Spoiler alert: I’m 47. If I want to like a band these days, it takes effort, because most new music sounds old to me. And it’s gone far beyond “Interpol sounds like Joy Division, brah,” because there are bands coming up now that sound like fucking Interpol. For a group to break through that ceiling and win my affections, they have to put a new twist on those old sounds … or be really, really good. Happily, Life Is Beautiful has some of those kinds of bands in its lineup.
Moving past the headliners, to whom I’ll probably only devote a few minutes apiece (perhaps more for Foo Fighters and Outkast, and I might linger on Kanye if/when he produces a train wreck), there’s actually a lot of great music for geezers like me to enjoy. For starters, I’m really digging on the terrific blue-eyed soul of St. Paul & the Broken Bones; I could see them on a bill with Fitz & the Tantrums and go home happy. (Sadly, they’re playing on different days.) Like so many of us, I’m thrilled to see the brilliant Jenny Lewis coming home; she’s one of the best singer-songwriters working today. I flat-out love the bright folk-tronica of Ásgeir, the off-kilter pop of Tune-Yards and the moody, atmospheric synth-rock of Ms Mr and Phantogram.
Finally, I can say, in all truthfulness, that I’ve never in my life heard anything as weird and wonderful as TV on the Radio. Well, OK, so their singer sounds a little bit like Peter Gabriel. But that just makes me feel young again.