Author Archives: Katie Antonsson

Ella Fitzgerald and her Enduring Influence

Source: Rock On Philly

A very happy and classy birthday to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, who would be 98 years old today.

Fitzgerald has one of the most distinct voices of jazz, forgoing the melancholy that marked Billie Holiday‘s work and the politicism that marked Nina Simone‘s, instead, giving a light, warm, joyful tone to the jazz singer. To this day, the voice of the First Lady of Song is legendary.

Fitzgerald was responsible for recording some of the most famous renditions of the Great American Songbook, recording three albums covering Cole Porter‘s, Duke Ellington‘s, and Irving Berlin‘s ...

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Tidal’s a Sinking Ship. Here’s Why.

Source: Rock On Philly

Complex News recently reported that Jay-Z’s supposedly revolutionary streaming service Tidal, launched at the end of March, is tanking. Kanye West even pulled his tweets concerning Tidal from his Twitter, changing his avatar from the Tidal logo back to George Condo’s artwork for My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy. There was such a huge promotional push for Tidal, including personal phone calls from Jay-Z himself if you signed up as a subscriber. So, what gives? These music industry superstars were going to change music as we know it.

Superficially, Tidal is no different from Spotify. In fact, if you put ...

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Behind the Curtain: Where Has Missy Elliott Been?

Source: Rock On Philly

When Missy Elliott took the Super Bowl Halftime stage by storm in February, she had everybody asking, where has she been all these years? We haven’t heard a good Missy song laid down since 2005 with “Lose Control” playing on every middle and high school dance floor. She’s popped up now and then in Ciara music videos, but that’s about all we’ve seen of Missy in the past ten years. She nailed her set at the Super Bowl, blowing everyone away and reminding us all of why we love her so much.

So what has she been ...

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Women’s History Month: Geniuses of Jazz

Source: Rock On Philly

Though jazz of the 1950s and 60s was traditionally a male-dominated world, the women who permeated the genre sang, played, and wrote their way into the history books. In our final tribute to Women’s History Month, here’s Rock On Philly’s list of the dazzling geniuses of jazz:

Billie Holiday

No list of jazz geniuses (female or otherwise) is complete without Lady Day. The elegance, mystery, and supreme skill Holiday brought to jazz will never be forgotten. Her musical prowess and emotional gravitas are so nuanced that the word genius is inescapable, though unfortunately often overshadowed by her personal life. But on ...

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James Bay Holds Nothing Back on Debut

Source: Rock On Philly

James Bay‘s rough-and-tumble freshman album Chaos and the Calm is a slice of folk next to a glass of cool bourbon on a warm spring evening. Plucking and strumming with the likes of The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, and Hozier, Bay’s rock/folk aesthetic is something eerily familiar and yet shockingly fresh. In a music scene so saturated with folk wannabes, Bay brings a delightful honesty and humility that can often feel manufactured in the acoustic aesthetic.

His single “Hold Back the River” has flooded radio stations across America as of late, bringing the soothing singer/songwriter aesthetic ...

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What to Expect from Kanye’s Upcoming Album

Source: Rock On Philly

Kanye’s next album So Help Me God is due any minute now. The hype surrounding Kanye’s latest venture is strange to say the least — this doesn’t have the fun of the GOOD Friday mixtapes from before My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy (2010) dropped — and it’s hard to tell just what we’re getting ourselves into with Ye again. We have four completely different songs with which to begin making guesses about the new album:

Only One

“Only One” has been the forerunner for the album, the first single released and still the most hyped. A delicate ode to his ...

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Roots Picnic Lineup Announced!

Source: Rock On Philly

This year’s epic 8th annual Roots Picnic finally has a lineup! And, we have to admit, it’s beyond incredible. Between Erykah Badu, The Weeknd, and Phantogram, it’s sure to be a fantastic day of music. The show is Saturday May 30 at Festival Pier. Tickets go on sale in two days (March 13) at noon here! Hard to believe warm, sunny, outdoor concerts are just on the horizon…

Full lineup below:

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Get pumped, Philadelphia! And don’t miss out on scoring tickets this year!

Image via 

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Nicky P Talks Influences, Learning to Play, and Writing an EP

Source: Rock On Philly

Singer/songwriter Nicky P is Rock On Philly’s fabulously talented Artist of the Month for March! He’s been playing gigs around town for a while, but with the introduction of his EP Good Thoughts in December, things are kicking up a notch. With a stunning acoustic aesthetic, Nicky P brings an unmitigated cool to the Philadelphia music scene. ROP took a minute to chat with him to hear how things have been going since his EP release.

First off, congratulations for making ROP’s Artist of the Month!

Rock On Philly: I’ve been listening to your EP all week and it’s blown me ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Always In My Head”

Source: Rock On Philly

I know, I know that I unreservedly bashed Coldplay‘s latest album Ghost Stories (2014) over the summer. I’m not quite retracting my review, but I’m amending it this week to bring you a truly beautiful track from Ghost Stories that’s deserving of recognition. A small reminder that in the shadow of the truly awful track “A Sky Full of Stars” there is hope that Coldplay’s songwriting prowess and musical ingenuity haven’t quite sold out yet.

“Always In My Head” pulls together many of Coldplay’s best skills for a moving album opener. First of all, the employment ...

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Happy Birthday, George Harrison!

Source: Rock On Philly

For George Harrison’s would-be 72nd birthday, we’re bringing you some swinging Beatles goodies! While Paul McCartney and John Lennon are responsible for writing most of the Beatles’ tracks, Harrison’s are simply legendary. From “Something” to “Here Comes the Sun,” Harrison had a true gift for songwriting. We lost a true legend in 2001, but his legacy will never fade. So happy birthday, George!

To celebrate in true style, pull up the Abbey Road crossing livestream while you listen!

 

Image via Wikimedia commons.

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Oscars Best Original Songs 2015

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Oscars season! Let’s take a look at the original song nominations for this year:

Grateful – performed by Rita Ora, written by Diane Warren

Hate to say it, but “Grateful” is kind of the dud of the bunch. Rita Ora’s vocals are lackluster and the song is unoriginal.

Everything is Awesome – performed by Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island, written by Shawn Patterson

The LEGO Movie‘s main track is, no pun intended, pretty awesome. It’s also pretty infectious. Hard to say if it will walk away with the ...

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Listening to Lesley: Feminism, Lesley Gore, and Me

Source: Rock On Philly

Of course I’d listened to Lesley Gore before. My parents raised us on a steady diet of 60s hits, so “It’s My Party” was always a part of my childhood. But it wasn’t until I was twenty that I had a pretty significant Lesley Gore moment. Kate Nash opened her Union Transfer show in November 2013 with a beautiful montage set to “You Don’t Own Me,” and it pieced together all the parts of Nash’s new album that I couldn’t understand on my own. It was a terribly empowering moment.

Listening to Lesley Gore in the twenty-first century ...

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7 Ways the Grammys Could Be Better

Source: Rock On Philly

Now that we’ve all had a week to digest what happened at the Grammys last week, let’s take a minute to actually discuss how the Grammys could be better. This year’s show was an awkward, slow-moving display that was obviously trying so hard. And, let’s be honest, apart from a few performances, the show as a whole wasn’t terribly good. With everything from small tweaks to changes in the voting process, we’re breaking down the 7 ways the Grammys could be better:

1) Fewer performances, more awards. If the number of awards actually televised this year seemed skimpy (only nine ...

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Why Kanye Stormed the Stage at the Grammys

Source: Rock On Philly

Let me preface this by saying that Kanye West does not need apologists. His work and current stance within and against the music industry make the words and actions of “Kanye West apologists” purely offensive. With that out of the way, to business.

Kanye almost stormed the stage at the Grammys last night. When Beck won album of the year over Beyonce, Kanye’s head popped up for a moment on the television screen as Beck looked for his collaborators. Kanye reached for the mic, smiled, shook his head, and retreated.

Looks like it might have been a joke, right? In an ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Truth No. 2″

Source: Rock On Philly

Let is be known that I’m not really a country fan. I have given it its fair shake and it is just not up my alley. That being said, I have never not loved Dixie Chicks‘ Home (2002) (okay, okay, I admit it’s more bluegrass than country, but it still counts, right?). It’s one of those albums that I listened to on repeat when I was really young, and I just revisited it a few weeks ago. It’s even more delightful now that I can really appreciate how complex this music is. It’s the epic album with “Travelin’ ...

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Milo Greene Pulse Forward with Control

Source: Rock On Philly

I don’t think I can even begin to tell you just how much I’ve been anticipating Milo Greene‘s sophomore album Control. Ever since I heard their debut Milo Greene (2012), I’ve only wanted more. When they opened for Bombay Bicycle Club this past fall, they played a few tracks from Control and I was smitten. Not a sophomore slump in sight, Control delivers Milo Greene’s next step with aplomb.

Control immediately has a different tone from Milo Greene, preferring an 80s vibe to the band’s former folk tone. Fortunately, Milo Greene don’t go overboard. The major difference ...

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Ally Arrieta Proves Chops on Debut Single “Young in the City”

Source: Rock On Philly

Throwing a little sunshine your way today with the stunning soul stylings of Ally Arrieta, 20-year-old California native, who released her debut single “Young in the City” in November. I’ve gotta say, I hear an awful lot of Alice Smith in this, with soul, blues, and groove filling every corner of the track. Between the jazz piano, the subtle rhythm tones, and syncopated vocals, “Young in the City” simply floats. Arrieta shows off all of her chops without being overbearing — her vocal prowess, her composition, and her songwriting ability. The song has a warm and uplifting build, ending ...

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Coachella’s Women Problem

Source: Rock On Philly

Once again, it’s an incredibly disappointing year for women at Coachella. Sadly, this is nothing new, and Slate has made their thoughts on this matter clear year after year. Below, take a look at their handy infographic erasing all of the male-dominated acts for 2015:

150108_BB_Coachella-Women.jpg.CROP.original-original

Pretty pitiful lineup without the male acts, no? And, not a single female-fronted band is headlining this year. Slate‘s argument is that since women are dominating the charts, the lack of reflection in major festival lineups is bothersome. Heavy-hitters Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Adele, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)”

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s Superbowl Sunday! The day of the year where I make the mistake of finally going over to Trader Joe’s only to realize why I’m waiting outside in a line! No, but I love the Superbowl. I don’t understand a thing about football, but the camaraderie, the commercials, the excuse to sit around and do nothing but eat chips and salsa all day are all I need. Man, I love it. And last night a precedent was set — I went to my first NHL game. My brothers were so proud. So I’m in a high octane, sportsmanship mood, and ...

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Until The Ribbon Breaks Teach an Elegant Lesson

Source: Rock On Philly

Cardiff’s own Until the Ribbon Breaks opened for Phantogram when I saw them at Union Transfer last November. They made an immediate impression and their EP left me itching for more. At last, they’ve released a full-length album, A Lesson Unlearnt, and it’s stunning. With a beautiful mix of electronic, pop, hip hop, and rock, UTRB bring a cool, sharp edge to the music world, a less somber and more collected version of James Blake.

A Lesson Unlearnt combines tracks from previous EPs and adds fresh songs, building an ultra cool mosaic that swerves with every song but ...

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Guster’s Evermotion Fails to Impress

Source: Rock On Philly

It’s a little difficult to wrap your head around the fact that Guster have been playing together since 1991, but their latest album Evermotion shows a cool knowledge of their strengths. The album shows a concerted effort to stick to their relaxed tone while still moving forward. With all the warmth that comes from acoustic guitars and Guster’s signature proclivity for complex and nontraditional percussion, Evermotion is a solid reintroduction to Guster after a five year gap between albums, but not much more than that.

“Long Night” is a winding, contemplative opener that helps the listener glide into the album with ...

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Best of the B Sides: “The Sun”

Source: Rock On Philly

Unpopular opinion: what in the world happened to Maroon 5?! Their newer work is fine, I take no major issue with it. It is decent pop. I find myself jamming out to “Animals” every time it comes on. But what in the world happened after Songs About Jane (2002)? Songs About Jane is one of my all time favorite albums — it is sincere rock, built from unique melodies and lyrics with a heavy reliance on jazz tones and a certain shock factor. Top hits “This Love” and “She Will Be ...

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The Best Mixtapes I Ever Made

Source: Rock On Philly

When I was fifteen, I met my friend Madison. We’d been going to the same school for about six years, but our paths had never really crossed until we were in a play together. Madison’s a musician and I’m, well, not, but we both had a feeling that our music tastes were on par, so we exchanged mixtapes one day. While “Madison, Vol. I” had prevailing dark tones and Madison’s mix for me was mostly of the WombatsMcFly, and Alphabeat persuasion, we overlapped on one song – The Hoosier’s “Goodbye Mr. A.” Truth be ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Small Town Moon”

Source: Rock On Philly

I saw Regina Spektor play in 2012, just after What We Saw from the Cheap Seats came out. She’s quite simply one of the most enchanting artists currently recording. To sum up her style perfectly (in her own words): “It doesn’t feel natural for me to write some diary type song. I want to write a classic like ‘Yesterday‘ but weird songs about meatballs in refrigerators come into my head – I can’t help it.” Her music is decidedly quirky, both elementally simple and endlessly complex in the same beat. 2012’s What We Saw from the Cheap Seats ...

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Best of the B Sides: “Sincerely, Jane”

Source: Rock On Philly

I’m going to hijack Best of the B Sides once again to talk about an album that went way under the radar and remained there. Janelle Monae was another of those artists that I admittedly loved a long time ago, before she was a Covergirl, before she released “Tightrope,” before she became the pop culture phenomenon she is today. Before all of this, she had a whacky but fantastic EP called Metropolis: The Chase Suite which follows the story of an android who fell in love with a human and is therefore set to be destroyed. ...

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