Archive | April, 2015

Demo-lished: Quincy LePalm

30 Apr

Not often can you catch my attention with a demo version of a track that I already love. Or even demos of things I don’t already love, really. (Sorry, Karen O.) But there is always an exception to the rule. Our exception this time is Quincy LePalm, a genuine songsmith. He is gearing up to release his debut EP, but has released several demos that are sure to catch your attention.

My personal favorite, “Mazinaw Blues,” channels the soul of Son House, with the songwriting reminiscent of Jack White’s ballads. This metaphor goes deeper though; White is conspicuously influenced by Son House- he plays a Son House LP during It Might Get Loud, and the Son House edition of the Heroes of the Blues CD series has a quote from White right on the back of the jewel case. I like to think that not only is LePalm influenced by both of them, he is their new form. Son House was the master of the blues, then Jack came and renewed rock and roll as we knew it with The White Stripes, then The Raconteurs, and then The Dead Weather. Okay, so I’m getting ahead of myself; LePalm has no interest in fundamentally changing the folk or blues music scenes as we know them. But he is interested in telling you a compelling story, just him and his guitar. The paradigm shifts will come later.

There is an EP in the works, due out this summer. For more information on Quincy LePalm, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Earworm for Wednesday – Saint Motel “My Type”

29 Apr

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The four dapper looking fellows in the photograph above represent the eclectic pop quartet called Saint Motel, a musical variety act, fit with catchy pop of undefinable delineations. Try to evince the band’s genre. It’s difficult. The band goes from funky, horn-blazoned Mad Men-inspired pop/rock to more Walk The Moon-style alternative rock. That is diversity. And, the best part of it all is that the band is clearly enjoying the fruits of its talents, performing this past Coachella on the main stage and making its rounds on Jimmy Kimmel. The band, which signed to Elektra records in 2014 and released its fourth EP in August of that year, has also toured with super-acts like Imagine Dragons and the Arctic Monkeys. Put simply, St. Motel is one of the next big things of pop music, and its extraordinary throwback to upbeat jazz bars with the finest whisky sensibilities – “My Type – is a testament to the band’s emergence as cool and fun.

“My Type” starts with a tremendous horn riff that falls into a disco-like beat straight out of the Tramps’ disco inferno, fit with a range of percussion instruments. The vocal is such a spot-on throwback to everything good with disco/jazz/soul music that one cannot help but smile. The song has a movie quality to it. It sounds straight out of the pictures; it is almost like it was particularly made for it, and the music video suggests something similar. The song is just “my type” and it strikes me as the type of many others. On a completely different musical note, check out “Cold, Cold Man” which is more true Indie/pop with dreamy keys.

You can find out more about the band on its website

Spatially grounded, Astronauts, etc share new single, I Know

28 Apr

astronauts, etcThe first rays of sunlight provide a nascent glow for a few minutes before the sun fully rises. Those moments are like new cells, mimicking their environment, giving back the same emotion that surrounds them. Fresh and flowing, “I Know” from Astronauts, etc reflects the light newness of the dawn.

Vocals by Anthony Ferraro float near a falsetto, while the keys and guitar guide him. Ferraro is the main force behind Astronauts, etc, but you may be familiar with him as the keyboardist in Toro Y Moi’s touring band. He also has been getting some attention for combining cold, lifeless machines and life-giving art with his Hypothetical Beats algorithm. Talent abounds in this young classical pianist-turned-producer, but he won’t be bound to one path; he takes the tried-and-true and makes it all his own. That is to say, despite his recent knack for computer science, he recorded “I Know” with a full band on analog, and had it mixed and mastered on tape.

Astronauts, etc’s EP, Sadie, is out now on Hit City Records. For more information on Astronauts, etc, visit his Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp.

Special Feature: Can’t Miss Summer Music Festivals of 2015

16 Apr

Hello Music Court readers. I am happy to re-introduce Beth Kelly to the Music Court pages who has a special feature on some excellent summer festivals. With that, take it away Beth.

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Ah, sweet summertime. While most of the Midwest is still de-thawing, it might be hard to remember a time when the air didn’t hurt your face. But with hotter days ahead and warm evenings on the horizon, soon it will be time to pack up the car, grab some friends, and hit the road for one of the summer’s best music festivals. From the small and the scrappy to the big and (let’s be honest) overblown, let us help you find the fest that fits best. Read on for a few I’m excited about myself!

Movement Electronic Music Festival – Detroit, MI / May 23-25th

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After the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival brought together hundreds of international Techno lovers from all over the globe in 2000, Hart Plaza has become home to the enormous, electronic-themed event. This year sees a diverse mix of house, techno, and hip hop among performers who include Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man, house music icon Kerri Chandler, dance-punk rockers !!!, Disclosure, and even Snoop Dogg, who, after revealing a love for “Euro tekno” last year, has been performing under the moniker “DJ Snoopadelic.” Make a trip to the Motor City on Memorial Day and witness some of techno’s pioneers in action, all set against a beautiful backdrop of the Detroit River and Ambassador Bridge. If you thought Eminem was the only musical export to come from the city in recent years, consider this an education.

Sasquatch! – George, WA / May 22-25th

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An internationally-acclaimed music festival/mythical being that emerges from basalt cliffs carved high above the Columbia River Gorge each Memorial Day weekend, Sasquatch! never disappoints. This year’s Sasquatch! lineup remains as impressive as ever, with highlights that include Modest Mouse, James Blake, Hot Chip, Tame Impala, and a dizzying list of other talented performers. Camping is your only option here, so bring enough supplies to last you and your friends all four days. A significantly smaller-scale event when compared to jumbo-fests such like Lollapalooza, with attendees numbering at about 20,000 you can expect a communal PNW vibe and maybe even this guy.

Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL / July 17th – 19th

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Chicago’s annual celebration of all things left of mainstream Pop, this 3-day party finds its home in the cozy Union Park. Coming into its tenth year (I feel old) the event is known for featuring a range of popular and critically-acclaimed performers. Summer 2015’s lineup runs the gamut from local rap act Chance the Rapper to Norwegian DJ Todd Terje. In addition to the music, Pitchfork hosts a vendor sale which includes art, gig posters, and a record sale managed and organized by Chicago’s independent community station. The shows tend to end promptly at 10pm, so do your best to fit in all the food, drinks, and fun your body can handle before sunset—but don’t forget to leave room for the after-party.

Made In America Fest – Los Angeles, CA and Philedelphia, PA / September 7-9th

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After starting the first festival small in 2012, Jay Z got together with Budweiser in 2013 to put on the first big two-day “Made in America” festival in Philadelphia. Last year, the event expanded to Los Angeles, occurring in both cities simultaneously over Labor Day weekend. Performers included Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and the controversial Iggy Azalea. While Jay-Z is off on his own tour with Beyonce this year (you can click here for live-streaming info), if you’re looking for a hip-hop focused fest, this is surely one of the best.

Hopscotch Music Festival – Raleigh, VA – September 10-12

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One of Raleigh’s biggest annual events, this festival was established by local newspaper Independent Weekly in an effort to bring both local and national acts to the stages of Virginia. In a “SXSW” style the bands play at various venues across town, touching on genres spanning from classical to dance and “alt-country.” Under new leadership this year, it’s safe to say we can expect a lineup even better than last year’s. Though after Spoon, De La Soul, St, Vincent, and a host of other talented musicians captured crowds in 2014, it’s going to be a tough act to follow.

Mighty Medley: Cotton Claw, Hira King, and In Sonitus Lux

15 Apr

An eclectic electric mix for your hump day. Get to listening.

Cotton Claw – “GRAINY”

Though the title may contradict it, this track is crystal clear and silky smooth. Beats bleed into one another until the dimensions shift around you. An excited theremin pipes in, giving the song a story, grounding it. “GRAINY” is cosmically down-to-earth.

Find more information about Cotton Claw on their website, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

Hira King – “Hummingbird”

Please ignore that cover art. For something that looks like it came from the last acid trip of a hippie before he was sent off to Vietnam, this track exemplifies the hip in trip-hop. I have no idea what vibe I’m supposed to get from this, but whatever it is, I’d like more please.

Find more on Hira King via their website, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

In Sonitus Lux – “Her Eyes in the Morning”

I’ll save you the trouble of googling it; “in sonitus lux” is Latin for “light in sounds.” Quite synesthetic. Taking a very prominent role in the spine of “Her Eyes in the Morning” is an obscure instrument known as a hang. It looks and sounds like an inverted steel drum, and gives this chilling ambient a little pizzazz. At thirteen minutes in length, this is an odyssey, but if you have some spare time to spend with it, you should.

Find more info on In Sonitus Lux on his website and Soundcloud.

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