Now in its sixth year, the Hopscotch Music Festival has become an annual tradition in downtown Raleigh, NC. Comprising three days of music spread this year between eleven local venues, along with large outdoor concerts held on a large temporary stage raised on the street of the City Plaza, the festival is unique in that it is a large event that manages to maintain the feel of the city that hosts it.
I've heard a metric f@#@-ton of music this year. More bands than I can even remember have gone in one earhole and out the other. I'm sure in the process of checking out absolutely everything I could get my hands on a few bands might have slipped through the cracks, and to them I can only hope to catch up with them again at a later date. These next 10 bands are the ones that didn't slip through the cracks though. They're the groups/individuals who managed to make their magnificent noise rise up above the rest, and in the process make 2011 a quite exceptional year for music.
#10 Caveman - Coco Beware
The simple act of discovery can color one's opinion of a band, and it certainly has in Caveman's case...for everyone that's ever heard them apparently. I "discovered" Caveman opening up for The War on Drugs at The Red Palace here in DC earlier this year, and from that instant I was hooked. This record is drenched in moody, dreamscape inspired Radiohead-esque harmonies and sounds, and yet plays like something only Caveman could create. I know, I know, that sounds circular, but when a band this early in their existence can so well define who and what they are as a band, borrowing liberally from everything around them and somehow managing to put forth those collective influences as something better is the sign of a great artist. They've already got the attention of the music-nerd set (including NPR) and in 2012 they're the band to keep an eye on, because with a debut this good, sooner or later everyone is going to catch on to Caveman's fire. (Yes, I just wrote that)
Today our "Word Economist" steps up to the plate to let you know what he's been putting in his earholes over the course of the year. I'm not gonna lie, we've had e-fights over some of his picks that generally result in me telling him to GTFO my lawn, but at the end of the day, the man knows his shit and has gotten me to listen to more music that I probably wouldn't have otherwise than any contributor this year. Now if he could help me unhear half of it, we'd really be getting somewhere! (I kid, I kid).
#10 Buke and Gass – Riposte
It is just short of incredible how much sonic variety the two members of Buke and Gass (Aron Sanchez and Arone Dwyer) can coax from the plethora of instruments (including the experimental instruments from which the band takes its name) that they play on their debut LP. But, while such experimentation could (and often does) descend into unlistenable navel gazing, Aron and Arone use their innovations (and Arone’s amazing voice) in the service of some truly excellent songs.
Best Tracks: Bundletuck, Medulla Oblongata
Virgin Mobile USA Announces Date and Lineup for 2011 Virgin Mobile FreeFest Presented by KyoceraThe Black Keys, Deadmau5, Cee Lo Green, Big Sean, TV on the Radio, and a dozen other of the year’s biggest stories take the stage Saturday, Sept. 10, at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Md.
We are now officially half way through the year folks, and it's turning out to be a pretty damn good one for music. Stylistically, the releases this year have been all over the place, but each and every one that we're going to talk about over the next two days are great, if not special in their own right. Don't believe me? check out the list of just the runner ups:
- Gillian Welch – The Harrow and the Harvest
- Other Lives - Tamer Animals
- Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
- Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
- Generationals – Actor-Caster
- Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
- Cass McCombs – Wit’s End
- Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun
- Cults - Cults
See what I mean? Impressive right? And some of those won't be staying out of the top 10 before the year is over. So now that you've seen what didn't make it, let's get on with what did, shall we?
TV On The Radio's bassist Gerard Smith lost his struggle with lung cancer yesterday.
That f@#@ing sucks, and that's all there is to say about that.
Here's a track from the phenomenal Nine Types Of Light, which was the last album he worked on with the band. To quote a comment on the bands Facebook post about the matter:
"Now there are TEN types of light."
TV On The Radio - Killer Crane
All I have to say is this
TV On The Radio playing the Jefferson Theater this past Saturday in Charlottesville, VA
Well I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that thanks to some new friends at Red Light Management, we were able to get in a position to make this piece FULL of fantastic and stunning imagery to record the night. The bad news? Our camera totally s!@# the bed, so while we were able to get some OK shots off of our digitals we are ensaddened by what could have been. Next time will be different though. I promise.
Now that that's out of the way.
TV On The Radio, despite or maybe because of their punkish roots have never quite seemed comfortable on the stage. That isn't to say they haven't been good, because they are. Insanely good in fact. But when you have to live up to the ridiculously high bar that they set with their records well...you can see where I'm coming from. Having seen the band once before on the Dear Science tour I knew pretty much what to expect going in...and I also had my hopes up for what I wanted to see them do. The question then is did they deliver? The answer?
A resounding "holymotherofgod" yes.
With any new release from TV On The Radio you have to talk about two things. The first is the ridiculously high expectations that the band has put upon them by being one of the most consistently great acts in recent memory. The second is the fact that despite that consistency, you have no idea just what a new TV On The Radio record is going to sound like.
This band doesn’t necessarily push boundaries in the same way that say, Radiohead has in the past. Instead they push the boundaries of their identity as a band, never straying too far from some unidentifiable core that is TV On The Radio, yet managing to sound like a completely new band each and every time.
Finally! A decent week for music! While our official picks this week come from TV On The Radio (read the review here) and Alison Krauss (it's an Alison Krauss album...that's all the review you really need), there is quite a bit going on in the war for time in your earholes.
Looks like we've got a return fo k.d. lang, which could be interesting, as well as a new effort from the Meat Puppets. Wow. I'd love to say that the new Low album is any good, and if you're into them, I'm sorry, but just this weekend it won the award for "Most boring album of the year" at the ChunkyGlasses home base, sooooo.....
Haven't heard it but I'm about to. April 12th cannot come soon enough
From the upcoming album "Nine Types of Light". Not. Too. Shabby.
Aaaaaaaand....apparently that link is broken. For everyone. Except 107.7 in Seattle, so go ahead and give em some traffic while the song is still up there.