Students weigh in on new music from Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews Band, Avett Brothers

Three of the biggest bands in music, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Dave Matthews Band, all sold hundreds of thousands of copies of their new albums in September.

Although Mumford & Sons scored the biggest record sales for their album, Babel, moving 600,000 copies in the first week, many people would argue as to who had the best album of September.

I know that many of my friends are avid fans of one or more of these groups, so I was interested to learn what the campus community thought of these three new albums.

Mumford & Sons

Babel sold almost twice as many copies as Justin Bieber’s Believe sold during its first week. That came as a big surprise to many, and a big relief as well. It’s nice to know that completely synthesized music isn’t the only niche running the charts these days.

The success of Babel has created many new fans for the bluegrass/folk rock group, but has provoked much debate from fans of their first album, 2009’s Sigh No More. Many Mumford & Sons fans say that the new record wasn’t very original and seemed to be less vibrant than their previous album.

David Milam, a recent graduate from WCU, said the Mumford’s new album didn’t seem to do it for him.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Mumford since they first started putting out music, but I felt like this album was almost exactly the same as the first. I didn’t feel as if there was much originality, and it felt like I was hearing the same songs over and over again.”

I talked to 40 different people on campus about Babel. Everyone seemed to enjoy it but only five people said they liked it as much as the first album. The other 35 indicated that they were a little disappointed, it was not as good as Sigh No More, but overall it was a good album.

Dave Matthews Band

Everyone seems to like DMB. I have been a fan since I was 12. My roommates even have an ongoing competition to see who can go to the most DMB concerts before the band calls it quits. So far they have been to a combined 56 shows.

Dave Matthews Band’s new album, Away From The World, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its first week, shifting 266,000 copies and making them the first group in history to debut six consecutive studio albums in the number one spot. Even though that is an impressive streak, the new album didn’t do nearly as well as 2009’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, which sold 424,000 units in its first week.

But numbers can only tell us so much. When asking around about the new DMB album the first thing I noticed was how many loyal fans roam the WCU campus.

“I think DMB is one of the greatest rock bands of all time,” said Tyler Hardy. “Of course I’m biased but I think even people that aren’t fans have a great deal of respect for Dave Matthews and what he’s done in the music industry.”

Regarding Away From The World, Hardy said, “it definitely went back to some of the old-school techniques and principles that got DMB noticed in the early ’90s. I would give it about three and a half stars if I were rating it on a five scale.”

Everyone I talked to really seemed to enjoy the new DMB album. Most fans at WCU are more excited about hearing the new songs played live than hearing them in their car stereo systems.

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers have proven to be one of the most successful music acts of the past five years and may even be the biggest band in America these days.

The Americana posse’s new album, The Carpenter, debuted at No. 4, selling 98,000 units in the first week. Fans of DMB and Mumford are normally fans of Avett, from what I have gathered. All three groups have a similar sound but there are very distinct differences between their styles.

Natives of North Carolina, the Avett Brothers have a huge following in the South and especially at schools like WCU and Appalachian State.

Dave Osborne, the campus minister for Reformed Christian Fellowship at WCU, says he has been a huge Avett Brothers fan since before they became very popular. He was not let down by The Carpenter.

“I thought that lyrically the album was spot on,” said Osborne. “It was a very strong effort for their sophomore big label release. I would definitely recommend this album. If you like their older stuff you will definitely enjoy this new album.”