Monthly Archives: March 2011

To See or Not To See: Chiddy Bang

Chiddy Bang: Indie Hip(ster)-Hop

Not all rap music has to be about cars on 22s (or are they up to 24s now?), bitches, guns and made-up words.  Chiddy Bang, composed of two guys that met at Drexel University, reminds us that rap can be innovative and clever while being clean.  The duo released a mixtape titled The Swelly Express (2009) and is scheduled to release their follow-up album, Breakfast, this year.  (I would like to officially join the “swelly” bandwagon because everyone should be getting tired of “swag” by now.)  Chiddy Bang samples some of the best from the indie-rock world to get you moving and bouncing.  They sample MGMT’s “Kids” on their song “The Opposite of Adults” and Passion Pit’s “Better Things” on “Truth” and I dare you not to bounce your head or body … I double-dog dare you.  They even sample gods of the hipsters Radiohead (on “Because”, not a part of the mixtape).  Even though these samples might be what get you listening, you will want to stay for the lyrics.  And go ahead and leave your favorite lyric in the comments.

Grade: A (94)

Upcoming Nashville area shows and festivals:

6/17-19 – Bonnaroo Music Festival

To See or Not To See: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

The second installment in this series.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: All 217 of them

Well, 217 might be an exaggeration, but there are seriously about twenty people who comprise this band in some form or fashion.  Their first full album is Up From Below (2009) and everyone should have heard “Home” by now.  You are probably familiar with the hook from “Janglin” from a Ford Fiesta commercial.  I’ll preface my next sentence to say that I mean this in a good way.  I have to thank Wikipedia because I would have said an iPod/Pad/Phone commercial.  I really hate all those commercials, but they do have some catchy background music in them.

The whole time I listened to this album, I could not help but think that they would be opening up for The Mamas & The Popas in the ’60s.  I really have no clue why that band popped (pun intended) into my head, but they did and I will stick with that comparison.  Note: I always stick with my first thought unless someone gives me reason to change my mind.

Grade: B+ (88)

Upcoming shows in Nashville or festivals:

4/15-4/16 – Vanderbilt Rites of Spring Music Festival

To See or Not To See: Amos Lee

I was talking with a friend on Friday and I started to realize just how much music festival season is creeping up on us.  I have wanted to start digging into some of the artists that will be playing the festivals I am planning on attending and I plan on posting some reviews/information on the artists here so you can judge if you would like to see them or not as well.  Use this how you see fit to plan who you will want to see at the festivals or the next time they come through your town.

I will give a grade at the end of each post and I plan to use this grade, once all the schedules are announced, to break any ties on double-booked times.  I have not really decided on my grading scale yet.  (If you were a teacher, would you use 90-100 as an A or 93-100?)  If you have any artists that you would like to know more about, let me know and I will add them to the list I have started.  These entries will not be long because they should just give you the basics on the artist.  If you would like for me to let you know about some of their best songs, just ask and I can add that as well.

AMOS LEE: Folk Troubadour

Amos Lee is probably one of the better known of the artists that I plan on reviewing.  Everyone mostly knows him from his self-titled 2005 album with songs like “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight”, “Arms of A Woman”, and “Colors”.  Lee has released three other albums: Supply and Demand (2006), Last Days At The Lodge (2008), and his new release Mission Bell (2011).  The best way that I can describe Amos Lee is that his music is good.  Nothing in it really jumps out as amazing, but at the same time nothing is awful.  His music is great for a sunny summer day lounging around at the park (which is where I listened and took notes) or driving around with the windows down.  Fittingly, the first single off Mission Bell is titled “Windows Are Rolled Down” and the title holds true.  If you like singers like Norah Jones (who invited him to open for her during her 2004 tour), you’ll like Amos Lee.

Grade: B- mainly because he’ll be playing 3 places that I will be at so he won’t be a must-see since I will have three chances.  Hangout would probably be the best setting for him (but wouldn’t it be for any artist).

Upcoming Shows in Nashville area or Festivals:

4/8/11 – Ryman Auditorium

5/1/11 – Beale Street Music Festival

5/22/11 – Hangout Music Festival

6/12/11 – Bonnaroo