The Grammy Awards want variety for this year’s televised performances

Normally I wouldn’t be eager to watch the Grammy Awards ceremony, but this year’s roster of performers is surprising for anyone used to just sparkly divas and the latest pop sensation predominantly on TV. The 56th annual music celebration will have more alternative selections this time around.

Metallica and pianist Lang Lang will perform a rendition of "One" from 1988's "...And Justice for All."
Metallica and pianist Lang Lang will perform a rendition of “One” from 1988’s “…And Justice for All.” (Photo Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba)

The heavily nominated Daft Punk will be joined onstage by a groovy, funky bunch consisting of none other than Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, and Chic’s Nile Rodgers. Both Rodgers and Williams made contributions to Daft Punk’s record Random Access Memorieswhich has been nominated for Album of the Year.

Of course, Pharrell sang on the huge summertime hit “Get Lucky,” but also provided vocals for the second single “Lose Yourself to Dance.” In addition to putting his disco mark on the previously mentioned tracks, guitarist Nile Rodgers also contributed to album opener “Give Life Back to Music.” This group of musicians makes perfect sense, considering they all have such nods to funk and soul (and if you’ve never heard of Pharrell’s previous group The Neptunes, definitely take a listen).

In a very different style lies Metallica’s performance of “One” alongside Chinese pianist Lang Lang, which will obviously bring a clash of styles, but at least it won’t be a worse collaboration than Lulu. Maybe picking a pianist that has played his share of Liszt to coincide with a thrash metal band isn’t such a bad idea.

Just a few days ago blues maestro Gary Clark Jr. and country star Keith Urban were additionally announced as a performers. Though I’m not too fond of Keith Urban, it’s a relief to see a veteran indie musician like Gary Clark Jr. able to attain more national visibility. His latest album Blak And Blu from 2012 is a good starting point for anyone interested in a modern take on soul and blues.

However, the performance I’m looking forward to the most is the finale consisting of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails, and Queens of the Stone Age. Considering Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails alone took up approximately half of my listening pleasure last year, this superband is going to be one fantastically heavy way to end the awards show.

All I’m worried about is that there’s going to be an excessive amount of guitarists on stage. Just because one is able to put five guitarists on stage together doesn’t mean one should. Whatever the case may be, bring on the noise.

For more information on all of the performers, click here. Which performance are you looking forward to the most?

Related Links

Discovery by Daft Punk

…And Justice For All by Metallica

Sound City – Real to Reel [+digital booklet]

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March Music Madness

This month is going to be full of noise.

Whew! Just let me breathe for a moment. I’m currently in the process of reviewing three albums by today, and planning several things. When I say “several things,” I mean 35 Denton and SXSW, and that’s just in the duration of two weeks. Last Monday I was at a Radiohead show in Dallas (click here for my videos), which prepared me for concert mode, and seizure-dancing with maracas if SXSW bands feel inclined to do so. However, one arena concert will not fully prepare me for the onslaught of music about to occur.

Beautiful Austin before the annual invasion

Every March bands parade through Texas (and usually most of the U.S) while they make their way to SXSW. 35 Denton is the weekend before SXSW’s music portion really kicks in. This year’s lineup boasts bands such as The Jesus & Mary Chain, Atlas Sound, Best Coast, The Raincoats, Mountain Goats, and more. SXSW includes more than 2,000 bands.

As thrilled as I am to satisfy my shoegaze heart’s desire for The Jesus & Mary Chain, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year for me. Luckily I am not currently in college, so I have time to plan everything, but the level of press I am providing this year is far above anything I have ever done. On one hand, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and promise that my worries of not having a successful future is merely temporary self doubt. On the other hand, am I going to survive?! The amount of walking/awkward running will surpass the previous festival workouts.

It may seem like I’m just complaining (well, I kind of am, aren’t I?), but I certainly enjoy the craziness. 35 Denton is much more relaxed and laid back. It is a way to see bands without the mayhem and large crowds, and SXSW offers an atmosphere and musical experience unlike any other in the world.

This year, I will be taking photos and reviewing shows at 35 Denton (which goes along with the Air Review interview already completed), and then it is off to SXSW on March 14-20. So far, I know there will be an interview with Brooklyn’s Ava Luna, photo-taking at Spin‘s Austin Throwdown and Rachael Ray’s Feedback parties, and reviewing/taking photos at many day parties.

There are some other possible developments that are really exciting. I will be interviewing other bands, and may be attending a few other events that will for sure get me giddy if they end up being confirmed. Here’s to musical bliss and sneaking in saltine crackers for the next few weeks!


Anti-Valentine’s playlist (part 1)

A playlist for the rest of us.

Ahh, Valentines, the time of the year I find myself eye-rolling the most. For some, it may be more about sobbing or feeling lonely, but no worries. Here’s a playlist of songs to remind you of how awful you feel!

This is part one of the playlist. Yes, I am a pessimist.

1. “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely”- Hüsker Dü

Husker Du...happier than their music

If you don’t know about the influential band Hüsker Dü, please listen to Candy Apple Grey right now.

2.  “There’s No Home for You Here”- The White Stripes

This song is in the middle of angry and happily independent. The lyrics appear to be resentful, but the music isn’t as dark.

3.  “Heartbreaker”- Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin…isn’t that reason enough?

4. “Gonna Leave You”- Queens of the Stone Age

Please make a Josh Homme/Nick Oliveri spy movie!

Singer/guitarist Josh Homme has one of my favorite voices in rock, yet Bassist Nick Oliveri sings on “Gonna Leave You.”

5. “One Step Closer”- Linkin Park

Yes, I included a Linkin Park song. Don’t judge me! I have to occasionally relive my middle school years just like everyone else.

6. “Hyper Music”- Muse

An obvious but fantastic nod to the guitar genius Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, “Hyper Music” doesn’t seem to have aged much over the course of more than 10 years.

7. “No Compassion”- Talking Heads

David Byrne sounds somewhat like a jerk if you listen to the lyrics, but it is David Byrne we’re talking about, so you never know what’s going on in that arty head of his.

8. “Monkey Wrench”- Foo Fighters

There’s no way I can play this song without a smile on my face. This song may not necessarily be about a romance, but it’s still applicable. The Foo Fighters will always be one of those bands that bring back good memories.

9. “Breakin’ Up”- Rilo Kiley

Dance beat, Jenny Lewis’ sweet voice, and liberating lyrics…not all breakup songs are sad!

10. “Smile”- Lily Allen

Back when Lily Allen was (more) innocent

I’m not a huge fan of Lily Allen, but she does know how to create music that is equally acerbic and upbeat.

11. “You’re Gonna Miss Me”- 13th Floor Elevators

What are the lyrics? I don’t know, but it sounds nice!

Santigold is back!

It’s hard to believe that four years have passed since Santigold’s first album Santogold was  released. “L.E.S. Artistes” was the first song of hers that I heard back in 2008. Last year I saw her dynamic performance at Austin City Limits, and she drew a much bigger crowd than I expected.

Even though I’m not a fan of hip hop, I gravitated towards her kaleidoscope of genres including pop, hip hop, and indie rock. Now she has done it again with her new single “Big Mouth.” Hopefully the new album she is  releasing in the spring will turn more heads (and ears) towards her.  

Click here for the “Big Mouth” music video and more information that I have written about what mischief Santigold will be up to this year.

Music video for “L.E.S. Artistes”


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Digitalism Interview

San Francisco playlist

Digitalism interview

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the electronic band Digitalism, and here’s the interview! Even though the group is from Germany, they seem to be better at speaking English than most Americans.

There will also be a review and a few photos up from their show in Dallas after the holidays (a.k.a. my one week out of the year not spent in front of my PC). I’ll also have some reviews and photos from several of the year’s concerts, such as the Foo Fighters and Broken Social Scene.

“Like” the Alternative Music Examiner on Facebook if you would like to be up-to-date with all of my posts.

Music video for “2 Hearts” by Digitalism



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Santigold is back!

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