Empires Raise the Stakes on New Single

I have no idea who Empires is. But holy crap, I love them.

Being a staffer at AbsolutePunk.net, I’ve seen their name here and there but I have very limited knowledge of their output. But all that has changed now that lead single “How Good Does it Feel,” has [URL="https://soundcloud.com/weareempires/how-good-does-it-feel"]entered the world[/URL]. An urgent, antic and absolutely explosive new song, this may be one of the best tracks I’ve heard so far this year. The band’s debut album [I]Orphan[/I] was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky) and appears on the Island Records imprint Chop Shop. Empires is on tour through May with Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos and stops in SXSW.

For more details about the band, head here.

Garth Brooks Tackles Classic Rock…..With Mixed Results

Garth Brooks didn’t have to release a six-disc covers box set to prove his worth, but given all he has done in his illustrious career, why the heck not? The most familiar of the discs is Brooks’ take on “classic rock,” a retrospective that visits such greats as Simon & Garfunkel as well as stadium rockers Queen, The Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Read more…

Brad Paisley’s Sensory Overload…..Err, Concert

Of all the country artists currently making music, none are as successful at marrying social causes, comedy and media than Brad Paisley. Be it his videos, his songs or his public persona, it’s clear to see Paisley never takes himself or his craft too seriously. But when is it too much? This past Saturday, he brought his Beat This Winter tour to Orlando’s Amway Center and offered up a slew of dizzying lights, frenetic video montages and even a mascot of well, himself. Read more…

Tom Brosseau’s Inspiring New Single

Sometimes all it takes is a voice and a guitar.

Case in point Tom Brosseau’s “Today is a Bright New Day.” Unraveling a yarn about small-town North Dakota, the song is an absolute goldmine. With a hopeful chorus and a self-assuredness that makes one want to reach for the stars, there’s little reason to think Brosseau’s song won’t find favor around the blogosphere. Truth be told, I have no earthly idea who Brosseau is, but Lord love a duck, that has changed after this song.

Reggae Artist Wayne Marshall Channels REM

I don’t claim to have any vast knowledge of reggae but I do enjoy the genre. There’s a sun-drenched quality to the genre that is both refreshing and kinetic. That being written, I have no clue if Wayne Marshall is a big draw in the genre or what, but when I heard that he channels REM on his new single, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Sure enough, the song pulls many of its verses straight from REM’s “Losing My Religion.” While some may be quick to criticize, it’s always a good thing for music when genres crossover and bleed together. One never knows when one song will make one music listener dive deeper, try harder and chase their dreams.

I probably haven’t listened to reggae song in at least a half-dozen months, but I am more than happy to say that “On the Corner” is the first song that brought me back.

D.B. Rielly Finds His Groove on Latest Album

Often times the amount of requests that come through the RMP inbox is overwhelming, so overwhelming that we often neglect albums worthy of widespread attention. Said album is New York City roots-rocker D.B. Rielly’s sophomore effort Cross My Heart + Hope to Die. Self-released this past October, the ten-song collection is another sterling effort from an artist who would probably be far more well-known were he not in the overcrowded metropolis of New York City. Read more…

Meet the Coywolf Hits Airwaves on Jan. 22

Call me old-fashioned, but I much prefer PBS’ Nature over pretty much anything else on TV. Granted, some episodes drag in places, but anytime you are given a chance to get that much closer to nature, it’s hard to say no. Not only that, the program always provides ample amounts of scientific insight and never-seen-before footage. If you’re a sucker for dazzling visuals (and believe me I am) Nature always provides exactly that. Their 31st season continues in two weeks with their first new broadcast of 214, Meet the Coywolf. The hour-long expose centers on how this new breed of western coyote and eastern wolf first originated and how and why it has emerged in some of North America’s biggest cities (Toronto, Montreal, New York City). Meet the Coywolf debuts on Jan. 22, at 8 p.m. on your local PBS station.

The Top 50 Films of 2013

1.12 Years a Slave
2. All is Lost
3. Nebraska
4. American Hustle
5. Disconnect
6. Captain Phillips
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. Mud
9. Fruitvale Station
10. The Wolf of Wall Street
Read more…

The Poster Boy: Europe’s Best Power Pop Band

Though it might be surprising to some, arguably the strongest power-pop album released this year hails from Budapest, Hungary. The international trio known as The Poster Boy are comprised of American drummer Michael Zwecker, who serves as the band’s primary lyricist; as well as Imre Poniklo and Noel R. Mayer, two leading figures from the Budapest indie scene. Before moving to Hungary, Zwecker performed in Athens, GA’s Seven Simons. Read more…

Julie Meckler’s Queenshead

There’s something deeply appealing about Chicago (by way of Paris and New York) singer-songwriter Julie Meckler. Her debut album Queenshead is equal parts eccentric, engaging and earnest. While the album has its share of oddities (“The Cigarettes Song” is a cheery 40-second piece that sounds like a studio outtake while “Laissez-Moi” is French spoken-word poetry”) tracks like lead single “Manhattan” and the near-perfect “The Dresses Song” are utterly delightful.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Meckler tackles David Bowie’s “Soul Love” and does so with harmonica, upright bass and a veneer that screams hazy summer afternoon. Much of the disc is doe-eyed, gauzy and cottony. Yet Meckler and her band also do a fair share of aural ass-kicking, most evident in the last 45 seconds of “Me and the Waves,” the last minute of “All Your Pretty Things” and “Deportation Blues” and the last 30 seconds of “Desire” and “Forest.”

Arguably the toughest test in listening to Meckler is cataloguing her sound. In truth, she’s in a league and class all her own, and while Queenshead is far from perfect, there are enough touches of brilliance here to warrant repeated listens. There’s a good chance her sophomore release may be the one that gets the Midwest talking.

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