Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:27 pm
Tom Angelripper has been a part of the brash German thrash-metal game for more than 30 years now. Sodom's damning 1989 anti-war screed, Agent Orange, is a bona fide classic, but the impeccably named bassist and vocalist still has plenty of targets to hit and thundering bass riffs to deploy. Therein comes crashing "Stigmatized" from Sodom's 14th studio album, Epitome of Torture.
The Postal Service was a band for a generation — the soundtrack to romance, tears and friendship. More than a million people bought its first album, 2003's Give Up, then waited anxiously for a follow-up that never arrived.
There'd be nothing wrong with "one-hit wonder" status if the term didn't suggest some sort of creative limitation; if people didn't assume that one hit means only one good song. But for Sean Nelson and Harvey Danger, the 1998 smash "Flagpole Sitta" has had a way of overshadowing the superior but less widely heard material that followed. By the time Harvey Danger self-released the tremendous 2005 album Little By Little..., the group's incisive, catchy, thoughtful post-hit songs were known mostly to obsessives and cultists.
The new video for STRFKR's song "Beach Monster" is an absolute horror show disguised as a breezy day at the sea. The band members, decked out in matching Buddy Holly suits and glasses, play against an blank blue background while staring blankly into the camera. The scene is intercut with a smiling couple at the beach with two children who draw in the sand and uncover something deadly.
Think of Lord Huron as an imaginary world as much as a rock band. Bandleader Ben Schneider has created characters and stories that fit together within an entire narrative filled with mystique. It's a bit dreamlike. To get an idea of how many layers there are in Schneider's invention, look at this website for author George Ranger Johnson. According to the site, George Ranger Johnson lives in Tuscon, Ariz. and writes adventure novels whose titles are identical to the song titles of the band Lord Huron.
Singer and violinist Emily Wells was one of our favorite discoveries at last year's South by Southwest music festival. Her 2012 album Mama was a surprising and beautiful mix of hip-hop beats and strings, with folk-flavored pop arrangements. Now Wells is back with a re-imagined, all-acoustic version of Mama, with the songs stripped bare and her voice more fragile than ever.
I love the crazy surprises you get when two or more artists get together and turn their creative ideas over to one another. When the band Junip wrote the song "Your Life, Your Call," frontman José González says, it was meant to be an unambiguous meditation on growing up, moving on and taking responsibility for your life. But in the hands of video director Mikel Cee Karlsson, the song, from Junip's new self-titled album, takes on a whole new (and disturbing) meaning.
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 9:59 am
We got a lot of great suggestions when we asked readers to tell us their picks for the perfect pair of headphones last week. We also learned a lot. For example, you all know way more about this than I do.
This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton go on a haphazard musical journey across the globe to share their favorite new discoveries. Manchester's The 1975 start things off with the band's punchy song called "Sex." Then we head to Brooklyn for soul singer Charles Bradley, who keeps things heated with "You Put The Flame On It," a track from his upcoming album Victim Of Love.
The Keaton Henson who appears on the new album Birthdays is an avowed hermit with a profoundly broken heart. He also has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard. The 24 year-old singer from London, who says he rarely leaves his bedroom, bares his wrecked emotional remains in an arresting new video for the song "You."
I love live music. But figuring out who's coming to town and when and where isn't so easy. I could go to every club's website to compile a list of upcoming shows, but that'd be cumbersome. Newspaper listing are often incomplete, don't look ahead and certainly don't filter or highlight who's in town based on my musical tastes.
Let's get this out of the way: VHÖL includes members of bands that have put out some of my favorite metal albums of the last few years. Guitarist John Cobbett and bassist Sigrid Sheie are in Hammers of Misfortune, Mike Scheidt fronts YOB, and Aesop Dekker drums for Agalloch (among many other bands).
Even in still moments, particles incite microscopic riots. Brooklyn-via-Boston composer and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Paul is used to making a huge racket, most regularly with her husband Eli Keszler. On her Line the Clouds, there's tension in patience as she navigates a singer-songwriter's reactions.
The brand new video for Phosphorescent's "Song For Zula," from the band's sixth album, Muchacho, forgoes a literal illustration of song's heartbroken story for something more allegorical. In a single slow-motion tracking shot, the camera approaches a distant figure dressed in rags, bashing at chains that hold her to the ground.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:17 pm
I've been buying headphones for 30 years now, have owned more they I can possibly remember and still haven't found the perfect pair. I must chew through one or two sets a year in a never-ending, desperate (and futile) search to find the right acoustics, feel and functionality. I've tried in-ear buds, over-the-ear hooks, full-sized cans and wireless. Some sound great but fit horribly. Or the fit is perfect but the sound too tinny, or the controls don't quite work. The truth is, I hate headphones, especially because I hate being tethered to my stereo. It's like wearing a leash.
Some songwriters are so adept at capturing the mess and miracle of everyday emotion that their work resonates as exceptionally truthful. John Grant is one of those. In recent years, the 44-year-old former frontman for Colorado rock band the Czars has produced two exceptional collections of funny, brutal, nuanced songs — 2010's collaboration with the band Midlake, Queen of Denmark, and now Pale Green Ghosts, which will be released in the U.S. on May 14.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:42 pm
The musicians in Paperhaus live in my hometown of Washington, D.C., so I've seen this dynamic band more than a few times. In fact, they put on some of the best house concerts in the city, over a hundred of them at their own venue, also called the Paperhaus, so I've seen them both in clubs and their intimate living room.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:34 am
As the 2013 South by Southwest festival was winding to a noisy end — sirens, car horns and even a helicopter passed could be heard on the streets of Austin, Texas — there were plenty of smaller, quieter moments worth singling out. On the festival's final night, the All Songs Considered gang gathered to talk about what they saw, heard and felt during their last few hours in Austin.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 4:44 pm
You can depend on Solange to be the best dressed anywhere — that pink suit! — but her commanding live presence at SXSW is a thing of wonder, even if her funky R&B can be quiet and unassuming. We also took in the crushing doom metal of Batillus, spazzed out to Metz, and got gloomy with Diamond Rings.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:32 am
"If you want to do something, just do it." Words of wisdom from Bob Boilen that sum up day four of South By Southwest for the All Songs Considered gang perfectly. Bob, along with Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers were joined by Mike Katzif and Will Butler, both former All Songs interns. Will's journey to Austin was inspired by Amanda Palmer's recent TED Talk.