It's the moment some of you have been waiting for … finally here in all its glory … a new Lana Del Rey track. All bullshittery aside, the song is a good number. The tune (titled “Shades of Cool”) comes off her forthcoming record Ultraviolence. And as with most Del Rey tracks, it has a lovely, atmospheric tone that drives it forward. I wasn't particularly excited about her new record after hearing “West Coast,” but this definitely changes the game a tad. In the words of Karen Walker (of “Will and Grace”): “Denied. Denied. APPROVED!” Have a listen below.
Lana Del Rey - “Shades of Cool”
Did you know there's going to be a Duran Duran tribute album coming out later this year, titled Making Patterns Rhyme? I sure as hell didn't. But now that I do, why not share Moby's contribution to said release, in the form of a cover of Duran Duran's “Rio.” You can hear that below. The record, which doesn't have a release date yet, will also feature Warpaint, Juliette Lewis and Austra, among others. So keep an eye out.
I guess for some people, all it takes is getting arrested to fuel the creative fires and come out with some fresh material. Or maybe that's just the case with Wiz Khalifa. Upon being released from jail for marijuana possession, the rapper released a mixtape (28 grams), which is free and available for download. So head to DatPiff to get your copy.
Who wants to see 65-year-old, former Journey frontman Steve Perry perform some songs with Eels? You do, that's who! I mean, come on, the guy hasn't performed in, what, 20 years? Do yourself a favor and watch below to hear him use those amazing vocals. And you wonder why they said, “Don’t stop believin.’”
Eels with Journey lead singer Steve Perry in St. Paul
I don't know much about RiFF RAFF, other than that whole kerfuffle over James Franco allegedly stealing his likeness for the snooze-fest that was Spring Breakers. But the Texas-born rapper has been teasing his debut LP for years now, and it looks like it's going to finally see the throng of awaiting fans. His record, NEON iCON, comes out on June 24, and RAFF has shared a snippet from said album in the form of “Kokayne.” Have a listen below.
Just because Freddie Mercury is no longer with us doesn't mean that Queen has ceased to exist. Case in point: They're coming out with a new record around the end of the year. Tentatively titled Queen Forever, it's supposedly going to have some unreleased songs that Mercury sang, dating back to the '80s. Should be a hoot. But the band obviously needs some time to work out the kinks, as guitarist Brian May said they're basically piecing the album together from scraps. For more info on that, head over to Billboard.
I mentioned a while back that Led Zeppelin are in the process of reissuing their entire catalog. That's still happening; what with reissues of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III coming out on June 3, each containing unreleased material and live recordings. But now, the band has released a video for the “rough mix” version of “Whole Lotta Love,” which features some rare concert footage. Scope the video below and read some info about the song, as told by Jimmy Page himself, over at Consequence of Sound. Enjoy … And after you're done enjoying, listen to a previously unreleased instrumental track, titled “La La,” over at NME.
Led Zeppelin - “Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal)”
La Roux struck a chord a few years ago with her track “Bulletproof,” showing that retro-dynamic pop could still be a thing. And it worked in her favor. Now they've posted a track from their upcoming album Trouble in Paradise, which is set to hit stores and online markets on July 8. Listen to the track “Uptight Downtown” below, and head over to Pitchfork to check out the new music video for the song “Let Me Down Gently,” which is also on the forthcoming LP.
Say … what has Billy Idol been up to? Besides his cameo in The Wedding Singer, I haven't heard anything 'bout the guy. Apparently he's been hard at work on a new memoir (Dancing With Myself), which is “bold, searingly candid and written by Idol himself in his inimitable voice.” The book is said to chronicle Idol's life from his childhood to when he hit it big with tracks like “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding.” Should be an interesting read, assuming he has the writing chops to relay such material. The text is set to come out on Oct. 7, but you can head to Rolling Stone for more info on it.
I don't know about you, but I wasn't exactly in the know about an upcoming biopic about the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. But since I'm a lover of musical biopics (Ray, La Bamba, The Temptations, Sweet Dreams, etc.), this is definitely something I have to see. The film (Get On Up), which heads to a theater near you on Aug. 1, stars Chadwick Boseman (42), Dan Aykroyd, Octavia Spencer and the great Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt). With a cast like that, I'm sure this is going to be one enjoyable movie-viewing experience. But we'll have to wait and see. You can view the latest trailer for the film below.
I've never understood people's obsession with rap-rave group Die Antwoord. While I can appreciate them repping Cape Town and the culture therein, their music just never sat well with me, and still doesn't. A friend responded to this by saying “you just don't get it.” Maybe that's so. But for those that do get it, I'm sure you'll be ecstatic (or a little giddy) to know their new record (Donker Mag) comes out on June 3. So mark them calendars. The group has also shared a video for album track “Pitbull Terrier,” which you can watch below. PS: It's kind of graphic and, but what else do you expect from them?
Die Antwoord - “Pitbull Terrier”
I never liked Rilo Kiley, but I always loved the country-twinged aesthetic that singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis pursued on her solo material. It had a sort of grittiness and longing that I always felt RK seriously lacked. Now the songstress is releasing a new record on July 29, titled The Voyager. After the brilliance that was Acid Tongue, I'm sure this one will be a poignant and enchanting effort. You can read more details, including the tracklist, over at Rolling Stone.
It's no secret this past year was partially owned by Robin Thicke, as his single “Blurred Lines” was everywhere and anywhere that had speakers and a sound system. Not that that's bad. It's a good song. And now, Thicke is set to release a new album on July 1, though the title and tracklist haven't been revealed. The only indication of the new record's sound is the track “Get Her Back,” which Thicke debuted at the Billboard Music Awards. You can watch that performance below, and keep an ear out for news on that upcoming record. Who knows? 2014 may also be his year.
Robin Thicke - “Get Her Back” (2014 Billboard Music Awards)
It's a Destiny's Child reunion! Well, kind of. Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé appeared on a Michelle Williams song from her upcoming album Journey to Freedom. The track features Solange, as well. Titled “Say Yes!,” it's a remix of a Nigerian gospel track (“When Jesus Says Yes”) and though it's not the most excellent ditty, it's nice to hear these women back together. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of Beyoncé solo. Destiny's Child needs to make a full comeback, am I right? Head to MissInfo to hear the tune.
While I'm not a huge fan, I appreciate The Knife. Several songs in their catalog have struck my fancy, from their oft-referenced “Heartbeats” to “Pass This On.” But my interest fizzled over the years. However, the group is still going strong … at least strong enough to release reworked versions of various tracks from their catalogue. Shaken-Up Versions hits the public in the face on June 17, so keep a lookout. You can also view the video for the “shaken-up” version of “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” below.
The Knife - “My Life Would Be Boring Without You (Shaken-Up Version)”
What better way to celebrate the mark you've made on the music industry than by reissuing the material that catapulted you to stardom? That's what Bon Jovi plans on doing. The band is set to reissue a large amount of their catalog, and that starts with 1988's New Jersey, which hits stores (again) on July 1. That album had such notable hits as “Bad Medicine” and “I'll Be There For You.” The reissue will include deluxe editions that have bonus material and whatnot. For more details, head to Rolling Stone.
I've always loved M.I.A. Granted, MAYA wasn't her best album, but I had hopes for Matangi. And that record proved to be a world-born effort of a Sri Lankan rapper still fighting to be heard and still pursuing controversial material with the swagger of a soldier and an aesthetic of a cut-and-paste artist. Now she's released a video for Matangi-track “Double Bubble Trouble,” which features 3D-printed guns, kids of varying cultures and lots of color. You can give it a looksie below.
M.I.A. & the Partysquad - “Double Bubble Trouble”
Talk about a match made on Earth. Lorde and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst were paired up in an artistic conversation for The New York Times. The duo talked about their writing styles, their processes, backlash and whatnot. You can read that here.
I'm a-gonna be honest. The only reason I clicked the link for the following video was because the folks over at A.V. Club provided the headline: “Mat Devine’s Wrongchilde channels John Hughes on a new single.” If you say someone channels John Hughes, I'm there. I, like most people my age or older, grew up on Hughes' films, and I have to say their assumption is fairly accurate with the '80s imagery (Karate Kid, anyone?), colorific exploration and, of course, the synth-heavy track. And yes, I know Karate Kid wasn't by Hughes, but we're talkin' about the '80s, man. Like, get it? Anyway, you can listen to Wrongchilde's “Gold Blooded” below.
Wrongchilde - “Gold Blooded” Lyric Video
Lastly, Richard Reed Parry, one of the many members of Arcade Fire, is releasing his own record (titled Music for Heart and Breath) on June 9, which is right around the corner. The multi-instrumentalist will have such guests as the Kronos Quartet, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner of The National. So keep your eyes and ears open, and for more info on it, head over to Pitchfork.
Pink Mountaintops "North Hollywood Microwaves" (NSFW!)
The weirder and, in this writer's opinion, the more interesting of Stephen McBean's two mountain-named bands (the other being Black Mountain) the Pink Mountaintops is playing Low Spirits tonight. No self-respecting lover of drug music will miss this. My friend Pierre LaFarge turned me on to this Vancouver-based bunch of weirdoes a week or so ago and there's been nothing else on my speakers since. Can't wait for the sun to set so we can all see the Pink Mountaintops, who are touring in support of their new album Get Back. Did I mention the show is only TEN BUCKS!? C'mon!
Local and soon-to-be-no-more mysterions the Elevator Boys and psych-practitioners YOU open.
Talk about a boy-band super duo: Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) and Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) have decided to join forces and take over the music world as Nick & Knight. No joke. Their debut LP drops on September 2, and shortly after they're going on tour so people can see this pop extravaganza in person. It's just as well. Interested folks can view a promotional video for the project below, and in it you can hear a snippet of their single “Just the Two of Us.” PS: The album is already available for pre-order. So have at it if you must.
Nick & Knight
'Member that little Steven Spielberg gem known as Jurassic Park? I know I do. Seeing that in theaters was one of my greatest movie-going experiences as a youngster. And if you were a fan of the music, this is your lucky day. The film’s score is getting a nice reissue on multi-colored vinyl, and it'll be available to the public on June 11. Head to Consequence of Sound for more info.
Coldplay has been steadily giving glimpses of their upcoming record Ghost Stories, which hits the music-sphere on May 19. And now they're providing listeners with another fragment in the form of “A Sky Full of Stars,” which features a collaboration with electronic, club aficionado Avicii. Basically you need to be high as a kite in a black-lit dance party to experience the full effect of the song. Other than that, what's the point? But you can give the tune a listen below.
Coldplay - “A Sky Full of Stars”
The dream of the '90s is alive in super-Earth. According to the Portland Mercury, Corin Tucker (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) have joined forces to deliver new music to the masses in the form of the aforementioned band name: super-Earth. Not sure when they'll deliver the goods, but someone somewhere is jumping with joy, or at least digging into those old mixtapes, you know … from when people used to make them.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that a documentary about the late, great Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You) is scheduled to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now you can view a teaser of the film, which provides a glimpse of Smith's legendary status and why he was (and still is) loved and admired by his peers.
Heaven Adores You teaser
Let the album streamage commence: Last week, Lily Allen gave the visual accompaniment of her upcoming record's title track (“Sheezus”), and now she's streaming the album in its entirety. You can hear that via iTunes Radio, which confuses me, so I'll just wait for it to come out, assuming I want to hear it. And while we're on the topic of pop diva streaming, you can head to NPR to stream Lykke Li's I Never Learn. Oh, and you since everyone's giving it away for free (at least momentarily), head to Consequence of Sound to hear The Horrors' new record Luminous.
I'm gonna save you the introduction and spare you talk of my love of Christopher Owens, the former frontman for rock group Girls. I've gone there time and time again, so I'll just get right to it ... Owens has posted a new track (gospel-tinged rocker “Stephen”), and it's fucking great. Not sure if this is going to be on some future release, but one can hope. Have a listen below.
Music lovers young and old have shared thoughts about the internet's influence on music culture: how record labels don't make as much money; therefore, artists don't make as much money, yadda yadda. Steve Albini (noted producer, musician and engineer who has worked with The Breeders, Nirvana, Pixies, Veruca Salt and many more) has been pretty vocal about his views on record labels sucking artists dry to make a buck. And now, contrary to what many people would have considered him to believe, he says album streaming and the internet in general have solved “the problem with music.” He goes on to say “You can literally have a worldwide audience for your music … with no corporate participation, which is tremendous.” You can read more at Quartz.
The Roots shared a track from their forthcoming record ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin a few weeks ago (and maybe another one in between), who can keep track? Either way, they've come out with another one (titled “Tomorrow”), which you can listen to below. Their album hits stores on May 13, which is right around the corner, so save them pennies.
Most folks know David Lynch from his eerie, avant-visual stylings in films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. But the filmmaker has also been making music for a while now, and his new video, which was directed by Moby and features vocals by Mindy Jones, is available for visual and aural consumption. The vid is for the title track from last year's The Big Dream, his second full-length effort. You can watch that below.
'Member how I mentioned that Veruca Salt was getting back together? Well guitarists/vocalists Nina Gordon and Louise Post have had their first joint interview in … oh … 17 years? Yes, it's definitely worth reading. Head over to Stereogum to see what these women have been up to and what the future holds for one of the most welcomed reunions ever. Oh, and you can also hear their excellent new track, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” below.
Veruca Salt - “The Museum of Broken Relationships”
Nothing like a 40th anniversary to inspire new material. Rock band Blondie has decided to come out with a new double LP that will feature new songs as well as their greatest hits. The album, titled Blondie 4(0) Ever, will contain their 10th studio album (Ghosts of Download) as the first disc; the second portion will be a compilation of their most famous tracks. That hits stores on May 13, but in the meantime, you can head over to Billboard to read more.
Most people know of punk band Death from watching A Band Called Death (a documentary by Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett). While the band didn't see much mainstream success in their heyday (early to late '70s), they're now regarded as precursors to later punk sounds and revolutionary for being an all-black trio of brothers who created wild and uncompromising tunes. The group recently played on “Arsenio,” and you can view that performance below. Also, look out for III, a Drag City reissue of unreleased material, which is out now.
Death - “Freakin’ Out”
In case you haven't been keeping tabs on Pixies, they've released three EPs in the past year (EP-1, EP-2 and EP-3). And you'd think that with a steady stream of new material, they'd hop back in the studio to record what I would consider to be an appopriate full-length. But I guess laziness prevailed, as they've compiled all three releases into one album (titled Indie Cindy) that comes out on April 29. You don't need me (or want me) to comment on the recordings themselves; rather, you should provide your own educated analysis of the band's material post-Kim Deal's departure. Head over to The Guardian to give that a listen.
Music: the gift that keeps on giving. Jack White broke records this past Saturday by recording and distributing the “world's fastest released record.” And on top of that, he's also given fans another taste of his upcoming LP (after sharing “High Ball Stepper” a week or two ago) in the form of the album's title track. The record comes out on June 10, so keep your eyes and ears open for that. You can give “Lazaretto” a listen below and view some recaps of his record-breaking record making over at Pitchfork. Enjoy!
Jack White - “Lazaretto”
Austin City Limits is a festival always worth mentioning. Having gone three times, it's one of those experiences that can't be replicated. The only way to truly experience it is to go. And now the fest is two weekends instead of one (Oct. 3-5, 10-12), fancy that. Folks gracing the stage(s) include Beck, Lorde, Eminem, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent, Juanes, Mac Demarco and many, many more. You can view the full lineup at the ACL website.
When I think of Courtney Love, the first thought that comes to mind is “bitch be crazy.” Granted, she's done little to prove otherwise, but feeding that particular beast has done well for her songwriting. Take her latest track “You Know My Name,” being released as a single with the tune “Wedding Day”; that's scheduled to hit stores on May 4. You can take a listen to the punk-inflected ditty below.
Courtney Love - “You Know My Name”
Ever so prolific, Neil Young surprised fans with a new album of covers (titled A Letter Home) via Jack White's Third Man Records. The LP contains covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and more. Rolling Stone reports that there was no official announcement, but you can order the album on Third Man's website. To add to that, the album is also getting the deluxe box set treatment, with the vinyl record, CD, singles, picture book, the works. So have at it!
Songwriter/composer and performer Owen Pallett first caught my attention when a friend sent me a recording of him covering Joanna Newsom's “Peach, Plum, Pear.” I liked his voice, but as far as delving into his sonic landscapes, there wasn't much in the way of follow-up. But I've heard several excited whispers about his upcoming LP In Conflict, which hits physical and online markets on May 27. And now Pallett has posted a video for his track “Song for Five & Six.” You can view that below.
Owen Pallett - “Song for Five & Six”
When Lily Allen announced the title of her forthcoming record (Sheezus), many thought she was parodying Kanye West's last full-length effort Yeezus. However, Allen was quick to point out that it was an homage, rather than making fun of anyone. And now Allen has shared a video of the title track of said LP, wherein she compares herself to a fighter, while also name-checking various pop divas. You can hear the track below.
Yup, watching Belle and Sebastian cover Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” for a group of kids at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta might be the cutest thing in music this week. You can check that out below, but you might need to have a tissue handy.
Belle and Sebastian covering Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”
A few weeks ago, I posted a track from Buzz Osborne's upcoming solo acoustic album This Machine Kills Artists. And now King Buzzo has posted another snippet from that forthcoming record, which, despite being acoustic, is pretty heavy and dark. But that's a good thing. You can hear his new song (“Drunken Baby”) by heading over to A.V. Club.
For those of you that think Lana Del Rey is all that and a bag of stale potato chips, the moment you've waited for is finally here. The singer-songwriter has come out with the first track from her upcoming sophomore LP Ultraviolence. Some blogs have already touted the tune as the “song of the summer.” Getting ahead of yourselves much? But I'll let y'all be the judge of that. You can listen to “West Coast” below.
Lana Del Rey - “West Coast”
I guess it’s only appropriate that I mention tomorrow is Record Store Day. Not only is it a way to promote shopping at your local record stores, it opens your horizons to new and exciting music emerging from the depths of post-Top 40-whatever. Meh ... political correctness aside, I’m not much of a fan of Record Store Day. Most record stores don’t carry the releases the peak my interests, and sometimes it makes me wonder whether it’s a trick to get you into the stores in the first place. Regardless, you’ll probably see me at Mecca tomorrow. But you can read Pitchfork’s top Record Store Day Releases by clicking here.
Hmmm... trippy sound effects, a slick guitar riff quietly sneaking around the bush and lush vocals … The Black Keys' new tune (the title track from their forthcoming Turn Blue) isn't half bad. I just may be tricked into hearing more. Could this be a change of heart or a momentary lapse of judgment? I don't know, but it's one good ditty. I'm impressed, Keys. The tune should tide fans over till May 13, when the album hits stores. Preach on!
The Black Keys - “Turn Blue”
I'll admit that the only reason I decided to write about this follow-up item is because Kelley Deal is involved. Sure, everyone knows about her sister Kim (Pixies, Breeders, Amps, etc.), but Kelley Deal is a good songwriter in her own right. Check out The Kelley Deal 6000 if you haven't yet. Now Deal is featured on a track by Motel Beds (“Tropics in The Sand”). It's supposed to be on a split 7-inch that'll be out on Record Store Day, but you can hear the track over at Stereogum if you don't plan on participating. Cause why would you do that anyways?
The only stuff I've heard from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were tracks on a compilation album I got for free at Austin City Limits. And I don't even remember the names of the songs; that's how out of touch I am. But they've shared a new track via SoundCloud, and if I can describe it in one word: cute. It doesn't hit hard like Bass Drum of Death, but it's not overtly twee like She & Him. It holds a nice place in the middle. Let's call it cute without the “e.” Wait, that spells “cut.” That doesn't work. Just listen to the damn thing.
Well this just seems to be a good week for streaming albums in full ahead of their release dates. You can head over to NPR to listen to Kelis' new record Food. And you can head over to The New York Times to listen to Eels' The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. And then head over to Consequence of Sound to listen to Nas' Illmatic XX reissue. Thank your kind publications for letting you get a sneak peak before you go purchase these albums … assuming you will actually purchase them.
If you ever wanted to see Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age play a disappointing gay man … here's your chance.
I got a lot of homework to do listening-wise. Like listening to The Men's latest LP Tomorrow's Hits, which has already been out for a few weeks? Months? See … I've lost track of time; total nightmare. But back to the topic at hand: 'Member I posted The Men's track “Different Days” a while back in anticipation for the record? I liked it so much that I thought I'd go ahead and share their recent video of said track with y'all. You can watch it below. Cheers!
The Men - “Different Days”
Kim Deal's latest 7-inch hit the online markets on April 1, and there's a review by yours truly in the current edition of the Alibi. But Deal recently did an interview with Stereogum about the 7-inch releases (which, if you haven't heard them, are fantastic), working on new material with the Last Splash lineup of The Breeders after their extensive 20 year anniversary tour and much more. Why would you want to read this interview, you might ask. Because it's Kim fucking Deal. And she's always hilarious, humble and just plain cool in her interviews … and well, in life, I guess.
Is there some kind of rule that says you're supposed to change band names every few years? If that's the case, then Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala are right on time with their new band Antemasque. First there was At The Drive-In, then there was The Mars Volta, and now we have Antemasque. And judging from the two in-studio videos the band has already put out (as well as debut single “4AM”), it sounds like this could be something good. Head over to Consequence of Sound to read more about the project and the studio vids, and listen to their new track below. Oh and Flea (from Red Hot Chili Peppers) is also in the band.
Antemasque - “4AM”
Not only is “Shameless” one of the most daring shows on television, it's one of the most compelling. Though it's based off a British television series of the same name, the American version is way better (in my honest opinion). Watching the lives of the Gallaghers unfold as alcoholic family patriarch Frank hustles, does drugs and pretty much becomes the most awful human being imaginable is a roller coaster ride in and of itself. Now the music of the show (which stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum) is finally getting the soundtrack treatment … after only four seasons. You can read more about the indie-centric soundtrack at Billboard.
I mentioned some time back that Brody Dalle (formerly of The Distillers and Spinnerette) was coming out with a solo album (Diploid Love, out April 29). Now Ms. Dalle has graced listeners with another snippet from that forthcoming record. The track (“Blood In Gutters”) has somewhat of a grunge feel, already making me like it more than her first solo track (“Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy”). Here's hoping the rest of the album has this same sinister intensity. You can hear the track below.
Brody Dalle - “Blood In Gutters”
Not sure if I mentioned this before … but oh well … Bikini Kill have been broken up for what? 17 years? But the band is preparing to come out with some unreleased material in the form of their Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah reissue. And they've posted an unreleased tune from the release (out next week). The track is called “Girl Soldier.” So listen over at Soundcloud, and feast on some Riot Grrrl goodness.
Don't you just love when musicians up and surprise you with new music? Former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal recently released a surprise album online a few months ago, and to top it off, he's just released another surprise album, titled Curious Cool. Don't know where the songs came from (probably just demos he cut during his downtime), but when there's new material, you don't question it. You listen. So have at it.
Talk about jumping the gun … 'member how last week I wrote about the mid-'90s lineup of Hole reuniting. Well, apparently the band wasn't too happy with Love making those comments. So in a new interview with The Telegraph, Courtney states “It’s very frail, nothing might happen, and now the band are all flipping out with me.” Looks like we'll just have to wait and see.
Most of America knows The Roots as Jimmy Fallon's house band on “The Tonight Show.” But these guys have been making hip-hop tunes since the '80s. And now they're gearing up to release a new record, titled ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. In anticipation for the album (out May 13), the group has graced us with a song from the forthcoming release. You can hear “When the People Cheer” below.
I always like pop songs that have some sense of theater to them. You know … those bombastic, dramatic ones. That's probably why I like Lykke Li's “No Rest For the Wicked” so much. I posted the track a week or two ago, but now LL has come out with a video for the track. The ditty comes off her upcoming record I Never Learn, which hits the music-sphere on May 6. You can watch the video below.
The man is back! Jack White has been hinting at a new solo release pretty much since 2012's Blunderbuss hit shelves. And now he's shared a snippet from his upcoming LP, titled Lazaretto, which hits stores and online markets on June 10. It's an all-instrumental track (sorry for those who like when White's wailin' vocals recall Robert Plant), but it's a good indicator of what the album will sound like: pure magic. You can hear that below.
Jack White - “High Ball Stepper”
For those of you who miss “Breaking Bad” so much that streaming the entire series on Netflix isn't cutting it … well, now you can purchase the show's score. The double LP, titled Breaking Bad (Original Score From the Television Series), is scheduled to be released on April 29. That's right around the corner, y'all. Soon, after listening to the album, you'll relive Walter White's drug-enterprising endeavors and feel the emotional decline of Jesse Pinkman as the show's tunes provide some lovely soundscapes. Or sinister ones, depending on which track you hear. Read more about that over at Billboard.
Here's another exciting thing on the horizon: The mid-’90s lineup of Hole is reuniting. Yup, you read right. According to Courtney Love, she and Eric Erlandson, Patty Schemel and Melissa Auf Der Maur have been rehearsing some new material. If we're lucky, it will have the same ferocity, fragility and angst that made Live Through This such a gem. You can read more about that at the Quietus, and have a listen to LTT album cut “Violet” below.
Hole - “Violet”
I'm gonna say this … and I'll take whatever flack I get. It's called honesty. But … wow, this is hard … okay … just say it, Mark. Okay … I've always preferred The Jackson 5 to Michael Jackson's solo work. Any and everyone I've told this to throughout the years has basically deemed such a proclamation sacrilegious. I can't help how I feel. But MJ fans will be excited to know a new record of unreleased material (XSCAPE) is slated to come out May 13. Read more about that over at Pitchfork.
It's no secret that Janelle Monáe is a big David Bowie fan because … well … she’s said so several times. But now the funky fresh artist has decided to do Bowie a solid by covering “Heroes.” You don't need me to talk about it. You can hear it below.
My knowledge of Elliott Smith is rudimentary at best. And before you commence to gasping, I'll clarify by stating that most of what I've heard has been through hearing his music in films (like Good Will Hunting and The Royal Tenenbaums). Granted, that makes sense for me. I'm a very cinematic-minded person; it matters to me how music is used to shape a scene and capture a moment. While we're on the topic of film, a new documentary about Smith titled Heaven Adores You will premiere at the San Francisco Film Festival on May 5, and that film will include “unheard songs, personal pictures and lost footage.” So keep an eye (or both eyes) open for that.
My first foray into the world of Swedish duo First Aid Kit was watching a video of them covering Patti Smith's “Dancing Barefoot,” with Smith reduced to tears of gratitude in the audience. It was magical. Now the group is getting ready to release a third LP titled Stay Gold. That record comes out June 10, and you can hear some of what it has to offer by listening to the track “My Silver Lining” below.
Late spoken-word performer and musician Gil Scott-Heron's unreleased recordings are going to see the light of day … or be listened to by people. Apparently he'd recorded some of his older songs during sessions for his 2010 album I'm New Here, but those recordings were shelved. Now, for Record Store Day, a posthumous release, Nothing New, is slated for April 19. Read more about the record over at Rolling Stone.
I don't know much about Stagnant Pools. Nothing, in fact, other than they're a sibling duo that makes noise-inflected rock music, and they're coming out with their second LP Geist. I clicked the link to listen to their new song after reading comparisons to Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain. After listening to their new track from the forthcoming album (which hits stores on June 10), I think I need to pay some attention to their first record Temporary Room. Listen to their track “Intentions” below.
This one may seem to come out of left field, but there's context … at least for me. Country star Martina McBride's new record of pop and R&B covers, Everlasting, comes out next week. And for the hipsters, no … there's no irony here. I grew up in South Texas where '90s country was a staple. Hell, McBride's “Independence Day” was one of my favorite songs growing up. Now that that's out of the way … McBride is streaming her album in its entirety over at Billboard. Head that way to get a first glimpse.
We got another leak, people. Some time back, self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Rey announced she's releasing a new album (Ultraviolence) later this year. And now a track has appeared online, though there's no clarification about whether the track is from the upcoming record or not. Your guess is as good as mine, and you can listen to that below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video has since been removed. Sorry for any inconvenience.
I always hate writing these … but sad news, people. GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (also known by his stage name Oderus Urungus) has gone to see the spirit in the sky. The musician was 50, and his cause of death is not yet known. The thrash ensemble has been performing for decades, building a loyal following. So it's an understatement to say that Brockie will be missed. R.I.P. And since their cameo in Empire Records was my first introduction to the band, it's only fitting to share that with y'all. You can watch that below.
Marc meets GWAR
“Do you know what this is, son? This is the panopticon. And all around us blink the brash and shifty eyes of common cash.” Sorry … a little Joanna Newsom fever going on over here … But let me get to business. Smashing Pumpkins have launched a new website called The Panopticon where they announced they're coming out with two new albums in 2015. (Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night). The recording process kicked off this past Tuesday (so says the site), and they're working with Howard Willing, whom they worked with on their Adore record. I'm sure there'll be updates on that in the coming year.
As if they couldn't get any better, blues-rock duo The Kills are now part of a documentary series (”Unlock Art”) that explores the processes, thoughts and perceptions going into creating art. The Kills' mini-doc focuses on “duos” in the art world and how collaboration can help mold, shape and magnify any particular medium. While this isn't solely music-related, I find it important in that music itself is an art form, and bandmates Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart both go into detail about great duos from Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to Jeff Koons and Cicciolina. You can read more about the doc series at NME, and you can watch The Kills' video below.
Unlock Art - Great Double Acts
I'm sure Cyndi Lauper fans are already in the know regarding the 30th anniversary reissue of her breakout debut record She's So Unusual. The re-release of that LP will have demos, outtakes, B-sides, the works. And to give a little taste as to what surprises might be lurking within that LP (which hits stores on April 1), Lauper has shared a demo of the track “Rules and Regulations,” which didn't make the final cut of the original album. You can hear the track and Lauper's thoughts about it over at Rolling Stone.
Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has made a hefty amount of music since his debut in 1997, and now he's gearing up to release a new record: a tribute album to the late Lou Reed. Apparently Reed and Arthur were pretty chummy, and thus, Arthur felt compelled to provide a nice send-off to a close friend. The record Lou hits stores and online markets on May 13. And as a believer in signs, this release is already kind of blessed because that's my niece's birthday. But you don't wanna hear me ramble. Arthur has come out with a video for his cover of Reed's “Walk on the Wild Side.” Check it.
Joseph Arthur - “Walk on the Wild Side”
Some peoples are gonna be excited with this one. Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons), Elvis Costello (of Elvis Costello), T-Bone Burnett and more are going to record an album of recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics. Apparently the lyrics “date back to 1967,” and this endeavor is being handled “with Dylan's approval.” That should come out later this year, and the record is titled Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.
It took me this long to really delve into The Julie Ruin's 2013 release Run Fast. Not that I wasn't stoked, but upon hearing some tracks, I put that record on an indefinite hiatus until I found a vinyl copy at Mecca. And after giving it a thorough listen, I was delighted that Kathleen Hanna was officially back. Tracks like “Oh Come On,” “Kids in NY” and “Just My Kind” show Hanna's range from the punk-tastic overtures of Bikini Kill to the club-happy remnants of Le Tigre. And now The Julie Ruin has come out with a video for the aforementioned track “Just My Kind,” which you can watch below. Cheers!
The Julie Ruin - “Just My Kind”
It looks like tributes are in the air, man. Charlie Daniels (whom most of you know from his classic bar tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) is gearing up to release an album of Bob Dylan songs, titled Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan. Apparently Daniels lent a hand on some of Dylan's records (from Nashville Skyline to New Morning). The record comes out on April 1, and you can read more about it over at Billboard.
There's not a whole lot you can say about The Pretenders that's not been fit to print and re-print already. I will say that it was one of the only bands that me and my best friend's dad (who is kind of a music nerd) could agree on. I mean, just listen to Chrissie Hynde's voice. And now Hynde is gearing up to release her first solo record, Stockholm, later this year. And she's made the track “Dark Sunglasses” available. And while the track isn't overtly stellar, you can't deny Hynde's vocals. The woman's still got it.
Not a lot has been written or talked about regarding The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas’ new project (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz), other than a trailer and a website. But now, Casablancas and co. have shared an 8-minute video talking about the band, the project and the music. You can view that below.
I'd like to take a quick moment to honor the memory of Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, drummer and one of the founding members of The Stooges, who passed away this week at the age of 64. We'll miss you. And here's a tune from The Stooges eponymous debut as a little send-off to the man. R.I.P.
The Stooges - “No Fun”
Wu-Tang fans rejoice! The legendary hip-hop group has come out with a new single (“Keep Watch”), which comes off their upcoming LP A Better Tomorrow. The track features Method Man, GZA, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck and Nathaniel. You can head to MissInfo to hear the tune.
I like a powerful pop tune as much as the next guy and that's what Lykke Li has delivered with her new track “No Rest For The Wicked.” Unfortunately most of what I know about Li has been that song where she calls herself a prostitute or some such … and I didn't dig it at all. Thank Urban Outfitters for overplaying that one. But the track comes off her upcoming LP I Never Learn, which hits stores and online markets on May 5. So keep your eyes and ears out for that. You can hear the track below.
Lykke Li - “No Rest For The Wicked”
This is one that bears repeating. 'Member a few weeks (or months) ago when I mentioned that Veruca Salt might be getting back together. Well the band has announced that they are, in fact, reuniting with the original lineup (including Louise Post, Nina Gordon, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro), and they're scheduled to come out with new material for Record Store Day. It's a good day, indeed.
It's another sad one, folks, and I found out about this one too late to include in last week's column. Gary Burger, lead singer/guitarist of garage rock band The Monks died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72 on March 14. The band was formed in the '60s by five American soldiers who were stationed in Germany, and they only came out with one album (the excellent Black Monk Time). It is a sad day for rock and roll. R.I.P. Gary. And as a salute to the contributions he made to music, here's the band playing my favorite Monks tune.
The Monks - “I Can’t Get Over You”
I don't know much about BANKS. Nothing, in fact. The only reason I'm sharing this next bit is because I was, and still am, a fan of the late Aaliyah. Her music just has that capability of taking you back to when times were simpler (considering I was a kid when she came to prominence). But the aforementioned artist BANKS did a cover of Aaliyah's track “Are You That Somebody?” for BBC Live Lounge. It's a pretty great acoustic cover, and her voice is pretty stellar. You can hear that (as well as her track “Brain”) over at Stereogum.
And the good news just keeps on comin'. The fantastic Kim Deal (of The Breeders and former bass player for Pixies) is coming out with a fourth installation of her 7” series. The upcoming release will be available for purchase on April 1, and it will include the tracks “The Root” and “Range on Castle.” You can view the official video for “The Root” below.
There's not really a whole lot you can say about Joy Division that hasn't already been said before, so I'm just gonna get right to it. Their debut EP An Ideal for Living is getting reissued for Record Store Day, and the release features notable tracks like “Warsaw,” “Leaders of Men” and my personal favorite “No Love Lost.” You can read more about it over on Facebook, and save them pennies for this illustrious event.
I'm not that into the Melvins, but the band is an institution, considering they've been playing for over two decades and were a favorite of the late Kurt Cobain. I also got to interview frontman Buzz Osborne via phone before a show in Austin, Texas, and he was funny as all hell ... comparing listening to your own records to looking at yourself in a mirror while masturbating. I digress ... now Buzz Osborne is coming out with an acoustic solo LP, titled This Machine Kills Artists, and he's shared a track off the album. And Judging from the song, this release is something I could get on board with.
Buzz Osborne - “Dark Brown Teeth”
Seaking of Kurt Cobain, who died nearly 20 years ago, I should mention that Seattle police are looking at four rolls of 35mm film that investigators found in Cobain’s home at the time of his suicide in 1994. The film was recently developed, and police report that “they depict the scene more clearly than the earlier Polaroid photos taken by investigators.” You can read more about that over at CBS News.