Bands of brothers—history is riddled with them. From Creedence Clearwater Revival to the Bee Gees to Kings of Leon to The Beach Boys to Kool & The Gang to Good Charlotte to Pantera to, well, you get the point. Oaklynn, a band out of Dalton, Ga., brings its own exceptional symmetry to this illustrious group. Made up of two pairs of brothers—Josh and Seth Smith and Tripp and Tate Howell—Oaklynn purveys catchy, hook-driven synth rock with gossamer vocals. Fans of Postal Service will love the band’s single “Everytime.” Over compressed beats, tambourines, digital bleeps, and reverb guitars, Tate Hollowell sings, “Every time you come around here lately, you lift me off the ground.” Oaklynn’s ethereal songcraft has a similar effect. Next time you need a serotonin surge, give these guys a try.
The Super Bowl’s iconic halftime show has certainly come a long way from the drill teams and college marching bands of its early years. Since the early ‘90s, the event has turned into a full-on showcase of the biggest names in music, featuring performances by such classics as Michael Jackson, Prince and Paul McCartney, as well as… not-so-classics like *NSYNC and the Black Eyed Peas. This year, halftime was dominated by none other than Madonna herself, featuring performances with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and LMFAO. So how did it compare to the halftimes of the past?
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2002 (U2) As many may remember, halftime 2002 wasn’t just a performance, it was a tribute to the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. While the concept itself could have easily gone wrong in many ways, U2 gave a stunning, energetic performance, making it arguably one of the best halftime shows to date. So how did Madonna’s performance fare against the rock and roll titans? While it may not have exactly been an empowering performance, this year’s show certainly provided us with some fun, guilty-pleasure enjoyment.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2007 (Prince) An undeniable superstar, Prince certainly delivered at Super Bowl 2007 with covers of the Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival, finishing off with his song “Purple Rain.” Madonna is pop icon of the same caliber, but could she match Prince’s powerful voice and gripping stage presence? Personally, we feel that the slack-lining cupid and Cee Lo Green’s bedazzled choir get-up stole this show.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2011 (Black Eyed Peas feat. Slash and Usher) While U2’s performance for halftime 2002 was arguably one of the best shows to date, it could be said that the Black Eyed Peas’ performance was one of the worst. With their mediocre musicianship and Fergie’s aimless belting to “Where is the Love” and “Sweet Child of Mine,” the group could only leave the crowd hanging. Say what you will about Madonna’s performance; it doesn’t get any worse than this.
When it comes to half time, it seems we’ve learned that classic is the way to go. The Super Bowl XLVI stuck to a proven formula – whether or not the decision was a good one is up to you to decide. As for us, we’re just grateful that this performance didn’t involve another Madge-Brit-Xtina lip-locking episode, circa the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
There’s something about the first song on ANY album. It sets a tone, gives you an idea of what you’re in for. But the first song on an artist’s first album is often something special. It doesn’t have to be, of course, but it’s an opportunity for a musical manifesto that some artists have really taken advantage of. Sometimes it’s instantly obvious that the track is destined to be a classic, most times the song isn’t even the best song in the artist’s catalog yet has that special feeling and then sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we can see what a statement it was and how the artist’s subsequent career bore that out. I’m sure I will think of others that should be on this list, but here are some of my favorites and, by implication, yours (if you have taste, which you do, because you’re reading this).
13. Foo Fighters – “This Is A Call” from Foo Fighters
The first post-Nirvana sounds from Dave Grohl were not mind-blowingly incongruous with his old band, but it was still exciting to hear something so solid and confident from that camp in those sad days when criminals like Silverchair and Bush attempted to fill the Cobain void.
Not solo artists. Bands only. All members of the band must be American, or yew kin GIT OUT. For the most part, we’re looking at bands that have had steady careers and a substantial body of work.
10. The Byrds
Their career was so fragmented that it is difficult to assess as a whole, but The Byrds almost single-handedly invented both folk-rock and country-rock while also bringing international attention to young folker Bob Dylan. In melding Dylan’s compositions with the concept of a guitar-based group, The Byrds brought poetry to pop and illustrated the incredible melodicism of Dylan’s not-so-accessible songs. The Byrds got into psychedelia early on, and had a number of their own classic originals (many by Gene Clark) before catching on to the roots revival. When they hooked up with Gram Parsons, to the credit of the band and leader Roger McGuinn, they followed his vision of a unique country-based “cosmic American” band. His time in the group was short-lived, but produced arguably their best LP, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The Byrds influenced at least two bands on this list, as well as re-inspiring the acts that influenced them, including Dylan, The Beatles and folkers like John Phillips and John Sebastian.
Cover tunes have been a big part of pop music in the last few decades, and an even bigger part of music throughout history (though the idea of a cover tune is rather new, they’re historically known as standards). Some covers are well known to be remakes, other times people don’t even know songs they love are covers. For example, you might not know Jimi Hendrix wasn’t the original performer of “All Along The Watchtower” —that one’s a Bob Dylan song. But, cover songs aren’t only for rock and pop artists. Metal artists do their fair share of covers as well, sometimes even full albums (See Overkill, Rage Against The Machine and Evergreen Terrace).
Personally, I think metal musicians covering songs that weren’t originally metal songs is rather brilliant. Here are some great renditions of songs that are decidedly more heavy than their originals:
“Still Fly” by Big Tymers, as covered by The Devil Wears Prada for the compilation Punk Goes Crunk
“Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, as covered by August Burns Red for the Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2 compilation
“Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, as performed by Children of Bodom on their album Skeletons In The Closet
“The Sound Of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, as performed by Nevermore on their album Dead Heart In A Dead World
“Everything Counts” by Depeche Mode, as covered by In Flames on their 1997 album Whoracle
“White Room” by Cream, as performed by Demons & Wizards as a bonus track on their self-titled album
“Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” by Elton John, as performed by Flotsam & Jetsam on their album No Place For Disgrace
“Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, as performed by Motörhead