probably have been used in hip hop songs. This shows in appearances from Freddie Gibbs on “Criminal” and break out star Kendrick Lamar on “Cryin’ Wolf” (my current song of the moment).
I have become a big fan of Ward over the past week or so and am excited to see her perform at Kanrocksas. I suggest you check her out yourself.
You never want to say anything bad about something you really like. That is what makes this such a tough review to write.
I am a huge fan of The Strokes. And it’s been kind of an odd fandom. I bought Room On Fire when it came out because I liked a song or two. It soon fell to the back burner. Years later, after my musical tastes developed, I took another listen and it quickly became one my favorite albums. I enjoyed thier next album, Angles, but it had some things on there that worried me. Those worries came to fruition on the band’s latest album, Comedown Machine.
Let me preface the remainder of the review with this statement: I am not a huge fan of 80’s music. It’s way to electronic and many of the songs sound alike. There’s a reason the 80’s may have produced more one-hit wonders than any other decade.
On Comedown Machine, The Strokes have come a long way from Is This It and Room On Fire. And I don’t mean that in a good way. As was seen in places on Angles, the band has moved towards a very 80’s New Wave sound. They even have a track called “80’s Comedown Machine”. (I actually like parts of this song. It starts off kind of like something Vampire Weekend would do.) The 80’s sound starts early. The third track, “One Way Trigger”, sounds like the music from a chase scene on a Western-themed Sega Genesis game. And the New Wave continues on from there through out the whole album.
Another theme throughout the whole album is the vocals of lead singer Julian Casablancas. Now lets get one thing straight; Casablancas doesn’t have the greatest voice to begin with. But, within the context of the band’s sound, it works and sounds good. Throughout Comedown Machine, Casablancas attempts to sing with a falsetto. Attempts is the key word here, because it doesn’t really work.
The album isn’t all bad. The first two tracks, “Tap Out” and “All The Time” (my personal favorite), are actually pretty good. And shades of the old Strokes come through on “50/50” and “Partners In Crime”; two up-tempo, guitar driven tracks. The final track, “Call It Fate, Call It Karma”, is a typical Strokes slow song: odd, but enjoyable.
I really wanted to enjoy this album. Based off of what I was hearing from a friend and fellow Strokes fan, I knew what I was going to get. I went in to my first listen with an open mind and actually didn’t hate it. I expected the tracks to grow on me. But in the end, that never happened. I still don’t hate the album, but it leaves me longing for the days of Room On Fire.
It has been a while since we have heard anything new from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Their debut album, It’s A Corporate World, was released in 2011 and the duo has been (mostly) silent until today. Their new track, which is part of the Patterns EP due out April 16, takes about 45 seconds to get going but is well worth the wait.
Today marks the official release date of The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake’s first full length album in seven years. Since you have heard “Suit & Tie” by now, we thought we would feature the best track off the album, “Mirrors”. The song is clearly based off his relationship, break-up, and eventual marriage to actress Jessica Biel.