The Arcs – “Stay in My Corner”

Taking a page from the seductive bluesy vibes of Alabama Shakes, Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is working with a cohort of musicians under the name The Arcs, releasing this track via NPR’s website a day ago. The empty rhythmic swing was the first thing that my ear targeted, and if you pay close attention, you can notice the creative and intricate turns of the bass player, Nick Movshine, who is most famous for his work with Amy Winehouse and was heavily featured in the sensationally catchy “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars.

The National- “Sunshine on my Back”

Like My Morning Jacket, The National has solidified their sound, but that does not mean there isn’t more room for introspection. On the recent track, “Sunshine on my Back,” the chorus resembles the words Matt Berninger breathes: there are splashes of sunlight (major chords) and spots of shade (minor, lead in chords). It’s modest, selective, and a perfect remedy for your day. The song features vocals from Sharon Van Etten, and it was recorded during the sessions for Trouble Will Find Me back in 2011, but didn’t make the cut. RunTheMill is psyched to see these guys alongside Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver at the first Eaux Claire Festival July 17th-18th, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Coverage to follow.

My Morning Jacket- “Spring (Among the Living)”

Among the living again
Out in the light of day’s warm embrace again

The members of My Morning Jacket are veterans of songwriting, and it seems the band’s not quiet through trying to figure things out. On May 5th, 2015, MMJ will release its 7th album marking its 17th year as a band (some members have come and gone). That sense of time, change and adaptation shines through on their early released tracks. “Spring (Among the Living)” is an unrelenting, evolving jam. Eerie echoes begin the build, a deep bass enters, and then we hear an idea: a flat guitar melody, a snappy snare hit, and then the verse begins. The beat is straight, insistent that it’s here to stay. The listener craves a change, but the song doesn’t provide it to you. At the 1:34 mark, Jim James gives you a classic rock countdown, but instead of rising in volume, the beat disappears, and the song has to rebuild again from the ground floor. The song continues to dissatisfy us, as we never reach that pop resolution. MMJ is done hibernating, but conscious that this spring’s light of day will soon move on. Welcome festival season MMJ.


Artist: Tobias Jesso Jr.

Venue: The Mercury Lounge

Date: 3/26/2015

Rating: 4.5/5

It’s truly inspiring when someone finds his/her footing, creates a work of art he/she can stand behind, have people notice this art, then be showered with praise from both critics and the general public, thereafter become a touring artist to sold out shows and all the while…remain completely humble. As is the case with a RunTheMill favorite, Tobias Jesso Jr.. We have been covering his meteoric rise to stardom for quite some time, and have been amazed by the way in which he has handled the spotlight. With very few live performances to his resume, Tobias exceeded my expectations and delivered. It was just him on stage, a black curtain, and a spotlight overhead. He was completely exposed. The audience was small and intimate. Perhaps only 150 people, but most held back singing along in order to listen to Tobias’ nuanced melodies and heartfelt lyrics about love, heartbreak, dreams, and discovering your path. A highlight was his poignant, philosophical “Just A Dream.” In between songs, Tobias didn’t hide his goofiness and was quick to make fun of himself. As he moved from piano to guitar, he joked about how small the former female performer’s guitar strap was on his oversized 6 foot 7-inch frame. Tobias is still learning how to handle a solo performance, and he didn’t stray away from the structured and simplified set. That being said, I’m looking forward to his continued success and what else he has in store. Could a band be involved? I hope so.

Chastity Belt – “Joke”

 Nothing serious

Everything’s a joke

When we smile

It’s all in smoke

A little rockabilly. A steady bassline. And blunt guitars. Mix that in with some dry humor and a little wretchedness. You get Chastity Belt. The four girls originally attended Whitman, “one of those small liberal arts colleges,” and after entering a Battle of the Bands, the group never looked back. I truly believe rock’s not dead. It is still well and alive with all these female rockers who really don’t care what you think. Check out the album that comes out on March 24th.

Ryley Walker -“Primrose Green”

The lead single off Ryley Walker’s his upcoming sophomore album is beautifully open and lacking in structure. Although Ryley’s guitar skills are the show, I love the jangly piano, the off-beat snare drum hits, and the constant improvisatory background noise. Not enough music formats allows the artist to elongate these type of grooves. It’s only then that the musician can you really start exploring.

Laura Marling – “False Hope”

Laura Marling sheds her acoustic guitar to shred an electric in her new song “False Hope.” She starts off hesitant and ends up rocking out. Take a close listen to the natural, aggressive rise of her narrative. She reaches a sharp-tongued climax as she yells, rather than sings, “Neither of us is gonna sleep tonight!” It’s a jarring, mischievous line that fits perfectly within the sung chorus. And for icing on cake, her apartment is on the Upper West Side…