SATURDAY MAY 29
My Morning Jacket
"There's a theme of moral confusion that runs through the whole record," says Jim James, frontman of My Morning Jacket, explaining the title of the band's new album, Evil Urges. "The world today is such a confused place. Things that people think are good values are obviously twisted, but there are other things considered evil that obviously aren't. There is real evil out there, but Evil Urges is about how all of these things that you've been told are evil really aren't, unless they're actually hurting something or somebody."
Some bands stay in a holding pattern their whole careers. Others jerk the steering wheel hard and fly off the road. On their second album, Vampire Weekend do neither. Or maybe they do both. "I think we sound more like Vampire Weekend than we did on the first record," says drummer Christopher Tomson.
The National are a band of New Yorkers transplanted from Cincinnati, Ohio: Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, and Scott Devendorf. What each member of the band does is not that important, but what they do together seems increasingly more so...
Joel Zimmerman doesn't like being called a DJ. The 28-year-old dance music phenomenon from Toronto, better known as Deadmau5, rolls his eyes at the description, which he sees as a hopelessly outdated way of describing what he does.
# Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
As a core six-piece who had spent most of 2007 and 2008 on the road, Drew, Canning, Spearin, Whiteman, Goldberg and Peroff spent early 2009 working on new material in Toronto. The pairing down of the band's massive personnel list for the first time proved extremely fruitful; they created spacious songs written as a band by a band, resulting in more cohesive, melody-driven compositions than previous BSS output.
Okay, let's just get this part out of the way. Most people know OK Go from their videos, especially those treadmills. Any video that's well enough known to be parodied on The Simpsons is a cultural force in itself...
The self-proclaimed "Ambassador of Rap for the Capital," Washington, D.C.-based rapper Wale (pronounced "wah-lay") was able to transcend his local sensation status and become a national rap contender using go-go-inspired hip-hop as the vehicle for his lyricism and clever wordplay.
Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap group of the late '80s and, for many, the definitive rap group of all time. Building from Run-D.M.C.'s street-oriented beats and Boogie Down Productions' proto-gangsta rhyming, Public Enemy pioneered a variation of hardcore rap that was musically and politically revolutionary.
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady was born out of some loose talk in my Boreum Hill apartment in 2002. I had moved to Brooklyn about two years earlier. I was thirty-one years old, and the other dudes were about my same age. Our concept was to start a straight rock band, with low aspirations. Just local shows, no touring, and most likely, no real records.
Up to this point Miike Snow has remained pretty mysterious, proving nearly impossible to find any information about, photographic or otherwise. Man? DJ? Robot? Miike Snow is a band. Swedish duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg are childhood friends who spent time playing in bands and working on various projects in studios throughout Gothenburg.
Z-Trip is considered to be one of the best live performance DJs in history, by both fans and peers. It's a fact that many call him the godfather of mash-ups, as he is one of the originators of the genre.
For the first time in his life, Brother Ali has been enjoying some day-to-day stability. Gone is the turbulent marriage to his first wife, homelessness, and the associated drama - all of which Ali openly documented on his last LP, The Undisputed Truth.
Minus The Bear
For the past seven years, Seattle's Minus the Bear have orbited the music world like a distant meteor, fine-tuning their unique brand of indie rock and discovering how technology can help enhance the band's unique pop vision - all of which culminated with the full-length Planet of Ice , an album showing the band not so much transforming their sound as transcending it.
In abstract, WHY? is the process of adapting to the business of existing. It's the searching for something clearly unreachable, with hopes of finding small significance along the way.
The Very Best
Born out of the love of hip hop's ethos to consistently push the boundaries forward by extrapolating what was unique about the past and what is radically refreshing about the future, Radioclit's Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg have teamed up with Malawian songsmith Esau Mwamwaya to form The Very Best, an epic global partnership with the sole aim to re write western pop rules in a language which is not English.
Portugal. The Man
Within days of Alternative Press including Censored Colors on its list of 10 Essential Albums of 2008, the members of Portugal. The Man were trudging through the Boston snow to start work on their fourth release in four years, The Satanic Satanist.
Mumford & Sons
Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices.
The Lonely Forest
After establishing themselves in 2006 as a prime young band to watch as winners of the highly coveted EMP Sound Off! Competition, The Lonely Forest have spent the last few years experimenting with a variety of sounds, from pop-rock to piano-driven ballads about a fictional character in the future.
To immerse yourself in Nurses' Apple's Acre is to delight in a certain mental unraveling. These are songs where the vulnerability of pop with its heart on its sleeve engages in a double-dutch jumprope match with the euphoric surrender-to-the-weird that is essential to psychedelia. And Nurses is a band that scavenges beauty and wonder, uncovering Technicolor where others see somber hues.
The Middle East
The members of The Middle East hail from Townsville, Australia, a town situated in the far north of the country and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. It is here that the band created and recorded the five songs that make up the Recordings Of The Middle East.
Patrick Watson is a musical mad scientist. He's an internationally acclaimed singer, composer, songwriter, and producer. Patrick Watson is also the name of this mad genius' band, fleshed-out like Frankenstein by Robbie Kuster, Mishka Stein, and Simon Angell.
Morning Teleportation is a 5-piece psychedelic band based in Portland, Oregon. Tiger Merritt, Travis Goodwin, Chris Lively, Tres Coker and Paul Wilkerson create a high-energy, tripped-out dance-off and sing-along utilizing 5 keyboards, guitars, bass, banjo, trumpet, theremin and drums.
At just 17-years old Laura Marling is one of the most promising and gifted young talents in Britain. After the release of just two 7 inch EP releases, London Town and My Manic & I, Laura caught the imagination of thousands of UK music fans.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Birthed by Mouth in the year two-thousand and five, young Edward Sharpe had to wait nearly two years before he was to grow his arms and legs and fingers and toes. Immaculately conceived, his father (a Robot who had magically become a real boy... but that's another story) declared his undying devotion to the creature. He perched the fleshy bust upon a teetering pedestal fashioned from stacked cereal boxes and positioned the display at his window for all the town to see. Young Edward soon proved no ordinary boy.
Fool's Gold is a Los Angeles collective that weaves together western pop aesthetics with African rhythms and melodies. The group started as a side project of two young LA musicians, vocalist/bassist Luke Top and lead guitarist Lewis Pesacov, who set out to explore their shared love of various forms of African music (specifically Congolese, Ethiopean, Eritrean and Malian), Krautrock, and 80s dance influenced pop music.
Garfunkel & Oates
Garfunkel & Oates is a comedy-folk duo from Los Angeles, California, consisting of actress-songwriters Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome. The two met at the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in Los Angeles. The band was formed when they started working together to turn a short film made by Lindhome, entitled "Imaginary Larry", into a musical.
Known as Los Angeles' "Ambassador of Boogie Funk," Dam-Funk represents the citizens of the Funkmosphere. Headquartered in the Leimert Park section of L.A., Dam (pronounced: 'Dame' as in Damon) spent the last few years cultivating a musical renaissance rooted in the early-'80s styles known as Boogie, Modern Soul and Electro-Funk.
Like rich velvet hijabs or gold threaded abayas. Luxury as understood by the modest. shabazz palaces.
Moshe Kasher. Comedian. Child Genius. Jew. Jew Comedian. OBGYN. Pleasure center. Good tipper. Guiding light. Beefcake.
Featuring the core singer/songwriter partnership of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, The Posies sizable recorded output bestows textbook examples of song craft and adventurous pop sensibilities filtered through a beautifully distorted sonic lens, like their classic record Frosting On The Beater and the highly regarded Amazing Disgrace.
SUNDAY MAY 30
Legendary Massive Attack will tour North America for the first time since 2006 in support of their newly released 5th studio album 'Heligoland.' The North American trek will start May 7th at Sound Academy in Toronto, ON and wrap May 30th at the Sasquatch Festival in George, WA.
Out of the spring break sunshine of Stockton California and on to the pinball rhythms of Brooklyn; taking you in by charm, choruses and their good looks Pavement made five masterpieces then split, having taught the globe how to dress, drink and laugh at themselves.
Founded in 2002 by downtown NYC music scene fixture and DFA label co-owner James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem has risen to international prominence as one of the most critically acclaimed live and recording acts currently in existence.
Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara are a highly motivated musical group with ten years of touring and recording experience. They are committed to seek and obsessively discuss love until the end of time.
Having repeatedly promised a unique, adventurous and experimental work while his singles achieved months of rare all-format success, the Cleveland, Ohio native Kid Cudi, now residing in Tribeca, New York, has drawn immediate praise in early press reviews, which pointed out "Cudi's introspective persona, ear for melody and eclectic taste in beats," (Entertainment Weekly).
Nada Surf bring their trademark sense of harmony and musical craftsmanship to 12 of their favorite songs with their latest release, if i had a hi-fi, their first album of covers. Only a group with their wide-ranging and eclectic taste could bring songs from such artists as Kate Bush, Dwight Twilley and the Go-Betweens together into a coherent, intelligent record.
Album five, Bitte Orca, is Dirty Projectors' most complete effort to date. Reprising the lineup of Amber Coffman (vocals, guitar), Angel Deradoorian (vocals, keyboard, guitar, bass), and drummer Brian Mcomber from 2007's Rise Above, Bitte Orca also adds bassist Nat Baldwin and vocalist Haley Dekle to the fold, resulting in what sounds like Dirty Projectors' first fully collaborative band record.
The xx arrive with their brilliant debut single Crystalised, released on 20th April 2009 on Young Turks. The xx are a London quartet, featuring the dual lead vocals of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim (who also play lead and bass guitar respectively), and Jamie Smith (beats, MPC sampler).
The Long Winters
Formed by guitarist John Roderick in 2001, the band was named by an offhand comment from Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) in reference to Roderick's years growing up in Alaska. The first Long Winters album was a recording project of Roderick, Walla, and Sean Nelson (Harvey Danger), but when the recordings were picked up by Barsuk Records a live band was formed.
Simian Mobile Disco
James Ford and Jas Shaw. Two men. Three letters. SMD. Electronic pioneers. DJs. Producers. They've been tearing up dance-floors around the world for the past few years, but how did their story begin, and where will it end?
On their third album, The Courage of Others, Midlake are still themselves and yet completely reinvented, so much so that between the time they started working on the record and the time they finished it, the title track was re-recorded down to every note, simply because they'd turned into a more ambitious band, with new influences both classic and contemporary, from British folk to Russian cinema.
It's rare to find something as true and beautiful as the band Girls. Listening to their music, it's as though Christopher Owens and JR White were meant to find each other, sincere rock and roll soul mates in the age of irony. And while that might sound like fancy, it's closer to the truth than you think.
Tight Knit is the fourth full-length album from Vetiver--singer/songwriter Andy Cabic's ever-evolving musical home base. Luminous and surprising, Tight Knit unfolds like a road trip down Highway 1, towards Cabic's home in San Francisco. It represents a summation of the different styles and directions heard on past Vetiver releases, while it introduces some unexpected twists.
The Tallest Man On Earth
When fans lined up to see the sold-out Bon Iver performances at New York City's Town Hall in late 2008, few of them went with any expectations of the opening act. But the audience that night, and on every other night of Bon Iver's tour that December, were introduced to something special, something unforgettable: The Tallest Man on Earth. This was the first of several tours for the Tallest Man on Earth (aka Kristian Matsson), with obsessive crowds growing each step of the way.
YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Marfa, Texas and Portland, Oregon, USA. All people are welcome to become members of YACHT.
Berlin-based Booka Shade (Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier) leapt to the forefront of contemporary dance music in 2005 with their classic singles "Body Language" (with M.A.N.D.Y.) and "Mandarine Girl", and their debut full-length Memento. Since then they've released a string of hit singles, become one of the world's most sought-after electronic live acts and developed their unique sound on the acclaimed albums Movements and The Sun & The Neon Light.
From its humble beginnings with the theft of a sampler gathering dust in his high school's music department, through four acclaimed albums and an absurd collision with a litigious wrestler, Dan Snaith's (aka Caribou) musical life has followed anything but a predictable trajectory.
Avi Buffalo is the adopted name of Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, an 18 year-old singer/songwriter and guitarist from Long Beach, CA. Avi Buffalo is also the name of the band he formed with friends and like-minded collaborators Sheridan Riley (drums), Arin Fazio (bass) and Rebecca Coleman (keyboards and vocals).
City and Colour
Bring Me Your Love is City and Colour's sophomore studio album. It evolves and adds layers to the sentiments in those vulnerable moments shared by Green on his original independent release. Co-produced by Dan Achen (Junkhouse) and recorded at Catherine North Studio in Hamilton, the first song "Forgive Me" opens with footsteps on a wood floor, the whirling of a nearby fan, and the rustling of Green picking up his acoustic guitar and sitting on a leather chair to perform on the former altar of this church-turned-studio.
Cymbals Eat Guitars
The sweat's the first thing everyone notices. It's hard not to, as salty trails drip from the pores of Joseph D'Agostino, the yelping, riff-raking frontman of Cymbals Eat Guitars. Here's why he can't seem to stay dry: Pitchfork's "Best New Music" tag - plastered across a rave review of Cymbals' self-released debut, Why There Are Mountains, six months before its official release - was just the beginning of the band's rise to notoriety.
Very few DJs can jump from club sets to high-profile festival performances, to Kanye West's larger-than-life stadium shows with ease. In today's DJ culture, A-Trak holds a truly unique place. He and partner Nick Catchdubs founded America's most trendsetting new label, Fool's Gold, launching the careers of artists such as Kid Sister and Kid Cudi.
Over the course of three records, the last two on Sub Pop (2003's Mouthfuls and 2005's Spelled in Bones), Eric D. Johnson's Fruit Bats have looked for ways to file down the cynical edge of modern life and found many. Using bright melodies, defiantly major-key chord structures, natural imagery mixed with the occasional blazing insight and tender observation, the Fruit Bats have never shied away from darkness, but more uncommon in this day and age, they've refused to shy away from light.
tUnE-yArDs is the singular musical project of New England native Merrill Garbus. Possessing an expansive sound that marries a coarse folk ingenuity with the bold pop sensibility of an R&B siren, BiRd-BrAiNs was assembled with a staunch DIY aesthetic.
Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul. Theirs are songs you can dance to almost as well as you can swoon to them. Drawing a line from the vocal stylings of Crosby Stills Nash & Young and the Zombies through the more esoteric edges of post-punk and Afro-beat, this California five piece have communally crafted a brand of indie rock all their own.
To call them multi-instrumentalists might be a little overdone. The kids in Freelance Whales are really just collectors, at heart. They don't really fancy buffalo nickels or Victorian furniture, but over the past two years, they've been collecting instruments, ghost stories, and dream-logs.
Jets Overhead lives on a massive island that is pigment green with sharp grey mountains moving slowly and peninsula fingers stretching out and snagging the sea. The people in the band are all different heights and all have very different tastes in music and very different ways of expressing emotion or thinking about art.
Rob has been performing sketch and Improv comedy in New York and Los Angeles for the last 12 years as part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. He has also recently started touring the nation performing stand up comedy as well.
Luke Burbank is the foremost Imaginary Radio Host in America. That sounds pretty badass until you consider that he's the only Imaginary Radio Host in America (because he made that term up).
Mixing his spontaneous creativity and absurd view of the world, Rory Scovel is quickly making a name for himself across North America. Whether discussing drugs, politics, or life in general his infectious stage presence and engaging charisma will quickly shift the vibe of any room and place the audience in the scene of every punchline.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia's name has become synonymous with smart comedic storytelling. Birbiglia is best known for his 2009 hit show Sleepwalk With Me, called "simply perfect" by the New York Times and named "Comedy of the Year" by Time Out New York.
MONDAY MAY 31
Ween was formed (during 8th grade typing class) in 1984 in New Hope, PA by Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, aka Gene and Dean Ween.
With Congratulations, MGMT offer a heartfelt "Hear! Hear!" and an invitation to join the group in a new musical odyssey mirroring the psyches of the band's core duo, Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, inspired by their adventures on the frontiers of 21st century pop & roll consciousness.
Band of Horses
Band of Horses are Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds. Long time touring members of the group, Infinite Arms marks the recording debut of Ramsey and Reynolds, while Barrett and Monroe graced the last album, Cease to Begin.
She & Him
She & Him make music for an eternal springtime, when the temperature is warm enough to go riding with the top (or at least the windows) rolled down and the radio turned up. They occupy an alternate universe where the saddest of songs feel as warm as sun showers; the rain may be coming down, but somewhere nearby, everything looks bright.
What is this? Another lost LP from Brian Wilson's sandbox phase? If only things were that simple. What we're really alluding to here is Passion Pit's first proper full-length, Manners, a bird-flipping break from the blogosphere by a 21 year old with much more on his manic mind than girls, girls, girls. You know, important matters, like the end of the world and learning to love someone other than the man in the mirror.
The New Pornographers
The New Pornographers are a Vancouver group made up of A.C. Newman and a group of ridiculously talented people he feels are uniquely equipped to realize his musical ambitions. They formed in 1997, almost immediately recorded the classic 'Letter From An Occupant,' and it was on. Their 2000 debut Mass Romantic and 2003's Electric Version (as well as Newman's 2004 solo debut The Slow Wonder) enjoyed wild critical and public acclaim, and brought a lot of joy to the world.
It seems simplest to understand Patterson Hood as the director and/or producer of low-budget films, which is maybe what he thought he was doing when this all started. Each is released in record album form under the name Drive-By Truckers and features a closely held assortment of friends and combatants.
At only 26 Alex Ridha already has a decade's worth of music making and DJing behind him. What's ahead of him? One of the brightest future's in electronic music. Ridha presents his second album POWER in October which is keenly anticipated by a fan-base that follows his every move. Alongside peers Erol Alkan and Justice, Ridha is part of a new mongrel breed of techno artist with a maverick bent and solid vision, beaming a myriad of influences from the past through a prism to create something fresh, new and exciting enough to send his audience loopy.
Glasgow’s Camera Obscura have had several line-up changes since founder members Tracyanne Campbell and Gavin Dunbar first began rehearsing together back in 1996. Since the amicable departure of Nigel Baillie (percussionist, trumpeter and proud daddy) in 2008, who still pops up onstage occasionally, they have existed as a five-piece.
The Temper Trap
A lot of water's passed under the bridge since The Temper Trap's delay soaked opening to Sweet Disposition first began causing a stir on Australian radio late last year. The track was the first taster of their recording sessions with UK producer Jim Abbiss (UNKLE, Adele, Arctic Monkeys) and it clearly made the world sit up and take notice.
Shame, Shame is Dr. Dog's Anti- debut and the first album made outside the safe confines of their home studio. "Four albums ago, we set out with this unspoken or unconscious mission, and I feel like we accomplished that to our own standards of fulfillment. With our last record [2008's Fate], there didn't seem to be the next logical step with the general set of sensibilities and aesthetics that we'd been working from up until that point. It felt like a closed book," says guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken.
An elusive new project from composer Alan Palomo, Neon Indian delivers equal parts synthetic nostalgia, dreampop lullabies, and grinding guitar noise to create something eerier than the sum of its parts.
No Age: the name alone suggests multiple meanings and possible interpretations - timeless, ageless, anonymous, free from restriction, something positive from something negative... a profound strength in its simplicity. Likewise, the Los Angeles duo consisting of drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall is many things at once even as it embraces its minimalism.
The Mountain Goats
4AD is excited to release the new album by THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, which is John Darnielle, Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster. The Life Of The World To Come was recorded this spring and features string arrangements by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy). Less a profession of religious faith than an immersion in Biblical poetry and imagery, the songs on The Life of the World to Come take their names from verses that informed or inspired them, or which, sometimes, came up against them at right angles.
Phantogram's music sounds like it's made by a band from the city. Electronic loops, hip-hop beats, shoegaze, soul, pop - each finds its way into their songs. Unexpectedly, the band doesn't live and work in a major urban center, but rather calls the town of Saratoga Springs, NY (population 26,186) home.
Quasi was formed in Portland OR in '93 by Sam Coomes & Janet Weiss. Their first album was self released in '95.
Japandroids (JPNDRDS) is a two piece band from Vancouver, BC. This 'band' started in 2006 as a creative outlet for the post-teenage angst of Brian King and David Prowse. Originally intending to be a trio, the boys decided to forgo the logistical nightmare of having a 'lead singer' and do it themselves.
Mayer Hawthorne & The County
Mayer Hawthorne grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and vividly remembers, as a child, driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided.
The Low Anthem
From its hand silkscreened cover art to its meticulously crafted songs, The Low Anthem offers work meant to be held, savored, contemplated, and occasionally stomped along to. The Providence, RI, trio's Nonesuch debut offers a distinctly human touch in an era of instant uploading and ephemeral expression.
Fresh Espresso released their debut LP, Glamour, in July, 2009, and the phone hasn't stopped ringing since. Comprised of MC Rik Rude and Producer/MC P Smoov, the duo met in Seattle and have been bedazzling both critics and fans alike with their sophisticated grime.
Hudson Mohawke, also known as Hudson Mo or Hud Mo, is a highly touted hip-hop-oriented IDM producer/DJ from Glasgow, Scotland, affiliated with the LuckyMe collective. He was signed to Warp Records despite a very limited track record of official releases; in fact, the bulk of his releases were unofficial tracks and DJ mixes circulated on the Internet.
On record, Michael Lerner is the sole member of Telekinesis, more or less. He writes, sings and plays the songs. His love of Japan knows no bounds, though he's never been. He's a fantastic drummer and a fearless singer. And he does not look back willingly.
The inception of Seattle quartet Past Lives, appropriately in the spring of last year, represented a true new beginning for its four members-friends since youth and veterans of various game-changing art punk ensembles. (The Blood Brothers, Shoplifting, Chromatics, and others)
Birthed at the nexus of 2008 and 2009, Boston band Yes Giantess was never meant to last more than a few weeks. The band formed for a one off party. The music they recorded for the show somehow found an online audience and within weeks they were being asked to play shows across the country and in the UK.
Craig Robinson stars as Dunder-Mifflin warehouse manager, Darryl, in NBC's hit comedy "The Office." Robinson previously starred on the series "Lucky" with John Corbett. He has guest starred on numerous TV shows, including NBC's "Friends," "Bernie Mac" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Todd Barry was born in New York City. He moved to South Florida as a cute little boy, then moved to Manhattan as a macho little man. He received a BA in English from the University of Florida.
Blood Brothers may have betrayed their blood oath by breaking up last fall, and Pretty Girls may now inhabit those Graves they made, but the spirit of both those raucous Seattle acts lives on in Jaguar Love.