The Black Keys

The best of Lollapalooza 2012 (in photos), Day 1

Our photo coverage of Friday’s festivities comes with a sizable asterisk, as the photo access for the night’s best set — Black Sabbath — was heavily restricted. Check out the rest while imagining the sweet riffs.

Lollapalooza 2012

ALARM’s must-see sets for Lollapalooza 2012

With the day’s first set, Lollapalooza 2012 officially begins at 11:30 AM CST — “bright and early” for professional rock bands.

We’ll be tweeting and posting to Facebook intermittently with our thoughts, and if you’re down at Grant Park too, let us know if you’re still alive. (Today’s high temp. will be in the low 90s with 50% humidity. Drink your bubble tea.)

Tonight’s festivities end with two of the billion bands to use “black” in their names — Black Sabbath and The Black Keys. Here’s our quick list of sets to catch:

†‡† (Ritualz): Anonymous Witch-House Musician Draws from Pop’s Dark Side

This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.

Ritualz: CDR†‡†: CDR (Disaro, 9/10/10)

†‡†: “gOth bb”

[audio:|titles=†‡† (Ritualz): “Goth BB”]

Behind the dark electronica of †‡† (vocalized and alternately written as Ritualz) stands an anonymous, soft-spoken man. The latter is confirmed in fragmented bits over the phone, before technological limitations force the conversation to Google Chat. Once online, he explains that he’d prefer to keep his regular location to himself, though he divulges that he’s staying with family in Mexico City and has a date to perform in Monterrey, Mexico the following week. (San Marino, the location listed on his MySpace profile, is a red herring.)

An instant-message interview is very fitting; nearly everything about Ritualz’ short music career has happened on the Internet. Two days after making a MySpace profile showcasing a handful of gloomy trip-hop tracks under his nom de guerre, he signed to Houston-based micro-label Disaro. Run by Robert Disaro, the Disaro label is a standard bearer for a nascent electronic sub-genre that most are calling “witch house,” and Ritualz’ compelling mix of drone, synth hop, and industrial is a perfect fit.


Concert Photos: M83 @ Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL)

M83, the French electro-pop act led by multi-instrumentalist Anthony Gonzalez, played to a capacity crowd at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall last week. The band’s latest release, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, has garnered heaps of hype since its release last month, and the crowd was buzzing in anticipation of hearing the tunes live. Though critical praise has been ample, mainstream success had, until recently, eluded the band. On this night, bathed in shades of pink and blue, M83 put on a show befitting its newfound indie-darling status. Photos by Wallo Villacorta.



Pop Addict: M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

M83: Hurry Up, We're DreamingM83Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute, 10/18/11)

M83: “Midnight City”

[audio:|titles=M83: “Midnight City”]

We live in an increasingly digital age. In this new era, certain elements associated with music have taken a hit: packaging, album artwork, tracks strategically placed on side A or B of a record, the creative complexities that go into double albums — basically, anything that made putting out a record as much of an artistic statement as a musical one. M83, however, is bent on keeping that aesthetic alive.

Of course, in order to do this, Anthony Gonzalez, the front-man for the French electro-pop outfit, had to create an album that actually mattered. He had to make an album that would transcend genre and time period, one that would eclipse the mass amounts of other records released this year. He had to put something out that was over the top, epic, anthemic — and so M83 did just that.


Pop Addict: Violens’ Amoral

Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

Violens: Amoral

Violens: Amoral (Static Recital, 11/9/10)

Violens: “Acid Reign”

[audio:|titles=Violens: “Acid Reign”]

From the start of its debut LP, Amoral, Violens‘ strength is clear: revitalizing and embellishing 1980s-inspired new-wave pop.

By rejecting the raw, lo-fi approach so prevalent today in independent music and the all-too-common reverb-drenched sound, this NYC indie group sticks with what it knows best: clean, unabashed, dance rock. Even with the band’s overt arsenal of sounds — outer-space keyboards, calculated drumming, pop-driven bass lines, blissful resonating vocals, and fuzzed-out guitars — Amoral‘s production lets the band’s sound come off as tight and polished.