Recently, Fleet Foxes released an expansive new song that demonstrates tunefulness and originality. This remarkable group is cementing its reputation with this remarkable new song, which is entitled “Third Of May/Odaigara.” It has now been six long years since Fleet Foxes released their last album, 2011’s “Helplessness Blues.” As a variety of journalistic sources have reported, the new album Fleet Foxes have recorded is called “Crack-Up.” Hopefully, Fleet Foxes will continue to live up to the expectations of their fans. Whether or not “Crack-Up” is fully artistically successful, there can be no doubt that this band knows how to put songs together in a professional way. This may be a band for the ages.
With their plaintive, folky tunes, Fleet Foxes have managed to win over the hearts of a generation. Instead of endlessly repeating themselves like so many other successful bands, Fleet Foxes is instead developing new sounds and new modalities. One could argue that Fleet Foxes has unquestionably managed to set the conditions for long-term success. At the same time, music history has a way of surprising even the most experienced prognosticators. Fame and fortune can often prove fickle and fleeting.
One of the most appealing qualities of Fleet Foxes is its extensive use of three-part harmony. Elements like this go a long way towards differentiating an indie band from similar peers. It is relatively easy to forget just what a huge impact Fleet Foxes made when they released their first album. For people of a certain age, the first Fleet Foxes album was a touchstone and a sign of things to come. I think it is a good thing that Fleet Foxes demonstrates great attention to the needs of fans. Without this commitment, the band could potentially become a kind of repetitive self-parody. With groups like Fleet Foxes working tirelessly for the public, I think this is one of the most exciting periods in the history of American popular music.
The indie music and summer festival scene isn’t what it used to be. Even the most esteemed music festivals are pale imitations of their former selves, like bad cover bands struggling to remember the lyrics to famous songs.
Founded in 1970, England’s Glastonbury festival, a five-day, open-air celebration of performing arts and British culture was inspired by Woodstock and other free, counterculture music festivals. Today, Glastonbury is a corporate behemoth, a tent-pole music event that’s more of a quick money grab than a celebration of music and art. Deep-pocketed sponsors, A-list celebrities, and has-been headliners have hijacked Glastonbury’s bohemian ethos and indie cred. According to DJ Fat boy Slim, Glastonbury has become more middle class and less dangerous, and that’s putting it lightly.
The Glastonbury festival opens on June 21. Johnny Depp is the latest lineup addition. Luckily for festival attendees, Depp won’t be playing on the main stage in his Alice Cooper-fronted supergroup, Hollywood Vampires. Depp is the guest of honor at Glastonbury’s new Cineramageddon area, a Drive-in movie screen and auditorium featuring a program of rock and roll inspired cinema. Depp’s money woes have been well documented, and his appearance at Glastonbury, where he will be introducing the 2004 film, “The Libertine,” seems like a cheap and easy way to make a paycheck.
Does Glastonbury really need a stage devoted to movies with rock and roll attitude? More importantly, does Glastonbury need to grease the pocket of an aging A-lister to draw a crowd? Glastonbury has struggled with its lineup in recent years. Fatboy Slim says the festival is running out of headline acts and has dated itself by rebooking artists who’ve already topped the bill. This year marks the third time that Radiohead has headlined Glastonbury.
Instead of booking Johnny Depp to introduce a film he made 13 years ago, maybe the Glastonbury festival should focus its attention on regaining some indie cred.
This is an amazing time for an up-and-coming indie band called the War On Drugs. Recently, this band performed a song called “Holding On” on the Stephen Colbert show. This song is found on the band’s latest album, “A Deeper Understanding.” For this live television performance, the War On Drugs put together a fairly extensive ensemble of nine players. This performance included three guitar players and three keyboard specialists for a nuanced, layered sound. Although this band is still essentially singer Adam Granduciel plus collaborators, Granduciel is reportedly striving for a more democratic, band-oriented approach for the group. As music journalists have duly noted, the War on Drugs is slated to perform a major tour this next fall. I believe it will be interesting to see how this rising band ultimately affects the indie music world.
With its quirky name, the War On Drugs certainly stands out from the crowd. Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that this band can subside into the background if it does not market wisely. Instead of following tired marketing trends, bands like this need to tailor their images appropriately for the Internet age. In this era of social media engagement, the public is increasingly becoming tired of bland, old-fashioned rock bands who make use of hackneyed imagery. Fortunately, the War On Drugs is a strong enough band that its excellent sonic signature can make up for any possible deficit in the band’s cool factor.
Although the War On Drugs has produced some great studio recordings, the band can occasionally seem cold or sterile during live performances. If this band hopes to mature into a long-lived entity, I think it should continue practicing and honing its live act. Although studio recordings are great for getting your brand out and creating an audience, live performance is now the most practical method for achieving financial independence as a working musician. I have every confidence that the War On Drugs can change the face of indie music if they work hard enough.
Alexandre Gama now has a reputation as one of the largest marketing executives in the world, but he started his career off as a copywriter. After receiving his marketing degree, he had set off Standard Ogilvy & Mather as a low-level writer. He had worked his way up into multiple positions and eventually moved to larger companies. By the 1990s, he was considered to be one of the best writers in Brazil.
Once he started his own company Neogama, his career really started to take off in the marketing world. He had switched from writing and mainly focused on film production. Many of his advertisements had won awards at the Cannes Festival and other smaller awards in Brazil. By 2006, he was considered to be the Agency Director of the Year in Brazil. About Magazine had also considered him to be one of the most important professionals in the country in 2006.
John Darnielle, the man behind the indie musical group the Mountain Goats, recently created a new concept album. However, the topic for the concept album might intrigue you. Do you know what it is? It’s all about a certain subgroup of people you may have been familiar with throughout your stay in high school or college. It’s goths. The new album, appropriately titled Goths, is all about the perspectives, struggles, and joys behind a goth.
To write the album, Darnielle and his fellow band members revisited the bands they heard during their adolescent years in California. This includes bands such as Joy Division and the Cure. Darnielle also ditched his traditional guitar to record the songs. In fact, the only guitar on the entire album is a rumbling bass guitar. However, perhaps the best part of the album is the lyrics. Darnielle took pains to reference many different bands and musical personalities in the lyrics. The result is a musically pleasing album that can act as a gateway to new bands. It is also a wonderful reminiscing on the bands you know and love.
Peter Hughes, the bassist on the album, was pleased to announce that the album also covered many bands that “never made it out of Fender’s Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world—the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite.” In other words, purists will be delighted how deep the Mountain Goats drilled their well of references for the album.
The Mountain Goats long ago established themselves as a canonical band for anyone interested in indie music. The release of Goths only expands their undisputed territory in the indie music world. The album has the potential to delight on the first listen, and its musical references have a durability to make constant listening worthwhile.
Have you checked out Goths yet from the Mountain Goats? Let us know below!
If you thought releasing singles was a tactic mainly used by artists trying to hit the top of the charts, you have a lot to learn about the indie music scene. Indie stalwarts Mogwai will probably never appeal beyond their cult following, yet they continue to release singles that achieve serious critical acclaim. As explained in a variety of music journalism sites, Mogwai has released a video for Coolverine, the lead-off single for the band’s latest post-rock opus, “Every Country’s Sun.” Fittingly for Mogwai, this video is deeply evocative and artistic. The video’s surreal visuals include shots of people and objects falling upwards.
Although some people complain that Mogwai follows a too-familiar pattern in their epic songs, I feel that this type of criticism in wrongheaded. If Mogwai were to drift too far from their well-established style, longtime fans might lose patience. Borrowing the atmospheric, soundtrack-like style of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and taking it to the next level, Mogwai achieved great success through their consistency. For better or worse, post-rock is one of those styles of indie rock that has a fairly rigid, well-defined sound. Fortunately, this is a sound that is deeply appealing to those of the public who are willing to stretch their musical horizons.
Since the 90s, Mogwai has delivered incredibly beautiful rock music for the masses. By focusing on instrumental music instead of vocals, this band has established a formidable back catalog that has proved highly influential. Although most post-rock bands are indie artists operating on small labels, I think that the aesthetics of post-rock have gradually filtered into modern rock. This is perhaps one of the reasons that more and more rock musicians are composing pieces with long instrumental sections. Although Mogwai certainly wasn’t the first post-rock band, I argue that Mogwai took the post-rock sound and turned it into something far more sweeping and marketable. Over time, it is possible that Mogwai will find bold new ways to adjust their musical style.
Mount Eerie is a indie music project by artist Phil Elverum, an artist known for his somber mood and lush sound design. His most recent album “A Crow Looked at Me” is a reflection on his wife’s death to cancer, following the birth of their first child. The album is arranged chronologically, conveying his emotional arc after this traumatic event. While the album’s subject matter is quite dark, the music has a floating ambient quality that allows a casual listener to enjoy a half-heard melody.
The album has received a positive critical reception, including this article from Pitchfork, a prominent music news site. Pitchfork has placed this album among their “best new music” category, a notoriously hard spot to reach.
Mount Eerie has historically been known for his fuzzy and noisy indie recordings, full of amplifier hiss and analog buzz. However, this album has been stripped bare leaving only acoustic guitar and soft vocals. As a result, we are drawn into Phil Elverum’s state of quiet horror and reflection on the death of his wife. His songs dwell on the immense emotions of loss and how these emotions appear in mundane, every-day circumstances and overwhelm us.
This album certainly addresses tragic subject matter, yet it also calls on us to appreciate the world as it is, and perhaps to embrace this tragedy as a necessary part of living. When compared with Mount Eerie’s older works, it gives the suggestion that Phil has been forced by tragic circumstances to widen his perspective on life, and his art-work clearly shows his emotional growth. Rather than the abstract, surreal lyrics of older works, his current album celebrates small moments of joy and suffering as they are really experienced, unembellished with his customary analog hiss.
Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, recently reflected on Radiohead’s magnum opus 20 years after it originally hit shelves. The album “OK Computer” is seen as a masterpiece today because it blends electronic music, elements of Miles Davis’ psychedelic period, and the melancholic acoustic guitar strums that the band has always been known for.
A rare interview with the BBC reveals how the band got started and how the album came together. So, what’s prompting Thom Yorke to quietly reflect on an album that saw its release 20 years ago when Tony Blair and Bill Clinton were two dominant players on the political scene.
Radiohead is planning on reissuing “OK Computer” in a new album, of sorts, called, “OKNOTOK.” The upcoming reissue is slated to contain a number of b-sides and insights into the musings on Thom and the band at the time. Every reissue will come with selections from Thom’s notebooks and a behind-the-scenes look at the songwriting process that went into every song.
The new reissue will feature remastered cuts of all of the original songs plus three previously unheard tracks. Fans can expect eight b-sides when the digital version of the reissue drops at the end of the month (June 23rd).
The reissue, which will come to consumers in a black box, will feature over 100 pages of Thom’s notebook musings from the period of “OK Computer” as well as four dozen pages of artist and producer Stanley Donwood’s sketches. Artwork from the period has recently been uploaded to Radiohead’s core website for fans to check out.
Reflecting on the album in the BBC interview, Yorke recounts his inspirations at the time, which included glam rock band Queen, the improvisational jazz of Miles Davis, and a touch of heavy metal to sweeten the whole deal. The album originally featured over three dozen takes of the song’s bohemian rhapsody-like saga, Paranoid Android. Fans can expect the reissue to drop on June 23rd.
Perhaps the most famous singer-songwriter from the 1960s and 1970s, Bob Dylan is drawing criticism for potentially quoting without attribution parts of his Nobel Prize speech.
A stunning report out of Slate magazine assets that large portions of Dylan’s Nobel Prize were cribbed from, of all things, a SparkNotes’ synopsis of the Herman Melville classic “Moby Dick.”
It’s often said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and in this case the evidence might be more compelling than you initially thought.
Now, Dylan has always cited “Moby Dick” along with “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Odyssey” as personal inspirations that motivated his most easily recognized lyrics. Some are saying that all of this inspiration goes beyond fertilizing new ideas to something more insidious.
Although certain excerpts from Dylan’s Nobel Prize speech don’t find their counterpart in Melville’s actual text, there are some striking similarities between Dylan’s speech and the SparkNotes’ summary of Melville’s classic. There are an estimated 11 points of overlap between Dylan’s speech and the SparkNotes’ summary of “Moby Dick.”
Whether there’s anything to these allegations is up to the reader, although the evidence does beg certain questions. A certain passage from the SparkNotes’ summary that discusses the prophet Gabriel’s role in the plot of “Moby Dick” has a striking resemblance to Dylan’s own words in his Nobel Prize Speech.
For comparison, the SparkNotes’ version reads: “One of the ships carries Gabriel, a crazed prophet who predicts doom.” Dylan copies that passage almost word-for-word in his Nobel Prize speech, which left many critics scratching their heads and many fans wondering why Dylan would do this.
Is it a grand spoof or an artist just winging it? The report from Slate is brand-new so it may take some time to work out. Interestingly, though, this isn’t the first time that Dylan has been accused of quoting without attribution, as large parts of the album “Modern Times” drew controversy.
Helium is one of those critically acclaimed indie bands that never seemed to receive the recognition or acclaim they truly deserved. Sadly, this band only released two studio albums in its short career. As the lead singer and guitarist of this band, Mary Timony made a lasting contribution to indie music culture. In a recent interview, Timony provided some context about her decision to reissue Helium’s albums. Apparently, Timony was frustrated by the fact that it had become fairly difficult to find Helium albums on vinyl. According to Timony, all remaining vinyl copies were becoming prohibitively expensive. Since she is an indie rock veteran, it is not surprising that Timony is so enamored with the old-fashioned joys of vinyl.
Apparently, Timony is going to play some solo tour dates in support of the new reissues, which will feature unreleased material. Initially, Timony had planned to put the original band back together. This plan proved too difficult, logistically speaking. Now Timony is planning on playing some solo shows with two sympathetic souls she met in New York City. Naturally, it is disappointing to learn that the world narrowly missed experiencing a Helium reunion. I’m happy that Timony is planning on playing many Helium songs at her upcoming shows. These shows should prove very invigorating to music fans of all ages.
As Timony has revealed, the band had difficulties getting along and dealing with the stress of touring. Also, Timony and another band member had been in a relationship. When that relationship fell apart, it naturally created friction within the band. It’s been about 20 years since Helium called it quits. Under Mary Timony’s guidance, Helium participated in an era of growth and resurgence for alternative rock. After Bikini Kill hit the scene and paved the way for female-fronted punk bands, Helium followed up with its unique, gritty sound. Many Helium songs sounded poorly, murkily recorded. However, I think this actually worked in favor of the group’s relatively dark songs.