Don Miggs recommends U2 and Gaslight Anthem

Don Miggs and U2

Don Miggs and U2

Don Miggs’ recommendation: “All time, it would be U2. What they consistently do amazes me. It’s never ‘by the numbers’ for them on album or live. They truly lead the way on how to mature gracefully in a rock band. My favorite new act is the Gaslight Anthem. Combining the heart of Springsteen and the guts of The Clash. It just works.”

New to U2 or Gaslight Anthem? Don suggests you start here: “Achtung Baby by U2 is just the perfect blend of a band mixing new sounds with familiar themes. And the songs just kill.

59 Sound isn’t the best Gaslight Anthem album, but it is where you GET the band and hear the promise and potential of a great American act. The album feels nostalgic and achieves a rare feat. It makes you smile and ache simultaneously.”

Don MiggsAbout our guest author, Don Miggs: Don Miggs fronts, yes, you guessed it, Miggs, a band that may be the hardest working group on the tour circuit. The band plays straight forward pop rock that is drenched in bright guitars and big hook choruses. They average 150 shows a year, landed opening spots with Duran Duran, Maroon 5 and Train and rocked as hard as one possibly can on Good Morning America. The band enlisted multi-platinum producer/engineer Ken Lewis (Fall Out Boy, Kanye West) to bring a bigger sound to their latest album, Wide Awake. Things continue to go right for these guys as they snagged Lindsay Lohan to star in their Banksy-inspired video for Let the Games Begin. Check the Miggs tour page to see when you can catcht them live.

MP3: Let the Games Begin

Serge Bielanko of Marah recommends Badly Drawn Boy

Serge Bielanko and Badly Drawn Boy

Serge Bielanko and Badly Drawn Boy

Serge Bielanko’s recommendation: “I’d say that Badly Drawn Boy and his record The Hour of Bewilderbeast move me more these days than much of anything else. I really can’t put my finger on it exactly, which is how it usually goes with the best stuff. It’s a combination of things, I think. The songs are beautiful and eloquent without even trying. And the music is this hodgepodge flea market of folk and pop, with magnificent clever beats and melodies. I can’t say enough about it really. There are a lot of songs on the record, something like 17 or 18, and that usually is a bad sign. Not here though. There isn’t any filler at all. None. Everything sort of flows together, songs ooze into other songs. I think it there might be magic spells hidden back behind the chords. Whenever I put it on, usually in the car, I see deer and rabbits and shit. Wild things come out of the forest. That doesn’t happen with most records, you know. I never had it happen when I played any other albums, so I quit listening to most of them.

I have never really admitted this to myself before, but I’m gonna do it here. Why not. I love this record maybe more than any record I have ever listened to. No lie. I find the whole damn thing inspiring and hopeful and pumped full of some kind of love that isn’t easy or free, but is worth it in the end. It isn’t a record to share with your friends while you sit around the kitchen table drinking beers and bullshitting. It’s more like a hundred dollar bill. You keep that shit in your wallet, it makes you happy/gives you a little peace of mind in a mad world. You don’t go flashing it around.

Does that make sense?

No?

Ok. Try this.

Badly Drawn Boy’s Hour of the Bewilderbeast is basically the soundtrack to meeting an old elf in a country pub and getting drunk with him out in the beer-garden, in the warm and pouring rain.”

Serge BielankoAbout our guest author, Serge Bielanko: The last we heard from Serge musically was in 2008 where he belted out stirring vocals (check Wilderness below) on Marah’s masterwork, Angels of Destruction!. He then moved out to Utah, became a Dad and showed us another side of his greatness through the incredibly well written dad-blog, Thunder Pie. (We here at Rocktorch.com also return to Serge’s great tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s right hand man, Terry Magovern (scroll down for Serge’s piece) every so often, just to remind ourselves that dreams really do freakin’ come true!). But now, Serge is back in the band, joining brother Dave and Christine Smith to set the music world straight and, to put it plainly, we can’t fuckin’ wait. Spy the rehearsal video below and catch one of the US shows in VA and PA before they go off and conquer Spain. Serge, welcome back!

MP3: Wilderness

Related links:

* Marah’s official site
* Dave Bielanko of Marah recommends Dexter Romweber
* Christine Smith of Marah recommends Waylon Jennings

Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes recommends Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers and Sonic Youth

Sune Rose Wagner and Buddy Holly

Sune Rose Wagner and Buddy Holly

Sune Rose Wagner’s recommendation: “Buddy Holly always moved me because he wrote amazing, simple songs. I used to watch the Buddy Holly Story incessantly when I was a kid. The Everly Brothers are some of the best singers and recorded great songs by terrific writers like Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. All I Have To Do Is Dream is incredibly moving. Sonic Youth opened a entirely new world for me. Daydream Nation was my first purchase and I had a love/hate relationship with it for a long time. I was intrigued by the dissonance and words but a little perplexed by the lack of really melodic “traditional” songs.”

Sun Rose’s album recommendations:
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
Buddy Holly – Greatest Hits
The Everly Brothers – All-Time Greatest Hits

Sune Rose WagnerAbout our guest author, Sune Rose Wagner: Sune is the songwriter, co-singer and guitarist for The Raveonettes, the band that Kurt Loder simply could not stop speaking and writing about in 2003. The band perfectly combines ’50s harmonies and Spectorish production with a smack of Velvet Underground punk attitude for good measure. They’re critic darlings, music snob darlings and should be a hell of a lot bigger than they are. Sune Rose literally scoured the Earth to put this band together and his effort paid off, big time. Their somehow simultaneously retro and modern songs are some of the most infectious tunes that have come out in the last ten years and their latest release Raven In the Grave lives up the the excellence of their past releases. The band also kills it live, so be sure to check their tour page for upcoming gigs.

Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums recommends Fleet Foxes

Noelle Scaggs and Fleet Foxes

Noelle Scaggs and Fleet Foxes

Noelle Scaggs’s recommendation: “Lately it seems like I can’t have my day completed without throwing on something by the Fleet Foxes. A friend of mine put two of their albums on a travel mix for me a couple tours back, and since then I have been either sleeping with Robin Pecknold’s voice or rising with it. It is as though they were born in a castle placed in an enchanted forest that you would find in a story like, Narnia. I really enjoy artists that can manage to build imagery within their music inviting the listener to a new experience. The vocal harmonies matched with their whimsical melody reminds me of the first time I’d ever heard Neil Young, Joni Mitchell & Bird And The Bee, who all spoke to my spirit upon first listen. Their songs have a very calming effect on me which is needed with this non-stop schedule me and the gang currently have. I highly recommend their song Meadowlark to any new mothers whom are trying to calm their child for a nap. I played that beautiful lullaby for my nephew and I think he was as entranced in the lyrics as I was when I first heard it:

Meadowlark fly your way down, I hold a cornucopia and a golden crown for you to wear upon your fleeced gown. My meadowlark sing to me.

New to Fleet Foxes? Noelle suggests you start here: “If you have never heard Fleet Foxes before, I think the best album to grab would be their self titled LP, Fleet Foxes. It’s a great album from beginning to end and it’s their first full length LP as a band. Check out White Hymnal, Quiet Houses & Your Protector. One should also grab their first EP called Sun Giant and check out a song called Mykonos. This song is a great example of their creativity as composers and lyricists.”

Noelle ScaggsAbout our guest author, Noelle Scaggs: If you are keyed into all that is hip on the West Coast, then you most definitely have heard of Noelle Scaggs. She started singing at the age of eleven and since has collaborated with The Black Eyed Peas, Dilated Peoples and Mayer Hawthorne. But her cool factor does not end there. She’s also modeled in an art piece for Kanye West and co-hosted TV programming with T-Pain. Her “moment,” however, appears to be NOW as she rocks, shimmies and belts out powerful harmonies in Fitz and the Tantrums. Spy any of the Fitz videos (like the knockout performance on Conan below), witness the energy she brings and just try to take your eyes off of her. Impossible, right? She’s the clearly the co-star here and Fitz himself perhaps puts it best in saying of Noelle, “…we have repartee. Onstage, we’re Ike and Tina.” Fitz and the Tantrums’ new album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces is a hunk of pure joy, an experience that could perhaps only be topped by their ass-shaking, earth-quaking live show (check the tour dates here). More goodness comes with the news Noelle is working on a solo record. Remember her name, folks, and get your iTunes set for download.

MP3: Don’t Gotta Work It Out (Live)