Articles by Brian Nowakowski
Brian is the Music Editor at Joonbug. At the ripe old age of ten, he discovered poetry for the first time - Robert Frost - and knew then and there he wanted to write. Aside from spending time on various freelance writing and editing gigs, Brian enjoys baking in the summer months on the tar-beach and hitting the slopes in the winter. He's got a knack for spotting great music and knows how to create succulent meals using just a single piece of chicken and whatever he can find in the spice cabinet.
This past spring, Friendly Fires released their sophomore, gem of an indie-dance fiasco LP, Palo, to much success across the blogosphere and critical world. The Brits originally came out of the gates in 2008, all guns blazing, with tracks like, “Paris,” “Skeleton Boy,” and “Kiss of Life.”
Recently, in an in-studio session for the BBC, Friendly Fires took on pop-diva, Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”. Frontman Ed Macfarlane drones through the lyrics with the quiet desperation usually reserved for that classic emo-boy, break-up song, yet it gives the song a fresh, atmospheric flavor that, quite possibly, was lost in Gaga’s version. Take a listen below and let us know what you think.
Friendly Fires cover - "The Edge of Glory"
Aren’t you ready for a new Feist album? We certainly are.
October 4th marks the return of the whimsical songstress with her fifth LP, Metals, from Cherrytree/Interscope. In classic Feist fashion, there are a barrage of collaborations including her recurrent team mates Chilly Gonzales, Mocky and producer Valgeir Sigurosson.
From August 5 - 13th the historic Bangor waterfront will be littered with music, art, film, food and more to celebrate our generations thriving and vastly-spanning culture. The festival will include over 50 bands and performers, 20 films, and several art installations over the ten days.
Much like Brooklyn's Northside Festival, KahBang is split up into several different showcases through the duration. The 5th - 13th will be all about the art, headlined by the growing KahBang Arts. "KahBang Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery, development and support of independent artists. Through its programs, KahBang Arts seeks to inspire artists from the United States and around the world, and to promost their work to audiences worldwide."
The Decemberists frontman and grand fabler, Colin Meloy, signed a three novel deal last April for a series of children's books entitled the Wildwood Chronicles. HarperCollins has set the release of the first of the three "middle-grade fantasy adventure" installments for August 30th. According to a press release, the novels, which are illustrated by Meloy's wife, Carson Ellis, are comprised of "adventure, magic, and danger, set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Oregon."
Regarding the series, Meloy has called upon his childhood influences of Lloyd Alexander, Roald Dahl, and Tolkien, saying, "this is our humble paean to that grand tradition of epic advernture stories." HarperCollins commented on the series as saying it's "nothing less than an American Narnia."
There’s no doubt you all know how tragic budget cuts in the public school systems have been. To pour salt on that wound, arts programs are always the first to go. The necessity for music and theater and arts is of higher significance than ever. Children must have the option to at least peer into that world of self-expression and reflection. Life is more than simply left cerebral stimulation. Creativity and imagination needs to be nurtured from a young age, without which, our succeeding generations will be all quantitative and no qualitative.
Thank heavens some people got the clue: The Mockingbird Foundation is one of the many important organizations raising money in support of children’s music education. What sets Mockingbird apart, however, is that it was birthed by a community of individuals who truly understand the imperative value of music as a part of life.
Karen O, Where’d you go?
As one of the Pioneering Indie Divas – amongst Leslie Fiest, Regina Spektor, Jenny Lewis, Emily Haines and a few choice others – Karen O has been off the radar for a surprising amount of time. It’s been two years since the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s have released an album together and the same two years since O wrote the score for the Spike Jones adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are. We were beginning to think we had seen the last of Rocktopolis’ Lady Hero. But then the skies opened up and a sun shower of good news rained down.
Straight from the minor leagues into the big game, Foster the People took us all by storm with their mellow dance sensation, “Pumped Up Kicks”. To no surprise, that song gave them the boost the People needed to hit #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and #3 on the aforementioned Rock Songs chart. With the waves they've made, it's hard to believe Foster played their first show in 2009.
Round Two: With the rise of their debut LP, Torches, the rapidly ascending Foster the People have released a second video directed by famed, Ace Norton (LCD Soundsystem, “Big Ideas”; Santogold, “Creator”; Deah Cab’s, “You Will Be Loved” to name a few).
Kicking off its fourth year, the Music On The Mountaintop festival is gearing up for an epic 2-day event at the Grandfather Campgrounds in Foscoe, North Caroline. Since its inaugural year in 2008, MOTM has doubled in size, which means it has doubled the reach of its mission. That mission is to bring “first class entertainment as well as educational awareness on current environmental issues.”
For 2011, the event will be held from August 26-27. MOTM is exceptionally unique in its ecologically driven nature. Within the three years the festival has been held, over $11,000 have been donated to both AIRE (Appalachian Institute of Renewable Energy) and Appalachian Voices. Not only are they giving back, but more than 15 North Carolinian-based non-profits lend their services by bringing interactive educational exhibits to help spread environmental sustainability and awareness. The success of MOTM speaks for itself. Having grown from a one-day event with 2,500 attendees three years ago, MOTM saw 5,000 guests in 2010 and are expecting even more this year.
The rocky paths notch bare feet as a sea of shoulder, back and leg skin streamlines into the main concert field. Welcome to Camp Bisco.
For three days, three nights, and a lifetimes worth of music, the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY, was filled to max capacity with roughly twenty-five thousand hungry and eager festivalers searching for at least a taste of something not found back in the real world; but that’s only the beginning.
Interestingly enough, with over one hundred performers taking to five separate stages for well over one hundred total hours of live music and DJ’s, the festival reaches far beyond the bounds of simply, ‘checking out music for a few days’.
As the sun rose over the hills of Mariaville, NY on Thursday, July 7th, 2011, a great thing began to happen... the gates of Camp Bisco X opened. With a back-up of already four and a half hours at the early time of 8a.m. it would still be half a day until many were able to set up camp and tune into the music. Some lived close enough to have a mere 45 minute drive to the Indian Lookout Country Club. Others, ranging from all over the nation, took to the roads for up to days on end just be a part of the action. There was Holly, a yoga instructor who had journeyed from Boulder, Colorado; a Clemson graduate student named Yates drove with his buddy for 16 hours from South Carolina; and Marcus, who had come from further still, taking in the full American landscape all the way from Sacramento, California. But despite how long or short the journey was, , how many thousands of miles you stuck your thumb out, how many hundreds of minutes you sat in the sluggish line (a slew of people ran out of gas or resorted to turning their vehicles off and pushing them in neutral) once inside those gates and through the security checkpoint – another two hour wait – none of it mattered. All that mattered was that it was time to dance.