‘Fill in the Blank’ – Car Seat Headrest Track Questions Self-Discovery on ‘Teens of Denial’

In August, Car Seat Headrest made their energetic late night TV debut performing “Fill in the Blank” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Will Toledo and his three bandmates pounded out the opening track from “Teens of Denial,” the band’s critically acclaimed album that was released in May.

Throughout the performance, “Fill in the Blank” song lyrics flash on four screens behind the band, and fittingly, some of the words are omitted from the lyrics.

Instead, the blank spaces beckon audience members and fans to fill in their own words.

Car Seat Headrest's "Teens of Denial" features the opening track, "Fill in the Blank."
Car Seat Headrest’s “Teens of Denial” features the opening track, “Fill in the Blank.”

As a Car Seat Headrest fan, I scratch my head wondering how I should fill in those blanks.  This song couldn’t come at a better time in my life, and in a sense, it serves as my personal anthem.

It’s an anthem of internal struggle and second guessing – Who am I? What am I doing? What have I accomplished? Where should I go next?

These four questions periodically enter my head and cause me to re-evaluate my life choices and direction.

Continue reading “‘Fill in the Blank’ – Car Seat Headrest Track Questions Self-Discovery on ‘Teens of Denial’”

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‘Walking On A Dream’ – Empire of the Sun Collaborates with Lindsey Buckingham on New Album

A new Empire of the Sun album, “Two Vines,” will feature contributions from Lindsey Buckingham, legendary Fleetwood Mac guitarist, vocalist and producer.

The Australian electronic music duo announced the Oct. 28 release of their third studio album Monday and debuted a new single, “High and Low,” on KROQ’s Kevin & Bean show in Los Angeles today.

“Two Vines” will feature “High and Low,” a new mix of the 2008 smash “Walking On A Dream” and 13 other tracks, including “To Her Door,” which includes guitar and harmonies by Buckingham.

Back in April, I stumbled across a black and white photo of Buckingham on Empire of the Sun’s Facebook page that immediately caught my eye.

The photo featured Empire of the Sun’s Luke Steele demonstrating a guitar chord for Buckingham in a Los Angeles. I smiled instantly at the thought of a newer artist working with a legendary guitarist and singer like Buckingham.

In a June 3 article from The Western Australian, Steele recounted how he recruited Buckingham to play on Empire of the Sun’s new album.

Continue reading “‘Walking On A Dream’ – Empire of the Sun Collaborates with Lindsey Buckingham on New Album”

‘When The Tequila Runs Out’ – Dawes’ New Track Creates Lifelong Sonic Friendships with Fans

I’m convinced Taylor Goldsmith and I would be great friends.

Like the Dawes lead singer and guitarist, I reflect on the life choices I’ve made and wonder where I’m headed.

I also find meaning in everyday situations – late night drives, extra chicken wings, western skylines, cross-country flights, drinks at a bar and passing conversations ­– and believe they define me.

I see a similar pattern of thoughts recurring throughout Goldsmith’s lyrics for Dawes’ four studio albums – “North Hills,” “Nothing Is Wrong,” “Stories Don’t End” and “All Your Favorite Bands.”

In Dawes’ music, Goldsmith isn’t afraid to admit he’s made mistakes, taken the wrong path or wished for different outcomes. His introspective songs invite listeners to learn from his actions and apply “his plans of attack” to their current challenges.

Continue reading “‘When The Tequila Runs Out’ – Dawes’ New Track Creates Lifelong Sonic Friendships with Fans”

Stratton Setlist Snapshot: Eaux Claires Day 2 Celebrates Day of the Dead

Eau Claire, Wis. — The second day of Eaux Claires celebrated the legacy of The Grateful Dead with a special “Day of the Dead” tribute.

Led by Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National, the first ever “Day of the Dead” tribute featured Will Oldham, Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis, Bruce Hornsby, Ruban Nielson, Lucius, Matt Berninger and others.

The Dessner brothers assembled the five-disc “Day of the Dead” tribute album over four years to raise money for the AIDS/HIV organization Red Hot. An LP boxed set will be released Sept. 9.

The setlist included “Sugaree,” “Black Muddy River,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Shakedown Street,” “Brokedown Palace” and other Dead favorites.

Besides the “Day of the Dead” tribute, other notable day 2 performances included Alpha Consumer, Mavis Staples, Lewis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lucius and Beach House.

Stratton Setlist Snapshot: Eaux Claires Day 1 Brings Eclectic Music Mix to Wisconsin

Eau Claire, Wis. — Friday’s summer drizzle didn’t dampen the spirits of festival goers during the first day of Eaux Claires.

Instead, indie rockers and musical legends uplifted attendees at Foster Farms with pop-fueled anthems, folk rock tunes, ’80s classic hits and experimental rock.

The festival’s main highlight included the live premiere of Bon Iver’s first new album in five years — 22, A Million.

Eaux Claires Music Festival Brings Emerging Talent, Legends to Upper Midwest

I can’t imagine a better place for a music festival than the upper Midwest.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s wide open spaces and rolling green pastures are a welcome relief from the cramped city parks and perfectly manicured polo fields.

The rural Wisconsin city is also reminiscent of my own hometown, which is actually about 560 miles away near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Luckily, I have Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner to thank for my two-day Midwestern musical escape along the Chippewa River to Eaux Claires, an indie music rock festival situated in Eau Claire.

The festival boasts some of the most popular names in indie rock – Bon Iver, Beach House, Jenny Lewis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, James Blake and Phosphorescent – and many emerging artists ranging from Little Scream to Tuskha to Alpha Consumer.

Continue reading “Eaux Claires Music Festival Brings Emerging Talent, Legends to Upper Midwest”