Unknown Mortal Orchestra has always personified the exotic, mysterious, and highly intense, even in those pop music moments, while at the same time being eagerly accessible. At the Auckland via Portland band’s 2013 SXSW performance at the Red Eyed Fly, frontman Ruban Nielson played to the crowd, already enamored with UMO’s self-titled debut, and at that time, the newly released second album, aptly name II, in an kimono-styled jacket. Between the light and flaky layers of multi-instrumentation coupled with Nielson honeydew vocal melodies, the experience seemed to release an imaginary fragrance of jasmine and frankincense in the warm Austin air.
The Oxford band Foals have been on a trajectory of increased intensity and depth over the last ten years, beginning with 2008’s Anitdotes up to now, as sonic glimpses into their fourth album, What Went Down emerge. Today marks the video release of “Mountain At My Gate,” the second single that is as massive as the title track released in June.
When it comes to pinnacle rock acts like Marilyn Manson and the Smashing Pumpkins, it’s difficult to look at their present tour without looking at the past. As news of the “The End Times” emerged, the general consensus was that it was an odd pairing.
It was the the second night of Bonnaroo, and as the sun dipped down the coolness rose, bringing a layer of happiness over the already gitty crowd awaiting Tears for Fears. As the legendary duo and backing band took the stage, shrieks rang through the men and women, young and old, all the way to the back crowd where we were.
The decision to change the traditional music release dates - Monday in the UK, Tuesday in the US, and Friday in Australia and Germany - was made in February of this year. Now that the official date for global music releases is tomorrow, July 10, people are just now getting their panties in a bunch. This includes Noel Gallagher, who was recently interviewed by NME on the topic.
After living in the UK last year for a number of months (note to the border agency: under the maximum time allowed with a visitor’s visa…yes, I can show proof), I discovered and devoured many wondrous things. The creams and cheeses found in the street markets were divine. I happily overdosed on bands, shows, festivals and Rough Trade in-store’s until my head spun. And I became addicted to the weekly show, Russell Howard’s Good News, where the comedian pokes fun at the absurdity of politicians and celebrities, the silly and unintentional antics of news hosts, or your average person doing ridiculous things.
For any music fan, a song, a melody, a lyrical line captures a personal moment in time. Generationally, music through the ages is also a time capsule of the human condition, our tragedies and triumphs, the bullshit and the heroism. Instant Empire has captured many woes and wiles, bursting out with 10 storyfied songs on Lamplight Lost; moments in melodies that relate to the state of today, some touching on timeless subjects, but all of which was celebrated at the new-and-improved Marquis Theatre on Thursday, July 2.
It was 2001, and I'd just moved to Denver from the Bay Area. I didn't really know a soul and was homesick for the house music clubs and dance nights I'd known and loved, having yet to discover Denver's Mile High House. Basement Jaxx's Rooty had been on repeat on my portable and car CD player. Showing up to the Gothic that night to see their show, I expected it to be a similar experience to Chemical Brothers or Junkie XL, where original tracks from their releases were mixed into their DJ set along with other songs and sounds. What I witnessed instead was one of the first electronic dance acts to take their studio to the stage in true fashion, where the contributing guest vocalists were there, dressed in full regalia, singing those wondrous songs from Rooty, live and in person. It left an indelible mark on my musical memory.
I went back and watched a video from Cyberfest 2000 yesterday before setting out to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, remembering how taken back I was of that Fresno festival’s eye candy in comparison to the raves I’d attended in San Francisco, from Toon Town and Community in the early 90s until that ‘welcome to the millennium’ party. What was considered a spectacle then seems like strung popcorn on a Christmas tree now in comparison to the sheer awe you experience as the visual landscape of Electric Daisy Carnival’s (EDC) Las Vegas unfolds before your eyes.
It's appropriate that one of Catfish and the Bottlemen's most popular songs is entitled "Homesick." The North Wales boys are rarely home, spending most of their time on the road making fast friends with a flurry of penetrating-to-the-bone rock music, willing to play anywhere and talk to anyone, and continuously showcasing their talent along with a deep appreciation for all their adoring fans.