Tag Archives: Imagine Dragons

Frame of Mind From Sam Levin Spins Forward Ambitious Pop Sound

13 May

Sam Levin just released his newest album called Frame of Mind and it epitomizes a mixture of pop, soul, and indie rock. With lyrics intertwining between the themes of the seen and unseen, and nature undertones, Levin’s smooth vocals keep audiences entertained and wanting more. From a musical auditory observation, the mixing of variety of light synthy sounds and xylophone taps, his music does not fit within one’s typical idea of indie pop. Sounding completely evolved and already carving a specific niche in the musical world, Levin surprises audiences with his mature sound for his age of 15. For 2017, listeners should take note of his over ambitious evolution as an artist and keep track as its just the beginning.

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.

The Top 10 Songs of 2013 – Preview

5 Dec

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Rejoice! The Music Court is bringing back the end-of-the-year Top 10 song list. Hooray. It’s the highlight of any holiday season! Ok … maybe it’s just some reading fodder that you can scoff at when you binge on holiday leftovers. For the rest of December, the Music Court will feature our list of the top 10 songs of 2013.

Check out the full-song in-review of The Top 10 Songs of 2010 and The Top 10 Songs of 2011 by clicking on those links, or click on the subcategories on the right-hand side of this page to view individual posts. There is no 2012 list (sorry!)

First, some logistics prior to previewing the list. In order to be considered for this list, the song must have been released in 2013. Yes, this seems obvious. But when I say 2013, I mean that the song may have been released as a single in 2013, or if it was not released as a single, it must have appeared on an album released in 2013. Often songs are released on albums the year prior to when the song is released as a single. This simply provides us with more options.

This list is clearly subjective. It is completely biased to the taste of those at the Music Court. That being said, you can certainly berate us for getting everything wrong. That’s the fun part of these lists. Comment on rankings you disagree with. Give us your top 10! We want to hear from you. Also, please understand that I (Matt) am not the biggest rap/hip-hop fan. Thus, the list is skewed towards pop/folk/rock (my beloved genres). There is a rap song on the list, though. I promise.

So … what songs almost made it on to the list but couldn’t quite supplant any of the top 10 songs? Here is the list leading up to the top 10:

19. “A Song about Love” by Jake Bugg

18. “Afterlife” by Arcade Fire

17. “Southern United States” by Leif Vollebekk

16. “Winter Road” by Bill Callahan

15. “New” by Paul McCartney

14. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke

13. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

12. “365 Days” by ZZ Ward

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But, how? “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” were arguably the two most popular songs in 2013. They should most certainly appear on the top 10 list. You must have something against Pharrell Williams, who is featured in both songs. Credit to Pharrell, by the way. What an amazing year! In June he became the 12th musician in history to hold the #1 and #2 spot on the Billboard Top 100 at the same time … and for two COMPLETELY different songs. Incredible. But, while both songs fall close to the top 10, I do not just go by mainstream success. Both songs are as infectious as chocolate-covered pretzels, but, to me, the top 10 songs all have more enlightened qualities.

And … just missing the top 10. The #11 song of 2013:

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Know the lyric? It is “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, which many of you know because of it was overplayed on mostly all rock stations since it was released as an official single in October of this year. The lyric of the song is powerful; a clear depiction of a protagonist with pernicious flaws. It is somewhat hidden behind the crashing melodies and dramatic harmonies, but the music is just so good. Imagine Dragons certainly knows how to intertwine a catchy melody with hard rock sentiments. It’s a great song. Can you imagine the excellent stuff on the top 10 list?

Be Tuned in on Monday, Dec. 9 for the #10 song on the list! 

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