Courtesy of: http://www.facebook.com/TheLumineers
There's something in The Lumineers' sound that propels a heart to balloon and slam with organ-like strength against a rib cage. It might be their intertwined voices or quixotic lyrical muses on simple love and slow dances. It might be their folky tambourine paired with routine, foot-stomping shouts. Or it might be the troupe's resplendent stage presence and audience-encompassing energy. Whatever it is The Lumineers' debut and self-titled album continuously propels my body into an array of driver's seat wiggling, car-wheel tapping, public displays of, we can call it, active listening.
The album was released in April 2012. But, it wasn't until July that my teaching-abroad, music-listening-inclined friend sent me the band name in an international message. She said they were "so wonderful." Madi's words read something like, "you might die of cuteness." Girly? By its stereotypical definition, I guess. Denver said, "Hey, these people are from our parts and they're playing at Red Rocks tonight." Yes, I regrettably ended up missing the concert -- add it to the list of "should haves." But, I'm still here and we're still okay.
So, the city comment might have misled us a bit. In fact, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites started the band in New Jersey. The founding duo had their first tour in 2009. In an interview with NPR, Fraites said they were told that the successful start out in New York City, so that's where they went. Fraites and Schultz played their music and then they kept playing. Performances yielded little results. A relocation was in order.
"I think we just thought that if we could go somewhere where we could afford to work on music and tour, that's probably the solution — and don't worry about all the other details," Fraites told Guy Raz from All Things Considered. "And that's why Denver made sense."
One Craigslist ad later, and Neyla Pekarek entered the evolving, relocated band. The confluence of the three artists resulted in their first album (and only album to date) put out by Dualtone. It peaked at no. 14 on the Billboard 200 chart.
This spring, The Lumineers were one of 2,000 bands that played a gig at Austin's South by Southwest. Music critics compared them to the likes of the folky Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and the Head and the Heart.
"With just voices, guitars, stomping heels and street-busker bravado, the group connected in a way that few other bands could playing routine sets amid the bustle of fraying attention spans," wrote Greg Kot from the Chicago Tribune about the band.
For me, the chanting stints in songs like the popular "Ho Hey" and "Submarine" are reminiscent of Of Monsters and Men album, Little Talks. Disclaimer: This CD is fresh in my brain because it has been the only disc in my car since June.
Anyway, I like "Flowers In Your Hair," "Slow it Down" and "Morning Song" among just about all 11 tracks on The Lumineers album. Listen. See what you like. Stomp away.
Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/wildchildsounds
I gave birth to this blog a bit ago. It came more as an assignment besieged with professor comments like, "You know Ms. Tegan, this will only hurt you if you neglect it."
And here we are, half a year from the former post. I'll change, I swear. I have so many new things to share. And, due to that irreverent rhyme on this very well-kept blog — it looks like this note can only end in erratic thoughts or a charming couplet. But most likely it will stop at a YouTube video that you most certainly should watch, and then click those enticing, related links. Disclaimer: A-Who-Stic is not airing summer because of non-presence in Pittsburgh. Madi will carry on the show in September. I'll try to carry on here. This dream I'm in is much too sweet for me to care at all. It's a hauntingly sweet male, female vocal combination. It's a pleasant pop and indie marriage. It's an Austin-based, one-album released — an album that begs to be listened to straight through — sextet. Wild Child put out Pillow Talk in October 2011. The six-piece band's sound — produced by the eclectic mix of ukelele, violin, cello, drums, keyboard, bells and xylophone — bounce happily inside conversational lyrics. The vocals come courtesy of Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins who met only a year ago while on tour with a Scandinavian band. Tour-bus songs began crafting themselves and soon four more members jumped on. Wilson told Austin 360 that they lyrics are actually more like a conversation than anything else. "It's easier for us to just talk than sing. The both of us aren't very good songwriters alone, at least I'm not, but together, it's like I know what to say here, but I have no (expletive) idea how to end it, and he does." This quote has been censored. Use you imagination. The music sweeps through honest heartbreak to full-on, fast-paced, multi-vocal pieces like "Cocaine Hurricane" and "The Tale of You & Me." Wild Child is just, well, fun.
Courtesy of: www.facebook.com/speechwritersllc
Nine years ago I dubbed Speechwriters LLC my favorite band. Their song, "Acetate," currently holds the coveted spot of "most played" song on my iTunes. Nine years ago, I started making bets that the duo, made up of Dave Lowensohn and Misha Chellam, were going to hit it big any time now. Yes, any time now... I'm still waiting for the music industry to show them some respect, and by respect I mean recognition. I just really wanted to plug Aretha.
What you want, baby I got it:
What's that you say? You want to hear some Speechwriters LLC background? Okay! Dave and Misha are currently signed to Handwoven records. Thus far they have released six albums, most recently Hollwood College this year, which features a poppy rendition of "Acetate." (Note: I'm still a fan of the Bull Moose After Party (2006) more-acoustic version). Anyway, the West Coast songwriters hail from Claremont, California. Both men share the role of guitarist and vocalist, producing a beautifully simple sound. Across the board, the songs have a folky ring, but the guitars really set the tone for the band, with some melodies featuring fast, twangy acoustics — while others are marked by easy strumming.
As for the name, according to the band's website, "every underdog needs an anthem." Thus, the two represent the speechwriters of the world — the job that never gets the credit for putting the words literally into the mouths of the world's powerhouses. Other than that, this girls Internet search has proved fruitless — no interviews, no random web page Speechwriter LLC shoutouts.
But, fear not I have a shout out, which is starting to feel a bit repetitive, but that's okay! Anyway, this just in: A-Who-Stic will have it's last show for 2010 this Sunday, that's right Dec. 11. So, break up your finals studying, or accompany your library stay with some Speechwriters and A-Who-Stic tunes.((All of those interested in listening to the BEST SONG EVER (lofty claim) click HERE <- that's my old blog. Unfortunately, YouTube appears to be lacking "Acetate").
Courtesy of www.facebook.com/frightenedrabbit
Scotland sounds. Irish pub sounds. Pop melodies. Searching for a comparison: Mumford and Sons, perhaps.
The men of Frightened Rabbit hail from Scotland. The one-man band created by Scott Hutchinson in 2003 continues to evolve and add members — kind of like the Dugger family... kind of. But, in an interview with Wind City Rock, Hutchinson said he's calling it quits at a five-member band. In fact, one of the members — the drummer, is Scott's brother Grant who joined in 2004. After perusing through a number of interviews, I saw no signs of sibling rivalry. But, Scott definitely wears the pants among the men. The frontman and songwriter began writing music during college at the Glasgow School of Art. Since his beginnings with a four--track in a college dorm, Scott and the men of Frightened Rabbit have released three ablums. In May 2006, Frightened Rabbit released their debut album Sing the Greys — released in 2007 in the U.S. The band also physically came to the United States that year when The Self-Starter Foundation, a New York City-based record label, brought Frightened Rabbit overseas for an East Coat tour. In the states, the band released their second album The Midnight Organ Fight in April 2008. And, their last album to date was released in March 2010 entitled The Winter of Mixed Drinks. In an interview with NPR, Hutchinson said that the third album is the result of a deteriorating relationship. He wrote many of the lyrics in a "remote village" on the East Coast of Scotland after returning from his 2007 tour and finding himself homeless. Eventually Scott found an apartment and got to work.
"Maybe everything I write is lined with a slight dark edge, and I can't help that," he said. "But there are more moments of joy on this album."
Moments of joy also exist on A-Who-Stic Sunday at 9 p.m. Like Frightened Rabbit? Want to share your opinions of the men or perhaps talk about another band? Tell us! Call us 4121-383-9787. See you then. "Lets keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater."
Courtesy of: theweepies.com
So, the journey began on a Wednesday. The journey began on Aug. 31. The journey began when the picture to the left was taken. On the left of the picture to the left is Madi (A-Who-Stic extraordinaire) and to her right stands Katie (my current and wonderful roommate). So, yep there they are, smiles a-blazin' waiting in line for (insert drumroll) The Weepies at the Rex Theater! The husband and wife duo (who 100 percent won my heart) were on their acoustic tour. Watching Deb and Steve gaze at each other as they sang love songs and switched between the keyboard, guitars and harmonicas was... well, for this in love with love girl, absolutely beautiful.
Alright - let's give the back story. So, Deb and Steve met in 2001. (This tale comes to you from said South Side, Pittsburgh concert). Deb walks into a New York City bar to check out a new songwriter named Steve — a man whose debut CD she has been more or less obsessing over. Steve walks on stage and sees Deb in the crowd. Steve gets nervous. Steve has been listening to Deb's debut CD Something Burning, incessently. And, badda bing, sparks fly and the two eventually form The Weepies. Here's Deb's comments from their website:
“We were fans of each other. When we met, there was an electric connection that made us both nervous. After the show, when everyone went home, we stayed up all night playing songs for each other, drinking a bottle of wine and trading an acoustic guitar back and forth in a tiny apartment,” Deb said. "That night has lasted ten years so far." The two married, birthed two children and live in Southern California.
As of today, the couple has released four albums as The Weepies on Nettwerk Records, consistently staying true to their folk roots. In 2011 the down-to-earth pair left Nettwerk and now record independently. Their lyrics are relatable and easy to listen to, with both Steve and Deb contributing unique vocals to The Weepies' sound. I guess this week's "Artist of the Week" is less of an up-and-coming pick and more of a you-need-to-know-these-people-and-if-you-don't-listen-right-now-right-now-hurry-now kind of pick. The Weepies' music has been licensed by numerous motions pictures and the 2008 Obama campaign.
The video below is my favorite song. I became obsessed with the acoustic version following The Weepies' August performance. (I also attempted to record it via Photobooth, my guitar listened, but my vocals... that's a story for another day). Also featured in this video is their bassist, Johnny Flower, who accompanies the 2011 acoustic tour.
AND NOW for the usual A-Who-Stic plug: (unfortunately I have to work Sunday night) BUT you should all take the night off and listen in/call in/tweet in/Facebook in to Madi starting at 9 p.m. HERE. Have an incredible post turkey day week!
Courtesy of aleximurdoch.com
London-born singer songwriter Alexi Murdoch is I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. Turning down numerous major record labels, Murdoch chose to self release his music via his own Zero Summer Records. To date he has released three recordings and a soundtrack.
In an interview with Bearded Magazine Murdoch addressed his reasons for steering clear of the music industry.
"I think the worst part of it though is that it really demoralizes artists; there's this insidious 'divide and conquer' mentality where artists are encouraged to be suspicious of each other, paranoid and competitive, and it's just a really odd environment to throw yourself into," he said.
After spending time in Scotland, Greece and France, Murdoch traveled to the United States initially for schooling. But, his music journey did not begin until he hit Los Angeles, a location he found himself in after (what else) pursuing a lady. Yadda yadda things happened, hearts broke and in 2002 he released an EP Four Songs on the site CD Baby.
Murdoch's Scottish accent tints his acoustic, folk songs. His music has been featured on One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy and makes up most of the soundtrack for the movie Away We Go. Speaking of the movie, that's where I discovered dear Alexi.
Saying all of this - you guys should definitely tune in to A-Who-Stic Sunday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. to hear some more Murdoch. Also, my radio counterpart Madi knows her Murdoch more than I do. So, it shall be two hours of knowledge my friends, see you there.
A lucky story how I stumbled upon this band, because I literally stumbled upon them in a desperate attempt to ward off the 90 degree Tennessee heat. After breaking and/or losing two pairs of sunglasses in approximately three days it was on to buy another at Bonnaroo. I dispersed from the group in search of a sub-par, cheap piece of protective eyewear. BUT, I soon abandoned the sunglass hunt, after drawn (zombie-walk style) to a violin sounding from a small stage in front of about 10 half-naked individuals. I listened and proceeded to become obsessed with the men of Aunt Martha, band of men.
The unsigned three-man band has an earthy appeal, with violin and bass appearances diversifying the music from the typical guitar/band ensembles. I find myself personally drawn to Tim Noyes vocals and his crafty guitar picking. While I'm still learning the art of putting words to describe the specificities of music, I would classify his tone as soulful often paired with a melody-driven song. While my Google search for Aunt Martha has proved unsuccessful, and NPR (come on guys!) have yet to cover them, I did find that the Boston born band's named stems from a member's aunt that didn't support their music venture.
Currently, I think it's interesting to look into how bands deal with the online music downloads, piracy, etc. Aunt Martha offers their albums as free downloads on their website. In an interview with Florida State University news, the band said their goal is to have as many people listen to the albums as possible.
"We're banking on word-of-mouth on this one. If enough people download the album and dig it, hopefully they pass it on and more people hear about the band," Aunt Martha said. "That's more important to us than the money we would have made selling it."
Earlier this year I nabbed The Abandoned Bedroom Series and Norway, ME. I can confidently say, which I don't think I have ever said about any other band, that I can't pick a favorite song. Some that I think newcomers should definitely check out are: Blue Buildings, Oriskany Falls, LuLu, Lay Low, North, and.. ok I need to brake myself.
So, have I sold you? Interested in seeing them live? Click here. These guys are literally touring non-stop through the rest of 2011. AND this girl's heart just started beating double time at the site of two Philadelphia shows. (Update: the Philadelphia shows actually already happened, heart broken). Yes, I think I see an Aunt Martha reunion in my future, beautiful.
Tune into A-Who-Stic at 9 p.m. Sunday Nov. 13 to listen to Madeline and I comment on and play our favorite Aunt Martha selections.
Photos courtesy of: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aunt-Martha/47131316442
Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/AngusAndJulia
A-Who-Stic featured this brother and sister duo last Sunday (Nov. 6), but in efforts to catch up the newly born blog, I figured I'd seize the day and post a little something on Angus and Julia Stone.
Angus and Julia joined together in 2005 and began recording as a pair. The next year they released their debut EP Chocolates and Cigarettes, followed by EP Heart Full of Wine, in 2007. That same year Angus and Julia Stone came out with their first album A Book Like This. This album, which went gold in Australia, features my personal favorite Angus and Julia song, "Just A Boy." The album was not released in the USA until 2009. In 2010, the family duo released Down the Way. For this album, Angus and Julia made their debut as producers. The two recorded the album at a number of worldly locations including Brooklyn, a water tank in Coolangatta and on the river banks of Fowey.
In a 2010 NPR interview with Angus and Julia Stone, both Angus and Julia spoke on exploring music on their own following the Just A Boy tour.
"I think we're always in the same vain, but I guess your experiences changes of love and just life," Angus said on the lyrics written by each on their time spent apart, many songs revolving around the ever-popular theme of love. Both Angus and Julia have released solo albums.
According to the band's website, the brother and sister are enjoying "a little R&R" after a year on tour. The Stones crew promises "lots of exciting projects in the works."
Turn up your volume and check them out:
The beauty of birthing a blog: I don't have to carry it for nine months and experience an assuming painful expelling process to bring it into the world. I say "assuming" as a self-proclaimed child birth novice who doesn't know why she made this comparison. The initial sentence has now required some self-defense for the sake of my extended family readers. I have never experienced child birth. I also refuse to extend my pinky to the delete key, so I will leave this entire section.
Why have I birthed this blog? Well, my friend and once-upon-a-distant-past roommate, Madi, and I started a radio show "A-Who-Stic" about a year ago on 92.1 WPTS, the University of Pittsburgh's student radio station. The show has grown and shaped into its own little entity over the past couple of months. Our recent radio show addition: an artist of the week segment. True to the straight-forward, pre-segment description, we will simply showcase an artist each week. While the idea is still in its newborn phases, Madeline and I plan to find a different music artist and discuss their background, record label, etc. during our talking segment. And if that isn't enough for our listeners, music will ensue.
But wait! I forgot you beautiful readers may not know the ins and outs of A-Who-Stic. Well, between Madi and I, our music tastes encompass a variety of genres. I would label A-Who-Stic's music mostly indie, acoustic, alternative... stuff. So, the artists that fall into these labels will grace this blog once a week, with some cool facts and some cool songs and it will all be cool. Thanks for visiting people friends, check back soon.