Blues is so much a part of the fabric of American music and American culture — not only as a defined musical form, but also as a springboard for all kinds of creativity — that it seems crazy to try to encapsulate it in any way. Bear Family Records, though, has just released a 12-disc survey of electric blues called Plug It In! Turn It Up! that does a great job of illuminating one particular aspect of the blues.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 2:07 pm
The Cleveland-based experimental rock duo Mr. Gnome was one of our favorite discoveries from South by Southwest earlier this year, and now the band is back on our radar with an amazing new video. "House of Circles," from Mr. Gnome's recent album Madness in Miniature, is an epic, wildly imaginative story about a band of rebel fighters who attempt to save the world from the evil Queen Machine.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:34 pm
"Dense" and "lush" have long been necessary adjectives for anyone attempting to describe Yeasayer's sound. The band's approach entails folding many disparate elements together, twisting and pulling them until they decide to play nice. Although its first two albums, 2007's All Hour Cymbals and 2010's Odd Blood, don't sound terribly similar, they at least have this wide-reaching approach in common.
The power of Taken by Trees lies in understatement. Victoria Bergsman sings almost as if she doesn't care — but that contrast to almost every other singer I know is what makes me hear her words, and grants me space to think about her emotions. It's almost as if she etches the lines of a song and leaves listeners to fill in the rest.
Singer-songwriter Kenny White kicks off this edition of Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. A gifted pianist and soulful singer, White spent years in New York City recording studios, where he wrote and produced countless television and radio commercials.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:28 pm
A saxophonist, a pianist and a bass player walk into a bar. But the bar happens to be one of the world's preeminent jazz clubs, where they're regularly sighted on stage. And they're working as a new collective band: no drummer, no hierarchy. So much for that joke.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:48 pm
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins and bassist Judah Baer — has kicked out the jams for more than 20 years. Formed in 1991, the band draws on punk, blues and rockabilly, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Elliott Smith to Solomon Burke to Martina Topley-Bird to Steve Albini and even Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys.