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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Jesse Schulz

Music/Film

There's not a whole lot I know about A$AP Rocky other than he's been making waves through the rap music-sphere for the past couple years. And now, he's going to be a more well-known face after having a Noisey documentary filmed about him (SVDDXNLY). The first part of the film, which features a cameo by Rihanna, is available online, with the rest coming out in weekly increments. Future installments of A$AP's feature-length film include appearances by Drake, Danny Brown, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Jeremy Scott. View the first part below, and check YouTube weekly for the rest of the doc.

A$AP Rocky: SVDDXNLY - Part 1/5

On the horizon ...

Bass Drum of Death's self-titled album was one of my favorites of 2013. Not enough to make my top five, but it was a bashin', thrashin' mix of a variety of influences, culminating in a wall of sound that wasn't easily forgettable. Now the band is set to release a new record (Rip This), which hits the online and physical markets on Oct. 7, and to give folks a snippet as to what the record will sound like, they've made album track “Left For Dead” available. If the track is anything to go by, this one's gonna be a keeper.

Now that Sonic Youth has called it quits (thank God, and you can quote me), Thurston Moore has had his hand in other projects, among them Chelsea Light Moving, though that project hasn't released anything since last year. However, Moore is now gearing up to release a solo LP (The Best Day), which will have contributions from Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe. The record will have other guest musicians, including Chelsea Light Moving contemporaries. And before you start marking those calendars, a release date hasn't been announced. Bummer.

I go back and forth with Stevie Nicks. I like her voice, I do. But a part of me always flinches when people declare her one of the greatest female vocalists in music. That's a bold statement to make. I mean ... have you never listened to Aretha Franklin? I digress. Nicks is releasing a compilation of unreleased tracks (24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault), which drops on Oct. 7. And Nicks has released one of the album's tunes (“The Dealer”), which you can hear below.

Stevie Nicks - “The Dealer”

The Flaming Lips is another band I don't know much about, though I was a little surprised to see photos of Wayne Coyne hanging out with Miley Cyrus and getting matching tattoos. Not up to me to question the friendship between a singer-songwriter in his fifties and a young pop star 30 years his junior. I could care less. But that's beside the point. The Lips are gearing up to release With a Little Help From My Fwends, which covers The Beatles' entire St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It'll have contributions from the aforementioned Cyrus, as well as My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, MGMT, Tegan and Sara, Moby and many more. That drops on Oct. 28, so you still have some time to save a few “coynes.” See what I did there?

Music television

If you haven't yet watched “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” here is some incentive to tune in. Well ... at least for a short time. In case you didn't know, Fred Armisen is Meyers' bandleader. However, weirdo rock/pop ingenue St. Vincent is going to fill in for Armisen on Monday, Aug. 11, and Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 10:35pm (our time). Not sure if she's going to play any of her originals, but it would be interesting to see her leading an entire house band on a network television show. Check out the video to her single “Digital Witness,” off her latest release.

St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”

Is electro

Like most people who know about Jimmy Tamborello, I was introduced to him via The Postal Service. However, it wasn't until years later that a friend played me his solo work as Figurine that I became more acquainted with the artist. Then his album Dumb Luck, under the monicker Dntel, came out. And hearing his track “Roll On,” which featured vocals by Jenny Lewis, changed things. It even prompted me to see him live, which was fairly boring, as he stood on a stage with a computer in front of him, with some light installations on a screen making weird shapes and colors. Not exactly my idea of a concert, but it'll do. I digress. Now Dntel is coming out with a new record (Human Voice) on Sept. 23, and he's shared the track “If I Stay a Minute” to give peeps a taste of its oeuvre. You can hear that below.

There's nothing like a record label celebrating a quarter century of its tenure. And there's nothing better than a record label coming out with a new music compilation to celebrate such an expanse of time. In keeping with the spirit of such triumphs, XL Recordings is releasing a collection of ditties called Pay Close Attention, which “compiles important music from the label's illustrious discography.” It'll feature artists such as Radiohead, M.I.A., The White Stripes, The Prodigy, Adele, Devendra Banhart and more. There's also a Pay Close Attention website where fans can read more about why these records and songs were so monumental when they were released. And you can also preorder your copy of the compilation here.

Audio/Visual

While I'm not an overtly huge fan of electronic music, I'm not completely opposed to it. It just takes me some time. Like dipping your toe in a frozen lake before you plunge through a crack in the ice, ya dig? Austra was first introduced to me after a friend played me an acoustic piano performance of their track “Lose It,” and that's pretty much all I know of the Canadian group. The band recently came out with their Habitat EP, and they've shared a new video for the song “Doepfer,” which is viewable below. If you like LED lights and trippy electronic tunes, this has your name spray-painted all over it.

Austra - “Doepfer”

For all the New Pornographers fans out there, it's time to get excited. Or kind of excited. Band member A.C. Newman has been hard at work on the soundtrack for the film What If (a romantic comedy/drama starring Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, and Zoe Kazan). The soundtrack is out and about, meaning you can find it at your local retailers or online. Almost all of the songs were were written and recorded by Newman, though there is an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros track. Oh, and a Patrick Watson tune. But you get the idea. Head over to Pitchfork to read more 'bout it.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Good news for good news lovers

Man, them Swedish folks sure know how to craft a nice pop tune. This song may have some bubblegum-ness to it, but damn if it ain't catchy. Oh, I'm talking about Icona Pop's new song. In case you're unfamiliar with the Swedish pop duo, they hit it pretty big with their track “I Love It,” and now they've come out with a new tune that might not have the same edge of the aforementioned ditty, but it's for sure gonna snare them some new fans, if not keep the old ones steady until a full-length manifests. Have a listen to “Get Lost” below.

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.

Audio/Visual

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.

Robin Thicke - “Get Her Back”

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Music

I’m Happy When it’s Sad

Study concludes sad music evokes positive emotions

A group of researchers from Tokyo University of the Arts and RIKEN Brain Science Institute have decided to tackle an interesting subject: Why do we love sad songs? It's a valid question, considering many sad songs have entered the top-40 and kept listeners on their toes while belting out minor chords over hopeless lyrics. Adele's “Someone Like You” is one example that comes to mind. These researchers not only wanted to discuss the various reasons why people listen to sad music but also to see if they could pinpoint certain characteristics within the music that pique certain emotions.

They had 44 volunteers listen to two pieces of sad music and one piece of happy music, and they basically came to the conclusion that sad music actually made people feel more positive about their own lives. They concluded that while the volunteers listened to these despairing, emotionally-driven opuses, they found “sad music to be more tragic, less romantic, and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it,” according to an article in Science Daily. So maybe we do listen to sad music to realize how good we have it?

This got me thinking about what sad songs I enjoy listening to, or better yet, got me thinking what my favorite sad song is. As a music journalist, that's a hard question to answer because I like different things at different times. But one sad song that did come to mind was Joanna Newsom's “Go Long,” from her 2010 album Have One On Me. It's one of those songs that if you see her play it live, it utterly kills you. I witnessed the most rough-looking dudes crying like babies when the song was over. I don't cry when I hear it, but I do really enjoy it. It's a beautiful number that dissects the “Bluebeard” story in its most poetic, morbid sense. But now I'm curious … what's a notable sad song for you?

Music

Labor of love

Staff writer Mark Lopez explores the history of the love song and modern variations on the theme in The Mystic Myth of the Love Song. Peruse lovey-dovey A/V below, and share the love by posting your favorite modern or classic love song as a comment.

Adele - “One and Only”
Fiona Apple - “Anything We Want”
Everly Brothers - “All I Have to Do is Dream”
Turbonegro - “Good Head”
Peter Gabriel - “In Your Eyes”
The Cure - “Lovesong”
John Mayer - “Your Body is a Wonderland”
Alicia Keys - “No One”
India Arie - “Ready for Love”

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V.22 No.6 | 2/7/2013

Aural Fixation

The Mystic Myth of the Love Song

By Mark Lopez
Staff writer Mark Lopez makes a study of modern and vintage love songs in this Love Issue feature.

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