London Grammar – If You Wait
Maybe I’m wasting my young years. Maybe we are.
Were it not for an ad placed by drummer Peter Criss in Rolling Stone, the world would not have been graced by the musical stylings of Kiss. Flash forward 40ish years and the world has Facebook to thank for bringing together Hannah Reid and Dan Rothman, 2/3 of London Grammar. Rothman and Reid attended the University of Nottingham, and it was a picture of Reid on Facebook with her guitar that inspired Rothman to ask her to collaborate. Multi-instrumentalist Dot Major was added later after being introduced to the band by Rothman’s girlfriend. While a single with the inexplicable staying power of “Rock and Roll All Nite” is still forthcoming, these three finding each other is an exciting and promising music story for 2014.
If You Wait opens slowly with “Hey Now,” showcasing Reid’s soaring vocals over bass drum heartbeats and bare guitars. Her voice is oft-compared to nearly every contemporary female vocalist, for me I get a lot of Florence Welch, however Reid is more nuanced. Her voice has unquestionable power, but it’s when she chooses not to use it that you really notice.
The album really takes off with “Stay Awake.” Reid inflects emotional pleas very well, and this track is no exception, mixing her fractured but strong vocals with a driving cymbal and tom beat. Like countrymen the xx, London Grammar use silence and breakdowns well. Something as simple as a loan piano chord can provide the most memorable moment.
The standout track, and probably the one that will propel this band to the next level, is “Wasting My Young Years.” Building from just piano into a driving epic, it showcases everything that London Grammar is about. If there is any justice in the world, London Grammar are the next big thing and band to watch in 2014. The xx were a sub-headliner at Coachella 2013, it’s easy to see London Grammar reaching similar heights over the next few years.
If you’re only going to buy one track: Wasting My Young Years
You might like if you like: the xx, Polica, CHVRCHES
Local info: Playing the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis April 3rd w/ Vancouver Sleep Clinic. $13/$15
No, this post isn’t going to be about the Justin Bieber song ‘Never Say Never.’ In fact, it’s not even going to be about the non-Eon Productions James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.” I’ve actually decided not to really “rage” this time but share my own personal observances and evolution of my own taste in music.
For a lot of people, music is part of one’s every day life. People play instruments, some write lyrics, listen to it while at work, in the car, and at the gym. Music is all around and everyone can have their own opinion about what they think “sounds good.” Before I get way more philosophical than I actually am, let’s dive in and dissect how music has shaped and evolved my lifetime.
I grew up in a fairly religious and Christian household. My Dad sang at church, weddings, funerals, and whenever really. Christian contemporary music is almost what I was “limited” to as a kid growing up. I’m not sure if it was as strict as I make it seem. I don’t really remember my parents banning me from listening to certain things, and I may have just been naive about it all. Either way, as a kid I listened to a lot of DC Talk and movie soundtracks. Cassette tapes I wore out most were DC Talk’s Jesus Freak and the soundtracks to Space Jam, Mighty Ducks 3, & The 6th Man. (If you’re not familiar with The 6th Man, it’s a movie from the late 90s starring Shawn and Marlon Wayans where they’re NCAA basketball players. One dies and comes back as a ghost to help the other fill the shoes of the deceased one. GREAT!)
You get the idea. I was pretty sheltered musically. I started taking piano lessons in about the 5th grade and really liked it and was pretty good. I actually competed in some sort of recital competition at the U of M a few times. You learn a piece and actually go into a soundproof room where it’s just you, the piano, and a judge. Pretty nerve-wracking for a ten year old.
When I was in middle school, I came across Metallica. I heard ‘Fuel’ once on TV or something and the next time I went to Disc-Go-Round I picked up Re-Load for about $6 and so it began. I stopped taking piano lessons and somehow got my parents to buy me a Squier electric guitar kit from the now defunct Mars Music store in Har Mar Mall. It came with a cherry red Squier strat, 10-15 watt amp, picks, cords, etc. I never took lessons and just taught myself. I discovered tab websites online like ultimate-guitar.com and really picked it up rather quickly.
As I was learning to play, my tastes in what I wanted to listen to changed too. I got pretty deep into the pop-punk bands that were popping up like Blink-182, Green Day, Sum 41, New Found Glory, etc. It didn’t hurt that their songs weren’t super challenging to master for a kid teaching himself to play the guitar either. At the same time I was really into Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica(still), Led Zeppelin, Styx, among others.
Mid-way through high school my music tastes changed again as I discovered Dave Matthews. The things he could do with an acoustic guitar were just amazing. So amazing that I saved up my money from my first couple of jobs and bought an acoustic guitar. Liking Dave and DMB brought on the discovery of more artists like him as I made my way through college. Post college I started to get into country music but rather limited myself to what artists I liked based on how twangy their sound was. (Not a huge fan of twang.)
Overall I find it pretty interesting that my tastes in music changed while I moved to each “stage” in life. Definitely pretty clear-cut eras. As I liked one, I despised others. Yet I somehow ended up liking those later on in life. When I was in my pop-punk phase I absolutely HATED Dave Matthews. I despised country music up until I actually started listening to it after I discovered Luke Bryan. Now I just enjoy it all and know that if I dislike a type of music, chances are I will love it in a few years. I won’t say never about music.