Shamir & Opinions on Savages

Shamir

Only a few years into his career, Las Vegas-based singer/songwriter Shamir has already explored house, disco, indie pop, country, and countless other styles. He joins Jim and Greg in the studio for a stripped-down performance and conversation about refusing to be pigeonholed, performing personal songs in front of crowds, and gender identity.

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Music News

Fans continue to mourn the death of David Bowie, who died January 10th. His most recent album, Blackstar, released two days before his death, rose to #1 in America as fans and strangers alike tuned in to hear Bowie’s last artful words. Blackstar’s huge sales represent a trend found in Nielsen’s 2015 music report, which says rock music is going strong. According to Nielsen, rock is the #1 genre for album sales—33% of albums sold in North America were rock. Though pop and R&B may be topping the charts, rock gets sold the most.

Music streams continue to be popular with listeners and are up 93%. But, there’s hope for high fidelity fans too: MusicWatch reported an estimated 25 million U.S. consumers are willing to pay more money for higher sound quality. And while we live in a digital world, radio, surprisingly, remains people’s #1 source for music discovery.

Adele

The biggest winner in 2015 was, of course, Adele. Her record 25 accounted for 3.1% of all album sales in 2015 and 16% of all album sales during the six weeks following its release. So, it’s not surprising that she was the most searched artist according to the BBC and Shazam. The BBC allows you to find out what people are searching for in your city, and also, that city’s musical twin. Here in Chicago, our listening matches up with Johor Bahru in Malaysia.

Shamir

Shamir has been on Jim and Greg’s radar since they caught him at last year’s SXSW Music Conference. Born Shamir Bailey, the 21-year-old Las Vegas native has been stylistically restless his whole life. He formed an indie pop duo in high school, explored a love of country music, and incorporates the sounds of vintage Chicago house and disco on his electronic pop recordings. After being blown away by a demo tape, producer and music writer Nick Sylvester took an interest in Shamir. Sylvester’s GODMODE label released the North Town EP in 2014, followed by a debut full-length called Ratchet in 2015. Ratchet earned widespread critical acclaim, including high spots in both Jim and Greg’s best of the year lists. Shamir stopped by the Sound Opinions studios a few months back and, after greeting the entire staff with hugs, sat down with Jim and Greg for a stripped-down performance on acoustic guitar and piano and a conversation.

Adore Life Savages

Adore Life

The post-punk band Savages is back with their second album Adore Life. The group’s first album, Silence Yourself, was a big hit with Jim and Greg. And Jim is not disappointed with the new one, which posits that there’s nothing silly about love songs. These are twisted, dark and unconventional with none of the band’s hellfire sacrificed. Greg agrees, praising this departure and each band member’s contribution—from the propulsive rhythm section of bassist Ayse Hassan and drummer Fay Milton to guitarist Gemma Thompson’s innovative guitar noise to Jehnny Beth’s vocal intensity. Adore Life gets a double Buy It.

Greg

Greg’s Desert Island Jukebox selection this week is inspired by the death of R&B and soul singer Otis Clay on January 8th. It got Greg thinking about his track Trying to Live My Life Without You. Most people will remember Bob Seger’s version of the song. And as Greg explains, Seger was such a fan, he was angry when the Eagles released something similar: The Long Run. Eagles member Glenn Frey also died this week, but it’s the Clay original Greg chooses to remember.

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