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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Damon Albarn, of Blur and Gorillaz fame, has announced that he's coming out with a solo LP, titled Everyday Robots. The album comes out on April 29, which is still a little down the road, so that gives you time to save some pennies. But Albarn has made the title track and video available, so you can check that out below.

Damon Albarn - “Everyday Robots”

Amnesty International is putting together a Human Rights Concert (well, putting it back on, so to speak), and they've gotten some good names to provide the tunes, like Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, Cold War Kids, etc. But most importantly, they're gonna have Pussy Riot at the festivities … or at least the two members who were formerly imprisoned, but released about a month ago. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will make an appearance on Feb. 5 at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Brooklyn's Barclay's Center. So pack those bags and get to steppin'!

I've probably said this before, but I don't mind saying it again. I hate Kanye West. No. Hate is a strong word. I severely dislike Kanye West. Is the man talented? Yes. Does he need to shut his mouth if he's not spitting fierce rhymes over intricate beats? Yes. But he doesn't. That's the problem. Regardless, when Kanye isn't on a soap-box, he's actually an extremely talented individual. So I guess it's fitting that Interview Magazine paired him with innovative filmmaker Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) for a print interview. You can read that here.

Kanye West - “Everything I Am”

When you see a music project simply called Miserable, you have to take a listen. So it was a leap that I took when Stereogum highlighted a new track by Miserable, or Kristina Esfandiari (formerly of Whirr). Granted, I've never listened to her former band; this dark, brooding track immediately drew me in. The wall of sound existing within the short expanse of time it takes to get through it is immediately apparent, the thundering drums that quietly linger in the background before becoming a full force all their own. It's a nice treat. The track (titled “Bell Jar”) comes off her Halloween Dreams 7-inch, which hits the streets on Feb. 18. But you can hear the track below.

According to NME, in 1992 Columbia Records threw a special 30th anniversary concert for Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden, which featured performances by numerous legends, from Johnny Cash to George Harrison, from Tracy Chapman to Lou Reed. And now that special concert is going to be released on CD and DVD on March 4. You can click here to get a full tracklisting of the CD and see a trailer for the DVD release.

I'm a huge Beck fan, just in case that's not already been made painfully obvious. Whether I'm listening to the gutter-soaked ramblings of a “loser” on Mellow Gold, or the electronic intonations of a veteran on The Information, the man just doesn't stop. And now Beck has released the audio of a track (“Blue Moon”) off his upcoming record Morning Phase. The album comes out on Feb. 25, which is right around the corner, so just bear with me while I try to contain my excitement. You can hear the track below.

Beck - “Blue Moon”

Nicki Minaj and Drake have proven to be ubiquitous entities in the music-sphere. Good for them. It's a hard business, ain't it? So then it must be time to celebrate. I guess that's why their label is releasing Young Money: Rise of an Empire, which features tracks from Lil Wayne, the aforementioned Drake and Minaj, Birdman, Tyga and others. You can hear the Lil Wayne's track (“We Alright”) with Birdman and Euro, and read more about the compilation here.

Doesn't retiring from the music business mean not releasing any more albums? Or does it just mean releasing music but not making a public statement over it? In Tina Turner's case, it's the latter. The 74-year-old rock and soul icon has announced an album of love songs, titled Love Songs, to be released on Feb. 4. According to Billboard, the album will have some Turner classics like “What's Love Got to Do With It?” and “Private Dancer,” and some unreleased tracks. So get ready for that one.

Ike & Tina Turner - “Fool in Love”

I've only sporadically heard songs from Gary Clark Jr., but the amount of praise that's been thrown his way has been hefty. I remember reading a glowing story about the blues musician in Texas Monthly, and that made me curious about him. Of course, I forgot his name and never looked back. That won't happen twice. Now Gary Clark Jr. is coming out with Blak and Blu: The Mixtape, which features unreleased tracks and remixes featuring such names as Big K.R.I.T., Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and more. You can hear the Big K.R.I.T. Remix of “Blak and Blu” over at Consequence of Sound. Apparently the mixtape doesn't have a release date yet. So keep your eyes and ears open.

Bet you never thought Patti Smith would cover a Rihanna track. Well, she did. A video recently surfaced of a concert performance from December that features Smith singing the somber ballad “Stay.” You can view that below.

Patti Smith - “Stay”

Drag City, a record label hosting such contemporaries as Joanna Newsom (one of my all-time favorites), Bill Callahan and Ty Segall, has teamed up with Fred Armisen to release a series of 7” records of … wait for it … “Saturday Night Live” songs from Armisen's time on the show. You can head over to Stereogum to read more about that.

Uh-oh, someone's trying to bring the roof down in a big way. English electro duo Disclosure released their debut LP (Settle) last year. Now they've redone their track “F For You,” but they've added Mary J. Blige to the mix. This version of the bombastic club jam will definitely hit some turntables in the coming months (if it hasn't already). You can see the video for the track below.

Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige - “F For You”

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

My first introduction to YACHT was when a friend played their song “The Afterlife” in his car. I liked the dark, '80s vibe emanating from his speakers, and the lyrics immediately grabbed me, what with singer Claire L. Evans deadpanning “We know how to make life go on.” Their show at Emo's in Austin, Texas was a pretty dynamic affair. People danced whether they wanted to or not. Now the band has shared a new single, “Plastic Soul,” and an accompanying video. You can watch that below.

YACHT - “Plastic Soul”

I know … I know … It must get tiresome with all this love in the air and Valentine's day looming ahead like an unstoppable force coming to claim your hard-earned cash and whatnot. But the Sweetheart compilation I've been plugging for the past few weeks (posting tracks by Beck and Jim James) has shared a new track. This time it's Fiona Apple and her cabaret-singing sister Maude Maggart singing Anton Karas' “I'm in the Middle of a Riddle.” You can check that out at the Wall Street Journal. PS: You can also hear Ben Harper covering Mazzy Star for this compilation over at Consequence of Sound. And the compilation is out on Feb. 4.

While I've already ruminated over the music of the hit HBO series “Girls,” it's always nice when the good music keeps a-flowin'. And now we've got a new track by Jenny Lewis, titled “Completely Not Me.” The song was produced by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, which I'm assuming is supposed to be impressive. But you can hear the track below, and check out the Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do… over at Entertainment Weekly.

Jenny Lewis - “Completely Not Me”

I've always appreciated Kevin Drew's atmospheric musicality in Broken Social Scene. I never really followed his solo work, but I guess it's better late than never. Now Drew is coming out with a new record (titled Darlings), slated to hit stores on March 18. And he's shared a track off said album (“Good Sex”), which you can listen to below.

While it's probably completely out of left field, Led Zeppelin themselves always had sort of an unpredictably whimsical quality about them. I mean, come on … they made medieval stories sound ridiculously cool. Regardless, John Paul Jones has teamed up with electronic artist Deathprod, and together they are Minibus Pimps. You can read more about 'em over at Pitchfork.

A friend first introduced me to Neutral Milk Hotel my sophomore year of high school, and (no joke!) my life was changed. I understood what it meant to make music an actual art form. Poetry and rock and roll had melted together into these seamless barrage of sound, all of it surrounding Jeff Mangum and his vibrant guitar. And now (after never thinking it was possible), I'll get to see them live because the band has added some more dates to their tour, and they'll be stopping at Albuquerque's Kiva Auditorium on April 17. Tickets went on sale this morning, so go get 'em before they sell out (if they haven't already). You can also hear my all-time favorite NMH track (“Two Headed Boy, Pt. 2) below.

Neutral Milk Hotel - “Two Headed Boy, Pt. 2”

Alibi Managing Editor and Music Editor Samantha Anne Carrillo covered Syracuse punk outfit Perfect Pussy in one of her Four Up's and noted how Captured Tracks had enough confidence in the band to sign them … Well, you can see why with their track “Driver” off their upcoming full-length debut (Say Yes To Love), which hits online and physical stores on March 18. It looks like the noise is headed our way.

Let those withering clouds part and the sonic sun descend upon the masses. It's been “confirmed” that Jack White and Neil Young have recorded an album of covers (apparently with Jack White handling production duties). According to music journalist Michael Goldberg, a source close to the project has confirmed it, but you know how that stuff goes. I say speculation until a physical copy is in my hands. It looks like I need to hit up Third Man Records for an advanced copy, what what!

For the past few weeks, music blogs have been abuzz over the long-lost Johnny Cash album (Out Among the Stars), which was recorded in the early '80s. The record will get a proper release, thanks to his son John Carter Cash. And now Cash's son has picked the album's lead single (“She Used to Love Me a Lot”). The album hits the music-sphere on March 25, but you can hear the aforementioned track below.

Johnny Cash - “She Used to Love Me a Lot”

I've mentioned before that I like Ty Segall. I like his thrashy, disgusting, melted face approach to garage rock. It's supposed to be that way. And now his side project FUZZ has released a cover of The Kinks' track “Till The End Of The Day.” You can hear that below.

I don't know what it is with me and losing interest after a band's first album. It's a curse. That's how it went with The Mars Volta. De-Loused in the Comatorium was a fantastic album that highlighted my sophomore year of high school. (Or was it junior year?) Either way, now former member Omar Rodríguez-López and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member John Frusciante have started a new collaboration. The project is called Kimono Kult, and they're fixing to release a debut EP (Hiding in the Light) on March 4. But you can hear a new track from this group over at Rolling Stone.

It's always exciting when two powerhouse divas get together for a collaboration. (Britney and Madonna, anyone?) So I'm sure Shakira's collaboration with Rihanna will be no different. And the thing about Shakira (besides her being this pop sensation) was that she used to be this cool, alternative, Latin musician. Check out Dónde Están Los Ladrones? or her MTV Unplugged version of “Ciega, Sordomuda” if you don't believe me. That album is fantastic. Either way, I'm sure most people will go nuts over this track, so here's “Can't Remember to Forget You.”

Shakira ft. Rihanna - “Can’t Remember to Forget You”

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Unfortunately I read the news too late for it to be included in last week's Rooster Roundabout, but last Friday, Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers) died at the age of 74. One of the greatest groups of all-time (I don't care who disagrees), this is a major loss to the music world. And seing as how my all-time favorite love song is “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” it seems like a beautifully appropriate send-off to the man.

The Everly Brothers - “All I Have To Do Is Dream”

I like Common. Granted I'm not completely knowing of his musical repertoire. But having heard him recite poetry on “Def Poets,” I always thought his poetry was honest, visceral and relatable. And now Common has teamed up with No I.D. For a collaborative LP, titled Nobody Smiling. Not sure when it will be released, but Common and No I.D. Have made one track available (“War”). The album was thought of because of the violence permeating the Chicago area, but also in relation to violence happening all over the world. It's some heavy stuff, but sometimes people need music like this to wake up and smell the blood.

For those of you who want to hear what Carrie Brownstein has in store for herself in 2014, you can read her extensive Stereogum interview.

I don't know much about King Krule. Nothing, in fact. I know he's a British musician whose debut album dropped in August (6 Feet Beneath the Moon), and now he's released a video for the track “A Lizard State.” The track and video, a black-and-white representation of an Alfred Hitchcock influence, make me want to know more.

King Krule - “A Lizard State”

There's not really much you can say about Bruce Springsteen that hasn't already been said. The man is an institution. And said institution has a new album (High Hopes) coming out on Jan. 14, but like most people these days, he's streaming it ahead of time to give people a sneak peak of what his new record will deliver. You can head over to CBS to hear the album in its entirety.

Some people's dreams just came true … It's been “confirmed” that OutKast are reuniting to play some shows at Coachella. Apparently, the rap group (comprised of Andre 3000 and Big Boi) are going to headline the Friday night sets (happening on April 11 and 18). So start booking some flights, buying festival tickets, packing them bags and get to the show! P.S. It's also been announced that they're going to headline the Governors Ball in June.

OutKast featuring Killer Mike - “The Whole World”

I'm not going to gush about Thee Oh Sees. I've done that many times, probably more than I should. But that's neither here nor there. After the band claimed that they're going on hiatus, singer John Dwyer has announced that he's releasing a solo LP under the name Damaged Bug, titled Hubba Bubba. And he's shared a track (“Eggs at Night”) off said album, which hits stores on Feb. 25. Mark them calendars.

This one has been a long time comin'. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are set to release their latest LP (Give The People What They Want) on Jan. 14. But for those of you impatient hecklers, you can head over to NPR to stream it in is entirety. And if you want a great visual to an old-school kicker, you can watch the video for the track “Stranger To My Happiness” below.

I love Cee Lo Green. Love him. While I'm not too knowing of his work with Goodie Mob, I've always been a fan of Gnarls Barkley and his solo work (though “Fuck You” did get old after about two listens). Maybe it was Gwyneth Paltrow that ruined it. Either way … Green just did an interview where he talked about what 2014 has in store for him: a reality show, a new solo album (Girl Power), work with Goodie Mob and a possible Gnarls reunion. You can read more at Rolling Stone.

I mentioned a couple weeks back that St. Vincent would be releasing a self-titled album on Feb. 25. Now St. Vincent has shared another track from said album, titled “Digital Witness,” and digital it is … but with a disco-rock sound to it as well. If this track is anything to go by, I like St. Vincent's direction (and the gray hair isn't bad at all).

St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”

Just in case you wanted to see two legendary musical acts (The Byrds and Bob Dylan) perform a legendary number (“Mr. Tambourine Man”) in 1990, while providing a tribute to another legendary musician (Roy Orbison) who had died a month before due to a heart attack … (God rest his soul).

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The Byrds and Bob Dylan - “Mr. Tambourine Man”

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

I posted a couple weeks ago that Starbucks was releasing Sweethearts 2014, featuring numerous covers of love songs by the likes of Fiona Apple, Beck, Vampire Weekend and more. Now, Beck has made his track available—a cover of John Lennon’s “Love,” which you can listen to below, and you can head over to Consequence of Sound for the full tracklist. The compilation is set to hit the music-sphere on Valentine’s Day. Que cute.

When did Amazon start streaming full albums? I guess I was napping. Like most weeks in this day and age, there’s free music that’s alive and well, sending sound vibrations across the land ... a sneak preview into an unknown dimension. Or a familiar one if you’re a fan. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks have made their latest opus (Wig Out at Jagbags) available for streaming online, and if that’s not your bag, then Del the Funky Homosapien has you covered.

I don’t consider myself too much of a Flaming Lips fan. I’ve heard some stuff that I’ve liked, and could also do without some other stuff as well. But I do love a band that never stops, and considering I read about them almost every week (minor exaggeration), they’ve gotta be tireless, restless and ____-less. Now they’ve shared a cover of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” You can hear that below.

I don’t care what people say ... I like The Eagles. When I was growing up, my Ma and Pa would always play their Greatest Hits album on the car stereo when we would take long trips or go for leisurely drives. And it always stuck with me. Tracks like “Witchy Woman,” their ever-famous “Hotel California,” and “Take It Easy” shepherded me into adolescence. And now the band is still doing it up, and in kind of a big way. Their 1976 album Hotel California has been made into a giant LP. That’s right, a giant record. You can read more at NME.

You ‘member Foster the People? That band that hit it big with that song “Pumped Up Kicks”? Well they just released a 45-second teaser that contains a snippet of a new track (probably taken from a new album?). You can view that below.

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Foster the People 2014

Wait ... you didn’t think the album streamage was over, did you? Not by a long shot. First up, we got Peter Gabriel’s ... And I’ll Scratch Yours (as well as its predecessor Scratch My Back) streaming in full over at NPR. And then we also got hip-hop artist Angel Haze’s major debut LP (Dirty Gold) streaming over here. Well you can also go buy it, since it’s out and about in stores, but just in case you wanted a sneak peak ...

It’s always a treat when an unreleased, unheard and un-thought-of song from a band you know about or admire comes out. It’s somewhat new. Or new to you. And now avant-pop-rock masterminds Talking Heads have shared a previously unheard track from 1976 (before the band released their debut LP). The instrumental track (with the default title “Theme”) was supposedly recorded from a show the band played at CBGB’s, opening for Television. You can hear that below.

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Talking Heads - “Theme”

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I was about to post this week’s Rooster Roundabout online, I got an email from Pixies’ website, announcing the release of a brand new EP (EP2) and a new video for their track “Blue Eyed Hexe” (which you can view below). I have to admit that since Kim Deal left the band, my interest has sort of waned. Not to say they’re no longer relevant, just a tad less interesting. And being as ADD as I am, it’s easy to lose interest. However, I’m sure some people are really excited for new music from this tweaked institution of a band.

Pixies - “Blue Eyed Hexe”

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Handsome Family's Alter-Ego To Play Secret Show New Year's Eve at The Press Club

15 dollar donation for the night of your life

Looks like fun
Looks like fun

With a name like The Albuquerque Press Club, one might think this is an exclusive venue and only open to vetted members. On occasion this may be true, but this New Year's Eve is among the more interesting exceptions to this misconception. What finer place to witness the nocturnal arrival of 2014 than a rambling historic log mansion atop a hill? A rambling hilltop mansion (with full bar) hosting celebrated psychedelic-Appalachian (alt-country) band The Handsome Family's other persona, The Parlour Trio. That's what.

The Parlour Trio plays authentic versions of early 20th century "parlour music" -the kind of songs that were sold in a format so unlike MP3s it boggles the 21st century mind. We're talking sheet music, folks. Buy the song, play it on your own instrument, with your own voice. Player Brett Sparks guarantees "sentimental ballads, folk melodies, old tyme hymnody, and rollicking cakewalks." -Anyone who has seen The Handsome Family perform knows they can also tell a joke or three, so really we're getting close to a vaudeville revival if anyone can dance or juggle. Singer and banjoist Rennie Sparks and Handsome Family band player Dave Gutierrez round out the trio. Not to be missed.

This is a mansion with many rooms, however. Also on the bill are the lovely singer/songwriter duo Next Three Miles, who offer beautiful harmonies and guitar chops to spare. On top of the pretty tunes, Joe and Erin are not unpleasing to look at, folks.

BaBa. A banjo. A tuba. They're avante garde, but not pretentious or seriously difficult, rather more groovy actually. Tubaman was in The Lone Ranger film. C'mon!

Quality Retreads will slake your thirst for sad traditional as well as boisterous drunk Irish songs and any longing you may have to see The Pogues (which ain't gonna happen.) Can't think of a better group to get drunk with on New Year's Eve.

One last thing. The Albuquerque Press Club resides in a truly unique and antique Albuquerque abode. Recently, there has been a drive to complete some necessary repairs to the joint. Check out The Press Club website and consider pitching in.

Show starts at 8pm on December 31st, 2013.

Music

An A/V Album Listmas

You’ve already heard—and perhaps even joined in on—the anti-listmas chorus. But for some reason, people like lists. There are statistics to back that up. When I review albums and EPs, I tend to stick to ones I love. With that in mind, feel free to peruse A/V from my “best of” list below ... or not. Whatever you do, please seek out music that challenges and excites you in 2014.

On to the A/V listmas ...

Jewels of the Nile Ad Astra (Records Ad Nauseum)

Holly Herndon Movement (RVNG Intl.)

Tannhäuser Gate Tannhäuser Gate (Function Operate)

Thalia Zedek Band Via (Thrill Jockey)

Dani Shivers Jinx (Prima Crush)

The Haxan Cloak Excavation (Tri Angle Records)

Petra Haden Petra Goes to the Movies (Anti)

Pharmakon Abandon (Sacred Bones)

Dirty Beaches Drifters / Love is the Devil (Zoo Music)

TAHNZZ Xila (Sicksicksick Distro)

Dracula Lewis U$e Your Illu$ion$ (Hundebiss Records)

Julia Holter Loud City Song (Domino Records)

Anna von Hausswolff Ceremony (Fat Possum)

Soft Metals Lenses (Captured Tracks)

Factory Floor Factory Floor (DFA Records)

Blondes Swisher (RVNG Intl.)

Pop. 1280 Imps of Perversion (Sacred Bones)

Patrick Cowley School Daze (Dark Entries)

Monuments Age (Mannequin Records)

Oneohtrix Point Never R Plus Seven (Warp Records)

Frankie Rose Herein Wild (Fat Possum)

Crocodiles Crimes of Passion (Frenchkiss Records)

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Melt-Banana Fetch (A-Zap)

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Vice Device/Void Vision Vice Device/Void Vision (Accident Prone)

Christian Death Only Theatre of Pain (Burger Records/Frontier Records)

Goitia Deitz Dream Meridian (Cut Mistake Music)

L.I.E.S. Music for Shut-Ins (L.I.E.S.)

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Rooster Roundabout: Best albums of 2013

Well ... according to me

Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is upon us, many music outlets are looking back at one more year in music and the many bands that inhabited that particular point in time. 2013 was a big year. We had releases from Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and much more. But I’ve never been one to look at year-end lists because I mostly don’t agree with the writers, or I get bored with them. So if you get bored reading this one, I completely understand and won’t fault you. Now, the idea of a year-end list is to boast the work created that year. I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to list the top five albums I listened to this year.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean these albums were made this year. Hell, a couple of them were made decades ago. But, in my humble perspective, I always urge people to delve into music of the past. My argument is that you can’t completely focus on the music of today without understanding how past music shaped that sound. IE: I recently heard an interview with Lorde (who is on this list) where she said that if the Beatles hadn’t done what they did, she wouldn’t have done what she did. You get the idea. So ... here’s my list! Enjoy or don’t enjoy. And remember ... there’s always next year.

Lorde - Pure Heroine

This album completely came out of nowhere. I remember hearing “Royals” on the radio and wondering who this pop princess was. Turns out she wasn’t a “princess” per se, but more of a weird little goth chick who made sparse electronic ditties. What won me over was the fact that she wrote her own songs, helped produce the album and she was only 16 when the album was finished. If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is. Oh, and the album is actually good. Songs like “400 Lux,” “Buzzcut Season,” and “White Teeth Teens” show her range and vivacity.

Lorde - “400 Lux”

Hank Williams - Wait For the Light to Shine

While I do believe in God, I’m not especially religious. So church hymns, gospel and good ol’ fashioned odes to Jesus via country music rhythms and rhymes always strike a music fancy to my eardrums. And Williams’ homage to the Lord is no exception. Tracks like “Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine” and the title track show Williams crooning over typical country ditties, but his voice presents a magic wash over the scratchy record I got at Charley’s for $1.99. My hands-down favorite track on the record is “Devil’s Train.” It’s the most scratchy, and maybe that’s why I like it.

Hank Williams - “Devil’s Train”

King Tuff - Was Dead

Apparently the original pressing of this record is impossible to find, but due to an overwhelming number of people attempting to get a copy in their sweaty hands, Burger Records reissued the album, making it available for people like me (who find out about bands very late in the game). This LP never left my record player for a good month. Whether I was cleaning, eating or pooping, it was always on in the background. Album opener “Dancing On You” immediately grabs you, and Tuff’s trippy (sometimes whiny) vocals just take over. My personal favorite is “Sun Medallion,” but “Freak When I’m Dead” and “Just Strut” are great songs as well. Actually, just listen to the whole thing. It’s a keeper.

King Tuff - “Sun Medallion”

Patti Smith - Horses

This record dominated 2013 for me. While I’m an artist, I had gone through a slump, so I started becoming more diligent by painting again. So one day while painting, I played Smith’s most famous album. I’d already been a fan of it, but for some reason, while blending colors and etching out pieces of cardboard with a needle, it just hit me. It’s brilliant. From her opening rendition of “Gloria” to “Land,” the album is genius. If you haven’t listened to it, there’s still time. So from then on, any time I sat down to paint, draw, sketch or take photographs of weird ornaments, it was always on in the background ... and still is. It’s the perfect “art” record.

Patti Smith - “Land”

Savages - Silence Yourself

I can’t remember the last time I got this excited about a band. While every music blog was riding the wave of salivating over this “post-punk” prodigy, I just couldn’t get over their stark single “I Am Here.” It was my obsession with that song that prompted me to buy the album (at Urban Outfitters no less). While it has a dark, menacing tone, the musicality at work is of the upmost cohesive. Each song blends into the next, but each track is a stand-alone gem. “Husbands” is quick and painful. “City’s Full” is fantastically dreadful. And album closer “Marshal Dear” ties it all together with some horns and piano. It’s a masterpiece, and it makes me brim with anticipation for what they’ll put out next.

Savages - “Husbands”

Those were my top five albums of the year. What were yours? Feel free to comment.

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

While I'm not much of a Robin Thicke fan, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked “Blurred Lines” because it reminded me of my favorite Marvin Gaye track “Got to Give it Up.” (Lest we forget that's the reason the Gaye family is suing Thicke.) Regardless, Thicke has released his new video for the track “Feel Good,” and while this one doesn't have the same laid-back, good-time vibe of “Blurred Lines,” I can foresee it becoming a club favorite. I think that's the goal at this point for most pop musicians, right?

Reverend Horton Heat was one of those musicians that various friends played, but never really stuck. Maybe I was sleeping … maybe my mind just wasn't too much into the psychobilly fanaticism that permeated an outsider group of friends around 2008. Regardless Reverend Horton Heat (real name Jim Heath) is prepping a new album, titled Rev, that's scheduled to be released on Jan. 21. You can hear a track from it, titled “Spooky Boots,” (which also gives a shout-out to the Land of Enchantment) over at Billboard. Because why not.

What would it be like if Megadeth released an album of Christmas standards? And what would it be like if Jenny Lewis did a duet with them?

Megadeth’s New Holiday Album feat. Jenny Lewis

Soul singer Charles Bradley is proof that it doesn't matter how old you are or what your background is. If you have natural, raw talent, people will notice. Having two albums under his belt, Bradley has taken a somewhat unthinkable turn: He's provided a soulful cover of Black Sabbath's “Changes.” And it's fantastic. You can listen to that below.

It's that time again, y'all. Time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to announce the newest pool of inductees. Among the musicians to be inducted and honored at this year's festivities is Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Kiss, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt. The ceremony takes place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 10.

My first introduction to Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez was his cover of The Knife's “Heartbeats.” While that track was excellent, it couldn't have compared to the magnetic prowess that made the original so noticeable. But that's neither here nor there. Now Gonzalez has a few tracks on the soundtrack to the Ben Stiller flick The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And Gonzalez has released a video for the track “Stay Alive,” which was written by Ryan Adams. You can watch that below.

I'm a fan of bare acoustic ditties. Maybe that's why it took me hearing A Sleep & A Forgetting to finally notice Islands, even though a friend had tried to get me to listen to them for years. Nick Thorburn (the front man, songwriter, extraordinaire) released Islands' latest opus, Ski Mask, earlier this year, and now he's shared an acoustic track that he recorded last Friday. You can hear it below.

Girls who were 16 circa 1998 are about to be very, very excited … and cry. For what, I don't know. But, Dave Matthews, Jakob Dylan and a host of other musicians have formed a new band (The Nauts). Apparently they got together at Brady Blade's Studios in Shreveport, La., to record some material, and now they've booked some live shows. Let the crying commence!

Country music legend Ray Price died at the age of 87 this past week. Though a lot of people (myself included) weren't too familiar with Price's repertoire, his indelible imprint in the music country sphere has been felt and ruminated over since his death to pancreatic cancer was announced. It's always hard to see a legend called home. So here's “Crazy Arms.”

Ray Price - “Crazy Arms”

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: If it's free, it's me. Texas group Okkervil River have released a third EP of '80s covers, titled Golden Opportunities 3. The mix features covers of artists ranging from Roseanne Cash to Don Henley. You can download or stream the EP (and get the two previous Golden Opportunities releases) here.

Every bit as dark and seductive as they were when they first started, the Dead Weather's latest song, “Open Up (That's Enough),” shows the group in a stylized light that further exemplifies their hard blues rock tendencies. Maybe the cigarettes are helping Mosshart's voice because it's working on this track. But enough of my gushing. You can hear the track below, and you can download it digitally on Jan. 14.

The Dead Weather - “Open Up (That’s Enough)”

Sufjan Stevens has gotten together with Son Lux and Serengeti to form a trio of ideas (and music, obviously) called Sisyphus. And they're coming out with their eponymous debut on March 18, and they've shared a track, titled “Calm It Down.” Judging from the single alone, it could be interesting, or it could get old really fast. Let's see what happens.

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

I'm sure a lot of people were sad after LCD Soundsystem decided to call it quits, especially after releasing the stellar This Is Happening in 2010. But all good things … Anyways, front man James Murphy recently told Rolling Stone that he's working on the live album for their final show at Madison Square Garden (the subject of the rock doc Shut Up and Play the Hits). You can read more of interview here.

LCD Soundsystem - “Drunk Girls”

Spotify wins out again (as if taking over the world's streaming sinuses weren't enough). Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue will now be available for free listening on the service. So if you're one of those who's too lazy to get out to a record store (or even purchase the physical albums online), then your wish has come true. So head over to your Spotify page, and climb that “stairway to heaven.”

Don't you love it when innovative and interesting musicians become such restless artists that they keep releasing innovative and interesting music over and over? Well, this is from judging one song. But St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, has announced a self-titled album that's set to hit music markets on Feb. 25. Clark has made the track “Birth in Reverse” available online. You can hear that below.

St. Vincent - “Birth in Reverse”

Don't you just love love songs? No? What's wrong with you? Having already spilled my guts by ruminating over the “myth of the love song,” I've just come to accept that it's a notion that never dies. Maybe that's why artists like Beck, Fiona Apple, Blake Mills, Jim James and more have taken to covering famous love songs for the Sweetheart 2014 compilation. You can hear Jim James' cover of Bob Marley's “Turn Your Lights Down Low” below, and head over to Pitchfork to get a full tracklist.

I feel as if Black Lips are one of those bands that you can only really appreciate if you were into them from the beginning. Granted, I've only heard their album Good Bad Not Evil (which was a good album), but after seeing them live at Emo's in Austin, Texas, the underwhelming concert wasn't enough to make me a faithful listener. Oh well … now the band has announced a new record (Underneath the Rainbow), and it was partially produced by the overrated Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney. Let's just say I probably won't get to this one.

The bossy lady herself, Kelis, has announced that she's coming out with a new album. The album, supposedly titled Food, is being produced by Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) and is slated to come out on April 28. Kelis' last album took listeners on a techno-club journey, whereas her previous efforts had a more pop-friendly rap/R&B vibe to them, so who knows what this new record holds? Either way, I'm intrigued.

Kelis feat. Too $hort - “Bossy”

Mark March 25 on your calendars. It will be a golden day indeed. Because that's the day that a “lost” Johnny Cash album (titled Out Among the Stars) is scheduled to be released. According to Pitchfork, the album was recorded in 1981, and John Carter Cash (Cash's son, duh) took the helm in restoring the recordings, which contain duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. This is good news, folks. Good news.

You mean to tell me that kid from Home Alone is in a “pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band”? Seriously? You're not joking? Come on … And there's a demo??? And a video of their first concert???

Movie soundtracks: Those fuckers can be a hefty bore or a good time … depending on how you look at it. David O. Russell's new film American Hustle is getting the soundtrack treatment that will be available in stores on Dec. 24. But the reason this soundtrack is extra special is because it has a new track by Jeff Lynne … yes, the front man, songwriter, composer, singer, the list goes on and on, of E.L.O. The track is titled “Stream of Stars,” and you can give it a listen below.

Wow … I must have been half-asleep if I didn't even know The Sounds had released a new album (titled Weekend) in October. Oops. But now they've premiered a video for their track “Hurt the Ones I Love.” This is my first introduction to their newer stuff, which seems to follow more closely to their work on Crossing the Rubicon. But I've always been more partial to the dance-pop-punk craze that dominated Living in America. You can view their new video below.

The Sounds - “Hurt the Ones I Love”

I could get better with rap. OK, I need to get better with rap. While my musical palate is rudimentary at best when it comes to rap and hip-hop, I always appreciate a good beat, some slick rhymes and good production. And that's what's happening on Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip's track, “Butch & Sundance,” off their mixtape The Abstract & The Dragon, which became available this week for streaming and downloading. You can hear the track below.

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High Desert Doom

via wikimedia.org
New Mexico is a pretty metal state. From the Rez to downtown Burque, there’s almost always something heavy on the Land of Enchantment’s aural menu. Half an hour from now, you could be stretching your neck and breaking in your earplugs at High Desert Doom Fest. The headliner is unknown quantity Stonerist, which features members of Denver grindcore outfit Cephalic Carnage and local death/grind foursome Vale of Miscreation. Whether old-school or upstarts, these desert-dwelling noisemakers—Black Maria, Black Lamb, Hanta, Prey for Kali, Marsupious, The Horned God and Rezin Tree—crank out glorious low-end bass and vicious riffage for your pleasure. This 21-and-over fest starts at 6:30pm at Launchpad (618 Central SW), and admission is $8. Launchpad • High Desert Doom Fest • Sat Dec 7 • 6:30pm • 21+

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Texan Seraphim

The Angel Babiesâ âTone Deafâ video still
Calida Salazar
The Angel Babies’ “Tone Deaf” video still
While updating my smart phone, said intelligent device offered to sync my favorite music. Along with obscure dark wave, stoner/doom and The Sound of Music soundtrack, I synced up The Angel Babies’ “Blew My Speakers.” This track from the New Mexico-born, Austin-based band’s debut 7-inch personifies the crunch and hiss of badland garage rock. When the group released their self-titled full-length in 2012, I described the result as ranging from “postmodern corrido-style numbers to fuzzy, electronics-laced rockers to slow-burning and darkly ethereal tunes.” Hang with The Angel Babies’ Frankie Medina and Calida Salazar at Captain America’s ninth Garage & Wax Night at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Saturday, Dec. 7. The Klondykes and Ballets open this 21-and-over gig. The concert kicks off at 9pm and tickets are five bucks, but get there early for stellar vinyl curation. Low Spirits • The Angel Babies • Sat Dec 7 • 8pm • 21+

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

A few weeks ago, we posted Lauryn Hill's latest track “Consumerism.” Now, Ms. Hill has made a lyric video available via the interwebz. If you're anything like me (and like to learn the lyrics of songs), you may need to hit replay a few times. This one's a doozy.

So … you know Black Francis … the front man of Pixies … yeah, that one … well, apparently, he's got another project in mind. A project that will take the form of a graphic novel, titled The Good Inn. The novel, which will be illustrated by Steven Appleby, is described as “a fantastical piece of illustrated fiction based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn't yet exist.” The book is scheduled to be published in the UK in May of 2014, so you still got time to save the dough.

It was announced a few weeks back that The Velvet Underground's fantastic White Light/White Heat was getting a 3-disc reissue, which hits stores on Dec. 10, to commemorate its 45th anniversary. Now, a recording of a 19-minute live version of the track “Sister Ray,” which was performed at The Gymnasium in 1967, has become available online. You can listen to that below.

I do believe it's time for the album streamage to commence. Well, it's always that time because there's always something coming out. But now, you can stream Snoopzilla and Dam Funk's collaboration (7 Days of Funk) over at NPR. Mind you, it’s only available for the next week. And you can also stream R. Kelly's latest album, Black Panties (for real?), at VIBE.

Primal Scream released the so-so More Light earlier this year, and now they've come out with a video for the track “Goodbye Johnny.” The sometimes black-and-white, sometimes color vid is as underwhelming as the album, but who am I to criticize? You can view the video below.

Primal Scream - “Goodbye Johnny”

Drum roll please … the lineup for Austin Psych Fest has been revealed. And this one's got some good stuff. From Black Lips to Primal Scream to The Black Angels to The Zombies to The Horrors and more, it should be a formidable celebration of aural magic. The festival happens May 2 – 4, 2014, and weekend passes will run you about $127. Not too bad. Head over to Consequence of Sound for the full lineup and more info.

I'm sure most people couldn't have predicted how huge Lorde would get, but I'm kind of happy to encounter a pop singer who actually has something to say. And so are a lot of other people because apparently the release of her new video (for the track “Team”) caused Vevo to crash. Not bad, Lorde. Not bad.

Play Youtube Video
Lorde - “Team”

Just in case you're curious as to how Jay Z would rank his own albums.

So who wants to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts play their classic track “Bad Reputation”? We do! The band played the track in their Guitar Center Sessions performance, which airs on DirecTV tonight at 9pm EST. But you can view them performing the track below.

Play Youtube Video
Joan Jett and the Black Hearts - “Bad Reputation”

I like Devendra Banhart's quirkiness. It fits not only the style of music he creates, but often the visuals that go along with it. (Did I mention he's a talented artist who does most of his album artwork?) In keeping with that mentality, Banhart has released a video for the track “Taurobolium.” The animated video, titled “Mondo Taurobolium,” also features Rose McGowan, as she and Banhart (appearing as ducks), venture through a psychedelic City of Angels. You can view the video here.

I know that I've mentioned the Coen brothers upcoming flick, Inside Llewyn Davis, because of its major folky soundtrack. I also mentioned that there would be a concert special for the film (back in September), and now a video has surfaced of Jack White performing his awesome track “We're Going To Be Friends.” The concert, titled Another Day, Another Time is scheduled to air on Showtime on Dec. 13, but this video should tide you over.

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Huntress Blazes the Sky Tonight

Huntress * Carrion Kind * The Conjuring * Death Rides A Horseat Launchpad

Play Youtube Video

Huntress is fresh off a North American tour with Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Testament, and is headed to the Duke tonight! It can be tough to get it up on a Monday night, but here are a few reasons to make it out for this show:

1) You’ve seen Iron Maiden more times in your life than you’ve flipped your mattress.

2) You’d sooner forget your underwear than your denim.

3) Not only do you know who King Diamond is, but you could apply his corpse paint with precision.

4) You have a weakness for a hot blonde bombshell that knows how to rock, and scares you as much as she turns you on.

5) You can’t remember the last time you had your face melted on a weekday.

The band last played here at the Isleta Amphitheater on the Mayhem tour. Seeing them on a smaller stage will be a real treat. Huntress will be at the Launchpad, joined by Carrion Kind, The Conjuring, and Death Rides A Horse. A measly eight bucks gets you in. Doors at 8. Show at 9:30.

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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

I'm sure a lot of people were sad when Rilo Kiley called it quits. Personally, I could care less. I've always liked Jenny Lewis' solo work much more. But, in keeping with their faithful fans, the band released a compilation of rarities and b-sides, titled RKives. Now they've shared a video for the track “Emotional” off said record. You can watch that below.

Roger Waters, the former bassist and singer of Pink Floyd, has announced that he's got a new album of “rock material” in the works. It's always hit-or-miss when aging rockers try to maintain a certain edge in this “shock-less” culture, but who knows? Maybe he's still got it.

Still reeling from Lou Reed's death, musicians and fans have come out and shared their condolences, goodbye thoughts and whatnot. Now Morrissey has announced that his live cover of Reed's “Satellite of Love,” which was recorded a couple years ago, will be released as a single on Dec. 2 (Dec. 3 digitally), which is the same day his autobiography comes out. Go figure.

Morrissey - “Satellite of Love”

I never really cared for Phoenix (and still don't). Their brand of electro-pop-rock just never sat with me. It just never seemed to bring anything new to the table. But that's just me. However, I love frontman Thomas Mars' wife, Sofia Coppola. Yes, I'm a huuuuge fan of her movies, so naturally I was excited to read that she directed Phoenix' new video for their track “Chloroform.” You can head to MoMa's PopRally to view the video.

We shared a while back that Shearwater was releasing an album of covers, featuring tracks originally penned by the likes of St. Vincent, Xiu Xiu, Coldplay and more. Now they've made a video for their Xiu Xiu cover (“I Luv the Valley OH!”) available for viewing. You can check that out below, and don't forget to look for the album (Fellow Travelers) on Nov. 26.

Shearwater - “I Luv the Valley, OH!”

Willis Earl Beal released the so-so Nobody knows. earlier this year, and while the album wasn't epic, it had some great moments. Now Stereogum reports that Beal shared two new songs on Youtube, though it's unclear when they were recorded or what was intended for them. But you can head over to their site to hear the tracks, titled “Babble On.” and “Coriander Tree Life.”

Regardless of Lily Allen's pop leanings, I always appreciate a musician with a sense of humor. Allen has sort of been MIA for the past couple years … but then again, motherhood'll do that to you. Now she's back with a new track/video titled “Hard Out Here.” In the track Allen talks about the injustice of sexism in the music industry and describes how hard it is “for a bitch.” And already it's generating a heap of criticism. You can watch the video below.

Lily Allen - “Hard Out Here”

Considering Jack White's repertoire and every magical note he's recorded, it's no wonder that a band of legendary musicians have come together to record a series of covers of White's creative catalog. The collection of covers is set to come out on Nov. 19 and is titled Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White. It features the likes of Wanda Jackson, Bobby Vee, Rosie Flores and more. You can hear Wanda Jackson's cover of “In the Cold, Cold Night” (originally performed by The White Stripes) here. And you can get more details about the release via Rolling Stone.

A couple weeks ago, we shared Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong's cover of “Long Time Gone,” originally by the Everly Brothers. The track comes off their forthcoming covers record (Foreverly). Now they've made another track available, titled “Silver Haired Daddy of Mine,” which … you guessed it … is another Everly Brothers cover. The album itself hits stores and online markets on Nov. 25, and in the words of Wayne Campbell, “I think I'm gonna buy it.”

Just because “Breaking Bad” is over doesn't mean that the people who inhabited the controversial and edgy world it created have withered into dust. Actor RJ Mitte, who played Walt Jr. on the show, has expressed an interest in starting a music career. While attending MTV's European Music Awards, he said he's in the process of learning guitar and piano and hopes to break into the music industry. You can read more at NME.

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Thee Oh Sees...

...are anything but dead.

Photo by Mark Lopez
Photo by Mark Lopez
John Dwyer's guitar strings punctuate the air with their horrific riffs, draining the residual sins from a dormant desert. Each note settling upon the armored faces that look on in the hopes that with each song, their hearts will dance aimlessly, with no points to ponder.

Thee Oh Sees. Launchpad. Four 7&7s. Hipster androids and old souls—each dancing to the rhythm of another backbeat gone awry amidst treacherous winds. They start with “I Come From the Mountain.” And immediately a sense of chaotic emergence becomes desperately relevant. Their harmonies echo throughout the space. People dance wildly, contemplating nothing because all thoughts have been thought before they even had a chance to question anything. By the third song (“Block of Ice”), the senselessness lies heavy. There's blood. There's acid. There's trickery amongst the bass lines.

Couples argue while the music accentuates a recklessness not seen in many bands nowadays. Thee Oh Sees exhibits the loss of drug-addled discord, but their energy inhabits a place that dares to call itself rebellion. Their harmonious chaos is relevant. It seeps into the fog of relentless normality. It speaks of experience. It speaks of wild infatuation. And the Launchpad was the perfect—if not only—venue to house such indecent rallying. A call to the indigenous to come forward and surrender to explosive vibration.

There was The Master's Bedroom (is Worth Spending The Night in), there were Floating Coffins, there was “Lupine Dominus” merging with the boneless bodies swaying to those sinister sounds. And yet, there was magic manifesting itself in these moments. No one cared. Nothing mattered. Jobs, children, the drudgery of the day-to-day. Each melted. Each murdered within that magnificent moment. This is what matters. Music. It's one hell of a freak show.

Thee Oh Sees - “Lupine Dominus” Probably NSFW

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    The Lymbs4.25.2014