Frankly, 2016 has been an awful year. It has felt like every news cycle brings a new tragedy: black lives being taken from police brutality in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, police being shot in Dallas, and ISIS attacks in Baghdad, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, and San Bernadino. Fear, hatred, and anger is the language of the day and in the U.S. Election and Brexit. Voices of ignorance and arrogance drown out those of love, courage, and unity.
While there is still certainly plenty of reason for protest and fighting for justice, sometimes we all just deeply long for peace and for all the madness to end. Music can bring a sense of healing and peace of mind like nothing else.
These for the most part aren’t anti-war or protest songs (we’ve been there before), but these are songs pointing to a brighter future, plain and simple. So for myself and anyone who needs a little bit of hope, here are my favorite songs for peace.
Editor’s Note: This list was originally released in 2012. With the release of new David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), and Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend) records, we thought we would revisit one of our favorite lists: our 10 favorite albums by artists that go solo.
In honor of one of our absolute favorites, Jack White, announcing the release of his first solo album Blunderbuss, we thought it might be fun to do a list of the finest solo records from people who reigned from well-known groups/bands. We decided on a couple guidelines for this category: the artist could not have had a solo career before the band (i.e. Panda Bear of Animal Collective), and it had to be a recognizable band (and not just some college garage band). We also decided it had to be a true solo project and not just a side project (i.e. McCartney in Wings, Jack White in fifty other bands not named the White Stripes).
Jazz rap trio A Tribe Called Quest was unmistakably one-of-a-kind in the early 90s, and Q-Tip no doubt led that charge. His debut solo album, Amplified is fast, calm, and nearly flawless, if it wasn’t for that horrendous Korn guestspot on “End of Times” (it was the late 90s after all). Continue reading “The 10 Best Albums by Artists Going Solo”
In the 60’s and 70’s, musical greatness was not only defined by the person, but also the place. Hit-factory studios like Motown, Fame, Muscle Shoals, Stax, and Sigma Sound were places defined by their signature sound, embodying sounds of the region, and their house bands were all sorts of legendary. Recent years have brought about documentaries about these magic places, whether it was Dave Grohl going crazy about Sound City Studios in LA in his documentary Sound City, or the excellent Muscle Shoals documentary which goes over the transcendent artists and moments at Fame and Muscle Shoals studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The signature studio sound has long been a thing of the past, but Richmond-VA native Matthew E. White doesn’t see why it has to be that way. His Spacebomb studio, located in the heart of Richmond, has become host to a newly honed but instantly classic sound, one that recognizes lush Philly Soul, New Orleans Funk, and Southern R&B but also points to a better future. Continue reading “Matthew E. White Review: Fresh Blood”
This week marks the celebration of our favorite Beatle, George Harrison. This coincides with the release of a box set of Harrison’s early solo work on Apple Records called The Apple Years, as well as Conan’s week long ode to the quiet, spiritual Beatle, with cover performances by Beck, Paul Simon, Norah Jones and more. The most notable is a tribute concert called George Fest, and is a charity concert for Sweet Relief in Harrison’s spirit (the Godfather of the charity show). So in honor of the often underrated Beatle, here is our favorite Harrison songs, including Beatles, solo, and Traveling Wilburys songs.
Even in a town best known for their love of country and gospel music, the Beatles cannot be denied. We went on a family vacation with my parents to Branson, Missouri, aka the “Christian Vegas”, and enjoyed the unique and odd experience of seeing the Liverpool Legends, a Beatles tribute band presented by Louise Harrison, George’s sister and a Missouri local. It was a pleasure hearing such a wide-ranging set of Beatles songs live, even with a fairly low-budget presentation and uneven performances from the impersonators. Continue reading “Liverpool Legends Show Review”
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since a skinny L.A. punk kid burst onto the scene calling himself a “Loser” in winking wangster fashion. From the start, Beck was always a pioneer at mixing genres but now looking back at his 20 year career, I’m not sure there is a bigger chameleon in rock music. Not only known for his shape-shifting, but I would argue that no artist has endured better from the 90’s (outside Radiohead) than Beck. So following our review royale of Beck’s latest Morning Phase, here are our 10 favorite Beck songs. Continue reading “The 10 Best Beck Songs”
We lost a legend this week in freedom fighter/folk singer Richie Havens, who had a long yet somewhat under-the-radar 45 year musical career that remains pegged to one iconic moment: his performance of “Freedom” at the opening of Woodstock. This moment ushered in a new era of rock ‘n’ roll in pop culture not too mention it being one of the most wicked live performances caught on film. So this week, we thought we would distill the ten most legendary live moments in history, moments that were iconic, important, and just plain awesome in rock history. Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Legendary Live Performances”