About a year ago I was browsing through Daytrotter to find some new music, and stumbled across a session from This Providence. I had never heard of them, but the session quickly made me into a fan! They're a pop/punk band from Seattle. They have three full length albums to their name. Their latest album Who Are You Now? was released in 2009.
One of the songs that really caught my ear was "Letdown". It's catchy, and the lyrics are right up my alley. Check out their performance of "Letdown"
For more from This Providence, head to their website.
In 2010 Nada Surf released If I Had A Hi-Fi, an album of covers. I love when bands do this. Sure it's great to get new and original material from a band you follow, but it's also intriguing to hear their take on material from other bands. I also think it would be really fun to release a record like this.
Here's Nada Surf performing "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode!
The Gaslight Anthem is a band from New Jersey, and when you're from Jersey you're going to be compared Springsteen. It comes with the territory. Sometimes, when a band or musician is continually compared to an icon, the expectations are too lofty and comparisons unfounded. However, in Gaslight Anthem's case, their similarities to The Boss aren't only well deserved, but work well for their sound.
American Slang, the latest release, from Gaslight Anthem was released in 2010. Here's an acoustic performance of my favorite song off the disc, "The Diamond Church Street Choir."
Learn more about Gaslight Anthem! Visit their website!
It's probably very unlikely that Damien Jurado's music will ever be labeled as uplifting, however, that doesn't mean it's not absolutely excellent music. Jurado has a way of explaining real life human behaviors, that's unparalleled in any of today's music. His songs about love and loss aren't your run of the mill songs about love and loss. They're heart-wrenching songs, with characters, and behaviors, they're real! I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but I'd say singer-songwriters occupy the majority. I've been told from time to time that the music I listen to is depressing. Honestly, while not all of it is, I can see how that claim can be made. You probably wouldn't play Damien Jurado at a BBQ. But, there's something about a songwriter who can take heartbreak or loss, put it into a song, and do such an amazing job that you'd think that song was written specifically for you. It's comforting to know that there's someone out there who understands.
Damien Jurado has been releasing albums since the late 90's. Last May he released Saint Bartlett to widely positive reviews. To me, there's a tinge of Neil Young in his voice. His music is straight forward, and honest. He also recently played a "Tiny Desk Concert" for NPR. Their write up, describes Damien Jurado perfectly, so check it out here.
One of the songs Jurado plays at the "Tiny Desk Concert" is entitled "Newspaper Gown" and is currently unreleased. It's a real gem, so take a listen!
Jurado starts the North American portion of his tour tomorrow, which includes a date at DC's Black Cat. Who wants to come with me??? Find out more about Damien Jurado by visiting his website
Elizabeth & the Catapult is a Brooklyn based trio, that I can't seem to stop listening too. Elizabeth Ziman's voice is reminiscent of some of Jazz's best. Also, she studied at Berklee School of Music (my brother's alma mater), so she instantly is evelated a few notches! In 2009 the trio released Taller Children, their full length debut album. Last year, they released The Other Side of Zero. I've only just begun to listen to Elizebeth & the Catapult, but I'm excited to see where this promising band will go.
Here's Elizabeth & the Catapult performing "Mama's Boy" at Paste Studios!
You can purchase either of Elizabeth & the Catapult's albums on itunes, amazon, or wherever you prefer to purchase music. To learn more about the band, visit their website.
Last night I had the pleasure of watching some amazing musicians display their skills at The State Theatre in Virginia. It was my first time at this particular venue. It has a pretty unique setup. A converted movie theatre, The State Theatre features a seating area where concert goers can enjoy dinner, as well as standing room in front of the stage and next to the two bars flanking the ground floor. In addition, The State Theatre has a balcony with auditorium seating.
The night started with a DJ set from KRAZ (aka Eric Krasno- Soulive guitarist). It was pretty fun to watch him work, and even more entertaining watch the eclectic audience dance. My only complaint of the night however, was the length of the set, as it lasted over an hour, and I was anxious for Soulive to take the stage.
Alas, around 10:30 Eric Krasno returned with band mates Alan and Neal Evans to start the main set. The whole band was amazing and blew the roof off the place, but Eric Krasno stole the show. I have to admit, watching him play guitar is reason #1 for my love of Soulive. In ever jam, he finds a balance between distortion and classic technical guitar playing to send the tune beyond it's boundries.
About halfway through the set, the band performed a series of Beatles covers featured in their latest release Rubber Soulive. Here, Krasno's shined! During "Eleanor Rigby" those in the audience sitting took to their feet to enjoy his frantic playing. By far this was the highlight of the show for me. To finish off the night, the trio played "Do It Again", as staple of their repertoire featuring a call and response that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
It was a blast watching Soulive perform, and I highly recommend checking them out if you get a chance!
Freshman year in college, a friend asked me if I wanted to go to a Jazz concert. They had an extra ticket, and they were supposed to go for their required music class. Not expecting much, but with nothing to do that particular night, I accepted. It was a great decision. The band happened to be Soulive! If I had to guess, maybe 50% of the audience had no idea who Soulive was when the concert started. Most were their to fulfill their class requirement. By the end of the show nearly everyone was dancing, and nearly everyone forgot about their class. Eric Krasno's guitar, and Evans' brothers rhythms make this band unstoppable. Really, it's a shame that jazz/funk/jam bands don't get much attention in today's music scene. I think most would be hard pressed to find better musicians than these three.
Tonight Soulive is playing The State Theatre in Falls Church, VA and I'm lucky enough to be attending the show. Check out the clip below, and try to keep your head from bobbing! Here's Soulive playing "Steppin'".
You should probably go to a Soulive show! Click here to find a concert near you! Review of tonight's gig to follow!
Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers are one of my favorite bands to see live. These guys love music, but more than that, they love sharing their music with others. The Sixers started in 2003 in Massachusetts, and slowly began to develop a following. While not wildly popular on the radio or in the indie scene, Sixers' fans are die hard. Their songs are heartfelt and introspective. However, if you listened to every one of Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers' records you wouldn't have experienced all that this band has to offer. You need to see them live! Between the movie quote interludes, the fun covers, the bassists dance moves, and their creativity, you won't go home disappointed. Back in 2006, I saw Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers play a show at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA. They asked everyone to bring a stuffed animal to the show. During one of the drummer's solos, Stephen directed us to throw all the animals at the drummer to throw him off. Every one of the stuffed critters was collected and donated to Toys for Tots.
Here's Stephen Kellogg performing "4th of July", one of my favorites and a song everyone can relate to.
Stephen Kellogg's at Jammin' Java again tonight! Unfortunately, I'll have to skip the show. But to see when Stephen Kellogg is coming to a town near you, check out their website!
I loved the Smashing Pumpkins growing up! You know when you hear certain songs that make you remember distinct times in your life? There's at least a handful of Smashing Pumpkins that do that for me. Here's Ben Kweller covering the Smashing Pumpkins' "Today"!
It's funny how artists and bands can catch the public's attention after years of success on the underground music scene. The Black Keys formed in 2001. Known for their garage rock sound and the powerful rhythms they produce using just a drum set and electric guitar, The Black Keys had a huge underground following in the Indie music scene. It's only recently that The Black Keys have experienced mainstream success with their 2010 release Brothers. Ironically, Brothers received some criticism from long time fans, as some felt it strayed from the roots The Black Keys developed from earlier releases like Rubber Factory (2004), Magic Potion (2006), and Attack & Release (2008). That being said, Brothers still packs quite a punch. A punch strong enough to win multiple Grammy's for The Black Keys, and spots on many of 2010's top album lists.
Here's The Black Keys performing "I Got Mine" from Attack & Release. It will get your blood pumping.
The Black Keys will be touring this summer! Check out their site for tour dates, as well as anything else you'd like to know about the band!
Laura Marling is a folk singer from England. She's only 21 years old, and already has two records, a few Brit Awards, and numerous other nominations. Ah... reminds me of what I was doing when I was 21. Her debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim (2008) was released shortly after turning 18. Her poetic lyrics and distinct accent are what I love about her music. Her follow up album I Speak Because I Can was released last year, and a third album is upcoming.
Here's Laura Marling performing "Ghosts" off her debut album. Amazing lyrics in this one! Take a listen.
Go here for more news and info on Laura Marling and her music!
Today's post comes to you straight from Australia! More specifically, from my friend Kati. Writing this blog has been a lot of fun, but perhaps the best perk so far has been all the recommendations I've received from friends and followers. A few weeks ago, Kati let me know about Angus & Julia Stone, an Australia sibling duo who've already made a name for themselves in their native Australia and are starting to do so in the States and abroad. In 2007 the Stone's released A Book Like This and last year they released Down This Way.
This recommendation was so great, it took me awhile to settle on a song to feature! It took me a bit, but I finally made a decision. Here's Angus & Julia Stone performing "Just A Boy" on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic".
Thanks again Kati for the recommendation! For more info on Angus & Julia Stone, check out their website!
Howie Day was one of my favorite artists in college. His ability to layer sounds allows him to put twists on established songs and makes them his own. Howie Day's cover of Toto's "Africa" is one of my favorites... unfortunately, there's not a high quality youtube version. However, there is this great version of Howie Day covering U2's "One". Check it out!
David Ford is singer/songwriter from the UK. His debut album I Sincerely Apoligize For All The Trouble I've Caused was released in 2005. I first became familiar with with his music after hearing him on last.fm, and instantly downloaded the album.
Here's my favorite track! Again, it's a bit of a heartbreaker, but it's got bite to it. It also has a harmonica which always earns bonus points. Here's David Ford performing "I Don't Care What You Call Me" at Sun Studios!
David Ford's official site doesn't appear to have been updated recently, however, for the latest on David Ford Check out his myspace page for tour dates and more music!
Today's post couldn't have been possible without a great recommendation from my friend Jenn! About a year and a half ago she suggested I check out Airborne Toxic Event, and I'm glad I did. In 2008 the Airborne Toxic event released the debut self-titled album, featuring a orchestra infused rock style. Jenn and I were fortunate enough to catch them live last year at 9:30 Club, and the put on a great live show as well!
Here's Airborne Toxic Event with and acoustic performance of "Sometime Around Midnight." Songs that can accurately portray human emotion are always high on my list of favorites. This is a great song about heartbreak.... You're welcome! Take a listen though, it truly is a great song!
Jenn has a blog over her own! You should check it out here: bluebutterflyvintage. Also, Airborne Toxic Event has a great website. Check out videos, tour dates, and updates from the band by clicking here.
The Lower Dens are a band out of Baltimore. I'm only now becoming acquainted to their music, but I've enjoyed what I've heard so far. Apparently, so have many others. Their 2010 album Twin Hand Movement made many best of lists, including Robin Hilton's of NPR's "All Song Considered" program. They have a very dreamy sound, and I think that's what I enjoy about them.
Here's The Lower Dens performing "I Get Nervous" from Twin Hand Movement. A lot of things make me nervous... commitment, dating, touching, also heights. So I know all about getting nervous, and that's probably the reason I like this song.
Mike Doughty was the frontman for a band named Soul Coughing in the 1990's. After becoming addicted to heroin, Doughty left the band in 2000. After beating his addiction, Doughty started his solo career. He has a very unique voice, but it fits his music perfectly. In 2005 Mike Doughty released Haughty Melodic which was released on Dave Matthews' ATO records. The two have maintained a friendship, as Matthews was a fan of Doughty's back in the days of Soul Coughing.
Here's Mike Doughty performing "Madeline and Nine" off Haughty Melodic. You know those songs that just perfectly explain your life? Well this one, from beginning to end, has always done that for me. If I had to pick one song that explained why I love music it would be this one. My favorite lyric: "Slain by the words I lack/ My world is bursting sappy music." Hope you enjoy it just as much!
Check out Mike Doughty's website, as well as his latest album Sad Man Happy Man.
For as many non-mainstream musicians I enjoy listening to, I've always loved Dave Matthews. I'm surprised I made it over 40 posts before including a performance from him or the band. The Dave Matthews Band and Dave himself do amazing covers. The list includes, "For the Beauty of Wynona", "The Maker", "Sledgehammer" and "Burning Down the House", just to name a few.
This particular cover is a Dave Matthews solo performance of Elvis Presley's 1960 hit "Stuck On You"!
I can't remember how I first came across Margot and the Nuclear So & So's music. I'm guessing Pandora had something to do with it. Anyhow, I've been hooked ever since. This Indianapolis band has a great sound that utilizes many different instruments. Their first full length album, The Dust of Retreat was released in 2006. Most recently, the band released Buzzard in September of last year.
Here's Margot and the Nuclear So & So's playing "Talking In Code"! Enjoy!
Margot and the Nuclear So & So's just released a live EP Happy Hour at Spriggs (Volume 1). Check it out along with more information from the band here!
My apologies for the my brief absence. I went and bought a house! I now have Internet, so let the updates continue!
At the age of 12 Ben Harper was performing his first gig. I, on the other hand, spent most of my time trying to avoid the pitfalls of middle school. Ben Harper's first record was released in 1992 and he's been steadily releasing music in the years since. Harper is an extremely skilled guitar player, and is best known for his Weissenborn guitar skills.
In 2009 Ben Harper and Relentless 7 released White Lies and Dark Times, which is my favorite studio release from Ben Harper since he and the Innocent Criminals released Burn To Shine in 1999. Here's Ben Harper and Relentless 7 playing "Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)"
As you can see and hear, Ben Harper is amazing to see live! He's also releasing a new album next month entitled Give Till It's Gone. For more information on Ben Harper visit his website!