Hey y’all – sorry I haven’t had much of a chance to update lately – things are getting BUSY in the A&E world in North Mississippi, as many of y’all know!
September itself is insanely busy, with a ton of film screenings, concerts, theater performances at TCT, THS, Corinth, Starkville…. yeah. Busy.
On top of that, we do have some cool changes coming to the Scene Now blog…but all in good time, my kittens, all in good time.
Speaking of time, this past May was my fifth anniversary here at the Journal. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the crazy stories I’ve covered (countless concerts, a bomb threat, “American Idol,” flying an airplane, etc.), and, naturally, all of the good music I’ve heard over the years.
I thought I’d make a (hopefully brief-ish) list of some of my favorite bands/albums I’ve heard in the last 5 years, so here we go… (PS I’m leaving out your more famous-ish folk, like Adele. This is all about finding new music you may not have heard before, after all)
First off, my heart belongs to the locals – I’ve met and heard so many great bands from around here, and I can honestly say every band has had some kind of unique talent. Between all the bands from Oxford and Starkville and beyond, I don’t have the space to list them all…
A.A. Bondy – My first intro to the folky singer-songwriter was his last album, “When the Devil’s Loose.” It remains one of my most-played albums on my iPod.
Shovels & Rope – I could argue that this is one of the most powerful and talented duos in music today. I saw them at Blue Canoe a few months ago and fell in love, and best of all, they’re coming back one day. The pair play a mix of country and rock with a tough edge. But seriously, y’all – these two are talented.
Farewell Flight – Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the hardest-working band in music. I’ve seen these guys several times as they come through Tupelo, and they never disappoint. Their debut (indie-released) album, “Sound. Color. Motion,” has become a security blanket of sorts. Amazing band.
Graffiti Island – Once in a blue moon, I’ll find a free download to a song or two by this band, and I always gobble it up. I have no idea if they’ve ever released a full-length album. Still, the three songs I own – “Head Hunters,” “Demonic Cat” and “Wolf Guy” are three of the most brilliant songs I’ve ever heard. All three are about exactly what you think they are – head hunters, a demonic cat and a werewolf. Pure genius, y’all, I can’t even explain how genius.
Amy LaVere – This Memphis-based songstress is truly unique in her voice and in her music. She plays around here, and in Memphis, often, and puts on a terrific show. Her co-conspirator, David Cousar, is also very much worth your time.
Magic Kids – This Memphis-based group sounds like they came out of the 60s with their sunny pop. The Magic Kids are like sunshine in the form of music.
City and Colour – Folky singer-songwriter-y sounds that are so beautiful they take my breath away. Both albums I have, “Bring Me Your Love,” and “Little Hell,” are fantastic.
The Ettes – This group is pure rock ‘n’ roll. What more could you ask for? I saw them open for The Dead Weather last year and they were phenomenal.
Annie, Ladyhawke and Robyn – Forget Gaga, Britney or Rihanna – these three European ladies are where it’s at in pop music. Ladyhawke’s debut album, full of 80s and video game-inspired pop, is one of my favorite albums of all time. Robyn’s latest, “Body Talk,” is essentially a perfect record. Give Annie a listen for fun bubblegum/disco pop.
Star & Micey – This folk-pop group, from Memphis, puts on one of the happiest, most joyful live shows ever.
The Postmarks – Sometimes I’m surprised I like this band, because they can get pretty heavy on the ambient in its ambient pop sound. Still, they’ll put you in a trance, and that’s not a bad place to be.
Tame Impala – If you wish it were still the 60s, this psychedelic rock group is for you.
Antony and the Johnsons – I sure never knew I liked chamber pop until I gave this band a listen. The music is lush and gorgeous, and Antony’s voice is one of a kind. The band’s version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” is breathtaking.
Elvis Perkins – Whether he’s solo or with his band, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, I love this guy’s unique, robust, folky sound. (ps, yes, he is anthony’s son)
Jens Lekman – Lekman’s music is adorable, fun, and a little heartbreaking. He’s whimsical in a Zooey Deschanel way, but not as annoying as she is. I mean, one song is called “I Am Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” – but it’s actually sweet, I promise. Another favorite is “Maple Leaves,” in which he sings, “She said we’re all make believe/but I thought she said ‘maple leaves.'” Adorable.
The Tallest Man on Earth – I hate to say he’s Dylan-esque, but well, he is. He’s just that good.
Cut Off Your Hands – I’m a sucker for super-catchy pop-punk. The band’s first few EPs have never strayed from any of my playlists.
Army Navy – Need a good pop rock band who’ll play music you can bop your head along to? Well, here you go.
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Her voice is pure country, but her lyrics aren’t as straight-forward. Both of her records are terrific, especially her latest, “Tell Me.”
We Were Promised Jetpacks – This group’s restless rock-punk sound got me through some tough times, and I’ll always love the band for that.
Ra Ra Riot – I loved this orchestral-y indie rock band’s first album, “The Rhumb Line” and listen to it pretty often.
Death from Above 1979 and Sebastien Grainger – I first heard Sebastien first, as I came across his solo record on emusic. I fell in love with his fun rock ‘n’ roll sound, and did a bit of digging and found his former band, Death from Above 1979. The band blends metal and dance, so they’re a ton of fun to hear. It’s been a while since Death released an album, but they just regrouped, so we should hear something new soon.
Luther Russell – I wrote about this guy not too long ago – you have to love a guy who has so much fun making music that he makes a double album. His music is on the power pop side of things, but he has some gorgeous little instrumentals tucked in on the album. Worth a hear.
More of my favorites, that you’ve probably heard, one way or another, so I won’t take up your time writing word-kisses on them: Gaslight Anthem, Band of Horses, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Santigold, The Civil Wars, Blitzen Trapper, MIA, Tegan & Sara, Avett Brothers, Childish Gambino (actor Donald Glover’s rap name), Coconut Records (actor Jason Schwartzman‘s band), Ryan Bingham, Red Fang, The Gossip, The Decemberists, Spoon, Fleet Foxes, Girl Talk, Justin Townes Earle, Interpol, The Kills and all my riot grrrl bands that I finally discovered like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, etc.
I’m sure there are several I’m leaving out, but that’s where I am for now…
What about you? What music have you fallen in love with in the last 5 years?