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Tag: Things That Are British (91-100 of 238)

Pulp make triumphant return to the U.S. with two sexy, bouncy shows at Radio City Music Hall

The last time bookish Britpop legends Pulp played a concert in the United States, I was just wrapping up my sophomore year in high school. The idea of making the trip into New York City to see a band was well out of the realm of possibility (at the time, I had to argue with my parents about seeing shows one town over), but for a hot minute I tried to devise some way I could see them. After all, their just-released sixth album This Is Hardcore was my absolute favorite album at the time (even though all the middle-aged suburban ennui went completely over my head), and the band was not doing the sort of full-scale tour that would have taken them to the local amphitheater in Hartford. So I had to put that idea to bed. “I’ll catch them next time,” I told myself.

How was I to know that it would take them nearly 14 years to come back? They put out one more tepidly-received album and promptly broke up. Frontman Jarvis Cocker moved to Paris, started a solo career, and seemed content to let his old band live in the past forever. The solo stuff was pretty strong, and I got to experience Cocker live in person twice in the interim, but there was still a distinct lack of “Disco 2000″ in my live concert history.

The band rewarded my patience with two phenomenally sharp shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall this week, and during Tuesday night’s sinewy rendition of “This Is Hardcore,” I realized exactly why I love Cocker’s style as a frontman. He’s a deeply physical performer who has carved out a unique dance style. His voice isn’t the most technically proficient, but his songs would sound ridiculous if sung by anybody else. The choruses are as much about his vocal tics and asides as they are about the hooks themselves. His bands songs are deeply rooted in their conception period and yet strangely timeless. And he is so deeply ensconced in his character that it’s sometimes hard to tell where the irony begins.

With that resumé, it’s clear why I find Cocker so compelling: He’s almost exactly like David Lee Roth. READ FULL STORY

Damon Albarn says Blur and Gorillaz both likely done, still has 27 bands to tend to

With ’90s Britpop stalwarts Pulp about to play their first show in the United States in something like 15 years, the next great hope among stateside Anglophiles was Blur. Easily the most esoteric of U.K. chart-toppers, Blur cranked out seven albums’ worth of constantly evolving music that morphed from measured pop to sprawling genre-hopping art rock (especially on those last few albums).

The band called it quits after the release of 2003′s Think Tank, only to reunite a few years later for a handful of one-off shows and festival appearances (with Albarn still devoting equal time to Gorillaz-related projects and that wacky band with a guy from the Clash), and they even found time to record a pair of new songs (2010′s “Fool’s Day,” and the approaching release “Under the Westway”). With a big show coming up as part of the closing ceremonies at this summer’s Olympics, surely this meant the next step for a new Blur album, right?

Sadly, wrong. READ FULL STORY

On the Scene at 'MTV Unplugged Florence + the Machine': A Review

Florence-and-the-MachineImage Credit: Paul Redmond/WireImage.comDuring her MTV Unplugged session that aired Easter Sunday Florence Welch proved why she named her first album Lungs.

Though her voice fiercely registers on her records, freed from all those wall-of-sound arrangements it is truly something to behold. It’s not a perfect instrument, mind you. But every crack comes across like a world-weary badge of honor. When those final oh-whoa-ohs explode out of her throat during the a cappella closing of “Drumming Song,” it rattles you with Biblical force, like she isn’t just trying to put on a show. She’s trying to raise the dead. Kind of the perfect programming for Easter, huh?

Actually, Florence + the Machine’s entry into MTV’s venerable Unplugged franchise was perfect Sunday night fare for another reason too. With her delicate bone-colored dress and flaming red hair parted Druid-like down the middle, Welch could have been a stand-in for Carice van Houten as Melisandre on Game of Thrones. (Kanye West, sitting in the front row, could have been Salladhor Saan.)

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TV Jukebox: 'Mad Men,' 'Supernatural,' 'Missing,' and more music-on-TV moments

Old-school tracks were the name of the game more often than not these past few weeks. Whether your definition of “old-school” translates to proper Mad Men-era tunes heard on the AMC hit, Scandal, and Supernatural, or ’80s classics as seen on Happy Endings and One Tree Hill, this week’s Jukebox offers up a retro rave fit for anybody. Of course there were plenty of contemporary jams, too: MCs from London and the Bronx on Breakout KingsCSI: NY, and 90210, TV darlings Sleigh Bells on The Vampire Diaries, and Portland indie rockers Novosti on Missing, plus “show tunes” from GCB and Gossip Girl. Check out our picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)

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James McCartney says the children of the Beatles could form a band

Being the child of a famous person can make for a rough life, despite its obvious privileges. And for children pursuing careers in the footsteps of their parents, it’s even more complicated.

That said, you have to wonder what James McCartney is thinking. In a recent interview with the BBC, he mentioned that he would be up for the idea of forming a band with three other children of Beatles and calling themselves — wait for it — The Beatles: The Next Generation. (Not to be confused with Captain Picard, of course.)

Granted, all four are in fact already musical: McCartney recently put out a collection of his strummy, Macca-redolent songs, Sean Lennon (son of John) has released a series of inventive solo and Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger albums; Dhani Harrison (son of George) drops pretty good rock records with his band thenewno2; and Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) has hit skins for Oasis, the Who, and a host of others.

“I’d be up for it,” the 34-year-old McCartney told the BBC. “Sean seemed to be into it, Dhani seemed to be into it.” He noted that Starkey seemed to be the holdout, though he also suggested the idea of recruiting one of Starr’s other sons.

Though he ultimately said the whole thing was a big “maybe,” it’s still strange to think he would even consider such a thing. In the interview, he talks about wanting to be better than the Beatles, or at least their equivalent.

Oh, James. That’s a tough statement to get out from under.

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One Direction too busy to accept First Lady's White House invite

ONE-DIRECTION

British boy band One Direction and First Lady Michelle Obama hit it off at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, but the two parties aren’t quite BFFs yet.

After a night reportedly full of singing, dancing, and discussing presidential pizza protocol, Michelle Obama was smitten enough to invite the five-member boy band to next week’s 134th Annual White House Easter Egg Roll, The Sun reports.

And apparently, One Direction declined.

“It was such an honor,” a source told the British tabloid. “Sadly the band were unable to accept her invitation as they are off to Australia.”

Added The Sun‘s source, “They’d love to go another time.”

Read more:
Album sales: One Direction makes history with No. 1 debut of ‘Up All Night’
‘Kids Choice Awards’: And the winners are…
Michelle Obama will celebrate Taylor Swift at Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards

Katy Perry covers 'N---s In Paris': Watch it here!

Katy Perry’s collaborations with rappers so far have been pretty fruitful — the Snoop Dogg-assisted “California Gurls” and the Kanye West-abled “E.T.” both ended up in the top position on the Billboard Hot 100. Earlier today, she proved that she might have learned a thing or two from her collaborators.

While visiting BBC Radio 1, Perry put a New York Yankees hat on top of her electric-blue hair and ripped into a cover of “N—-s in Paris,” from West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne. It was slowed down slightly and re-arranged so that it could be played by her band, and nixed most of the bad words.

The energy level is way lower than the original, though Perry seemed really focused on getting all the lyrics out (and it’s a lot of lyrics).”This is about to get embarrassing,” she said before ripping into the first verse. You can be the judge of that below. READ FULL STORY

Mumford & Sons with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes at SXSW: Folk-rockers bring new songs, jubilant jams -- and their own movie

Just a mile north of the armies of green-clad party people filling up Sixth Street in downtown Austin, a far more positive vibe was being dealt out on the campus of the University of Texas. Though the show, put together by MySpace, existed outside of the purview of South By Southwest proper, it provided some of the purest musical moments of the entire weekend and trafficked in that rare emotion across the stages of Austin: joy.

Sprawled across a hill on a breezy evening under a lovely Texas sky, thousands showed up for a screening of the documentary Big Easy Express, which tracks the seven-date tour that took Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Old Crow Medicine Show from Oakland, California to New Orleans via train. The bulk of Old Crow couldn’t show up on Saturday night (they were represented by member Gill Landry), but both Mumford and the Zeroes were there to celebrate the film and perform new music.

The trio of new songs that cropped up during Mumford & Sons headlining set had all appeared in their live sets before, but they all felt more fully realized than ever, suggesting that the band has fully grown into them. “Ghosts That We Knew” felt especially well-executed: the layered harmonies were on point, and the weepy violin solo gave the bridge some real heft. Bassist Ted Dwayne recently described Mumford & Sons’ upcoming second album as “doom folk,” and the version of “Ghosts That We Knew” played on Saturday night certainly falls under that descriptor.

The band also unleashed “Lover’s Eyes” and “Lover of the Light,” the latter of which found Marcus Mumford pulling a Phil Collins and singing whilst also playing the drum kit. Each of the new tracks was greeted warmly, and the gothic, moody “Lover’s Eyes” definitely has the potential to be a big single for the band.

They already have a handful of those, of course, and Mumford & Sons delivered impassioned versions of each. READ FULL STORY

Keith Richards apologizes to Mick Jagger for slamming him in autobiography

Is Keith Richards going soft in his autumnal years? According to Rolling Stone magazine, the guitarist has apologized to his band mate Mick Jagger for criticizing him in Richards’ bestselling 2011 autobiography Life.

The rare mea culpa appears in a forthcoming documentary about the band’s now half century-long career. “It was my story and it was very raw, as I meant it to be,” Richards says in the film, “but I know that some parts of it and some of the publicity really offended Mick and I regret that.”

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Ed Sheeran, A$AP Rocky bring two different types of hip-hop flavor to MTVU Woodies at SXSW

The mtvU Woodie Awards will always be the bridesmaid to its older, bigger sister, the VMAs.

But a few years ago, MTV got the brilliant idea to move their annual celebration of indie music down to Austin during South By Southwest — and this year, they went ahead and turned the thing into a day-long festival, with more than a dozen artists performing across two different stages and plenty of free barbecue, beer, and popsicles (the three key elements of any balanced diet).

While Thursday night’s proper awards show was clearly designed as a prime-time dance party (Santigold, Steve Aoki, and chart-topping rapper Mac Miller — filling in for Childish Gambino, who pulled out with a foot injury like he was playing in March Madness — make up that lineup), the afternoon sets explored various nooks and crannies of music on the fringe. And most of it could probably find its way onto that other MTV awards show some day.

British folk-hopper Ed Sheeran got the afternoon started with a charming set of tunes from his already-U.K.-famous debut album + (yes, that’s the title). Wearing shorts and looking so pale it’s a wonder he didn’t immolate under the Texas sun, Sheeran could easily get by as a sad-eyed singer-songwriter — a drunker, British Jack Johnson, perhaps — but he has a knack for manipulating samplers and voice loops, various strums, a handful of rhythmic pounds on his guitar’s body, and even the audience. It’s a pretty astounding gimmick that may actually eclipse some of his delicately-crafted songs, especially “The A Team,” an acute narrative written as a tribute to a homeless girl Sheeran once met.

Sheeran also has quite a lightning tongue, and he showed off his rapping skills during the set-closing “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” on which he segues into 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” (coincidentally, Fiddy will in fact perform Get Rich Or Die Tryin‘ in its entirety at the festival this weekend) and spitting so fast it brought back memories of Letters to Cleo’s “Here and Now.”

A$AP Rocky, meanwhile, was in no such rush. The Harlem-based mixtape rapper first came up late last year with his guttural, hallucinogenic giveaway LiveLoveA$SAP, and he continued to pick up fans with the performances he dealt on Thursday afternoon. Rocky played it super cool as he stalked across the stage, constantly demanding the crowd get its hands up and letting his crisp flow wallow in the sludgy, bottom-heavy hum spewed forth by his DJ.

“Pretty Flacko” was an early favorite, full of aggression and vigor, and both Rocky and cohort Schoolboy Q turned rags-to-riches anthem “Brand New Guy” into a churning shout-along anthem. Rocky’s natural charisma cannot be understated; it’s refreshingly effortless. Sheeran clearly appreciates hip-hop history, but A$AP Rocky is the future.

In between those two guys, Kimbra came out to do a far different set than the one she ran through on Wednesday night. Rather than the traditional rock set-up from a few hours prior, her band stuck mostly to electronic instruments (one guy even played a borrowed iPad—and we knew it was borrowed because Kimbra had to ask its owner what the passcode was in between songs) and did what was essentially live remixing of some of her more robo-centric tunes—especially set-opening “Settle Down,” which she admitted that she was a little sick of (a problem unique to international artists, since her album Vows doesn’t come out in the United States until May but has been out in Australia and her native New Zealand since last summer).

Under these new circumstances, she came off less like a stylistic rocker chick and more like slightly less whimsical Bjork, enamored with the sounds of things. And like Sheeran, she also looped her own voice—apparently, warbling into a sampler is the new guitar solo.

Read more:
Kimbra, Alabama Shakes, Sharon Von Etten highlight Wednesday night at SXSW

Fiona Apple returns to the stage with new songs at SXSW

SXSW: Crowd goes crazy for Lionel Richie, doesn’t know who The-Dream is

Cheezburger founder Ben Huh on SXSWi: Jumping the shark has jumped the shark

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