CURRENT: The Preatures – “Better Than It Ever Could Be”

The Preatures | ARTIST Better Than It Ever Could Be | SONG 2014
The Preatures | ARTIST
Better Than It Ever Could Be | SONG
2014

The Preatures first got our attention with the electric “Is This How You Feel?” and their first offering of 2014 finds the Sydney, Australia band no less energized. Isabella Manfredi showed off her vocal chops on their 2013 hit, yet on new single “Better Than It Ever Could Be,” Manfredi’s vocals somehow tower over the preceding “Feel?”. With an instantly memorable guitar riff beckoning her, Manfredi answers back with an infectious vocal tenacity, leaving the listener no choice but to submit to her performance.

CURRENT: Banks – “Brain”

Banks | ARTIST Brain | SONG Harvest Records | LABEL 2014
Banks | ARTIST
Brain | SONG
Harvest Records | LABEL
2014

L.A. singer-songwriter Banks was already poised for a breakthrough, with her TEED-produced single “Warm Water” as well as “Waiting Game” being two of the most slept-on tracks of 2013. But “Brain” is a track impossible to ignore, even blowing her past work out of the water. Producer Shlohmo, who previously worked with Jeremih on the fantastic “Bo Peep (Do U Right)” (’13), delivers another fantastic, unassuming production, allowing the vocalists he works with to be their most comfortable. Banks uses the production as a chance to show off her incredible range, as she begins the track in her lower register, then belts a show-stopping chorus, all but announcing her arrival. Banks is here.

GRAMMY REVIEW: The Night’s Biggest Winners and Losers, Dissected

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The Grammys were last night, for those of you unaware. While there were plenty of awards to be handed out, the night’s biggest draw, as always, was the sheer magnitude of the number of performances. From Katy Perry and Juicy J to Macklemore and Madonna, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons to Beyoncé and Jay Z, the performances ranged from conventional to compelling, sometimes all within one performance.

Here’s a look back at the night’s biggest winners, and losers, calculated with a highly complex algorithm.*

Continue reading “GRAMMY REVIEW: The Night’s Biggest Winners and Losers, Dissected”

GRAMMY PREVIEW: The Biggest Night in Music, or How Grammy Voters Continue to Piss Off Kanye West

The Image Gate/Getty Images
Kanye West | The Image Gate/Getty Images

The Grammy Awards return this Sunday (26 January) on CBS, and the voters behind the self-proclaimed biggest night in music aim to show us just how in-tune they are with today’s most successful musicians. And while the Grammys do sometimes award the best in music (The SuburbsRaising Sand (yeah, I said it)) they oftentimes reserve the top prizes for the least inspired nominees. And, in retrospect, the wins for Arcade Fire and Robert Plant shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering they both fall under the “white people playing guitar” umbrella.

That brings us to this Sunday’s ceremony, in which Taylor Swift, previously awarded the night’s top honor for her sophomore LP Fearless, Macklemore + Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, and Sara Bareilles all vie for Album of the Year honors. The nominees range from damn right that’s nominated (good kid, m.A.A.d. cityRandom Access Memories) to of course that’s nominated (The HeistRed) to how is that nominated? (The Blessed Unrest). No one knows exactly what it will mean if any of the five nominees wins (other than, you know, someone won), but it will definitely mean something. Is Taylor Swift about to become the most decorated songwriter since the end of the Bush Jr. era or will Macklemore show that it’s possible for a hip-hop act to win Album of the Year, if you only push the line between rap and pop to border-redefining lengths? To help sort out this year’s biggest awards, I am here with my predictions for this Sunday’s ceremony.

PREDICTIONS (projected winners in red)

Continue reading “GRAMMY PREVIEW: The Biggest Night in Music, or How Grammy Voters Continue to Piss Off Kanye West”