Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:24 pm
The physical environment surrounding a band can have a pronounced influence on the songs said band produces, whether it's a sunny beach in Malibu or a craggy, wind-swept hillside in Scotland.
Given that Yukon Blonde calls Vancouver home, it wouldn't be surprising if the group's music took some cues from the perpetually rainy skies that settle over the city every winter. Perhaps as escapism, though, the songs written by Jeff Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones and John Jeffrey have an inherently sunny quality to them, drawing heavily from 1970s American radio-rock.
Susanna Hoffs, best known as the lead singer of the all-female 1980s pop group The Bangles, has a history of playing well with others. After she and the band's other members parted ways — only to reunite a few years later — Hoffs wrote two solo albums. Soon enough, though, she found a new collaborator in Matthew Sweet, with whom she released two collections of covers.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:43 am
The three members of Leagues — singer Thad Cockrell, guitarist Tyler Burkum and drummer Jeremy Lutito — have been known to say that they're inspired not by artists, but by specific songs. That intense focus on individual tracks is clearly put to work on Leagues' debut album, You Belong Here. There's a cohesive sound to the record as a whole, but it sounds like the band deliberately pushed for each song to stand on its own. As a result, the album plays like a collection of singles, each track as catchy as the next.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:33 pm
Lianne La Havas has toured with Bon Iver, sung with Willy Mason and recorded her debut album with producer Matt Hales, better known as Aqualung. More than most, she can attest to the benefits of knowing the right people, but La Havas also has heaps of talent on her side.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 9:41 pm
Most young bands hope to get some kind of break or media exposure as soon as they possibly can. But as Django Django, a four-piece originally from Edinburgh, discovered, it's possible to get noticed a bit too early. In 2009, the group released its first single, "Storm," as a seven-inch through a friend's Glasgow-based record label. The song quickly stirred up buzz, but the group didn't have anything to release as a follow-up — "Storm" was truly the first thing they had ever done together.
Lorenzo Cherubini, better known by his stage name Jovanotti, occupies a curious position on the pop landscape — that of the hugely successful international star who remains largely unknown to U.S. audiences. More than two decades have passed since he first broke out in his native Italy, though, and now he's making moves to do the same in the States.
Stars returns to the World Cafe studio to play songs from its latest album, The North. Here, the band sits down with host David Dye to discuss its decision-making process, and how its insistence on being as democratic as possible has helped it stay together over the years.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 12:55 pm
The Wallflowers recently reconnected, or "rebooted" so to speak, to release their first studio album since 2005's Rebel, Sweetheart, and with a slightly tweaked line-up they pick up right where they left off. It's safe to say that Dylan and the band — which includes founding member Rami Jaffee on keyboards, long-term bassist Greg Richling, Stuart Mathis on guitar and newly acquired drummer Jack Irons — have recharged their collective creative battery. Glad All Over is an energized collection of signature tunes from The Wallflowers that fans have been itching for.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:42 am
It's hard to say anything about Guards without eventually bringing up Cults, another band from Brooklyn whose upbeat melodic pop draws heavy influence from the '60s. The two groups share more than just stylistic influences, though: Singer and bandleader Richie Follin is the brother of Madeline Follin, Cults' lead singer. In fact, a handful of the songs Richie Follin has released with Guards began their lives as Cults tunes.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 4:43 pm
Freelance Whales' members make huge tiny music. Their instruments tend to produce delicate sounds: banjos, violins, xylophones, drums played delicately with brushes. But their songs are arranged in such a way that these small sounds form grand, swelling passages that start out softly, then build to something majestic.