This snazzy trio can’t be defined by any one genre of music. They’re folk, neo/classic soul and 20th century classical with punk and jazz all rolled into one funky band. And I’m sure you could throw in some other varieties as well. This is what they pride themselves on. They prefer not to have a specific, singular sound. How do The Stepkids define “The Stepkids”? “Psychedelia for the 21st century.”
The three dashing members, Jeff Gitelman (guitar), Tim Walsh (drums), and Dan Edinberg (bass and keyboards) have had much experience in the music industry, specifically with R&B and Hip-Hop, before the creation of The Stepkids. They toured with the likes of Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, and Lauryn Hill as a backing group.
Just as they don’t have a singular sound, they don’t have a singular “lead” singer. They are constantly emphasizing the importance of each member contributing equally. They all write the lyrics together and they all sing together, as a whole.
To get the full experience, you really need to see them in person. Watching this video of their live performance for “Suburban Dream” is getting me stoked for their Brooklyn performance. They also have a number of hilarious, mind-tripping videos that are worth checking out, but they just don’t do the trio justice. Come see them for yourself. LIVE. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, one of my all time favorites is opening for them, so get there early!
For the last three months, I haven’t been able to get these girls out of my memory. Once again, I’m a little late to post, since they released their first official video for the single “Forever” a month ago. With a guitar riff that calls to memory Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, this song should definitely be in the discussion for song of the summer. Many critics have likened the band to a cross between Fleetwood Mac and En Vogue, but I’m getting more of a cross between MJ and The Pretenders. Watch the video below, and make sure to check out my previous posts about Haim, here and here.
I know this isn’t new, but it’s still really good. It’s James Blake‘s cover of a Feist song, and even though it comes across as an R&B/Soul tune, the subtle dubstep is a nice switch up from the overly aggressive dubstep over saturating every DJs playlist these days. In order to really here that influence in the bass, your best bet is to throw some headphones on, otherwise you really won’t get the full effect.
We’ll conclude the week with another banger from a group with a strong female presence. Just like St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs and Yukimi from Little Dragon, the vocals sung by Dirty Projectors‘ Amber Coffman on “Stillness Is The Move” are heavily influenced by 90′s R&B. Even the beat is distinctly influenced by R&B and Hip-Hop from the 90′s, but when juxtaposed with Dave Longstreth’s inventive West African tinged guitar riff the result is shockingly strange yet mesmerizing. When Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne, is your #1 fan you know you’ve stumbled upon something brilliant. Former members include Rostam Batmanglij and Ezra Koenig of current Vampire Weekend fame.
The band recently announced they’ll be touring the U.S. this summer, with dates in 33 cities. See the dates here.
tUnE-yArDs is the moniker of Oakland, CA based Indie-Pop songstress Merrill Garbus. The New England native has been operating under this alias for the last 6 years and has released 2 great albums. Earlier this year, the Village Voice‘s annual “Pazz and Jop” poll of critics named her second album w h o k i l l the #1 album of 2011. While saying w h o k i l l was the best album of 2011 is entirely subjective, no one can argue that her sound is the most creative of the last 2-3 years. “Real Live Flesh” off her first album BiRd-BrAiNs was my introduction to her weird world. You can hear the distinct influence of 90′s R&B and Neo-Soul in her powerful vocals, which is why she’s the perfect way to end this week’s thread.