Cold War Kids want to be the biggest rock band around and they’re not afraid to admit it. In an indie-rock world of reservation, restraint and respectful art-making, the California quintet embraces ambition with a capital A—they want you to know it, then to sing along with them at the top of your lungs. And they’re willing to write the catchiest, funkiest, most irresistible songs possible to make that happen.
The band’s latest, New Age Norms 1, is pure soul-pop surrender. It taps into all the musical pleasure centers—pumping bass, cartwheeling guitars, heavenly background vocal “oohs” and “dos,” speaker-thumping drums and choruses designed with laser-precision to make a new home inside your brain. It’s the band’s seventh and most straightforward LP since they burst onto the indie-rock circuit in the mid-aughts.
“We just played a massive show in Atlanta, the Midtown Music Festival, to a much younger crowd. Travis Scott and Billie Eilish were there. It was a...
"I am fully on the touring schedule right now,” says Seth Avett as he climbs off the bus in Santa Barbara, Calif., where his namesake band, The Avett Brothers, will play a sold-out show in about eight hours. “That means coming offstage and getting in bed, having one those nights where I’m asleep but not really sleeping. Then, I wake up before eight, make coffee, spend time with my wife and son, read my Wendell Berry book and eat some breakfast. Having my whole life in one spot on the road is a big payoff, but it’s totally exhausting.”
There is some expected fatigue in his voice—this is the last night of a short tour before he sinks into a few weeks of respite back at home—yet Seth’s grind on the road isn’t exactly the stuff of rock-and-roll legend. But, with the band’s 10th and most outward-reaching album set for a fall 2019 release, the sentiment suits him well. These days, Seth and his brother, band co-founder Scott Avett, are fully invested in finding ba...
It’s late November and Matthew Houck’s latest Phosphorescent album, C’est La Vie, has been out for nearly two months. By his own account, he’s recently had some of the busiest days of his entire life. And with good reason: The album’s brought his brand of spaced-out, reflective Southern rock to the masses like never before.
The Phosphorescent live band performed the record’s exuberant first single, “New Birth in New England,” on multiple late-night TV shows. Houck’s been profiled in nearly every major newspaper and music magazine on the stands, and C’est La Vie has been hailed as his most mature, self-realized, life-affirming masterpiece. But the breakneck pace is getting to him—he’s been snorting and sniffling through a cold for over a week, limiting himself to only the most necessary activities of playing shows and playing with his kids.
“I don’t think I’ve slept in the same bed more than once since this album came out,” says Houck.
When Budi pulls into 9 Angels, a quiet café tucked beneath a passion fruit grove just south of Bali’s yoga mecca of Ubud, he makes sure to stash his motorbike behind a jungle-green wall. As we speak, Budi is present but not really there. His eyes follow passing cars as he nervously stirs his tea, his forehead damp with sweat. He insists he’s in danger any time he’s in Ubud, that he’s a wanted man.
Budi, 29 – his name changed to protect his identity – has been driving full time using the popular ride-sharing app Uber since 2015. And on an island that has no public transportation system but welcomed nearly 5.7 million tourists in 2017 alone, according to the Bali Tourism Board, his chosen profession is increasingly in demand – much to the dismay of the island’s intricate network of traditional taxi drivers.
These drivers aren’t alone. Anti-Uber protests in Turkey, Greece, Canada and elsewhere have seen drivers...
“We were either going to break up or make our best record.”
That’s how Eric Slick, drummer and percussionist for longtime Philadelphia-based indie-rock act Dr. Dog, sums up his band’s state of affairs going into their recent recording sessions a day before they debut their new material on NPR’s Live from Here. Dr. Dog did not dissolve—that much of the story is a giveaway.
And Critical Equation, the band’s 10th official release, is a deliciously psychedelic slice of vintage rock-and-roll with a fast-beating pop heart. But navigating the path that led to Critical Equation may have been the band’s most singularly treacherous road trip to date.
“We’ve always painted ourselves as this happy-go-lucky band,” says Slick ̧ who joined Dr. Dog in 2010 after bonding with the group in Bonnaroo guest camping, in late February. “We’re smiling and laughing onstage. Our shows are joyous. But sometimes, when you peel back the layers of an onion, you realize what’s going...
It's a mid-Autumn day and Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy is sitting in a small Airbnb in Venice Beach, Calif., with his closest friend, drummer and co-producer Edwin White. UberEats just delivered some vegetarian food, and both are anxiously awaiting the moment when they can dig in. White begins discussing his friend’s songs—universally relatable, warmly emotional, acoustic ballads that have, in the past few years, shown up on seemingly every wedding playlist in the Western world. And that’s when White stands up, and walks briskly out of the room.
“One of the new songs has a lyric, ‘when big trees fall, they leave a space in your sight,’” White recalls, standing outside now. He begins to cry. It’s a hushed, choked cry. His voice breaks in half. “My mom died last year, so I attach a lot of these lyrics to my life at the time. I think all of Vance’s fans do that as well. I’m closer than anybody to this music, and I’m pretty sure I’m having the same...
Longtime Indy DJ Indiana Jones (or Ron Miner to friends and family) says he has watched VIP options increase over the past decade plus, spreading from private rooms at clubs and boxes at sporting events to packages tailored to every sort of event imaginable. The key, he believes, is a package that makes the buyer forget how much he even paid to be there.
“A true VIP doesn’t have to pay to get in or pay extra to be taken care of,” says Miner. “In the nightclub, a VIP will breeze past security — they know who he is anyway — and pay less for bottles. Maybe they’re a celebrity or an athlete, or just a person who comes to the venue all the time and developed relationships. People who pay for a VIP experience want to feel that kind of treatment.”
But living out a fantasy is just one aspect of a worthwhile VIP experience. Every VIP package can be measured by three main factors: access, ease and exclusivity, and each can mean different things depe...
The music of Sleigh Bells has been called a lot of things—abrasive, loud, brash, intense, metallic, even schizophrenic—but idyllic is certainly not one of them. The duo sounds like the clatter of the big city, the heat and pressure of millions of bodies crammed into a too-small space. So when singer Alexis Krauss talks about her upcoming move to a quiet, bucolic Upstate New York community with her fiancé, mother and dog, the shift feels unnatural. But music doesn’t make the musician, of course.
“I live a very simple, anonymous life,” she says. “When I’m off tour, I really just want to be hiking or hanging with my dog, at home reading a book or watching Netflix. I could probably be a lot more involved in the music, nightlife and fashion of Brooklyn, but now I’m escaping all the chaos of living in the city.”
She’s using the weekend to box up 13 years of memories in Brooklyn, nine of which have been spent as half of one of indie rock’s most un...
It's late summer in Upstate New York, a hazy day when life moves slower than usual. At his home in the Hudson Valley, Ian Felice has just written a new song. The currently untitled number spins a tale of Donald Trump ordering the songwriter’s execution, on high charges of illegal poetry.
That song will almost certainly never see the light of day. But it’s not such a far shot from the storytelling that people have come to expect from The Felice Brothers, which has been Ian’s vehicle for his hardscrabble American tales of woe and wandering for the past decade.
On June 24, the outfit, which also includes Ian’s brother James on keys and accordion, fiddler Greg Farley, bassist Josh Rawson and new drummer Will Lawrence, released Life in the Dark on Yep Roc. The album is The Felice Brothers’ 10th full-length release, and the first they’ve self-produced.
In nine tunes, The Felice Brothers lay out loose, smoking folk-rock and roots music, bar...