If you’re like me, then the idea of attractive, young-looking, Irish man-twins launching a semi-successful pop career through various music contests and the obsessions of ten year old Irish girls is like the best thing ever. Fortunately for us, Jedward exists. Made up of 20 year old (its okay, they’re legal) twins John and Edward, Jedward rose to a mild level of fame among tween girls in the UK and Ireland after their appearance on The X Factor in 2009. They were described by then-judge Simon Cowell as being “Not very good and incredibly annoying” (which is actually how most people would describe Simon Cowell, so whatever), and lost the competition. Then they released a CD of all the songs they covered on the X Factor, and did some other stuff, including releasing another album, modeling, doing charity whatever, being real cute, and representing Ireland in the 2011 and 2012 Eurovision contests.
No, they cannot sing well. No, they cannot dance well (although they do cartwheels and handstands and stuff sometimes). Yes, you will want to mute your computer and pretend to be looking at something else when you watch the videos below and someone walks past. But, if you are like me, you’ll probably enjoy it all the same. And if you dig it, don’t worry. They have another album coming out next month.
The four members of Philadelphia band Son Step draw from their diverse backgrounds in jazz, rock, folk and music from around the world to write and perform tight, rhythmic pop songs. Pat Lamborn, Matt Scarano, and twin brothers Jon and Chris Coyle all attended Temple University in the jazz studies department and now each have their feet in a wide variety of projects in the Philly music scene.
In April they toured the midwest, stopping in Oberlin between shows at The Happy Dog in Cleveland and at The Empty Bottle and The Burlington in Chicago. The band recorded some live takes of a few songs in WOBC’s Studio B, including a couple of new ones slated for an upcoming full-length album. Listen to those recordings below, and check out their Bandcamp page to listen to their past releases!
On Tuesday May 1st, the ‘Sco housed another option for electronic music for those who thought Fracture was really not enough. Addison Groove, a.k.a. Headhunter, but who introduces himself as Tony, played a very eclectic but very accessible set of house, drum and bass, minimalist, dubstep, juke, mixing genres and samples from many realms of danceable music. Considering how varied the styles he played were, it might seem that the concert was disjointed or going in too many directions, which couldn’t be further from the truth. What makes Addison Groove so special is actually somewhat evident in his moniker; groove. He never loses the groove. Though the styles varied, the beat prevailed and the crowd both of first-time listeners and more-than-one time listeners responded.
His new album as Addison Groove for 50 Weapons, Transistor Rhythm, dominated the first part of the set, but towards the end, he displayed his eclectic tastes and skills as a DJ. He also mixed on real vinyl which always looks shiny. For anybody who wants something new, check out Addison Groove and Headhunter.
The James and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection is the largest privately owned collection of jazz materials in the United States, and possibly the world. James Neumann, proprietor of the collection and an Oberlin Alumnus, decided last year to donate all of the materials to Oberlin. So far, the school has received about 45,000 vinyl LPs along with thousands of jazz periodicals and collectibles, which does not event amount to half of the entire collection. The recordings will not be available for students for some time, which is why WOBC has decided to give followers a regular taste of the collection’s rare gems. Disclaimer: Information and music posted are sourced from WOBC copies of albums also included in the Neumann Collection.
This week’s dig from the collection is a beauty: an original pressing of John Coltrane’s masterpiece A Love Supreme. This particular vinyl copy of the album is in its original monoaural format, kept in absolutely pristine condition since its pressing in the year of the record’s release, 1965. The amount of A Love Supreme copies of this kind probably amounts to a few thousand—but in terms of copies that are still in perfect condition, there must only be a handful in existence.
A Love Supreme was originally released on Impulse! records in February 1965. The whole record was cut in one session on December 9th, 1964 at the studio of master engineer Rudy Van Gelder in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The personnel on the record consists of Coltrane’s legendary quartet of the early to mid-1960s: McCoy Tyner on Piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums. The music is a suite in four parts: I. Acknowledgment; II. Resolution; III. Pursuance; IV. Psalm. Each movement is dedicated to a different aspect of Coltrane’s newfound devotion to God in the 1960s, and his deep spirituality is viscerally apparent in every moment of the record. Musically, each movement is based on a simple modal chord structure, over which Coltrane plays a short theme and then engages in a more or less “free” improvisation with the other members of the group.
The design and layout of this particular printing of the album is unique for Impulse! records. Most Impulse! releases bear a colorful photograph on the cover, the signature black and orange label on the side binding, and a foldout that includes liner notes, additional information, and photos of the featured musicians. The original release of A Love Supreme, however, bears a stunning black-and-white photo of Coltrane’s face in a position of meditative repose, a matching black-and-white side label, and a foldout that is filled up by a hand-drawn image of Coltrane playing his instrument and personal inscription from the saxophonist/composer proclaiming his love for The Almighty.
It’s clear from the design of the whole package that the record label felt this release needed special treatment. Impulse! turned out to be correct in its projection of the album’s importance: it is one of the best-selling jazz records of all time, and is held as a centerpiece of inspiration by countless musicians. It goes whithout saying that Oberlin is extremely privileged to own an original, mint-condition record of this historic album.
Have you scavenged through the folk vault recently? Dusty but thrilling. These compilation records are a real jam for those admirers of alternative country from the late eighties. The albums were released separately and a few years later combined in CD form. (Note: Volume 3 was also released but not in the WOBC vault) The musicians featured were rising alt country stars in Bakersfield, California. Bakersfield has cultivated the sound of a few notable country music stars, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard for example. The city is even noted for a ‘Bakersfield sound’ which originated in honky-tonk bars in the 50s. Take a listen.
About a month ago the Nashville five-piece Honey Locust played a show at Fairchild Chapel with Calvin Johnson and the Hive Dwellers and Erin Earthling. The band also kindly came by the WOBC studios and played a few new tunes off of their new release Fear Is A Feeling EP.
We got a chance to talk to the band about their favorite experiences on tour and how they each know how to play so many different instruments. Honey Locust’s five members never seem to play the same instrument twice. During the live broadcast we saw a viola, banjo, piano, organ, accordion, guitar, ukulele, cello, mandolin, percussion, and bass.
You can find more information about the band and get a copy of their EP at their website. You can also stream the EP on their bandcamp.
Elbow recently released their follow up to the Mercury Prize winning and highly successful The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008. Their latest effort, Build a Rocket Boys!, is a different take on their last, arena anthem record. Before the recording process, Guy Garvey, the lead singer and primary songwriter of the group, moved back to his hometown where he grew up, which is thought to have inspired Build a Rocket Boys! Many of the album’s themes reflect on the ideas of nostalgia, missing the warmth of family life and generally setting a more reflective and introspective mood. Though struggling to live up to their previous success, Guy along with band members Mark Potter who’s on guitars, Craig Potter on keyboards, Pete Turner on bass, and Richard Jupp on drums, embark on a creative journey that takes them to places they have not explored before. Guy writes about the realities of being middle aged, about childhood dreams, and how everyday people seek something much grander throughout life. This record is proof that Elbow still knows how to use textures to create a beautiful ambiance that is always different from what they have done before. What differentiates this group from many others is the propensity of the lyrics to being real and genuine with harmonies that can touch many people on several different levels. This is an imaginative, yet heartwarming record that echoes with textured guitars, organs, electronics, orchestral percussions, and of course the staple to most of Elbow’s music, the frequent use of the youth choir.