Tag Archives: Concert

One For Your Inner Animal

So I have a hilarious story for you guys. And by hilarious I mean not funny, somewhat ironic, and possibly a little embarrassing but I have no shame. I actually wrote half this post in February. And then I got distracted by this thing called school/work/triathlon/life and literally stopped mid-sentence. It happens. So naturally I trashed the whole thing and started over.

As always, the following post was churned out in maybe an hour tops and hasn’t been proof read. Shoutout to the people who text me with a list of my errors when a post goes up, you guys (Alexandra) are the real MVPs.

Album: Zaba                                                                         Artist: Glass Animals

Zaba

So who are Glass Animals? I’m not exactly sure to be honest. My first exposure to them was from the one and only Alexandra, because who else keeps me up to date on what’s coming out? Let’s face it. If it weren’t for her and 90.3 The Rock, I’d be stuck in 1996 (which was a GREAT year for music). I remember she got in my car and was like, “Dude listen to this!” (not her exact words, but I gave you the clean version). And then we listened to “Gooey” and I still can’t really tell you what hit me. All I know is I went home and downloaded the album and bought concert tickets not too many months later.

But really. Who are Glass Animals? I wish someone would tell me because really all I know is that they’re from Oxford, England and their lead singer, Dave Bayley, studied neuroscience or something along those lines. Literally, their Wikipedia page looks like this:

GA WIKI

So despite the fact that I scoured the internet and watched a lot of interviews and still can’t tell you squat about the band, I can tell you about their album. Which is I guess why I’m here anyway.

Zaba was released on June 6th, 2014 in the UK by Wolf Tone, which is “super-producer” Paul Epworth’s label. Not kidding — he’s produced everyone from Adele to Florence + The Machine to Coldplay to someone nobody had heard of until Kanye called Paul McCartney (hopefully you picked up on that sarcasm). The album was released about a week and a half later in the US of A on June 17th. I think. At the concert — that I saw on Wednesday, by the way — he said something about that day being the anniversary of their album (I think), but that day was the 10th. So maybe I can’t actually tell you anything about their album either. Who knows? Apparently nobody.

The band actually had a pretty decent fanbase by the time their debut was released because of the Leaflings EP and opening for bands like St. Vincent, but it only got larger and more dedicated after the release of Zaba. Glass Animals fans are Glass Animals fans. You love em or you hate em. And even though I consider myself a fan, it still sort of eludes me why I’m so mesmerized by them.

But seriously, I said I’d talk about the album so let’s talk music.

Zaba is a pretty interesting album, I won’t lie. Interesting is just one of many adjectives that could be used to describe how weird it is. Supposedly — and I’m still not sure if I believe it — the album was inspired by a children’s book called The Zabajaba Jungle, and some songs were inspired by other adventure novels. Honestly, if you watch an interview with these guys it’s a tossup as to whether or not everything they say is bullshit or not, but we’ll roll with this one because after listening, you can buy into it.

There’s something really distinct about Zaba in that it almost sounds like a continuous 40 minutes, but if you pay attention you know exactly what song is playing and when it changed. But here’s the catch: I can never think of which song is which if I’m not listening. The album certainly sounds like it could have been inspired by a jungle book, let’s be honest though. Zaba combines elements of R&B with world music and a very particular kind of weird indie. All in all, it sounds like the Rainforest if the Rainforest had a soundtrack.

If you haven’t picked up on it already, Zaba is a vibing album. Meaning it’s really more about the vibes than making sense. A lot of times Bayley coos nonsense at you and it’s the perfect kind of music for a fuzzy evening. Hell, they even have a track called “Hazy.” Zaba‘s got a heavy, dewey sound that makes you want to sway and takes you to new places. The sounds on the album ebb and flow with several low points and even more extreme high points.

But my biggest problem with the album? Sometimes I don’t think they know when to stop. I find myself skipping on to the next song about two thirds through a track sometimes just because it’s too much. It almost overwhelms your senses. I honestly think it was better live because of the way they translate the crazy electronic almost house-ish sound into a guitar or bass solo. It’s more… manageable? I mean, don’t get me wrong. This album is fun to listen to, but by the time I get to the end of “Hazy” or “Wyrd” I’m ready to reset my brain and move on.

So there you have it. Probably one of the best and weirdest albums I’ve recommended. Zaba will either win you over or turn you off, but you’ll never know until you give it a listen.

Oh, and they put on a great show. Go see em live cause it’s SO worth it. It might even be better. Until next time the urge to write hits, keep listening 😉

Honorable Song Mentions: Black Mambo, Pools, Gooey, Toes, Wyrd

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Crash Into DMB

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you’re week has been lovely. Mine actually has. I’m in Rockville visiting my sister again. I’m also seeing Dave Matthews Band again tomorrow. Last year’s concert turned out to be a bust (not because of DMB, they were amazing as always) because of some rather unfortunate circumstances. So! We are trying again, and thus I must write about my favorite Dave album for good juju. Gear up, cause it’s a long one.

Album: Crash                                                                         Artist: Dave Matthews Band

DMB_Crash

As I mentioned, Crash really is one of my favorite DMB albums, if not actually my favorite. I have really distinct memories of putting this album on for long drives back when I had my first iPod. If I really listened, I could fall asleep about halfway through “Two Step” and wake up around “Lie In Our Graves.” Every time. Really it was the album I went to for everything from needing a good cry to just dancing around for the longest time. It’s just THAT good.

Crash was released in April of 1996. This is actually DMB’s best selling album, and it peaked at #2 on the US Bilboard 200. For the longest time I thought this album was their fourth, but it’s actually their third. My sister set me straight — Before These Crowded Streets actually came after. Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with the band quite a bit, produced the album and it was released by RCA Records.

I think I like this album because so many of the songs found on Crash were songs that just floated around for awhile. I’ve listened to DMB’s Live Trax Vol. 20 (thanks Erin!) and early versions of “Two Step,” “Tripping Billies,” and “Lie In Our Graves” are on it, despite the fact that it was recorded 1993. This album had literally been played and perfected a thousand times before even being recorded. And it has my all time favorite song on it, so that helps too.

Crash is actually kind of a long album, as per usual with Dave Matthews Band. There are only 12 tracks, but total time on the album is almost 70 minutes. There’s some jamming to say the least. I think this album is a great demonstration of what DMB has to offer, and I think in writing about it I’ve realized why not everyone likes it.

Dave Matthews Band has a very distinct style to their music. I mean, every album is different and I can actually pick out the ones that are less like this than others, BUT a Dave Matthews Band song lacks structure. Not in the way you’re thinking — it’s not a free for all. But it’s hard to find the melody in a Dave song. This isn’t a bad thing, though. If anything, it works for the band because every player is able to showcase their talents. I’ll be coming back to this in a second, but I want to talk about the actual tracks on the album first.

Crash opens with a few really upbeat numbers. Honestly, don’t ask me why this is the album I always picked to listen to before bed. The opener, “So Much To Say” is a great jam that features a lot of LeRoi Moore, but I’m going to gloss over it to move on to “Two Step.”

“Two Step” is a much darker song than it’s predecessor, but then suddenly it’s not. It’s almost like listening to two different songs, but quite honestly it’s one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard. Lines like “Hey my love do you believe that we might last a thousand years/Or more if not for this, our flesh and blood” show the dark place the author is in, but then the song takes on a lighter tone with lines like “Celebrate we will/for life is short but sweet for certain.” The song has a pretty interesting story behind it; I really encourage you to look it up, but it’s just not something I can cover here.

But moving on, I want to talk about my favorite song. I honestly think Crash is my favorite album because of “#41.” People get really confused when I say my favorite song is a number, but DMB fans know exactly what I’m talking about. I think what makes this song special is it applies to any situation. Rumor has it it’s about the band’s break up with an old manager over creative differences — it’s probably the best break up song ever written. “#41” is especially unique in that it has no chorus. It’s literally the most beautiful poem I’ve ever heard put to music. This song is the reason that I believe Dave Matthews is an amazing lyricist. I can’t even pick just one line for you guys because the whole song is THAT good. And remember how I said DMB songs lack a certain structure? This song is the perfect example. I can’t tell you or sing you the melody, but I know the song front to back. It’s just so perfect to me.

From the upbeat tracks like “So Much To Say,” “Too Much” and “Tripping Billies” to the more serious “#41” to the slow and quiet “Crash Into Me” and “Cry Freedom,” Crash covers it all. I could probably give each song on this album it’s own post because I have that much to say, but don’t worry. I won’t share. Crash is an album with a little bit of everything, and it’s an album that really showcases what every member as well as the band as a whole has to offer. This album — this style — might not be for everybody, but it’s certainly something everyone should try. And it’s an album that probably makes my top 5.

Like this album? Hate this album? Share any strong, weak, or ambivalent feelings below in the comments, on my Facebook page, or on Twitter @notreallyindie. Until the next time I feel like writing, keep listening 🙂

Lately I’ve forgone the honorable mentions section, but I think it’s time for a revival: Crash Into Me, Too Much, Drive In Drive Out, Lie In Our Graves, and of course, #41. Seriously. Listen to it.

2014, It’s Been a Good Run

Well, here we are! It’s the end of 2014, and so starts another year. I’ll admit, I’m very proud of myself for making it this far with the blog. I honestly didn’t expect to find myself still blogging at this point. With that being said though, I would like to take a moment to talk about some changes for 2015!

This year, I’m going to be a full-time student, teaching swim lessons twice a week or maybe more, and training for a triathlon. My weeks might be getting pretty busy from this point forward and I MIGHT end up switching my update day — just a heads up so you can watch for that. I also have made some changes to my page. I’m really going to try to post a playlist on the sidebar at some point.

But I also want to talk about 2014 (I was going to update on Christmas Eve, but we had no internet *surprise surprise*, so I think a New Year’s post is appropriate).

In 2014, I went to a total of thirteen concerts. Not bad, if I do say so myself. That comes out to about one a month (which Alexandra and I were totally doing for almost six months). But which concert was the best? Here is my definitive ranking of the top 5:

5) Frank Turner

ft2

So, I sort of had a hard time with this one. I was going to say The 1975, because it was totally sick and Matty Healy is Matty Healy and I’m not afraid to fangirl about it, but then I remembered White Arrows/The NBHD. That was just an amazing show. The energy at that show was amazing and I discovered a really awesome band called White Arrows. But then I remembered Frank Turner. I was going to go with The NBHD anyway, but I ultimately decided on Frank Turner for one reason: he really cares.

Frank Turner 2At one point in the show there were a few kids who wouldn’t leave him alone or start heckling and he went off and had them thrown out. Ultimately, it kind of seems like a jackass move (sorry for the sketchy language, Mrs. Clupper), but after the show it almost seemed like he felt bad about it. But in the moment, he wanted to share his thoughts and his feelings that he pours into his music with the audience and these kids weren’t very respectful of that. Also, at the end, during “Four Simple Words,” he brought three kids from the audience on to the stage and gave them tambourines. So yeah, Turner wins.

 

4) Local Natives

Local Natives 1 Local Natives 2

 

 

 

 

 

I have no words. I wish I had words. But I don’t. I still can’t listen to Local Natives without being overcome with PCD. The emotion and excitement of the concert are still so alive, and I saw them in April. I mean, forget about that group of kids that stood in a circle at the front and talked the entire time. The rest of us were so involved in the music and the atmosphere and the lights and the emotion. It went from upbeat to slow and emotional to excited and everything in between. I highly recommend.

 

3) DMB (That’s Dave Matthews Band for anyone not in the loop)

This picture 100% belongs to the band's instagram page.... I was WAY too far away.
This picture 100% belongs to the band’s instagram page…. I was WAY too far away.

DMB will always make the list. They can go out there and not sing a single word and still make the list. The music is what matters at a Dave show. You make so many friends, and Dave fans are pretty die-hard. Dave shows unite thousands of people, the music is always good, you can dance like no one is watching, and the energy of the band really translates to the crowd. There’s nothing like yelling “YEAH” at the top of your lungs during “#41” with hundreds of other people. So really. Even if it isn’t a good show, it’s a great show. Everyone who can go see DMB should go see DMB.

 

 

 

2) JT

JT1JT2 JT3Honestly, I haven’t been to a show like JT’s before. Like, holy crap does this guy have talent. And the setup — I mean the stage FREAKING MOVED. I don’t even want to know how much that costs. Regardless, it’s really refreshing to see a pop artists with real instruments to accompany him. Plus, he brought out Garth Brooks at our show so we were basically winning as an audience. Would I go again? Probably. Could I afford it? Hell no.

 

 

 

 

 

1) Fleetwood Mac

FM2

I saved the best for last. I truly mean it was the best. You know how you see these bands that were super cool in the 70s and 80s, but now they’re just sad and they should probably stop (*cough*KISS*cough*)? Fleetwood Mac is not one of those bands. They haven’t lost anything. And let me tell you, Christine McVie KILLED it. Like, she sounds exactly like she did in the 70s. It’s amazing. And despite the fact that Lindsey Buckingham takes himself way too seriously, he’s super talented. They all are. I won’t even lie about it, I totally cried when they came out and started playing. I have nFM1ever been so overwhelmed by greatness. I have never been in the same room with such greatness. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I’m seriously considering going by myself to the show in Knoxville, despite the fact that it will more than likely empty my checking account. It was that good.

 

 

So there you have it. These were my top five, and if you get the chance to see them, I highly recommend it. What were your top five concerts on 2014? Let me know in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Twitter! You can also follow me at @notreallyindie on Twitter for updates on the music scene!

As always, keep listening 🙂

Also, if the picture placement is odd, I apologize.

Picking the Perfect Concert Buddy

So I have a bio test tomorrow and didn’t pick an album for this week, so instead I’m going to help you out here. This week’s post is on finding that special someone. You know who I’m talking about: the person you name your official “concert buddy.”

rock concert

Now, your concert buddy can’t be just anyone; there are lots of characteristics you have to consider before you just go to a concert with someone. Here’s my official checklist:

1. Do they like the same music as you?

So, this one may seem a little obvious, but you’d be surprised. Just because you share a love of one band does not mean that you have the same music tastes. You have to be careful; agreeing to go to a concert with someone could find you on a two hour drive with nothing but this person you thought was your friend and a ton of music that you can’t stand.

2. Are you on the same page with travel arrangements?

So if you really like to go to concerts, chances are you’ve had at least a two hour drive ahead of you before a great show. I mean I’ve met people who’ve driven upwards of seven or eight hours to see their favorite group, and this travel thing is where your CB is really important. If you can’t agree on how to get there, who’s driving, and where you’re staying, then your CB isn’t really your CB and you need a new one. My CB helps pay for gas because I always drive, so she’s probably better than yours.

3. Copiloting skills. These are important.

Everyone knows that on the way to the concert you need two things: navigation, and appropriate music to get you super hype for the awesome time you’re about to have. Take your potential CB on a test run to make sure that not only can they read a GPS and give you appropriate warning to all directions (which my CB does very well cause we’ve done this so often), but also plays appropriate music. These skills are especially important on the drive back home, because let’s face it, PCD sets in fast and you don’t want to be too depressed on your drive back from what will forever go down as the greatest night of your life. My CB even brings healthy and delicious vegan snacks on our trips, so (again) she’s also probably a better copilot than yours.

4. Is he/she a fun person? How fun? Too fun?

Funness in a concert buddy is important. For example, I like to dance. So does my CB. This works out well because not all people like to dance (which is stupid) and by dancing together we both look like idiots together. An appropriate CB will have the same funness level as you. However, you don’t want a CB who is beyond your funness level because you will feel unfun and they will feel too fun and both of you will be sad. This conversation is a very important pre-concert conversation.

5. Is he/she determined? A complainer? Too hard core?

General admission. Both amazing and completely terrible at the same time. With a general admission ticket, you either show up on time and end up in the back or get down to business and end up in the front. Some people don’t mind being in the back during general admission. If you are not one of these people, you’re CB shouldn’t be one. You don’t want to make someone wait in line who doesn’t want to wait because their (insert unflattering word for complaints of your choice) will bring you down and they’ll be miserable. On the flip side, your CB shouldn’t be anyone more hard core than you. If you don’t want to wait from 5am to 7pm, then your CB can’t be someone who does because both of you will be disappointed. My concert buddy and I tend to be on the same page about this one. Depending on the hot/cold levels of outside, 4pm seems to be our time to shine and stand in line. And yes, we did stand in the rain one time.

6. Is this person generally friendly?

Friendliness is very important in a concert buddy, because (especially in general admission) you tend to make other friends at concerts. If your CB is no chill, the people around you that are essential to the “let’s make it to the front” alliance will be no chill, and you’ll get shut down and end up pushed to the back.

 

As I said before, that “special someone” can’t just be any someone. Concert buddies are very important, so choose carefully when picking the perfect concert buddy.

Already have a concert buddy? Share your favorite concert buddy stories here, Facebook, or Twitter!

As always, keep listening!! (And going to concerts)

Busted, But Not A Bust

Ok. Here we go. Real life music this time. This week, I find myself traveling to Virginia. I wrote this on my flight, so I’m using it to calm my nerves. But why am I going to Virginia you ask? I’ll be seeing Dave Matthews Band at Virginia Beach on Friday, so maybe that will give you a clue about this week’s post.

Album: Busted Stuff                                                            Artist: DMB

busted stuf

Wow, my first repeated artist! I originally wanted to pick Crash for this week’s post, but I decided against it. While Crash is my favorite album by the band (for now at least), I chose Busted Stuff because it’s the reason I’m a Dave fan.

Busted Stuff was the fifth studio album put out by DMB, and it has kind of an interesting story behind it. The album started out as the “Lillywhite Sessions,” a project that started in the late 90s/early 2000s. Ultimately, the project was abandoned in favor of the album Everyday because the band wasn’t feeling the collection of “sad bastard songs” that we’re being recorded for the sessions.

Eventually, a confusing series of events led to the internet release of the Lillywhite Sessions on Napster just after the drop of Everyday; the irony is it turned out to be more successful than the band’s actual album. The band finally decided to rerecord some of the Lillywhite Sessions with a couple of new songs thrown in, and Busted Stuff was released in July of 2002.

But on to the music, shall we?

As I said before, Busted Stuff isn’t my favorite Dave album, but it’s up there. It’s got a lot of funky bass, and contains some elements not previously found on DMB albums like the tell-tale twelve string found in “Grey Street.” The only thing about this album is the depressing lyrics. I can see why Dave Matthews described the Lillywhite Sessions as “sad bastard songs,” but honestly, that’s what makes the album beautiful. There is a lot of emotion found on Busted Stuff, and it’s nice that the tracks aren’t necessarily related to each other in content. It’s a very musical album, and I really like the musicality of this album. The other instruments manage to compliment the lyrics without making it strictly about the lyrics; but it’s not just about the background either. There’s a really nice balance between every band members talent — something that is very important.

The album opens with “Busted Stuff” which has all the funk and playful drumming you could want, but I’ll skip over it and move onto “Grey Street.” “Grey Street” was the song that made me a Dave Matthews Band fan. It’s a song about a woman who’s lost all hope, but it sort of resonates with you. Lines like “how did I come to this?” and “I’ve dreamed myself a thousand times around the world/but I can’t get out of this place” define a familiar emotion; its an emotion the band was certainly feeling while recording the original Lillywhite Sessions. Ultimately, the song doesn’t have a very positive outlook; “but all the colors mix together to gray” certainly isn’t uplifting, but the song is played with such ferocity that it doesn’t matter if there isn’t a happy ending.

And there are plenty of tracks that leave the listener with a similar sentiment on Busted Stuff. The track “Grace is Gone” is a soft ballad that deals with turning to alcohol for problems. Lines like “excuse me please, one more drink/could you make it strong because I don’t need to think” reveal the dark place the singer finds himself in, but pleas for help can be found in “Bartender” with lyrics “Bartender please/fill my glass for me/with the wine you gave Jesus that set him free after three days in the ground.”

But as I said, the songs on the album aren’t necessarily related. In “You Never Know,” the singer issues a warning to his audience with “Don’t lose the dreams inside your head/They’ll only be there until you’re dead.” The song ponders a loss of wonder in lines like “but rushing around seems what’s wrong with the world,” and ultimately contains a good message. And yet, there isn’t another track quite like it on the album.

Busted Stuff has plenty of tracks I could talk about for days. I know I say that all the time, but I really mean it. Not that I don’t really mean it all the time, but DMB holds a special place in my heart. Busted Stuff is a very good album, and it manages to keep an even pace without getting dull. I really like to listen to it while flying and right after I attend yoga (there’s a fun fact about me for you). In closing, the album contains a lot of raw emotion which I think is missing from a lot of music you can find in this day and age. I really encourage you to listen to this album sometime, as it manages to comfort its listeners despite the somewhat bleak content.

I now have an Instagram, so hopefully I’ll be posting concert pictures on Friday!! I have lots of good music lined up for the next couple of weeks, but until then, keep listening!

Honorable Songs Mentions: Grey Street, You Never Know, Captain, Raven, Big Eyed Fish

A Message for the Fans: I Love You.

Well, for everyone who was wondering, Alexandra is a very good co-pilot. She managed to keep me awake the whole time I was driving 😉 I already mentioned what I planned on writing about this week, so I’ll jump right to it!

Album: I Love You.                                                                      Artist: The Neighbourhood

I love you

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Neighbourhood, I’ll introduce them as the guys who play “Sweater Weather.” I hate that that’s the way I have to introduce them to most people, but let’s face it: they aren’t that big yet.

The Neighbourhood is a southern California band, and a lot of their music pays homage to their home state. I don’t have much to say about their history as a band or any previous music, because I Love You. was their first LP, but Jesse Rutherford, the band’s lead singer, has musical roots found more in old-school hip hop rather than rock. He had a brief solo project before The Neighbourhood. I haven’t listened to any of it, but it definitely wasn’t rock from what I understand. The rest of the band has more of an alternative background, however. Combined, it makes for a pretty interesting sound that the band describes as “dark pop.” I’d say that’s less true about I Love You. so much as it is their new stuff, but you can still hear what they’re talking about.

I Love You. dropped in April 2013 to very mixed (and that’s being nice) reviews. The album was criticized through a variety of reviews for the bass lines, for the guitar sounds, for the vocals, for the lyrics, for the drum beats, and really everything. I guess you can ultimately sum up reviews by saying that the lyrics are angst ridden (which apparently is very disliked), the guitars are too distorted, and the overall sound is too pop for a rock band.

I’m here to put these criticisms into context for you.

I’ll start my review with this: The Neighbourhood isn’t for everyone. I will also tell you that a lot of the EP’s preceding I Love You. were, in my opinion (and critic’s tend to agree here) better than I Love You.

I’m not saying that the album is bad — I listened to it on repeat for like a month straight, so obviously I enjoyed it, but I guess my biggest problem with I Love You. is that a lot of the songs sound the same. They all, and I do mean all, have the same formula: a pretty simple beat that Jesse can work with (remember, he has a background with rap), slow, distorted guitars, and a fairly repetitive chorus. But it isn’t necessarily a bad formula. I can’t criticize them for sounding too much like a pop band because they are a pop band. No one in the band ever claimed to be anything else.

I can move past the similar sound quality found in all of the tracks though. It really isn’t a huge problem for me here, despite the fact that I can’t stand it when bands do it. Why can I move past it so easily? Because it’s a sound that no one else is using, and they’re moving to perfect it. At least they’re doing something different, which is something critics seem to be missing.

Honestly, it really bothers me that the only song that seemed to get a positive review on the album was “Sweater Weather.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some “Sweater Weather.” But it’s not the band’s best song. Alexandra and I were even talking about this on the way to the concert (which was amazing, by the way). “Sweater Weather” was a good song and I really am happy that the band is getting some recognition for it, but I might go so far as to say it’s one of the weaker songs on the album. The lyrics are much weaker than you find in tracks like “Staying Up” and “Female Robbery” and the sound is a little more mindless.

What I mean is, why listen to something you’ve heard before when you can explore the rest of what the album has to offer? Admittedly, Rutherford has written some better lyrics than what is found wholly on the album, but there are quite a few songs that go beyond the surface of California and sex. And, like I said before — they’ve got a sound that I have yet to find from someone else. It’s a little bit haunting and a little 90s reminiscent (and you all know how I feel about the 90s) and it’s got the what I like to call rock band basics: guitars, bass, drums (instruments that are lacking in a lot of today’s music) Like if Destiny’s Child and some weird 90s alt band got together. Again, not for everyone; but it’s managed to appeal to a young audience.

Ultimately, this is what I have to say about I Love You.: It’s not the album of the century. It’s not the album of the decade, and it’s not the album of the year. The band has a long way to go before they get there. But they’re on their way. They’ve got an interesting sound and lyrics that, despite their angst, manage to pull in a pretty large audience, and they are great with their fans.

In closing, The Neighbourhood reminds me a lot of Maroon5. This comparison has been mentioned a lot by others, and I totally get it (despite the fact the band says they hate it). Back in the early 2000s, Maroon5 put out a really good album called Songs About Jane that received mixed reviews and it was nothing like what anyone else was doing — and everyone waited to see what they would put out next. It was sad really, cause Maroon5 could have been a great band (if you know me you know my opinions on Marron5). And here we are with The Neighbourhood: they put out a decent debut that is nothing like what anyone else is doing, and everyone is waiting to see what they’ll put out next. Their new music has the kind of variety that is lacking on I Love You., which makes me really optimistic for the band’s future.

Questions, comments, snide remarks? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this album! Do you agree with critics? Or do you think they were too harsh? As always, keep listening!

Honourable Song Mentions: (see what I did there?) Staying Up, Float, Female Robbery, W.D.Y.W.F.M?, Let It Go (and Alexandra would say Flawless but I don’t necessarily agree with that)

Concert experience:

The Neighbourhood puts on a great live show. They played old songs, new songs, and everything in between. Their new drummer is quite talented, and what I like about their live music is larger role their drummer has to play — it isn’t as quite as formulaic as it sounds in the studio versions. Another great thing? Rutherford improvises the lyrics, which is something bands these days just don’t do enough. It’s great to hear in a live show because it keeps things interesting.

Also, after the show we got to meet the band’s frontman who is super nice. He managed to at least take a picture or sign something with everyone waiting (and there were a lot of people waiting), and he seemed genuinely appreciative to everyone who came out to the show. He even signed my ticket “Happy Birthday.”

We had so much fun that we bought tickets to see another show not even 10 days later. It’s honestly one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. Photos below!

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On The Road Again

Well this post is kind of last minute, and quite honestly, thought of in five minutes. I was thinking about doing The Neighbourhood’s I Love You, but I’m seeing them tomorrow and decided to save it for next week (so that I can post pictures). And since it’s my birthday, I didn’t really want to spend it writing a long post (as much as I love doing that) because I had other exciting activities planned.

So with that little intro, and with the tidbit of knowledge that I’ll be driving for four hours tomorrow, I give you the ultimate travel playlist (partly brought to you by my co-pilot Alexandra Gates). I’ll give you an update on how she does next week.

  • Midnight City — M83
  • A Little Help From My Friends — The Beatles
  • Breakers — Local Natives
  • Mr. Brightside — The Killers
  • Killer Queen — Queen
  • Chelsea Dagger — The Fratellis
  • Recovery — Frank Turner
  • She’s A Rebel — Green Day
  • Last Night — The Strokes
  • Santaria — Sublime
  • Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  • Sun Hands — Local Natives
  • Breakfast In America — Supertramp
  • West Coast — The Neighbourhood
  • When You Were Young — The Killers
  • Ants Marching — Dave Matthews Band
  • Fluorescent Adolescence — Arctic Monkeys
  • Dig — Incubus
  • Do I Wanna Know? — Arctic Monkeys
  • Salty Sweet — MS MR
  • Thriller — Michael Jackson
  • Girls — The 1975
  • Bennie And The Jets — Elton John
  • Longview — Green Day
  • Go With The Flow — Queens of the Stone Age

What’s your favorite travel music? Leave comments here, twitter, or Facebook. Until next week, keep listening!

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A Post For The Tape Deck Heart

I’ll start this week’s post with an apology. I’ve reread some of the stuff I’ve posted, and in my opinion about 50% of it was total crap. Maybe it wasn’t (I’m hoping against all hope) because it seems to be a common theme that writers are overly critical of themselves, but I felt like it was, and so I’m sorry.  I cringe knowing that my 11 AP English teacher is my Facebook friend because with that knowledge comes the terrifying prospect that he’s read some of my stuff and is shaking his head and questioning whether or not I learned anything in his class. Thus, I now promise to try a little bit harder this week.

Before I officially start, I’ll give you a quick update because this is my blog and I want to. We (finally) got internet at our house! This means that this post will officially not bite me in the butt later when our phone bill arrives. And, because we were really on a roll this week, my speakers have been installed! I am now able to bring you this (hopefully) amazing post about Frank Turner and the concert I went to on the 30th of May. I hope you enjoy.

Album: Tape Deck Heart                                                                    Artist: Frank Turner

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It was around April 12th-ish I believe that the Coachella live broadcast was on YouTube, and despite the fact that I managed to miss most of the sets I wanted to see, I was able to catch the last half of Frank Turner’s. So naturally my concert buddy Alexandra already knew they’d be at the Bijou in May and talked me into going. Ultimately it was a good decision because I might not have bothered to listen to Frank Turner as much as I did in preparation for the concert/this blog post, and that would have been a tragedy.

Frank Turner’s Tape Deck Heart was his fifth studio album, and it’s been described (by who I couldn’t tell you, but accurately) as a “break up album.” The album was produced by Rich Costey, which surprised me. I believe what Costey is most known for is his work with Muse on their albums Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations. These albums and Tape Deck Heart sound nothing alike, but I digress and appreciate what Costey seems to bring to the table.

As far as genre, Frank Turner is mostly lumped into folk, which I think accurately describes his sound. But Turner is a little more punk rock than you’d initially give him credit for. Frank Turner started out as a vocalist for a post-hardcore band called Million Dead, and for awhile during his solo career was signed with Epitaph Records. Surprising, since he might be the only folk artist on the label (Epitaph tends to sign punk, post-hardcore, and “emo” bands).

So between Turner’s obvious talent for the folk genre and his punk rock roots, he manages to bring a unique rock sound to his folk music with Tape Deck Heart. Seems like a conflicting combination, but it’s very skillfully done.

But before we go on, let’s ask ourselves: what exactly is a Tape Deck Heart? In explaining the title, Frank Turner describes a Tape Deck Heart as “someone who has a love of music above anything else.” An interesting idea, and one that is developed on the album. In “Four Simple Words,” (which is possibly my favorite song on the album), Turner asks his listeners if they too are “sick of the music/Churned out by lackluster scenesters from Shoreditch?” and goes on to claim that “[he] want[s] bands who had to work for their keep/Drove a thousand miles and played a show on no sleep/Sleeping on the floor in a stranger’s place/Hungry just to do it all again the next day.”

This is exactly how I feel. I love this song, and it’s my favorite on the album simply because, to put it informally, Frank Turner knows the feels. I really respect Turner for his views on punk rock. At the concert we went to, Turner had some guys heckling him while he was telling a story. Ultimately he had them thrown out and admittedly used some questionable insults (which, based on what he said to those of us who hung around to meet him, he felt kinda bad about), but it’s the principle that counts. To Turner, music is about coming together and sharing a part of yourself with your audience away from the judgment of the outside world. “Because punk is for the kids who never fit in with the rest.” So even though “Four Simple Words” seems like it’s about dancing, it’s actually about the meaning of rock. Try that on for size.

I’m done with my half page worship of “Four Simple Words,” but only because Tape Deck Heart has so much more to offer and I feel like I’m boring you guys. There are a lot of great songs on the album, the most familiar being “Recovery” and “The Way I Tend To Be:” both songs reflect on a past relationship and are about dealing with the heartbreak that came along with it. Honestly, Turner’s appeals for a second chance with “Darling, sweet lover, won’t you help me to recover?” are a little bit of a downer without the upbeat music that accompanies them, but it’s a good thing. Frank Turner’s lyrics have the kind of raw honesty that a lot of music lacks. But it’s not about what’s familiar either. It’s not just about the upbeat rock sound that Turner incorporates into his music, but it’s also about the easy, slow songs that explore the ideas of family, loss, recovery, and self-expectations.

From what I can tell, Tape Deck Heart received generally positive reviews. Metacritic gave the album a 76/100, which isn’t bad if you ask me. While Tape Deck Heart is by no means my favorite album, I love the musicianship Turner possesses, and I love his own appreciation for what he does. He isn’t afraid to talk about what makes others uncomfortable, which is refreshing. Tape Deck Heart is definitely a good addition to anyone’s music collection, and I hope that maybe one day his following in America will be as devoted as it is in the UK. I think he deserves it.

Please comment! I’d love to hear your suggestions and your opinions. I promise I’ll write about it if you throw it out there 🙂 I hope this week’s post was of higher quality than they have been recently. I actually started writing before 11:30 pm. Until next week, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: Recovery, Good And Gone, Tell Tale Signs, Four Simple Words, Oh Brother

Personal Story Time!! We actually got to meet Frank Turner after the concert. He was really cool. He signed the setlist we got off of the stage, and he signed my vinyl copy of Tape Deck Heart “For Maddie, Frank Turner.” So that was pretty cool.

Also, there was this guy in a shirt. I didn’t actually get to see it, but Frank Turner freaked out and actually took a photo of them together on his personal phone, so that was one lucky dude.

And best for last, during “Four Simple Words” he pulled these 3 kids who were down by the stage up onto stage and he let them sing and dance and play tambourine with him. It was basically one of the coolest things I’ve seen in awhile. Pictures below!

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setlist TDH

If I Were Living In The 70s…

Everyone here should go listen to a band called Moon Taxi. They did a free concert in Market Square and it was totally awesome. Here, I’ll make it easy for you. Click this link to hear their song “Morocco.”

Now that that’s out of the way, I have a very important piece of information. Now, this might be old news for some of you, and some of you might not even care, but I feel like everyone should know that Fleetwood Mac is getting back together — Christine McVie included (and for those who don’t know, this is kind of a huge deal). They are in fact touring, and I do believe they are putting out a new album. So, in celebration of the end of exams, I’m going to write about one of my favorite albums and it happens to be by Fleetwood Mac.

(If my parents are reading this, Fleetwood Mac will be in Atlanta in December. If you were just wondering.)

Album: Rumors                                             Artist: Fleetwood Mac

Rumors

Now, for any of you in my generation (or maybe in another generation) that are thinking “Fleetwood who?” let me assure you: you’ve heard of Fleetwood Mac. If you’ve listened to the radio in the last 40 years and you grew up on planet Earth, you know at least one song by Fleetwood Mac. And I’m willing to bet that one song you’ve heard was from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.

Rumors is an album that definitely makes my top five. And, admittedly, it probably is my favorite of all the albums I own on vinyl. Of course, the collection is only about thirty in number, so that could change. I also have no shame in sharing the fact that one of my favorite things to do is to put this album on, flip off the lights, flip on the lava lamp and Christmas lights in my room, and dance around while I channel my inner Stevie Nicks. I’m not kidding. Maybe you should give it a try.

One thing that is unique about Rumors is that the album is generally accepted as a good album. It’s pretty hard to find a negative review, and Metacritic even gave it a 99 out of 100. If that doesn’t convince you that this is a good album, I don’t exactly know what will.

But what makes Rumors so good? Fleetwood Mac of course. I can’t tell you what it is, but they have it. It’s what separates good bands from great bands. Maybe it’s a chemistry thing, maybe it’s a talent thing; regardless, Fleetwood Mac has it. You see, when Rumors was in production in 1976, Fleetwood Mac was kind of falling apart. Lindsey and Stevie were on and off, Mick Fleetwood was having issues with his wife, and Christine and John McVie were in the middle of a divorce. Who knows how they did it — stayed together I mean. All of these relationship issues could have literally ripped apart the band, but they didn’t.

And Rumors was the result. Maybe that’s what it is. Their ability to tough it out, to stay together, even though I’m sure there was some sort of emotional trauma that comes with writing music with a bunch of people that don’t get along. That’s part of what is so wonderful about Rumors. Every single song on this album is about some sort of relationship. Whether it’s about breaking up, moving on, romantic relationships, friendships; Rumors has it. There is a song for every situation, which is why I like to play it literally all the time. But it isn’t just the writing component provided by Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks that makes this album such a good listen.

I love listening to Fleetwood Mac because everyone involved is exceptionally good at what they play. Just yesterday I think I posted something on Twitter about how I wish Lindsey Buckingham could just stand there and play awesome music every time something cool happens to me. He plays his guitar like it’s an extension of what he’s feeling; it seems very aggressive at times, but kinda mellow at others (compare “The Chain” to “Never Going Back Again”). And John McVie is a very good bassist. I feel like everyone always forgets about the bassist, but most bands wouldn’t be as good as they are without their bassist; Fleetwood Mac isn’t an exception. If you ever want to listen to some groovy 70’s bass playing, McVie is your guy. “You Make Loving Fun” is the perfect example with it’s opening bass riff. And the vocals — yeah. Their voices just mix. Christine’s bluesy voice complements her piano perfectly in “Songbirds,” and Lindsey and Stevie have mastered the art of great vocal harmonies.

And another thing that I love about Rumors? It would have been very easy for the band members to write songs about their issues with one another. I’m not saying it didn’t happen — In “Go Your Own Way,” Buckingham aggressively sings about a breakup and accuses “Shaking up is all you wanna do.” It isn’t hard to realize who he was singing about. But despite the occasional angry lyric, there’s some fun there too, and maybe even a little optimism. One of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous singles “Don’t Stop” offers the kind of hope that I think everyone in the band needed; the line “Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow/Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,” is actually quite inspirational. I’ll come right out and say it, I used to hate this song just because everyone uses it for everything, but it actually has a really good message. And don’t even get me started on “The Chain.” It’s the only song on Rumors that the entire band wrote together. I think this is reflected in the lyrics, as Lindsey and Stevie and really the whole band plead, “Chain, keep us together.”

Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the reason they managed to put aside some differences (with the help of some cocaine and booze) long enough to put out some really good music. Maybe, deep down, none of them really wanted to fall apart. “Damn your love/ damn your lies.” Isn’t that how everyone felt?

I can’t say that Rumors is my number one favorite album of all time. I can say that it might be. This album has influenced countless artists, from The Goo Goo Dolls to Death Cab for Cutie. This album has influenced me. I half wish that I grew up in the 70s just so that I could be around when it was the big thing (I mean, there are other reasons the 70s were awesome, but I won’t list them all here).

In short, this album is timeless and Fleetwood Mac is legendary. Go listen to it. Now. Until next week, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: Dreams, Go Your Own Way, The Chain, You Make Loving Fun, Gold Dust Woman (I listed less than half the album this time — I think I’m getting better at this)

Below is the video for “The Chain” performed in 1982. Seriously, Buckingham rocks out. Without a guitar pick. Try that on for size.

The Album You Haven’t Heard Yet

So, unfortunately I was unable to figure out how the internet works so I do not have music on the page. YET. I will prevail. On another note, I’m going to a concert this Friday, so I figured I’d choose an album by Local Natives, the band I will be seeing.

Album: Hummingbird                                                   Artist: Local Natives

Hummingbird_Local Natives

 

If I had to pick one word to describe Hummingbird, I would pick subdued. But not in a bad way. I know sometimes that word carries a negative connotation, but that isn’t how I mean it in this context. Hummingbird is the album you listen to to cope with uncertainty – because that’s what it’s about.

I first heard about Local Natives from a friend of mine. She said that they would be playing for something like $25 downtown and I was all over it. And that was when I realized that I had in fact heard of them from some of my favorite Pandora stations. As my exposure to them is still relatively fresh, I did some googling (note: I love that this is a verb) to put this album in context for me.

Around the time this album was created, the band’s bassist Andy Hamm had just departed and, to top it off, guitarist/vocalist Kelcey Ayer had just lost his mother. With that in mind the lyrics kind of gain a new perspective.

It’s easy to look past the words with this album, at least, for me. It’s effortless to just float on with the easy melodies and rich harmonies. With the depth of the album, getting lost in Local Natives is like getting lost in the sky. But the album is a little bluer than that. Lyrics like “the closer I get, the further I have to go” and “after everything/left in the sun, shivering” remind the listener of what the artists were feeling. It’s like they took part of these uncertain feelings of abandonment and channeled them to their audience, and if you listen – really listen – you can feel it too.

Hummingbird starts with “You and I,” an easy song with a mournful tone that the artist uses to question the closeness of everyone around him. It’s a song about gradual separation, and the theme carries. In “Heavy Feet” that feeling of separation is apparent, and culminates in what feels like regret with “Ceilings.” And in “Columbia”, Ayer’s mourning is clear as he sings “If you never knew how much/if you never felt all of my love/I pray now you do.”

Hummingbird is a thoughtful album that deals with an uncomfortable topic, but somehow makes it okay. Hummingbird is an album that lets it’s listeners know that sometimes you just need to have those feelings, and that there isn’t anything wrong with that.

If I have time and/or feel inspired to on Saturday, I might share a little about the concert. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome! Until next week (or Saturday), keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: You and I, Heavy Feet, Ceilings, Breakers, Columbia, and Wide Eyes (totally not even on this album but you should listen to it anyway)