Music Review

Video of the Weekend: Keys N Krates - "Dum Dee Dum"

I don't know how I missed this dance song back in the winter, but it's still worth the effort. Having just topped the million eyeballs mark is no easy feat in today's digital world. More than just an electronica song, this self-proclaimed mini "mockcumentary" celebrates the cultural diversity that co-exists on our planet. Wonderfully executed by filmmaker Mike Howey this will put a smile on your face. Canadian trio Keys N Krates festival tour will commence shortly. Enjoy your weekend and the melodic sunshine!

Video of the Week: tUnE-yArDs - "Water Fountain"

The tribal drum groove is unmistakable and wildly infectious, like the sideways Bo Didley beat of "I Want Candy" meets Babatunde Olatunji. Merrill Garbus aka tUnE-yArDs video for "Water Fountain" (from Nikki Nack) with its wacky Pee Wee's Play House on acid animation is inspired fun. Perfect for any road trip, rain forests and deserts alike.

Band of the Month: The Strypes

The Strypes are the ESSENCE & SPIRIT of rock 'n' roll. Make no mistake, these baby-faced teenagers (ages 16 - 18!) from Caven, Ireland are the most exciting thing in music this year! Did you see them rip it up on Letterman a few weeks back? Required viewing people. Feckin' eh, buy their R&B-fueled rock music and play it real LOUD for your kids and tell 'em they got their OWN band for the future. Then play 'em the early Stones, Yardbirds, Dr. Feelgood, The Animals, some Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Zep... Get my drift? Nope? Watch the video again, for feck's sake!

Video of the Week: Preston Lovinggood - "Overactor"

Most lyric videos don't attempt much artistry. They're merely a simple and cheap way to share a new song by an artist before the "official" video gets released. Alabama-based singer/songwriter Preston Lovinggood has raised the bar with his haunting lyric video for "Overactor" off of his album Shadow Songs and really need not worry about releasing another video to replace it. Catch him on select dates with The Faint next month, too.

Easter Season Music, Part II: Beyond Bach

Earlier this week, I looked at recent releases of Easter-season choral works by J.S. Bach and one of his sons. Today I cover a bit more historical range in terms of composers and eras, again sticking to recent releases.

Maria Venuti, Keith Lewis, Michel Brodard/Gächingen Chorale of Stuttgart/Bach Collegium of Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling
Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85
(Hänssler Classic)

Written in 1802 in just 14 days (but not published for a decade, hence the high opus number), Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives) is a dramatic oratorio depicting Christ's emotional acceptance of his fate during His conversation with an angel in the garden of Gethsemene, followed by His arrest and Peter's protest.  Read more »

Song of the Week: "Like Rats" - Godflesh

The reunion of the most original metal band of the '90s -- Godflesh -- finally reached our shores last week. Here's the opening song of their NYC show at Irving Plaza.

Music for Easter Season, Part 1: Bachs

Even in my youth, when Christmas came packaged with the anticipation of new toys, I preferred the Easter season. Why? Because I sang in a church choir, and the music of the Easter season is far, far greater. The gamut of emotions traversed along Holy Week alone offers so much grist for musical expressiveness: Palm Sunday (triumph, but tinged with foreshadowing), Maundy Thursday (dark lamentations), Good Friday (agony), and Easter (the ultimate triumph). And though the great masterpieces, Johann Sebastian Bach's two mighty Passion settings, were beyond the capacities of a simple church choir, I reveled in playing my vinyl versions over and over again. (Neither would be fashionable nowadays; the St. Matthew a Nonesuch recording led by Hans Swarowsky featuring the Vienna Boys Choir, though with an excellent set of soloists starring Heather Harper, and the St. John led by none other than Eugene Ormandy at the head of his Philadelphia Orchestra, with Maureen Forrester the star soloist (Columbia)). Here are some recent recordings of relevance; later this week I'll cover some non-Bach recordings. Read more »

Song of the Week: Anna Rose - "Los Angeles"

Our favorite NYC-based blues rocker babe is at it again! Anna Rose's slap-to-the-face ode to L.A -- simply titled "Los Angeles" -- has just been released as a video produced and directed by Miss Jennifer Tzar. Check her out for tour dates, swag, and more at AnnaRoseMusic.com, too.

Video of the Week: QOTSA - "Smooth Sailing"

Josh Homme and his QOTSA posse get some freak on in this cool ass video for "Smooth Sailing" directed by Hiro Murai (Childish Gambino, St. Vincent). Lots of drunken shenanigans with plenty of GoPro and POV camera angles and a relentless rock groove make this one crazy, Tarantino-like cinematic music experience.

Music to Thaw the Deep Freeze of 2014

It was a brutal Winter (of our discontent), but it's finally Spring and there's plenty of new music to thaw even the most solid block of plowed snow. Here are ten of my favorite new rock/pop/dance/funk/folk tunes. Let us begin with this tremendous track (and album) from one of my favorite folk-rock singer/songwriters, the former New Yorker and now L.A.-based David Poe. Here he shares his muse on his debut single "When I Fly" from his soon-to-be-released long player When I Fly. Check him out on tour, too. Read more »

1974 in Progressive Rock

As we rightfully celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' rockin'-vasion of America, it is also worth noting the 40th anniversaries of progressive rock albums released in 1974 -- a banner year for the genre.

In alphabetical rather than chronological order, here is just a short list, along with links to a representative composition from each album.

Enjoy!

Apostrophe (Frank Zappa)

Although Zappa had been "at it" since 1966 -- as one of the earliest progenitors of progressive rock -- and although he had already put out over a dozen important albums, Apostrophe (and the immediately prior album, Over-Nite Sensation) arguably brought him to the masses through his cross-over "hit," "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow," which, despite its length, received regular airplay on FM stations. It didn't hurt that the album also included two of his funniest, most fun songs, "Cozmik Debris" and "Stinkfoot." Read more »

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear

SWR Vocal Ensemble of Stuttgart/Marcus Creed: 

America 
(Hänssler Classics)

Perhaps it takes foreigners to put together a program of Aaron Copland's Four Motets, Steve Reich's Proverb, John Cage's "Five," Morton Feldman's The Rothko Chapel, Leonard Bernstein's Missa Brevis, and Samuel Barber's "A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map." Whatever this 77-minute disc lacks in stylistic coherence, though, it makes up for as a cross-section of 20th century American choral music. 

The a cappella Copland pieces date from his study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, before he'd created his trademark style; their lush harmonies are surprising from him, but quite beautiful and oddly anticipatory of recent choral trends (think Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen). The Reich, however, is prototypically Reichian in its gently propulsive Minimalism (influenced by Medieval organum), complete with accompaniment on vibraphones and synthesizers. Read more »

Song of the Day - Chrissie Hynde - Dark Glasses

Fellow Akronite Chrissie Hynde steps out from her fellow Pretenders on her brand new single from her forthcoming album, Stockholm (Caroline) due on June 9th. Grab it today!

Song of the Week: The War on Drugs - "Red Eye"

From this Philly-based quartet's third long player, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian), their best, and despite a rather pedestrian video, "Red Eyes" is one fine indie rock tune. The galloping guitar break is just sublime. Get it today!

Weather This Storm - Dusty Wright

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