There is time and place. And then there is motion. And how one moves through particular moments and settings depicts untold stories, stories that move fluidly or gradually, depending on who’s doing the telling. In Taos writer Barnaby Hazen's case, the settings are 7-Eleven stores, and the characters are varied, each telling a different tale, marked by experience and emotion. Hazen crafted this book of short stories (titled Seven Eleven Ceremony and Other Short Stories) of his own volition in the hopes of churning out multiple vignettes that share one common setting to ignite a variety of ideas and concepts.
According to Hazen's Kickstarter page (which closes out this Sunday on Jan. 19) to fund his project, Hazen states that “The stories named after 7/11 were based on the number of philosophical conversations I kept having with a certain friend of mine while walking or driving to and from one franchise or another.” It's Hazen's hope that not only will the book be published, but that with adequate funding, it could turn into an ongoing literary journal where people can submit stories of their own experiences at 7-Eleven stores, or any other convenience store. “It’s definitely an offshoot of a bigger idea. I’m hoping that if the book is successful, I can become an editor of other people’s stories,” Hazen said. He’s also made a “flash fiction” piece from the book available, via his Facebook page, and hopes that people will not only respond/donate to this innovative project, but that they'll also contribute their own stories if the project proves prosperous. Scope the page, and give what you can before Sunday.
Unfortunately I read the news too late for it to be included in last week's Rooster Roundabout, but last Friday, Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers) died at the age of 74. One of the greatest groups of all-time (I don't care who disagrees), this is a major loss to the music world. And seing as how my all-time favorite love song is “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” it seems like a beautifully appropriate send-off to the man.
The Everly Brothers - “All I Have To Do Is Dream”
I like Common. Granted I'm not completely knowing of his musical repertoire. But having heard him recite poetry on “Def Poets,” I always thought his poetry was honest, visceral and relatable. And now Common has teamed up with No I.D. For a collaborative LP, titled Nobody Smiling. Not sure when it will be released, but Common and No I.D. Have made one track available (“War”). The album was thought of because of the violence permeating the Chicago area, but also in relation to violence happening all over the world. It's some heavy stuff, but sometimes people need music like this to wake up and smell the blood.
For those of you who want to hear what Carrie Brownstein has in store for herself in 2014, you can read her extensive Stereogum interview.
I don't know much about King Krule. Nothing, in fact. I know he's a British musician whose debut album dropped in August (6 Feet Beneath the Moon), and now he's released a video for the track “A Lizard State.” The track and video, a black-and-white representation of an Alfred Hitchcock influence, make me want to know more.
King Krule - “A Lizard State”
There's not really much you can say about Bruce Springsteen that hasn't already been said. The man is an institution. And said institution has a new album (High Hopes) coming out on Jan. 14, but like most people these days, he's streaming it ahead of time to give people a sneak peak of what his new record will deliver. You can head over to CBS to hear the album in its entirety.
Some people's dreams just came true … It's been “confirmed” that OutKast are reuniting to play some shows at Coachella. Apparently, the rap group (comprised of Andre 3000 and Big Boi) are going to headline the Friday night sets (happening on April 11 and 18). So start booking some flights, buying festival tickets, packing them bags and get to the show! P.S. It's also been announced that they're going to headline the Governors Ball in June.
OutKast featuring Killer Mike - “The Whole World”
I'm not going to gush about Thee Oh Sees. I've done that many times, probably more than I should. But that's neither here nor there. After the band claimed that they're going on hiatus, singer John Dwyer has announced that he's releasing a solo LP under the name Damaged Bug, titled Hubba Bubba. And he's shared a track (“Eggs at Night”) off said album, which hits stores on Feb. 25. Mark them calendars.
This one has been a long time comin'. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are set to release their latest LP (Give The People What They Want) on Jan. 14. But for those of you impatient hecklers, you can head over to NPR to stream it in is entirety. And if you want a great visual to an old-school kicker, you can watch the video for the track “Stranger To My Happiness” below.
I love Cee Lo Green. Love him. While I'm not too knowing of his work with Goodie Mob, I've always been a fan of Gnarls Barkley and his solo work (though “Fuck You” did get old after about two listens). Maybe it was Gwyneth Paltrow that ruined it. Either way … Green just did an interview where he talked about what 2014 has in store for him: a reality show, a new solo album (Girl Power), work with Goodie Mob and a possible Gnarls reunion. You can read more atRolling Stone.
I mentioned a couple weeks back that St. Vincent would be releasing a self-titled album on Feb. 25. Now St. Vincent has shared another track from said album, titled “Digital Witness,” and digital it is … but with a disco-rock sound to it as well. If this track is anything to go by, I like St. Vincent's direction (and the gray hair isn't bad at all).
St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”
Just in case you wanted to see two legendary musical acts (The Byrds and Bob Dylan) perform a legendary number (“Mr. Tambourine Man”) in 1990, while providing a tribute to another legendary musician (Roy Orbison) who had died a month before due to a heart attack … (God rest his soul).
The revving of engines, stop lights blinking incoherently at passersby, the soft roar of city life igniting beneath a starlit sky … it's easy to get lost in the shuffle of living in a metropolitan area. And thus, it's easy to forget that nature is all around us. When scoping the sides of highways from one city to the next, the flora and fauna is often lost … a mere speck of life outside the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. And it's this natural wavelength that is going to be awakened at the Winter Bird and Bat Festival, being held at the Rio Grande Nature Center (2901 Candelaria NW).
The festival will have live birds and bats shown by the Audubon Society as well as guest speakers with topics ranging from “Rosy Finches in the Sandias” to “Painting the Wonders of Creation with a Camera.” There will also be bird identification, a bosque bits table and activities for the youngsters. The festival happens on Saturday, Jan. 11, from 10am to 4pm. It's completely free, but an all-day parking pass is $3. Not bad for getting back in touch with the elements. For complete list of events, visit rgnc.org. Rio Grande Nature Center • Sat Jan 11 • 10am-4pm • FREE, $3 for day-use parking • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
I posted a couple weeks ago that Starbucks was releasing Sweethearts 2014, featuring numerous covers of love songs by the likes of Fiona Apple, Beck, Vampire Weekend and more. Now, Beck has made his track available—a cover of John Lennon’s “Love,” which you can listen to below, and you can head over to Consequence of Sound for the full tracklist. The compilation is set to hit the music-sphere on Valentine’s Day. Que cute.
When did Amazon start streaming full albums? I guess I was napping. Like most weeks in this day and age, there’s free music that’s alive and well, sending sound vibrations across the land ... a sneak preview into an unknown dimension. Or a familiar one if you’re a fan. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks have made their latest opus (Wig Out at Jagbags) available for streaming online, and if that’s not your bag, then Del the Funky Homosapien has you covered.
I don’t consider myself too much of a Flaming Lips fan. I’ve heard some stuff that I’ve liked, and could also do without some other stuff as well. But I do love a band that never stops, and considering I read about them almost every week (minor exaggeration), they’ve gotta be tireless, restless and ____-less. Now they’ve shared a cover of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” You can hear that below.
I don’t care what people say ... I like The Eagles. When I was growing up, my Ma and Pa would always play their Greatest Hits album on the car stereo when we would take long trips or go for leisurely drives. And it always stuck with me. Tracks like “Witchy Woman,” their ever-famous “Hotel California,” and “Take It Easy” shepherded me into adolescence. And now the band is still doing it up, and in kind of a big way. Their 1976 album Hotel California has been made into a giant LP. That’s right, a giant record. You can read more at NME.
You ‘member Foster the People? That band that hit it big with that song “Pumped Up Kicks”? Well they just released a 45-second teaser that contains a snippet of a new track (probably taken from a new album?). You can view that below.
Foster the People 2014
Wait ... you didn’t think the album streamage was over, did you? Not by a long shot. First up, we got Peter Gabriel’s ... And I’ll Scratch Yours (as well as its predecessor Scratch My Back) streaming in full over at NPR. And then we also got hip-hop artist Angel Haze’s major debut LP (Dirty Gold) streaming over here. Well you can also go buy it, since it’s out and about in stores, but just in case you wanted a sneak peak ...
It’s always a treat when an unreleased, unheard and un-thought-of song from a band you know about or admire comes out. It’s somewhat new. Or new to you. And now avant-pop-rock masterminds Talking Heads have shared a previously unheard track from 1976 (before the band released their debut LP). The instrumental track (with the default title “Theme”) was supposedly recorded from a show the band played at CBGB’s, opening for Television. You can hear that below.
Talking Heads - “Theme”
EDITOR’S NOTE: As I was about to post this week’s Rooster Roundabout online, I got an email from Pixies’ website, announcing the release of a brand new EP (EP2) and a new video for their track “Blue Eyed Hexe” (which you can view below). I have to admit that since Kim Deal left the band, my interest has sort of waned. Not to say they’re no longer relevant, just a tad less interesting. And being as ADD as I am, it’s easy to lose interest. However, I’m sure some people are really excited for new music from this tweaked institution of a band.
I never really had a fascination with trains. … And when I saw Sheldon Cooper (of “The Big Bang Theory”) lauding over these landlocked vessels, traveling from rickety towns to big, bad cities, I started to understand (not really) what all the fuss was about. I've only ridden on a train once, and it just so happened to be one of the worst experiences of my life. It was from Grand Central Station in NYC to Newark Liberty International Airport in Jersey. Let's just say I lost my ticket (and had to purchase another), was traveling with a bag the size of my imaginary German Shepherd and got lost twice on the journey. So yeah, not a big fan of trains.
But, having said that, I can see that as a kid, you might want to be a conductor. You might want to venture into the American landscape and see what's out there. You might even want to hop trains like a real-life Kerouacian vagabond (get real). For those who yearn to be conductors or just love riding the rails, the Santa Fe Children's Museum (1050 Old Pecos Trail) is hosting an Interactive Train Exhibit 'til Jan. 5. So that means that as of press time, you have only a couple of days to get your keister off the sofa and man the tracks.
The exhibit gives children a chance to conduct their own antique, electronic trains and even gives them control of the O Gauge model train set, while also making their own scenery. The museum's holiday hours specify they will be open today through Saturday, Jan. 4, from 10am to 5pm, and on Sunday, Jan. 5, from noon to 5pm. The exhibit is included with admission, which is $6 for New Mexico residents, and $9 for out-of-state visitors. So get there fast for your chance to authentically yell out, “Ahoy!” Wait … that's pirates. Santa Fe Children's Museum, Santa Fe • Thu Jan 2 • Noon-5pm • $6-$9 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Part of enjoying a concluding year is taking a look back at the generations that existed before. And while it may seem a little cliché at this point for people to don flapper dresses and zoot suits, isn't that what New Year's Eve is all about? A time of remembrance? A time of reflection? A time for … you get the idea. While the city will be alive with numerous New Year's Eve events, one just happens to have said flappers and zoot suits (that is if you dress accordingly). The Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown (2600 Louisiana NE) is hosting A Great Gatsby New Year's Eve Affair. The festivities take place tomorrow night in their grand ballroom and will have numerous amenities for those who want to bring in the new year with some pizzazz. There will be giveaways and prizes every hour, live music by Swag, champagne, a balloon drop to coincide with that glorious countdown and a fabulous dinner buffet with party favors. If you're anything like me, the food alone is probably worth the trip. The event kicks off at 7pm, and admission prices range from $37.95 for a single person to a $200 couples package that includes dinner, overnight accommodations and breakfast for two. Doesn't that put the kibosh on staying in with some Chinese food? Sheraton Uptown Hotel • Tue Dec 31 • 7pm-12:30am • $37.95-$200 • View on Alibi calendar
Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is upon us, many music outlets are looking back at one more year in music and the many bands that inhabited that particular point in time. 2013 was a big year. We had releases from Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and much more. But I’ve never been one to look at year-end lists because I mostly don’t agree with the writers, or I get bored with them. So if you get bored reading this one, I completely understand and won’t fault you. Now, the idea of a year-end list is to boast the work created that year. I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to list the top five albums I listened to this year.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean these albums were made this year. Hell, a couple of them were made decades ago. But, in my humble perspective, I always urge people to delve into music of the past. My argument is that you can’t completely focus on the music of today without understanding how past music shaped that sound. IE: I recently heard an interview with Lorde (who is on this list) where she said that if the Beatles hadn’t done what they did, she wouldn’t have done what she did. You get the idea. So ... here’s my list! Enjoy or don’t enjoy. And remember ... there’s always next year.
Lorde - Pure Heroine
This album completely came out of nowhere. I remember hearing “Royals” on the radio and wondering who this pop princess was. Turns out she wasn’t a “princess” per se, but more of a weird little goth chick who made sparse electronic ditties. What won me over was the fact that she wrote her own songs, helped produce the album and she was only 16 when the album was finished. If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is. Oh, and the album is actually good. Songs like “400 Lux,” “Buzzcut Season,” and “White Teeth Teens” show her range and vivacity.
Lorde - “400 Lux”
Hank Williams - Wait For the Light to Shine
While I do believe in God, I’m not especially religious. So church hymns, gospel and good ol’ fashioned odes to Jesus via country music rhythms and rhymes always strike a music fancy to my eardrums. And Williams’ homage to the Lord is no exception. Tracks like “Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine” and the title track show Williams crooning over typical country ditties, but his voice presents a magic wash over the scratchy record I got at Charley’s for $1.99. My hands-down favorite track on the record is “Devil’s Train.” It’s the most scratchy, and maybe that’s why I like it.
Hank Williams - “Devil’s Train”
King Tuff - Was Dead
Apparently the original pressing of this record is impossible to find, but due to an overwhelming number of people attempting to get a copy in their sweaty hands, Burger Records reissued the album, making it available for people like me (who find out about bands very late in the game). This LP never left my record player for a good month. Whether I was cleaning, eating or pooping, it was always on in the background. Album opener “Dancing On You” immediately grabs you, and Tuff’s trippy (sometimes whiny) vocals just take over. My personal favorite is “Sun Medallion,” but “Freak When I’m Dead” and “Just Strut” are great songs as well. Actually, just listen to the whole thing. It’s a keeper.
King Tuff - “Sun Medallion”
Patti Smith - Horses
This record dominated 2013 for me. While I’m an artist, I had gone through a slump, so I started becoming more diligent by painting again. So one day while painting, I played Smith’s most famous album. I’d already been a fan of it, but for some reason, while blending colors and etching out pieces of cardboard with a needle, it just hit me. It’s brilliant. From her opening rendition of “Gloria” to “Land,” the album is genius. If you haven’t listened to it, there’s still time. So from then on, any time I sat down to paint, draw, sketch or take photographs of weird ornaments, it was always on in the background ... and still is. It’s the perfect “art” record.
Patti Smith - “Land”
Savages - Silence Yourself
I can’t remember the last time I got this excited about a band. While every music blog was riding the wave of salivating over this “post-punk” prodigy, I just couldn’t get over their stark single “I Am Here.” It was my obsession with that song that prompted me to buy the album (at Urban Outfitters no less). While it has a dark, menacing tone, the musicality at work is of the upmost cohesive. Each song blends into the next, but each track is a stand-alone gem. “Husbands” is quick and painful. “City’s Full” is fantastically dreadful. And album closer “Marshal Dear” ties it all together with some horns and piano. It’s a masterpiece, and it makes me brim with anticipation for what they’ll put out next.
Savages - “Husbands”
Those were my top five albums of the year. What were yours? Feel free to comment.