Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black History in Music

As February comes to a close, it feels pertinent to acknowledge that this month was dedicated to celebrating achievements made by black Americans, which is what we intend to do now. They have brought us some of the greatest music. However, it often isn’t recognized as much as white artist’s music. So, in honor of Black History Month and Diversity Week, here are a couple of the artists that changed our music for the better.

Etta James: Etta Jame once said, My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it.” This is the idea that led her to fame. Not only is James now known as one of the best female singers of her time, but also she inspired the entire black community to bring their own individuality to the music world.
Best Songs: At Last, I’d Rather Go Blind, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Temptations: This group inspired movies like the Five Heartbeats, groups like the Jackson Five and people like Beyonce. The Temptations, a group of five soulful men with equally soulful harmonies, was one of the first groups to put Motown on the map and bring soul and funk to the black community. Even today, groups like Earth, Wind, and Fire credit their music inspiration to this group.
Best Songs: My Girl, Get Ready, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.

Will Smith: Ok, so he’s the Prince of Bel Air. We get it. When you think of Will Smith, you don’t think of his music or Jazzy Jeff, but rather think of his acting in Pursuit of Happyness or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But here is why we should think of his music without Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, the rap community may not even exist. The duo revolutionized rap and R&B music into what we know today and made it so popular that the Grammy’s made the Best of Rap category. Without the “Fresh Prince,” music today would not be the same.
Best Songs: Gettin’ Jiggy With It, Men in Black, Miami

Marvin Gaye: A truly charming man, Marvin Gaye once said, “I think I’ve got a real thing going. I love people. I love life, and I love nature, and I can’t see why other people can’t be like that.” As one of the founders of Motown, Gaye’s message of love has been prevalent in all of his R&B songs.
Best Songs: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, and Let’s Get it On

Jimi Hendrix: Known famously for his revolutionary guitar skills, Jimi Hendrix, a rock legend, excited audiences by providing a new sound. Hendrix was electrifying on stage, gaining quite the following. Two grand performances by him include lighting his guitar on fire at a festival and performing the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, a symbol of peace amongst the troubling times of black equality and the Vietnam War draftings.
Best Songs: Star Spangled Banner performed at Woodstock, Purple Haze, and All Along the Watchtower

Louis Armstrong: Trumpeter, composer, and singer Louis Armstrong revolutionized the world as one of the first black people to become popular. He popularized jazz music, all while simultaneously making the trumpet the instrument of his time. Armstrong is still known to the black community as one of the greatest musicians to have breathed and has ensured his place as an icon.
Best Songs: Star Dust, La Vie En Rose, and What a Wonderful World

Upcoming Concerts:

Vanessa Carlton- City Winery- Chicago, IL- Feb 24th- 8:00pm

Bad Suns- The Rave Bar- Milwaukee, WI- March 5th- 7:00 pm

The Japanese House-Bottom Lounge-Chicago, IL-Feb 25th-7:30pm

Devendra Banhart-Thalia Hall-Chicago, IL-March 6th-8:00pm

Panic! At the Disco-Allstate Arena-Rosemont, IL-March 11th-7:00pm

Ariana Grande-United Center-Chicago, IL-March 14th-7:30pm

Regina Spektor-Chicago Theatre-Chicago, IL-March 24th-7:30pm

Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey-United Center-Chicago, IL-March 25th-7:00pm

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Women in Music

In a world where it feels like every field is male dominated, it’s good to be reminded of girl power. As Beyonce once said, “We run the world!” After seeing marches around the country last month, it only feels fair to acknowledge the women who run music. Here are a couple of our favorite fierce, femme artists, who remind us that girl power is only a play button away.

Amy Winehouse: Amy Winehouse has some serious soul. If you can’t pick that up from her vocals (and pretty depressing) lyrics, you can tell by her deep, expressive voice. The Grammy winner made the 27 Club when she died in 2011, but still left a lovely legacy.
Best Songs: Cover of “Valerie,” “Rehab,” and “Back to Black.”

Regina Spektor: A singer and pianist, Regina Spektor became a popular indie artist in 2004. Her combination of storytelling and poetry culminates in her music, which has been featured in movies like 500 Days of Summer and Kubo. Spektor's unique blend of old style pop music and new indie music can only be described as her own.
Best Songs: “Folding Chair,” “Samson,” and “Hero.”

Grouplove: Grouplove has 6 members, 5 males, and only 1 female. That one girl is Hannah Hooper, a strong lead singer that carries the fun sound that Grouplove is known for. Without her vocals and spunk, Grouplove would be a boy band and almost unrecognizable from any other male indie band.
Best Songs: “Tongue Tied,” “Ways To Go,” and “Welcome to Your Life.”

Maggie Rogers: A blend of execution in percussion, creative note progressions, and indie vocals. Maggie Rogers blends her soul and experiences into all of her music. Her beautiful flowing lyrics leave a lasting impression and feeling to everyone who listens.
Best Songs: “Alaska,” “On + Off,” and “Dog Years.”

Lorde: She’s young, some people may say too young, but she oozes with experience. Although Lorde’s music is a perfect example of alternative music blending with a pop feeling, the best part are the lyrics. Each song making a different statement-- about connecting to others, loving, and living life.
Best Songs: “The Love Club,” “Buzzcut Season,” and “Ribs.”

Sylvan Esso: Although the group is made up of two people, the star of this group is the female lead singer, Amelie Meath. Her voice continually reminds the listeners why they are listening to the music. Without her beautiful melodies mixing with the new age sounds, this band's hits would be close to nothing.
Best Songs: “Coffee,” “Hey Mami,” and “Radio.”

Upcoming Concerts:

Landlady- Schubas- Chicago, IL- Feb. 8th-8:00pm

Tove Lo- House of Blues- Chicago, IL- Feb. 16th- 7:00 pm

Young the Giant- the Rav- Milwaukee, WI- Feb. 17th- 7:00 pm

Maroon 5- BMO Harris Bradley Center- Milwaukee, WI- Feb. 20th- 7:00 pm

Wilco- The Chicago Theatre- Chicago, IL- Feb. 22nd- 7:00pm

Vanessa Carlton- City Winery- Chicago, IL- Feb 24th- 8:00pm

Bad Suns- The Rave Bar- Milwaukee, WI- March 5th- 7:00 pm