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Riding a Moon Taxi Two High

14 Jan
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Photo Credit: Harper Smith From L to R: Tyler Ritter, Tommy Putnam, Wes Bailey, Trevor Terndrup, and Spencer Thomson

In the category of bands that finally got their due in 2017 is Moon Taxi, a band that existed prior to the original iPhone but has just now signed on with RCA Records. On the heels of the band’s fifth album (and first on RCA) which will be dropped in less than a week, I figure now, albeit a bit late, is the best time to introduce this five-piece Alt/Indie outfit to a growing world of listeners.

Moon Taxi follows a classic band tale, a piecemeal collection of bandmates through high school, college, and the local music scene. Stationed in music hotbed Nashville, Moon Taxi originally played a variety of music closer to jam rock, and this is where they cut their teeth with their first few releases – hence their casting as opening acts for bands like Gov’t Mule and Umphrey’s McGee. The band transformed with the times, taking on a style emulating the trend in alt/rock, a sound most similar to infectious riffs and creative instrumentation. This is where Moon Taxi found a true comfort zone, and this is reflective of the tracks that one will hear when listening to the new album – Let The Record Play. Already festival darlings, Moon Taxi is soaring to the, well, moon, and perhaps the greatest indication of this meteoric rise is “Two High,” a track that reaches the stars with its optimistic lyric and uplifting sound (count the space references in the previous sentence).

First released back in May, “Two High” has amassed more than 70 million streams on Spotify, which is most certainly in the not too shabby category. It’s success is for good reason also. The song begins with a saturated guitar riff – think brighter X Ambassadors. The vocal features that twangy southern charm that one expects from a Nashville band. The song has a couple of stand-out components that have helped propel it to popularity – one the horn fill in the chorus because everyone likes horns in Alt/Rock music (I’m surprised they are not used more) and second the slowed bridge with drowned percussion. Towards the end there is even some subtle Spanish guitar. It’s a strong track from what will most likely be a strong album.

Moon Taxi is a band you want to keep an eye on in 2018 – it’s time for them to touch the sky.

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Pacific Radio Has The Catchy Tunes Your Playlist Craves

7 Mar

 

Quick Editor’s Note: Please help the Music Court welcome a new writer to the ever-growing Music Court mold; Kylie Banks. Kylie will be reporting on some excellent tunes, so keep an eye out for her posts. – Matt

It may be cold in LA (as a Floridian, I consider anything under 60 degrees freezing), but you better believe I’m already creating my summer playlist. And Pacific Radio is definitely on it.

I got a chance to see Pacific Radio at It’s A School Night!, a live show that the Hollywood venue Bardot puts on every Monday night. My friend Zoe and I decided to see what this band was all about. And I’m thrilled we did.

I first noticed lead singer Joe Robinson’s leggings. I’m not sure if I’ve ever see tighter leggings, and, to be honest, I’m not sure I ever will. But even tighter than the leggings was this foursome’s set. Even though I hadn’t heard a single song from this band, their performance had me dancing like a maniac before the first song even finished. After their energetic set, I knew I had to sit down and listen to their discography.

The only disappointing aspect about the Kitchen Table EP was the length – at only four songs, it leaves you wanting more. The first track “Kitchen Table” is incredibly catchy, with the band singing about a tape deck thrown out a window. Of all the songs on the EP, this was the song that I couldn’t get out of my head for days after the live show. Though the second track “Katie” is about unrequited love, it’s upbeat, fun and completely relatable. Additionally, as a transplanted Angeleno with the occasional bout of homesickness, the song “LA Is Pretty (But It’s Killing Me)” has a special place in my heart. I especially loved the violin they incorporated-I’m a sucker for rock bands that bust out the strings for slower tracks. The last song, “Tight Jeans,” is the perfect track to blare for a night out on the town. This song was amazing live-the entire band joined in for the chorus of “Nah Nah Nah’s!” And it wasn’t long before I did, too.

If you’re interested in hearing your new summer soundtrack, check out the Kitchen Table EP below:

-Kylie

“Falling in Love will Kill You” is Divine

12 Aug

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Straight out of a morbid drama, “Falling In Love Will Kill You” by Wrongchilde, the solo project for Mat Devine of Kill Hannah, was released in 2014. The song, which features a duet with My Chemical Romance lead vocalist Gerard Way, was one of the principle tracks on Gold Blooded, Wrongchilde’s album also released in 2014. Devine is a bit of a jack of all trades, not only fronting Kill Hannah, but also playing the role of Grim Hunter in the original cast of Spider Man: Turn off the Dark on Broadway, writing a blog and a book, and co-creating a fashion line called Animal Royalty. His multifaceted pursuits reflect his music, as Kill Hannah was more post-punk, dark rock and “Falling In Love Will Kill You” is softer and intrinsically melancholy. Take a listen.

The song, which plays like a lachrymose lullaby, starts with an acoustic guitar, a toned-down strung-out sound with almost a Freelance Whales quality to it. The acoustic rises with the verse vocals, all while a sputtering, demonic sound oscillates under the surface. The effect is tremendous, as it depicts a mysterious presence under the surface that is almost kept hidden. The song comes together with the pleading vocal harmonies in the chorus falling in with the second verse with synth and drums. The song is carried by the trope that falling in love will kill you, and the lines are even repeated where eventually the the “falling in” is dropped and the song concludes that love will kill you. The downcast message is totally reflected by the emotional song, as the melody tugs at the listener.

Totally worth a listen, right? When do I steer you wrong? You can keep up with Devine on his Facebook or Twitter.

Stand United for Great Divide

29 Jul

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Ok Music Court community, I have a serious question. Why does the following video have fewer than 9,000 views?

Does anyone else see this as a major issue? I think it might be a travesty, a horrendous injustice that needs some musical absolution. What’s the best way to apologize? Listen, of course. And, because I know you won’t be able to listen to the song only once, listen a few more times. Great Divide, a modern soul band out of Chicago, transforms soul music with “Moorie,” an untraditional Gospel piece that doesn’t fit neatly into the Stax or Motown mold, but instead paves its own silky smooth path in soul. The song can best be described as a 21st century hymn, a “Glory”-like piece in the mold of John Legend, but with more of a rock edge. Let’s do a full analysis of the song.

Josh Teitelbaum lays down a snap-inducing drum beat to sit neatly behind Jeff Leibovich’s polished piano riff. This combination creates an immediate fluidity to the piece, one that is aided by the array of carefully arranged vocals that start in full chorus. Teddy Grossman leads the euphonious mix of vocalists and he is aided by other band members and a choir (Vernard Burton, Zita Smith, Carya Holmes, & Martin Woods). Grossman’s voice has an easy potency; it commands the song but does so democratically, never overtaking any other vocalist, but instead driving the song forward with a buoyant tranquility. The verse features a soft bass and guitar, played by Josh Kahle and Jeff Burke respectively, that is analogous to lemonade on a summery afternoon. The song continues in this vein, and then, in case you didn’t have enough, Great Divide adds a booming 4-piece horn section that adds even more of the soul element.

My favorite part of the song is the combined vocal. That Gospel-like amalgamation of voices is both delicate and strong. All in all, “Moorie” should have many, many more listens and views, and thus get to doing just that everyone.

Follow the band on Twitter and Facebook.

Sweet & Vicious – The Story of Arc & Stones

11 Jul

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In the transformative world of modern music it is always refreshing to hear a band that knows who it is and plays music that represents this group-actualization. Arc & Stones, a 4-piece classic Hard Rock/Blues outfit based out of Nashville, Tennessee, has been honing its craft since 2012, and while I am a little late to the game, I have been meaning to right about this powerful quartet for a while now.

Considering how long it usually takes bands to start seeing success, it took Arc & Stones time equivalent to an undergraduates college career to start the band, release several EPs, tour the U.S., open for Kansas on a year-long tour … you catch the drift; the band doesn’t believe in the terms “off day” or “rest.” Described on the band’s website as “an almost insane drive to expand their sonic reach,” Arc & Stones, like the music the band pumps out, is heavy-hitting, passionate, and eager to rock the ears off eager listeners. I can now hopefully count you as one of those listeners. Check out “Control” off the band’s 2014 EP As You Were. 

“Control” immediately glistens with a deep guitar distortion, almost like a nice blend of Black Keys and Kaleo, and a unique hi-hat heavy percussion rhythm that provides a nice pair to the guitar. The chorus features instruments crashing, heavy vocals from Dan Pellarin, a true wall of sound. The song is a call-back to heavy rock influences from the early 70s and more modern hard blues. There is a lot to like.

“Sweet and Vicious” is led by another bluesy Face the Promise Seger-like guitar riff that neatly follows into another crushing drum riff by Joey Doino that follows the riff effortlessly. A lingering lead by Dan Berry falls behind Pellarin’s southern rock croon, while the percussion holds strong with Doino and bassist Seth Webster at the helm. The strongest part of the song is the end, and I don’t mean that in a cheeky way; the predominant riff combines with Pellarin’s vocal and combines this head-bopping finale that crescendos like every tremendous hard rock song should.

Arc & Stones is a band you should be listening to. Check out the band’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

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