Friday, December 27, 2013

Hey, specks!

Cold Specks. What a group. What a singer! As usual, I'm not sure how to describe this group. The lead singer has an amazing bluesy voice. And the band backs her up perfectly. Just give her and them a listen. Gospel, blues, and indie rock. What's not to love!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Home James!

James Blake. One of the most unusual musicians I've heard in the last ten years. I've enjoyed his music on the air, courtesy of the CBC. However, hearing him live was a totally different experience. His recorded music is very electronic with lots of sampling. Live, he was very "bass and drum" techno. I'm not sure I'd see him live again. While I loved his voice, he only did a few quiet solo tunes which showcased his voice. I think he needs to rethink his live act.

Friday, October 11, 2013

All in the Family

Talk about a sunny pop group. Family of the Year, which hails from southern California is sort of a 21st century Beach Boys. They were formed in 2009 with Joseph and Sebastian Keefe, James Buckley, and Christina Schroeter. I had the opportunity to see them live a week ago and they put on a heck of a show. Everyone in the band sings and produce some remarkable harmonies. And they look like they absolutely love what they do. Sort of a "I can't believe we get paid for playing music" vibe. The group has several EPs out and two full-length CDs including their 2012 release Loma Vista. Warning, click on the song St. Croix below, and count on having it stuck in your noggin for the rest of the day!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The company you keep.

The Windy City-based group, Company of Thieves was formed by vocalist Genevieve Schatz and guitarist Marc Walloch. This indie group has a bright sound and incredible vocals. Ms. Schatz totally throws herself into the music and Walloch's heavy-duty guitar playing kicks butt. They remind me a little bit of the group Braids. Based on the youtube videos I've seen (and there are lots of them), the band must be incredible live.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Shakin' All Over

The Athens, Alabama based group Alabama Shakes was formed around singer/guitarist Brittany Howard along with Zac Cockrell, Steve Johnson, and Heath Fogg. Brittany reminds me of a young Janis Joplin. She's got an abundance of fiery soul in her voice and can really belt 'em out. The band combines a potent mix of electric blues and southern soul. Definitely one of the most refreshing groups I've heard in a while. The group has an EP out and released their first full-length cd, Boys & Girls in 2012. They beg to be heard live!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First post in ages. Sorry!

I think you'll love this guy: That's all I'll say.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Data plan

There doesn't seem to be any information about the electronica group Data Romance anywhere on the inter webs. How the heck does that happen? So I can only give a brief description of the music and let you decide for yourself if you like them or not. Their music is dreamy and lush and feature beautiful vocals. I can't think of any group that sounds like them Nice stuff.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Ros is a Ros

I normally don't review live concerts. But I saw Sigur Ros (finally) last night and I though they were definitely worth reviewing. What an amazing concert. If you're not familiar with the group, they're an ambient-ish group from Iceland. Their music is multi-layered and features the incredible voice of Jonsi. His voice is almost angelic. The performance we saw featured a very inventive and artistic graphic display/light show that enhanced every song. The visual display was almost poetic. The group performed a bunch of hits which got the laid back, hipster crowd somewhat excited. I thought it was pretty amusing that when the group got into a cool, rocking groove, the crowd didn't even nod their heads! My overall impression was that, if there was a cover band in heaven, it would be Sigur Ros.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Head east, young man.

I went to hear the Orchid Ensemble a week ago, not knowing what to expect. And I was blown away by the group. The instrumentation consists of a 12-string zither and a one string upright Chinese violin-like instrument, both centuries old instruments. And a percussionist. The group performs an incredible range of music, from traditional and modern Chinese songs, to music from various countries along the ancient Silk Road. The musicians explain the origins of all the songs they play and their love of the music is quite apparent. If you ever get the opportunity to see them, do yourself a favor and just do it!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lawn Job

The ambient duo Grasscut was formed in the late 2000s in Brighton, England.The group is film composer Andrew Phillips and keyboardist/classically trained double bassist Marcus O'Dair. They've been compared to everyone from Hot Chip to Eluvium. I think they could fall under the banner of "folktronica."After signing with the well-known label Ninja Tune, they released the disc 1 Inch: 1/2 Mile in 2010 and a followup recording Unearth in 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013

On the line

The group Callers features the powerful voice of Sara Lucas and the complex guitarwork of Ryan Seaton. The music is by no means easy listening. They push the boundaries of folk, jazz, and indie rock. The couple met in 2004 while working in a cafe in New Orleans. After discussing their musical tastes, the two decided to form a group. The band also includes Keith Souza and Manchester. They have three cds to date. I have to admit, the videos I've posted are a couple of their more poppy and catchy tunes. If you dig a little deeper, you'll find their music a bit more on the "challenging listening" category.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"How to Dress Well" is the brainchild of Tom Krell. He makes haunting, lo-fi R&B inspired music that is hard to describe. He hails from Minneapolis, but moved to Cologne, Germany where he collaborated with the musician cokc dokc. He has released several EPs and in October 2010, Krell released his first full-length album, "Love Remains". His latest, "Love Remains" was released in 2012. His voice reminds me a little of James Blake. It's a high-pitched falsetto and much of his music is very rhythmic and danceable.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Aster, the Star

Aster Aweke was born in Ethiopia and began her musical career in her late teens. She has a beautiful yet powerful voice. And much of her musical is lively and danceable. To me, she sounds more Middle-Eastern than African. But that's just me. Aweke became disillusioned with the Ethiopian government and moved to the United States in 1981. She now lives in Washing D.C. but frequently tours the world. She has several cds.