TAS Takes On Valentine's Day With Not-So-Silly Love Songs

Ah, Valentine's Day. A time of crushes, Cupids, chocolate and champagne. Or a depressing night spent with a dopey Katherine Heigl rom-com while polishing off a pint of Chunky Monkey. No matter what your take on the loveliest - or most loveless - of days, The Alternate Side staff has pulled together some of our favorite songs that we feel express the best and worst of romance.

Breaking Bands 2012: TAS Staff Picks Next Year's New Faces To Watch

Looking ahead to 2012, The Alternate Side staff — not normally betting folk — are gambling that bands and artists like Alabama Shakes, Daughter, Gary Clark Jr., Hospitality, 2:54, Zambri, Lucy Rose, The Cold and Lovely and Friends will making a significant impact over the next twelve months. At the very least, we're really looking forward to their debut (or next) albums. After the jump, check out our full list with audio streams and videos.

The Black Keys, M83, PJ Harvey And More On TAS Staff's Best Of 2011

The Alternate Side staff both loves — and dreads — the annual rush of ubiquitous end-of-year lists, sifting through the best albums and singles of the twelve months gone by. There are usually far too many records or songs we'd like to mention, so consider the following just a start of what we really enjoyed in 2011, leaping from The Black Keys to tUnE-yArDs to Elbow to Little Dragon. And feel free to add your comments on what you liked too — we'd love to hear from you.

Mavis Staples, The Head And The Heart, Dawes, Josh Ritter Shine At WFUV's Holiday Cheer

By the time Mavis Staples had transformed New York's Beacon Theatre into a sultry New Orleans gospel tent, carrying the show home with a spirited — and often spiritual — hour-long set, WFUV's 7th annual Holiday Cheer concert had already proved the invaluable bond between artist, radio station and audience. Dawes, The Head and the Heart and special guest Josh Ritter played powerful sets, both ruminative and rowdy, and declared their affection for The Alternate Side's sister station, WFUV, during the station's benefit event on Monday night, December 5. After the jump, photos and setlists.

Cosmo Jarvis On CMJ, Buskers And Bad Habits

Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but raised in the UK, singer/songwriter Cosmo Jarvis has justly earned enthusiastic attention and increased airplay in Britain, thanks to viral videos and singles like the bittersweet "Gay Pirates" off of his second album, Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?, out now on 25th Frame/The End Records. Touted on NPR's fall music preview, Jarvis has a wildly eclectic fanbase of folks like Brian Eno, Stephen Fry and Kylie Minogue. The Alternate Side asked the 22-year-old singer to report back on his three-gig CMJ Music Marathon experience, which involved buskers, the Beatles and the rediscovery of bad habits.

Everything Everything: TAS Interview

As lauded as eclectic, Manchester-based rockers Everything Everything are in Britain, the band still, mysteriously, remains under the radar in the States. In fact, Everything Everything don't even have an American label yet and, despite stops at 2010 festivals like SXSW, they've barely toured here. The Alternate Side caught up with frontman Jonathan Higgs — whose rapid-fire falsetto spurs on Everything Everything's UK hits like "Photoshop Handsome" and "Schoolin''" — and discussed the band's heady trajectory in their homeland, their second album and just when Americans might finally get to hear them here. Everything Everything play London's Relentless Freeze Festival tomorrow, October 29.

The Duke Spirit: CMJ Music Marathon Blog

London rockers The Duke Spirit don't release their third album, Bruiser, Stateside until January 17 (with a digital release slated for November 21), but the band made a quick trip to New York last week for the CMJ Music Marathon. The Alternate Side asked the quintet's charismatic frontwoman Liela Moss if she'd keep a blog of her speedy trip through New York, which included a Nylon magazine shoot, the "It's A School Night" show at Bowery Hotel and a gig at Brooklyn Bowl.

Radiation City: CMJ Music Marathon Blog

With their effusive, retro-60s girl group panache, Radiation City, out of Portland, Oregon, cut their own warm, distinctive path at this year's CMJ Music Marathon. The band plays one last CMJ gig today, October 22, at Spike Hill at 3 p.m., introducing New York to their confident debut album The Hands That Take You, out now on Tender Loving Empire/Apes Tapes. The Alternate Side asked the band if they'd document their virgin CMJ Music Marathon experience and they happily did. Exclusive photos and commentary (plus a couple of singles to check out) from the band after the jump.

ATP Festival's Anika Tours The States, Has Scary Asbury Park Flashbacks

Anika, who played the Portishead-curated ATP "I'll Be Your Mirror" festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey on October 2 and also had a show at Brooklyn's Glasslands on October 6, is in the midst of her first North American tour supporting her 2010 debut album, produced by Portishead's Geoff Barrow and members of Beak>.The one-time political journalist told The Alternate Side about her Asbury Park adventures, which seemed eerily akin to a Stanley Kubrick movie.

TAS Interview (CMJ Preview): Chad Valley

British singer, songwriter and remixer-in-demand Hugo Manuel has been very active doing double duty with two projects: his band Jonquil, which just finished recording a new album, and Chad Valley, his more experimental, electronic-leaning, solo alter ego. As Chad Valley, the Oxford-based Manuel, who wraps a North American tour with Active Child this week, has garnered enthusiastic praise for his most recent EP, Equatorial Ultravox. The Alternate Side caught up with Manuel to chat about his multi-tasking musical life and you can catch this intriguing, fast-rising artist when he plays the CMJ Music Marathon next month. He'll also join Friendly Fires and Theophilus London for a gig at Terminal 5 on October 26.

TAS Interview: Thomas Dybdahl

Singer and songwriter Thomas Dybdahl is a platinum-selling artist in his native Norway, winning the equivalent of his country's Grammy award. He's even borne quick comparisons to Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and Justin Vernon, but surprisingly, Dybdahl remains relatively unknown outside of Europe. That might change dramatically thanks to the release this month of his new album Songs, his debut in the States. Dybdahl, who kicks off his North American tour at New York's Mercury Lounge tomorrow, July 13, caught up with The Alternate Side and not only discussed what it's like to start anew ... but also revealed his past life as a devoted Metallica fan.

Glastonbury Festival Blog 2011: Wolf Gang

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Max McElligott, the man behind Wolf Gang's lean, vivacious, electro-pop, made his Glastonbury Festival debut this past weekend with his bandmates. It was a triumphant moment for the fast-rising group, especially since Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis introduced them prior to their Leftfield Stage set on Saturday. Wolf Gang releases its debut album, Suego Flats, via Atlantic Records on July 25 and TAS asked Max if he'd blog about the band's Glastonbury adventures - and he happily did.

Glastonbury Festival Blog 2011: Treetop Flyers (Part Two)

A wide range of bands and artists debut at the Glastonbury Festival each year - count Paul Simon and Beyoncé in that group for 2011 -  but for folk rockers Treetop Flyers, this weekend's big show on the Other Stage was a thrill. The London quintet won Glastonbury's prestigious Emerging Talent competition this year and have spent three days wading through mud and having the time of their lives on Worthy Farm. TAS asked Treetop Flyers' Matthew Starritt and Tomer Danan if they'd blog about the band's memorable Glasto experience.


TAS in Session (Glastonbury Preview): Gruff Rhys

Gruff Rhys might be best known Stateside as frontman for psychedelic rockers Super Furry Animals or even for his Mercury Prize nominated side project Neon Neon, but the lanky Welshman recently released his excellent third solo album, Hotel Shampoo. Rhys, who plays Glastonbury's Park Stage tomorrow, June 26, at 9:30 p.m. BST,  visited The Alternate Side for a very special session not long ago and gave us a quieter, acoustic twist on "Sensations in the Dark," "Shark Ridden Waters" and "If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)." Check out the interview and audio streams of those tracks after the jump.

WNYE Launch Party with David Bazan

The thunderstorms stayed away yesterday, June 22 and The Alternate Side was out in broad daylight to celebrate the start of our on-air relationship with WNYE 91.5 FM with a very special acoustic performance from David Bazan in Madison Square Park.

TAS Interview (Glastonbury Preview): Metronomy

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The coolly danceable temperament of Metronomy's stellar new album, The English Riviera, perfectly matches its namesake's climate; sun-drenched skies slashed with rain squalls. The sly, witty British electro-pop quartet, led by singer/multi-instrumentalist/producer Joseph Mount, play Glastonbury's main Pyramid Stage this Friday, June 24, at noon, and they've also planned two Stateside gigs, in New York and Los Angeles, this July. The Alternate Side caught up with Joseph and discussed the band's Glastonbury plans, seaside England and his deep affection for Fleetwood Mac.

Northside Festival Coverage: Guided By Voices, Wavves, Sharon Van Etten

The Alternate Side's ace photo team of Joe Grimaldi and Bailey Baffert made it their mission to cover as much of this past weekend's Northside Festival as possible. After the jump, more festive Brooklyn visuals of Guided By Voices and Wavves' McCarren Park outing on Saturday, June 18, and Sharon Van Etten's rainy gig with Beirut (where she was joined by The National's Aaron Dessner on three songs) on Friday, June 17.

Celebrate TAS On WNYE Launch With Free David Bazan Show On June 22

Celebrate the launch of The Alternate Side on 91.5 WNYE with a free acoustic performance from Seattle songwriter David Bazan on Wednesday, June 22 at 2 p.m. at New York's Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District. TAS DJ's Russ Borris and Alisa Ali will introduce the former Pedro the Lion frontman Bazan who  released his second solo album, Strange Negotiations, last month.

Bonnaroo 2011 Blog: Matthew and the Atlas

Anglo-American folk-rockers Matthew and the Atlas have been touring with Mumford & Sons this spring and the quintet made their first appearance at the Bonnaroo Festival this weekend. In addition to more Mumford & Sons shows this week and one-off co-headlining with The Head and The Heart at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 17, Matthew and the Atlas have lined up two New York gigs at Mercury Lounge on June 22 and Brooklyn's The Rock Shop on June 24. The Alternate Side asked this up-and-coming band, led by singer Matt Hegarty, if they'd blog about their Bonneroo adventures and vocalist/pianist Lindsay West kindly obliged.

Bonnaroo 2011: TAS In Session (Audio) with DeVotchKa

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Colorado's DeVotchKa is set to play this weekend's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival tomorrow, June 11,  and it's one of many  festivals the band has lined up for the summer, both Stateside and overseas. They head to Worthy Farm to play Glastonbury on June 25 and recently signed up for Dave Matthews' Caravan Festival at the Gorge this September. Not long ago, DeVotchKa's Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman dropped by The Alternate Side's Studio A and played something old ("Undone"), something new ("Exhaustible"), something borrowed (Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart") ... and all three were blue.

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