Colin Stetson’s New History Warfare Vol. 3 features bleakness, hope, Justin Vernon and Metal
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The music Colin Stetson is playing on his current solo tour largely features songs from New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light,
the just-released final entry in a trilogy of loosely connected albums
for Constellation Records.
by Kyle Pope
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 03:24 PM | Permalink
For a band that is called fun., I sure find it ironic that
their music sparks nothing close to that feeling.
I admit comfortably that when I was 16, I was a fan of Nickelback,
Disturbed and other bands that would fall under that “Cock Rock” territory. That’s
a pretty bold statement.
While I’d say that (most) of that fandom is long gone, I
have been finding myself coming back to a lot of the bands the shaped my
childhood and early teenage years. Yes, partly for nostalgia (although no
amount of that could ever make me listen to Nickelback again), but I think this
is mainly because I am finding more and more that I am losing my place in the
ever-changing world of music, specifically alternative and indie music.
Three years ago, I was always into the cutting edge of what
is “now” — what many others and myself thought was good. I survived Arcade
Fire’s The Suburbs winning Album of
the Year at the Grammy’s, braved the great King
of Limbs debate of 2011 and forced myself into thinking that a band like
Chevelle actually sucked.
I read Pitchfork religiously to stay on top of music’s
latest and “greatest” new bands. I even pretended that I loved Bon Iver, but
that fell short when it was revealed that for about a year I thought Bon Iver
was one person. Sorry I’m not sorry Justin Vernon.
Truth be told, I hate Bon Iver. I also think Neon Bible is a much better Arcade Fire
album and even a Radiohead album like The Bends was better than King
of Limbs. I think Chevelle kicks ass, but you’d never hear me say that
out loud until now.
I guess I’ll stop brown-nosing my ego and get to the point. I
like music that is accessible and fun. No, not the band. My friends and I, “We
Are Young,“ but if that’s your idea for a great indie party song, then your
I use fun. as my main example, but this also applies to
Mumford and Sons, Gotye, Imagine Dragons, Lumineers and others. I find my
friends and acquaintances throwing it against the wall and, beyond my understanding,
I’m seeing it stick. It might be just me, but I find these bands depressing.
Not in an Alice in Chains “I’m a heroin addict and I don’t know how to stop
ruining my life,” kind of way either, but more like a Simple Plan, “My
girlfriend left me and now I can’t stop complaining about it” kind of way. Yes,
I just compared Mumford and Sons to a pop-emo band from the early 2000s.
There’s a difference between depressed and depression and
these bands embody that very essence of momentary sadness that really doesn’t
matter in a few months.
Despite the very real and very dangerous depression of the
guys who fronted Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Butthole
Surfers and several other bands during the ‘90s, the final product of that excessive
drug use was great and often fun music to listen to.
You don’t put a hand on your heart and shed a tear for Kurt
Cobain when he screams out the lyrics to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Of course
not! You crank it up to 11 and scream loud and out of key with the guy.
Fun has become such a dirty word in alternative music and it’s
not because of any form of stereotypical pretentious hipster nonsense. I really
think the reason is, well…just because. I don’t think there’s a reason why
Mumford and Sons’ Pop-Folk-with-a-Bluegrass-flare fusion is striking big, while
Old Crow Medicine Show has been doing that for years.
What do I know is this: I miss when indie music was something
new, exciting and fun to listen to. When I think of indie, I think of the
playful lyrics like “We could go and get 40s” from the song “12:51” by the Strokes,
the iconic bass line of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and the voice-raising
howls of “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire.
I realize this is all personal interpretation, but indie music
has become something of a boring passé before it even got old to begin with.
Bands have no foreseeable longevity because songs like “We Are
Young” will be replaced faster than you can say “something that I used to
know.” Ha, see what I did there?
And while Mumford and Sons have proven to have some lasting
factor on modern music, I find their songs empty, repetitive and lacking any
real expressiveness. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. “Little Lion Man” and
“I Will Wait” are the same damn song.
They just don’t make good indie like they used to anymore,
but then again maybe I’m getting too damn old for it anymore.
Anger, pain, jealousy and atheism, but tell me this song doesn’t get you going!
I dare you!
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 20, 2012
It appears that ’70s rockers KISS have finally run out of
shit to sell with their logo on it, so the band is expanding its brand
to include merchandise based on its appearances as animated characters
on Family Guy.
by Mike Breen
'Idol' grey fox wins and the only Cincinnati Bengal ever covered by Bon Iver turns 65
On this date in 2006, Taylor Hicks won that year's American Idol karaoke contest, laying waste to runner-up Katharine McPhee. Soul Patrol!!! McPhee would bounce back and is currently starring in the hit network TV show Smash. Hicks, of course, went on to superstardom, scoring major hits with songs like … oh, wait. What ever did happen to that guy? Best guess: manager of a suburban Applebee's somewhere? Post-Idol, Hicks did score a role in the traveling production of Grease and his self-titled album went platinum, but Hicks was dropped from his label in 2008 and hasn't been heard from much since. Last night, a fella named Phillip Phillips (no lie! that's his name!) won this year's American Idol, beating a lady named Jessica Sanchez. I must confess I've not watch one second of American Idol this year (or the year before, or the year before, etc.), but reading The New York Times story on him from today, it appears Phillips actually can play guitar pretty well and covered songs by Damien Rice and The Box Tops when he was allowed to chose his own material to perform. Will Philly Phillips be a star, post-Idol? These things are hard to predict (ask Taylor Hicks), but it seems — from my admittedly peripheral view — that Phillips is more David Gray or Dave Matthews than Clay Aiken or Adam Lambert. Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 24 birthday include creative Jazz saxman Archie Shepp (1937); American music icon Robert Allen Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan (1941); big-voiced and bigger-haired R&B diva Ms. Patti LaBelle (1944); producer and guitarist (with Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon and others) Waddy Wachtel (1947); singer/songwriter and eldest daughter of Johnny Cash's, Rosanne Cash (1955); frontman for Soul/Funk group Cameo ("Word Up"), Larry Blackmon (1956); former keyboardist for Beastie Boys pals Luscious Jackson, Vivian Trimble (1963); bassist for Redd Kross and current member of old-school Punk supergroup OFF!, Steve McDonald (1967); guitarist for rockers The Black Crowes, Rich Robinson (1969); and singer/songwriter and Country artist Mike Reid (1947).Born in Altoona, Penn., Reid attended Penn State, where he excelled on the football field. The tackle finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting his senior year (1969) and earned a Bachelor's degree in music. In the 1970 NFL draft, Reid was the Cincinnati Bengals' top first-round selection (seventh overall). Known for his pass-rushing, Reid was a dominant defensive player selected All-Pro at his position in 1972 and 1973 (both years he made the Pro Bowl, as well). In ’74, an injured Reid posted lower numbers and retired at the end of the season as the Bengals all-time leader in sacks with 49. (Remember, the Bengals had only been a team since 1968.)During the off-season, Reid played piano with orchestras in Utah and Dallas, as well as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. With some help from Larry Gatlin, he was ready to go into music full-time after retiring from professional football. Focused on songwriter, Reid won his first Grammy in 1984 for writing Ronnie Milsap's "Stranger in My House." We would go on to write several songs that hit No. 1 on the Country charts, including "Walk On Faith," the only No. 1 he also performed. Reid's songs were recorded by the likes of Etta James, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Alabama, George Jones, Wynonna, Lee Greenwood, Kenny Rogers, Shelby Lynne, Shania Twain, Oak Ridge Boys, Collin Raye, Alabama and Tim McGraw over the years. But his "time capsule" tune has to be his 1992 hit with Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me," his biggest Pop chart success. Reid is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In honor of his 65th birthday, here's Reid's biggest song sung by himself, followed by a pretty chilling more recent version by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
Bryce Dessner doubles down on his dedication to 7-year-old festival
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 27, 2012
MusicNOW is aptly named. Founded and still nurtured by local
native Bryce Dessner, the festival has consistently delivered an
eclectic mix of “contemporary music” since springing to life in 2006.
Bryce Dessner brings unique MusicNOW fest back for fifth year
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner's MusicNOW brainchild has evolved into one of the singular musical events in the Midwest, a multi-day festival featuring a like-minded collection of creatively adventurous musicians who relish the opportunity to partake in its laid-back, artist-friendly atmosphere. Dessner talks about his approach to MusicNOW, why Memorial Hall is the right venue and the upcoming album from his band, The National.