It’s January 5th and we here at the WRGW Music Department are just a little bit sick of the cyclical year-end lists penned by **in-touch** music writers and tastemakers who continually peddle the same albums over and over again, with more regard for controversy (Mark Kozelek shout out) than actual substance. Let’s face it – music journalism kinda sucks. The top blogs and sites are essentially celebrity gossip forums, with occasional big words and nice pictures thrown in. The promotions companies are no better, as the wealthier bands get press and talented, hardworking ones are left in the dust. Still, rant aside, 2014 was a damn fine year in music. The mega releases of 2013 slowed down enough to allow break out artists, like Ex Hex, Ty Segall, Angel Olsen (the list goes on) to break into new territory and release exceptional, career-defining albums. The future is ripe, and there has never been a better time to be a music fan with a pair of headphones and an internet connection.
Instead of laying out the “best” albums of last year, our three assistant music directors, our music promotions director and I share below the top three artists/bands that we’re genuinely excited about in 2015. This is by no means an objective or comprehensive list; those things do not exist in music journalism. Read, listen, and watch before they get drowned out by the next Kanye single, or another War on Drugs album. Regular blog content and programming will continue starting the week of January 19th – until then, indulge our egos and maybe find your next favorite band.
Are you stuck in the suburbs this holiday break? Are you already missing the hip happenin’ indie scene of your college town as Turkey Day slowly approaches? Have you, within two days, already exhausted all of the cool places in town to sip on coffee and blog? Well have I got news for you: Record Store Day Black Friday is upon us!
The Howard Theatre is probably one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been to; it’s definitely the cleanest. People could roll around on the floor and stand up cleaner than they were before. I was almost afraid to touch anything, fearful that I would taint such a magnificent building. But even with all of the mind-blowing splendor, The Howard Theatre has an extremely grounded feel that makes you crave for more places like this.
Having become familiar with Augustines after randomly stumbling upon them while perusing through Youtube related videos, I expected a predictable, yet enjoyable indie rock show. What I saw on Wednesday was not that, it was something much, much different.
This was indeed a quite special stop on their US Walkabout tour. It was the first show in which the regular bass player and keyboardist Eric Sanderson was back, after leaving for a family emergency. What a comeback it was.
Anyone familiar with the big music releases of 2013 might have heard of a little French duo named Daft Punk dropping a popular album, Random Access Memories, in the late spring. Fast forward a little bit after that release and another duo by the name of Darkside has taken the entire album, flipped it on its head, and uploaded it to the internet for everyone’s listening pleasure. With this release, Darkside grabbed the attention of music aficionados around the world, myself included. Not too long after their release of a completely remixed RAM, their debut LP, Psychic, was released. That was when I vowed that I had to see this group live.
Imagine this: getting to the 9:30 Club so early that there are only about 30 people present, milling about at various proximities to the stage and on the balcony. There is loud jazz music blaring from the overhead speakers, a surprisingly fitting introduction for the band that is about to take the stage. As more time passes and the opening set performs, the venue fills up rapidly, with someone next to me announcing that the show had sold out only a few minutes prior. Then, the music goes off, the lights dim and out walk Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, the two gentlemen that make up the experimental rock-infused electronic duo Darkside.