9 Records We Can't Wait to Hear in 2014

Jack-White-PR-2010Jack White effectively effed up a whole bunch of “most anticipated in 2014” lists when, in a chat with fans this weekend, he casually announced that he’s almost finished recording a new album. This is why it pays to procrastinate, people — get those lists in late! Since we here at OurStage are huge fans of waiting until the last possible minute to get stuff done, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that we’re all anticipating the new Jack White record. So hard.

And, uh, it’s probably time that we tell you about some of the other albums slated for release this year that have us really excited. You can only put these things off for so long. Without further ado, here are 10 more records we’re super pumped to get our ears on in 2014.

1. Against Me!
When Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel, announced her transition back in 2012, some fans wondered if a female-fronted iteration of the band would have the same intensity and infectiousness as its predecessor. The answer: Yes, of course. Last year’s acoustic True Trans EP was beautiful, and if the first few singles from the upcoming Transgender Dysphoria Blues are any indication, that record will absolutely rip as well.

Soundtrax: Songs For Early Winter

Soundtrax: Songs For Early Winter by OurStage on Grooveshark

Ah, winter. For so many, the subtle oncoming of winter means snowy days, icy windshields, and a whole lot of bundling up. But for all the slight difficulties the season brings, it’s also a time for those little joys like outdoor ice skating, scarves and mittens and of course, a winter playlist. With igloo making days and hot cocoa drinking nights in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the season’s greatest reminders. The list includes OurStage artist Ezra Thomas.

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Beyoncé, Eminem, Bruno Mars And More Team Up For Charity

Rhythms Del Mundo: Africa is the latest project from Artists Project Earth, an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for climate change and disaster relief projects. The vocals of stars including Coldplay, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyoncé, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, and Bruno Mars, combined with the instrumentation of high profile African musicians like Toumani Diabaté and Rokia Traoré, result in a collaboration of epic proportions.  Previous releases from APE include Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba, Rhythms Del Mundo: Classics and Rhythms Del Mundo: Revival.

Listen to some clips in the player below while you learn more about the project!

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Folk The Revival: Traditions Taking Over

Sitting around a fire after a long day of travelling, roasting the rewards of the hunt over an open flame, singing songs of home, of protest, of past adventures; this is the heart and soul of folk music, which has been shared by people all over the world for centuries. Folk music is the original ethos that embodies all attributes of culture, so it’s no wonder that the genre has stuck around for so long. However, in the last eighty years or so, folk music has taken a back seat to other popular genres. There was, of course, the revolutionary folk revival of the ’50s and ’60s that left us with the soothing poetics of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and Simon & Garfunkel, but this movement ultimately sank back to the shadows as the 70’s brought on new musical trends. What most people don’t know, however, is that folk music has been silently plotting another massive revival.

That’s right, everyone, folk is back. That’s not to say it was necessarily gone, but it’s on its way to regaining overall respect on popular music charts once again. Of course, folk has always had its own niche in the industry, but it has rarely stepped very far from this realm in recent years. The popular music scene is generally overrun with modern rock, R&B, and pop, but there is strong evidence that folk is creeping its way back into the spotlight. In fact, the song currently sitting at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart is Carly Rae Jepsen‘s ˜Call Me Maybe’, which, to the surprise of many, was actually written as a folk song. This chart has also featured artists like Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, and Of Monsters And Men who all have strong folk rock influences in their music. The appearances of groups like these on popular charts has since introduced a new generation of fans to the rich heritage of folk music styles that originated hundreds of years ago, thus propelling the cause to return folk to its original status in the industry.


OurStage on 8tracks: Stargazer

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates the great outdoors, or just likes to look at life with a touch of whimsy, then this week’s playlist is just for you. Intern Frankie shares her love for soft, lilting melodies and organic lyrics with these tracks from folk artists across the globe. We can just imagine OurStage artists Prattle On, Rick, Really Old Airplanes and Kory Murphy sitting around a bonfire with the Fleet Foxes and Bowerbirds, playing their instruments under the stars…

Stargazer from OurStage on 8tracks.

Superlatones: The Lone Wolf

Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new and unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through Superlatones, we are creating our very own directory”a musical wish-list, if you will”of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.

We think it is safe to say that Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes are two of the greatest bands of our time. With Bon Iver‘s recent GRAMMY win for Best New Artist (despite more than three years of success in the underground folk scene) and Fleet Foxes‘ self-titled album dubbed Billboard’s Critic’s Choice Album of The Year in 2008, one can’t deny the raw talent of these musicians. However, it is inevitable that the efforts of some members of these talented acts may disappear into the sidelines, falling into obscurity save for the few fans who are willing to seek them out. This week, we celebrate these individuals by bringing their solo projects into the limelight.

The Dynamic Duo:
S. Carey
and J. Tillman







Vocal Points: In Perfect Harmony

Let’s face it, much of popular music these days is cookie-cutter stuff”melodies that are easy to sing along to with mediocre lyrical content and little to no emphasis or inclusion of the intricate vocal harmonies which make music so interesting. Layering these harmonies add a really cool, depth to music which allow listeners to discover something new about the music with every listen. But now that the lifespan of a hit song is much shorter, and music tends to be more shallow, much of the importance and depth of vocal harmony has been forgotten.

But there are still bands who “get” harmony. A great example is Grizzly Bear, an indie band whose four members, Chris Bear, Daniel Rossen, Ed Droste and Chris Taylor all contribute unique vocals to their music. Both Droste’s and Rossen’s tenor voices are different, but the way that they come together with the upper-range voices of Bear and Taylor is truly stunning. Grizzly Bear’s phenomenal attention to details in music is so well done, making for a sound unlike anything else. And in live performance by this band succeeds at an even higher level. Grizzly Bear makes these complicated harmonies come together seamlessly, channeling a choir while still being full of life and fun to watch.


Riffs, Rants & Rumors: 2011 in the Rearview Mirror

You didn’t think RR&R would torture you with anything as tedious as another year-end Best-of list, did you? Granted, we do have a piece in the works that will inform you of some excellent albums you might have missed along the way, but that’s as close as we’re willing to get. Instead, this time around we’ll simply take stock of both the magic moments and the missteps that the last twelve months have brought us”works that delivered delight and dismay in equal measure.

Old Punks Never Die

Wire “ Red Barked Tree

As the original post-punk outfit, Wire has always lived or died by how well they balanced their arty side with their edgy side. Their discography isn’t without its share of miscalculations in that area, but thirty-four years down the line from their debut album, this one is right on the money.

Gang of Four – Content

The Gang were right on the heels of Wire in first-gen U.K. post-punk, and were just as groundbreaking, but their twenty-first century revitalization has been marred by some dodgy moves. First they re-recorded a batch of their classics on 2005’s Return the Gift, and then they made matters worse with this irksome outing, which is considerably more annoying than the output of the worst third-hand Go4 copyists.

Social Distortion  – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

True survivors, old-school SoCal punks Social Distortion have been through every rock & roll tribulation”death, drugs, you name it (How did VH1’s Behind the Music miss these guys?)”but not only are they still going strong, they added some extra bluesy swing and Stonesy swagger to their latest.

UTG: MUSIC VIDEO: Fleet Foxes – The Shrine/An Argument

Fleet Foxes have unleashed their incredible animated music video for the song The Shrine/An Argument and can be viewed right here on [OS]. The animation for this eight-minute video portrays a variety of creative figures blending into the different landscapes.

The music video was co-animated and directed by Sean Pecknold.

This song comes off of the group’s latest effort, Helplessness Blues, which has received tons of praise from the across the blogosphere. Check out the review and please tell us what you think of the video.

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

View original article on Under The Gun Review.

Harmony: Indie Rock Finds Its Voice(s)

Ask a music fan in their late 30s or 40s “ preferably one stuck in their formidable years, and not an old hipster “ to define indie rock as a sound, and you’ll unquestionably hear some semblance of these words: Loud. Abrasive. Anti-Authority. Forward-thinking. Think about indie-rock forebears, and some may even call them unlistenable: Sonic Youth reveled in noise; Lou Reed couldn’t sing to save his life; Michael Stipe’s lyrics made no sense. And yet, in the past few years, an unmistakable trend’s emerged that’s made indie rock something entirely different “ in a word, beautiful.

That trend is harmony, the melding of vocals singing different notes to create a full, hopefully gorgeous chord. Admittedly, harmony has been a trait of indie rock since the early years (Kim Deal and Frank Black dabbled, as did Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl) but only recently has it become an indie-rock trademark, rather than a side note. Blame (or thank) The Shins, whose New Slang made Natalie Portman swoon and Zach Braff famous six years ago, opened the door to indie-rock sensitivity in a way it’d never been opened before.

Only in the last couple of years has harmony become zeitgeist-y, though. First came the Fleet Foxes, the ultra-hyped, superbly bearded Seattle band whose atmospheric, folksy Sun Giant was the toast of 2008, thanks to singer Robert Pecknold’s harmonizing with all of his band mates to create glorious, seemingly impossible vocal collosi that are at once overwhelming and majestic. Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear broke out last year with Veckatimest, which took the Fleet Foxes lushness and weirded it up, the group-sings so striking, they won the band the top spot on the Wall Street Journal’s list of the best records of 2009. And now, Angelenos Local Natives take the trend a step further, with the foursome bringing the fuzz of electric guitars (and the jumpy rhythms of bands like the Talking Heads) to the party, busting out three-and-sometimes-four part harmonies that’re both electrifying and soothing, occasionally simultaneously. Listening to them “ or any of their predecessors “ may not be an anti-authority statement the way, say, listening to Iggy was in 1972, but so what: who needs attitude when you can have lusciousness, instead?

-Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller is the LA editor of Thrillist.com and has been writing about music professionally for over a decade for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Relix, and Esquire.com.