Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 12:05 pm
By manyaccounts, Early Graves' Makh Daniels was a passionate, kind man, as well as a ferocious vocalist who lived for the road. That he died in a van accident a little more than two years ago while on tour with The Funeral Pyre is just a reminder that sometimes the best die young.
Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Cook makes her third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Cook's first appearance on the show took place nearly 10 years ago, and since then her star has risen slowly and steadily.
Grizzly Bear began in 2004 as a bedroom recording project for Massachusetts native Ed Droste. His early songs were mostly trippy, atmospheric and roughly sketched soundscapes, but by 2006, Grizzly Bear had evolved into a full band and released the slightly more polished album Yellow House. The group's 2009 breakthrough, Veckatimist, and the new Shields are both richly layered productions with gorgeous, soaring harmonies and artful melodies and rhythms.
At this point, there's nothing special about jazz musicians playing post-Beatles pop: It's just the new normal. But one of the trendsetters on that score was pianist Brad Mehldau and his versions of Radiohead and Nick Drake tunes. Now, Mehldau's trio has a new covers album out.
The Portland, Ore., rock band Menomena has just released Moms, its fourth album — and first since co-founder Brent Knopf left the group last year. The band's core members, Justin Harris and Danny Seim, carry forward Menomena's musical hallmarks (meaty baritone sax, bassline spines, rhythms that turn on a dime), which have made its sound such an original all these years.