Sir Paul got lambasted last year on this blog for his dreadful valentine album, Kisses On The Bottom, landing as our biggest disappointment of 2012. But the most enduring singer rock history doesn’t rest on his laurels, but instead hit the road last year, with fellow LxLer Todd and I seeing a show of a lifetime this summer as MACCA headlined Bonnaroo. Now, the legendary Beatle releases New, an album giving new modern twists on McCartney’s tried and true musical strengths, my favorite album from Paul since the early 70’s (not that I was alive then, or have heard every album in between).
What makes New so fresh is a combination of Paul playing to his strengths and challenging himself with new sounds. With the help of Mark Ronson, title track “New” toys around with jaunty Beatles sounds from songs like “Penny Lane” and “We Can Work It Out” with a little more buzz and reverb to make this a fresh take on a nostalgic sound. “Queenie Eye” takes Paul’s famous sound of heavily punctuated piano pop and adds an air of mystery and a growing symphony of sound. On songs like “I Can Bet” and “Everybody Out There”, Sir Paul sounds 40 years younger, full of energy swinging along some folk-tinged pop with a funky edge. “Turned Out” is reminiscent of the best Traveling Wilbury’s tunes, except Paul doesn’t need three other legends: his charismatic presence fills the room plenty. “Get Me Out Of Here” is Paul doing his old playful lonely dog blues.
Giles Martin, longstanding Beatles producer George Martin’s son, produced the lion’s share of these songs, and it’s clear that he understands what it takes to Paul to step out of his shell but still get the most of what has made him the most enduring artist of all-time. Remove “On My To Work” and “Road” which are minor letdowns, this album his remarkably consistent and memorable for a 71 year old, or even a 31 year old for that matter. For a guy that has accomplished everything under the sun, it’s wonderful to see such a legend continue to push himself artistically.
The big release of the week, at least in our minds, was Nine Inch Nail’s Hesitation Marks. But this has been a pretty full week in music. One of Justin Vernon’s “non-Bon Iver” projects, Volcano Choir, released their sophomore effort to mostly positive marks. Neko Case (aka the next best thing to Jenny Lewis) released her first album in four years. The perpetually underrated Okkervil River released another solid effort. I was also introduced to a new artist (for me) called The Julie Ruin, which I was rather delighted with. And finally, wait for it, I give some love to an artist who released my most hated album of 2012. All in all, an overwhelming week in music, and since we won’t be able to give every one of these artists their full due, here is a little Friday snippet of each. Enjoy y’all.
The Julie Ruin – “Oh Come On”
This song is so damn fun. Kinda like a lower-fi Sleigh Bells and a little bit looser. “Oh Come On” is a quick two and a half minutes of blustery mayhem, and one of the ballsier additions to my iTunes library in 2013. Can’t wait to hear more.
This one is pretty self explanatory. As our final recap of the event, here is our favorite acts of our favorite festival. I’ll give you a hint, Mumford and Sons didn’t make the list … or did they.
10. Tame Impala
Tame Impala’s groovy Aussie vibes translate well to the stage. Especially for an afternoon festival setting. There is no doubt these guys will only be growing in fans as the years progress. I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them graduate to a stage soon enough.
Following in our week of Bonnaroo coverage which started yesterday with a full artist-by-artist recap, today we give you our five favorite moments of Bonnaroo this year. Every year Bonnaroo comes around, the Tennessee Festival brings a smattering a great moments, especially lots of moments with artist collaboration. I would say Bonnaroo has more of a collaborative culture than any other festival I have been to, so every year I go in not just excited about seeing my favorite artists, but excited to see what surprises might come about. And this year was a new record in terms of surprises. So here are our five favorite moments of Bonnaroo 2013.
Bonnaroo 2013 was quite the success. This is my fifth year attending what I believe to be America’s greatest music festival, and out of those five years, 2013 goes down as my favorite thus far. This is even aside from the fact I had to miss the entirety of Sunday, a day I know I would have enjoyed immensely, due to a work conflict. A lot of things fell into place very well this year. A great crew of friends, incredibly high caliber acts, a conducive schedule for my taste, more alcohol than I should have consumed, and some of the best collaborations I have ever seen. Paul McCartney shined as an untouchable legend, R Kelly reigned down from the heavens, and artists collaborated with each other in ways that I could never have imagined.
I wasn’t lying, he literally came down from the heavens.
As our first recap, I decided to give a full, but quick breakdown of everything I saw last weekend. This is modeled after a successful post written by a fallen member of past Roo crews that could not be in attendance this year. Wes helped cover the acts I missed due to either physical or even mental absence. I don’t know what set me back more this year, work or whiskey. Anyways, onto the breakdown:
Retro rock and roll that will groove into your soul.