Music

Joseph On World Cafe

Sep 12, 2016

Don't let the name fool you: The Portland, Ore., band Joseph is a trio of sisters, none of whom are called Joseph. They're actually Allison, Meegan and Natalie Closner, who named their band after the Oregon town where their grandfather Jo once lived. Natalie was the Closner sister responsible for the group's formation; after she'd begun writing and performing, she realized how much more powerful the music could be with the addition of her siblings' voices.

There's a new film about Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds directed by Andrew Dominik called One More Time With Feeling. The setting of the film is a recording studio for a performance of songs from Skeleton Tree, the band's 16th studio album. But the backdrop to the film is tragic. In the summer of 2015, Nick Cave's 15-year-old son Arthur fell from a cliff while hallucinating on LSD. The film was made about five months later. Cave has not spoken at any length about his son, and this film is, in a way, his statement and thoughts on Arthur's death.

Crying exists in the ridiculous. The band's first two EPs took bright-eyed pop-punk and Thin Lizzy hooks and amplified it with the 8-bit, in-the-red cuteness of chiptune music.

Michel Gondry's latest video was a complete surprise to the band for whom he created it. Gondry made the short film for The White Stripes' song "City Lights" on his own and shared it with frontman Jack White over the weekend.

It was way below freezing outside, a couple weeks before the holidays — the kind of cold that requires layers of long sleeves and flannel beneath your jacket. But in the basement of Songbyrd Music House in Washington, D.C., a swirling mass of hardcore kids leapt through the air, sweat flopping off heavy cotton since they had nowhere to stash their Bane and Judge hoodies. Heads narrowly avoided metal poles in a underworld dance of thrown elbows and knee-pumping swarm. Welcome to the gleeful insanity of a Turnstile show.

The '80s are alive and well in "Real Thing," a retro, synth-heavy new song and video from Lower Dens. Shot through a lens presumably slathered with Vaseline and captured on grainy VHS tape, the video features frontwoman Jana Hunter singing and playing guitar on a darkened stage, dimly lit by hazy red lights. "I'm married to a terrific guy," Hunter sings. "I'll never leave until I die. But I just love to get out and get it on."

Artists make the best cultural critics. They reveal what's happening around us with whatever level of transparency they see fit, with whatever level of opaqueness they desire to sustain mystery. They're observers, internally and outwardly, operating in a space that allows us, the voyeur, the listener, to learn. Kim Gordon has been teaching us for over three decades. Now she's doing it under her own name.

Between his bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as his more recent solo work, Jack White has won 12 Grammy awards and sold millions of albums.

I remember the first time I heard Ramones. It was the first Saturday after its April 23, 1976 release date, back when I was 14 and working weekends at the House of Guitars, Rochester, N.Y.'s greatest and still thriving record store/musical instrument shop/freak magnet.

Taylor Ross knows his way around a melody. More specifically, he knows how to peep into melody's third eye, hug the fruit-striped void and send it sideways down the yellow brick road.

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