Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:03 am
Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday Alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.
Elizabeth Doyle was brought up around all kinds of music from an early age, thanks to a truly musical family in South Dakota. Three of her four grandparents were professional musicians, including one radio performer and singing cowboy. Her father had played saxophone and clarinet in the Navy during WWII, and her mother was an avid singer and pianist. Both parents were fans of big-band music, jazz, and the show tunes of the '30s, '40s, and '50s.
Chip Taylor makes his fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. Even if he hadn't written some of the best known songs in pop music — including "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" — Taylor might still be a contender for the real-life Most Interesting Man in the World.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 9:06 am
One of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '90s, Afghan Whigs recently reunited for a string of live performances in 2012. Singer Greg Dulli, guitarist Rick McCollum and drummer Steve Earle met while attending the University of Cincinnati; bassist John Curley was a photographer at the Cincinnati Inquirer who happened to meet Dulli at a friend's apartment. They became Afghan Whigs in 1986 and attracted a dedicated cult following that's remained fervent long after the band's 2001 dissolution.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 8:32 pm
Pere Ubu made some of the darkest and most creative music of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thirty five years after its release, The Modern Dance would easily make my top 10 of all time. We hear the word "industrial" bandied about to describe music — The Modern Dance exemplified that genre.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:21 pm
One year ago, when I began graduate study in ethnomusicology at UCLA, I found myself undergoing what has become a familiar ritual. As I played my trombone in a near-empty classroom accompanied by a play-a-long recording, it occurred to me that I was in the midst of my sixth college big band audition. A professor — in this special case, guitar legend Kenny Burrell — led the proceedings. When he engulfed my hand in his massive grip, I learned that I was in.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:57 am
Sandy has wreaked havoc for many musicians in the Northeast, along with everyone else up here. The New Amsterdam label for new music, located in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, says it took quite a hit: "Our space was flooded with almost four feet of polluted sea water. As a result, about 70% of our catalog of CDs has been destroyed — CDs we hold on behalf of our artists (we do not own them). Literally ALL of our financial records were destroyed, including our back-up hard-drive.