One year ago I started what turned into a “season” of Mario Kart 8, complete with gameplay tweaks and paid downloadable content (DLC). It’s the first time I’ve played a Nintendo game that has bought into the “long-tail” content and add-on strategy that is so prevalent in the large publisher space. Instead of a capsule frozen in time, Mario Kart 8 got something similar to the season pass and map pack treatment. The question is: how did this work out?
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Drummer/vocalist Kitty Pause and guitarist/vocalist Skool-Ejekt helm a roots project called Hymn for Her. What a surprising—and delightful—turn of events, then, to see them pull a clever sonic 180 in the form of their new project the Mix Tapes, where they are joined by bassist/vocalist Reverend Rewind (of Go Man). The debut of the Mix Tapes, the modestly titled #1, finds the trio crafting tunes that bring together punk, vintage pop, and indie rock into one straightforward and catchy mold. For one such example, stream the number “Just Don’t Get It” below; the track is comprised of equal parts Spoon-esque rock and sing-alongable Beatles pop.
“Just Don’t Get It” is no mere mishmash, though. As far as the Mix Tapes’ rock chops are concerned, one need only read this anecdote from when AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson saw the group perform live: “He caught a show and told us that it was the most entertained he’d been since the Beatles died,” says Reverend Rewind, adding, “You do the math.”
Memorial Day Weekend kicked off in style at the Boston Calling Festival. The three-day event, set beneath the buildings surrounding City Hall Plaza, received strong performances from headliners Beck, My Morning Jacket, and the Pixies, with a well-rounded supporting cast that included Tame Impala, St. Vincent, and TV on the Radio.
Alabama’s famed Muscle Shoals has long been a goldmine for the recording of great music, particularly in the Americana, blues, and roots genres. For Amy Black, her ties to the town are more personal, as both of her parents were born there. In channeling both her own past with Muscle Shoals and her love for gospel, roots, and R&B, Black took to the town’s FAME Studios to record The Muscle Shoals Sessions, her third solo outing, drawing from legendary sources of inspiration such as Etta James, Mavis Staples, Wilson Pickett, and Aretha Franklin. Another key tribute on the album is a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me”, the fun and goofy video of which you can view below.
In the press release for The Muscle Shoals Sessions, Black says, “Making this music has changed me as an artist. It’s altered my musical course and I’m so glad.” One viewing of “Bring It On Home to Me” and it’s easy to see that she’s right on the money.
Rachel Lynn, a powerhouse vocalist out of New York City, bolsters her take on pop with her classical training as a singer, something quite uncommon in the modern pop landscape. Such vocal gusto is more than obvious from a single spin of her tune “The Claim”, which finds her in striking form.