Artist Spotlights

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: DeVotchKa

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DeVotchKa is a gypsy-folk group that's been making consistently great albums for over a decade. Earlier this year the Denver, Colorado quartet released their sixth studio album, 100 Lovers, and spent the rest of 2011 touring it relentlessly.

On October 28th and 29th the band will play a pair of shows in their native state, respectively at Denver’s Ogden Theatre and Boulder’s Boulder Theatre. DeVotchKa have a reputation for their love of Halloween, and the theme of this year’s shows are Zombies vs. Vampires. If it’s even a fraction as good as that sounds, we suggest that area fans grab tickets before it’s too late.

In the meantime, DeVotchka’s drummer Shawn King answered our Five Questions and constructed a playlist of some of his favorite shoegaze tracks with violinist Tom Hagerman, both of which are below.

Five Questions with DeVotchKa

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Shawn King: The first person that comes to mind is Alain Johannes, who we did a tour with last year. In my view, he’s a rare combo of sensitive and fierce.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SK: Kraftwerk’s Ralf and Florian. I heard one track and now I’m curious.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SK: Led Zeppelin II. I was spinning that record when the turntable was at eye level. The copy I own has a dedication to my mom from an old neighbor: “When you play it, you can always think of what good friends we have become. Good luck.”
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SK: Carelessly outgoing.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SK: Corruption and lovelorn tycoons.
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Getting To Know: Peggy Sue

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Having an album already under their belt made it easier for Brighton, England indie-folk trio Peggy Sue to more fully express themselves on their second full-length, Acrobats. The band felt better at their instruments after doing more touring (which they did with Kate Nash and Mumford and Sons), and were ready to channel their influences in a more nuanced way. Acrobats is the band’s most focused album, but it’s also louder and more ferocious than their debut.

The album isn’t out yet in North America, but you can stream Acrobats exclusively on Rdio now. Get to know Peggy Sue better by reading our interview with Peggy Sue's own Katy Klaw:

Five Questions with Peggy Sue

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Katy Klaw: Lindsay Powell (formerly know as Cake Bake Betty currently known as Fielded).
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    KK: The new Two Gallants album that they are making at the moment.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    KK: Motown Chartbusters Volumes 1-5.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    KK: Patient.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    KK: Whether choruses were completely necessary.
Artist Spotlights

Five Questions with MuteMath

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 MuteMath just released their new album, Odd Soul, and in honor of the occasion they've curated an exclusive Rdio playlist. While you listen, read our interview below to learn more about this funk-loving quartet from New Orleans.

Five Questions with MuteMath

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    MuteMath: David Axelrod, especially ”The Human Abstract” and “The Fly.”
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    MM: James Brown - Say It Live and Loud: Live in Dallas.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    MM: Darren - Paula Abdul, Paul - Huey Lewis and the News, Roy - Buddy Holly and U2, Todd - Mozart.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    MM: Tickle fighting in a space walk.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    MM: Nice things.

Playlist Notes

What we've been listening to lately”: 
1. Jamie XX - Far Nearer
2. Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Just a reminder of one of the greatest moments in recorded music history”:
3. James Brown - There Was A Time

Great recent records we can't seem to stop listening to”:
4. The Stepkids - La La
5. Bibio - Lovers Carvings
6. Tame Impala - Solitude is Bliss

Reminds us of New Orleans”:
7. The Meters - Fire on the Bayou
8. Nina Simone - Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter

Good friends doing good things”: 
9. Son Lux - All the Right Things

Classic good-vibe ginger soul”:
10. Bobby Caldwell - Open Your Eyes

∞  October 5, 2011 — 11:09AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Five Questions with Phantom Family Halo

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It’s been two years since Kentucky indie-rock duo Phantom Family Halo released their last full-length studio album, Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy. The band is currently on tour with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, with whom they’ve also been working on new music. Recently they released a split ten-inch record with the indie-folk idol, titled Mindeater. Listen to the new EP and the band’s “Songs That Make Me Feel Right” playlist, hand-picked by the Phantom Family Halo’s Dominic Cipolla, and don’t forget to check out our Five Questions with the band below.

Five Questions with Phantom Family Halo

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Dominic Cipolla: Experimental guitarist Lowe Sutherland from Louisville, KY.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    DC: Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    DC: The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    DC: Happy.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    DC: Hedonism.

∞  October 3, 2011 — 10:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Hanging Out with The Drums

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Have you heard of The Drums? The Brooklyn indie guitar-pop group hit it big last year with their ear-worm “Let’s Go Surfing,” which showcased their light-hearted side — their first LP garnered the kind of critical acclaim most bands can only hope for.

Their second album, Portamento, is out now, and is already convincing listeners that the band is here to stay: they're developing a signature sound that sees them seamlessly blending their New Wave and reverb-drenched influences. The Drums' lead singer, Jonathan Pierce, took a moment to curate a playlist of some of his favorite songs and answer our five questions.

Five Questions with The Drums

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Jonathan Pierce: Clara Rockmore. Jacob and I have a real soft spot for her. She mastered the Theremin and would often perform with a full orchestra with her in the center playing the instrument perfectly. She has some albums out that I would recommend trying to find.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    JP: I feel like we all have access to every record really, with the internet and all. But we can pretend there is no internet for a minute. I'd like to listen to a bootleg compilation of all the Big In Japan stuff.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    JP: Joy Electric - Melody. This album is brilliant. Most people hate the sounds, but if you can get past the sounds and listen to the songs, you will find something great.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    JP: Blissful and comforted.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    JP: Ourselves.

Artist Spotlights

Five Questions with Spank Rock

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Two days ago we announced an Rdio-only stream of Baltimore MC Spank Rock’s new album, Everything is Boring and Everyone is a F***ing Liar. Today we’re taking an even closer look into Spank Rock's musical mind with our interview below.

Five Questions with Spank Rock

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Spank Rock: Connan Mockasin.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SR: James Brown - Everybody’s Doing the Hustle and Dead on the Double Bump.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SR: Prince.
  4. I hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SR: Engaged.
  5. I was thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SR: Redefining what success means to me.

Artist Spotlights

Five Questions with Dominant Legs

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When San Francisco’s Ryan Lynch got laid off from his day job, he decided to spend his free time writing songs. Today, he and compatriot Hannah Hunt perform those songs under the name Dominant Legs. The two work together to turn Lynch’s unpolished pop songs into nuggets of 80s-indebted retro pop—which they’ve been recording since 2010—when they released a four-song EP titled Young at Love and Life.

This week, the band is releasing their debut full-length album, Invitation. The aptly-named LP is as danceable and catchy as their first release, and should hook any music fan upon first listen. Check it out now, and get to know the band by tuning into their “Favorite Songs Right Now” playlist and reading our interview with Lynch himself.

Five Questions with Dominant Legs

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Ryan Lynch: My friends in the band Terry Malts have been heard, but definitely not enough.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    RL: Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    RL: The Jackson 5’s Greatest Hits and Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    RL: Uplifted.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    RL: how we would like to introduce ourselves in a way that was fun and exciting yet honest...
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Five Questions with The Civil Wars

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Joy Williams and John Paul White are The Civil Wars, a gorgeously haunting folk duo hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. The two met in 2008, at a music studio where they were both attending a songwriting session. Just three years later, following the success of an online-only EP of their live performances in a Georgia music club, The Civil Wars recently released Barton Hollow, their debut full-length of tenderly plucked ditties. We got in touch with them to ask our Five Questions, and to share a playlist of the songs that inspire them.

Five Questions with The Civil Wars

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Joy Williams: Karen Dalton.
    John Paul White: Jeff Mangum.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    Joy: St. Vincent - Strange Mercy.
    John Paul: The Band - The Band.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    Joy: The Carpenters.
    John Paul: Merle Haggard - 20 Greatest Hits.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    Joy: Drinking whiskey.
    John Paul: Having relations.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    Joy: Too many things to fit into one sentence.
    John Paul: World dominance.
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Introducing: Mariachi El Bronx

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When California punk band The Bronx don their masks and break out the trumpets, they become fascinating alter ego Mariachi El Bronx. It’s no novelty — the band have true mariachi chops. Their second, self-titled album, recorded with former Oingo Boingo member John Avila, is out now, and cements their authentic mariachi style. This month they’re touring with mega-band the Foo Fighters. Before you catch them live, listen to their albums on Rdio, check out their “Music We Are Randomly Blasting On Tour...” playlist, and read their answers to our Five Questions.

Five Questions with Mariachi El Bronx

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Matt Caughthran: GG Allin, the master of chaos and sonic death.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    MC: M.O.D. - U.S.A. For M.O.D. A hidden gem in the thrash world. This record can take any party to the breaking point.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    MC: 7 Seconds - The Crew. This record marked the first time I heard songs that were shorter than 30 seconds. It blew my fucking mind. This classic record was a pilot light that fueled every misadventure of my teenage years.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    MC: Inspired.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    MC: Male strippers.
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Pleased to Meet You: Mason Jennings

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Hawaii-born singer-songwriter Mason Jennings is a folk troubadour known for his succinct, ear-catching melodies. He certainly caught Jack Johnson's ear — the two met when Jennings opened for Johnson in 2001, and they subsequently toured together. (Years later, Jennings signed to Johnson’s label, Brushfire Records).

Jennings just released his ninth full-length studio album, Minnesota, but that’s not all he’s offering fans right now. He’s put together a playlist of his favorite songs by bands he’s toured with, and answered our Five Questions — check them out and listen to Minnesota now.

Five Questions with Mason Jennings

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Mason Jennings: Chad VanGaalen.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    MJ: Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    MJ: Led Zeppelin.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    MJ: Listening.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    MJ: Chopin and soccer.