Earlier this week, Rolling Stone launched their latest installment, dubbing this as a special issue on the "State of Rock". Featured within the pages is a piece titled "40 Reasons to Get Excited About Music", but alas, the compilation did little to titillate, especially with yawners like Black Eyed Peas and Miley Cyrus, along with "duh, we already know about 'em" nods to M.I.A. and The Roots.
Seeing as how the general response to the subject was one massive head scratch, the fine folks over at Flavorpill decided to compile their own list of the 4x10 be[a]st reasons to really get amped about music today. I say be[a]st because they asked me to contribute my thoughts and wondries to the piece, and I'm super psyched to be a part of a comprehensive list of some of the raddest reasons we get super psyched for the songs and stylings in this piece.
You can read Flavorpill's full piece here, and for your ease and convenience, I've pulled out my 5 submissions for you to skim through below.
Big Wins from Little Labels
Forget chart numbers and actual record sales. Some of the most buzzed about bands and tracks come from fledgling startups and the "lesser knowns". Mixpak scored a few head turns when Jumeirah's Riddim was pulled to use as the base for Ludacris' My Chick Bad. Listen to those strings...mmm, memorable and tasty. But my favorite is Neon Gold Records. Releasing singles from Penguin Prison, Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding and Yes Giantess, just to tap the tip of their glittery glacier, the local label sees each of their artists blogged and buzzed about on a daily basis. The only time you won't hear about these kids would be is if every single blog and music site ceased to exist. EVER. Highly unlikely.
It almost feels blasphemous to include Sia in a list of "why I'm excited about music right now", because the singer has been turning out quality tunes for well over a decade. Be that as it may, the Aussie songbird is returning with her fourth studio album, We Are Born, on June 8. If you've heard the first two singles, You've Changed and Clap Your Hands, then you know she's about to score a major win thanks to the production done by local star, Lauren Flax and the bird and the bee's Greg Kurstin, respectively. Additionally, Sia, along with significant other JD Samson (of MEN and Le Tigre fame), has contributed four tracks to Christina Aguilera's upcoming release, Bionic, which drops the same day as her own offering. Color us psyched.
The Cumbia Crossover
For those unfamiliar with the spicy stylings of the modern stance on traditional rhythms of Columbia, last month's SXSW was a great way to get acclimated. Introducing Mexican outfit Bomba Estereo to a bevy of hand claps and "wows", the band brought their fiery flare to many a main stage. Much in the same vein, noted London-via-Columbia DJ and party-thrower, Isa GT, just released an EP that pulls in Crookers for a remix of her track Pela'O. Need more proof? Google search "Isa GT remix video" and hit the first link. You might not have a clue what she's saying, but I dare you to try and not dance.
MNDR's Live Show
With but one EP, and a one-off single to her credit, Brooklyn's MNDR (pronounced: Em En Dee Are) manages to take the title of my "most seen in a live setting over the past 6 months" artist, thanks to a dynamic stage presence and equally rad tracks to boot. Quite a mouthful, but the IDM (intelligent dance music) and nerdcore solo star is worth the words and effort to catch her in any setting. Having previously been associated with Yeah Yeah Yeahs as their touring keyboardist and engineer, she's made a name for herself by combining accessible electronic tunes with a lovably charismatic and spastically awesome aesthetic. 100% Beaston approved.
Phil Collins 4-Nights at Roseland in NYC
If you think for one second that I will not be in attendance for at least one of Collins' just announced nights at Roseland Ballroom in June, you're sorely mistaken. Look at any popular mainstream drummer today (wait, are there any?) and give an homaged nod to Phil's pad prowess. Now if by some stroke of luck it was announced that Steve Winwood was opening, the 5 year old in me might start hyperventilating.