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Tag: Indie Rock (51-60 of 692)

Zeus gives '70s soft rock a fuzzed-out twist on '27 Is the New 17'

With the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack recently winning both the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart and a place in the hearts of the movie’s surprisingly enthusiastic legion of fans, ’70s soft rock is once again back in vogue. That’s good news for Toronto band Zeus, whose upcoming third album, boldly entitled Classic Zeus (out Sept. 2 on Arts and Crafts), draws from a wide range of influences but leans particularly hard on a similar strain of AM gold.

Classic Zeus offers a look inside the minds of a group that has matured greatly over the past few years, and particularly so during a bumpy period of time after their last album that brought them to the verge of breaking up. It’s weighty material, but for their latest single, “27 is the New 17,” they lighten things up with a presentation that resembles a fuzzy, indie-fied take on ELO’s brand of effervescent psychedelic pop.

Arcade Fire -- and an Obama impersonator -- cover Fugazi

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Canadian indie arena rockers the Arcade Fire have been making headlines during their Reflektor tour by busting out a new cover song at each stop, usually performed with at least some of the people on stage wearing giant papier mâché heads. So far they’ve done songs by everyone from Neil Young to Huey Lewis, and last night they added hardcore legends Fugazi to the list. During a performance in Washington, D.C., the group gave a fairly straightforward reading to the 1988 anthem “Waiting Room” and adding an enormously bobbleheaded Obama impersonator to the on-stage roster that already included a skeleton, a TV-headed man, and singer Win Butler wearing a Win Butler mask.

Chris Walla quits Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla has left the group after 17 years. Yesterday the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger published a brief statement from Walla breaking the news of his departure and providing a brief explanation. “I think I long for the unknown,” he writes. “It might be that simple.”

The band recently wrapped the recording of their eighth album, the first that Walla didn’t produce. He’s also produced albums for Tegan and Sara, the Decemberists, and the Thermals, among others. He released a solo album, Field Manual, in 2008.

“Moving forward,” Walla writes, “my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it.”

In their own statement posted to the Death Cab website the band writes, “We’ve had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished together, including our 8th studio album which we have just put the finishing touches on. We will miss Chris and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. We are excited about sharing new music, and seeing all of you very soon.”

Walla will play his final show with the group Sept. 13 at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, British Columbia.

Watch Amoureux's gorgeously choreographed 'Lost the Plot' video

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The ability to make and distribute music videos used to be limited to a relatively elite level of performers, but with cheap technology and free digital distribution, anyone with at least a song and a smartphone can make one. Consequently, there’s been a biblical-level deluge of them, forcing creators to take increasingly contrived routes to getting noticed—hence the numbing amount of NSFW clips trying desperately to shock viewers, or elaborate, Rube Golbergian ones like nearly all of OK Go’s videography, where the gimmick far overshadows the music itself.

Compared to its stunt-dependent competition, the video for indie-pop duo Amoureaux’s “Lost the Plot” is an elegantly understated breath of fresh air. It stars dancers Reshma Gajjar and Hunter Hamilton (who in the past have done work for Madonna and Sia), choreographed by Kitty McNamee and directed by Miles Crawford, with little to distract from their performance. Amoureux bassist Holiday J and drummer Nicole Turley are both former dancers, and the collaboration with McNamee and Crawford highlights how much they’re still focused on rhtyhm.

“I fell in love with the rawness of this song,” writes McNamee in an email. “It swept me in. I think it triggered a very personal response to the music.”

“I was intrigued by the idea of stalemate,” Crawford adds. “All the moves have been tried, and yet we aren’t ready to give up the game. In the repetition we lose our way, our purpose. We go at it again and again, finding the same result, until finally there is nothing, but to let it go. That, and I wanted to play with flour.”

Hear Ruby Fray's 'psychedelic witch wave' single 'Photograph'

Singer-songwriter Emily Beanblossom played in about a million bands and released one LP under the name Ruby Fray while she was living in indie-rock mecca Olympia, Washington. Then, she packed up and moved to the more southerly hipster hotspot of Austin, Texas. Her move, her new hometown’s suffocating weather, and its local fauna all had a direct influence on the second Ruby Fray album, Grackle, which comes out on the illustrious Olympia label K Records on Sept. 30.

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Priory's 'Weekend' is keeping the arena-rock anthem alive

Recent pop history has been notably light on the kind of epically-scaled rock anthems built for fist-pumping, arena-shaking singalongs that dominated the radio throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Portland duo Priory is singlehandedly reversing that trend with their song “Weekend,” which for the past month has been slowly gaining momentum on radio and seems destined to go onto even bigger things.

Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears met at shows around Portland, but the idea to collaborate musically didn’t come until Rush moved into a punk house that Sears was living in. “We just sat down for the first time with acoustic guitars and it was kind of instantaneous,” Sears says. “Literally I think the first time we sat down we wrote the foundations for like two songs.”

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Catching up with Spoon's Britt Daniel: An EW Q and A

The frontman of the beloved Austin indie-rockers—who’ve just returned with their eighth album, They Want My Soul, and recently hit the road with Arcade Fire—talks girl groups, long hiatuses, and literary heroes. (If you missed them this summer don’t worry; they’ve got a ton of dates left, including multiple festivals.)

EW: It’s been four years since Spoon last made a record. I know you’ve been working on other projects, but what’s been happening for you life-wise in the meantime?

Britt Daniel: Life wise? That’s a tough question. You’d think it’d be the easiest one, right? When we finished that last tour in November of 2011—it was at some festival in Germany—we kind of just said, “Well that’s the last show for awhile, and who knows what’s going to happen.” And we were all a little ground down at that point. It had just been too long that we were touring that record. So we went our separate ways without really saying anything. And I took three or four months of doing nothing really. I got a girlfriend and I just chilled. Which is the first I’ve done that in…I don’t know, it might have been the first time I’ve done that by choice. And then I met up with Dan [Boeckner], who’s an old friend of mine. He was doing a show in Portland and he was there for a few days. We talked about starting a band and we…started a band. READ FULL STORY

CHVRCHES bring 'Mother We Share' to Guitar Center Sessions

The eighth season of the DirectTV-based concert series Guitar Center Sessions has leaned heavily on ’90s acts like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Damon Albarn, and Snoop Dogg, but for its penultimate episode they’ve brought in a group that’s only just started to bloom. This Sunday, Aug. 10, the show will feature Scottish trio CHVRCHES, whose debut LP, The Bones of What You Believe, has been steadily accumulating fans since it was released last fall, making them one of the more popular acts in the electropop revolution that’s leapt up from the indie underground and started taking over the pop charts.

Here’s a first look at their performance of “Mother We Share,” one of the standout songs from a catalog that’s full of exceptional pop hooks and delicious electronic production.

Record Shopping with Jack Antonoff -- the fun. guitarist talks Bleachers, Bruce, and the bands that inspired him

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“I could probably name thousands of albums that I want,” Jack Antonoff muses, sifting through the stacks at Permanent Records in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (just blocks, coincidentally, from Café Grumpy, where his girlfriend, Lena Dunham, pretends to work on HBO’s Girls).

Lucky for us, the 30-year-old fun. guitarist and vinyl junkie kept his focus on a select few, including vintage punk favorites and a Boss classic, and reflected on the role they’ve played in his musical education. One title Antonoff couldn’t find? His own band Bleachers’ debut, Strange Desire, released July 15 and featuring the lead single “I Wanna Get Better,” which currently sits at the top of the Alternative Songs chart. “That, I desperately want,” he says. “It’s coming!”

Below, the results of his haul after spending sunny Saturday perusing vinyl with EW. —Ray Rahman READ FULL STORY

Hundred Waters are patiently becoming pop stars

Hundred Waters started making waves in the music industry two years ago when a self-titled album they recorded for a small independent label in their hometown of Gainesville, Florida, ended up getting them spots on tours with the xx, Skrillex, and Alt-J and a deal with Skrillex’s then-new OWSLA label. It was a remarkably successful record for one the band hadn’t even set out to make.

“We didn’t really know we were doing an album until we were a bunch of songs in,” says multi-instrumentalist Trayer Tryon. “We didn’t know what it was going to be. We were just making songs. After the 11 songs on the album were done, that was the album.”

The band–Tryon, keyboardist-vocalist Nicole Miglis, multi-instrumentalist Paul Giese, and drummer Zach Tetreault–ended up staying on the road after Hundred Waters was released, touring and hanging out in different cities across the country. That included a stint at the live-in studio Skrillex built in downtown L.A., where they’ve since relocated. Despite the peripatetic circumstances, the album they wrote and recorded in this period, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, feels incredibly grounded, blending pop hooks, glitchy electronics, and indie earnestness into a coherent whole that could justifiably be compared to everything from Kate Bush to Massive Attack to FKA Twigs.

“This time around we knew who we were more, and what we were after a little more,” Tryon says. “That made it a lot harder to get to the final thing, but it also made the final thing more of a full piece of work rather than kind of stumbling into it.”

With its muted tones and dreamy vocals, Moon is a deeply mellow record that unfolds patiently rather than hurrying to impress an audience right out of the gates. Fittingly, it’s been building a fan base slowly but steadily. “We wanna say something as precisely as we can,” says Giese, “and hope as many people understand it as they can instead of saying something that can reach as many people as possible.”

Still, their momentum continues to grow: They recently played the Pitchfork Music Festival, and they’ll spend November on the road with a newly reanimated Interpol. If things keep progressing at the same rate, breaking out with a mainstream pop audience isn’t out of the question. Hundred Waters aren’t rushing to fame, but they seem to be headed there all the same.

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