The New Basement Tapes

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The New Basement Tapes is a collaborative project that began with Bob Dylan 47 years ago. Today it has flourished into a full-length album recorded with many voices to Dylan’s lyrics.

I stumbled across their song Kansas City on WXRT Radio one afternoon on my way home from work. The song features the lead singer from Mumford and Sons. It struck me because I knew Mumford had split and thought maybe they reconciled and were putting out new music. I Shazammed it and saw that it was The New Basement Tapes. So I looked them up on Spotify to see and listen to some of their other material. Come to find that the band also features Elvis Costello, and Jim James from My Morning Jacket! Take a listen, you might recognize some other voices:

Meg’s Year In Music 2014

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Right about this time every year, radio stations, TV channels, magazines and social media are putting together their “Best Of…” lists for 2014. Instead of a “Best Of” list, I put together a playlist of various music artists that I discovered, oldies that are newbies to me, and new releases for 2014!

It was a year for Sophomore albums with Young the Giant, Foster The People, Grouplove, Phantogram, Kimbra, Jack White and Alt-J.

A few new breakthrough artists/groups that blew through the roof like CVRCHES, Sam Smith and Disclosure, St. Lucia, Hozier, and Tove Lo.

I was turned on to Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie this year. I wish I listened to them sooner! I don’t know if they will every overcome my love for Led Zeppelin, speaking of Robert Plant put out some new music this year! Lana Del Rey put out some new music this year too, she’s on a roll – of some kind 😉

David Bowie Is…

David Bowie Is @ the MCA in Chicago
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Legendary. Phenomenal. Outrageous. Genius.

I’ve woken up with David Bowie songs stuck in my head a few days leading up to this event and every day since! After visiting the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, I left with so much more respect for this man.

In my teen years, I knew a few of his hit songs (and then some that I didn’t know were originally his), and recognized him the movie, Labyrinth. Then was exposed to more of his work during my college years. I was shocked to hear that others my age had no clue who he was/is. I encourage all young adults to visit this exhibit while it’s still available – GO NOW!

The exhibit takes through Bowie’s career, starting with Ziggy Stardust. I never realized that persona came so early in his career. As I began to journey through this interactive exhibit, different songs and interviews would come on the provided headset as you walked up to different focal points. I found myself getting stuck at the videos because I wanted to hear the whole song and maybe dance a little while I read the plaque on the wall.

It warmed my heart to learn how he embraced his uniqueness and encouraged others to do the same. Be proud of who you are and don’t let anyone make you think any less.

Another favorite portion of the exhibit was how Bowie breaks down the systematic way he wrote songs. I almost felt a little disappointment, thinking he wasn’t as poetic as I had originally thought. But then with reason and purpose behind it, he left it open to interpretation. To each his own – including Bowie.

The exhibit included journal entries, sketches, paintings, movie clips and SO MANY COSTUMES! I loved the costumes. Even a few outfits by Alexander McQueen! The exhibit finale closes with various performances being projected onto the wall where it feels like you are in the audience.

Now, LET’S DANCE! Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.

St. Vincent at Chicago Theater

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WXRT’s first of 2 Big Holiday shows featured Future Islands and the incredible St. Vincent. Unfortunately, we missed Future Islands, but made it just in time to see the entire set for St. Vincent.

After Jason Thomas introduced the band, an electronic voice comes on and asks us to refrain from using our digital devices in order to have an optimal experience. I was able to abide by this throughout about 35% of the show…I just needed one photo! I got my shot and then put my camera away!

They take the stage and open with a bang! They gave off so much energy, and sadly, the Chicago Theater doesn’t allow much dancing room! Anne Clark moves with purpose. She is obscure and artistic and I loved the choreography. It was funny that they told us not to use our digital devices, but then she opens with Digital Witness and all of her moves are somewhat robotic. She would also incorporate some interpretive dance between songs. My personal favorite was her oddly moving down the pedestal/stairs backwards – I immediately turned to my bf and said, Birth In Reverse, and sure enough it was the next song!

I was impressed with the light show and how it perfectly synced with the guitar riffs and base lines. Every song ended with a FTB (Fade to Black), some were followed by an odd monologue, that slightly felt like a sermon with Anne’s sweet, soft and calming voice. Some words made you think on a scale much, much larger than just yourself, and some words were inspiring/motivating. I almost wanted to raise my hands and say “AMEN TO THAT!” I could see myself having intellectual conversations with Ms. Clark.

The show ended promptly at 10pm. The crowd cheered and roared for a solid 3 minutes, about 20% of the audience got up and started to leave, OH BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE! Duh! There’s always an encore. They closed with Your Lips Are Red. I love this song because it comes in like a lion ready to pounce, and goes out like a lamb ready for a nap. Midway through the song, she made her way into the crowd, and some guy carried her back to the stage. Then another guy followed with the guitar. She did a little more interpretive dancing, and closed the show with the second half of Your Lips Are Red.

The crowd cheered, the band took their bows, and I left with astonishment. If you ever have a chance to see this band Live, do so – it’s better than just listening to their albums.