Hey everyone, let’s stream the brand new out-of-nowhere Sufjan Stevens EP

Sufjan Stevens EP, what?? I don’t know, took me by surprise too. I really don’t have anything to say at the moment, I’m stunned into silence. It’s called All Delighted People, and it’s available for streaming and $5 purchase on the not-quite-prolific artist’s bandcamp.

Take a sneaky peek below. I’m personally only about […]

[Stream] Justin Bieber’s 35-minute ambient opus

Can you believe this is going to be my second post mentioning Justin Bieber on Knox Road? I have good reason, I promise. But I didn’t want to actually post a picture of him, considering our site’s no-robots policy, so here’s an adorable puppy.

Anyway, onto the content. Have you ever said to yourself, […]

Phenomenal Video Saturday: The Swell Season covers Neutral Milk Hotel

I’ve been a fan of the A.V. Club Undercover series for months now, and I feel like it hasn’t really caught on like it should, considering the incredible quality of a couple of entries. The premise is some artist or band comes in to the publication’s office and covers another song they chose from […]

[Stream] Kanye West feat. Beyonce & Uncle Charlie Wilson: “See Me Now”

As you probably know, I’m a guy with a lot of street cred. So it’s only fitting I bring you a stream of Kanye West’s newest, “See Me Now,” which he just put online hours ago. And, honestly, I’m not the biggest proponent of that newfangled rap music, but […]

Phenomenal Video Saturday: Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr do Inception

For all eight of you who haven’t seen Inception yet, well, this week’s video has nothing to do with the plot, so don’t worry: no spoilers here. But you guys should probably see the movie. It’s super good, and isn’t Leonardo DiCaprio a HUNK? I’m asking rhetorically, of course. I don’t know.

The video […]

In Case You Missed It: Week In Review

This past week was Siren-tastic here at Knox Road, and for good reason: it ruled. Siren, that is. We rule, too, but try to not make as big of a deal about it.

But we understand if you were too busy to check out the blog this week; after all, you might have […]

Phenomenal Video Saturday: Glissando

This week’s PVS is a band I’m particularly fond of, Glissando, performing an abridged version of its magisterial “Floods” at a London Chapel. The song is slow and brooding — all we have is a pair of gorgeous voices, a slow piano and a guitar for coloring — but it’s very lovely all the […]

Wye Oak @ Siren

Wye Oak is what happens if you take Matt and Kim, sap them of their top-40 savvy and say “Hey, this whole folk genre isn’t too bad.” What I’m trying to say is that the two bands are very much not alike, except they’re both guy/girl duos.

What an awful introduction that was. During its earnest set on Saturday, Wye Oak was pleasant but often subdued, considering the general lack of immediacy in its music. They played near-flawlessly, but there’s only so much to say about a band — guitar and vocals from Jenn Wasner and drums and simultaneous keyboards from Andy Stack — that is so content with just being nice to listen to.

However, the duo did play a few new songs, which were very exciting glimpses into the future of the band. The new tracks were more striking from the outset, whereas some of the band’s older tunes tend to get lost in hazy bouts of reverb and distortion. The crafting of the songs, even, was improved: disparate halves came together to form a surprising connection between verse and chorus where you wouldn’t think there could be one. All in all, good work. I’m markedly more excited for the band’s next release than the past one.

Wye Oak – “I Hope You Die” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

Continue reading Wye Oak @ Siren

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Siren

I can totally see what The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is trying for with its music, and I don’t even mind listening to it that much, but something about their live set just sat wrong with it. It probably had something to do with the way their nostalgic, ’80s-tinged dream pop is constructed. On guitar, almost every song involved the placement of a capo on one of the first four frets and strumming of open chords throughout the duration. Now, I love open chords and I love capos, but with an instrument as versatile as an electric guitar, the band needs to at least vary things up a little bit. It was like the capo was a last-ditch effort to switch the pitch of songs that would be shockingly similar otherwise, and it didn’t even work that well. The songs quickly bled together, all starting with dreamy, reverberated downstrokes. Kip Berman’s vocals, while evoking that nostalgic mood pretty well, also don’t change much from track to track.

It led to a set that was put together nicely — again, it wasn’t like the songs were particularly challenging, though — but bled into one big sea of sound. And the fact that the music was autumnal on one of the hottest days of the year (read: ever) didn’t help too much.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Everything With You” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

Continue reading The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Siren

Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Siren

Cymbals Eat Guitars played the penultimate set at the Stillwell Stage (the stage that isn’t the main one, derp) on Saturday, so I was surprised that the turnout wasn’t terribly big until they were nearly done. But, on the other end, there was a couple who looked to be in their 50s with cell phone cameras in the photo pit, smiling paternally as they got close to take pictures. The band’s parents? ADORABLE.

The band started the set by playing a handful of new songs — one of them, apparently, “is so new” — that sounded pretty good. Not a far cry from the winding, twisted quiet-loud sung-yelled tracks the band is known for, but solid all the same.

However, at points during the set I had to really pay attention to figure out how to wrap my head around the song being played. The songs are so unpredictable that, unless you know exactly what’s coming next, it’s hard to latch on. So the performance was decent, and as energetic as it probably could have been, but maybe the crowd’s unfamiliarity with the music lead to the largely lukewarm response. Maybe the music just doesn’t translate terribly well to a live setting, especially a huge, outdoor live setting in 93 degree heat. Maybe I’m just insane and they completely brought down the house*.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Wind Phoenix” [MP3]

*They did not completely bring down any houses, to my knowledge.

More photos after the jump.

Continue reading Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Siren