Friday Night Music: The Joy Formidable

New York City is still buried under today’s arctic blast, so let’s warm up with something up-tempo from one of my favorite rock bands, The Joy Formidable. I’ve been a fan since discovering their appropriately-titled first album, The Big Roar, at the beginning of last year, and now they have a brand-new one, Wolf’s Law. The first single showcases what they do best – the solid, shimmering wall of sound:

Consider this an open thread. What bands have been running through your head lately?

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Lou Doench

    Ooh, Ooh! I gots one. This song is completely stuck in my head!

  • Lou Doench

    Oops, forgot the link

  • arensb

    I just picked up Peter Gabriel’s first two solo albums (officially called “Peter Gabriel” and “Peter Gabriel”, and unofficially called “Car” and “Scratch”, respectively).
    If you know Gabriel mainly from “Sledgehammer”, “Red Rain”, etc., then these two albums are very different: Prog-rock, some experimental bits. Unsurprisingly, it’s fairly similar to older Genesis.

    Here’s a sample of what I’m talking about:

  • Rez
  • Peter N

    I’ve recently discovered the pan-European early music ensemble L’Arpeggiata. They make early 17th-century Italian music sound just as thrilling as it did back in the day:

    Yes, Adam has a varied readership.

  • The Letter D

    That’s a pretty sweet track! Lately, I’ve been on a Cage the Elephant kick. At a couple points, they seem to have, uhh, shall we say “an inflated sense of their place in music.” But it’s only a couple places. I highly recommend “Lotus,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Tiny Little Robots.” They also did a truly bitchin’ cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” when they were live at the Vic. Here’s “Lotus” with lyrics, the catchy beat has been stuck in my head more than a few times:

    I’m also a huge fan of The Protomen, and suggest you give them a listen if you haven’t heard them before. I’ve seen them live a bunch of times, they really put on a Hell of a show. No band has ever been able to so reliably make me – literally – shiver. What they do is best described as “Megaman Rock Opera,” which sounds dumb at first but they put enough love and work into it to make it awesome. Their first album covers a range of styles, opening with a spoken-word prog-rock overture, turning Protoman’s theme (from the games) into a funeral dirge, then going through cowboy poetry, punk rock, power ballad, and finishing with a killer duet. The most impressive thing about it musically is the variations on a theme: you can find the same chord progression in most of the songs, but since it traverses multiple genres, it stays fresh. You can find both their albums on YouTube playlists here:
    I really can’t recommend them enough, their lyrical content is every bit the equal of their music, as they meditate on what it means to be a hero (in the first album) and on hope & betrayal (in the second). Plus, in the liner notes, they include unspoken narration between songs which – whether by chance or design – seems to perfectly fill the musical interludes where there are no lyrics when I read it in my head. Double-plus, their homepage ( has a live cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on it. I could write for hours about these folks, but this ain’t my soapbox, so I’m just gonna stop now. But seriously, they’re so rad. :)

  • peasemold

    Last October I had the privilege of seeing them perform live. Ritzy and the boys were amazing.

    They were the support act to Muse. If you’ve not taken the opportunity to listen to Muse and you like pretentious, bombastic, ludicrous but nevertheless brilliant dramatic rock music, what are you waiting for?