The London-bred five-piece band Citizens!, has been compared to Franz Ferdinand. In fact the producer behind the band’s music, Alex Kapranos, also worked with Franz Ferdinand as well as David Bowie. But Citizens! have worked hard to cultivate their own, unique sound. Their debut album, “Here We Are,” was released in May of 2012, with several songs on it garnering huge critical acclaim – notably, poppy number “True Romance,” which is difficult not to dance to. They’re touring North America right now, and I had a chat with vocalist Tom Burke while they were in Boston on March 5th playing Brighton Music Hall. You can check their tour schedule here.
It’s exam season folks so let’s get straight to the chase. Today the rapper Katie Got Bandz dropped a new video for “Pop Out” a song off her upcoming release Drillary Clinton. So its new and clearly it is notable because did you look at that album title??? But for real, I’m excited about this track and it is notable for other reasons. So far, Katie is best known for rolling with Chief Keef’s crew in the Chicago rap scene. Recently though, she’s started gaining attention on her own. There is even an EDM track by Los Angeles producer Carnage, devoted to the rapper’s signature “Katieeee” drop.
Think about the first recorded sound you can remember. Think about when it was recorded. Try to recall what format it was in. Could you play it today if you needed to? Could you even find it?
This month the Library of Congress released it’s long awaited and congressionally mandated National Recording Preservation Plan. It provides the blueprint for the public and private sector to work together in saving America’s recorded sound heritage. It takes on issues from preservation infrastructure (how are we storing this stuff?) and access to education and policy.
In the beginning, Iron & Wine was a one man outfit. Sam Beam made intimate folk albums with nothing but an acoustic guitar, whispery vocals, and a prodigious beard. He stirred hearts with his gentle songs about love, god, and family, all softly tinged with a southern sensibility. Then long before indie folk went the way of top 40, Beam changed his sound entirely. With the 2007 release The Shepherd’s Dog, Iron & Wine went electric, shifting to a full band with a robust and fanciful sound. Beam surprised fans again in 2011 when he expanded Iron & Wine even more to include a full brass section. The album, Kiss Each Other Clean, was far funkier than folky.
I think I know what Lana Del Rey is all about now. She had a heavy dose of hype heading into her Born to Die record (wrote about it here), had difficulty holding her own on Saturday Night Live. Then she flooded 2012 with the aforementioned album and two EPs. She has also been churning out some of the most consistently cinematic music videos I have ever seen from a single artist. Truth is, every time I click to watch one of her videos I have to brace myself for melodramatic production akin to Guns N Roses’ overwrought “November Rain.” Is Del Rey more about the music or the image?
For four decades, Richard Thompson has been crafting and performing his unique brand of literate, heartfelt music. Beginning with the groundbreaking folk rock blend of Fairport Convention in the late 60’s, Thompson as long been acknowledged as one of popular music’s greatest guitarists and songwriters, and as an artist who has never compromised his creative voice. In 2011 he received a Grammy nomination for his live CD Dream Attic, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his work in music. Classic Rock Mine’s Mike Conway sat down with Richard Thompson in his hotel room, before an appearance at the Guinness Fleadh at Boston’s Suffolk Downs on June 19, 1999. Thompson’s openness, frankness and sense of humor when discussing his life and career, make this a memorable interview.
The Americans, the new TV drama on FX, follows married KGB sleeper agents living in the US as they carry out missions that are too violent, or sometimes sexually explicit, for a primetime audience. Hopefully this new drama won’t die in the mid-week, late-night spot.
The Danger Zone, with DJs Slam Dunk Tha Funk and IVK, always opens with the Kenny Loggins song for which the show is named and always finishes with “All We Do is Win” by DJ Khaled. From week to week, what will happen in between is anybody’s guess, though the DJs certainly put an emphasis on hip hop. When I came by WMFO to interview Slam (Sam) and IVK (Ian) this Wednesday at midnight, Slam was queuing up the next three songs: “Adorn” by Miguel, “Love Sosa” by Chief Keef, and “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift. “When you write this article you’re going to want to talk about my live editing skills,” he told me. These skills were put to the test almost immediately, cutting out all the curse words on “Love Sosa,” a relatively tame song compared to most of Chief Keef’s discography. The rest of the playlist was equally diverse, featuring A$ap Rocky, Mumford & Sons, and indie up and comer Autre Ne Veut. Listen to The Danger Zone every Wednesday night from Midnight to 1 am and read my interview with Slam and IVK below the jump.
Watching Beyonce swing her hair around during the Super Bowl halftime show, my mind started to wander over to another dynamic and extremely different musician I had seen recently. Reflecting on Kathleen Edwards‘ performance last week at Brighton Music Hall, I came upon a version of the same question I ask myself about most of my favorite artists: Why isn’t Kathleen Edwards more popular? I might append “in the US” to that as all of Canada will politely remind you that Kathleen Edwards and hockey belong to them.
The new album from moody Scottish alt rockers Frightened Rabbit has landed. Pedestrian Verse is the group’s fourth album and their first under the Atlantic record label. Front man Scott Hutchinson delivers emotional lyrics that give the album an honest feel. Standouts “Backyard Skulls,” “The Woodpile” and “State Hospital” carry the album to success. Frightened Rabbit’s trademark melancholy is ever-present on this LP, notably in the incessant declaration “There is something wrong with me,” on the track “Dead Now.” This album follows a year of touring with Death Cab for Cutie and the strong State Hospital EP released last year. Pedestrian Verse could be the album that brings Frightened Rabbit off of alternative rock’s backburner and into the foreground.