Since my last post, freelancing has taken over a larger portion of my time. During the winter, concerts seem depleted, but it has given me more time to focus on new endeavors.
I’m now also a contributor for AXS (the ticketing company) and Dallas Observer. I’ve only written one article for Dallas Observer so far, but you can click here if you want to read my write-up about local metal bands on the oddly named record label Tofu Carnage. For those of you that live in the Dallas area, I’ll be writing a few blurbs in the print edition as well.
For AXS, I have written (a.k.a. fangirled) about Queens of the Stone Age, taken photos for a Slayer concert, and I’ve interviewed Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, all of which you can read here.
I’ve chatted with several interesting musicians lately, so I’ll be back in a few days to share.
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.
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 Memories, which 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?
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!
1. “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely”- Hüsker Dü
If you don’t know about the influential band Hüsker Dü, please listen to Candy Apple Greyright 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
Singer/guitarist Josh Homme has one of my favorite voices in rock, yet Bassist Nick Oliverisings 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
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!