Vermont exported one of their greatest talents in 2005 when Grace Potter and the Nocturnals released their debut album Nothing But the Water. Since then Ms. Potter and her motley crew put out three records and on June 12th they released their fourth studio record, The Lion the Beast the Beat. This album is an 11 track rock record that features mellow songs that still rock.
The records opening track is also the title track “The Lion the Beast the Beat”. This song features a pounding rhythm that is laid back powerful, and accompanied by keyboards and Potter’s vocals. The track really starts to take off at 1:40 when a steady kick leads in a rocking riff and Potter’s vocals get darker. The next track is the album’s first single, “Never Go Back” which is a very groove centered track which starts out with what sounds like a programed drum loop. This leads into a very tight bass line which is doubled by the guitar. It also features an odd sounding guitar part that sounds like an e-bow mixed with a slide. The fourth track on the album is entitled “Stars”, and is my favorite track. It seems lyrically as if it is an ode to loss love, and to what once was. One will also enjoy the alternate version of the song featuring country crooner Kenney Chesney. “Timekeeper” follows, and is a great track that features a very jazzy feel in the beginning, but then the chorus rolls around, and you remember that this is a Rock and Roll record. The next track I took note of was the seventh track, “Turntable” which is a great rock and roll tune full of innuendo and swagger. “Keepsake” is the eighth track on the album, and at points it seems very restrained. I think they could have done more to make the track build more because when it got to the chorus it seemed very anti-climactic. Next up is “Runaway”, a very soulful jazz inspired track that features a great vocal performance. The final track on the album is entitled “The Divide”, and it strikes me as one of those big rock radio songs that is unexpected yet people love. I think the track has tremendous depth and tremendous musicianship. The track also features a great guitar solo that starts at the 3:30 mark and sounds like Joe Perry, Slash, and Jack White tangled up in a dark alley. With that the album comes to a close.
When buying albums there are three things I consider: Songwriting, Production, and an artist’s integrity. When I picked up this album I got all three. This to me makes it a good purchase, and one of the top albums of the year.
Check out the Music Video for “Never Go Back” below:
One of the most surprising trends in modern music is the resurgence of folk, bluegrass, and Americana. Thus when I first heard, Hurray for the Riff Raff I was shocked at how accurately portrayed this unique roots music was.
After growing up in New York, Hurray for the Riff Raff was started by Alynda lee Segarra when she settled in New Orleans. In 2008 she released It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You, and in 2010 she released her second record, Young Blood Blues. These two albums were later taken from to form the compilation self-titled release Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Eventually Segarra found herself in need of a back-up band, and this is when she found The Tumbleweeds, who signed on as her touring band. After two years of touring the band now found itself recording in a Nashville studio. This is when their latest record, Look out Mamma really started to take shape, and were the band really started to show their and Segarra’s talent.
Look Out Mamma is one of my favorite records of the year because it is both visually striking and musically I find it to be more authentic than most bands that try to emulate traditional styles. When the listener first picks up the album they will immediately be struck by the cover image of a soldier holding a gun. This soldier happens to be Segarra’s father. When one listens to the album they will be equally as stunned by the quality of the music especially the title track which is a pure slice of heaven.
One would also be interested to know that Hurray for the Riff Raff is not signed, and do to this is distributing their own music. They have a Kickstarter page, and with this page they raised $11,351 which is $3851 more than the band needed, but it’s just a testament to how good they are, and the future they will have exceeding goals and expectations.
Check out this video of Hurray for the Riff Raff playing their song, “Look Out Mama” live on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, The Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA was the scene of one of the biggest tours of the summer. This tour featured the one and only, Dave Matthews Band. The show, including the opening act, resulted in four hours of fantastic music. The Dave Matthews Band played a three hours set, which was a crowd pleasing set no matter who you asked. They opened their show with, “Don’t Drink the Water” and the show was off to a rocking start. They also played some of their bigger hits including “Why I Am,” “Funny The Way It Is,” and “What Would You Say.”
The set featured many songs that the band would jam out on. Songs like “Funny The Way It Is”. Two of my personal favorite jam songs of the night were, “#41” and “Why I Am.” They were both mind-blowing good.
After the death of LeRoi Moore, the band was faced with a great challenge of replacing such an amazingly talented musician. The band struck gold with the addition of Jeff Coffin whom throughout the show displayed his immense talent and skill. I could not believe how talented he was.
This show marked the second time that I have seen The Dave Matthews Band, and they have shown no signs of slowing down, and will continue to spice things up each time I see them. The first time I saw the band, they played a set that catered to more of their biggest hits. This time around instead of just playing their big hits, they simply jammed out. Over the years I have seen a far share of jam bands, but this show topped them all. I was blown away by the skill level they played at and was extremely fortunate to see them again.
The Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour 2012 will be hitting over thirty stops all around the country, which allows fans to have the opportunity to see Dave Matthews this year. Be sure to check out this tour when it comes to your city!
Gary Clark Jr. could be the one of the artists that is going to keep the blues alive. As mainstream music gets over saturated with pop acts, Clark sticks to his roots, and does it with originality and soul. Playing guitar since he was 12 years old, and mentored by Texas blues legend Jimmie Vaughn, Clark has developed a style. Along with being mentored by Vaughn, Clark has shared the stage with legends like B.B. King, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy. Clark has also played at the White House in front of Barrack Obama.
Musically Clark falls in the blues category, but he’s not the stale bluesman that plays the same 12-bars on every song. Clark mixes it up and you can hear his more modern influences mesh with his blues heroes. This can be seen on tracks like “The Life” off Clark’s 2010 eponymous EP. This track combines a sound that is reminiscent of modern hip-hop with smooth soul and Motown sounds moving in and out. This could also be said of the track “Break Down” which sounds like The Killers meeting Slash on a back alley.
Clark is one of the greatest performers of our generation and is recognized by many as the next Hendrix. I won’t go that far but I will say that I hope that Clark keeps pushing the boundaries of the Blues and challenging listeners.
Check out Gary Clark Jr. Performing his track “Bright Lights” Live Below:
One of my favorite rappers to emerge from Boston has been, Moufy. A Boston native, Moufy takes pride in his city, and this is apparent on his new mix-tape, The Preparation. Moufy takes his life experiences of growing up in Roxbury and going to private school to shape his music. Moufy also uses interesting beats, lyrics, and melodies to create a very listenable mix-tape which is of high production quality. The Preparation is a natural progression from his previous mixtape, Boston Lights, and will probably receive mainstream press soon. Jump on the Star Gang train as it’s about to leave Boston, and is headed to your city.
The Preparation actually starts off with the track “Skyline” which is a very mellow track featuring Moufy’s upbeat rhymes, and also features Mackey on a great clean vocal. “Glass Break” is the next song, and is also single off the mix-tape. I enjoyed this track because of the heartfelt lyrics, and because of the awesome relaxing beat. The track also features a catchy chorus performed by Masspike Miles. The next track that caught my attention was the fourth track, “Hundred Thou”. The track has a catchy beat with a killer bass line reminiscent of southern rappers like, Yelawolf or Rittz. One of the songs that I think could get a lot of mainstream play is the sixth track, “Nobody”. “Nobody” has a catchy beat with a catchy chorus that would find itself comfortable on mainstream radio. My favorite track on the Mix-tape has to be the final track, “Forever More.” To me it’s the perfect way to end a mix-tape due to the nature of the lyrics, and the beat which is sprinkled with piano.
Moufy is one of the best rappers to release music in the last five years. I think that with the right label and PR team Moufy will take over the rap game and stand up next to heavyweights like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Yelawolf.
Check out the full mix-tape below:
Lions Lions comes out of the Boston music scene, which almost all of its members helped to form. The band was formed in 2007 and has been collaborating to create their music since. The band’s four members have been very involved in the Massachusetts music scene, Brandon Davis formally played with in local bands including Vanna and Therefore I Am. Jon Kay formerly played with The Jonah Veil Joshua Herzer, and Nick Sjostrom have always been involved in playing music. All of their backgrounds come together to form a sound that is unique, and shows how they stand out from the crowd.
Their music is influenced by the array of genres they have worked with in the past, culminating into what they consider themselves today. The band’s genre can be described as hardcore, rock or pop punk. In 2008, Lions Lions released their first album Direction, which showed how much they deserved to be in the ranks of other successful bands from the Boston are inlcluding Four Year Strong, A Loss For Words, and Vanna.
The band continued their success with their sophomore From What We Believe. In 2010 the band released their third album in three years, titled The Path We Take. Over the past few years I have had the good fortune to see Lions Lions a handful of times, and every time I am more impressed with how the band has progressed over the years. I find a new reason to be impressed with them each time as well, whether it be how tight the band plays live, the chemistry the band mates have with one another or how they interact with their fans. It has been such a special experience as a fan to watch the band progress, and to see where the future of the bane unfold. Being a small town band, show them your support by checking them out on Facebook and on iTunes. They say local music is the best music, and Lions Lions is no exception to this.
Check Out Lions Lions’ video for their song “Killing Your Grace” below: