Hey ho up and away Mumford & Sons go! Once just a band we thought You Oughta Know, the banjo swinging boys from London have swayed and stomped their way to international stardom over the past few years, and all with only one album to their name. Just this week the band treated their fans to a second effort, Babel, and already its on track to sell more than 600,000 — enough to give them the biggest debut of the year so far. And not just biggest, the biggest by a huge margin: Babel‘s foretasted first week sales more than double first week sales of Justin Bieber‘s Believe (374,000 records sold), Madonna‘s MDNA (359,000 records sold) and last week’s chart-topper, P!nk‘s Truth About Love (280,000). And they say nobody buys records anymore…
We can’t tell you for certain this happened, but we do have a few sneaking suspicions as to why: Read more…
Having proven too tempting last week for Frank Ocean, producers seem to have removed all those cool vintage video games from the Saturday Night Live sound stage. And so instead, in line together at the front of the stage, Mumford & Sons played their performance without any of the skit show’s gimmick and earnest like they’re wont to be. They galloped first through a brass-backed version of “I Will Wait,” and then they returned for “Below My Feet,” something new off of their long awaited sophomore album Babel, which is out tomorrow. Mumford frontman Marcus mostly led the later, looking tired but dapper in his neck-tie and suit vest combo, playing his guitar and the kick drum simultaneously as he wailed along: “Let me learn from where I’ve been, keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn.” Those tuned-in who weren’t already on board with Mumfordmania were surely won over. Read more…
Mumford & Sons have been hard at work road since they broke big a few years ago, cutting out only long enough to record a new album to take back out on tour. The time, though, has paid off, and their already impressive live show now appears to be epic. The new video for “I Will Wait,” a song very much about all that time spent away, is cut together with footage shot during a recent show at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and it really shows off what the You Oughta Know artists past have got what they hit the stage. There of lots of panning shots over an enthused audience and close-ups of the hard working band, and the video as a whole takes a scale and grandeur that reaches for that of the Martin Scorsese’s classic The Band doc The Last Waltz. As it should. These guys are really something.
Babel hits shelves September 25th. Until then, we “Will Wait”!
Frank Ocean felt horribly about cancelling a string of European festival tour dates where he was scheduled to take the stage with Coldplay. Along the way Frank has picked up a couple of new gigs, including performing at this year’s 2012 VMAs where we secretly hope he gives us a visual to “Pyramids.” On September 15th, FO will serve as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live’s premiere episode for its 38th season. Wowzers. Can you believe SNL has been around for 38 seasons? The success of Frank’s Channel Orange is shaping up for one blast of a year for the R&B newbie. Read more…
It’s only fit that “I Will Wait,” the first single off of Mumford & Sons long-awaited Babel come accompanied by a video of the road, passing endlessly behind. The British bluegrass band have come a long way since their days as VH1 You Oughta Know artists, topping charts and rounding the world on seemingly endless tour. And instead of just logging the miles, they put them to work, mining the distance for inspiration and road-testing new material all along the way. As bassist Ted Dwane told Rolling Stone recently, “Being away so much for the last couple of years is inevitably a theme on the record;” and as frontman Ben Lovett explained to Spin, “touring so much and playing so many different kinds of places, especially big ones, affected how we hear ourselves as a band.” And so they return, all the better for the work and wait.
This heartbroken first taste of their new album, a swelling tale of love put on hold, just how worthwhile the wait was. Driven by banjos and punctuated by the the sort of stomping chorus they’re so famous for, “I Will Wait” grows and grows, and then grows and bigger still to fill the venues they regularly fill, before getting quiet so that Lovett can promise, “I will be home, as well as strong strong/And use my head alongside my heart.” The wait, it will be worth it.
Since their 2007 debut, Mumford & Sons have exploded from London porch-stomping, You Oughta Know artists past into the Grammy nominated, chart-topping,Unplugged playing, movie star marrying, scene-leaders they are today. And all this with just one album, Sigh No More, to their name. To be sure, all these years later we still have those twelve tracks in regular rotation on our iPods. But it’s time that the “Dust Bowl Dance” goes on. Thankfully, the Mumford & Sons have at long last confirmed that a sophomore album is on the way. Babel will hit shelves September 25th and will include twelve new songs to take us into the fall.
There’s no doubt that 2011 was the year of the “doof doof”. From the rise of David Guetta and LMFAO to the euro-club beats adopted in an overwhelming majority pop songs from Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” to Britney Spears‘ “I Wanna Go”, there was no avoiding the thudding sound of the sub woofer and all the manic, Ibiza-esque dance-party vibes that went with it. But if you abide by the laws of physics, you’ll know that for all actions, there is an equal and opposing reaction — and we can see the specter of antithesis looming for 2012. While last year saw an almost completely unblemished carpet of techno beats upholster the music landscape, 2012 looks set to tear that carpet up and replace it with raw wood.
We’re talking about the new guard, a genre of new artists we’ve dubbed “realwave” (thanks to Carles for giving us the ability to invent genres with the simple suffix “wave”), who have been lurking on the sidelines but still managing to make some noise despite the deafening reverberations around them. It began with the ascent of Adele, Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver — artists, who are, for all intents and purposes, artists. In 2011, these artists represented “authenticity,” or the ability to make music that was not only chart topping and relateable, but that also relied on the strength of songwriting, real instruments and organic talent. Yep, that means no auto-tuned voices, synthetic bass lines or garish costuming.
From Adele’s beautiful, heartfelt lyricism and emotive live vocal to Mumford & Sons’ rootsy instrumentals and Bon Iver’s gently experimental, dynamic sound, these artists have provided a much needed sanctuary from banging beats and flashing lights. And perhaps now, after we’ve worn the soles of our dancing shoes right into our heels, we’re actively seeking more realwave. We went to the party, sure, and we had the time of our lives, but it’s morning now, the sun is shining through the cracks in the curtains, our heads are splitting and we’re groping at the bedside table for Advil and Gatorade. Read more…
Last night at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Bon Iver won the prestigious award for Best New Artist, but there was still a question on everyone’s lips, or at least trending on their Twitter feed — Who is Bon Iver? While it seems strange to us that you could own a Twitter account and somehow have missed the Internet hype train that was “Holocene” last year, #whoisboniver was one of the top trending topics of conversation on the social networking device last night (a lot of people seemed to think his name was Bonny Bear).
We took to the red carpet before the ceremony to find out if anyone there knew who Bon Iver was, and we got some interesting results! Everyone we talked to, from 3-time Grammy winner Skrillex to Wilco and Mumford & Sons to Malin Ackerman, seemed to have two different pronunciations for the band’s name. The most interesting response, however, came from Snooki, who managed to throw in a penis reference and made this statement for the ages: “Well, I don’t know anybody if you’re not Rihanna.”
Ah, the Grammys! The conversation, the speculation, the anxiety! We’re gearing up to this Sunday’s awards ceremony the same way that we’re sure the rest of North America is — putting our tips on who we think will be a winner. Yesterday, we gave our opinion on who would take home the Best New Artist award, but today we’re wondering about Record Of The Year. With Adele nominated in the category, it would seem that no one is safe, but we know stranger things have happened, so let’s pretend for a second that the “Rolling In The Deep” singer isn’t a shoo in, and weigh up the odds on the other contenders.
Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Look, let’s just pretend Adele isn’t going to win everything at the Grammys — because the alternative is that we succumb to the fact that she’s going to win everything and that’s just no fun because it doesn’t give anyone else a fighting chance. Realistically though, “Rolling In The Deep” dominated the number one chart position last year and was a very clear favorite with critics and fans. Yeah, who are we kidding — it’s going to be really strange if “Rolling In The Deep” doesn’t win.
Bon Iver – “Holocene”
If Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon hadn’t stuck both his middle fingers up at the Grammys we would have said “Holocene” was the best bet for usurping the “Rolling In The Deep” throne. Like “Rolling In The Deep,” “Holocene” found its way to the top of almost everyone’s best of 2011 list, so who knows — maybe “Holocene” will be the song to strip Adele of her crown.
As you know, 2012 is still an infant — yes, just like Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s baby girl — so while January welcomes us with open arms, here is a list of things that need to happen in the next 12 months to help ensure a high-quality year of music:
1. Adele Needs To Sing
No word yet if Adele will be performing at the Grammys, but she will be singing at the Brit Awards in March. You can’t have an album as big as 21 and not tour. And because Adele’s sophomore album was so huge, she may have to play arenas, the type of venue she fears playing (ironically, her voice is made for such big places).
2. Buy A Ticket To See Madonna
Every young pop star needs to buy a ticket to see Madonna when she inevitably goes out on tour this year in support of her forthcoming album, MDNA. Yes, there are pop stars younger, sexier and more talented than Madonna, but this is a lesson in longevity and consistency. Madonna is 53 years old and is going to put on a high-energy, non-stop show that will humble the artists who drive on the pop-highway she paved.