Tag Archives: Death Cab for Cutie

A Journey At Sea Reveals The Complexity of Human Condition Through Dark Corners

13 Jun

The track Goodnight from It’s Just Craig carries an undertone of grunge meets Americana goth. The lyrics “I’m sick of goodnight, from oceans away” paints a melancholic, but visual tone. When listening to It’s Just Craig, listeners can draw similarities between their sound and the sounds of Mother, the early sound of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the softness of Stars. Although, one only gets a glimpse of the journey of the path of a man at sea through the track Goodnight, the album Dark Corners takes listeners on a story of transformation and life at sea of a captain. Further emphasizing on their signature sound, it is no surprise that their production team, citing specifically John Vanderslice have carved their way into the music industry producing Spoon, Deathcab for Cutie, and St. Vincent just to name a few. It’s Just Craig reveals several parts of the human condition, journey, and themes of self-realization in this latest release.

For more listening: 

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Check Out These Summer Music Tours

12 Jun

Hey all. If you haven’t noticed, summer is right around the corner. It’s time for Music Court writer Beth Kelly to tell us a little about some tours you may want to check out over the summer.

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Across the country summer is the season for music tours, giving artists the opportunity to connect with their fans in towns throughout the U.S. and beyond. This year some of the biggest names in popular music are preparing to hit the road – even aging rockers AC/DC and the Rolling Stones are loading up their buses for another act. So what are you waiting for? Grab your friends and push your way to the front of the stage.

Ambivalent, indecisive, or unsure of who to see first? Here are a just a few of my suggestions:

  1. D’Angelo

This 7-date cross-country American tour starts in early June and closes with two dates at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Of course, the show itself stars the inimitable D’Angelo backed by his band The Vanguard, concentrating on material from last year’s critical success Black Messiah and his upcoming new album. The funk/soul singer songwriter is also a multi-instrumentalist whose versatility on stage, combined with his soulful voice and eclectic compositions, delivers the kind of unique performance you won’t find from anyone else.

  1. One Direction

The British/Irish pop supergroup is coming off of one of their strongest records yet, 2014’s Four, and their catalog has grown to encompass a large variety of rock styles, incorporating dance, punk, piano rock, and dubstep. Even without Zayn Malik, the boys from 1D remain one of the hottest touring acts in the business. Following their rapid rise to fame and enormously successful 2013 tour, as chronicled the film One Direction: This Is Us (check here for listings), the popsters are predicted to continue their streak of selling out even the largest auditoriums. This time around the group’s tour covers major cities in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop, who have also toured with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, will be opening most of the dates.

  1. Death Cab for Cutie

These indie rockers from Washington have built a solid and varied discography, furnished with understated, emotional lyrics and lush instrumentals. More than partially responsible for pushing the prehistoric emo look on middle school malcontents, we all remember how important cardigans and thick-rimmed glasses were for the quiet boys with nice handwriting. Maybe your high school crush played “When Soul Meets Body” the time you drove in his mom’s Volvo to see Garden State at the local megaplex. Maybe Transatlanticism was the soundtrack to your first foray into obscure pin-collecting.

Either way, the crown princes of hipsterdom are back and ready to (gently) rock you all over again. In support of their recent release Kintsugi, the 5-piece ensemble will be playing over 50 dates in the US and Europe. There will be a variety of openers throughout the tour, including instrumental post-rock outfit Explosions in the Sky and recent R&B/New Wave sensation Twin Shadow.

  1. The Rolling Stones

Is it okay for grandfathers to look this good in leather pants? No time for questions, the Stones are on the road again and ready groove with music lovers of all ages. Mick and the lads have always been among of the most creative and exuberant of all arena rock acts, and this year’s tour will be no exception. Covering 15 major American cities from May to July, and pairing up with amazing and diverse openers like The Avett Brothers, Kid Rock, Grace Potter, and Ed Sheeran, this tour promises to be truly unforgettable. And if you’re worried about the Stones’ notoriously high ticket prices, you’re going to see a dip in ticket prices this time around – but unless you get in on a groupie pass, it’s still going to cost you.

  1. Jill Scott

Scott’s expansive upper range, along with her soulful fusion of spoken word and jazz, has made her one of the most original R&B acts around. Her 25 date US tour will be supported by up and coming crooner BJ the Chicago Kid, whose remarkable voice has landed him guest appearances on a slew of hip hop tracks with the likes of Warren G, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West. If you love great singing, don’t miss the chance to catch two of the best vocalists in the industry on this tour.

  1. Imagine Dragons

These Grammy winning alt-rockers from Las Vegas are hitting the road in support of their recent release Smoke + Mirrors. A powerful synthesis of rock, punk, metal, and electronica contributes to their expansive, high-impact sound. The Dragons will play nearly 100 dates between the US, Europe, Japan, Australia, and Russia, and will feature indie rock group Metric and singer/songwriter Halsy in support.

 

This year, don’t sweat alone in your room and let the summer pass you by. Get outside and immerse yourself in the timeless seasonal soundtrack of stale beer, sweat and pounding synth beats. No matter which tour you plan to see, it’s sure to be something you’ll remember for many summers to come.

Headphones, Poplar Trees, and Adam Brock

13 Jan

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In the liner notes of his summer 2013 EP, Adam Brock writes “Everyone finds solace in song, regardless of age and circumstance. I hope this music serves that purpose for some.” Keen statement from the young musician from Oregon. Brock, a multi-instrumentalist with a sensational ear for melody, is the best kept secret in the Pacific Northwest. Heck, he may be the best kept secret along the entire Western coastline. With a whispery vocal that he skillfully layers to the euphonious instruments that he plays, Brock is the sweetest sound in Indie that you are not listening to … but will be soon.

I know I lay down a lot of praise on this blog, but I know when I should particularly highlight an artist. Brock is that artist. He is also humble and unassuming, which is a major plus in my eyes. This is a dude who not only knows music but also puts time and effort into perfecting the intricacies of his tunes. His small selection of music from last year was quite impressive, and it is all available on his Bandcamp for free, so I totally suggest checking it out.

“Poplar Trees” is from his 3-track release in January of last year. The first 30 seconds are a bit deceiving because Brock immediately provides this mystical vocal track that sounds like other Pacific Northwest bands like Fleet Foxes. This, of course, is not a bad thing, for I am a bigger fan of folk harmonies than most, but it is not Brock’s predominant sound. The consequent electric percussion and keys is more of Brock’s scene, and oh my does he sound like a young Death Cab for Cutie, does he not? The early 2000s Indie Pop bleeds from the song. Then, the bottom falls out of it and the song is carried by a halcyon picked guitar and Brock’s sweet voice. It is as the ultimate blend, and it is done masterfully.

“Headphones,” released in June, also maintains that Ben Gibbard sound (almost a minimalistic Postal Service). There is also some Bright Eyes and the Shins thrown in for good measure. Brock knows what he is doing. In this piece he even adds a Velvet Underground-like string section (cello, viola, violin). Honestly (and why would I lie), Brock’s music is excellent. He displays ability far beyond his years. There is only one question I can ask: why is he not touring the U.S.? Let’s make Adam Brock more known.

Check out his Facebook and Website.

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