Bands I Love: Pistol Annies
Maybe it’s because I miss “Nashville” or maybe it’s because there are few people in New York who appreciate country music. Whatever the case, I’ve recently fallen hard for the spitfire trio that is Pistol Annies.
Country superstar Miranda Lambert joined the talented Ashley Monroe and Angeleena Presley to form one wicked group of women in 2011. More than just pretty faces, these girls’ songs are full of grit, twang and fun.
Although they just canceled June tour dates (Miranda will appear solo), I’m hopeful for another announcement soon that the tour is back on. Don’t they know I need boots & banjos in my life?
It’s a big risk sharing their stuff with my literally hundred readers, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Just make sure you don’t fall too hard — they’re not as nice as they look.
My fave! I’ve contributed at least 700 of these views.
Who doesn’t love a little (albeit crazy) self-deprecation?
The video alone makes it worth a watch … and listen.
Bands I Love: Cast of “Nashville”
Whoever said the Bands I Love couldn’t be fictional characters? Exactly. I praised the cover of “If I Didn’t Know Better” a while back, and the show’s songs have continued to impress.
A sampling of favorites, courtesy of cleverly created YouTube channels:
“Wrong Song” – Juliette Barnes f. Rayna James
“No One Will Ever Love You” – Rayna James f. Deacon Claybourne
“Undermine” – Juliette Barnes f. Deacon Claybourne
Plus these guys:
- “I Will Fall” – Gunnar Scott & Scarlett O’Connor
- “Telescope” – Juliette Barnes
- “Buried Under” – Rayna James
Check out this week’s episode — the winter finale — to get yourself hooked too. “Nashville” airs Wednesdays on ABC at 10/9c.
Bands I Love: The Civil Wars
I used to pride myself on knowing the artist behind every song to cross my eardrums, but I totally slacked when I first heard “Poison & Wine” on a TV promo. I found its source (much later) to be The Civil Wars: a duo of singer-songwriters, Joy Williams and John Paul White.
The pair met in Nashville at a songwriters’ camp and ended up in the same room as random partners — what can only be described as country-music kismet. Their songs are genuine and complicated, with little acoustic backup, while the music and lyrics stand on their own.
It’s completely refreshing in a world of digitized music, and mega-celebs like Taylor Swift took notice quickly. Swift announced her appreciation for their sound — inspiring millions to tune in — and she collaborated with the duo for “The Hunger Games” soundtrack to create “Safe & Sound.”
Nominated for various awards last year, The Civil Wars finally struck gold at the 54th GRAMMY Awards, with Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance (neither televised). They also introduced Taylor before she performed there.
Other songs to check out from The Civil Wars:
The Civil Wars are wrapping up the American leg of their current tour, with the remainder of the year being spent in Europe.
Smooth and sultry, like a good whiskey.
Bands I Love: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Plain and simple, I’ve fallen in love with Alex Ebert, frontman for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. His past is storied, but whose isn’t? The voice makes up for the beard, and I can’t seem to get enough of these songs.
“Home” is easily their best-known hit, and it’s been stuck on loop in my pretty little head for days. You may recognize it from various commercials, including this adorable contest-winning tot from a Hyundai spot.
Laugh until we think we’ll die …
I could gush about this song for days, so I’ll just stop myself there and save you all. Oh, except check out this awesome doormat for just $40! OK, that’s all.
Never could be sweeter than with you
Other favorite songs include:
- “Janglin” – Also featured in many commercials and on “Gossip Girl” (so scandalous).
- “Carries On” – This one is perfect right before bedtime … ahhh.
- “Truth” – Do you have the beat on loop in your head yet? No? Listen one more time.
- “40 Day Dream” – Eerie lyrics over an upbeat tune = perfection.
The band is currently recording their next album, so no new tour dates have been announced. Keep your eyes peeled for updates, though.
You’re welcome for putting at least two tracks into your mental jukebox.
Seriously, I can live with the beard.
Bands I Love: She & Him
I have a total girl crush on Zooey Deschanel from her roles in movies like “Elf” and “Failure to Launch” (literally, the only reason I dug the latter). But this quirky beauty has another side gig, among movies, a hit TV show, Cotton commercials and being the face of Rimmel: indie band She & Him.
Paired with guitarist M. Ward, Deschanel’s voice soars through both original and cover songs that will make you smile. She has contagious energy, and Him is a showman through and through.
Some of my favorite singles include:
- “I Put a Spell on You” (I was obsessed with “Hocus Pocus,” but that’s a separate discussion)
- “Me and You”
- “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
Grooving to these guys makes even the worst Case of the Mondays pretty bearable. They may even turn this Scrooge into a fan of Christmas music … maybe.
Bands I Love: The Naked and Famous
I already know you’re going to judge me for how I found this band, and I’m OK with it. “Young Blood” from The Naked and Famous first hit my ears during a movie preview for “PROM.” Go ahead, laugh. The fact remains: I freaking love this song.
Featured in numerous TV shows (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck” and “Awkward.,” to name a few), this song has a sick sound with sweet lyrics. The main talents are Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, but the band performs as a four-piece live.
Hailing from New Zealand, these guys have a vibe that is a little bit hipster, a little bit effortless cool.
And I dig it. A lot.
Trying to find the in-between, fall back in love eventually …
Check out these other singles from The Naked and Famous:
- All of This (best video, by far)
- Girls Like You
- Punching in a Dream
Their current album “Passive Me, Aggressive You” is pretty fab from what I’ve heard, and the U.S. leg of their tour ends next month.
Bands I Love: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
My iPod has been pissing me off lately — from its defunct headphones to periodic skipping to ripped case — but luckily, a little songstress and her crew have kept me from throwing MC Hammer against the wall.*
Grace Potter was recently on “Chelsea Lately,” so I Googled her stuff (natch) and fell in love. You may be familiar with “Paris,” as it’s appeared on a few TV spots here and there.
Seriously, if this song doesn’t get your blood pumping, check your pulse.
Some other singles to check out:
She’s got so much talent that I kind of want to hate her for being stunningly beautiful too. But alas, she’s super sweet with just a bit of bite.
Easy, breezy and all too cool — her sound is made even more interesting when you hear of her upbringing in New England on a family-owned compound.
Welcome to Potterville, population: you.
*I name all of my devices. I don’t want to throw the king of harem pants, nor do I have the physical prowess to do so.
Bands I Love: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
I was first introduced to The Asteroids Galaxy Tour unknowingly via a commercial for the iPod touch in late 2008. I was hooked. Lead singer Mette’s voice is as unique as it is addictive. She and Lars, Miloud, Sven, Mads and Rasmus comprise the Danish performance band.
“Around the Bend” quickly became my anthem for long workouts, drives and workdays. It permeated my ears on a constant loop, serving as a top 10 hit on my own iPod. The song’s feel-good quality kept me in high spirits through trying times, and I just had to hear what else they had in store.
Lucky for me, “The Golden Age” and “The Sun Ain’t Shining No More” are just as catchy. You’ve probably heard the former in clothing shops around town or in the Heineken commersh released earlier this year. The latter hasn’t made as huge an impact in the U.S., but I have no doubt that you’ll fall in love with it too.
Amy Winehouse and Katy Perry have each had AGT open for their respective tours. While Amy’s a trainwreck akin to LiLo, she certainly has a good ear for talent — and you can’t say a bad thing about Katy.
From upbeat melodies to frenetic pulsing rhythm, I can’t wait to see what they’ll put out next. Listen on, my friends.