There are some places that simply breed legendary music. Most people think of Detroit, New York City, and Nashville for starters, but in a small town in Alabama, some of the most influential music has been created. Muscle Shoals, famous for shaping much of today's popular culture, is home to classic artists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Candi Staton, who have gone through Rick Hall’s legendary FAME Studios to pursue outstanding careers. The “Muscle Shoals Sound,” created by FAME’s in-house band, The Swampers, would go on to influence artists such as The Rolling Stones, U2, and Percy Sledge, among many others. Making his directorial debut, filmmaker Greg “Freddy” Camalier gives viewers a captivating look inside FAME Studios, Rick Hall, and artists who went through or were inspired by the house Hall created.
Avril Lavigne’s career has been an interesting one, not without its twists and turns. When she exploded on the scene in 2002 with the album Let Go, the sixteen-year old prodigy produced a shockingly adult sound. Though known for her radio mega hits, “I’m With You”, “Sk8er Boi”, and “Complicated”, the album also featured more soulful ballads about vulnerability, loving, and struggling to find your identity.
Since then, Lavigne’s sound has skittered all over the place. Though she still managed to produce radio singles on her next three albums, the overall tone of her work ranged from maudlin in Under My Skin to obnoxious in The Best Damn Thing, finishing with mix of sentimental and bratty in Goodbye Lullaby. More often than not, Avril Lavigne’s music videos featured her flouncing and skipping, batting her eyes and pulling at handfuls of pink-streaked hair. She projected the image of a spoiled child screaming and running wild in a park, combining it with melodies that were neither pop nor punk. Her music teetered on the verge of obsolete with the ascendance of stars such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.
There is a Rock ’n’ Roll Renaissance going on, and Cherie Currie, former lead singer of The Runaways, is just one of the greats reintroducing music with a message. The angel-faced rocker blasted a packed house at Amityville’s Revolution Rock Music Hall this past Friday night, and it was a show that we won't easily forget!
The kickass all-girl band, Jackknife Stiletto, opened the show. JS has gained recognition opening for acts like Murphy’s Law and Bret Michaels, jamming a new blend of rock, appropriately titled, VAGXCORE. The rockers roused the crowd with both original material and covers, including Heart’s Barracuda, and Spice Girls Wannabe. Studded leather bra clad front-woman Sam Stellar, growled out lyrics, while guitarist Annie Stoic jammed red-hot riffs, and drummer Mel Funk reinforced the beat.
The spectacle brought out many sides of the changing crowd, with some awestricken by the technological feat of Compressorhead, as well as those fearful of the inception of a robot takeover. Nonetheless, people enjoyed themselves, as many were taken down memory lane with the classic tunes, or simply by seeing things only once imagined coming to life before their eyes.
One may question the emotional connection between the robots and the crowd, but there was not much of a disconnect. The cheers between and after each song were authentic, and the reaction as the band started a new record mirrored that of a human band. Compressorhead is the real deal, and they are about as heavy metal as you can get.
It’s fascinating to see what the human mind can accomplish, and GE’s Brilliant Machines campaign, along with Compressorhead, certainly entertained and inspired New York City.
If you didn't listen to Drake's Nothing Was The Same, the name Sampha, might have no relevance to your life. But for the ones who have, you know of Sampha's feature on the stand out track "Too Much", which he hooked up with amazing chorus. His vocals were also featured on the album's bonus track "The Motion".
Back in January, The Goddess Of Lakshmi began recording their first album with the help of Chicago blues guitarist Felix Reyes. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the Sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning "aim" or "goal," which the Harlem-based band strives to reach by achieving prosperity of a musical value in all of 8 tracks. The new album, LOVE, is the product of one exhausting, yet rewarding journey complete with ‘cuts, scratches, and cigarette burns’. The recording and mixing process, done at Harlem Flophouse and then later at Felix’s studio, The House of Tone, ended with a flow of sound amplified by more textural qualities: close-knit rhythm sections, soul-drenched vocals, and storylines about love: both wanting and losing it.