Category Archives: Music

#MusicMonday: K’naan

Every Monday morning. Music so good, it must be shared. 

This week: “Hurt Me Tomorrow” — K’naan, off the album “Country, God or the Girl

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#MusicMonday: Macklemore

Every Monday morning. Music so good, it must be shared. 

This week: “Same Love” — Macklemore, the Seattle rapper, and producer Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert. 

The song can be found on Macklemore’s latest album — “The Heist” — and, yes, the name pays homage to former Mariners infielder Mark McLemore.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXIX

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness

Journalism: Nitsuh Abebe on Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear is a Brooklyn-based indie band (aren’t they all?) that makes critically acclaimed music, gets namechecked by Jay-Z, sells thousands of albums — and doesn’t really make all that much money.

So here’s an interesting piece about the mechanics of being an indie band, popular, but on the fringes of mainstream, successful, but only in the perceptions of a small niche. This, I think, is where the story lacks a little bit. I wish Abebe would have spent a little more time on what the Internet (and fragmentation of pop culture) has done to how we experience art, and more specifically, music and sports and other stuff.

This is an incomplete thought, of course. But… OK, indie rock isn’t that lucrative. It’s a grind. Cool.

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#MusicMonday: Jason Lytle

Every Monday morning. Music so good, it must be shared. 

This week: “Dept. of Disappearance” — Jason Lytle, former frontman of ‘Grandaddy‘, off his 2012  album of the same name

[via All Songs’ fall music preview]

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXVIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness

Music writing: Ann Powers on Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons released its second album this week, “Babel”, the follow-up to the out-of-nowhere buzz album, “Sigh No More”, and a perfectly fine and ordinary record that sounds more or less exactly like its predecessor.

The Mumford & Sons dichotomy has long fascinated me. Marcus Mumford and his friends make what is essentially bluegrass pop—big and layered songs that always seem to start slow and end with booming crescendos. It is music that is seemingly loved by a rather substantial chunk of folks between the ages of 16 and 35. Young professional urbanites. Frat boys. Suburban teenagers. Feminist careerists. (OK. That last one is a major assumption. Deal with it.)

But this is also a buzzband that is, by and large, loathed by critics and hipster tastemakers like Vice and Pitchfork—a band that treads in the same “bigger-than-thou” territory that U2 occupied in the late 80s; the same overly sentimental plot of land that Dave Matthews claimed in the mid to late 90s.

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#MusicMonday: The Mountain Goats

Every Monday morning. Music so good, it must be shared. 

This week: “Harlem Roulette” — The Mountain Goats, off their 2012  album, “Transcendental Youth”

The latest album from the prolific John Darnielle (“The Mountain Goats”) includes a song that is apparently about Frankie Lymon, best known for the 1950s classic, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” And here’s where I show my age. For years, WDFFIL has been one of my juke-box go-tos. No matter the crowd, the bar, the drink special, WDFFIL always wins the night. It’s just that good.

So, yea, I had no idea that Lymon was just 13 years old when the song came out; no idea that he was lead singer of a group called The Teenagers, which released WDFFIL. And no idea that, by age 25, Lymon would drop dead, succumbing, like so many other child stars, to a drug overdose. This is, Darnielle says, what the song is about. It’s sad, and a shame, and tragic all at one. And damn, is it a good song. – RD

#MusicMonday: Bruce Springsteen

Every Monday morning. Music so good, it must be shared. 

This week: “For You” — Bruce Springsteen, off his 1973 debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”.

“Born to Run” turned 37 last week. The Boss turns 63 next month, just a few weeks before he comes to Kansas City for his first show in four years. And this song, later covered and remembered mostly as a Manfred Mann song, was recorded by Springsteen 40 years ago. Even today, it still feels cool.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Book: Brian Porto’s The Supreme Court and The NCAA

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Supreme Court and The NCAA is a “law” book. It is not a leisurely, let me sip a Miami Vice on this barcalounger while listening to New Edition, summer-time read. But summer is over. At least up here in Pennsylvania. It was sixty degrees this morning.

And as the temperatures get cooler, serious non-fiction becomes more appealing. I began reading this book as background for work but wanted to finish it because the author Brian Porto presents detailed portrayals of two landmark decisions that changed big-time college athletics, as well as what I consider the best argument for fixing the industry it has become.

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#MusicMonday: Mumford & Sons

Every Monday morning. Music so good… it must be shared.

This week: “I Will Wait” — Mumford & Sons, off their new, yet-to-be released album, “Babel”.

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Well, Mumford & Sons, the British folk/roots/stringy quartet, is just about six weeks away from releasing its sophomore album in America, and last week they revved up the hype machine by releasing this rollicking, “Let’s Go Run in a Field!” track that immediately generated all sorts of feedback in certain pockets of the internet.

On first listen, the song hits all the right spots.

And maybe that’s the thing: If I had to imagine what a new Mumford & Sons song would sound like, “I’ll Will Wait” would be more or less the exact song that I invented in my head. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

This is hardly an original thought, of course, but it feels true. The song is everything you want, from the banjo-filled everything, to the crescendo-building chorus, to the tent-revival lyrics.

But there’s also the feeling that you’re being sold something you already bought. Some folks have already proved that it’s pretty easy to rip off (and commercialize) this sound — yea, Phillip, you… — and maybe this just adds to the feeling that Mumford, for all its imagery about running and moving and criss-crossing the country via train, is having a pretty tough time figuring where to go. — Rustin Dodd

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No Way It’s Been That Long

Fifteen years ago, a mogul who’d lost his best friend to murder and had his name implicated in the murder of an enemy changed the world of rap music despite the fact that he could barely rap. Remember? Maybe the glare from this glimmering jumpsuit will refresh your memory.

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