Mainstream ’90s rock isn’t as good as we remember it. A few albums hold up, but it’s mostly nostalgia that keeps us revisiting it. Most of those bands that scored modern-rock-radio hits are long gone. The ones still around are pale imitations of what they once were — usually one original member trying to cash in on a couple hits. Few are still making music. Even fewer are making music that people care about.
Foo Fighters are a clear exception to this. While their peers are trying to grow old gracefully, Dave Grohl and his band aren’t growing old at all. Wasting Light, their seventh studio album, is the group’s heaviest yet.
Grohl and his bandmates — Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear — give all their energy on the fast-paced album. Instead of sounding like overcompensating, it’s refreshing. First single “Rope” is an instant Foo Fighters classic. Other highlights include “Dear Rosemary,” featuring legend Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü). Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic also makes a guest appearance, playing bass and accordion on “I Should Have Known.”
On the closing track, “Walk,” Grohl sums up the album’s no-holds-barred attitude: “Never wanna die/Never wanna leave/Never say goodbye.” Wasting Light is one of the band’s strongest albums, and Foo Fighters show no signs of slowing down.
What was your favorite ’90s rock band? Are they still good today?
I’ve been driving more lately, which has given me the opportunity to listen to more music. The new albums by I’m From Barcelona, Fleet Foxes, The Antlers and Wild Beasts have been in heavy rotation in my stereo, and I listened to Chris Thile & Michael Daves’ album Sleep With One Eye Open on the way open tonight. Avett Brothers fans take note! This one sounds a lot like their early, more-bluegrass albums, but with a mandolin instead of a banjo. Also, if you haven’t heard Thile’s excellent mandolin playing on either of the Punch Brothers’ albums, you’ve been missing out.
The new albums in my car have been piling up, so I figured it’s time for another music to-do list. This one should be a breeze with my extra driving time, though.
The Very Best – Super Mom Mixtape
Esau Mwamwaya’s work with Radioclit as The Very Best is always interesting, and their latest mixtape promises more. The track list includes re-worked versions of Kate Bush, LCD Soundsystem and Kanye West, as well as two originals.
The Reatards – Teenage Hate
A little over a year since Jay Reatard died, Goner Records is reissuing some of his earliest work. This 39-track album features both Teenage Hate and Fuck Elvis, Here’s the Reatards - previously only available on cassette. This collection should shine some light on the early years of the garage rocker who was lost too soon.
Givers – In Light
Since Givers’ EP came out in 2009, they’ve toured with bands like Dirty Projectors and Ra Ra Riot. If their self-titled EP is any indication, the bands’ first full-length should be full of infectious indie-pop jams.
Warren Haynes – Man in Motion
This one seems like kind of an oddball on this list, but it’s been repeatedly recommended to me by a former professor, whose music taste I trust. Haynes’ bluesy take on soul music should be a great listen.
Free Energy came to St. Bonaventure on Saturday, April 30 to play the university’s Spring Weekend. The name of the event usually implies nice weather, but it was cold and rainy on Friday (and Sunday and Monday).
Saturday was a break in the clouds, literally. The sun was out and everyone was feeling good, and the bands definitely added to the good vibes.
Sports, from Rochester, N.Y., opened the afternoon show with a forty-five-minute set. The band’s indie rock is strongly influenced by R&B and soul music, which creates a classic combination of Vampire Weekend and Elvis Costello. Their debut self-titled album is available on their website, sportsrochester.com, and is strongly recommended. Look for them to break out of western New York soon.
Free Energy took the stage shortly after. Almost all of their songs are upbeat and perfect for singing and dancing. As performers, they have an undeniable swagger — always moving and looking like true rock stars. Catchy anthems from their debut album Stuck on Nothing like “Free Energy” and “Bang Pop” won over the crowd, and a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” turned into a massive sing-a-long.
The crowd favorite was probably “Something in Common,” from their self-titled EP. The funky bass line got everyone moving, and lead singer Paul Sprangers led the crowd in a chorus of “whoa oh oh” before stepping off the stage and handing off the mic to a group of students.
They closed their set with “Hope Child,” and stuck around for a bit, mingling with students and selling merch. Drummer Nick Shuminsky even played a game of one-on-one basketball on Bob Lanier Court against junior Chris Radey. The day will surely be remembered by Bonaventure students as one of the most entertaining concerts the school has had.
Check out more photos from the show on my Flickr.
A line of people formed on Seneca St. on Feb. 20. It wrapped its way around the corner, almost all the way down Linden Ave. The small city of Geneva, N.Y. hadn’t seen a crowd like this in a while.
The Avett Brothers were in town, playing a sold-out show at The Smith Opera House. The historic venue had held performances by Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel in the ‘70s, but crowds like this have become a rarity lately. The dedicated fans braved the cold to stand in line for hours, trying to get the best seats possible. Continue reading