Summer is coming — ok, it's basically here — and you'll need chill-out music recommendations. I GOT YOU. Put these albums on your radar now: Real Estate’s Atlas, Woods’ With Light and With Love, Chad VanGaalen’s Infiniheart, and Mac Demarco’s Salad Days. Trust us. Chill with us.
And then trust us on these wallet-worthy shows:
Ingrid Michaelson has changed — grown up, really — and gracefully. The mid-career, indie-pop, singer-songwriter recently told CBS Minnesota, “I don’t want any cutesy songs, none of that. Because it’s like, I’m grown up and I don’t need to be known as that person anymore. So I just kind of continued that idea on this record. It wasn’t like I intentionally … I think on my last record, I intentionally tried so hard not to be that, but this record I thought, I’m just going to write songs with people and see what happens and pick the best ones.” The new album she speaks of is Lights Out, which is being hailed universally by critics and demands your attention. Grown up, but in the right way.
Don’t be scared, The Brian Jonestown Massacre is a lot more pleasant than the name suggests. The alternative rock band has shifted aesthetics over the years, but they never transitioned into something that might be associated with the word “massacre.” Rather, the band transitions seamlessly through eras and past psych-rock influences, starting with the Rolling Stones, pivoting on other Eastern-tinged rock tropes referenced occasionally by the Beatles, and more recently incorporating shoegaze as an overarching style. The band’s latest album, Aufheben, veers off into new territory yet again — soaking traditional rock hooks in tie-dye, tripping their songs out in a haze of wonder.
Before you roll your eyes, understand that O.A.R. doesn’t play places like The Independent, and this is an event by virtue of the rarity of the context. O.A.R., or Of a Revolution to the diehard, typically caters its sound to the outdoor festivals of North America, playing their uber-accessible brand of adult contemporary-rock. But the chance to see this band play their narrative-based acoustic song of a decade in the confined space of the Independent is too great to pass up.
Wilco fans know Nels Cline as the hired-gun guitarist for everyone’s favorite alt-Americana band, but Nels Cline has always been a capable songwriter in his own right. His solo project — despite the name — involves no singers, which is fine. With Nels, you come for the guitar virtuosity and stay for the guitar virtuosity. This is essentially free form jazz. Let’s just say the free-form jazz experiment in “This is Spinal Tap” (called Jazz Odyssey, obvi) could have used Nels.
Alex Ebert wears many hats as the bandleader for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and now he has another. The singer-songwriter recently founded a startup that is developing an app to help people figure out if their tax dollars are being put to proper use. ROCK N ROLL. It’s called The New IRS and it allows users to choose how they would spend their tax money, while also comparing that against the actual projected use of the 2014 Federal Income Taxes. Sounds like a good idea — and any regular Edward Sharpe fan will agree this band has no shortage of good, righteous ideas, all of which are embedded overtly and subtly in the alt-folk singalongs.
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