The Band are one of the great rock acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although that time is also associated with the rise of psychedelia, the music of the Band is anchored in the roots rock tradition—put simply, their music will never bring to mind any skies with diamonds. However, that doesn’t mean contemporary artists can’t take the music of that essential Band and throw in some psychedelic flourishes, just as the Portland, Oregon outfit Drunken Prayer has done with their cover of “Evangeline”, featuring Freakwater’s Janet Beveridge Bean on supporting vocals. The video to “Evangeline” features distinct washes of psychedelic color, an appropriately quirky, Pacific Northwest touch to this classic tune. For a slightly off-kilter take on America as only Portland can bring it, Drunken Prayer will do just the trick.
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Sedona, Arizona doesn’t sound like the kind of place where one would expect to find an homage to the Wu-Tang Clan. However, the singer-songwriter Brandon Decker, whose musical calling card is the all-lowercase decker, isn’t exactly keen on fitting into basic expectations. On his newest LP, Patsy, decker pays homage to the late Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard with the tune “O.D.B”, the video of which you can exclusively watch below. In the video, decker and a choir decked out in red sing ebullient harmonies in the desert, line dance, and circle around in the woods. As a tribute to ODB’s spirit, it’s definitely an atypical one, but it’s also charmingly and uniquely decker, straight from the heart.
In the ‘00s, the Leeds, UK rock outfit Kaiser Chiefs made a big splash with their excellent 2007 album Yours Truly, Angry Mob and its earworm of a lead single, “Ruby”. Like that song, the band’s latest tune, “Falling Awake”, anchors itself on a simple, repetitive chorus: “She’s got me falling, falling / Falling away!” Also like “Ruby”, though, such repetition is extremely effective given the Chiefs’ catchy songwriting. Buoyed by a near danceable bass synth, “Falling Awake” bodes quite well for the group’s forthcoming sixth studio LP, which follows 2014’s Tony Blair-referencing Education, Education & War.
Just as this spring commences, producer and musician Stefon Taylor, known as Bionik, will release an album of new material, Sonik Boom. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bionik has a long history in music, both up on stage and behind the soundboards in the studio. Throughout his career he’s worked with, amongst others, ED O.G., Tamara Savage, Phil Collins, MC Lyte, Lady Saw, Everton Blender, Johnny Osborne and Frankie Paul. After relocating to Los Angeles, he engineered and produced albums for Far East Movement, Ice-T, Too Short, Aceyalone, Treasure Davis, Ras Kass, Kool Keith, Volume 10, MC Zulu, Black Silver, Baby Bash and Lil’ Rob.
Below you can watch the video for “Helikopter (feat. Griffen)”, the first track to be released from Sonik Boom. If that track is any indication, one best ready her dancing shoes for the LP’s release date… this is music to get you moving.
No, you’re not mistaken: on “Williamsburg Boy”, the opening track of her new EP, Indian Summer, New York City-based songwriter Sarah McGowan is indeed singing about the ever-bourgeoning Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg and not the California coast. Such a mistake is forgivable given the tune’s sunny surf rock vibes, in addition to its well-placed Valley Girl-ism (“I would literally fucking die”). Although this sonic isn’t repeated throughout Indian Summer, the rest of it does match “Williamsburg Boy”‘s elating handclaps and effortless hook, resulting in a brief yet undeniably catchy collection of indie pop numbers. McGowan is a singer that fans of twee pop best keep their eye out for.
// Notes from the Road
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article