Sprout and I had been waiting for this show for quite awhile. Every time the homey Aaron Livingston aka Son Little had come to town the last few times something always came up and we couldn't make it out. That night we were pumped because it had been close to 2 years since last Aaron had made us weak in the knees. Anyone with a brain who has been following him for awhile knows what I'm talking about. From his Icebird project with RJD2 to his recent self-titled full-length that dropped last month, he's just got this voice that can either break your heart or glue it back together within a matter of minutes.
I'm still trying to figure out where the majority of the audience thought they were during his set. Did they think they were they at a networking event? Their favorite brunch spot? The weirdest looking coffee shop on the planet? Either way, they talked.....and talked....and talked....AND TALKED basically throughout the entire set. About what? I have no idea because I was too busy doing my best to focus on experiencing songs from the new album that I hadn't heard live yet but kept getting distracted.
At one point I'll admit I lost my cool and in between songs and sort of yelled to myself hoping people around me would hear, "WOULD YOU ALL JUST SHUT UP PLEASE?" which garnered some shade thrown my way, Apparently the people up in the front were insanely rude as well by Sprout's account of the night, too. In addition to the incessant chattering they made it a point to block her from getting any shots where they were standing directly in front of Aaron taking selfies and the like.
To make matters worse, I found out a few days later that Sprout and I weren't the only ones who felt this way about the show, which makes me all the more frustrated:
I used to think people just always talk through shows but that's just not true
Folks, just because bands are on a stage 2 feet higher than you doesn't mean that they can't see and hear every single thing that you're doing. Please be respectful of the time, energy, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices that talented individuals have made to try to earn a living off of their craft. I want to believe your parents raised you better than that, but if not, this is your final warning from this Rock Mom.
if you haven't heard Son Little's debut full-length, please spend the next 52 minutes of your life to solve that problem.
Day one CMJ is always a slow start for me and this year was so exception to that rule. I had to endure the day job before my 3 day vacation of bands, booze, and badge friends forever officially kicked off. All that said, you bet your sweet ass the second that 5:30pm rolled around that I was out the door running as fast I could to meet up with Sprout who was patiently waiting for me at our safe harbor that folks like to call No Fun. When the time came for us to treat our earholes we sauntered our way down to Rockwood Music Hall stage 2. The room was reasonably full, enough for Sprout to dart around fairly easily to take some snaps.
The last time I saw Aaron Livingston sing in person it was with RJD2 for their project Icebird. As much as I enjoyed The Abandoned Lullaby, there were some moments where it felt like Livingston's vocals were an afterthought to what was going on in the production. That was fortunately not the case for his new solo project, Son Little. His voice rang out loud and strong to the red velvety backdrop that are the walls of Rockwood Stage 2. His accompanyment were a keyboardist/bassist and drummer, who elevated the emotional twangs in Livingston's voice. In addition to playing cuts I had heard before like, "The River", "Cross My Heart", and the heartwrenching "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches", he played some new tracks that will appear on his upcoming debut album that is coming "soon" (his words).
Those that know me, know that I love beats as well as awesome producers. Nick Koenig aka Hot Sugar is one of those people that i love hearing new shit from. Hot Sugar is set to release a new EP titled Midi Murder which continues the MM album theme and features 7 new tracks from his upcoming LP of the same name set to release next year and will be his first album that features full on collaborations with vocalists such as Heems and KOOL AD of Das Racist, Antwon, Chippy Nonstop, Haleek Maul, Big Baby Gandhi, Nasty Nigel, Fat Tony, Izza Kizza, Aaron Livingston and more. The teaser EP is set to be released sometime this year within the coming months for free in collaboration with Scion A/V.
You can check out the trailer to the upcoming EP above as well as peep a new a track from the EP in the player below titled "Honeycomb Hideout" which features previous HS collaborators, Timbaland protége Izza Kizza and the Hunter S. Thompson of R&B, The Roots collaborator and Icebird/The Mean/Young Viperz vocalist Aaron Livingston. And you can read more about the upcoming EP and LP over at The Creator's Project blog.
Long gone are the days when you'd see Arctic Monkeys at The Boardwalk in Sheffield. 6 year later and with 4 albums under their belt, you can't deny how far the young boys from Yorkshire have come. The thing I love about the Arctic Monkeys is that they don't have an indefinite recipe for greatness, with each album they throw away whatever preconceptions they had for the last album and start fresh. Nothing could be truer for their latest LP Suck It And See, on which the band explore deeper the darker sounds that were dabbled with on Humbug some two years ago. Remember the days when Alex used to write about dickhead bouncers from clubs in Sheff? Well, they're long gone, as this album sees Alex grow once more as a songwriter, fathoming some psychedelic realm of subject matter. The opening lines to "Black Treacle" talk of him seeing "belly button piercings, in the sky, at night," whilst the albums title track sees him compare a girl to a can of "Dandelion and Burdock"; he's grown as a writer and this allbum is a perfect chance to show how far they've come since their debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Start to finish, this album has you under a spell of time changes and beautiful sounding instrumentation. Ip, dip, dog shit, rock and roll guys, this album is a triumph! —Shey
There aren't many bands that can bounce back for a two year streak of getting into the top 5 album lists of not just ours, but a few other blogs too! That's exactly what Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney managed to do, though, with their Brothers follow up El Camino. From album opener and lead single "Lonely Boy," which will have you gyrating from start to finish, you can't help but fall in love with the album. It's a little more moody than Brothers, all the while finding its very own sound and hitting it home better than you could have ever hoped for. Dan's guitar tone is enough to make any grown man swoon, and Patrick takes out some hidden anger on the kit 'cos damn he kills it. The stand out track for me has to be "Little Black Submarines," with a slow building acoustic verse or two with just Dan and his guitar before a huge hair raising finale of pure awesome. Following up Brothers was never going to be an easy task, but The Black Keys threw away the rule book, did what they thought sounded good and thankfully, we agree with them! Grab this album now. You won't regret it. —Shey
Move over Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo! RJD2 and Aaron Livingston have came along to take the title for the best producer/soul singer duo with their magnificent debut album The Abandoned Lullaby. Icebird have proved they are more than a vocalist singing over the producer's beats duo with stand out tracks such as such as the soul/rock tune "Just Love Me" or the funky "Going and Going. And Going" and have made their mark as one of the top soul/rock/hip hop acts alongside artists such as Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc and Cee-Lo Green. The Abandoned Lullaby is filled with rich melody and emotion and never provides a dull moment which leaves you fiending for more after the 12 tracks are said and done. Thankfully, this wasn't just a one off project and the group are already plotting their next venture and by the looks of things so far, they have a bright future ahead. —Rocko
I don't think I have been this happy about an album since Modern Guilt came out in 2008. Sometimes being up to your eyeballs in the latest buzz bands makes you lose sight of what matters the most to you when it comes to the way a record makes you feel. When it comes to Wasting Light I felt allowed to enjoy the entire process of an album from start to finish again. These days a lot of the magic of making a record seems to get lost in the art of ProTools perfection, so when I heard that Foo Fighters were going to be recording to tape I was anxious to hear the difference between making a record in Davie Grohl's garage and a multi-million dollar studio.
Truth be told, I prefer Grohl's garage. It's hard to know what you're missing out on until it's gone. There is a warmth to albums on tape that can't be replicated with any piece of software, a lot like playing a CD versus dropping the needle on a record. The songs are thoughtful and probably the most intimate to date from Foo Fighters in my opinion, thus making it almost impossible for you to not find some way to identify with every song on the record. This album coupled with their documentary, Back and Forth, made me feel so close to the band that I feel more invested in them now than I ever had before with them or any other band for that matter. Foo Fighters solidified a place in my heart with this album and I am more than okay with that. —Kibbe
Simply put, this album and albums like this are the reason I listen to music. With his self-titled sophomore album, Justin Vernon has crafted a magnificent, ten-song opus that encapsulates everything music should be. It feels happy when it should be, it emotes the sadness that we will and have experienced in our lives, it never feels forced yet it always feels real and genuine. While For Emma, Forever Ago did this, and was an amazing album, it always felt a little bit too simple and acoustic driven, but, with Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Vernon's musical breadth has widened exponentially. "Beth/Rest" is, in itself, a symbol of Vernon's foray into the realm of risk-driven experimentation. Using the soul pop genre of the '80s as a muse, the song ends the album on the perfect note, evoking a passionate, joyful, and sombre conclusion to an incredible album. Vernon's growth and experimentation is evident with each passing song, as one will offer something that the previous didn't, and this adds a layer of depth that wasn't fully realized in For Emma.
It isn't just Vernon's instrumentation that has evolved, though, as the solitary sadness heard on his debut has grown into something beautifully melancholic here, and, as each consecutive song on the album passes, this beauty takes a number of emotional twists and turns. Album opener "Perth" starts slow, building up to a percussion-driven intensity before slowing down again and seamlessly flowing into "Minnesota, WI." "Holocene" is a masterpiece in and above itself, with Vernon's vocals beautifully rising and calming at just the right moments, and with such brevity, to evoke a humanity that is oft absent from music. Whether it is the doleful happiness of "Towers," the saddening childhood story of "Michicant," or the solemn memories of a failed relationship in "Wash.," the album conveys such powerful and meaningful messages. From beginning to end, from "Perth" to "Beth/Rest," we are taken through a journey of emotional expression, of life and all its trials and tribulations. It is this which makes the album so incredible, because, no matter who you are or where you are, we all succumb to heartbreak, to struggle, and the albums themes, themes that are part of life, of growing up, manage to transcend the album itself, and it does so in such an organic way. It is a rare thing for an album to feel so organic, so seamless and unified, with each song feeling like it should be there, yet each song offering something that only it can provide. The humanity of the album is what stands out the most, with each song evoking exactly what it needs to, not feeling too forced or underutilized. I listen to music for this exact reason, because it acts as an avenue for the emotions, enjoyment, happiness, sadness, and all the things that makes me human, and, in this regard, Bon Iver, Bon Iver succeeds in every way. —Adrian
I love when my music friends come together, SKoA favorite RJD2 (who just released the amazing Icebird album alongside Aaron Livingston) jumps behind the production kit and drops his take of Alan Wilkis latest single "Come and Go" featuring KickDrums vocalist Alex Fitts for Wilkis' upcoming album PRINTS. For each song or “print,” Wilkis creats an instrumental piece and mixes it up with different vocalists such as The KickDrums, Lyrics Born, Childish Gambino, and White Hinterland, until the “print” takes its shape, drawing both himself and his collaborators out of their respective comfort zones.
Check out the remix of "Come and Go" as well as the original album cut in the player below. For more infromation on the upcoming project make sure you check out the PRINTS website.
The amazing debut from rjd2 and Aaron Livingston bka Icebird, The Abandoned Lullaby has hit digital and physical shelves today. Check out the full album stream at AOL Music and check out our verdict on the duo's album here. *SPOILER ALERT* It's awesome. Pick it up.
About a year ago, Electronic/Hip Hop mastermind RJD2 (or rjd2) released his last solo effort The Colossus. While doing promo for the album, he revealed in an interview that he was working on a new project with vocalist Aaron Earl Livingston, that was along the format of producer/singer groups like Broken Bells, Gnarls Barkley, etc. The album that came from the pairing, The Abandoned Lullaby would be a return to form for RJ, giving him the ability to focus solely on production while Livingston provided his captivating vocals to RJ's musical landscape.
For those that haven't heard of Aaron prior to Icebird, he is the vocalist of east coast (Philly, NY, Jersey) band The Mean and is better known for his guest vocals on The Roots "Guns Are Drawn" off their album The Tipping Point or even his recent guest feature on Icebird partner RJD2's "Crumbs Off The Table" from The Colossus, which we consider to be the groups first official track. I'm pretty sure most of you know RJD2, but for those that don't, RJ was considered to be the next DJ Shadow after dropping the sample layering, experimental, instrumental debut Deadringer, but broke away from the typecast after dropping albums like the critically acclaimed (and my favorite record) Since We Last Spoke, RJ's first full vocal record The Third Hand, The Colossus and We Are The Doorways which he released earlier this year under the moniker The Insane Warrior. RJ has also had his share of collaborative projects aside from Icebird, which include the collaborative hip hop group Mhz, Soul Position w/Blueprint, Aceyalone and an upcoming collaboration with SKoA favorite Kenna, as well as production and remix credits for a lot of big name artists (google it).
Speaking of production, fans of RJD2 beats will definitely enjoy The Abandoned Lullaby and cuts like the recently released single "Charmed Life" and other big beat tracks like "I'm Green" (which sounds like the lovechild of an RJD2 x N*E*R*D and The Black Keys collaboration), "Wander" and "Gun For Hire" which production relates to RJ's Since We Last Spoke up to his most recent effort The Colossus. However, the overall feel of the record is a wonderful hybrid of Rock, Soul and Hip Hop in which Aaron Livingston's soulful vocals mix perfectly with RJ style of music direction. Aside, from the tracks previously listed for fans of RJ beats, the album also featured many stand out efforts that fans of all genres would love like my personal favorite, the soulful "Just Love Me", as well as tunes like the rock heavy debut Icebird track "Going and Going. And Going.", "King Tut", "Please, Don't" and the album's closer "Find Yourself."
In an ever growing genre of Soul/Hip-Hop artist (i.e. Cee-Lo, John Legend, Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc, Janelle Monae, etc.) Icebird make their mark with their stand out debut record The Abandoned Lullaby. For fans of RJ, it is another excellent addition to his already impressive discography and for fans of good music, make sure you check out the this wonderful soulful record which is one of our favorite records of the year thus far. Therefore, were giving this record a 4.5 out of 5 Awesome Sauces, for its excellent display of audio pleasure. You can hear the album in full over at AOL for a limited time and if you dig it make sure you "Find Yourself" a copy when the album drops tomorrow, October 11th.
01 Charmed Life 02 Just Love Me 03 Going and Going. And Going. 04 King Tut 05 Wander 06 The Return of Tronson 07 Spirit Ache 08 I'm Green 09 Gun for Hire 10 In Exile 11 Please, Don't 12 Find Yourself