Friday, May 28, 2010

The Arcade Fire is back


Canadians The Arcade Fire recently announced the upcoming release of their new album, The Suburbs, on August 3rd.

The highly anticipated album, the band's followup to 2007's Neon Bible, is no doubt one of the more talked-about releases of the year.

Listen to the first single, "Month of May," in the video below. The song is currently available for purchase on the band's website.

Lee DeWyze wins American Idol, ruins the season for me

Look. I'm serious here.

Here's a confession, firstly: I watch American Idol. I have since season 2, the exception being season 8 due to a bit of a limited access to a TV.

Now, that said, I followed this season of AI closer than most seasons. Why? For the first time in as long as I can remember (if ever), Ohio had a front runner for the title of American Idol: Crystal Bowersox.

Bowersox, from northern Ohio, was a breath of fresh air to the show. With her long, dreadlocked hair and homages to Janis Joplin and the folk-tinged artists of yesteryear, she was certainly someone I could get behind.

Then there was Lee DeWyze, another artist who I supported at the beginning, but a guy who was more or less just a rocker--though his choice of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel was certainly a plus for me.

With the elimination of Casey James, Bowersox and DeWyze headed into the finals together. Bowersox had outclassed DeWyze (and the rest of the competition) all season, and did so on the night of the finale as well.


For the second straight year, the artist possibly most likely to win (and most deserving?) did not win, replaced instead by the underdog. DeWyze was victorious, and I for one was not too excited.

Then again, it makes sense. This was the third straight year that the 20-something male rocker won. While I'm quick to blame the teen girl population with cell phones for this, this might not NECESSARILY be the case. I don't know. All I know is that I wasn't exactly happy about the results.

That said, the true test is still ahead. Both have just signed record deals with 19 Records, and will release at least one album with the company. Both will have the opportunity to get their own works out to the general public.

I guess then, and only then, will be the true indicator of whose presence in the music industry will be longer lasting.

For now, though? I'm still rooting for Bowersox. No doubt about it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Loudon Wainwright III, Stuart's Opera House, May 21, 2010

This evening, I had the privilege of trekking to Nelsonville, Ohio to spend an intimate evening with a man who is quite well-known amongst folk music fans across the world.

Loudon Wainwright III stopped in Stuart's Opera House for an hour-and-a-half show, playing both new tunes and old favorites. This was the first time I had had the opportunity to even go inside Stuart's, and I was pleasantly surprised at the venue. The stage and seating itself is actually nestled in the second floor of the building, and though it certainly does not look brand new by any means, I would never have guessed that the place was over 130 years old if I didn't know any better.

As for Loudon, well, he was fantastic. The man crafts catchy, engaging folk tunes that are funny when he wants them to be, emotional when he wants them to be... either way, no matter what emotion Wainwright attempts to convey, it always comes out perfectly. And there was nothing better than seeing his eyes light up when the crowd reacted favorably to his music, mainly through laughs when Wainwright made a gesture or simply said something humorous. It was never a dull moment, that was for sure.

I did find it pretty funny that I was almost certainly one of the youngest there. Granted, Loudon's not a young man himself, now in his mid-60s. But the crowd was definitely mostly of the elderly generation. In a way, I actually felt kind of cool. I mean, here's this guy, whom most my age may not know at all, and I'm not only aware of him, but I'm sitting amongst people twice my age (sometimes three or even four times, at that) clapping, smiling and singing along.

I guess I just love music. And it doesn't matter who wrote it, if they're 22 or 92. If it sounds good, I'm game. And trust you me, Loudon Wainwright sounds damn good. Even after all these years, his vocals are still perfect. Particularly, I enjoyed his take on "Daughter", which was released in 2007 as part of Wainwright's Strange Weirdos album. It was featured in the movie Knocked Up, if I'm not mistaken. Heck, Wainwright himself was in that movie. Remember Dr. Howard? Yep. That's him.

All in all, it was a fantastic night. I'm really glad I made it out. Tomorrow night, I'll be hitting up the Mumford & Sons show in Columbus. You bet I'm excited!

Dio dead at 67

Ronnie James Dio, iconic heavy metal singer who found success in the '70s and '80s rock scenes, was pronounced dead earlier in the week. Dio had been ill for a while with stomach cancer, which was deemed the cause of his death.

His death comes as a major loss for the rock world, particularly the heavy metal scene. Dio possessed a voice that was not only almost instantly recognizable, but able to transcend the boundaries of different musical genres. In short, Dio's voice was certainly nothing like the vocal stylings we tend to think of today when heavy metal comes to mind.

The singer, whose work in Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell brought him the most success, will be sorely missed. Particularly with the latter band, Heaven and Hell, Dio had still been active in the music world, releasing an album last year and touring for a handful of years before that. One has to think there was much more left in Ronnie James Dio than we will ever get to witness.

In honor of Dio, I'll post my personal favorite from the decades he was active: "Holy Diver." Enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Billboard's Top 20 Music Tweets of the Week

I wanted to share this link. Apparently this is a recurring theme that Billboard does weekly, and I really like the idea. I've always found it interesting to find the Twitter accounts of celebrities or even just people I know. I think you see their true colors, what they're really like.

For instance, Lady Gaga's tweets seem as strange as she herself is. is possibly even more outspoken on Twitter than he is in public. And Courtney Love... well, Courtney Love's tweets are about what I'd expect from Courtney Love.

I also like this idea because it gives me a reason not to seek out these artists' Twitter accounts. Not that I would. (Hint: I probably would anyway because I have a Twitter addiction. But you didn't hear that from me.)

My favorite tweet in this group of tweets? Weezer's, no doubt. It's nice to know what they were talking about anyway, but the way they worded it is pretty hilarious.

That and this post reminded me that Elliott Yamin exists.

No Doubt back in the studio after six years

According to the band's Twitter account, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt are back in the recording studio for the first time since the recording of 2001's Rock Steady.

The quartet, who have been on tour since 2009's Bamboozle fest after a five-year hiatus, had originally written and recorded some songs a few months before now but decided to scrap them in favor of starting fresh.

As of now, a release date has not been announced for the album, nor has any tentative tour dates. Nonetheless, the prospect of new songs from the band is enticing. Given how on fire Stefani has been since her solo career started, coupled with the output the band supplied on Rock Steady and before, to see No Doubt produce a dud of an album would be highly surprising.

Hopefully something will come of these sessions. It's been so long since we've heard any truly new No Doubt material, and they've been back together for over a year now. It's about time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Muse to release new single from Twilight film

"Neutron Star Collision." Sounds spacey, yes? That's not much of a surprise at all if you're a Muse fan like myself; you've gotten songs such as "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Dead Star" over the years, so a planetary feel is certainly nothing new.

The aforementioned song was just announced via Twilight author Stephenie Meyer's official website as the first single from the soundtrack to the next film installment in Meyer's vampire series, known as Eclipse.

This is the first time Muse has written a song solely for a movie soundtrack. Coming on the heels of the release of their album The Resistance back in September, the band is still releasing singles from that album, so the fact that yet another will be released in its wake is interesting to say the least. But Twilight fans love their Matt Bellamy; it's pretty much a given.

The single shall be released May 17th. The official soundtrack drops on June 8th, while the film hits theaters June 30th.

My first foray into video editing

Since this is music-related, I thought it'd be prudent to share this video I created for my Online Journalism course. I spoke with Jill Mapes, who works at Blackout Booking, a booking agency located here in Athens. I've known Jill for over a year now since she was also my main editor at ACRN up until recently, so this was a fairly easy interview. The main issue was with taking the video and editing it afterward, which I have no prior experience with. Ah well, here's my first learning experience, eh?

Jill Mapes - Blackout Booking from Kevin Rutherford on Vimeo.