Monday, August 16, 2010

New music recommendations (a Lollapalooza list)

I saw a lot of good stuff at Lollapalooza and learned about some new music. Here's some recommendations for you to download (I recommend iTunes).

Jukebox The Ghost
Why? They're poppy rock, but pretty fun. The kind of band you can put on at a late-night, booze-fueled afterparty and dance to for awhile.
Start with "Empire," the band's new single. It's available for free on the band's website.
Then try out "Static To the Heart," which has a similar feel to "Empire," but a bit more depth. Also take a look at "Hold It In," which has a bit of a Killers feel to it, but a little goofier and more fun.

Frightened Rabbit
Why? Because lead singer Scott Hutchinson has been through what you're going through now and it was probably worse for him and he got more depressed about it than you did. Then he wrote a song about it. Then he wrote a happy song to make it all better and everyone left happy.
Start with something like "Keep Yourself Warm" because it's got a great chorus or "Living in Colour" because it sounds like a folky Coldplay.
Then try out a tune like "Poke," which laments the end of a relationship with brilliant imagery, or "Old Old Fashioned," which talks about turning off the TV and doing it like they used to.

Mumford & Sons
Why? Because these four guys are good rockers and British. That formula has worked in the past and it's working for them, too.
Start with "Little Lion Man" because the chorus of "It was not your fault but mine/and it was your heart on the line/I really fucked it up this time" is impeccable. So's the fast, bluegrassy guitar and banjo.
Then try out the tune "Awake My Soul." It has an anthemic feel and also features bandleader Marcus Mumford's vocals.

Why? Because after all these years, and a long hiatus, they can still rock.
Start with "Spoonman" or "Black Hole Sun" because it's comfortable and you know it.
Then try out something a bit more obscure like "My Wave" or "Loud Love" and relish in the heavy licks and Chris Cornell's wild voice.

The Black Keys
Why? Because it's rare when a guitar-drums duo can be this down and dirty.
Start with the bluesy rocker "I Got Mine," which is a three minute, 59 second seminar on what's to like about the Black Keys.
Then try out "Everlasting Light," where they get funky, or "Your Touch," where they rock out a little.

Jimmy Cliff
Why? You've undoubtedly heard his songs before, but it's time to revisit them.
Start with "I Can See Clearly Now" or "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and then realize, "Oh, that's who sings this."
Then try out "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" and realize how positive and hopeful one man can be or keep on fighting the good fight with "Many Rivers To Cross."

The New Pornographers
Why? Because the combination of all of these indie talents is, obviously, just as great as its individual parts.
Start with "Use It" or "Challengers," two songs that really show off the individual talents of members of the bands.
Then try out "Moves," the best song on the band's new album or "Hey, Snow White," an obscure tune that was on the "Dark Was The Night" compilation (and you can get on iTunes). And when you're done with those, do yourself a favor and check out music from the New Pornographers' band members, such as A.C. Newman or Neko Case.

* * *

Last week was busy back at the OWH since I was gone for five days in Chicago.

Read my quick wrapup of the festival after the jump...

My Top Five
1. Frightened Rabbit

2. Green Day

3. Mumford & Sons

4. The Strokes

5. Soundgarden

Honorable Mentions: Phoenix acoustic set, Jukebox the Ghost,  The Black Keys, Blues Traveler, The New Pornographers, B.o.B.


I had a lot of good food, and I mentioned deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's and a chipotle chicken burger from Goose Island. They were great.

But the thing that took the proverbial cake was a pulled pork sandwich from Robinson's No. 1 Ribs. It was easily the most tender pulled pork sandwich that I've ever had. And I like barbecue quite a lot. It melted in my mouth and the sauce was pretty tangy, too.

That said, the food at Lollapalooza is easily the best at any similar sort of event that I've ever been to. Lots of fantastic Chicago restaurants have three to four choices at very reasonable prices, pretty close to what you'd actually pay at the restaurant.


Some of the better stuff I saw was on recommendations, but I also saw some bands that kinda sucked. And they were recommended to me by other people.

Wavves was not good, but others raved about them. I like garage rock, but their stuff was all the freaking same. It was pretty bland.

Soft Pack was similar, but more like surf rock. The Dodos were another band that a lot of people like, but I found to be totally bland and uninteresting.

I think it's a good idea to go see bands on other people's recommendations. Even for me, it's hard to find a band to see at all times during the festival, so listening to a friend or stranger's suggestion is a good idea.

I just happened to get some bad eggs.

Similar to last year, the layout still frustrating. I had to miss bands like Wolfmother, Yeasayer, Matt & Kim and others because there was simply no time to run across the park (a mile long) to catch who you want to catch.

But, once again, Grant Park is a pretty awesome place to do it. I almost wish it was a little bit smaller because there are so many people and so many stages, but the variety that offers is incredible.

Photos courtesy

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