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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Jesse Schulz

Audio/Visual

Like a lot of people, my first introduction to Robyn was her song “Dancing On My Own,” when it was featured in the hit HBO series “Girls.” Used perfectly in the soundtrack's sequencing, it's my only indicator of Robyn's prowess as one of Sweden's most notable exports. Regardless, Robyn ventured to create an EP with Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp (Do It Again), and now they've released a video for album track “Monument.” Have a looksie below ...

Play Youtube Video
Röyksopp & Robyn - “Monument”

Givin’ it away ...

It's free music, y'all! Free music! Well, not in physical form, but still, it's free! DJ Shadow has released his new EP (Liquid Amber), available for streaming, as “an opening salvo” for future snippets of sonic fancies. Fans better eat it up, considering this is his first release since 2011's The Less You Know, The Better. Should make it feel more sacred, right? You can listen to the EP below. Enjoy!

Deadly ills

My rap game could use a little work. OK, maybe a lot of work. But that's even more reason to mention that rap aficionado Nas announced a while back that he was going to commemorate his intricate verbage on legendary album Illmatic by coming out with a full-length documentary as well as a tour. On tour, which kicks off Oct. 2, he'll perform the album in its entirety. The documentary (Nas: Time is Illmatic) hits theaters on Oct. 1 (Oct. 3 for on demand and iTunes), so check your local theater listings. While the tour doesn't make a stop in the Duke City, it's worth it to plan a possible trip around it, no?

Vile riffs

If you're not familiar with Matt Sweeney's online show “Guitar Moves,” I'd recommend some viewage. It's cool if you like seeing various guitar devotees share some tricks of the trade, especially when you're attempting to learn the instrument (like myself). Now the show is titled “Guitar Power,” and Sweeney's latest incarnation sees Kurt Vile showing off his prowess as an axe man and songwriter. Check out Vile's episode below.

Play Youtube Video
Guitar Power Ep. 3 featuring Kurt Vile

Why Friday?

Most people who still buy albums know that they almost always hit stores on Tuesdays. Well, that might change. In an effort to battle music piracy (and taking a note from Australia), the record industry is making a push to make Friday a “standard, global album release day.” According to Billboard, some digital music venues have given the release day their blessing, though the change is already being met with opposition from indie record labels and stores. Apparently, having a release day earlier in the week is better for sales. If this comes to pass, that'll be put into effect in July of 2015.

The Foo is back

While I'm not a huge Foo Fighters fan, I can attest that they put on one of the best shows of any band around. After seeing an epic, mind-blowing set at ACL a few years back, I'd convinced myself that I'd seen something akin to my generation experiencing Led Zeppelin in their heyday, which is a fairly bold statement. Regardless, the Foo Fighters have announced their upcoming record Sonic Highways (out Nov. 10). The album was apparently recorded in eight studios in eight different states, and the band is also coming out with an HBO doc series about the process (premiering Oct. 17). View a teaser for the record below, and head to NME to read more 'bout it.

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Foo Fighters Sonic Highways

Full circle listen

Fugazi is one of those bands that has always escaped me, though bands I'm a fan of have always lauded them and their influence on rock and roll. And now people can partake in a listening session with the music that started the group on its course to take over the world: their first demo. Titled First Demo, it'll be the release of music recorded in 1988 from their original demo tapes. Talk about the rough and ready. That'll get a proper release some time this Winter, so keep an eye out for it.

Cohen’s 80th

Leonard Cohen is one of those musicians that really doesn't need any sort of introduction, as the man has been in the game for numerous decades. Still, his track “Hallelujah” is one of the most covered and revered tracks ever to hit the music-sphere. The singer-songwriter's webmaster Jarkko Arjatsalo recently announced that in celebration of Cohen's 80th birthday, he's coming out with a new record in September, titled Popular Problems. No word yet on what songs will be featured, but he did add that Cohen has no plans to tour the album. Bummer. Have a listen to “Hallelujah” below.

Play Youtube Video
Leonard Cohen - “Hallelujah”

Music for the inmates

Talk about bringing music to the masses … John Dwyer's Castle Face Records (which has released records by Dwyer's Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, White Fence, etc.) is now conducting a program where they send free CDs from their catalog to prison inmates. All you gotta do is send them the prisoner's info and mailing restrictions, and they'll take care of the rest. Click here to read more about Castle Face For the Incarcerated.

Actor-singer-somethin’

Those actors and their music ... you know, the ones who think they're talented enough to take a stab at the golden glory of releasing a record, playing shows and being a straight-up rock n' rolla. Well, a lot of the time, they're not even rock musicians when they transfer from the big screen to the small stage, but more often than not, they still have the chops to back it up. (Zooey Deschanel, Charlotte Gainsbourg (even though she was a musician before she was an actress), Michael Cera). That last one is what this is about. Michael Cera released a surprise album, titled true that, which is now available to stream online. Head over to his Bandcamp page to give that a listen. I’m sure, to some, the lo-fi, folky intonations are reminiscent of his work in Juno (viewable below).

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Michael Cera & Ellen Page - “Anyone Else But You”

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

'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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Play Youtube Video
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.

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Lily Allen - “Sheezus”

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