V.23 No.30 | 7/24/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
We say goodbye ...
Last week, we said goodbye to the last surviving founding member of The Ramones: drummer Tommy Ramone. He was 65 and had been battling cancer. If you know anything about The Ramones, there really is nothing left to say, other than we'll always have the music. RIP Tommy and a safe journey to the worlds beyond. EDITOR'S NOTE: As of press time, it was also announced that legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter passed away at the age of 70. We bid you a kind farewell, sir. Rest in peace.
Dream of the stream
It's finally here, y'all. Well, not here exactly, but you can now stream La Roux' new record Trouble in Paradise. Though the record doesn't come out till next week, this'll at least give you an opportunity to decide whether you wanna drop some coin for it. Happy listening! And since we're on the topic of album streamage, why not check out White Fence's The Recently Found Innocent over at NPR. Assuming you can't wait for it to drop on the 22nd.
If there's a fun video out there right now, Jenny Lewis' visual for “Just One of the Guys” takes the cake. The single comes off her latest solo record (The Voyager), which hits stores on July 29. What makes the video so good are probably the dude-bro performances by such notable actresses as Kristen Stewart (Panic Room), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Brie Larson (Short Term 12 (!)). Donning men's tracksuits and mustaches, it's pretty laughable and great. Have a looksie below.
Stuart Murdoch's long-in-the-works film (God Help the Girl) is finally getting its release date. Oh, and the official motion picture soundtrack too. The film hits movie theaters in the US on Sept. 5, and the soundtrack will be available in stores on Sept. 2, which isn't too far off. The Belle and Sebastian singer-songwriter wrote and directed the movie after some hefty crowd-funding and whatnot. Most of us already know that he's a great musician, but what of his prowess as a filmmaker? We'll soon find out. You can listen to a cut from the soundtrack below. PS: The film also stars Emily Browning (of Sucker Punch and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events), who sings the aforementioned track.
What is a world without “Weird Al” Yankovic parodying the obsessions of his modern compatriots. If it wasn't Nirvana, it was Lady Gaga; nothing really seems to be off limits for Mr. Al. Now he's decided to take on Robin Thicke's “Blurred Lines” with a song called “Word Crimes,” which aims to teach people how to use proper grammar. The song comes off his latest record (Mandatory Fun), which is out now. But have a listen of the track below. You can also head here to see his parody of Pharrell's “Happy” or here to see his parody of Lorde's “Royals.”
Good news for good news lovers
Since you can't really find music shows on MTV anymore (unless you have weird cable channels that give you MTV 2, 3, 4, 5 …), there's little in the way of seeing interactions between various musicians on cable television. To remedy that, VH1 has come out with a new series (“SoundClash”) that puts various artists on stage together to give it more of a music festival feel. The first episode airs on July 23 and has performances from Fall Out Boy, T.I. and London Grammar. You can head to Stereogum to view those performances now. How's that for a special preview?
I first heard of Vashti Bunyan from interviews with Devendra Banhart, in which he listed her as a major influence. That was during my “freak folk” phase. Singer-songwriter Bunyan released her first album in 1970 and waited 35 years to come out with her second offering. And now, the third album approaches. Titled Heartleap, that will see the light of day in October, but you can take a listen to the record's opening track (“Across the Water”) below. Enjoy!
Talk about coming together: Over 700 independent record labels have gathered to form the “Fair Digital Deals Declaration,” which seeks to make a more cohesive and transparent policy in regards to how they deal with their artists. There are five stipulations, one of which is to support artists who oppose unauthorized uses of their music. Another stipulation is to clearly explain downloading and streaming revenues to musicians. Some labels who are taking part are Domino, Drag City, Sub-Pop, Epitaph and Saddle Creek. Head over to Billboard to read more about that.
'Member how I told yous guys that Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) and Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) were becoming a dynamic duo (Nick & Knight)? That's still true. In fact, they've put out their debut single “One More Time.” Their self-titled album doesn't hit stores until Sept. 2, but I'm sure they wanted their single to gain traction, what with it being somewhat of a summer jam and all. Listen to the ditty below.
Attention: The first official Beatle's film in 44 years is about to commence! Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard (you know ... from “Happy Days”) is gonna direct a documentary about the band's touring years from 1960 to 1966. The surviving members and spouses of the late members have all signed off on it, so you know it's going to be fairly legit. The filmmakers are also looking for live footage of The Beatles, so who knows? Your footage could make it into the film. Head to Consequence of Sound to read more 'bout it.
V.23 No.28 |
Now Hear This, Vol. III
Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.
Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"
The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes—"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"—and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.
The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"
V.23 No.29 | 7/17/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Good news for good news lovers
King Tuff's Was Dead album was one of my favorites of 2013. Though it came out years ago, fan fervor over the original recordings made him reissue it last year, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic record. Now Tuff is gearing up to release another LP (Black Moon Spell), and he's giving a taste of what it'll entail with the album track “Eyes of the Muse.” That should tide you over 'til Sept. 23, but I'm sure he'll release more previews between then and now. Here's hoping.
I've always liked Usher ... well, mostly. I've lost touch with a lot of his recent work, but “Confessions Part II,” “Nice and Slow” and “Yeah” are some good songs to dance, reflect or get in the mood to. Whatever your preference, the man knows what he's doing. Now Usher has made a track available that was produced by Pharrell and features Nicki Minaj. The slick, club-happy number will definitely be a crowdpleaser. Head to Hip-Hop Wired to hear it.
Coldplay and Cat Power? I'm sure some could have predicted it … probably not. Cat Power is ... well ... Cat Power. And Coldplay used to be good. Regardless, it's an interesting combination any way you squeeze it, and the song they've concocted together (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sung by Chan Marshall) is a contemplative little number. The track “Wish I Was Here” was written and recorded for Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name. How that'll go is an entirely different thing. But check out the song below.
There's always dissension when a legendary rock group announces they've recorded new material. Some say it's going to be awful. Some say it's a new era, a new sound. Whatever your views, that still doesn't stop it from happening. Take Pink Floyd for instance. The group is coming out with a new record (The Endless River) in October, and according to the band's website, it's “an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.” So keep an eye out for that one … or don't … I mean I might not even remember … I probably will though.
I mentioned a few weeks back that Christopher Owens (former frontman from Girls) was coming out with his second solo album. Well, that's still happening. The record (A New Testament) hits the music-sphere on Sept. 30. And Owens shared a snippet in the form of “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” which you can view below.
It's happening. Beck is going to release a new album titled Song Reader. I know, I know, he already came out with a record called Song Reader (though it was a release of sheet music, made to be interpreted by skilled musicians). But Beck is going to release actual recordings of those songs, and each track is going to be done by a different artist. Among them are Laura Marling, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and much more. Head to Pitchfork to get more deets on that. Oh, and it drops on July 29, which is hella soon!
Like most, I became familiar with The Vines at the turn of the millennium when they graced us with “Get Free.” Anyone else remember the Hives vs. Vines battle during MTV's Music Awards? Them's were the days. The band has been steadily releasing albums over the past decade, though none have found their way on my radar. Now, they're coming out with a new double LP (Wicked Nature). They're self-releasing it via PledgeMusic where fans donate funds and get free downloads of some of the album's tracks. So there ya go. Not sure when the record is coming out, but you can watch the video for their new song “Metal Zone” below.
Out the left hangar
Taylor Swift is a writer? Well, duh, I know she writes her own songs, but an editorial? And for the Wall Street Journal? The country-pop sensation wrote a piece on the future of the music industry, speculating on where music will be in 30 or 40 years. Swift describes herself at the beginning of the piece as an “enthusiastic optimist.” (Go figure.) She does say some insightful things here and there, and whether you agree with her assertions, it's not as if she's the be-all-end-all authority on music entirely. But if you want her perspective, it's not a terrible read. See what she has to say here.
Fans of Death Proof are no strangers to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (you know, the one who was dressed like a cheerleader in the second half). 'Member the scene where she sits in the car and sings a lovely cover of Smith's “Baby It's You”? Good times. Well Winstead and Dan “The Automator” Nakamura have a music project together (Got A Girl), and they're getting ready to release a record on July 22. To give people a preview, they've made the track “There's a Revolution” available. Listen to the retro pop ditty below.
There are still moments when I get tears in my eyes at the thought that I will never see The White Stripes live in person. I think back to moments when I could have seen them had I driven 3 1/2 hours, changed highways, snacked on goodies, all while playing all six of their fantastic albums in chronological order. That is slightly remedied with the release of a live White Stripes album (Live Under the Lights of the Rising Sun). No release date on it yet, but the record will have 31 tracks, and it's taken from their first tour in Japan in 2000. So it'll probably have some good early stuff. Head to NME to read more 'bout it.
V.23 No.28 |
Samantha Anne Carrillo
Now Hear This, Vol. II
Stream a mix Cheon brewed up for Dark Entries' fifth anniversary above.
Are you properly caring for your inner goth? My years of rockin' an all-black wardrobe, a Wite-Out complexion and panda eyes may be over, but I take care to nourish my blackety-black heart and sonic sensibility. If you're feeling the urge to chainsmoke clove cigs, brood and write bad poetry, I recommend channeling that energy into a celebration of Dark Entries Records' fifth anniversary.
Preview Dark Entries' reissue of '80s Italo disco group Helen's early maxi singles as a four-song EP.
DJ Josh Cheon founded the label in July 2009 with the intention of releasing out-of-print and unreleased underground '80s treasures. Named for the first 7-inch released by goth icon Bauhaus, Dark Entries' focus is curation, preserving sound quality and respecting its artists' aural aesthetic . And, yes, the label's output is strictly vinyl.
Sample the debut LP by Cute Heels, the solo project of Belgian artist and Black Leather Records manager Victor Lenis.
Dark Entries' lifeblood is the excavation, quality reproduction and distribution of largely unknown pleasures, but it also showcases contemporary acts whose sound harkens back to the heyday of minimal synth, coldwave, dark wave, electro, Italo disco and post-punk. Highlights of the Dark Entries catalog include work by Dark Day, Jeff and Jane Hudson, Starter, Linea Aspera, Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons, Algebra Suicide, Los Microwaves, Patrick Cowley, Victrola, Lè Travo, Crash Course in Science, Lassigue Bendthaus, Cute Heels and Helen.
Stream "Nightcrawler" from Dark Entries' 2xLP Patrick Cowley retrospective, School Daze.
V.23 No.27 |
Zola Jesus' new track "Dangerous Days" is a modern-sounding electro-pop banger.
Now Hear This, Vol. I
The other day Mark asked what my favorite Steely Dan song is. It's "Your Gold Teeth." Steely Dan's Jamalot tour hits Legends Theater on Wednesday, July 16, y'all. Check out i28 for all the deets.
Welcome to the first installment of "Now Hear This," a column to chronicle my obsessive-compulsive sonic studies, archaelogical and futurist alike. And while here with me, expect everything from old and alt.country to rocanrol to dark wave to Italo disco to queercore to punk to riot grrrl to noise to minimal synth and everywhere in between ... Except smooth jazz, (most) contemporary country and reggae. They just don't do it for me. As they say—who are they, anyway?—there's no accounting for taste.
I embrace that motto and am wholly dependent on my musical addiction to transcend the banality of everyday life. Don't get me wrong. I really dig my life. Getting to collaborate with and work alongside an uber-talented editorial staff and freelancers every day is, like, the dream. But sometimes you simply have to hear something new or unfamiliar that excites and challenges you. This column will serve as complement to my colleague Mark Lopez' wide-ranging Rooster Roundabout series.
I might never have heard Starter's "Victim" if not for Frankie. And that, my friends, would be a tragedy.
My soundscape and its population, past and present, have benefited from the hive mind of many wonderful humans, ranging from my vinyl historian pal Mike Harper in Huntsville, Tex., who first exposed me to the music nerd bug;
On one of the first Caterwaul radio shows I heard, I was comforted to recognize a fellow Culturcide fan.
to synth/post-punk/ industrial maven and Systems of Romance curator Frankie Teardrop, also of cold wave/post-punk band The Harrow;
Listen to TAHNZZ' "Her Strange Dwellings" above.
to Dirt City denizen Derek Caterwaul, notably of KUNM Radio and Low Life at Blackbird Buvette, who remains one of my favorite DJs after more than a decade of listening to his Music to Soothe the Savage Beast and Overnight Freeform shows;
Stream DJ Mello's "Sprinkles," a nonpareil mix of funk, jazz, R&B and soul, above.
to Burqueña Tahnee Udero aka DJ Tahnee, whose massive knowledge base is supplanted by exquisite taste, and her solo project TAHNZZ garnered serious listmas praise in 2013;
Stream I Will Not Return Your Records #252, feat. tracks by Bardo Pond, Circuit des Yeux, Love, Low and Swans, above.
to Mello Sanchez aka DJ Mello, an uber-talented DJ and pastry chef and one of my best friends;
Stream or download Pictureplane's second Check Yo' Ponytail mix above.
to northerly neighbor Lorrie Edmonds, curator of I Will Not Return Your Records, which I can safely say is one of the best radio shows on the planet.
So this is a shout-out to all y'all strange, kindred music nerds, both the ones I know and the ones I haven't met yet.
Acoustic Performer John Gorka Graces Duke City
Singer/songwriter John Gorka delivered two highly spirited sets at the Summer Nights series at the BioPark (903 10th Street SW) on Thursday, June 19. The Minnesota-based veteran touring artist wowed longtime fans and won over countless Albuquerque music lovers who were new to his signature mix of deep and clever vocals, guitar and comedic storytelling.
Gorka opened with originals from his latest release, The Bright Side of Down, and continued to sample the collection to great effect throughout the evening. Gorka is nothing if not precise, personal and universal, sometimes all in the same lyric. This ability combined with masterful musicianship across genres including folk, blues, pop, rock, bluegrass and rockabilly makes him a worthy companion for an evening ... or a lifetime. This reviewer has seen him in concert over 20 times. Many of those performances have been in festival settings, as Gorka is a highly sought-after act on the vital, enduring national folk fest circuit. At the BioPark concert, he joked about visiting Scandinavia, a hotbed of singer/songwriter and folk fandom.
Gorka's catalog is extensive, and he plumbed its depths in concert. Selections included chestnuts like “I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair,” “I’m From New Jersey,” “Branching Out” and “Love is Our Cross to Bear.” The modern-day Renaissance man wove requests and selective orchestrated sing-alongs to engage the receptive crowd on the lawn that beautiful night. Many in the audience were obviously longtime followers. And they, along with the newcomers, were rewarded with a varied and holistic representation of the showman’s talent.
In stark contrast to the awkward egotism displayed by Marc Cohn the week prior at Zoo Music, Gorka paid our fair city a compliment during the second set. He praised the enthusiastic audience, noting that he wished all his shows could be like this, in “this corner of paradise.” The key to delivering such a line lies in simplicity and sincerity, and Gorka radiated both.
John Gorka is a deft master of the folk trifecta: penetrating lyrics, unparalleled musicianship and compelling storytelling. When he opened and finished his tunes at the BioPark, he wasn't greeted with mere applause: We’re talking yelps, yoo-hoo's, squeals of joy and all-around exuberant acknowledgment of this well-traveled troubadour.
Dear John, please come back soon and stay longer.
V.23 No.26 |
Pick of the Litter: Blackbird hosts The Manxx
According to lore of The Manxx, singer and guitarist Sara Belle threw academic aspirations out the window to make rock and roll her one and only vocation. She made the right choice. Since then, The Manxx has held fast to its lo-fi trash sound while ripping through a bottomless well of increasingly well-crafted songs about “love and partying.” It's not easy to put polish on punk without losing some of the music's energy. But the band's latest release, Take Away Your Brain, proves the Denver denizens' rock and roll studies haven't been sidelined by all that love and partying. Instead, The Manxx has managed to shine up an apple that remains deliciously rotten to the core. Tonight The Manxx rocks Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW), and the trio's first Albuquerque gig is guaranteed to be a high-energy showcase of danceable garage punk. Aside from the out-of-town awesomeness, other reasons to show up are local hero Marty Crandall (Sad Baby Wolf, ex-The Shins) brand-new power-chord band Award Tour and local surf-rock/punk trio Pool Party. This 21-plus concert kicks off at 10pm, and there's no cover. Blackbird Buvette • Sat Jun 28 • 10pm • FREE • 21+
V.23 No.27 | 7/3/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Good news for good news lovers
Man, them Swedish folks sure know how to craft a nice pop tune. This song may have some bubblegum-ness to it, but damn if it ain't catchy. Oh, I'm talking about Icona Pop's new song. In case you're unfamiliar with the Swedish pop duo, they hit it pretty big with their track “I Love It,” and now they've come out with a new tune that might not have the same edge of the aforementioned ditty, but it's for sure gonna snare them some new fans, if not keep the old ones steady until a full-length manifests. Have a listen to “Get Lost” below.
I'm sure there has been talk of this, but I wasn't aware. Aretha Franklin is recording a divas covers album. Ms. Franklin took the time to speak with Billboard about working with Andre 3000 (who is a co-producer on the record), the status of the album (she's “on it”) and named a few songs she's covering. Among them are Adele's “Rollin in the Deep,” Donna Summer's “Last Dance” and Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do With It.” Head to Billboard to read what one of the best vocalists ever had to say about what she's working on.
Some electronica-lovin' folks are 'bout to get super-duper excited. Grimes has come out with a new track (apparently her first in two years), and it was originally written to be performed by Rihanna ... who turned it down. So what was Grimes to do? Why, record it herself! The song (titled “Go”) is a lovely, atmospheric tune that's got a banging beat, background yelps and some smooth, slick production, and it also features Blood Diamonds. Have a listen below.
For fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, including myself, it's time to get excited: Karen O is coming out with her first solo effort (Crush Songs). Granted, she already recorded solo material with Native Korean Rock & the Fishnets, but that project only released rough demos, which you can still find on YouTube. But this is an actual full-length endeavor, y'all. That drops on Sept. 9, which isn't too far off, so keep scanning those headlines for more info in the coming months.
While I didn't listen to Robert Plant's last solo record (Band of Joy), I was a huge fan of his collaborative LP with Alison Krauss (Raising Sand). That record was phenomenal; all you have to do is listen and hear how their voices meld together to form a sound that can't be replicated, a sound that is pure magic. See “Stick With Me Baby.” Regardless, Plant is coming out with another solo effort, titled lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar. That'll hit stores on Sept. 9, and you can have a listen to album track “Rainbow” below.
It's here people! Well, the announcement is here. Julian Casablancas + the Voidz have officially announced their debut record (or Casablancas' second solo record). The album (Tyranny) hits stores and online markets on Sept. 23 and will be sold through Casablancas' Cult Records, where it's on preorder now for the mere cost of $3.87. You read that right. Head over to Rolling Stone to read more about the album.
Get ready for the blasphemy because I'm gonna say it: I've never really listened to Radiohead. And it's not because of any disrespect, but mostly because they just haven't crossed my path as much as most. Wait ... does "Creep" count? Okay, back to the point. Radiohead drummer Philip Selway is coming out with a new solo record. There isn't too much info on the release, other than it's called Weatherhouse and comes out on Oct. 7. So keep an ear out for that.
Oh snap! Prince is back! Well, he never really went away, but you know what I mean. The pop diva (erm ... divo? What's the male term?) has announced another album is on the way (on top of his 3rdEyeGirl record, which still hasn't seen a proper release). Good news? Hell, you're getting two for the price of one, or maybe not the price of one, but you catch my drift, right? As for the album, there's no title or release date, but Prince did name a few tracks: “The Gold Standard” and “This Could Be Us.” Head to Pitchfork to read more ‘bout it.
If you've read this column, I'm sure you're tired of witnessing my excitement concerning Veruca Salt's reunion. But hey, it didn't end there, and it won’t end here. The band has now come out with a video to the b-side of their first single, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” aka “It's Holy.” The video features band footage along with fans listening to the record in the comfort of their own homes. Scroll down a little further to view the little gem.
As Rolling Stone notes, Robin Thicke's new video for the song “Get Her Back” is kind of “awkward.” While I don't indulge in gossip, the track is supposedly a plea to his estranged wife, begging for her to come back. The awkward (and so 2014) parts of the video are the text messages that flash across the screen. I'm not sure if they're real, but either way, it's pretty uncomfortable. But I'll let you decide for yourself. Also, you can pick up the album (titled Paula, yes, after his wife) next week. Enjoy! Or don't.
"Count Me In"
311 kicks off summer tour in Albuquerque
Get ready for a night to remember: The multi-platinum rock band 311 comes to Albuquerque tonight. In fact, this will be their first stop for a seven-week North America summer tour. With influences from hip-hop to funk to ska, there’s plenty to take away from their show.
Stereolithic, their most recent album, has debuted in the top 10 on Billboard's Top 200 Album Chart and features 15 new songs. It originally dropped on March 11—get it, 3/11?—making it 311 Day, which consisted of the band playing a 66-song, 5-hour set in New Orleans. Definitely a tough show, but by all reports, they held their own.
After more than 25 years, the band has been able to keep and grow its fan base. According to a 2012 interview with 311 vocalist and DJ SA Martinez, "There’s always a younger generation that may not be privy to a lot of musical styles, but I find our audiences constantly changing. ... When we came out in the ’90s, we had a different sound and radio wasn’t initially ready for us."
With that being said, “Count me in” for 311’s Goodwill benefit concert tonight at the Sandia Resort and Casino Amphitheater (30 Rainbow Rd.). Doors open at 7pm and the show kicks off at 8. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the Sandia Casino and Resort box office or by calling (800) 745-3000.
V.23 No.26 | 6/26/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
A friend of mine recently introduced me to the band Ought. Normally I don't take advice from people that vouch heavily for Phoenix, but I gave them a listen. And I liked their dissociative, manic sense of how rock is played. It caught my attention quickly. Now, the band has come out with a video for their song “Today More Than Any Other Day,” off their record More Than Any Other Day. The band is also touring, but sadly, no stop in the Duke City. Either way, have a looksie at the vid below.
'Member how I mentioned a while back that Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé were featured on a track (“Say Yes”) on Michelle Williams' upcoming gospel record, making for a pseudo Destiny's Child reunion? Well, fans of Williams and the group can bask in the visual accompaniment of the song in Williams' new video. Go ahead and view that below.
What would Lana Del Rey's videos look like if not seen through an Instagram-filtered scope? Well, they probably wouldn't exist. I know I've written about Del Rey quite a bit in the past couple months, but since her third LP (Ultraviolence) is now out and about, this one will focus on the video for album track “Shades of Cool,” which is one of the better tracks she's put out in anticipation for the record. Watch the colorful proceedings below.
Another artist that's come out with a visual representation of a lofty ditty is the band Arctic Monkeys. The song in question: “Snap Out of It” off their latest LP AM. Is there really anything else to say? Other than you should watch it? I think not.
Good news for good news lovers
I don't know about you, but I'm always up for a good competition. In this case, Mac Demarco, fresh off the release of his latest LP Salad Days, is issuing a “Draw Me” contest. Participants are asked to submit a 7X7 drawing of Demarco to Captured Tracks. And if it wins, it'll be the cover of one of his upcoming 7” series records. The submission deadline is June 27, which is a short time away, so get drawing! You can head to Stereogum for more info and guidelines. Let the games begin!
'Member how I mentioned that a tribute LP to Duran Duran was coming out soon? It's fine if you don't. I talk about a lot of stuff. Regardless, the record (Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute to Duran Duran) is ready to hit stores and online markets on July 15, with proceeds benefiting Amnesty International. And to give fans of the band a taste of what the album will sound like (or at least this one track), the song “The Chauffer,” interpreted by Warpaint, is available for listening. Enjoy!
Aphex Twin was another one of those artists that slipped through my fingers. I couldn't even name one song, though I'm sure if you played one, my mind would recall the rhythms, the cadences, the whatnots. But a long-lost album (Caustic Window) from 1994 is finally available for mass consumption, thanks to the efforts of a Kickstarter campaign that provided fans with digital copies of the record. And now it's online, so everyone can partake in the sonic celebration. Head to Pitchfork to give that a listen and to read more 'bout it.
So I mentioned a couple times that a Kickstarted documentary about Elliott Smith was in the works. Heaven Adores You, directed by Nickolas Rossi, debuted last month, but fans now have the opportunity to see the first few minutes—you know, to tide you over 'til the film becomes available in your area. Take a gander at the video below.
Aaliyah's death hit pretty hard. I still remember attending my cousin's quinceanera and seeing coverage on the television set after the party had died down. My jaw dropped. The woman who had sung several of my favorites like “Are You That Somebody” and “Try Again” had passed away in an airplane accident. But lucky for people like me—people that will jump at the opportunity for an homage or a biopic—Lifetime is coming out with a film about the late R&B singer. The film, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, will show some time in the fall, and it stars Zendaya. She's apparently famous from the Disney Channel, so that's probably why I've never heard of her. You can read more about it over at A.V. Club.
Now, we say goodbye.
If you ask most music historians about songwriting, you'll most likely hear them reference the duo that was Goffin & King, or Gerry Goffin and Carole King—the once-married duo who penned fantastic songs like the Everly Brothers' “Crying in the Rain,” the great “Loco-Motion” and The Drifters' “Some Kind of Wonderful,” among others. So it's a sad announcement that Goffin has passed on. He was 75 years old. I'm not sure what the cause of death was, but it's sad nonetheless. So, Goffin, this one's for you ...
V.23 No.25 | 6/19/2014
Please release me
Here's the thing about Ty Segall. The dude is absolutely relentless. If he's not touring, he's constantly writing and recording. Segall is nothing, if not prolific. Adding to his already expanded catalogue of material, the garage-psych-fuzz wunderkind is gearing up to release a new record this year (Manipulator). And starting in August (well, he's doing one show in June), he's going to tour the shit out of that LP 'til the end of the year. The album drops on Aug. 26, but you can head over to NME for tour dates, tracklisting and whatnot. Also, you can view an album teaser below. Enjoy ...
Even though I don't consider myself a fan of The New Pornographers, I did have the privilege to interview band member A.C. Newman for my college paper. He proved to be kind and thoroughly interesting, which is basically all you want out of an interview. So it's nice to see the band still going strong. At least strong enough that they're coming out with a new record (Brill Bruisers) Aug. 26, and to give people a taste of what that LP will entail, they've made an album track available. So to hear that, and to read more info on said record, head over to Billboard.
Spoon was one of those rock bands that completely went over my head. But living in Austin, Texas, it was hard not to hear about them. Upon getting the chance to see them at ACL a few years back, I opted to see Gnarls Barkley instead, and I've never regretted it. Now the Texan group are releasing a new record (They Want My Soul), and they've shared a snippet in the form of the song “Rent I Pay,” which you can hear below via an unofficial video. Don't know if officiality is a priority to you, but there you have it. As for the release date: Buy it on Aug. 5.
Like most people, my only tidbit of knowledge surrounding Kimbra was her guest vox on the hit track “Somebody That I Used to Know,” as made famous by the probably-über-rich Gotye. But Kimbra has her own solo career, her own songs, her own identity, y'all. And if you haven't listened to her yet, her upcoming record (The Golden Echo) might be a good place to start. Some guest musicians include Van Dyke Parks (!), Omar Rodríguez López (from now-defunct Mars Volta) and John Legend, among others. That drops Aug. 19, but for more deets, head over to Pitchfork.
Here's another new album to look forward to, folks: It's Weezer's upcoming record Everything Will be Alright in the End. Produced by the Cars' Ric Ocasek, no release date has been announced. But what does that matter? You should just get excited that the group is coming out with some new material. View an album teaser below.
Former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal has decided to leave XL Recordings. In an interview with Under the Radar, Beal basically said the direction he's going and the direction of the label were like two separate roads, one road wandering toward a more “trendy” atmosphere, while he wants his music to walk the road less traveled, to be its own entity. Mind you, those are my interpretations, not actual pieces of the interview. But he's coming out with a new record (Experiments in Time) on Aug. 8, and that will be released independently. Read more about it here.
Good news for good news lovers
A friend of mine introduced me to the song “Ferris Wheel” by Possessed By Paul James years ago. And that's really the only thing I've heard, and the only thing I've ever cared about when his name is brought up. It's beautiful. It's heartbreaking. It's songwriting at its finest. And Konrad Wert, the man behind the moniker, is playing Low Spirits on Wednesday, June 25. And why am I so jazzed about this? Because I'll get to hear this song from the man himself. From his own lips. Listen to that below, and see why it's essential for me to attend this concert.
It's no secret that punk bands haven't exactly been chart-toppers. I mean, isn't that one of the requirements of being a successful punk band … no success? So it's a nice fact that the Ramones first record, their classic self-titled opus that carried a soaring energy, a gritty, yet upbeat mentality and a fun dynamic, has been certified gold after 38 years. That's right, they're officially über-famous. Not just famous. Congratulations dudes.
It's happening, motherfuckers! There'd been some talk about The Unicorns reforming, but that's all it was: talk. Now the band has confirmed that they are, in fact, reuniting, and not just that: They're also going to open for Arcade Fire for a few shows. The band has no touring or recording plans yet, but I’m sure new material will probably trickle out within the next year or so. One can only hope. Listen to my favorite Unicorns track below.
For all of you nostalgic folks who are still in the know (or would like to be) about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys ... it looks like he's working on some new material. And some folks that might get featured on the record include Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean and Zooey Deschanel. A lot of this is speculation, so fingers crossed that these assumptions bear fruit. Ya dig? Head over to Stereogum to read more about it.
V.23 No.24 | 6/12/2014
Photo by Nicole Chapman
Windy Good Times at the ABQ Folk Festival
“A Little a’ This ‘n’ That”
As lovers of folk music and a novice musicians, it was a treat to finally attend this year's ABQ Folk Festival. Though it's been a Duke City summer staple for well over a decade, this year's festival was particularly special, as the event featured a tribute to the late, great Pete Seeger, one of the most notable American folk singers; he passed away earlier this year. The festival kicked off with the AFF Benefit Concert featuring Claire Lynch with opening band, Holy Water and Whiskey.
The event, which took place at the Balloon Fiesta Park, was well-organized with the help of volunteers. Free parking and camping gave the event a community feel, as did the music and dance workshops, art, food, petting zoo, etc. In addition to a variety of different local and national folk acts, the Band Scramble Competition offered the opportunity for musicians from different groups to play together for the first time. Temporary groups formed through a lottery system with just 50 minutes to prepare for a six-minute performance in front of a panel of judges.
Square dance lessons, storytelling, and poetry gave the festival a quality of authenticity that would have made Pete proud and, after prizes were handed out for the Scramble, the tribute to Seeger was quickly in full swing. “For Pete’s Sake” consisted of fervent musicians and fans belting out a myriad of Pete's tunes on and off stage in the spirit of true unity; a proper send-off, indeed.
As we concluded the tribute with our rendition of “Blowing in the Wind,” nature took us a little too literally. Tent pegs were no match for the dusty New Mexico gusts that sent the canvas sailing. The Fire Marshall quickly hammered out danger by moving the festivities indoors. As festival goers continued dancing inside the Balloon Fiesta Museum and the sun was setting, it seemed that the legendary Ramblin' Jack Elliott would not be closing the night. Much to our surprise, not only did he make an appearance, he was cordial and kind, warming us with stories of travel and inspiration. Strangers became friends and friends became family and, as Ramblin' Jack departed for Austin, we were reminded that to every thing, there is a season, and that we would all be eagerly awaiting next year’s Folk Festival. Thank you Albuquerque, thank you Pete, and thank you, Ramblin' Jack!
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Finally, a snippet of what Jenny Lewis has been up to for the past few years. You see, I mentioned a week or two ago that her new record (The Voyager) is set to hit the music-sphere on July 29. Little did I know that Lewis was getting ready to release a lyric video of an album track a short time later. Fate or not, I'm glad for it. The song is called “Just One of the Guys,” and it's produced by none other than Beck himself. If we're judging Lewis' sound off this one track, it definitely lacks the grit of Acid Tongue, but hey: evolution, right? Listen to that below.
Talk about cute: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has formed a group with his 18-year-old son. They're simply called Tweedy, and their debut record (Sukierae) hits stores on Sept. 16 (aka my birthday). The duo have made a song from said record available on the interwebz. Have a listen to “I'll Sing It” below, and look out for more news about the record in the coming months. Cheers!
I was one of those people that listened to Interpol's first LP (Turn On the Bright Lights), obsessed over it and never paid much attention to what they came out with afterwards. It wasn't necessarily from lack of interest ... or maybe that's exactly what it was. Regardless, they've been steadily releasing records over the years, and they're preparing the release of their fifth studio album El Pintor. That record drops on Sept. 9. Head over to Pitchfork for album details and whatnot.
Though there's been leaked videos galore all over the internet (all of them having shitty quality, I might add), the official video of Nirvana's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has now appeared online. The ceremony aired on HBO on May 31 and included other inductees like Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens. However, since the late Kurt Cobain obviously wasn't in attendance, there was a lot of speculation over who would perform as lead singer. In short, Joan Jett (who provided an underwhelming version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), Kim Gordon, Annie Clark (of St. Vincent) and Lorde performed vocals. The best performance was definitely Lorde singing “All Apologies.” You can view the performances, induction speeches and more below.
I first found out about Common after seeing him on HBO's “Def Poets.” By the way, they need to bring that back. Now, Common is set to release his upcoming record Nobody's Smiling on July 22. And like most artists trying to build some buzz over a forthcoming LP, he's made album track “Kingdom,” which features Vince Staples, available online for listeners and the like. So get to listening.
Unless you've been following her career, which I haven't, you probably know Sinead O'Connor mostly from “Nothing Compares 2U” or her tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II. Regardless, she's preparing to release her 10th full-length effort, which recently got retitled as I'm not Bossy, I'm the Boss, after Sheryl Sandberg's “Ban Bossy” campaign. The album is set to hit stores on Aug. 12. For more info on that, head over to Billboard.
It's no secret that people are seriously itching for the release of Lana Del Rey's third full-length effort (Ultraviolence), seeing as how every week a new song becomes available. It's almost as if the countdown to the Mother Ship docking into the Atlantic will coincide with the record's release. And judging from the title track, it's clear that Del Rey has honed her skills to make sultry, noir-pop that aims for some semblance of controversy (ie. “he hit me, and it felt like a kiss”). I can already see headlines asserting she's glorifying abuse. But whatevs, it's one of the better tracks she's put out in a hot minute. Take a listen below, and look for the album on July 17.
I can't remember how I first heard of indie-pop duo Tennis. I want to say it was one of those momentary lapse of Pandora-predicted listens that brought me to them. While I wasn't wowed, I thought their cutesy vibe was enough to sustain a few more songs from their repertoire. And now the band is coming out with a new record titled Ritual in Repeat. To give fans a taste of the LP's vibe, they've shared the song “Never Work for Free.” The album doesn't hit stores 'til Sept. 9, so that gives you some time to reacquaint yourselves to the sound of balls ... uh, I mean Tennis. Head to Stereogum to listen to that little number.
Hey there, album streamers. We've got what some good ones for ya. First is Jack White's Lazaretto. If you're too impatient to wait 'til Tuesday to pick up a physical copy, iTunes Radio has you covered. But since I lack the hardware, have Pitchfork guide you to the land of free music ... or rather, free music streaming. PS: You can watch the video to “Lazaretto” below. And while you're at it, why don't you stream First Aid Kit's latest LP (Stay Gold), which also comes out on Tuesday. That one's over at NPR.
Fresh off her last release (The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You), Neko Case has come out with a new track that also features Kelly Hogan. The song (“These Aren't the Droids”) comes off a compilation titled 2776: A Millennium of American Asskickery. The release is a “comedy-musical benefit compilation” that hits stores on July 4, and proceeds from purchases will go to OneKid OneWorld. Other folks appearing on that record are Patton Oswalt, Andrew W.K., Aimee Mann, Reggie Watts and much more. Head to Pitchfork to give that a listen.
V.23 No.23 | 6/5/2014
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.
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.’”
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.
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.
V.23 No.22 | 5/29/2014
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment at Barnes & Noble, Uptown
A reading and signing with writer Benjamin Radford.
The Dance of Intuition: A Third Eye Chakra Journey at Maple Street Dance Studio (Alley Entrance)
Doubting Thomas • techno • DJ Erin E • Bacon at SkyLightMore Recommented Events ››