Opening with a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)”, or any Neil Young song for that matter, is a move that most bands would not even attempt. Even if a band did decide to cover the Neil track, they most likely would bury at the end of an album, just in case it went over poorly. Chromatics, on the other hand, decided to take a path that was most bold, and proudly display their toned-down, ethereal version of the Crazy Horse-aided classic at the forefront of their new double LP, Kill for Love. Chromatics version, “Into the Black”, does what any good cover does, and adds a nice change of the pace to the original without completely deconstructing everything that makes the original so amazing. Gone are the electric guitar chords dropping like a hammer, and in is some well-placed sparse piano and a little synthesizer. Also, a good contrast to the original are the pretty vocals of Ruth Radelet, who trades off vocal duties with bandleader Johnny Jewel throughout the album.
For some unknown reason there has been a paucity of Elton John love on LxL, and after seeing him live and rediscovering just a small part of his immense catalogue, I aim to correct that. Not only is Sir Elton one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all time, he is also exceptionally versatile as a musician. This versatility shone through in his live performance, where the eccentric and sometimes over-the-top John was able to strip down his show to just him and a piano.
For any Midwesterners out there, spring is almost certain to be one of your favorite seasons. The summer is sweltering hot and humid. Winter (not this year fortunately) can be cold, wet, and depressing. Fall is probably my favorite season, because more often than not the past ten years it means I get to watch post-season Cardinals baseball. But spring means the birds are starting another long season, and the anticipation is at a fever pitch.
It was a little bit hard for us decide which albums really fit in with the tone of spring, but we kind of decided on more upbeat, hopeful and lighter fare all around. Not a lot of options in those regards from some of my favorite artists like Neil Young, Nine Inch Nails, or Something Corporate (I kid, I kid). But there is still some amazing music in this vein, and here is what we have decided is some of the best of the best. As always, let us know what we missed, neglected, or stupidly included in the comments. Enjoy.
10. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
Oh, Inverted World put The Shins on the map, but Chutes Too Narrow condensed their sound even more to tiny, poppy bit-sized pieces. Songs like “Turn a Square” and “Pink Bullets” are the songs that any good spring is made of.
In honor of The Boss’s newest release, Wrecking Ball, we decided to list out our favorite albums from the old timers that can still pull together good albums. More often than not, artists that try and push themselves past their prime ultimately end up fizzling out very slowly, leaving most of the general public annoyed with their insistent presence (i.e. Cher, Ringo Starr, Michael Bay). It is rare to see an artist come out with something 20+ years after the release of their debut, that doesn’t warrant them spending the rest of their career performing nightly on the Vegas Strip. However, as is with everything, there are a few exceptions. Thus, our rule for this list is born … the album must have been released 20+ years after the debut. Below are what we consider to be those old-timer exceptions: Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Oldies, But Goodies”
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 “Top Ten Thursday: Go It Alone”
We at LxL believe that a live performance is by far the best way to experience music, but if you can’t make it out to a show, why not try to experience it through a live album? In honor of the release of the Sigur Rós’s live double album, Inni, here are our top ten favorite live albums that best capture the non-stop energy, raw emotion, and incredible skill utilized in the most unforgettable shows.
Albums truly do not get more brutal than Lulu. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I volunteered to review this album. My thought process went something along the lines of: I love Lou Reed, and I admittedly went through a Metallica phase in middle school … It can’t be that bad right? Not right. In fact that’s incredibly wrong.