Zola Jesus' new track "Dangerous Days" is a modern-sounding electro-pop banger.
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.
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.
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.
Mike put Iris Dement's "Let the Mystery Be" on a mixtape, and it was love at first listen.
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;
I might never have heard Starter's "Victim" if not for Frankie. And that, my friends, would be a tragedy.
to synth/post-punk/ industrial maven and Systems of Romance curator Frankie Teardrop, also of cold wave/post-punk band The Harrow;
On one of the first Caterwaul radio shows I heard, I was comforted to recognize a fellow Culturcide fan.
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;
Listen to TAHNZZ' "Her Strange Dwellings" 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 DJ Mello's "Sprinkles," a nonpareil mix of funk, jazz, R&B and soul, above.
to Mello Sanchez aka DJ Mello, an uber-talented DJ and pastry chef and one of my best friends;
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.
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+
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.
Icona Pop - “Get Lost”
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.
Robert Plant - “Rainbow”
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.
Radiohead - “Creep”
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.
Veruca Salt - “It’s Holy”
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.
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.
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.
Michelle Williams feat. Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland - “Say Yes”
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.
Lana Del Rey - “Shades of Cool”
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.
Arctic Monkeys - “Snap Out of It”
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.
Heaven Adores You: The First Few Minutes
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 ...
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 ...
Ty Segall Manipulator Album Teaser
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.
Spoon - “Rent I Pay”
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.
Possessed By Paul James - “Ferris Wheel”
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.
The Unicorns - “Sea Ghost”
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.
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!
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.
Jenny Lewis - “Just One of the Guys” [Official Lyric Video]
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.
Nirvana 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame HD Full Induction & Performances
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.
Lana Del Rey - “Ultraviolence”
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.
Jack White - “Lazaretto”
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.
It's the moment some of you have been waiting for … finally here in all its glory … a new Lana Del Rey track. All bullshittery aside, the song is a good number. The tune (titled “Shades of Cool”) comes off her forthcoming record Ultraviolence. And as with most Del Rey tracks, it has a lovely, atmospheric tone that drives it forward. I wasn't particularly excited about her new record after hearing “West Coast,” but this definitely changes the game a tad. In the words of Karen Walker (of “Will and Grace”): “Denied. Denied. APPROVED!” Have a listen below.
Lana Del Rey - “Shades of Cool”
Did you know there's going to be a Duran Duran tribute album coming out later this year, titled Making Patterns Rhyme? I sure as hell didn't. But now that I do, why not share Moby's contribution to said release, in the form of a cover of Duran Duran's “Rio.” You can hear that below. The record, which doesn't have a release date yet, will also feature Warpaint, Juliette Lewis and Austra, among others. So keep an eye out.
I guess for some people, all it takes is getting arrested to fuel the creative fires and come out with some fresh material. Or maybe that's just the case with Wiz Khalifa. Upon being released from jail for marijuana possession, the rapper released a mixtape (28 grams), which is free and available for download. So head to DatPiff to get your copy.
Who wants to see 65-year-old, former Journey frontman Steve Perry perform some songs with Eels? You do, that's who! I mean, come on, the guy hasn't performed in, what, 20 years? Do yourself a favor and watch below to hear him use those amazing vocals. And you wonder why they said, “Don’t stop believin.’”
Eels with Journey lead singer Steve Perry in St. Paul
I don't know much about RiFF RAFF, other than that whole kerfuffle over James Franco allegedly stealing his likeness for the snooze-fest that was Spring Breakers. But the Texas-born rapper has been teasing his debut LP for years now, and it looks like it's going to finally see the throng of awaiting fans. His record, NEON iCON, comes out on June 24, and RAFF has shared a snippet from said album in the form of “Kokayne.” Have a listen below.
Just because Freddie Mercury is no longer with us doesn't mean that Queen has ceased to exist. Case in point: They're coming out with a new record around the end of the year. Tentatively titled Queen Forever, it's supposedly going to have some unreleased songs that Mercury sang, dating back to the '80s. Should be a hoot. But the band obviously needs some time to work out the kinks, as guitarist Brian May said they're basically piecing the album together from scraps. For more info on that, head over to Billboard.
I mentioned a while back that Led Zeppelin are in the process of reissuing their entire catalog. That's still happening; what with reissues of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III coming out on June 3, each containing unreleased material and live recordings. But now, the band has released a video for the “rough mix” version of “Whole Lotta Love,” which features some rare concert footage. Scope the video below and read some info about the song, as told by Jimmy Page himself, over at Consequence of Sound. Enjoy … And after you're done enjoying, listen to a previously unreleased instrumental track, titled “La La,” over at NME.
Led Zeppelin - “Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal)”
La Roux struck a chord a few years ago with her track “Bulletproof,” showing that retro-dynamic pop could still be a thing. And it worked in her favor. Now they've posted a track from their upcoming album Trouble in Paradise, which is set to hit stores and online markets on July 8. Listen to the track “Uptight Downtown” below, and head over to Pitchfork to check out the new music video for the song “Let Me Down Gently,” which is also on the forthcoming LP.
Say … what has Billy Idol been up to? Besides his cameo in The Wedding Singer, I haven't heard anything 'bout the guy. Apparently he's been hard at work on a new memoir (Dancing With Myself), which is “bold, searingly candid and written by Idol himself in his inimitable voice.” The book is said to chronicle Idol's life from his childhood to when he hit it big with tracks like “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding.” Should be an interesting read, assuming he has the writing chops to relay such material. The text is set to come out on Oct. 7, but you can head to Rolling Stone for more info on it.
I don't know about you, but I wasn't exactly in the know about an upcoming biopic about the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. But since I'm a lover of musical biopics (Ray, La Bamba, The Temptations, Sweet Dreams, etc.), this is definitely something I have to see. The film (Get On Up), which heads to a theater near you on Aug. 1, stars Chadwick Boseman (42), Dan Aykroyd, Octavia Spencer and the great Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt). With a cast like that, I'm sure this is going to be one enjoyable movie-viewing experience. But we'll have to wait and see. You can view the latest trailer for the film below.
I've never understood people's obsession with rap-rave group Die Antwoord. While I can appreciate them repping Cape Town and the culture therein, their music just never sat well with me, and still doesn't. A friend responded to this by saying “you just don't get it.” Maybe that's so. But for those that do get it, I'm sure you'll be ecstatic (or a little giddy) to know their new record (Donker Mag) comes out on June 3. So mark them calendars. The group has also shared a video for album track “Pitbull Terrier,” which you can watch below. PS: It's kind of graphic and, but what else do you expect from them?
Die Antwoord - “Pitbull Terrier”
I never liked Rilo Kiley, but I always loved the country-twinged aesthetic that singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis pursued on her solo material. It had a sort of grittiness and longing that I always felt RK seriously lacked. Now the songstress is releasing a new record on July 29, titled The Voyager. After the brilliance that was Acid Tongue, I'm sure this one will be a poignant and enchanting effort. You can read more details, including the tracklist, over at Rolling Stone.
It's no secret this past year was partially owned by Robin Thicke, as his single “Blurred Lines” was everywhere and anywhere that had speakers and a sound system. Not that that's bad. It's a good song. And now, Thicke is set to release a new album on July 1, though the title and tracklist haven't been revealed. The only indication of the new record's sound is the track “Get Her Back,” which Thicke debuted at the Billboard Music Awards. You can watch that performance below, and keep an ear out for news on that upcoming record. Who knows? 2014 may also be his year.
Robin Thicke - “Get Her Back” (2014 Billboard Music Awards)
It's a Destiny's Child reunion! Well, kind of. Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé appeared on a Michelle Williams song from her upcoming album Journey to Freedom. The track features Solange, as well. Titled “Say Yes!,” it's a remix of a Nigerian gospel track (“When Jesus Says Yes”) and though it's not the most excellent ditty, it's nice to hear these women back together. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of Beyoncé solo. Destiny's Child needs to make a full comeback, am I right? Head to MissInfo to hear the tune.
While I'm not a huge fan, I appreciate The Knife. Several songs in their catalog have struck my fancy, from their oft-referenced “Heartbeats” to “Pass This On.” But my interest fizzled over the years. However, the group is still going strong … at least strong enough to release reworked versions of various tracks from their catalogue. Shaken-Up Versions hits the public in the face on June 17, so keep a lookout. You can also view the video for the “shaken-up” version of “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” below.
The Knife - “My Life Would Be Boring Without You (Shaken-Up Version)”
What better way to celebrate the mark you've made on the music industry than by reissuing the material that catapulted you to stardom? That's what Bon Jovi plans on doing. The band is set to reissue a large amount of their catalog, and that starts with 1988's New Jersey, which hits stores (again) on July 1. That album had such notable hits as “Bad Medicine” and “I'll Be There For You.” The reissue will include deluxe editions that have bonus material and whatnot. For more details, head to Rolling Stone.
I've always loved M.I.A. Granted, MAYA wasn't her best album, but I had hopes for Matangi. And that record proved to be a world-born effort of a Sri Lankan rapper still fighting to be heard and still pursuing controversial material with the swagger of a soldier and an aesthetic of a cut-and-paste artist. Now she's released a video for Matangi-track “Double Bubble Trouble,” which features 3D-printed guns, kids of varying cultures and lots of color. You can give it a looksie below.
M.I.A. & the Partysquad - “Double Bubble Trouble”
Talk about a match made on Earth. Lorde and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst were paired up in an artistic conversation for The New York Times. The duo talked about their writing styles, their processes, backlash and whatnot. You can read that here.
I'm a-gonna be honest. The only reason I clicked the link for the following video was because the folks over at A.V. Club provided the headline: “Mat Devine’s Wrongchilde channels John Hughes on a new single.” If you say someone channels John Hughes, I'm there. I, like most people my age or older, grew up on Hughes' films, and I have to say their assumption is fairly accurate with the '80s imagery (Karate Kid, anyone?), colorific exploration and, of course, the synth-heavy track. And yes, I know Karate Kid wasn't by Hughes, but we're talkin' about the '80s, man. Like, get it? Anyway, you can listen to Wrongchilde's “Gold Blooded” below.
Wrongchilde - “Gold Blooded” Lyric Video
Lastly, Richard Reed Parry, one of the many members of Arcade Fire, is releasing his own record (titled Music for Heart and Breath) on June 9, which is right around the corner. The multi-instrumentalist will have such guests as the Kronos Quartet, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner of The National. So keep your eyes and ears open, and for more info on it, head over to Pitchfork.
Pink Mountaintops "North Hollywood Microwaves" (NSFW!)
The weirder and, in this writer's opinion, the more interesting of Stephen McBean's two mountain-named bands (the other being Black Mountain) the Pink Mountaintops is playing Low Spirits tonight. No self-respecting lover of drug music will miss this. My friend Pierre LaFarge turned me on to this Vancouver-based bunch of weirdoes a week or so ago and there's been nothing else on my speakers since. Can't wait for the sun to set so we can all see the Pink Mountaintops, who are touring in support of their new album Get Back. Did I mention the show is only TEN BUCKS!? C'mon!
Local and soon-to-be-no-more mysterions the Elevator Boys and psych-practitioners YOU open.
Talk about a boy-band super duo: Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) and Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) have decided to join forces and take over the music world as Nick & Knight. No joke. Their debut LP drops on September 2, and shortly after they're going on tour so people can see this pop extravaganza in person. It's just as well. Interested folks can view a promotional video for the project below, and in it you can hear a snippet of their single “Just the Two of Us.” PS: The album is already available for pre-order. So have at it if you must.
Nick & Knight
'Member that little Steven Spielberg gem known as Jurassic Park? I know I do. Seeing that in theaters was one of my greatest movie-going experiences as a youngster. And if you were a fan of the music, this is your lucky day. The film’s score is getting a nice reissue on multi-colored vinyl, and it'll be available to the public on June 11. Head to Consequence of Sound for more info.
Coldplay has been steadily giving glimpses of their upcoming record Ghost Stories, which hits the music-sphere on May 19. And now they're providing listeners with another fragment in the form of “A Sky Full of Stars,” which features a collaboration with electronic, club aficionado Avicii. Basically you need to be high as a kite in a black-lit dance party to experience the full effect of the song. Other than that, what's the point? But you can give the tune a listen below.
Coldplay - “A Sky Full of Stars”
The dream of the '90s is alive in super-Earth. According to the Portland Mercury, Corin Tucker (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) have joined forces to deliver new music to the masses in the form of the aforementioned band name: super-Earth. Not sure when they'll deliver the goods, but someone somewhere is jumping with joy, or at least digging into those old mixtapes, you know … from when people used to make them.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that a documentary about the late, great Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You) is scheduled to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now you can view a teaser of the film, which provides a glimpse of Smith's legendary status and why he was (and still is) loved and admired by his peers.
Heaven Adores You teaser
Let the album streamage commence: Last week, Lily Allen gave the visual accompaniment of her upcoming record's title track (“Sheezus”), and now she's streaming the album in its entirety. You can hear that via iTunes Radio, which confuses me, so I'll just wait for it to come out, assuming I want to hear it. And while we're on the topic of pop diva streaming, you can head to NPR to stream Lykke Li's I Never Learn. Oh, and you since everyone's giving it away for free (at least momentarily), head to Consequence of Sound to hear The Horrors' new record Luminous.
I'm gonna save you the introduction and spare you talk of my love of Christopher Owens, the former frontman for rock group Girls. I've gone there time and time again, so I'll just get right to it ... Owens has posted a new track (gospel-tinged rocker “Stephen”), and it's fucking great. Not sure if this is going to be on some future release, but one can hope. Have a listen below.
Music lovers young and old have shared thoughts about the internet's influence on music culture: how record labels don't make as much money; therefore, artists don't make as much money, yadda yadda. Steve Albini (noted producer, musician and engineer who has worked with The Breeders, Nirvana, Pixies, Veruca Salt and many more) has been pretty vocal about his views on record labels sucking artists dry to make a buck. And now, contrary to what many people would have considered him to believe, he says album streaming and the internet in general have solved “the problem with music.” He goes on to say “You can literally have a worldwide audience for your music … with no corporate participation, which is tremendous.” You can read more at Quartz.
The Roots shared a track from their forthcoming record ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin a few weeks ago (and maybe another one in between), who can keep track? Either way, they've come out with another one (titled “Tomorrow”), which you can listen to below. Their album hits stores on May 13, which is right around the corner, so save them pennies.
Most folks know David Lynch from his eerie, avant-visual stylings in films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. But the filmmaker has also been making music for a while now, and his new video, which was directed by Moby and features vocals by Mindy Jones, is available for visual and aural consumption. The vid is for the title track from last year's The Big Dream, his second full-length effort. You can watch that below.
'Member how I mentioned that Veruca Salt was getting back together? Well guitarists/vocalists Nina Gordon and Louise Post have had their first joint interview in … oh … 17 years? Yes, it's definitely worth reading. Head over to Stereogum to see what these women have been up to and what the future holds for one of the most welcomed reunions ever. Oh, and you can also hear their excellent new track, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” below.
Veruca Salt - “The Museum of Broken Relationships”
Nothing like a 40th anniversary to inspire new material. Rock band Blondie has decided to come out with a new double LP that will feature new songs as well as their greatest hits. The album, titled Blondie 4(0) Ever, will contain their 10th studio album (Ghosts of Download) as the first disc; the second portion will be a compilation of their most famous tracks. That hits stores on May 13, but in the meantime, you can head over to Billboard to read more.
Most people know of punk band Death from watching A Band Called Death (a documentary by Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett). While the band didn't see much mainstream success in their heyday (early to late '70s), they're now regarded as precursors to later punk sounds and revolutionary for being an all-black trio of brothers who created wild and uncompromising tunes. The group recently played on “Arsenio,” and you can view that performance below. Also, look out for III, a Drag City reissue of unreleased material, which is out now.
Death - “Freakin’ Out”
In case you haven't been keeping tabs on Pixies, they've released three EPs in the past year (EP-1, EP-2 and EP-3). And you'd think that with a steady stream of new material, they'd hop back in the studio to record what I would consider to be an appopriate full-length. But I guess laziness prevailed, as they've compiled all three releases into one album (titled Indie Cindy) that comes out on April 29. You don't need me (or want me) to comment on the recordings themselves; rather, you should provide your own educated analysis of the band's material post-Kim Deal's departure. Head over to The Guardian to give that a listen.
Music: the gift that keeps on giving. Jack White broke records this past Saturday by recording and distributing the “world's fastest released record.” And on top of that, he's also given fans another taste of his upcoming LP (after sharing “High Ball Stepper” a week or two ago) in the form of the album's title track. The record comes out on June 10, so keep your eyes and ears open for that. You can give “Lazaretto” a listen below and view some recaps of his record-breaking record making over at Pitchfork. Enjoy!
Jack White - “Lazaretto”
Austin City Limits is a festival always worth mentioning. Having gone three times, it's one of those experiences that can't be replicated. The only way to truly experience it is to go. And now the fest is two weekends instead of one (Oct. 3-5, 10-12), fancy that. Folks gracing the stage(s) include Beck, Lorde, Eminem, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent, Juanes, Mac Demarco and many, many more. You can view the full lineup at the ACL website.
When I think of Courtney Love, the first thought that comes to mind is “bitch be crazy.” Granted, she's done little to prove otherwise, but feeding that particular beast has done well for her songwriting. Take her latest track “You Know My Name,” being released as a single with the tune “Wedding Day”; that's scheduled to hit stores on May 4. You can take a listen to the punk-inflected ditty below.
Courtney Love - “You Know My Name”
Ever so prolific, Neil Young surprised fans with a new album of covers (titled A Letter Home) via Jack White's Third Man Records. The LP contains covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and more. Rolling Stone reports that there was no official announcement, but you can order the album on Third Man's website. To add to that, the album is also getting the deluxe box set treatment, with the vinyl record, CD, singles, picture book, the works. So have at it!
Songwriter/composer and performer Owen Pallett first caught my attention when a friend sent me a recording of him covering Joanna Newsom's “Peach, Plum, Pear.” I liked his voice, but as far as delving into his sonic landscapes, there wasn't much in the way of follow-up. But I've heard several excited whispers about his upcoming LP In Conflict, which hits physical and online markets on May 27. And now Pallett has posted a video for his track “Song for Five & Six.” You can view that below.
Owen Pallett - “Song for Five & Six”
When Lily Allen announced the title of her forthcoming record (Sheezus), many thought she was parodying Kanye West's last full-length effort Yeezus. However, Allen was quick to point out that it was an homage, rather than making fun of anyone. And now Allen has shared a video of the title track of said LP, wherein she compares herself to a fighter, while also name-checking various pop divas. You can hear the track below.
Yup, watching Belle and Sebastian cover Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” for a group of kids at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta might be the cutest thing in music this week. You can check that out below, but you might need to have a tissue handy.
Belle and Sebastian covering Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”
A few weeks ago, I posted a track from Buzz Osborne's upcoming solo acoustic album This Machine Kills Artists. And now King Buzzo has posted another snippet from that forthcoming record, which, despite being acoustic, is pretty heavy and dark. But that's a good thing. You can hear his new song (“Drunken Baby”) by heading over to A.V. Club.
For those of you that think Lana Del Rey is all that and a bag of stale potato chips, the moment you've waited for is finally here. The singer-songwriter has come out with the first track from her upcoming sophomore LP Ultraviolence. Some blogs have already touted the tune as the “song of the summer.” Getting ahead of yourselves much? But I'll let y'all be the judge of that. You can listen to “West Coast” below.
Lana Del Rey - “West Coast”
I guess it’s only appropriate that I mention tomorrow is Record Store Day. Not only is it a way to promote shopping at your local record stores, it opens your horizons to new and exciting music emerging from the depths of post-Top 40-whatever. Meh ... political correctness aside, I’m not much of a fan of Record Store Day. Most record stores don’t carry the releases the peak my interests, and sometimes it makes me wonder whether it’s a trick to get you into the stores in the first place. Regardless, you’ll probably see me at Mecca tomorrow. But you can read Pitchfork’s top Record Store Day Releases by clicking here.
Hmmm... trippy sound effects, a slick guitar riff quietly sneaking around the bush and lush vocals … The Black Keys' new tune (the title track from their forthcoming Turn Blue) isn't half bad. I just may be tricked into hearing more. Could this be a change of heart or a momentary lapse of judgment? I don't know, but it's one good ditty. I'm impressed, Keys. The tune should tide fans over till May 13, when the album hits stores. Preach on!
The Black Keys - “Turn Blue”
I'll admit that the only reason I decided to write about this follow-up item is because Kelley Deal is involved. Sure, everyone knows about her sister Kim (Pixies, Breeders, Amps, etc.), but Kelley Deal is a good songwriter in her own right. Check out The Kelley Deal 6000 if you haven't yet. Now Deal is featured on a track by Motel Beds (“Tropics in The Sand”). It's supposed to be on a split 7-inch that'll be out on Record Store Day, but you can hear the track over at Stereogum if you don't plan on participating. Cause why would you do that anyways?
The only stuff I've heard from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were tracks on a compilation album I got for free at Austin City Limits. And I don't even remember the names of the songs; that's how out of touch I am. But they've shared a new track via SoundCloud, and if I can describe it in one word: cute. It doesn't hit hard like Bass Drum of Death, but it's not overtly twee like She & Him. It holds a nice place in the middle. Let's call it cute without the “e.” Wait, that spells “cut.” That doesn't work. Just listen to the damn thing.
Well this just seems to be a good week for streaming albums in full ahead of their release dates. You can head over to NPR to listen to Kelis' new record Food. And you can head over to The New York Times to listen to Eels' The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. And then head over to Consequence of Sound to listen to Nas' Illmatic XX reissue. Thank your kind publications for letting you get a sneak peak before you go purchase these albums … assuming you will actually purchase them.
If you ever wanted to see Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age play a disappointing gay man … here's your chance.