The Best Live Acts of 2015

courtney-barnett

When it comes to end of year lists, you tend to just see half of the music world covered: recorded music. But many more people are interested in live music, and in turn want to know who are the acts I should be spending my hard-earned dollars to go see. That’s what we try to accomplish each year with our favorite live acts list. While certainly not comprehensive, these are the 10 acts we saw that we would say are definitely worth it.
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Ryan Adams Review: Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams album cover

There aren’t a lot of records that sound more stuck in time than Ryan Adams’ self-titled album, his first release in three years. But it’s not stuck in Ryan Adams’ era of music (the early aughts when he was one of the hottest singer/songwriters around), but rather the 80’s and early 90’s, when driving Heartland rock like Tom Petty, chimy college rock like R.E.M., and heart-on-your-sleeve garage rock like The Replacements dominated the music landscape. However, despite being lost in a time capsule, Ryan Adams sounds as urgent and as re-energized as he has since 2005’s Cold Roses with the Cardinals.
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Jenny Lewis Review: The Voyager

Jenny Lewis

The Voyager

the voyager

Between 2001 and 2008 Jenny Lewis released six albums; four with Rilo Kiley and two solo albums.  That is a pretty prolific output no matter who you are.  Since 2008 though, Lewis has only released I’m Having Fun Now with collaborator Jonathan Rice, until the release of The Voyager.  It is certainly better to have Jenny Lewis in your life than to not.  The Voyager is about what you would expect in diverse tone, but much more polished and confident than I would have expected after several years of hiatus.
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Weak List Wednesday: Five Songs From Upcoming Albums

new albums, new songs, grimes, fka twigs, spoon
Last week we talked a bit about our favorite albums of 2014 so far. With only half of the year under our belt, we still have a lot of new music to look forward to. Below are a few new tracks that have recently been released from artists with albums that are due out fairly soon. Listed in no particular order, here are five great new tracks from some highly anticipated upcoming albums set to be released this year.
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LxListening: The National Broadcast

The National song playlist

Fellow blogmate Austin and I were discussing artists we love that have gotten the proverbial shaft in terms of lack of coverage on our site, and how we needed to right the ship. One of those artists was Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, who Austin gave a five-song LxListening playlist to a few weeks ago to give Lewis her overdue spotlight. I figured I would do the exact same thing for the National, who I failed to review their latest on our site, and who often goes unrecognized on our site given our third member Todd’s disinterest towards the Cincinnati-formed band. But that can’t stop me from giving you a National-themed Friday, filled with 5 choice cuts spanning over their 12 year, 6 album career, a band who has stumbled into an indistinguishable sound and feel to all of their music.
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LxListening: The Music of Jenny Lewis

jenny lewis

I’ve found myself listening to a lot of the works of Jenny Lewis lately, after digging into Rilo Kiley’s rarities collection Rkives recently.  Lewis has proved to be one of the more undervalued talents since RK broke onto the scene in 2003, releasing new material with RK and on a solo basis at a tick of at least every couple years.  Besides Rilo Kiley, Lewis has released a solo record, a record with The Watson Twins, a record with Jonathon Rice, and was an integral role in The Postal Service.  That is a pretty impressive first ten years of a career.  So without further ado, here are five choice Jenny Lewis tracks to brighten your Friday.
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Top Ten Thursday: Duets to Die For

duets 2

We decided it was finally time to make a list concerning the combination of kindred vocals.  Duets that is.  A guy and a girl is the most popular concoction, but there is certainly room to wiggle with that formula on this list.  For frame of reference, we attempted to stay away from two very specific types tracks that may be considered duets.  The first area is hip hop tracks.  R&B tracks are fine, as long as they don’t interfere with the next criteria, but it seems every hip-hop song has multiple rappers, or at the least one rapper and someone else for the hook.  Just seemed a little too muddled.  The second criteria we aimed to stay away from were artists that have two vocalists, where almost every one of their tracks might be able to be considered duets.  Sorry, but we were looking for duets where the source recording is at most part of a one-off album.  As always, I think we crafted a solid list, but am certain we missed something along the way.  Feel free to offer suggestions, and enjoy.

10.  The Postal Service & Jenny Lewis – “Nothing Better”

jenny lewis, postal service, nothing bettter

Ben Gibbard & Jenny Lewis combine for an electonic-infused back and forth on The Postal Service’s 2003 track “Nothing Better”.  The conversational tone of Gibbard and Lewis vocals is about as fun as it gets, and makes us thirst for more than just a Postal Service tour reunion.  Record a new album!
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