You may have heard Colin Stetson before. The saxophone auteur is a touring member of the Arcade Fire and Bon Iver, and he’s recorded and performed with the likes of Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, Fiest, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, David Byrne, TV on the Radio and LCD Soundsystem. Hopefully, you know a few of those names. With the 2011 release of his third LP, ‘New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges,’ Stetson carved a place out for himself as a solo musician as well, showcasing a viciously unique approach to his trademark bass saxophone, recording sprawling, multi-layered solo tracks in a single go.
In the introduction for their fifth LP, !!! reveal that they did, indeed, mean for something to be inferred by the album's title. Just as that other record called 'Thriller' represents a high-water mark, both creatively and commercially, for its artist and genre (Michael Jackson and pop), this record marks a peak for the California dance-punks. The cleverly placed exclamation marks might have been the deciding factor, but !!! think this is their 'Thriller,' and it's pretty hard to disagree with that.
Those without the surname Pop may do well to step aside after the age of 65 and let the young blood through. Iggy, however, keeps going. The 66-year-old Godfather of Punk is back with the Stooges for a new studio album, 'Ready to Die,' which may please the sector of fans simply looking for a familiar fix of the iconic group's patented raw power.
If you weren't there, you never quite know what it was like in the mid-'00s, when Akron/Family rose to notability not because of hit songs or even must-hear albums, but rather because of the scene that surrounded them. You see similar stories regarding No Age and the So So Glos and their home venues -- L.A.'s the Smell and NYC's Shea Stadium, respectively -- but for Akron/Family, the key locale was apparently a Williamsburg coffee shop called 'Gimme Coffee.'
The old adage that you need to see a band live to "get" them is as true about No Joy as it is about countless others, but it's worth noting how unexpected their performances are when viewed through a traditional shoegaze lens.
The genre is known to create mind-bending experiences of sensory-overload, but its name stems from the tendency of associated acts to fixate on their effects pedals rather than impose their personalities on the crowd. Bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush and Catherine Wheel would essentially let the music be the focus, and if you've experienced the "Holocaust section" of MBV's 'You Make Me Realize,' you've been to the limits of what music being the focus can entail.
There's a picture of the So So Glos' in their very early days that tells you everything you need to know. The three children shown in the image are brothers: Alex Levine, Ryan Levine and Zach Staggers (technically a step-brother). Their lives, you might say, have been following a clear trajectory to this moment in 2013, as the NYC-based band releases the album that will likely be their breakthrough. The video for the lead single, 'Son of an American,' pushes this narrative, using home videos of pillow fights, little league and early band mimicking to cast these guys as the coolest little kids you've ever met. More than 20 years later, they're all grown up and playing band for real.
Animal Collective are readying the release of ‘Monkey Been to Burn Town,’ a remix EP featuring reworked versions of tunes from their 2012 full-length ‘Centipede Hz.’ They’ve also added a bunch of dates to their upcoming summer tour with Dan Deacon, including a newly announced show in Portland, Maine, on July 11.
Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson’s new album, ‘Wheel,’ sees this Long Island songstress shepherding her musical ambitions to new places. Along with her band, the Cans, Stevenson has managed to craft a well-produced set, with a much stronger vocal presence than heard on her first two full-lengths, ‘A Record’ and ‘Sit Resist.’
On Junip’s 2010 debut album ‘Fields,’ the Swedish trio applied the delicate indie-folk touches of frontman José González’s solo albums to layers of world-music percussion, old-school electronics and soulful wisps of semi-jazzy rhythms. In other words, it sounded like the singer-songwriter was having way more fun playing in a band, which had formed in the late ‘90s, than on his often-somber solo records.