Results for 2013

interviews

Twin Peaks

Our guests this week are garage rockers, Twin Peaks. This 5-piece up-and-coming band from Chicago consists of singer and guitarist Cadien Lake James, bassist Jack Dolan, guitarist Clay Frankel, drummer Connor Brodner and recent addition, keyboardist Colin Croom. They started the group back in 2009 as high schoolers and later decided to drop out of college to pursue music full-time. Some of their influences include The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Stooges, which you can hear in their debut album, Sunken, released in 2013. Last year, they released their second album, Wild Onion, to critical acclaim and in 2015 performed at Lollapalooza. Their youthfully energetic performance style, guitar-based rock and roll and playful song lyrics make them a draw for young adult music fans looking for something other than EDM. Jim and Greg spoke to them a few weeks ago at the Goose Island Barrelhouse in Chicago and gave a performance afterwards.

Go to episode 516

Bully

Our guest this week is the alternative grunge band out of Nashville, Bully. The group is fronted by Minnesota native Alicia Bognanno, with drummer Stewart Copeland (no, not the drummer of The Police,) bass player Reece Lazarus and guitarist Clayton Parker. In 2013, the band signed with Columbia on their Startime International label and in June of this year, released their debut full-length album, Feels Like.

Jim first saw Bully perform at SXSW this year in Austin and was blown away by their sonic power and emotional lyrics. A few weeks ago, Bully came into the studio and while unfortunately Greg couldn't be there, Jim had a great time talking to the members about their past professions, '90s nostalgia and their unique sound.

Go to episode 510
reviews
StillStill available on iTunes

Richard Thompson Still

Still is the 25th solo album from folk rock guitarist, Richard Thompson. The former Fairport Convention musician collaborated with Wilco frontman and producer Jeff Tweedy. Greg wasn‘t exactly disappointed, but a little let down after Thompson’s ferocious 2013 album, Electric. In Still, he explores some darker and more serious themes like loss of faith in humanity. However Greg was happy he balanced those tracks with lighter and more humorous songs like "Guitar Heroes." He gives it a Buy It. Jim actually found“Guitar Heroes”cheesy. He also doesn't think Tweedy added much in his production. But because of wins like "Josephine" and "Long John Silver," Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 499
Kanye

Kanye West The Life of Pablo

Recently, rapper Kanye West released his highly anticipated follow-up to 2013's Yeezus. It's called The Life of Pablo (well, sort of). After a large-scale fashion show and album presentation at Madison Square Garden, West decided that the record wasn‘t quite ready to be formally released yet. It’s still not available to purchase, but can be streamed on TIDAL and has been illegally downloaded over 500,000 times. This controversial new record pairs perfectly with West's recent antics, Twitter tirades and confusing outbursts. Jim's biggest problem with T.L.O.P. is its misogynistic lyrics - nothing new in hip-hop, but a new low for West. Jim adds, it's a shame because the music is fantastic. He gives it a non-enthusiastic Try It. Greg largely agrees, finding Kanye's disdain towards past romantic and business relationships to be petty and old news. Music-wise, he thinks there are just too many tracks on The Life of Pablo and wishes he had edited more diligently. He gives it a "Trash It."

JimGreg
Go to episode 535
Caracal (Deluxe)Settle available on iTunes

Disclosure Settle

With their 2013 release Settle, the British electronic duo Disclosure seemed destined to take EDM and mainstream pop by storm. They certainly pushed Sam Smith into the stratosphere. Then came a successful collaboration with Mary J. Blige on 2014's The London Sessions. But, Jim and Greg were disappointed to hear the new album Caracal is something of a let down. It's more song-focused, but also more star-focused with guest vocals by Lorde and The Weeknd. Jim and Greg have heard better from Howard and Guy Lawrence and these guest stars. Caracal gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 514
news

Music News

With the release of Nielsen's SoundScan year-end sales figures for 2013, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines has officially been crowned the top-selling single of the year with 6.5 million units. Hot on Thicke's heels were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Thrift Shop and Imagine Dragons' Radioactive with 6.15 million and 5.5 million respectively. Turning to albums, Justin Timberlake claimed the top spot with 2.43 million copies of The 20/20 Experience sold. Though, Jim and Greg note that the album's numbers happen to be the lowest sales for a #1 record in Nielsen history.

The report also revealed other interesting trends in the music industry. Vinyl record enthusiasts continued to show the love for LPs in 2013 with sales up 33% over the year before. People loved streaming their music, as well, but digital sales were down 6%. This has Jim and Greg wondering: is the stream going to kill the download?

Speaking of death and downloads… Last week, Jim and Greg reported the loss of pioneering country rocker Phil Everly. Apparently they weren‘t the only ones mourning. In the week after Phil’s passing, fans downloaded 18,000 Everly Brothers songs, a whopping 696% increase from the previous week. Dying, it turns out, can be a great career move.

Coachella Music Festival has released its full 2014 lineup. In addition to top headliners Arcade Fire, Muse, and OutKast (who are reuniting for the first time since 2007), the desert super-show will feature Girl Talk, Lana Del Rey, Motörhead, Lorde, plus two bonus reunions: The Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel.

In other live music news, the NFL has beefed up its plans for the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. Just in case main act Bruno Mars wasn‘t enough to satisfy America’s burning need for overhyped pop spectacle, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be joining him onstage. What a combination, Greg laments.

If the Nielsen numbers were any sign, streaming music is here to stay. And now another big player is hoping to break into that (already crowded) market: Beats Music. Spearheaded by Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and record exec Jimmy Iovine, the new streaming service aims to offer a more curated listening experience than its competitors. Rather than using algorithms to help users find music, Beats will rely on experts from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone—and your esteemed Sound Opinions hosts! But Jim and Greg wanted to know how the service compensates artists and labels, something for which Spotify and Pandora have taken flak. CEO Ian Rogers explains that because Beats Music won‘t be available for free, the company will pay extra for each song streamed. With the majority of every subscription fee going toward giving rights holders their fair share, Rogers says that what’s good for Beats Music is good for the industry.

Go to episode 425

Music News

Jay Z just launched his music streaming service, Tidal, to the public. Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk were just a few of the artists who attended a press conference to announce their support for the service. According to emphatic speaker Alicia Keys, Tidal's mission is to give artists more control over how their music is distributed while taking some of the authority out of the hands of tech companies. The basic monthly fee is $9.99, while the premium, hi-fi subscription is $19.99. It will be interesting to see how the service will compete with giants like Spotify and Beats, or fellow artist Garth Brooks' brand Ghost Tunes.

This year Lollapalooza Festival is being anchored by a Beatle. Paul McCartney is one of the Lolla 2015 headliners, which also includes Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. This will be McCartney's first stint at Lollapalooza, though he previously played at Bonnaroo in 2013.

In other festival news, if you're planning on getting a pass, don't bring your selfie stick. Lollapalooza and Coachella have banned the photographic aids from the grounds as the monopods often block the views of other concertgoers and could be potentially dangerous. However rest assured, you can still take pictures and selfies as long as you use your arms like a normal person.

Go to episode 488