At this point, there's nothing special about jazz musicians playing post-Beatles pop: It's just the new normal. But one of the trendsetters on that score was pianist Brad Mehldau and his versions of Radiohead and Nick Drake tunes. Now, Mehldau's trio has a new covers album out.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:00 pm
The Portland, Ore., rock band Menomena has just released Moms, its fourth album — and first since co-founder Brent Knopf left the group last year. The band's core members, Justin Harris and Danny Seim, carry forward Menomena's musical hallmarks (meaty baritone sax, bassline spines, rhythms that turn on a dime), which have made its sound such an original all these years.
Since 2008, the North Carolina band Holy Ghost Tent Revival has been crafting a sound rooted in its members' Southern upbringing. Along the way, it's made the transition from playing acoustic bluegrass and folk to becoming a soul-rock horn band that recalls '60s and '70s classic-rock influences such as The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, contemporary indie-rock acts like Dr. Dog, and New Orleans brass-band jazz.
American Idol has always been a show with two audiences: the real one and the imagined one. The real one has a median viewer age of about 50, while the imagined one has a median age of about 15. You don't see the real audience frantically waving signs during the live show, but the imagined one. Idol enjoys presenting itself as a phenomenon for excitement-hungry teenagers, but in fact, it's just as much a phenomenon for their parents.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 11:41 am
Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle makes his second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Backed by his own band — which includes Paul Niehaus on pedal steel, Vince Ilagan on upright bass and Jon Radford on drums — Earle plays songs from his new album, Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.
A primal, turbulent and artful slice of pop, the new Amanda Palmer record has won my heart. Theatre Is Evil's first song is a wall of well-defined noise that, I'll admit, had me throwing my fist in the air when no one else was around. It was the same feeling I had hearing David Bowie's "It's No Game" from Scary Monsters more than 30 years ago.
Fans of Portlandia may recall a recent episode in which its main characters (played by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen) get a good look at their new cleaning lady. They think the cleaning lady might be — and realize that it actually is — the singer-songwriter Aimee Mann.
As the 1970s punk scene was turning the corner into a new decade, Joe Jackson showed them the way with a pair of essential new wave albums, Look Sharp! and I'm the Man.
But as soon as fans thought they knew the angry young Brit with the sharp suits and even sharper commentary, Jackson changed. His Gershwin-esque piano music became huge hits in the '80s, but then he changed again.