Born out of two bands -- The Secret Machines and On!Air!Library! -- New York City's synth-dreampop act School of Seven Bells have been together for six years, but have grown with their line up changes. Originally, the project consisted of identical twin sisters Alejandra (On!Air!Library!) and Claudia Deheza and guitarist Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines). However, Claudia left the band in 2010 before the latest record "Ghostory."
In their brief career (1969-76), this band provided the soundtrack to my final years in high school. If the English had done Proms, me and my mates would have ended ours drunkenly singing "Stay With Me" in the middle of the dancefloor, even if the DJ wouldn't play it!
It's not difficult to imagine The Lumineers being from the Midwest - let's just go ahead and annex their hometown of Denver. Their roots revivalist image and solid harmonies are indicative of the kind of music this region has helped popularize over the years. Their story is one which many bands can connect with - slowly gaining popularity across a self-booked tour with just an EP in tow. The Lumineers have now gathered more than a few accolades to make their self-titled debut one of the most anticipated records this year, and they're already selling out venues in support of it.
Metronomy's "The Look" was one of the hottest songs to come out in 2011, harnessed on an electronic minimalism that made the track's hook immediately danceable. It didn't hurt that the rest of the album "The English Riviera" was also a fine exploration of pop music, ensuring that frontman Joseph Mount would have a hit on his hands.
Current fans have responded strongly to that song "Little Talks" as well, making it #1 on the Chart Show for the past few weeks, inducted into the Hall Of Fame. Thank you. You and the rest of the public radio audience across America have enabled these six young musicians to come to Austin, Texas and experience something truly magical. A massive crowd at a legendary venue like Stubbs singing along to songs that are 'not yet available' in the traditional sense of that word in the USA.
Emeli Sande knocked us out last March, and we're re-airing her session in anticipation of her show at the Varsity Theater, Jan. 23.
The demise of popular indie band The Unicorns at the beginning of the aughts left many fans feeling a void. Prolific pioneers of lo-fi indie pop, frontman Nick Thorburn would of course not be gone for long. In 2006, the music world was rocked by the critically acclaimed debut album by Islands, "Return To The Sea," an experimental, long-form record that would go on to inspire countless musicians, especially in the Canadian music scene.
It's hard to believe it's already been 13 years since Dr. Dog first started making music. Once considered an extremely underground act playing shows to support their "Easy Beat" album, their first for a record label in the early aughts, they've since gone on to tour alongside The Spinto Band, My Morning Jacket and The Raconteurs.
So what is the sound? I still have no adjectives that work, but where it comes from might be a unique quality of our community at this time, coming from a skill-laden collaboration of artists willing to be brave and knowing that there is an audience out there, on the radio and in the clubs, that is willing to support them when they are.
Already widely acknowledged as the most respected hip-hop artists employing live instrumentation in the contemporary music scene, the Roots have cemented that reputation with their gig as the house band of Jimmy Fallon, proving every night that they can play anything with anybody with out losing their credibility or fire.
Doomtree's members have all been featured in the spotlight for their solo projects, but it has become a rare sight to see the collective perform together in recent years. So when their newest album "No Kings" was announced, people in the Twin Cities were understandably buzzing about the idea of more group collaboration in a live setting.
The Doomtree collective stopped by for a live performance in MPR's UBS Forum to celebrate the release of "No Kings," their newest album. On-air host Mark Wheat sat down for a chat with the group inbetween songs. Enjoy our video of their conversation.
Polica had already recorded their first full-length before debuting on the local music circuit. So the mystery behind them after their inaugural show in September 2011 was already remarkably large, especially considering the musicians' previous projects like Roma di Luna, Bon Iver, and GAYNGS.
Ximena Sarinana released her critically acclaimed debut album "Mediocre" in 2008 and cemented her reputation in both Mexico and the United States with two Latin Grammy Awards nominations and an American Grammy Awards nomination under her belt. She's credited with helping to bring back the style of nueva cancion, a genre of Latin-folk popular in the 1960s-80s.
For me, the success of Florence + the Machine was one of the biggest musical surprises of last year. It wasn't because she's not talented of course, but because her version of epic pop, with quirky twists and turns has never really sold as well before.