With November and December usually being a dead period for new music releases, fall is really the last part of the year for big music releases, and it looks like there will be plenty worth talking about this fall. So as a quick look at some of the best stuff to come out thus far this fall and yet to come, here are five hand-selected songs for your cool and colorful fall.
July 11th, 2013
Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
July 12th, 2013
Grant Park, Chicago, IL
Yes, I realize this will probably be the first and the last time Robert Plant and Dan Deacon will be mentioned in the same sentence or review for that matter, but I saw both acts play in Chicago last week for free on back-to-back nights, and I figured why not take them both on together. You could say I was inspired by fellow LxLer Austin’s “Battle of the ‘J’s’” review which looked at J. Cole and Jay-Z’s new albums, although Plant and Deacon have an incy bit less in common.
Continue reading “Tale of Two Free Shows: Dan Deacon and Robert Plant”
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”
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!
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Duets to Die For”
After the painful experience of reviewing Neil Young’s new cover album, Americana, we decided to go back to some of our old favorites, and create a list of the top ten cover albums. It was surprisingly difficult to find a comprehensive list of cover albums that have even been released, so I am certain we are missing a couple of classics, but also was very happy with strength of the list we came up with. Another couple items of note is that the album needed to be 75% covers to be considered and a lot of 1950’s and 60’s albums were not considered. A lot of early Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. albums were comprised mostly of covers because that’s just the way the music business was run back then. Somebody would have a minor hit, then ten artists would cover it to bandwagon and try to copy its success.
So what makes a great cover album? There are a lot of opinions on that, but we firmly believe it is not enough to simply mimic already great songs. What we like to see is an artist keep the feeling of the original but substantially change the arrangement. Also great is when an artist manages to rescue a song from obscurity and make it completely their own. There is not absolute formula to a great cover song or album, but as with most of our list the following selections hit us the hardest. On to the list.
10. David Bowie – Pin Ups
Bowie’s lat album with The Spiders from Mars was a tribute album to some of his favorite tracks from the 60’s. Pin Ups contains classic songs from The Who, a lesser known track from Pink Floyd’s most underrated era, a Kinks track for the ages, and some lesser-known bands that I probably would have never been turned onto otherwise such as The Pretty Things and The Easy Beats. All of these things fused with the Bowie twist means it is a sure-fire instant eargasm.
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”
For some reason we decided to list the top ten break-up songs the same week as Valentine’s Day. This is awfully cynical, but most relationships do end up in a break up, so deal with it. The discussion on which songs should make the list was uncharacteristically emotional for a LxL meeting, and ended with Wes quite sore over several subjects and Todd reduced to a puddle of salty-teared emotion. The end list did end up quite interesting though, with several classics, and a fair bit of 90’s girl pop. Let’s see if I can give all these songs justice without crying into my ice cream.