The Orwells – Rock and Roll is Alive and Well

The Orwells are some young guys who’ve just released a third album but they sound more like rock royalty. With guitars blazing, great driving bass lines and a manic lead singer these guys prove that straight up guitar rock is still great.

I took this photo yesterday at the Governors Ball music festival.   The lead singer, oddly named Mario Cuomo, was intense and loving the festival atmosphere.  He drove security nuts climbing all over the stage rigging and getting up close to the audience. Watch this space.  These guys will keep blowing up.

In this playlist:

Let It Burn – The video gives you a sense of what one of their concerts can be like

Who Needs You – Classic rock is still being made

Black Francis – Nod to Frank Black (Pixies)

Heavy Head – From their 2017 album “Disgraceland”

Dirty Sheets – Also from Disgraceland

YouTube playlist: The Orwells

Spotify playlist: The Orwells

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Welcome to 15 Minutes Underground

15 minute indie rock playlists – both video (YouTube) and audio (Spotify) by me is what you’ll find here.  Some playlists focus on a single band – say “Grizzly Bear” for example – and some are just themes like “beach music” or “chill” or “psychedelic”.  All built by me – an Indie Rock lover, concert goer, and downloader, to give you a nice intro to a new band, or a nice little escape from the rest of your day enjoying tunes for the mood you’re in.

Why am I doing this? Because sometimes you don’t have hours to check out the latest playlist or the time to search out music that you’ll like.  15 minutes of music curated by someone who loves Indie Rock can hit the spot.  Catch up on a band you’ve been wondering about or just spend 15 minutes chilling before your next commitment.  It’s all about spending just 15 Minutes Underground.

Artists:

Sylvan Esso / Metric / Arcade Fire / Lykke Li / Decemberists / Animal Collective / Vampire Weekend / Middle Kids / Tame Impala / M.I.A.  / Hinds / Chvrches / Neko Case / Temples / The xx / Lana Del Rey  / The Orwells  / Parquet Courts / Sufjan Stevens / The Kills / Best Coast / The War on Drugs / Alt-J / Grimes / Warpaint / New Pornographers / Purity Ring / Courtney Barnett / Yeah Yeah Yeahs / St. Vincent / Belle and Sebastian / LCD Soundsystem / Strokes, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys / Grizzly Bear / Broken Social Scene / Fleet Foxes / Alvvays / Sleater-Kinney / Jagwar Ma / Yo La Tengo / Bleached / Foxygen / Cults / Daniele Luppi with Parquet Courts and Karen O / tUnE-yArDs / Ty Segall / Sleigh Bells

Themes:

Play your instruments, don’t play WITH them / Guitars and Depression / Electronic Dance Music, Not EDM / When Modern Dance Meets Indie / Rock and Roll Front Women / Psychedelic Experience / Great Voices / Chill / Panorama 2017 / Live Guitar Rock Bands Thriving in 2017 / Summertime Beach Music / It’s All About the Feels / Indie Rock Wake Up! / Zombies! / Indie Rock Collaborations / Fall Concert Season Playlist 1 / Fall Concert Season Playlist 2 / Retro Influenced Indie Rock / Indie Halloween / The Softer, More Melodic Side of IndieIndie Rock Nerds / 15 Top Indie Songs of 2017 / Anticipation – New Indie Rock Coming in 2018

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One huge YouTube playlist with all the videos from this site: Full YouTube Playlist

One huge Spotify playlist with all the songs from this site: Full Spotify playlist

M.I.A. – Radical Innovator

A bit of my own history: After the decline of Grunge I somehow lost track of what was happening in music. I wasn’t there for the first few years of what we now call Indie. But in 2007 M.I.A. released her second album and a song called “Paper Planes” blew up huge hitting #1 on some charts.  Somewhere along the line I heard it. My reaction was “wow!” I looked into who this was and what it was and I heard.  Someone said it was something called “indie rock.”

The rest is history, but I’ll forever thank M.I.A. for bringing me back to new music. M.I.A. was born in London and comes from a Sri Lankan family. M.I.A. puts politically powerful words to dance beats and does it with a unique sound that includes intense beats, electronic noise, and catchy bits. She innovated rhythms and electronic sounds that just blew people away. Since then many other artists and bands have imitated her style and had great success.  The political aspect means I don’t agree with everything that comes out of her mouth, but I respect her and I do like to hear her point of view.  One thing I can definitely agree with on is her fiercely anti-racist view.  Agree or not, she is a great innovator and someone to pay attention to.

What is her style called? Wikipedia uses a term “avant pop,” I think the term “noise pop” is a good fit, but these terms are used to apply to so many old and new bands so I’m not sure they really work. Whatever you call it, M.I.A. has had a major influence on electronic, dance, and hip hop music.

Here’s a few songs to knock your head against.  In this playlist:

Sunshowers – The song that opened me up to Indie

P.O.W.A.  – From her most recent release to show you what she’s up to now

Jimmy – From 2009

Bring the Noize – Rad from 2016

YouTube playlist: M.I.A.

Spotify playlist: M.I.A.

Middle Kids – New Band You Really Need to Know

I recently had the good fortune of seeing this young Australian band live in Brooklyn (my photo above) and I was incredibly impressed.  For a group with only six published songs they have a sound and a power that is truly phenomenal.  Maybe it’s from growing up “down under”, I don’t know; but, I think this band is going to have some huge success in front of them.  The singer brings feeling and energy, the music is moving and exciting.  I just can’t say enough about this band.  Watch for their first full-length album and download it.  I am a fan and a believer.

 

In this playlist:

Edge Of Town, Never Start, Your Love, Old River 

YouTube playlist: Middle Kids

Spotify playlist: Middle Kids

Lykke Li – This Powerful Woman Rocks

It’s been clear for a long time that whether you spell it Girls, Grrls, or just Women, female performers can make the best rock and roll.  Just look at some of my older favorites, like Patti Smith, Exene, Chrissie Hynde, Courtney Love and there can be no doubt (oh yeah, and No Doubt too).

One of the greatest sources of rock and roll inspiration has been teenage angst – actually angst of all sorts.  Growing up, break-ups, pain, loss, and hurt can ironically produce some of the greatest rock and roll. In my opinion, some of the best music is about transformation resulting from trying times.  When I hear a person changing it reminds me of how important it is to deal with life and change.  Well there is no doubt that female angst works just as well as anything. Sometimes the words may be aimed at other women, but I find I can appreciate the emotions just as well.  I’ve seen criticism of “sad girl” musicians – but I love them.

I saw Lykke Li live (I took the picture above).  I was expecting something more downbeat, but she brought the house down with genuine rock and roll.  Nothing sad about her performance – she definitely rocked the Radio City audience.

In this playlist:

Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone – Certainly from the sad side.  If you can’t feel this, better have yourself checked.

Get Some – Rock and Roll with more to it than meets the eye

Youth Knows No Pain – Great rock song and if you watch the YouTube version (the song starts about 45 seconds in) you get to see her energy as a performer.

Heaven – This is from her new project “Liv” which includes members from Peter Bjorn and John and Miike Snow – album coming soon

YouTube playlist: Lykke Li

Spotify playlist: Lykke Li

 

Arcade Fire – Go Big, Go Deep

When Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011 there were a lot of people – including at the Grammys – asking themselves: “Who?”

Arcade Fire burst on the scene as big as can be.  I saw them in Barclays Center in Brooklyn – the home of the Nets basketball team – a huge arena.  It was sold out and even though I was in the nosebleed seats, it was an awesome spectacle.  Costumes are big with Arcade Fire.  About half the crowd were wearing them.  Arcade Fire manages to combine strong messages, great sounds, nostalgia, and fun all in one package.

Arcade Fire just released a new album and reactions are mixed.  I’m blaming that on the fact that kids are growing up and not changing with the times.  Arcade Fire is changing and that’s brilliant.  In only the last ten years we’ve entered the world of having everything at our fingertips.  The world is changing fast.  Go with the feelings and you’ll grow right along with Arcade Fire.

Can you be this big and still be Indie?  Yes – because the next time they win a Grammy – most people will still not know who they are. They are a great example of how you need to pay attention in the modern music world. If all you do is watch TV – you will probably never hear of half the stuff that is really going on out there.  Great band – moving on.

On this playlist:

The Suburbs – it starts out like it’s going to be a nice nostalgia piece about growing up in the suburbs.  Nope.  This is hard stuff.  Evocative and frightening.  Arcade Fire brings big sound and powerful messages and the crowd eats it up.

We Used to Wait – From the same album they sing about a world many of you never knew.  Writing letters, waiting for the mail to come, etc.  The world has changed and we love it and sometimes regret it.

Everything Now – From the new album of the same name.  Google it.  After all, right there, you’ve got everything now – right there in your hand.  Is everything enough?  Nope – this generation is going to be the one to figure out how to make living with everything into an authentic human experience.  I think we can do it.

 

YouTube playlist: Arcade Fire

Spotify playlist: Arcade Fire