Lorde v. Kanye: Battle of the Boxes

Kanye West and Es Devlin
Photo courtesy of @esdevlin

Lorde Have Mercy

Kanye West is an easy target, and he’s the subject of some much-deserved criticism as of late. But don’t touch the man on the music front. Lorde recently took to Instagram to proclaim that Kanye and Kid Cudi (the Kids See Ghosts rap duo) lifted Lorde’s floating stage in the shape of a box, saying:

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TV Tunes: Jessica Lamb’s “Just Don’t Have the Time”

Jessica Lamb singerDiscovered the gem that is Jessica Lamb while watching Teen Mom OG (don’t judge), and the Shazam-worthy moment brought me to “Just Don’t Have the Time,” which you can listen to below. As for who she is behind-the-scenes, there is little to know information on her personal page, so the music will have to speak for itself.

Florence + The Machine Slays at The Hollywood Bowl

Florence Welch performing at the Hollywood Bowl with Florence + The Machine
Photo by Lillie Eiger

AN UNFORGETTABLE ENTRANCE

I’ve been to a lot of shows at the Hollywood Bowl and it’s not my favorite venue (I prefer The Greek). But if you ask non-concertgoers in Los Angeles, they will overwhelmingly endorse the Bowl. It’s legendary. Plus, it certainly helps that the Bougie wine-and-cheese crowd can pay a little extra to sit inside a glorified box. It was not until seeing Florence + The Machine that I finally realized the true value of that venue. At approximately 9:15 p.m., Florence Welch entered the stage in unison with her very talented musicians, and it was as if the heavens opened up and released a gift from G-d amidst the stars and the mountains. The aesthetics of a show are often overlooked, and she optimized every inch of available space. Her staging was impeccable, with perfect lighting and a background that made the large area feel incredibly intimate.

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‪Amos Lee Plays Steamboat’s ‘Strings Music Festival’

Photo by Molly McCormick

Nestled in the stunning town of Steamboat, Colorado is the Strings Music Pavilion, which showcases over 60 genre-spanning performances during the summer months. The venue houses just 569 people, which provides for a beautiful, personal experience between the audience and the artist. As a devoted Steamboat-goer since a very early age, I can safely say that the venue and concerts have only improved over the years. And given its uncompromising quality at the outset, that’s a mighty task.

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Dispatch Releases New Song — Listen Now

There is a soft spot in my heart for Dispatch, given that the indie band made the rounds in my college, and since they’re still playing to sold out crowds, their new song is worth mentioning. With their first album in five years. ‘America, Location 12,’ they will be releasing  a special song every couple of weeks throughout the summer and the collection will culminate as one bundle after the last song is out later this year.  Listen to their latest release below, and catch them on tour soon.

Maroon 5 at The Forum — A Full Review

Let me begin this post by assuring my readers that at one point in my life, I was a massive fan of Maroon 5. In fact, I’d say I was one of their first, and my love began when Adam Levine stood front and center on ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’ to debut ‘Songs About Jane,’ their first record. That album was almost entirely written by Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael, the latter of which is the band’s pianist and rhythm guitarist. The two also almost exclusively wrote the band’s second album, ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,’ which was also a success. But in 2010, everything changed. They released ‘Hands All Over,’ which debuted far below expectations. This was especially surprising given that it was produced by legendary veteran Mutt Lange. In an interview with Howard Stern, Levine referenced a rift with Lange while making the album, implying that once they worked out their differences, it was smooth sailing. Did Levine tie Mutt’s hands, thereby hindering the creative process, or did the two simply not get along — and the resulting album reflected their rancor? It’s hard to say and sometimes things just don’t land, but the experience seemed to have hit Levine hard given that for their next three albums, ‘Overexposed,’ ‘V,’ and ‘Red Pill Blues,’ Maroon 5 opened their doors to a daunting amount of songwriters outside their band. Was that the right decision? Perhaps. I certainly enjoyed those records. But I cannot help but think when you employ the industry’s heaviest hitters to keep you relevant, you move from a bunch of friends in their garage doing what they love to a group of guys trying to be famous no matter what the creative cost.

When I arrived at The Forum to see Maroon 5 live, I had an open mind. I promise. As soon as Adam began singing, I noticed his live vocals seemed far too low for the venue, which I first blamed on the front of house engineer. Then my friend asked if he was lip-syncing, and it was as if my mother just confessed Santa isn’t real (I’m Jewish — but you get the point). “It’s far too perfect,” she said. Later, when it felt as if he was in fact singing live, the vocals sounded astoundingly different. Though I have no direct confirmation that Levine lip-synced, I’ll say that I pay a hefty ticket price for a reason, and if Sheryl Crow can give an incredible performance at The Greek with a cold and cracked voice, Levine can sing that entire concert live. But let’s assume he sang live, for argument’s sake.

It’s no secret that Adam Levine is often the target of “haters.” Though celebrities will always deal with negative press, these types of attacks start from somewhere. Even Jonah Hill (a longtime friend of Levine) told Howard Stern that though Levine gets a bad reputation, he’s an extremely kind, genuine guy. So why the misconception? For starters, Levine seems arrogant. Why? Because he took the stage in sweatpants (literally), a wife-beater, and sneakers. This is a far cry from the suits the band was known for wearing during their rise, and it’s not acceptable for a grocery store run let alone the stage at The Forum. It’s as if Levine is so hot he’d look good in anything, and so famous he can’t be bothered to forgo his pajamas while performing. At one point he even took a swipe at James Valentine’s (lead guitarist) jumpsuit, which was actually damn cool. In fact, Valentine was the best part of the show, given that the man seemed to purely want to play his instrument, rather than artificially hamming it up for the audience. Speaking of hamming it up, Levine did this in all the wrong places. For starters, he almost exclusively played downstage right, despite having an underutilized stage (in the shape of a “V”) in the center of the audience. When he sang “She Will Be Loved” beside Valentine for the encore while standing on the unique stage mid-audience, it provided a rare authentic moment that could have been duplicated throughout the show to provide a more dynamic experience, rather than a light-assault akin to a South Beach club. Sit on a stool and sing a ballad, or do anything other than burn through your material while barely addressing the audience. I’m not there to see you hit the play button on your record and call it a concert. Speaking of which, I’d have loved to see more of the Maroon 5 band, but because of the on-stage setup, they were basically hidden like Hollywood Squares. Okay — I’ll stop now. I seem angry.

Music Spotlight: Sam Lewis

It’s hard to believe I have not heard of Sam Lewis, especially since he’s connected to The Wood Brothers (an all-time favorite band of mine). Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers acted as producer on his second album, ‘Waiting on You,’ which he released in April, 2015. It featured Kenny Vaughan, in addition to Darrell Scott, Gabe Dixon, the McCrary Sisters, and Willie Nelson’s legendary harmonica player, Mickey Raphael. And if that’s not enough, he opened for Chris Stapleton during Stapleton’s tour for his Grammy-Willing ‘Traveler’ album. Three years have since passed, and he’s returned with ‘Loversity,’ which landed him on Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists to Watch” list. Listen below.

Gallant Releases New Video, “Doesn’t Matter” — Watch Now

On the heels of his upcoming headline tour, Gallant has released his new video for “Doesn’t Matter,” and the result is spectacular. You might remember Gallant from his duet with Seal, where the two vocal titans sang “Weight in Gold” in one of the most stunning performances I’ve seen in some time. The song first dropped on Beats 1’s first “World Exclusive,” via tastemaker Zane Lowe.

Christopher Gallant is a Columbia native who graduated from NYU, and his debut studio album, ‘Ology,’ was released worldwide in 2016. That followed his self-released 2014 EP, ‘Zebra.’ His popular ‘In The Room‘ series is also not to be missed.

See his new video below and scroll down for tour dates.

TOUR DATES

10/18 – Atlanta – Variety Playhouse
10/19 – Nashville – The Cowan
10/22 – Washington – 9:30 Club
10/23 – New York – Terminal 5
10/27 – Philadelphia – Union Transfer
10/28 – Boston – Royale
10/30 – Toronto – Danforth Music Hall
10/31 – Montreal – Corona Theatre
11/2 – Detroit – El Club
11/3 – Chicago – Concord Music Hall
11/4 – Minneapolis – First Avenue
11/7 – Seattle – Neptune
11/8 – Vancouver – Vogue Theatre
11/9 – Portland – Roseland Theater
11/12 – Oakland – Fox Theater
11/13 – Santa Ana – Observatory OC
11/15 – Los Angeles – Wiltern
11/17 – San Diego – Observatory North Park–

Snow Patrol Debuts New Record at the Fonda

It’s been seven years since Snow Patrol released a new album, and on May 25, the Gary Lightbody led Northern Irish rock band will release ‘Wildness,’ and since one song is better than the next, I predict it will resonate with their loyal fan base. Lightbody took the stage of The Fonda alongside Nathan Connolly (guitar, backing vocals), Paul Wilson (bass guitar, backing vocals), Jonny Quinn (drums), and Johnny McDaid (piano, guitar, backing vocals) to play to a packed house. You might know Johnny McDaid as one of the powerful co-writing forces behind Ed Sheeran, P!nk, Robbie Williams, and more. McDaid is also the man who hilariously gave Lightbody an assist on stage that night, when Lightbody struggled to remember some lyrics, making for an enjoyable human connection with his fans.

I was personally introduced to Snow Patrol via ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ when the second single from their fourth studio album, “Chasing Cars,” became a massive success. The band would either be incredibly happy or incredibly annoyed to hear that, but I predict the latter. “Chasing Cars” spent 85 weeks on the UK charts, and though Lightbody feared that “the song could become bigger than the band” it’s clear from the devoted crowd that that is far from the truth.

For a band that “spent ten years making records that 6,000 people bought,” according to Lightbody, it’s no secret why they take nothing for granted, and even when Lightbody boasted their new album being “f***ing great,” it was more a funny acknowledgment of a factual truth then a rock star’s masturbatory boast.

Listen to two songs off the new record below.

American Idol Duets — Catie Turner Wins the Night

For a duet to work, both singers must not only compliment one another, but their fusion must outweigh their solo skill set. For most of the performers during American Idol’s duet week, that was not the case. To be fair, I can’t think of one person who would duet with Jennifer Nettles, given the incredibly unique tone of her voice, but Gabby Berrett and the adorable Layla Spring get an A+ for effort. And Nettles’ standout style choices certainly did not help facilitate a shared spotlight. Having said all that, Catie Turner won the night during her duet with Andy Grammer. The endearingly awkward singer somehow managed to put all that angst aside while performing, having made very confident vocal choices that actually upped Grammer’s game. In fact, he might have benefited far more from that performance than she did. Could Catie actually make a career out of this? It’s possible. She’s like a joyful version of Brett Dennen, and I think there’s a space for her in this industry.

Watch below to see some of the more memorable performances, including Allen Stone, whose voice is so good it physically hurts my soul. Dennis Lorenzo gets major kudos for keeping up.