Tanlines is an American electronic music and indie rock duo from Brooklyn, New York composed of percussionist Jesse Cohen and guitarist and vocalist Eric Emm. Their influence is drawn from various genres including pop, indie, dance and world music. Tanlines' debut album Mixed Emotions was released on March 20, 2012 and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart.
(ALSO DEC. 4-5) Ever since 2010, when Gary Clark Jr. wowed audiences with electrifying live sets everywhere from the Crossroads Festival to Hollywood’s historic Hotel Café, his modus operandi has remained crystal clear: “I listen to everything…so I want to play everything.” The revelation that is the Austin-born virtuoso guitarist, vocalist and songwriter finds him just as much an amalgamation of his myriad influences and inspirations. Anyone who gravitated towards Clark’s, 2011’s Bright Lights EP, heard both the evolution of rock and roll and a savior of blues. The following year’s full-length debut, Blak And Blu, illuminated Clark’s vast spectrum - “Please Come Home” is reminiscent of Smokey Robinson, while “Ain’t Messin’ Around” recalls Sly and the Family Stone. 2014’s double disc Gary Clark Jr–Live projected Clark into 3D by adding palpable dimension and transcendent power –– songs soared and drifted from the epic, psychedelic-blues of “When My Train Comes In” to his anthemic, hip-hop, rock-crunch calling card, “Bright Lights”, all the way down to the deep, dark, muddy water of “When The Sun Goes Down”.
There are a handful of folks who have informed for the mélange of genres and styles, which comprise the genius of Clark. One is Michael Jackson. It was on Denver stop of MJ’s Bad Tour where a four-year-old Gary’s life was altered after witnessing The King of Pop. By the sixth grade, Clark would own his first set of strings (Ibanez RX20).
As a teen, Clark began making a local name by jamming with adult musicians around nearby clubs. He struck a balance by singing in the church choir with his sisters. That gritty & sweet combination imbues the honey-thick soul that oozes from his vocals today. The eclectic Texas circuit, though, was Clark greatest university, where another culprit in the GCJ genesis lives: Clifford Antone, ambassador of the Austin music scene. Antone’s nightclub granted Clark the honor of sharing the stage with local blues heroes like Jimmie Vaughn, Hubert Sumlin Jr, and Pinetop Perkins. This on-the-job training, combined with studying licks by literal Kings like BB, Albert and Freddie, observing the mastery of Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Parliament-Funkadelic, and digesting the fresh edge of Tupac and Biggie, lifted the guitar prodigy up into a multi-instrumentalist, adept scribe, and undisputed music festival champ.
Now, after spending the last five years transforming audiences from the California desert to the London metropolis, acquiring fans like Barack Obama, Keith Richards, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé along the way, the 6’4 Texan needs to spread his musical wings and spectrum hues wider. This exhibition will be Clark’s second full-length worldwide album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim due from Warner Bros. Records on September 11th. The title’s inspiration is one half Clark’s Southern roots––those singers and local musicians who saw the future in this young man ––and other half, his acting debut in John Sayles’ 2007 film Honeydripper. A 23-year-old Clark played the fictitious Sonny, (in fact, already his family-given nick-name), a young musician who transformed the blues and R&B into rock and roll. On his latest, Clark isn’t trying to reinvent any wheel. He’d rather deploy as many wheels as possible in order to lead music fans toward his favorite destinations.
“The Healing” mashes blues and hip-hop into the 21st century with a Marleyesque message of hope and faith. This journey of the soul hits Mississippi on the Delta jam of “Shake,” before pulling into the spiritual station of “Church,” serving gospel made with the purist folk elements: hypnotic strum, sweet harmonica, and aloud prayers as painful as they are beautiful (dare we say, Dylan-esque). “Grinder” makes musical graffiti out of fierce, freeform wah-wah screaming that spars with rap-tough urban tension. The code is completed once Clark’s chordophone wails a salute to all guitar gods.
What this body of work accomplishes that its predecessors hadn’t is spotlight Gary Clark Jr., the artist first -- as producer, singer-songwriter -- and string master second. His textured voice and eyes-wide writing hug listeners in with a disregard for time period other than the future. The reassuring “Our Love” could’ve easily been a standard in any decade past or present; “Down To Ride”, an avant-garde, soul love letter with its sensual falsetto, classic Casio synths, and outer-space guitar fade, fits into fresh unexplored sonic territories. The trippy flight “Wings” is Clark’s most modern flip as the Outkast fan is heard in his lyrical prime: “We got issues and people get misused/and girl I miss you/but I know that we’ll get through what we go through.”
Sterling songwriting is where Mr. Clark’s evolution is arrayed best. Never has his pen’s moonshine been so in tune with the times. The Lone Star diamond gleams brightest when he’s sketching then voicing his country’s current and evergreen socio-economic tensions simultaneously. When he’s progressing the art of blues by replacing hopeless conclusion with empathy and strength. When he’s reintroducing and redefining red, white, and blue music. “Hold On,” impressively captures the struggle of being African-American in any era by stirring a pungent punch of Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron and Buddy Guy influence over some serious (and visual) commentary. “Seems like new news is the old news from a different angle/another mother on TV crying cause her boy didn’t make it/She said, What am I gon’ do? What I’m gon’ tell these babies?”
A 2015 reply is offered on the all-consuming space-age funk of “Star.” “I am devoted to seeing you shine on,” could be a message in falsetto from Clark to those babies, his country, his family, and his innermost self. With a musical palette as gracious and glorious as Gary Clark Jr’s, the target is most likely all of the above. As Clark put his mojo in full motion on the album’s opening track, “The Healing”, he eloquently states his subtle and underlying theme that “this music” is our hope, faith and ultimate healing.
Having emerged from the hard rock/metal scene of Sweden, BLINDSIDE's first two releases in the U.S. Blindside and A Thought Crushed My Mind- established the band as blistering rock powerhouse that combines both introspective lyrics with an intense, yet melodic sound. These two albums, along with relentless touring, catapulted the band into the hard rock mainstream.
Blindside - Christian Lindskog, guitarist Simon Grenehed, drummer Marcus Dahlstrom and bassist Tomas Naslund - was born in the suburbs of Stockholm. When they formed the band in their late teens inspired by American metal and grunge and the then-burgeoning alt-rock music scene at home they weren’t very accomplished musicians, to say the least, Lindskog laughs: “The good thing was that we sucked equally. And we started growing together.” The band’s rise was as organic as it gets: First they got a rehearsal space in a run-down area of Stockholm, and then they secured regular gigs at an alcohol-free local youth center. Because the venue was funded by the government, the shows were free. And, with each gig, the band’s audience would build, eventually hitting some 500 people. Linking up with friends in other bands, Lindskog, Grenehed, Dahlstrom and Naslund held down jobs while hitting pretty much every major city in Sweden on the weekends
After pressing a self-financed demo in 1996 and selling it at shows, the band debuted in April 1997 in Sweden with their self-titled debut, a collection of old and new songs that serve as a snapshot of Lindskog’s life at the time. The disc was released later that year in the U.S. by Tooth and Nail. “That’s when it felt like a real band for the first time, that’s when we toured the U.S. the first time,” Lindskog says. In 2000, Blindside returned with A Thought Crushed My Mind, a more aggressive album featuring deeper, more vulnerable lyrics. “It went into a darker, deeper place, and was more self-expanding about who I am and what I’m dealing with in my life, and how I relate to the people around me,” Lindskog says. “It’s also about the thoughts that we’re carrying around, and the impact they have on our lives. When that album came out, I remember being really scared because I felt really naked.” Both albums were recently digitally remastered and re-released with four bonus tracks apiece, and featuring special new artwork designed by Lindskog.
With its momentum building, Blindside became the first band signed to Elektra’s 3 Points imprint, and in 2002 released Silence, a tighter, more produced record on which the band marked its musical growth and dabbled in more mainstream fare. The move worked, as two years later, after tours with Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Linkin Park, the band returned with the melodic, meaty About a Burning Fire which hit the top 40 on The Billboard 200 albums chart. Produced by Howard Benson (who also helmed Silence), the album found the band settling into its new dynamic style, sporting the bite of the band’s early hardcore and the polish that comes with time. “If we all like it, then it’s Blindside,” Lindskog says about the band’s songwriting process. “We don’t put boundaries on our music.”
“I think we see music a little bit differently,” Grenehed says, reflecting on the band’s first decade. “When we started, we were just having fun. We’re still having a lot of fun together, but you just want to dig deeper.” Adds Lindskog, “Our friendships have grown stronger over the years, which makes it easier to write music together, because we know how to connect with each other emotionally and musically.” But while the band’s music and relationships have changed and evolved, its goal has remained the same, says Grenehed. “For us,” he says, “it’s always been about trying to get a positive message out there, some kind of hope. That’s the main purpose in both writing music and playing live. That’s the thing that we always come back to.”
(ALSO DEC. 10 AND DEC. 12) The Beach House you're about to meet isn't the same you may remember from before. Lives have been shuffled, tangled and re-aligned.When Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally returned home to Baltimore last Winter, they were worn thin from touring and travel. But deep inside them hot energies were incubating, ideas they had been whispering back and forth in the wake of their sophomore full-length, 2008's Devotion. By the following spring they began handing themselves over completely to those impulses, holing themselves up and exchanging ideas in a new, secluded practice space for dangerously long periods of time. As the songs that would become Teen Dream began to live, breathe and take shape, the duo was forced to leave much of their personal lives behind them. "We're the same people, but this record has changed our directions," Legrand muses. "We were forced to let go of people and things we were holding onto as individuals: normalcy, daily rituals, the ability to take care of ourselves. We were dropped into a wilderness, but we had more clarity than we've ever had before."Still driven to avoid distraction, the two marched further into isolation, to bottle up all those wild visions away from home. They packed up their lives and settled into a converted church in upstate New York with producer Chris Coady. For a month they continued the birthing process, sweating and pushing out sounds inside a cocoon of their very own weaving. "It wasn't about arriving at a church and it revolutionizing a feeling," Scally notes. "It was a continuation of what we were doing without disruption. Whenever something good happens, we look at each other and we know that was it. It's instinctual and its private." Through the course of a month, they chased down songs and dark rushes, the creative telepathy that Scally and Legrand share together taking a strangely physical hold. "There's a different level of intimacy, a physicality on Teen Dream," Legrand explains, pacing back and forth. "Rhythmically, there's new motion. This record touches you. On your chest."The skyward pulse of "Walk In the Park" and "10 Mile Stereo" elicit just those reactions, two vibrant, volcanic examples of a record and band bursting at its incandescent seams. It is without question, more expansive and moving than anything they have shared before. "I'm ready to give it away," Legrand says of this, their first effort as part of the Sub Pop family. "I'm done holding onto it. I want to give it away, I want it to become something else for people. It is born now. "Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand are from Baltimore, Maryland. They are not a couple and Teen Dream is their third full-length album.
Scottish electronic trio CHVRCHES are masters of contrast, juxtaposing the fragile, ethereal voice of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry with the fierce, synth-heavy bombast of the band's music. At their live shows, CHVRCHES compliments their beautifully austere compositions with state-of-the-art lighting, creating an all-out feast for the senses that marries technological savvy with organic sensibility. Whether they're performing originals like "The Mother We Share" or covering Prince's "I Would Die For You," You", the band's pulsing electronic sounds will have fans dancing the night away on their upcoming tour dates.