I like a little grit. Usually I feel that a great show combines unpredictability, recklessness, and some raw, unpolished vulnerability. That’s what makes live music exciting and dynamic. If we wanted flawless vocals and sonically airbrushed instrumentals, we’d just stay at home and listen to the music on iTunes. So I’m trying to figure out why Marina and the Diamonds’ shiny, choreographed, factory-sealed set at the Warfield Sunday night felt so right. Read more »
I was flipping around on my car’s FM dial last week and had the bleeding-from-the-ears misfortune of coming upon Taylor Swift’s staggeringly awful new single. I thought for a moment that I landed on some kind of Disney or Nickelodeon channel, where corporate-oriented bands score those awkward tween TV shows. In reality though, Swift is currently selling the shit out of the thing on iTunes…and leaving me to question my faith in humanity’s hearing.
So I was all the more enthusiastic as I headed to the Warfield on Monday night for the Devo and Blondie double bill. Clearly, I was in need of some kind of authentic audio to counter balance the heavy dose of vapid pop I had stumbled into on the airwaves. And even as their 1979 heyday grows ever more distant, Blondie and Devo delivered in a big way on Monday. Read more »
You could say Fiona Apple belongs to an endangered species. One of the heavyweights in a lineage of 1990s major-label iconoclasts, dedicated to the conceptual potential of the album format, (Bjork, Spiritualized, PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails) Apple has built a 15-year career on making approachable, yet arty, pop music with indie-label integrity, and an undercurrent of fringe appeal.
After making a big splash with the sultry music-video to her first hit single, “Criminal” (1996), she shrewdly abandoned any MTV-vixen ambitions, in favor of foregrounding her musical and lyrical ability, and her remarkably versatile, jazz-inflected vocal range; as a result, she’s one of the few artists of her generation to transition from stardom to cult status, and not the other way around. Read more »
It had been a long wait to see Iggy Pop live (not like, Morrissey-long, but more like three months later than anticipated). When I spoke with Pop back in September, he was ecstatic to be out on the road again. Read more »