Category Archives: Articles
The end of summer is more often than not a dreadful experience. Students start to hop on buses again and, in most cases, any sort of work load that ceased to exist is suddenly back again. Now all we have to do is look forward to the holidays, when we can once again basically stop having responsibilities again for a couple weeks. The one beautiful thing about the fall months creeping up, however, is that there always seems to be an abundance of awesome new music that comes out, almost too quickly to follow. Think about last year’s fall albums that included Muse, Green Day, Animal Collective, and Two Door Cinema Club to name a few. The next couple of months are looking to continue that trend, so here’s your guide to what you should be looking out for.
MGMT – MGMT
Tentative Release Date: September 17th
A little known fact about the Connecticut duo is that, in 2010, they released a pretty awesome album called Congratulations. It isn’t unknown that it was released, but despite generally positive reviews from critics, the album was not nearly as successful as their debut Oracular Spectacular. But apparently MGMT didn’t care, with their third album’s debut single “Alien Days” being very comparable to the sound of the 12+ minute “Siberian Breaks” from their previous release. What makes it even better is that frontman Andrew VanWyngarden has been very vocal about the groups consensus that they are having a blast, and are confident that they’re “making good songs”. After the more recent release of second single “Your Life Is A Lie”, the band proved that they are still the go-to when it comes to bridging the gap between expiremental, goofy, and just all-around good music.
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Tentative Release Date: September 9th
The Sheffield quartet has turned themselves into nothing short of a powerhouse, and it has been well over a year since the band’s first hint at their fifth studio album was released through “R U Mine?” when they were still on the road for 2011’s Suck it and See. After months of not-so-subtle teasing (ie drummer Matt Helders describing the new album as sounding “like 2013”), they released two singles, “Do I Wanna Know?” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, along with…unique music videos. Their new-found knack for dirty and gritty rock n’ roll, along with a much-anticipated return of Alex Turner’s famous lyrical wittiness, is setting this up to be one of their best albums yet.
Yuck – Glow & Behold
Tentative Release Date: October 1st
After what seemed to be a band-ending transition between their first and second albums, the now Daniel Blumberg-less trio is showing no signs of stopping. After releasing new single “Rebirth”, sounding very similar to both the band’s debut and a more focused version of ex-frontman Blumberg’s new project Hebronix, fans woke up this morning to an album announcement with a cover, a tracklist, and a hefty second single titled “Middle Sea”. If these two singles say anything, the guitarist-turned band leader Max Bloom is out to prove he should have always been fronting this band. So far, he’s proved it.
Cage The Elephant – Melophobia
Tentative Release Date: October 8th
The Kentucky garage rockers have scored countless hits off of their first two albums, and they spent the first half of 2013 ensuring that they would be able to continue doing that on their third release. Since then, they’ve released lead single “Come A Little Closer”, which is significantly more tame than most things we’ve heard from the five-piece in the past. Nonetheless, with a slightly more jammy feel possibly to come and an already-announced fall tour in support of Muse, Cage The Elephant looks like they’re set up to have a successful year.
Grouplove – Spreading Rumours
Tentative Release Date: September 17th
The LA indie-dance kings behind songs like “Colours” and “Tongue Tied” have spent the last year or so tearing up the country, backed up by word of their unique and electrifying live show. Their debut LP Never Trust a Happy Song was an all-out success, and the recent release of single “Ways to Go” has only peaked interest in the quintet. It’s hard to make a judgement call on this album based on the exceptional lack of knowledge that has been released on the record, but Grouplove has never been a band to disappoint in their generally short careers. This will be the most surprising of all the albums on this list, but I can assure you it’ll be one of those surprises that you’re ecstatic about.
The Head And The Heart – Let’s Be Still
Tentative Release Date: October 15th
After the Sub Pop release of their debut album in 2011, The Head And The Heart’s unique blend of folk and indie pop has garnered them a lot of attention, along with acts such as Of Monsters and Men and Iron & Wine. Another album that hasn’t been very talked about, the Seattle six-piece’s sophomore LP is looking to be a big one that isn’t a far cry from the sound of their self-titled debut. The release of single “Shake” is giving this album a promising look, both energetic and dense with harmonies and a wide range of instruments. If the whole album sounds like this track, these guys better be ready to solidify themselves as one of the dominant indie-folk groups of our time.
Go down to the comments section below to tell us what albums you’re most excited for, even if they aren’t on the list. You can also tweet them at us @NSMusicGroup.
For those of you who don’t know, tonight marks the 55th annual Grammy Awards following what ended up being a pretty big year in the scheme of the music industry. While not necessarily “predictions” per say, Nutshell Music Group compiled a group of hopeful winners at tonight’s ceremony. This of course is not covering all categories, but the ones that feature artists or genres that are specific to our focus group. So, here goes nothing!
Record of the Year – “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys
The distinction between this award and Song of the Year is often overlooked. The former is a performance award, with the latter being specifically for song writing. “Lonely Boy” has been one of the most played songs of the last year and the band’s live performances of the track have been praised all over the country. The Black Keys had quite a few hits that came out of El Camino, but this is the one that led the way.
Song of the Year – “We Are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
Fun. was able to weasel their way into everyone’s heart this year with songs off of Some Nights, most notably this one. Never before has a song been able to so successfully get significant airtime on rock, alternative, and pop radio stations as “We Are Young” without the band having to come out with different versions of a track. This song is hooky, catchy, and just all around well written.
Best New Artist – Alabama Shakes
As much as people may be contesting this, Alabama Shakes is most likely the most underrated band of 2012. This category is going to be hard fought this year, but behind huge praise from major music publications like Spin and Rolling Stone, and a couple of impressive festival performances to boot, Alabama Shakes have cemented themselves into musical significance this year.
Album of the Year – Some Nights by Fun.
This was a hard internal battle for me to choose between this and Channel Orange. Some Nights really sticks out because of the popularity it was able to rise to both in sales and radio airplay. Fun. went from being a virtually unknown group to global superstars overnight because of this album.
Can we all just agree it’s fair to skip the whole intro thing and just get to some more predictions? Alright, sounds like a plan. It’s only a few, but it’s still some new names to throw into the mix.
- Alice in Chains – It hasn’t been uncommon for the festival to throw in a 90’s revival band here and there, and the spot for grunge bands seems to be having a comeback. With Alice in Chains expected to unveil a new album later this year and a lack of a Chicago tour date on their Spring tour, it’s always a possibility.
- Yo La Tengo – Let’s face it, Fade is an awesome album. These guys have been doing it for a long time and it’s obvious that adding them to the bill will introduce a crowd of indie adults to the group of age-deprived festival goers.
- The Flaming Lips – Wayne Coyne has had a goof-ball, go off the deep end sort of year, and with a collaboration album and another “normal” Flaming Lips album due out in April, the festival kings are sure to explode back into Chicago with open arms waiting for them (and whatever giant inflatable objects they’ll bring for this tour).
With a handful of solid new music coming out over the last few months, it’s only fitting that a few more artists get added to the discussion for Lollapalooza 2013’s lineup. Remember, as always, this is an open discussion so suggestions are welcome and encouraged. You can also check out Nutshell Music Group’s entire Lollapalooza speculation page here.
- Band of Horses – There isn’t much to be said here besides the fact that, other than the release of Mirage Rock most likely being enough, the group hit the Chilean and Brazilian legs of Lollapalooza 2012 and also played a House of Blues set with the Lolla name on it, and haven’t seen the Grant Park side of things since 2009. At this point, Band of Horses is anything short of a shoe-in for this year’s festival.
- Ra Ra Riot – Even though the album isn’t even released yet, the band has a large opportunity to hit festivals this summer in support of Beta Love. The quintet hasn’t been involved in anything Lollapalooza-wise since 2009, so the group seems to be due for a triumphant, mid-afternoon or evening return.
- The Killers – This one I have just forgotten to put on here. Even with the mixed reviews received by Battle Born, The Killers have been side-stepping the Chicago leg of this festival for the past few years. Yet another group that hasn’t stepped into Grant Park since ’09, expect to see them as a headliner this year.
- The Lumineers – When booking a summer festival, you can never go wrong with an indie-folk group to round out the afternoon. These guys have enough momentum from “Hey Ho” alone to guarantee them a spot at this year’s festival.
- Queens of the Stone Age – With a new album in the works featuring Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on the drums, QOTSA is going to be going on a colossal tour without a doubt. The band is hitting Brazil and Chile for Lollapalooza 2013, and there is no question that they would be welcomed with opened arms (and probably beers) in Grant Park this August.
Everyone here at Nutshell has been taking some time off in response to the holiday season being upon us, just as we hope you did the same. But before the streamers and fireworks get released and the beginning of a new work calendar is upon us, it’s only fitting that we put together a best of list for those of you that are new to the site (or are already nostalgic). So here are some fun facts about our last seven months as an official publication. But before we get the ball rolling, here’s to wishing you a wonderful 2013.
Nutshell Music Group is born!
With the June 14th review of Walk The Moon’s self-titled LP, Nutshell Music Group officially became a publication.
Album Rating: 89/100
Album Highlights: “Anna Sun”, “Shiver Shiver”, “I Can Lift A Car”
Nutshell: The Logo and The Twitter
On June 18th, we unveiled our new logo, created by John Spiller. Then three days later we officially hit social media, with our Twitter that you can follow @NSMusicGroup.
Nutshell’s First Concert
The site became so much more than an album review site on July 16th, with our first concert review being published on Vampire Weekend’s Pitchfork Performance.
Concert Rating: A
Concert Highlights: Opening with the one two punch of “Cousins” and “White Sky”, an untitled new song now known as “Unbelievers”.
On October 15th Nutshell Music Group officially announced the addition of our newest writer, Bianca Smith. Her first review was posted less than two weeks later.
Opening the Discussion
On December 1st, we started our first full-on discussion topic as we posted our first round of Lollapalooza 2013 lineup predictions. Since then, a large amount of responses have come in and we opened up our Lollapalooza 2013 page.
Bests, Worsts, and Other Notable Things
Highest Rated Album: Matt & Kim – Lightning
Album Rating: 98/100
Album Highlights: “Let’s Go”, “Now”, “I Said”
Highest Rated EP: Go Tell The Eskimo – Smoke Signals EP
Album Rating: 95/100
Album Highlights: “When The Lights Go Out”
Lowest Rated Album: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away
Album Rating: 73/100
Album Highlights: “Get Away With It”, “Skipping Disc”
Top Viewed Post: Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup Predictions
Nutshell Music Group’s total geek-out favorite band of the year: Stepdad
This one deserves some explaining. This goes to the band that Nutshell Music Group feels is the band that was most enjoyable to deal with. After reviewing Wildlife Pop back in June and then their Beat Kitchen Concert in October, the group has always been fun to watch, listen to, and even talk to in small doses. So a big thank you goes out to the guys in Stepdad for giving us a memorable band to talk about time and time again.
There you have it folks! Have a great time ringing in the new year, and we will be back on schedule with normal reviews after 2013 begins.
After ten days of buzzing and a good string of contact following our last Lollapalooza prediction post, the second handful of bands has been compiled (some of which are based on your suggestions). As was the deal with the last post, comment, tweet @NSMusicGroup, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have changes to be made or things to say. This is a debate, that is welcome and preferred. You can also check out the new Lollapalooza 2013 page for all of our lineup speculation and live updates. Most additions will be normally posted, but bands taken off the list will not. Happy guessing folks!
Here’s the next batch of bands I expect to see August 2-4 in Grant Park:
- Youngblood Hawke – With the release of one of this year’s big indie anthems, YBH has become quite a force. With the power of iTunes hit “We Come Running” behind them and an almost guaranteed festival-filled Summer 2013, the five-piece may be hitting the stage with an early time slot.
- Two Door Cinema Club – The band was already playing an evening slot in 2010 on one of the festival’s biggest stages, and the recent release of Beacon means they will not be strangers to festival goers this year. With tour dates in Chicago falling early this year, it would not be surprising to see the Irish indie pop group back again in August.
- Mumford and Sons – Mumford and co. is going to be the festival hog this year. Everybody in the entire world wanted to book them after they released one hot album; with that total doubled and a handful of new singles like “Babel” and “I Will Wait” that are being shoved down the throats of alternative radio listeners, the group will be hitting almost every major festival this year. If not Lollapalooza, be expecting the modern folk lords rounding out the Pitchfork Music Festival on Sunday night.
- Matt and Kim – The duo last hit the festival in 2009 in support of Sidewalks, and have recently been hitting the Midwest pretty hard with tour stops. With signs of that dying down after February, the band seems to have enough experience under their belt (plus an awesome new album in Lightning) to grab an evening slot at Lollapalooza this Summer.
- Andrew Bird & Wilco – The pairing of these two is intentional because both have released new material somewhat recently (Bird with Break It Yourself and Hands of Glory EP, Wilco with The Whole Love) and they both hail from the Chicago area. However, with enough new music to share a headlining concert just outside of the city last Summer, neither band ended up hitting any popular Chicago-area festivals. At least one of these two could likely show up at Lollapalooza this year as one of those “I don’t know why they’re here this year, but that’s awesome that they are” kind of acts.
Even though we haven’t even broken into winter, there is already a typhoon of speculation about who will be making their rounds at music festivals in Summer 2013. Bonnaroo presale tickets came and went in three minutes, and we’ve already seen message boards and websites be riddled with alleged lineups. With Nutshell being based out of and somewhat centered around the Chicago area, I thought it would be a perfect outlet for my 3rd annual Lollapalooza lineup predictions. This will, for the first time, be live updating. Bands will be crossed out and added as time goes on, up until the midnight lineup release some time in April. That is, if the Chicago Tribune would stop leaking it at 10:30. Think of this as an open discussion. Your thoughts are all appreciated, but they will only be read, reviewed, and utilized for this list if they are posted in the comments section below. That being said, we want your input. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why.
Here’s my current lineup predictions for Lollapalooza 2013, set for August 2-4:
- Animal Collective – The dukes of modern indie rock haven’t graced the Lollapalooza stages since 2009, and they already found themselves in a premiere Saturday night slot. With Centipede Hz now under their belts and no extensive touring schedule, you can expect them to be hitting one of Chicago’s many festivals. After 2009’s powerhouse performance, it would be foolish for both the band and the festival if they did not end up in a headliner’s position this Summer.
- Wu-Tang Clan – Now before you argue, look at the facts. According to an interview with AV Club, Clan producer RZA said that he had been contacted by Bonnaroo and Coachella, and that there’s a chance Lollapalooza has also been in contact with him about a Wu-Tang festival run. With one album having its 20th anniversary and another new one in the works, why not play a few festivals?
- Alabama Shakes & The Temper Trap – Among many of the acts that had to be cancelled or shuffled around during last year’s mud pit, these two groups got the short end of the stick. They both had solid late afternoon slots and the potential to draw large crowds, so it would not come as a major surprise to see their names back on the bill.
- The Avett Brothers – Backed by this year’s release of The Carpenter, the American folk group has never played on Lollapalooza’s stage. They hit their Chicago dates early on the supporting tour for the album, and a group like this would surely thrive in an outdoor festival.
- MGMT – The group hasn’t hit the festival since 2010, and with an R.E.M.-inspired new album in the works it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them return for a third time. With three albums and their debut EP all in the catalog, the psychedelic collective would be a comfortable fit in a 5 or 6 headliner spot.
- Phoenix – The French indie pop group hasn’t had much to say since the conclusion of their last tour, and with only one Lollapalooza appearance (2010) to date, the mysterious new album that is apparently being hammered out, a last second American Summer tour announcement with a few festivals wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises.
- Vampire Weekend – Even though the band made a stop at last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, they have been on a somewhat hiatus when finishing out their new album. They already have an impressive new single that’s presumably from the record, and it isn’t uncommon to see the two Chicago festivals swap bands for consecutive festival seasons. Since 2009, bands that have hit stages at both festivals include Animal Collective, Neon Indian, Washed Out, and tUnE-yArDs, so Vampire Weekend could very well be returning to Grant Park come August.
Again, your comments are welcome below. Tell us what you’re thinking; who do you think will be playing at Grant Park in August?
Check out this Lollapalooza best of video from the team over at Alderman Media. For more info, rush over to aldermanmedia.com
Due to feedback by readers, there is a need for a second installment of Nutshell’s top albums to watch for in the coming months. So here’s some albums you can look forward to, and (possibly) be hearing very soon.
Arctic Monkeys – The Sheffield quartet announced not long before the release of “R U Mine?” that they wouldn’t be returning to the studio until 2013 to record their fifth LP. Back in February was when Alex Turner confirmed that they were planning to hit the studio this Summer after they concluded their tour, rather than taking the year off. The Suck It And See tour concluded last week, so the Arctic Monkeys could be in the studio as we speak to record their fifth album, which is supposed to mirror the “dirty side” of Suck It And See.
Passion Pit (Gossamer, due out July 24th) – The three year wait for the follow-up to Manners is finally over, and with the release of “Take A Walk” and “I’ll Be Alright” (both of which are the exact same length) are leaving fans hoping for a phenomenal sophomore album.
Freelance Whales – Following up 2010’s debut Weathervanes will not be an easy challenge, but Freelance Whales is very vocal about embracing the second album jitters. All five band members have been involved in the writing process, and band member Jacob Hyman says it “rocks harder and better”. The band is pushing for a Summer release and an early Fall tour, so keep your eyes (and ears) opened.
Broken Bells – James Mercer and Danger Mouse have been raving about their second album since back in 2010, and after Mercer’s reinstatement of an indie king with The Shins’ Port of Morrow, it’s something people can really start talking about. There is already confirmation that the duo has songs in the works, and a few that are done. Mercer also told Billboard a few weeks back that Danger Mouse has been working with U2 in Dublin and The Shins are still touring, but once the dust settles a new Broken Bells record will be recorded, and may be out before Port of Morrow gets followed up by The Shins.
The Flaming Lips – When they aren’t off playing eight shows in a 24 hour period, The Flaming Lips actually have enough down time to put together an album. After debuting a new song on Thursday, frontman Wayne Coyne said that the band has been working on a new LP, and it will be out by the end of 2012.
If you have any more suggestions of albums to keep your eyes peeled for, comment or tweet it! @NSMusicGroup
People tend to make a connection between outdoor music festivals and drug use. It’s something that happens, and little can be done to stop it. Those going to this year’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago may be more likely to see why that conclusion is drawn, after passing of new legislation by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in regards to Marijuana laws.
Those who are found to possess 15 grams or less of marijuana will just be ticketed starting on August 4th, which is the halfway point of Chicago’s biggest music festival. The tickets range between $250 and $500 for first time offenders, and for those who are ticketed again in the next 30 days are automatically hit with a $500 fine. Mayor Emanuel stressed that this is NOT decriminalization, and is in fact intended to be a deterent. He says the point is to have more people punished by the law, while giving police officers more time on the streets and conserving space in Chicago prisons.
A word for the wise is that the new legislation only applies to possession. Those found smoking marijuana in public or caught possessing without a valid ID or under the age of 17 will still be eligible for prosecution.