Feldman wanted to write music that is highly structured but sounds like it has always existed, that is rhythmic and moves forward easily in time but which never has a steady pulse. His music rarely rises above a whisper, and its power is in a kind of extreme subtlety that took years to get just right. One has the feeling, when listening to Feldman, that the most incredibly delicate sonic balancing act is taking place, very slowly on another plane.
Hip-hop legends Black Star hit Taste of Chicago; Foo Fighters take Wrigley Field; British soul band The James Hunter Six slips into City Winery; blues travelers Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite play Thalia Hall; and riveting singer-songwriter Vagabon galvanizes Schubas.
A combination of Lowe and Los Straitjackets makes all kinds of sense: while Lowe is a superb guitarist and a wry storyteller, his songs benefit from the powerful yet finessed backing of an ensemble like Los Straitjackets. Pairing with Lowe means that the masked foursome gets a rare opportunity to sing backing vocals, something at which they’re quite good at but don’t do in their normal gigs.
A commercial flop in its day, “Young Loud and Snotty” has won an increasing share of devotees, regularly showing up on critics’ and fans’ lists of essential punk records. This past year, to mark the record’s fortieth anniversary, founding band member Cheetah Chrome decided to rerecord it.
The band makes what they call “gloom pop”—upbeat, catchy tunes that make you want to dance paired with lyrics about heartache and loss.
Making power pop usually means consigning one’s career to a specific corner of the pop landscape, and a comparatively small piece of the commercial pie. Sloan ignores the labels and simply goes about the business of writing catchy songs with sharp hooks.
There’s a reason why lo-fi bedroom pop is the go-to mode for music like this. It’s a solitary genre, free of producers, engineers and bandmates. And when the vocals recede in the mix, as they do on Ruins’ debut EP, it seems not even to need a listener.
All four Monkees had some background in music. All but Tork had, in fact, released solo singles. Nesmith was, and remains, a songwriter of merit, and if Dolenz couldn’t at first play drums like his fictional TV counterpart (he was a guitarist), he took lessons and learned how.
Kendrick Lamar heads our list of must-see acts, as he sails into town on the wave of both his Pulitzer Prize and his blockbuster soundtrack for the mega-hit “Black Panther” film.
What the album does, and does profoundly, is resurrect both the psychic and sonic aura of rock’s early seventies—another bitterly awful period in American history, which paradoxically provoked an outpouring of gorgeous, euphoric music. Listening to “Love in Wartime,” I was struck by its resonances to artists who haven’t crossed my mind in decades: Leon Russell, Merry Clayton, Delaney & Bonnie, Melanie Safka, Lee Michaels. There’s the same focus on rapturous melodies, infectious hooks, athletic solos; the same use of harmony and rhythm as tools of joyous defiance.