A music blog dedicated to keeping you updated with the latest in music releases, reviews, concerts, and throwbacks with more to come in the future!
Avid Sound was founded on May 26, 2014 by two University of Florida journalism students actively seeking to exercise their writing abilities and voice their opinions and insights regarding the music industry.
In the near future, Avid Sound will be expanding and recruiting staff writers and contributing writers. If you're interested, inquire below.
CONCERT REVIEW: St. Vincent @ The Beacham, Orlando, FL – 10/07/14
Conor Soper, Avid Sound Staff Writer
Annie Clark: a robotic, wild, mysterious woman
When one first hears of St. Vincent’s music, they might find it strange. It finds its place nestled somewhere between the ethereal beauty of Fantasia and the head-banging hard rock of times past.
Her sonic cocktail may not appeal to some, but it does attract fans very broadly as the line outside of The Beacham Tuesday night proved.
At the front, were a group of 20-somethings with a rainbow spectrum’s worth of hair dye (likely to match Clark’s new faded lavender look) and various piercings and tattoos (Notably, one girl had a tattoo of St. Vincent’s new logo). In the middle was a Scottish couple in the state for a wedding. They had decided to spend their last night in the US at a concert. Near the back was an older couple dressed plainly, both were smoking, one a cigar and the other a cigarette.
Mixed in everywhere else in line were music-lovers of all different types, waiting patiently either to jam to familiar tunes or discover something new.
The doors to the venue opened at 6 p.m. and fans rushed in to get near the front. Unfortunately for those at the center, a smoke machine was placed in front of the barricades and blew directly in their faces about every five minutes for over an hour.
To add on to their bad news, the whole crowd would have to wait almost two hours for the opening act to come on. I wouldn’t consider myself tried and true in terms of concert-going, but I’ve been to enough to know that near two hours is an excessive wait for an anxious crowd of people, some of which have already been waiting hours in line outside the venue.
7:30 p.m. came around eventually, and so did opening act Matthew E. White. White seems like the “cool dad” type, or at least that’s the vibe that someone with a full beard, waist-long hair, and glasses gives off.
The Virginian’s stage presence was very simple: a chair, an amp, a mic, and an electric guitar. His music fit the style of his stage presence. To describe it I could only say it’s some type of attempt at folk/blues and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t worth the wait.
However, it’s undeniable that he was hand-selected by Clark, a master guitarist herself. She likely saw potential in him and I give her props for bringing along someone so relatively unknown, when she could have easily brought along a more relatively known act to draw a bigger crowd and enhance sales.
White announced his debut album would be out next spring, so hopefully he will have matured his sound and maybe learned a few lessons from Annie.
After about 45 minutes, White finished his set and at 8:40 p.m. the lights dimmed and the audience was greeted with a robotic voice telling us that in order to enhance our experience we should not digitally capture it, a concept explored throught Clark’s 4th studio album, St. Vincent.
Immediately after, Clark and her band came on stage. “Came on stage” is an understatement though, as Clark and her band had a stage presence that was entirely bewildering.
As soon as she got to her mic stand, Clark began doing some choreographed hand and body movements that were reminiscent of some type of strange performance art piece, but it worked. She seemed statuesque, in a good way; she was completely unphazed and knew what she was doing.
Her and the band then dove into the first song “Rattlesnake,” the album-opener on St. Vincent. At first, Clark was just singing, but about halfway through she was handed her guitar and just about chopped the crowd like firewood with her axe.
Clark’s skill is undeniably present on her albums. To see her fingers hit those notes and chords live though, that just offers up a whole new appreciation for her craft.
Her set continued on with “Digital Witness” accompanied by other songs from older and newer albums, all sounded great live. In between songs she had these curious little monologues where she would try to make certain assumptions about the crowd. One involved a scenario where we all felt like the 7-Eleven cashier thought we were going to steal, but we weren’t; our nerves actually stemmed from that one time we actually did steal from 7-Eleven.
On the stage, Clark had a block-like pyramid with three levels that she would use differently throughout the stage. During “Cheerleeder” she stood on top, her presence more intimidating than ever. From the top, she made a slow descent, writhing down the pyramid, while her band played psychedelic guitar noise. Absolutely enthralling.
She closed the main set with “Bring Me Your Loves,” while that isn’t a standout song of hers, it translates better in the live show and was a nice closer. Rather than announce it as her last song though, she simply finished the song and abruptly exited the stage with her band.
The screams from the last song melded into screams begging “Annie” to come back for an encore, and so she did.
Clark returned, entering from behind the pyramid and appearing on top for a haunting solo performance of “Strange Mercy.” Her band then returned to play “Chloe in the Afternoon” and finally close with “Your Lips Are Red.”
The former was a wild ride from start to finish. Clark shredded from start to finish, with short breaks for the crowd to sing along, which I didn’t expect because “Your Lips Are Red” was the only song played off of her first album, but the crowd knew it.
At one point, Clark got on a security guard’s shoulders and let the crowd have at her guitar, plucking strings here and there while her band played on ferociously. Before getting back on stage, she threw her first in the air with the crowd following suit in solidarity. Once on stage, she shredded a bit more a left with a wave at the crowd.
The only complaint I can think of is that the crowd was pretty dead. I expected to see some moshing or even dancing, but there were only a few head bops and some dancers here and there. Either way, St. Vincent put on a show to remember.
Rattlesnake Digital Witness Cruel Marrow Every Tear Disappears I Prefer Your Love Laughing With a Mouth of Blood Actor out of Work Surgeon Cheerleader Prince Johnny Birth in Reverse Regret Huey Newton Bring Me Your Loves
Strange Mercy (Solo) Chloe in the Afternoon Your Lips Are Red
(Photos by Conor Soper and Bradley Norman respectively. All rights reserved)
Arriving at The Beacham, there was a decent-sized line waiting for Jillian Banks, more commonly known by her last name and stage name. Despite this, plenty of fans were screaming “Jillian” and waiting for her to maybe greet some fans before the show.
The crowd was generally young, but you could tell there were a few dads there who still listen to alternative and college radio. Most of the younger fans were dressed in almost all black, likely attempting to portray the dark and brooding look we’ve come to know from BANKS and her music.
The doors opened at around 6:15 p.m. and 45 minutes later the first opening act, Movement, came on. I usually look into opening acts before I go to a concert, but deciding to see BANKS was very last minute, so I only had enough time to listen to the new material on BANKS’ debut album Goddess. Unsurprisingly though, Movement, a trio from Australia, matched the R&B style of the main act with a tinge of Sam Smith-like soul vocals from their lead singer.
Movement seemed to have a following at this show as some fans continued to scream throughout their set. For what I’m guessing was the vast majority of the audience who didn’t know Movement before the show, the band played a number of covers that enticed the whole crowd and got everyone singing along with them.
Once Movement finished their (about) 45 minute set, fans sat around waiting for the second opening act, Lil Silva. Much to any Lil Silva fan’s dismay, the artist reported earlier on twitter that he was unable to attend the opening show of the Goddess Tour due to issues with getting a Visa to come to the U.S.
Any fans that may have been expecting Lil Silva, or who were dreading sitting through a second opening act, were definitely surprised when BANKS came on stage about half an hour later.
Despite the very calm production on Goddess, the sound is booming and ubiquitous in the live show and helps BANKS’ dark demeanor seem more intimidating.
Like her album, BANKS opened the Goddess Tour with “Alibi,” a song that showcases both the 26-year-olds vocals and her R&B/electronic sound.
Next, she transitioned smoothly into her breakout song, “This Is What It Feels Like,” where seemingly everyone was singing along, except for possibly Jillian Banks. The speakers were playing the song, but BANKS was mouthing the words about a second after the lyrics came out of the speaker. Now, I’m not too tech-savvy, so there may have been some issue with the mic feed or her backtrack might have been played too loud over her actual vocals.
I thought this might be the case, but her vocals and the speakers were out of synch for the next song, “Brain,” and a majority of the songs that followed after.
I found it entirely impossible to enjoy the concert. As each new song started, I found myself concentrating on trying to see if BANKS was going to sing this one or not. Granted, she did sing a few songs for sure, but they were piled between songs full of bad lip-synching.
What I found more frustrating than her lip-synching, was struggling to understand why she felt she needed to in the first place. BANKS has a great voice and it sounded flawless during “Alibi” and gave me chills. I somewhat understand when artists who don’t have so great of vocals do it, Britney Spears has been doing it for years, but not BANKS.
It crossed my mind that the show I attended was the first show of the Goddess Tour and that maybe she wanted it to go off without a hitch. After all, the first reviews of anything are usually the ones that set the stage for any success that follows. Maybe she was nervous about performing new songs for the first time. Maybe it was both. Maybe she wasn’t lip-synching and there really was a tech problem.
Either way, the show was underwhelming for a number of reasons including her waning stage presence, bad song choices for the setlist, and a short setlist to begin with (especially after losing an opening act). Fans were left with the venue lights on screaming and begging for songs such as “Bedroom Wall” and “Under the Table” which were snubbed for less-known songs like “And I Drove You Crazy” and awkward encore-closer “Sti ck.”
BANKS has undeniable talent and it’s sad to see it doesn’t translate well from the album to the live show.
SETLIST: Alibi This Is What It Feels Like Brain Fuck Em Only We Know Goddess You Should Know Where I’m Coming From Change And I Drove You Crazy Drowning Waiting Game Beggin for Thread
REVIEW: The Golden Echo RATING: 8.4/10 Conor Soper, Avid Sound Staff Writer
In Kimbra’s sophomore album, The Golden Echo, she has proven to go above and beyond the dreaded “sophomore slump” of the music industry.
The Golden Echo promises a wide variety of musical styles and tactics that is bound to encapsulate even the more casual listener at least once.
On this album, Kimbra has brought together a range of collaborators spanning from Silverchair’s Daniel johns to internationally famous composer Van Dyke Parks.
To put The Golden echo in a nutshell would not only be a crime, but is criminally impossible. The album collectively transcends any cohesive genre and the songs prove to be individual works of art that require unraveling and multiple listens to reveal themselves.
The Golden Echo is complex and highly experimental, yet rooted in familiarity that calls the listener back. Much like the title suggests, the album is an echo resounds with the listener and comes back as a new experience as one constantly strikes gold with each listen.
REVIEW: Worlds RATING: 6.0/10 Chris Malone, Avid Sound Contributing Writer
Porter Robinson, the 22-year-old producer responsible for electronic earworms like “Language” and “Easy”, has just released his debut album, Worlds.
In the months leading up to its release, Robinson insisted that he aimed to be different from the crop of bass drop-addicted EDM producers and that he wanted to create his own unique brand. Haven’t we heard this “above the mainstream” attitude from someone before? I won’t mention names, but you can usually find him sporting a glowing mouse head at his half-empty shows.
It’s easy to be dismissive of promises like this, but after putting skepticism aside, it’s clear that Porter Robinson is actually successful with his endeavor. Combining the vocals of a number of indie singers from around the world and a distinctive style of composition, Robinson creates a refreshing LP that proves not all EDM producers are created equal.
At this point in EDM’s lifespan, it’s become clear that the market has become oversaturated with formulaic bass-heavy crowd-pleasers rather than music of any redeemable quality. It’s about time a former member of the commercial EDM scene came forward with material that shows that valuable electronic music isn’t extinct.
Although Porter Robinson’s Worlds may contain more misses than hits, it is an album that the electronic music world desperately needed. Here’s hoping more bassface producers follow in his footsteps.
VIDEO REVIEW: “Break Free” - Ariana Grande (feat. Zedd) Bradley Norman, Avid Sound Staff Writer
Donning her signature emotionless face, pleather white go-go boots and high ponytail, Grande stares blankly into the camera and slightly moves her mouth along to the lyrics of her newest single, “Break Free” featuring Lady Gaga’s prodigy, Zedd.
The singer, who’s sophomore album, My Everything, is set to be released August 25, 2014, channels her inner Xena: Warrior Princess only in what could be described as a d-list claymation hybrid of Star Trek and Star Wars, including a mini lightsaber lipstick.
Grande looks gorgeous in the video and the concept, while tired, is cute and kitschy, something I believe is apparently her current schtick.
Sadly, it’s almost impossible to overlook the running flaw: her awful lip syncing.
Her voice is so emotive but the same can’t be said for her lip-syncing, which is incredibly distracting and has been a reoccurring problem for the “Problem” singer.
One can only hope in the not-so-near future intergalactic warrior princesses aren’t saving the universe while sporting that tacky hairstyle.