(CNN)Stuart Murdoch was an active, vibrant young man enjoying college life in Glasgow, Scotland, in the late 1980s. He was studying science and had completed the Glasgow Marathon in less than three hours. But over the course of a summer, Murdoch felt his energy start to fade. "It was like a battery dying in a car," he said. Murdoch was eventually diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known in the United States as chronic fatigue syndrome. (Researchers refer to the disease as ME/CFS.) Although he had a diagnosis, his doctor didn't have a treatment plan and told him, "You just have to rest." Stuart Murdoch rests on a park bench during a visit to the United States. "Over the course of that next year, I became increasingly ill," Murdoch said. "I gave up my university, and I had to give up working." Read More He moved back into his parents' house and became bedridden. He describes his symptoms as "like the first day of the flu. It's that kind of sickness, … [Read more...] about Indie pop sensation’s disease became his muse
Indie pop girl singers
Earlier this year, Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors was forced to backtrack on an Instagram post in which he asked if the alternative music scene had become “bad and boujee”. The problem, Longstreth suggested – to Fleet Foxes singer Robin Pecknold of all people – was that indie rock had become too “refined and effete”, detached from “lived, earned experience”. This idea appears to crop up every year: in 2016 MTV asked: “Is indie rock over the white male voice?” and in 2015 Pitchfork looked at the “unbearable whiteness” of indie. A narrow reading of the release schedule for 2017 would suggest indie remains a tired, homogeneous scene stacked heavily in favour of established, straight, male artists including Father John Misty, Dirty Projectors, Fleet Foxes and Mac DeMarco. Guitar bands remain a mainstay on festival bills, too, with Kasabian, Kings of Leon and the Killers as safe bookings alongside Radiohead, … [Read more...] about ‘My identity is not your fad’: how indie got woke
On Friday, April 13, a leather-clad Heather Baron-Gracie stands in front of a packed house at Bowery Ballroom, dark bangs framing her big, green, extravagantly kohl-rimmed eyes. Baron-Gracie is the lead singer of the Manchester, England–based emo-pop group Pale Waves, and onstage she’s flanked by guitarist Hugo Silvani and bassist Charlie Wood, who look eerily alike, with Ciara Doran completing the quartet on drums. As they launch into moody songs inspired by the likes of Cocteau Twins and the Cure, the scene is a bit dark, but once the swirling guitars and synths come in, all the gloom and doom is left behind. In other words, that dark-eyed image belies the band’s sugary hooks. It shouldn’t work, but it does. If Tim Burton had ever gotten his hands on a John Hughes script — Edward Scissorhands’s Day Off — Pale Waves would have fit right in on the soundtrack. At Bowery Ballroom, with bodies moving to a musically … [Read more...] about Pale Waves’ Bubblegum Goth Is Ready to Pop
LOS ANGELES — Even before she turned 17 in December, the singer Billie Eilish had accomplished nearly all of the modern prerequisites for pop stardom and then some: Her homemade songs, written only with her older brother, had been streamed more than a billion times on digital platforms; she’d played increasingly large sold-out concerts to delirious fans (and their patient parents); appeared with Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon; and collected some 15 million followers on Instagram. Among those legions, many had already started to adopt the musician’s striking visual aesthetic: performatively dead eyes (bored, at best), hair dyed in shades of electric blue and pale purple, an all-baggy anti-silhouette — a collective middle finger to the strictures of teen-pop sex appeal. While still drawing befuddled stares from those outside of her demographic, Eilish’s mere presence has been known to get a certain subset of teenager hyperventilating — and spending … [Read more...] about Billie Eilish Is Not Your Typical 17-Year-Old Pop Star. Get Used to Her.
I’d just devoured a bowlful of multi-colored Chicklet gum, then jumped up and down on the couch with my blonde pigtails smacking up against my cheeks. Blondie’s “Rapture” blared from the 80’s radio/boombox in the kitchen while my mother was either cooking or cleaning. I sang along to the lyrics, through my gum-infused sugar high. That is one of the first happy memories I can remember. Blondie has always been one of those bands that I can never get sick of. They were one of the first punks bands to indulge in more than one specific genre. They added some pop, reggae, funk and disco to the mix and even rap. Speaking of “Rapture,” that just happened to be the first No. 1 song in the U.S. to feature rap vocals, and lead singer Debbie Harry wrote that iconic rap in the studio, totally on the fly. The lyrics are a sci-fi story in the making. Debbie Harry, lead vocalist of Blondie, at MassMoCA in North Adams. Photo by Jen Levesque “Cause the … [Read more...] about Valley Show Girl: Reliving childhood punk nostalgia with Blondie at MassMoCA
Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig might as well have popped out on the stage when WALK THE MOON hit the opening chords of the “Ghostbusters” theme song they performed for the 2016 remake of the classic ‘80s movie. WALK THE MOON recorded that song after a mid-world tour flight from Chile to Los Angeles. Guitarist Kevin Ray said the song became one of the band’s favorites. The State Theatre of Ithaca felt like it could have been the Carrier Dome Monday night. WALK THE MOON got everyone dancing and cheering loudly for every song, like they were playing a big stadium rather than a medium-sized, historic venue. Generally, in concert world, the bigger the show feels, the less intimate and audience-centric it is. That was the case with WALK THE MOON’s show, but a lack of intimacy didn’t make the concert bad. It was still super fun. Perhaps the most genuine audience interaction was the “Ghostbusters” story. When lead … [Read more...] about WALK THE MOON’s indie pop gets the State Theatre of Ithaca dancing (Review)