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”
I park my truck on a hill and go into an art gallery. I am joined by three beautiful girls. The tall, loud blond is their leader. She ridicules the paintings for a while and we leave. As I follow them out, the proprietor pleads with me in a humorous Scottish brogue to please buy a painting for my wife. Before I can say anything, he answers for me defiantly: "No, of course not!" The girls wait for me outside, standing against a short chain link fence in the sun. I reenact the encounter for them. They all laugh. We now must cross a muddy river flowing in a deep ravine to get back to our cars. I lead the way, slipping down the muddy bank. I walk upstream for a while to rinse off the mud. My pale blue jeans are all wet but nearly clean. Back on the street, I am confused by the roads and am unable to find my truck. I enter a large glass building. Inside, I see that the doorways are like bulkheads on a battleship. I enter through a doorway at the end of a long a hallway and find myself in a large room with another bulkhead doorway leading out into the same hallway. Here, I am approached by Madonna, who has gained some weight. She leads me to her bed. I worry that someone will come through the door.
Now that Lauryn Hill is a free woman (after having spent a little under three months in prison for tax evasion), she can get back to work! And Hill has wasted no time: She just released a new track, titled “Consumerism.” Her fast rhyming moves over a scattered beat … and a lot of ism's get thrown around, but hey, it's Lauryn Hill, man. Also, the track is said to be the first part of a collection titled Letters From Exile. Judging from this, I'm sure the second part will be interesting.
David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) has written an editorial piece in which he asserts that economic inequality in New York has stunted creative culture.
Talking Heads - “Road To Nowhere”
Fiona Apple played a new song at a show in Portland, Ore., right before she asked a heckler to leave for allegedly telling her to “get healthy.” The sound quality isn't great considering it was recorded from a live show, but it's good to hear something new from what I consider one of our generation's most elusive and genius minds. You can also hear her duet with Blake Mills, titled “Tipple,” over at Consequence of Sound.
Don't you just love it when music awards season hits? Or at least a portion of it. For interested parties, the nominees for the 2013 American Music Awards have been announced. And the musical line-up for the 2013 Soul Train Awards has also been made public by the folks over at Billboard.
It seems that David Byrne isn't the only one who wanted to write about his artistic pursuits this past week. Madonna wrote an essay for Harper's Bazaar about her early work and her so-called “daring.” In the essay she talks about her expectations vs. the reality of moving to New York, being raped at knifepoint, her marriages and more.
Madonna - “Like a Prayer”
I pretty much stopped paying attention to Interpol after Turn On The Bright Lights, and after hearing that Paul Banks had attempted a rap album earlier this year (Everybody on My Dick Like They Supposed To Be), that further cemented my disinterest. But now, Banks is collaborating with RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) on a record, which they've been recording for the past six months. This should be interesting.
I'm sure them little monsters are jumping for joy this week. Lady Gaga revealed not only the cover art for her new album, ARTPOP, but she also shared the tracklist and a new track, “Aura.” She released the track as a lyric video, which also contains clips and pieces of the Robert Rodriguez flick Machete Kills. You can see that below.
Lady Gaga - “Aura”
A lot of people know Questlove from his work with The Roots. A lot of people see him every night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” A lot of people may not know who Questlove is, and for those who don't, there's always time. But now Questlove has written a book, titled Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, which hits shelves on Oct. 22. Thanks for the astute warning, man.
I first encountered Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings while wandering Austin City Limits in search of water or whiskey or my friends who had wandered away. They were playing lively funk, and Jones' voice was magnetic. Now Jones and company have shared a new video for their track “Retreat!” from their forthcoming album Give The People What They Want. The album doesn't come out 'til January, but you can listen to this snazzy track until that fateful day arrives.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - “Retreat!”
I mentioned a few weeks back that Pixies had come out with a new release (EP-1). They've been slowly making the rounds on network television appearances, and now they've shared a video for their track “Andro Queen.” The video is directed by Ondi Timoner (Dig).
Now that TLC has a biopic coming out, starring Lil Mama (of “Lip Gloss” fame), they've also decided to come out with a greatest hits LP, which drops on Oct. 15. You can head over to Pitchfork for the tracklist, which includes “Waterfalls,” “Red Light Special” and “Creep.”
The dream of the '90s seems to be alive and kickin' as Veruca Salt have announced via Twitter that they're reuniting and recording with Brad Wood, who they worked with on their first record, American Thighs. Who knows what could become of this, but this is the most exciting news I've heard all week.
Veruca Salt - “Seether”
Just in case you were wondering what M.I.A.'s upcoming album, Matangi, looks like. You can view the tracklist and see the cover art over at Pitchfork. The album hits shelves on Nov. 5.
If you haven't listened to Mudhoney, you should definitely entertain the notion of listening to Mudhoney. They've been steadily releasing material in their 20+ years as a band, and their newest record, Vanishing Point, is currently available in stores or via online markets. They've just released a video of the track “The Only Son Of The Widow From Nain,” which you can check out now. Probably NSFW.
Mudhoney - “The Only Son Of The Widow From Nain”
Dr. Dog's newest album, B-Room, comes out next week, but thanks to the folks over at Rolling Stone, you can stream the whole thing. Oh, and you can read about the band's efforts in making the album.
Jennifer Hudson's voice mixed with Pharrell's production and a cameo by T.I.? Yes, please!
What is it with the Coen brothers and churning out movies that provide killer soundtracks? O Brother, Where Art Thou?, anyone? Their upcoming flick, Inside Llewyn Davis is another Coen film that is getting the star-powered soundtrack treatment, and you can hear Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac singing “Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)” from the film via Billboard.
Ever the chameleon, Madonna channels inspiration from the world around her. But then again, doesn't every other artist? Now, she's channeling inspiration in the fight for freedom of expression, and her latest mode of exacting said message is by covering Elliott Smith's “Between the Bars.” You can see the performance below and check out her Art for Freedom short film here.
Madonna covering Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars”
Don't act like you're not excited that the tracklist for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been released. I'm actually surprised at some of the big and interesting names they were able to get for it, but then again, it's got Jennifer Lawrence, so... Some people on this venture include Christina Aguilera (have you heard this woman sing?), Sia, Antony & The Johnsons, Patti Smith and much more.
A couple weeks back, it was announced that Albert Hammond Jr. (most notable from his work with The Strokes) was going to release a solo EP, titled AHJ, on Oct. 8. Well now Mr. Hammond (Jr.) has shared the first single from said release. It's sort of like old-school Strokes with a more crisp, poppy tone to it. Appoved.
Savages, my latest obsession, have shared a video for the track “Husbands,” off their fantastic debut LP Silence Yourself. The black-and-white vid has footage of the band playing interspersed with footage of cells, maggots, rising smoke and white triangles. Sounds about right.
Peter Gabriel released an album of covers, titled Scratch My Back, in 2010. Now Gabriel has flipped the switch by having artists take a whack at his songs on a second album of covers, titled And I'll Scratch Yours. The album features the likes of St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Lou Reed, Regina Spektor and more. The album is available this week, but you can hear Feist's cover of Gabriel's “Don't Give Up,” featuring Timber Timbre.
The Giants beat the Patriots again, and all of a sudden, we've got a new meme. The idea that Tom Brady is incapable of beating Eli Manning gained some serious traction on Sunday night, as the New York G-Men beat New England's favorite son for the second time in the biggest game of them all.
While a big story at the water cooler today might revolve around the half time show and the maybe-controversy of Madonna's guest M.I.A. flipping the bird, there was plenty of football to comment on, too. The game, while sloppy in many places, proceeded at a pace that was far from predicted. The 38 total points fell pretty easily under the Vegas-based line of 53, and probably surprised many people who were expecting an offensive slugfest.
With two points scored in the first six minutes of play, the Giants seized control of the game quickly, thanks to an unusual safety. Brady had attempted a pass from his own end zone, which was ruled intentional grounding, resulting in the two points and a return of possession to the Giants.
Just five and a half minutes later, the Giants cashed in on that drive, making the score 9-0. The Patriots were seemingly on the ropes. However, New England started the second quarter by chipping in a field goal after five minutes. They proceeded to make two strong defensive stands, sandwiched by an anemic offensive set of three-and-out, but followed up that weakness by going 99 yards in just under 4 minutes—a performance that netted them a touchdown and the lead to go into halftime.
After the halftime controversy that wasn't—although it's probably a good thing Heather Wilson isn't our Representative here in New Mexico anymore—the big surprises started coming. The slow start might have been expected, given Super Bowl-sized nerves, but surely no one counted on 19 points in the first half being repeated in the second.
The Patriots grabbed a lead, seemingly confident even as the Giants first kicked one field goal and then another, to pull within two points. But the fourth quarter opened with Brady throwing it deep, only to be intercepted. The following drive by the Giants, while resulting in no points, killed enough clock that things were getting to an end point, no matter what. With that same two-point lead, the Patriots were in a delicate position.
That perilous footing proved to be disastrous when, following a null Patriots set, Eli Manning orchestrated a big drive, sparked by a dazzling 38-yard Mario Manningham sideline catch. The Giants milked the clock and got deep enough field position that Patriots coach Bill Belichick gambled on allowing the touchdown to go through, leaving Brady and co. just under one minute to put together a game-winning drive.
But it wasn't to be. Patriot receivers had ket drops as the game dwindled, and Brady's final Hail Mary pass was batted up in the end zone, falling just out of reach of a diving Rob Gronkowski. It resulted in a 21-17 G-Men win.
Belichick and Brady are now 3-2 in Super Bowls together, and Manning is 2-0. No one can deny the Patriots their place as a dynasty, but it appears there is a new force to be reckoned with at the top of the heap.