listen up what locals are listening to
Monday, May 21, 2012 - 3:35pm
by Jennifer Retter
With a unique name and unique music, Neon Trees has won over the mainstream music fan base. Between 2010’s hit Animals playing on KISS FM every five minutes and performances from SXSW in Austin to iTunes Live’s Festival in London, it’s hard to miss Neon Trees for now. With upcoming tour dates nationwide and throughout Europe, Neon Trees hopes to stun fans with new tunes.
Picture Show, the band’s second album in just over two years, needs to impress fans to keep Neon Trees in the spotlight. So many bands can record a stellar album and drop off the map with a disappointing sophomore follow-up, but Neon Trees hopes to take a different path. Based on recent success of the band’s single, Everybody Talks, no one plans to forget about Neon Trees anytime soon.
Expect the same upbeat, pop/rock tracks on the band’s second album. Neon Trees promises music you can turn up at a party and dance to, or pop in your car to stay awake during a long drive. The same mainstream sound adopted by bands like Cobra Starship and Hot Chelle Rae characterizes Neon Trees’ appeal, too.
Neon Trees formed in Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University. Vocalist and keyboardist Tyler Glenn and guitarist Chris Allen grew up together in Southern California. The two joined up with bassist Branden Campbell and drummer and vocalist Elaine Bradley upon relocating to Provo. Habits, the band’s first album, was released in early 2010.
Step one: Purchase by Josh Tatum. Step two: Plug in your headphones. Step three: Be happy.
It’s as though Josh Tatum crafted his first single off his new album, Everything I Need, just to pick you up on a dreary day. “Oh, oh I know I’m not the only one who thinks we can all agree / That this world can be an ugly place / Today it’s so beautiful to me,” Tatum sings over his guitar. Check out the music video for an extra shot of happiness.
Not every song on Everything will lift your spirits, however; the new musician isn’t afraid to get serious. Tatum considers his music “eclectic, soulful, passionate, timeless and deep,” but you’ll hear a hint of Texas country mixed in, too. Sample the 12-song full-length album to explore all the sides of Fort Worth’s new rising star.
Tatum started his first band at age 13 right here in Fort Worth. The singer also has his fair share of guitar talent; 17 years of practice led to impressive melodies in his tunes. He has since relocated to Los Angeles for his career, but keep up with his tour dates to catch Tatum back in Texas for a show.
After three long years of writing, Everything was finally released in late March, and Tatum hopes to follow up with tours and a new album. Tatum describes the wide range of songs on the album as “a really good representation of what I do musically. It’s something I’m really proud of.”
Little Broken Hearts
If you attended SXSW 2012, you may have already heard all of Little Broken Hearts. Norah Jones, a seasoned SXSW performer, played her new songs for this year’s festival-goers before the album’s May 1 release. If you did not have the opportunity to hear Jones live, though, don’t worry; you can pick up her new album or download it this month!
Jones always charms with her jazzy, soft voice. Some of her more popular tracks, like Don’t Know Why (2002) and Sunrise (2004), stood the test of time, still playing in rotation on everyone’s iPods. Jones is an artist who fits a niche market; she’s remained the jazz/pop darling for the decade. She flies just low enough under the radar to avoid mainstream pressure, but her talent won her millions of fans.
The first track to drop from Little Broken Hearts comes with a retro lyric music video. Happy Pills, the surprisingly optimistic tale of leaving behind an old love, highlights Jones’ sweet soft voice. “With you gone, I’m alive / Makes me feel like I took happy pills / and time stands still,” Jones croons on her Little Broken Hearts track Happy Pills.
Currently, Jones does not have any upcoming concerts in Texas. She’ll be bumping back and forth between the U.S. and Europe this summer, so visit her Web site at norahjones.com/tour if you’d like to see her elsewhere this summer. Jones also sells piano, guitar and voice songbooks via her Web site.
Norahs-in-training, take note! A little practice, and you’re on your way.