Featured Shows of the Week! August 6
Imagine sludge rock mixed with pretty male/female harmonies and then throw in some punk and a heavy dose of soul. I think your imagination would conjure up something very close to the sound of Ava Luna. This band uses a bass (lots of bass in this band… that’s where things get nice and sludgy), synth/keys, drums, and four part vocal harmonies to create something similar to, well, what I just outlined above.
I’ve never really heard anything like this, to be slightly sure. Sometimes Ava Luna hits hard and overall just kind of rocks out, and at other times they’re like a stop-start doo-wop group that could also moonlight as cast members in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Maybe. You know what; maybe I should just stop trying.
But, no. No! That’s the wrong attitude. I must push forward in describing this eclectic sound. Well, here’s what I know. I know that Ava Luna makes me want to both “dance with my face” (that’s what we call head-banging in our household) and kick like a Rockette. Er, Rocketter. Whatever the male version of Rockette is. How’s that? Ava Luna is a chorus line head bang. Boom. Nailed it. They’ve recently played shows with Twin Sister, btw. We like that band, too.
Adorable, that’s literally the best word I could summon for the rock these cats are laying down. It is sentimental but not sappy, that’s something I can dig. Most obviously they’re a very well produced rock group. And holy shit did this band drive me insane for whole night trying to remember who the fuck they were making me think of. To be honest to was likely some amalgamation of memories so I might never find it, but if one of you figure out something remarkably close let me know.
Jack Tatum, formerly of Jack and the Whale and Facepaint, began making his shimmery, synth-washed indie pop recordings under the name Wild Nothing in the summer of 2009. Emerging at a time when a handful of C-86-esque groups (e.g. Crystal Stilts, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart) were in vogue, Tatum’s project garnered a bit of buzz with a synthy, glimmering cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting.” Captured Tracks picked up Wild Nothing soon after the project’s first demos came out, and it wasn’t long before Tatum recruited bassist Jeff Haley, guitarist Nathan Goodman, and drummer Max Brooks to round out the group’s live sound. Wild Nothing’s first single, Summer Holiday, was released on Captured Tracks before 2009 came to a close. The band’s debut full-length, Gemini, was released in the spring of 2010 and garnered Wild Nothing all kinds of critical acclaim. After releasing a follow-up EP, Golden Haze, near the end of 2010, Captured Tracks reissued Gemini in February of 2011 with the addition of Tatum’s cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting.”
Dance for the Dying is a synth-driven dance-rock quartet that effortlessly fuses the joyful with the melancholy to craft infectiously catchy tunes. Based in Washington, DC, the group was formed after drummer Chris Link found inspiration on a trip to India that set him on a musical mission. Through the power of the internet and mutual acquaintance, he recruited guitarist Joshua Hunter and vocalist M.C. Wolfe in 2009 and the three began crafting original songs while searching for a fourth member to solidify their sound. The band found their man when Guitarist-turned-Bassist Brad Cantor joined the group in 2010. The band has a distinct sound of 80′s and 90′s goth and pop with fast paced rock rhythms. Simply put – Dance for the Dying creates songs you could roller skate to on laser night.
The Bright Light Social Hour is an American rock band from Austin, Texas. Born out of a university art-rock collective, the band first gained attention in Austin from their incendiary live performances and innovative vision of rock and roll. Melding southern rock, hard dance, psychedelic blues, and deep soul, their debut full-length album led to heightening critical acclaim, national touring, and a rare sweep of six awards at the SXSW 2011 Austin Music Awards, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.
These days, the mediums through which artists can present themselves abound: We’re in the midst of a momentous vinyl revival, and not far behind are the clicks of cassettes changing sides as their nostalgia seems to be having an ever-increasing influence on smaller music acts. On the other end of the spectrum is the Internet, where we can click, listen, watch, dig and tweet until our eyes are bloodshot.
Chicago, Illinois-based Colin Caulfield, a.k.a. Young Man, takes full advantage of the latter. Granted, most bands would be foolish not to use the Internet to spread their goods, but for Caulfield, it seems to be his birthing place.
“My purpose for music is positive social change,” says Orange County, California native Aloe Blacc. “Even if the music itself does not explicitly express anything that may signify positive social change, the product of the music will.” He is speaking in general terms regarding his career, but more specifically about the circumstances surrounding his upcoming album, Good Things, co-written by the versatile vocalist and songwriter in conjunction with the in-house production team at Truth & Soul Records