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!
by Blake Hammond
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 09:43 AM | Permalink
Believe it or not, there are music critics who do not enjoy a certain musical sacred cow
I don’t like Radiohead. Just like that, my budding career as a music journalist is destroyed by one, four-word sentence. I’m sure the pretentious Pitchfork police are on their way to my house right now to take me away.I can imagine most of you yelling at me through the monitors on your Mac Book Pros, passing judgment on me through the lenses of your dark-rimmed Woody Allen-esque glasses.
That’s OK. I assure you, I can’t hear a damn thing you’re saying. So just save your breath and read. I know why people like Radiohead. They are talented musicians who are constantly expanding their sound. Not to mention, Thom Yorke’s (even though he doesn’t know how to spell his name) vocal range goes for miles, making him one of the most impressive singers in Rock & Roll today. They are like the indie rock version of The Beatles, except The Beatles don’t take an eighth of magical mushrooms to appreciate. (Although I’m sure it makes it better, I wouldn’t dare know about such devilish things.)Upon numerous occasions during my 23 years, I’ve tried desperately to enjoy this band. At 16, I would peruse through cute “indie” girl’s MySpace pages, listening to “Karma Police” among various other cuts off of OK Computer. I would force-feed my metalhead mind to try and wrap itself around the ambient tones coming from my speakers. No matter how hard I tried (believe me, I tried; I needed something to trick these girls into liking me) it just never stuck.A few years later, I made my second attempt. In Rainbows had just been released and it was a hot topic of conversation between my more “hip” friends. They would play the record on an endless loop and, eventually, I really did begin to dig it. Then I had a revelation.While I was driving to work one day, I put the album on and quickly realized that I had never listened to this while I was sober. I mean, I know 2007-2008 had pretty much become a blur of various substances, but as the docile sounds of “House of Cards” rang through my car stereo, I said to myself, “Blake, put down the bottle and get your shit together! Also, take off that ridiculous v-neck shirt and skinny jeans. No one wants to see your Teen Wolf-covered man-boobs or your ‘Basilisk’!” (That’s right, my junk is nicknamed after the giant snake in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets; get over it.)It was as if the smoke had finally cleared (literally and metaphorically) and I came out of this catatonic state of intoxication a new man. That man just still happened to dislike Radiohead. My final attempt was no more than four months ago. My lovely girlfriend bought me a record player for my birthday and I decided I would give In Rainbows one more shot. I had grown up quite a bit since the last time I heard this record. Not only was I knee-deep in my journey to becoming a music journalist, but also I wasn’t totally sloshed all the time either. Plus, if it doesn’t resonate with me on vinyl, it never will. This last go-around, however, was a futile one. I always thought, “Maybe I was just too young to get it?” Or “Maybe, I was just too fucked up to understand?” But as I put the record on, more questions came up, like “Am I too old to get it?” or “Jesus, what’s that drug dealer’s number again?”As I racked my mind trying to figure out why I’m the only music journalist who isn’t a part of this worldwide circle-jerk over Radiohead, I finally came up with a simple, yet honest explanation. Radiohead fans can be broken down into two factions. You’re either a Radiohead guy or a “Creep” guy. I’m obviously a member of the latter group. “Creep” is the anthem for every broken-hearted loser too cowardly to talk to the girl he dreams about every night. It’s the anthem for every outcast kid that roamed their hallways aimlessly; unable to find their place in the proverbial hell that was high school. It’s the anthem for every overweight, underachieving, late-blooming, weirdo band kid that the band chicks didn’t even want to associate with. It’s pretty much my 7-12 grade experience told in three minutes and 56 seconds.“Creep” just always spoke to me in a way that no other Radiohead song ever had. It was effortless and truthful, yet, real and depressing. I made a connection with that song, a connection which I tried ever so earnestly to do with the rest of their catalog, but failed miserably. So to the Radiohead fans out there, keep listening to them. Do whatever makes you happy, whatever you want. Because truly, you’re so fucking special. I just wish Radiohead was special, too. Radiohead then …Radiohead lately …
by Mike Breen
It’s been 19 years since British Art Rock giants Radiohead did their first tour of the U.S. Tonight, Radiohead finally finds time to perform in Cincinnati, bringing its tour behind last year’s Grammy-nominated album The King of Limbs to Riverbend Music Center. If there’s any band worth waiting that long for, it’s Radiohead. The world’s biggest avant garde group is also one of the best live acts on the planet, playing with a fervent intensity backed by a dazzling light/stage show.The group’s two-hour-plus sets of late have been heavy on Radiohead’s “post Pop” albums, though they often treat fans to “oldies” like “Karma Police” and “Paranoid Android.” If you are even the remotest fan, you need to see Radiohead once in your lifetime. You don’t want to wait another 19 years, do you? Only lawn seats remain ($30) at the box office for tonight's show. Radiohead Live at the 2009 Grammy Awards from cinserrajr on Vimeo. Electronic/Indie act Caribou — a MidPoint Music Festival alum — opens up the show at 7:30 p.m. Read more about Caribou here and check out a clip for the tune "Irene" below.• Rising Hip Hop MC Yelawolf performs tonight at the Madison Theater in Covington. Tickets for the all-ages show are $20. Showtime is 8 p.m. Special guest Rittz opens.When Michael Wayne Atha was born in 1979 in the
relatively small Alabama town of Gadsden, it’s doubtful that his mother
looked at her new son and said, “Future Rap superstar.” But that’s just
where Atha — now known by his stage name Yelawolf — is heading. Yela
moved between Tennessee and Alabama as a child and later traveled the
country in pursuit of skateboarding stardom; he also hit Alaska in
pursuit of a fishing-boat job. The MC grew up on Southern Rock before
discovering Hip Hop. The geographic wandering and his love of a variety
of music likely explain the diversity within his own. On his official
2011 debut album, Radioactive,
Yelawolf’s own geographical origins are hard to pinpoint as he filters
influence from southern Hip Hop to the Detroit scene and spits it out in
his own unique voice.
Even the guests on Radioactive were from all over, from Lil Jon and
Mystikal to Eminem (whose Shady label released the record) and Kid Rock.
During his recent performance at the huge Hangout Music Fest (see an interview from Spin with Yela at the fest below) along the
’Bama coast in mid-May, he showed off the full range of his influences,
paying tribute to The Doors, Johnny Cash, Easy-E, Metallica, Lynyrd
Skynyrd and The Beastie Boys. Yelawolf is set to begin recording his sophomore record for Shady — tentatively titled Love Story — after his current tour wraps up. Click here for more live music events in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Jac Kern
at 11:30 AM | Permalink
Did you know today is World Environment Day? In 1972, the
United Nations designated June 5 as a day to spread global awareness of
ecological issues and encourage political response. This year’s theme is Green
Economy: Does It Include You? If you partake in some especially green
activities this week, such as organizing a recycling drive, planting trees or
working to stop plastic bag use, you can register your efforts here for a chance to win a fuel-efficient Kia!
As if you didn’t know already, thousands will flock to
Riverbend tonight for Radiohead’s first Cincinnati concert. Caribou, who headlined
2010’s MidPoint Music Festival opens the show. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; the
concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Oddly, tickets are still available. Hey, Thom Yorke ain't no Jimmy Buffett.
For the handful of readers who aren’t attending, La Poste
kicks off its Summer Wine Series tonight. The four-event package features three
educational wine classes (tonight, July 7 and Aug. 10) and a final five-course
grand tasting Sept. 11. Each event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tonight is Wine Tasting
101: Learn from sommeliers about how to taste, discover and interpret different
wines. Professionals will describe sight, nose, palate and structural
variations and you sip your way through each varietal and enjoy hors d’oeuvre.
La Poste promises a comfortable setting for newbies to ask questions. Buy
series tickets here
or just admission for tonight’s course here.The Fringe Festival continues tonight. Check out a fully lineup with reviews here.Tonight is MOTR Pub's weekly Writer's Night. Fists of Love's Donna J hosts the open mic where all poets, musicians, singers and spoken-word artists are welcome to share original work. One artist will walk away with 40 bucks! Sign ups begin at 8:30 p.m.
June 5 • Riverbend Music Center
0 Comments · Thursday, May 24, 2012
Electronic music generally feels more machine-like than the product of
conventional guitars-and-drums setups, but that doesn't mean every
electronic artist is inclined to create work that's cold or inhuman. Dan
Snaith exemplifies this idea in Caribou.
by Mike Breen
Those who were contemplating heading to Indio, Calif., this summer purely to catch British experimental music kingpins Radiohead at Coachella can save a little cash and drive to Riverbend instead. This morning, the local outdoor shed announced that Radiohead will perform June 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run $30 (for lawn seats) to $69.50 (plus fees) and go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. through ticketmaster.com, riverbend.com and all Ticketmaster box-office locations. Get your tickets early. The band is currently on a run of U.S. arena dates that have completely sold out.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It’s hard to be an aging Hip Hop artist.
You can retain your dignity and status only so long before some young
whippersnapper MC conjures up the most destructive dis of all: “You’re
old.” So kudos to Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys for somehow managing to
not completely embarrass himself or his bandmates during a recent
appearance on Quilting Arts TV … er, rather Top Chef: Just Desserts.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
There is now no question as to who is the hardest-working man in showbiz. In what appears to be an effort to never spend a second off stage or out of a recording studio, Jack White has formed yet another “side project.” Scary thing is, once again, it’s a fantastic project.