Monthly Archives: August 2012

Quick Thank You!

We wanted to throw out a personal thank you to everyone who has been reading and supporting our site since we started a few months ago. August has nearly doubled our views and outreach from July, and the month isn’t even over. So thank you to everyone and PLEASE keep spreading the word! We can’t do this without your help. Also, feel free to follow us on Twitter and RETWEET US. We always love reaching 100+ extra people at a single click of your mouse.

Nutshell Film Review: It Might Get Loud

Now let’s not get crazy here. This is not at all suggesting that “It Might Get Loud” is a new film, nor is this implying that Nutshell is becoming a movie review site. Sure, they will weasel their ways onto our front pages from time to time, but that’s only if they have something meaningful and relevant to Nutshell to share. This documentary (or dare I say “rockumentary”) from 2008 smashes together three of the greatest guitarists ever to walk the earth to simply “talk about electric guitars”. Jack White (The White Stripes), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and The Edge (U2) all come together to create a film classic that had surprisingly never been done before.

The first thing to point out is how incredibly uncomfortable Jack White looks to be throughout the entire film. Not only does he tell a camera privately that the three will most likely break out into a fist fight, but he also watches The Edge and Jimmy Page introduce themselves without saying a word. But you do have the privilege of seeing him make a “guitar” (a few pieces of wood, a glass bottle, a guitar jack and a guitar string) that completely functions and play music with a nine year old version of himself. Eerie? Absolutely.

The guitar tech for The Edge also has his own little cameo appearance, basically to explain how The Edge will never reuse a guitar effect, so naturally has to carry around a 20+ switch effect pedal for every single show.

The meat of the film starts when the three all sit down to actually start the conversation. Talking about how guitars are fading as the popular instrument, how technology is taking over in the world of guitar playing, and how guitar playing is an emotional outlet sets the stage for this movie.

Another core section focuses on things from the respective musician’s careers. The venue of an early U2 show, an Airline Guitar used with The White Stripes, and the recording palace of former Led Zeppelin albums were the focus, along with various stories pertaining to those mementos. If you’ve ever wanted to see a little kid stomp on a guitar, you’d enjoy this part of the movie.

The movie continues to dive deeper into these musician’s pasts. Touching on things like Page’s first bands, The Edge’s nontraditional view of “Spinal Tap”, and Jack White’s early blues influences gives you an in-depth look to where these three men came from and how they’ve created who they are today.

And here’s the part 90% of the people who watch this movie want to see. These three legendary musicians all plug in their guitars to play together. The first is U2 hit “I Will Follow”, in a moment that the The Edge never thought would happen: teaching Jimmy Page a song. It’s not soon after that White and The Edge watch in amazement as Jimmy Page plays the opening riff of “Whole Lotta Love”. The three then all begin playing together again in a rendition of the White-written “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”.

“It Might Get Loud” is definitely a movie for all music lovers to check out. Nowhere else can you get into a detailed history of three guitarists that are this huge anywhere else. The amount of respect between these three men is phenomenal, and it shines throughout the entire movie. Check out “It Might Get Loud” today, it may just change your perspective on the basis of these three musicians and the rock and roll genre as a whole.

Nutshell Album Review: Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks

Jessica Dobson, known for her work as one of the current guitarists for The Shins, has been working on what started as a solo project in 2009. After coming up with a band consisting of her husband on drums and John Raines on bass to tour the New Caves EP, Deep Sea Diver was born. That touring band went in studio to record the band’s first LP History Speaks, which is a quick way to solidify Dobson as a talented musician in her own right.

The album opens up with “Ships”, a song that coincidentally enough has many similarities to something you would hear by The Shins. It also helps quickly establish the band’s unique sound, however, with Dobson’s vocals in particular sticking out. “Weekend Wars” is what follows, with a more jazzy feel that draws a lot of comparisons to some of Miles Kane’s solo work. This song features Beatles-style instrumental breaks and riffs along with vocals that cut through the song with sharp tone. “NWO” is a slower song on the album (that later picks up) with heavy use of rim clicks and pianos, with a loud and powerful bass line. Definitely a highlight of the album, it has impressive musical interludes throughout. “The Watchmen” is another slow song, but is still entrancing due to ghostly vocal harmonies and night club-style piano riffs.

“You Go Running” picks the pace back up drastically, with a song that encases the indie genre in just over 4 minutes. Jessica Dobson hits all ends of her wide vocal range with one of the most upbeat and danceable songs heard in a while. “Keep It Moving” goes back to the jazzy feel heard earlier on the album, also infused with some of today’s indie-folk like The Head and The Heart. This song is easily another one of the gems on History Speaks, and it’s definitely one to check out. “Why Must a Man Change?” keeps the jazzy feel, and also goes back to the aspects comparable to The Shins, but again embraces the fact that Deep Sea Diver is their own band. “Tracks of the Green Line” is the ballad of this album, utilizing a piano, acoustic guitar, and a powerful string section to paint a picture of bottled up emotion and pain. The catch is, it actually talks about Dobson’s happy life, and it often repeats the phrase “How could it get better?” The album closes with title track “History Speaks”, a 6+ minute dream-sequence like song that is reminiscent of Florence and the Machine. A good album closer, it takes every aspect of the previous eight songs and jam packs it into one great finale.

Deep Sea Diver has been forming a name for itself since 2009, which not only saw two releases from them, but also saw frontwoman Jessica Dobson join forces with The Shins. The band’s debut LP History Speaks has a sound that takes aspect from all over the musical spectrum and slaps them together into a 9-song album, and an all around solid start. Deep Sea Diver proved with History Speaks that even though they may not be now, they will soon be a force to be reckoned with in the musical world. History Speaks gets an 81/100 and you can pick it up now.

History Speaks Tracklisting:

  1. Ships
  2. Weekend Wars
  3. NWO
  4. The Watchmen
  5. You Go Running
  6. Keep It Moving
  7. Why Must a Man Change?
  8. Tracks of the Green Line
  9. History Speaks

Nutshell Album Review: JJAMZ – Suicide Pact

JJAMZ is not a band name you would be quick to recognize. That isn’t an exaggeration or anything of the sort; it’s just a statement of fact. Names you may recognize are Maroon 5, Bright Eyes, Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley, and The Like, all bands that share a member with this newly formed supergroup that came out of a Hollywood karaoke night. Armed with a repertoire of  feel good songs, a mission to ensure everyone knows how to pronounce their name (it’s juhjamz according to their Twitter), and a combination of first names that can be easily be made into a fancy acronym, JJAMZ put out Suicide Pact, their debut album that came out July 10th.

“Get What You Want” is the album opener, a Summery song that sounds like the background music played in hangouts in The OC. It’s a great dancing tune that you could just imagine amps up a crowd. The title track “Suicide Pact” is a mellowed out song that still keeps your head bobbing and your body swaying. With lyrics like “You turned your back on the suicide pact and left me dancing with the dead”, abandonment has never sounded so happy. The single “Heartbeat” is what follows, with lead singer Z Berg belting at her best. This is the type of song that makes you go out and buy the entire CD.

“Square One” is track four on the album, a song easily assumed to be about the trip of starting a new band. Complete with Z Berg stating at the beginning “This isn’t gonna last”, JJAMZ goes through all of the thoughts and emotions go with starting completely over. “Never Enough” is a song that needs to be put on every single driving playlist (or…mix tape?) out there. The beat is unarguably great, and it has the perfect feel for an end of the day, riding off into the sunset kind of moment. Really a perfect song for your end of the Summer road trip. “LAX” is the first track to feature vocals by guitarist Alex Greenwald, and is the cutest love story ever told about two carefree individuals who meet at an airport and run away together. It is then packaged up inside an impossibly upbeat sound that shows off the fact that the band knows exactly what they’ve gotten into – and they are loving it.

“Cleverly Disguised” is what follows, featuring a sound made famous by garage revival bands like The Strokes and shared vocals by Michael Runion and Z Berg. “Poolside” is an acoustic song that once again shows off Z Berg’s precious vocal talents, while also proving that JJAMZ knows how to do more than get a crowd jumping. But even with a slow tempo and quieter arrangement, the band still pushes the same amount of energy through this song as they do on the rest of the album. “You Were My Home” has a beachy, almost Pixies-like feel with a modernized twist. The album is then closed out with “Change My Mind” (also listed as “Can I Change My Mind”), another slowed down track with a jazzy, Norah Jones-type feel.

Suicide Pact is a Summer album. It is as simple as that. The forming of JJAMZ, whether it was a fluke or not, has proven to be a smart choice at this point. Never before have musicians from five different musical affiliations come together and gel like this. If this record has taught me anything, it’s that you can do absolutely no wrong going to karaoke night at a Hollywood club. JJAMZ’s Suicide Pact gets a 93/100, and this is an album you have to get now so these guys know to keep making music.

Also, visit their website to check out tour dates and get a free download of “Heartbeat”.

Suicide Pact Tracklisting:

  1. Get What You Want
  2. Suicide Pact
  3. Heartbeat
  4. Square One
  5. Never Enough
  6. LAX
  7. Cleverly Disguised
  8. Poolside
  9. You Were My Home
  10. Change My Mind

Nutshell Concert Review: The Head and The Heart – Lollapalooza 8/3/12

To end the week following Lollapalooza that was full of nothing more than festival chatter and “Top Moments” lists, Nutshell wanted to put together two more concert reviews of the weekend, the first one being of The Head and The Heart. After putting together one of the most underrated albums of the past few years, the band has been playing shows with bands like Dr. Dog, Vampire Weekend, and Death Cab For Cutie, and they made their first stop at Grant Park’s annual festival on the opening day. The outcome was a magical, hour long evening performance that can easily be called one of the best sets of the weekend.

The set opened up with flawless performances of “Cats and Dogs” and “Coeur D’Alene”, which made everyone camping at the Sony Stage for M83 take notice. The 12-song set was brilliant, including fan favorites like “Lost in My Mind” and lesser known songs like “Gone” and “When I Fall Asleep”. The band was able to coast through their entire first album (and then some) and left everyone in that crowd impressed.

The Head and The Heart was not one of the big name bands to play Lollapalooza this year, nor were they billed very high on the initial lineup list. They threw all of that out the window when they played last Friday and proved to everyone that they were ready to be a household name. They played a perfect set and kept everyone there and interested until the very end, and gained a handful of new fans in the process. The Head and The Heart’s Lollapalooza set gets an A with Nutshell Music Group, along with a guarantee that the festival will be bringing them back within the next few years. After a performance like this, Perry Farrell (and any other promoter for that matter) needs to stay on top of these guys.

Here’s The Head and The Heart’s setlist at Lollapalooza on 8/3/12:

  1. Cats and Dogs
  2. Coeur D’Alene
  3. Ghosts
  4. Honey Come Home
  5. Gone
  6. Heaven Go Easy On Me
  7. Lost in My Mind
  8. Winter Song
  9. When I Fall Asleep
  10. Sounds Like Hallelujah
  11. Down in the Valley
  12. Rivers and Roads

Nutshell Concert Review: fun. – Lollapalooza 8/4/12

There’s definitely a handful of stories that will continue to be retold from this past weekend’s annual Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park in Chicago. Black Sabbath reunited, Saturday was cancelled in the mid-afternoon only to be reinstated later, and so on. A story that deserves to be told is the one about that one band that reopened the Google Play Stage on Saturday. What band? The answer is fun., who has had nothing short of a spectacular year. They’ve been all over festivals, put together one of the best songs of the year (along with an impressive album to back it up), and are now up for two MTV VMA’s. This was an important show for many people to check out, and it wasn’t even the slightest bit disappointing.

Being told to leave Grant Park was a nightmare, and everyone was glued to their phones (Twitter in particular) to find out when they were allowed back in. Bands were shuffled around and cancelled due to the weather, but fun. was reassuring by letting followers know they were still on, now at 6:30. Sure enough, frontman Nate Ruess and company burst onto the stage for an incredibly overpowering rendition of “One Foot”, and ensured that “a little bit of rain” wouldn’t stop the band. I also feel like it’s important to mention Ruess’s shoes. They were great shoes.

The band played a seven song set (short but sweet) that relied heavily on material from Some Nights, including a heart-warming rendition of “Carry On”. They also paid homage to their debut album with electrifying performances of “Walking the Dog” and “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)”. The crowd screamed out every word with the band, including the auto-tuned high notes heard on the studio recording of set closer “Some Nights”.

fun.’s 45 minute set at Lollapalooza was one of the top highlights of the entire weekend for Nutshell Music Group, and the only complaint from this end was that it was just way too short. But even with the lack of material from Aim and Ignite, fun.’s Lollapalooza set gets an A. Expect to be hearing about them again soon, they’ll be back in Chicago for a show at the Riviera on November 15th, and maybe with a few VMA’s under their belts. Voting is under way now, so you could check out all of the categories and vote for fun. here, and then tune in to watch on September 6th.

Here’s the setlist for fun.’s Lollapalooza show, 8/4/12:

  1. One Foot
  2. Walking the Dog
  3. Carry On
  4. At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)
  5. Why Am I the One
  6. We Are Young
  7. Some Nights

Lollapalooza 3-Day Recap

Lollapalooza 2012 has officially come and gone, and after scouring through the sea of pictures and videos taken in Grant Park this past weekend along with trying to come up with the appropriate concert review to start off the wave that is to come (there will be a lot), we decided to give you a not-too-detailed recap of the weekend, along with Nutshell’s Top Lollapalooza 2012 Moments.

Friday: The heat was a killer, and the musical conflicts were even worse. Of course everyone was involved in the Passion Pit v. The Shins issue, plus the fact that most people were trying to weasel there way to the Sony Stage to get a good spot for M83. Then there was Black Sabbath. All in all, a great festival opener.

Friday’s Top Moments: 

  1. A fan proposes to his girlfriend during Yellow Ostrich
  2. People being very confused about the lack of a tent at Perry’s
  3. The Head & The Heart
  4. Singing “New Slang” with The Shins as the sun was setting over the skyline
  5. Rahm Emanuel introducing The Black Keys

Saturday: The heat was a killer again, and then it started to cool off and everyone was happy. Turns out, it was cooling off due to dangerous and intense storms headed for Grant Park that ended with the site being evacuated. Some acts were rescheduled (fun. started later, Chairlift played Sunday night) and others were flat out cancelled (Alabama Shakes, The Temper Trap). The gates reopened after a generally short wait and the end time was pushed back to 11 PM.

Saturday’s Top Moments:

  1. GIVERS playing through their “first real problem” when their onstage monitors weren’t working
  2. Members of Chairlift chatting with Google Play crowd members while their set was postponed
  3. The wave of booing across Grant Park as festival goers were told to leave
  4. Being glued to Lollapalooza’s Twitter page for information, only to learn the reopening time from fun.’s Twitter page instead
  5. fun. reopening Lollapalooza with “One Foot”

Sunday: The weather was great, Grant Park was a mud pit, and there were 11 hours left of the festival. The 2012 festival was concluded on a high note, with headliners including two DJs, a rock and blues superstar, and an icon in the world of indie hip hop.

Sunday’s Top Moments:

  1. Trampled by Turtles putting together a captivating set
  2. A giant blow up birthday cake being thrown off of the Google Play Stage by Of Monsters and Men keyboard player Árni Guðjónsson
  3. Big Gigantic taking Perry’s by storm
  4. Chairlift being rescheduled for a late-night spot at the Playstation Stage
  5. Jack White singing the third verse of “Seven Nation Army” along with the crowd humming the famous guitar part

Check back for reviews of various Lollapalooza sets, along with more album reviews to close out the Summer!

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