Like many good singer/songwriters,
Timothy Showalter harnesses his personal dramas and setbacks into potent
songs about growing up in Goshen, Ind., and wrestling his demons. On his fourth record, HEAL,
the now Philly-based Showalter, aka Strand of Oaks, sheds some of the
minimal Folk Rock from his previous endeavors and delves into a world of
warm, synth-driven beats and guitar Rock.
Canadian-born Aubrey Drake Graham, better
known as simply Drake, has proven to be a talented triple threat — a
dramatic and comedic actor, a rapper with R&B authenticity and a
songwriter for himself and others.
Man Man’s greatest sonic attributes could
also be considered its most significant liabilities, particularly by
labels looking to hitch their wagons to a commercial cash cow. And
although Man Man has somehow managed to infiltrate the mainstream to a
small degree with adjustments to their core sound, the band (which
fluctuates from duo to trio to beyond) has retreated only slightly from
its home on the musical fringe.
Brooklyn, N.Y., band Old Monk has referred to its music as “Prog Punk,”
an interesting descriptor considering the two genres were diametrically
opposed back in the day. It reminds me of a scene from the excellent
documentary movie New York Doll, about bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane of
the Proto Punk band New York Dolls, where Chrissie Hynde and Morrissey
are sitting around railing against the excesses of Prog Rock and how it
actually birthed Punk.
With internationally renowned Blues/Rock guitarist Walter Trout recovering from a liver transplant, his bandmates in The Walter Trout Band are touring with U.K. guitarist Danny Bryant and Walter's son Jon in a celebration of his music and to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
At first blush, United Nations is a
thrilling, adrenalized Punk band with the sonic markers that define the
genre — political lyrics that range from personal to global;
double-clutched drumming; riffs that careen wildly from oddly melodic to
lethally brutal; vocals that run the gamut from singing in a normal
register to shrieking like a panther caught in a leg trap to the
guttural growl of a Babylonian misery demon.
Cheers Elephant is a blatantly hook-laden
AltPop band that brings a sense of humor and 1960s-era verve to their
sound. With reverb-a-plenty and blue-sky harmony vocals, the up-tempo
band keeps its big beats front and center.
These days, it’s an accomplishment to find something that
lasts 25 months, let alone 25 years. And yet The Iguanas are still
making vital music and crisscrossing the country to present it in its
most elementally satisfying live fashion, a quarter century after the
band’s formation in New Orleans.
The original derivation of a casket (or casquette) girl
referred to an early 18th century female who had been repatriated from
France to the French colonial South in order to marry; “casket” referred
to the small chest that held their belongings.
Coming on the scene in the late ’80s/early
’90s as a new guitar hot shot, Eric Johnson lit up the frets and the
music world with a Grammy Award win for his original instrumental,
“Cliffs of Dover,” in 1991. Though a multi-instrumentalist of the
highest order, he is mostly known for his fluid guitar pyrotechnics.
It hardly seems possible that a decade
has gone by since the original formation of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
although given the band’s current status, there’s an argument to be made
that the quintet didn’t actually make it to the 10-year mark.
What if they threw a band party and only the rhythm section showed up?
That’s the oddly conceived question that
has been answered by vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben
Thatcher, doing business as the Garage/Psych/Blues duo Royal Blood.
Like Tegan & Sara (with whom they’ve
toured), Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Brooklyn Indie Pop band Lucius
wrap their vocals around each other, both in harmony and unison, with
the impressive precision of two vocalists who’ve sung together their
Even the Outlaw Country community
considers Billy Joe Shaver to be an outlaw. The Texas native learned to
play guitar at 11 and dropped out of school in the eighth grade to pick
cotton but returned sporadically to play sports. After a Navy hitch,
Shaver married Brenda Tindell in 1960; she divorced him six years later
when he pursued a songwriting career (they subsequently remarried,
divorced and remarried).