Music Bank

 
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Protomartyr

Posted on Jan 16, 2022 in 10s, ALTERNATIVE, Indie, Post-punk

Detroit post-punk quartet Protomartyr formed in 2010, slowly bubbling up out of a few bands in a tightly knit music scene. Delivering burly but intelligent music that played heavily on dynamics and physical impact, the group’s wild card was vocalist and lyricist Joe Casey, who spun free-associative semi-beat poetry over the churning report of the musicians. After making an impression on the Michigan music scene with their 2012 debut album, No Passion All Technique, word about Protomartyr spread further when they signed with the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label…

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The McKinleys

Posted on Jan 11, 2022 in 60s, ROCK/POP

Sibling girl group duo the McKinleys teamed Edinburgh, Scotland-born sisters Sheila and Jeanette — after performing at Hamburg, Germany’s famed Star Club they settled in London, signing to the Southern Music offshoot Iver Music and teaming with the songwriting and production duo of John Carter and Ken Lewis for their 1964 debut single “Someone Cares for Me,” a note-perfect homage to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. The follow-up “When He Comes Along” appeared that summer…

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Johnny Adams

Posted on Jan 4, 2022 in 60s, Gospel, Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, SOUL

Renowned around his Crescent City home base as “the Tan Canary” for his extraordinary set of soulfully soaring pipes, veteran R&B vocalist Johnny Adams tackled an exceptionally wide variety of material for Rounder in his later years; elegantly rendered tribute albums to legendary songwriters Doc Pomus and Percy Mayfield preceded forays into mellow, jazzier pastures. But then, Adams was never particularly into the parade-beat grooves that traditionally define the New Orleans R&B sound, preferring to deliver sophisticated soul ballads draped in strings…

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Françoise Hardy

Posted on Dec 28, 2021 in 60s, ROCK/POP, Singer/Songwriter

Françoise Hardy is a pop and fashion icon celebrated as a French national treasure. With her signature breathy alto, she was one of the earliest and most definitive French participants in the yé-yé movement (a style of pop music that initially emerged from Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal before spreading to France in the early 1960s). She is one of only a few female vocalists who could or would write and perform her own material. She offered a startling contrast to the boy’s club of French pop in the early ’60s, paving the way for literally thousands of women all over the globe…

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The Pogues

Posted on Dec 17, 2021 in 80s, ALTERNATIVE, Punk, Traditional Folk

By demonstrating that the spirit of punk could live in traditional Irish folk music, the Pogues were one of the most radical bands of the mid-’80s. Led by Shane MacGowan, whose slurred, incomprehensible voice often disguised the sheer poetry of his songs, the Pogues were undeniably political — not only were many of their songs explicitly in favor of working-class liberalism, but the wild, careening sound of their punk-injected folk was implicitly radical…

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The Shazam

Posted on Dec 10, 2021 in 90s, Power pop, ROCK/POP

Led by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Hans Rotenberry, the Shazam are a contemporary power pop band from Nashville, Tennessee, who’ve earned a loyal following among pop obsessives for their sharp, rollicking, and often witty British-influenced sound. The Shazam were formed in 1997 when Rotenberry teamed up with bassist Mick Wilson and drummer Scott Ballew. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1997…

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Del Shannon

Posted on Dec 3, 2021 in 60s, Rock 'n' Roll, ROCK/POP

One of the best and most original rockers of the early ’60s, Del Shannon was also one of the least typical. Although classified at times as a teen idol, he favored brooding themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection. In some respects he looked forward to the British Invasion with his frequent use of minor chords and his ability to write most of his own material. In fact, Shannon was able to keep going strong for a year or two into the British Invasion, and never stopped trying to play original music, though his commercial prospects pretty much died after the mid-’60s…

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LaVern Baker

Posted on Nov 24, 2021 in 50s, Atlantic/Stax, BLUES, Jump Blues, Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, SOUL

LaVern Baker was one of the sexiest divas gracing the mid-’50s rock & roll circuit, boasting a brashly seductive vocal delivery tailor-made for belting the catchy novelties “Tweedlee Dee,” “Bop-Ting-a-Ling,” and “Tra La La” for Atlantic Records during rock’s first wave of prominence. Born Delores Williams, she was singing at the Club DeLisa on Chicago’s south side at age 17, decked out in raggedy attire and billed as “Little Miss Sharecropper”…

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Ruth Brown

Posted on Nov 24, 2021 in 50s, Atlantic/Stax, Doo-wop, Gospel, Jump Blues, Rhythm & Blues, SOUL

They called Atlantic Records “the house that Ruth built” during the 1950s, and they weren’t referring to the Sultan of Swat. Ruth Brown’s regal hitmaking reign from 1949 to the close of the ’50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label’s predominance in the R&B field. Later, the business all but forgot her — she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time — but she returned to the top, her status as a postwar R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide…

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Jackie Leven

Posted on Nov 16, 2021 in ALTERNATIVE, Contemporary Folk, Indie, Singer/Songwriter

Jackie Leven was a Scottish singer/songwriter, storyteller, traveler, and raconteur. A formidable fingerstyle guitarist, he was a large man possessed of a mellifluous baritone singing voice that could alternately frighten a crowd, make a grown man weep, and lull an infant. His shows and recordings were peppered with engaging stories from his epic life, the road, miners, shop workers, farmers, history, folklore, lost and displaced people, the shelter and harshness of the natural world, terminal loneliness, and the insights of barroom philosophers…

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