V.23 No.32 | 8/7/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Writer Mark Lopez’ musings on upcoming records by Timbaland and TV on the Radio, new videos by Janelle Monåe, Beck and Karen O, and Flake Music’s reissue.
V.23 No.29 | 7/17/2014
Good news for good news lovers
King Tuff's Was Dead album was one of my favorites of 2013. Though it came out years ago, fan fervor over the original recordings made him reissue it last year, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic record. Now Tuff is gearing up to release another LP (Black Moon Spell), and he's giving a taste of what it'll entail with the album track “Eyes of the Muse.” That should tide you over 'til Sept. 23, but I'm sure he'll release more previews between then and now. Here's hoping.
I've always liked Usher ... well, mostly. I've lost touch with a lot of his recent work, but “Confessions Part II,” “Nice and Slow” and “Yeah” are some good songs to dance, reflect or get in the mood to. Whatever your preference, the man knows what he's doing. Now Usher has made a track available that was produced by Pharrell and features Nicki Minaj. The slick, club-happy number will definitely be a crowdpleaser. Head to Hip-Hop Wired to hear it.
Coldplay and Cat Power? I'm sure some could have predicted it … probably not. Cat Power is ... well ... Cat Power. And Coldplay used to be good. Regardless, it's an interesting combination any way you squeeze it, and the song they've concocted together (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sung by Chan Marshall) is a contemplative little number. The track “Wish I Was Here” was written and recorded for Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name. How that'll go is an entirely different thing. But check out the song below.
There's always dissension when a legendary rock group announces they've recorded new material. Some say it's going to be awful. Some say it's a new era, a new sound. Whatever your views, that still doesn't stop it from happening. Take Pink Floyd for instance. The group is coming out with a new record (The Endless River) in October, and according to the band's website, it's “an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.” So keep an eye out for that one … or don't … I mean I might not even remember … I probably will though.
I mentioned a few weeks back that Christopher Owens (former frontman from Girls) was coming out with his second solo album. Well, that's still happening. The record (A New Testament) hits the music-sphere on Sept. 30. And Owens shared a snippet in the form of “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” which you can view below.
It's happening. Beck is going to release a new album titled Song Reader. I know, I know, he already came out with a record called Song Reader (though it was a release of sheet music, made to be interpreted by skilled musicians). But Beck is going to release actual recordings of those songs, and each track is going to be done by a different artist. Among them are Laura Marling, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and much more. Head to Pitchfork to get more deets on that. Oh, and it drops on July 29, which is hella soon!
Like most, I became familiar with The Vines at the turn of the millennium when they graced us with “Get Free.” Anyone else remember the Hives vs. Vines battle during MTV's Music Awards? Them's were the days. The band has been steadily releasing albums over the past decade, though none have found their way on my radar. Now, they're coming out with a new double LP (Wicked Nature). They're self-releasing it via PledgeMusic where fans donate funds and get free downloads of some of the album's tracks. So there ya go. Not sure when the record is coming out, but you can watch the video for their new song “Metal Zone” below.
Out the left hangar
Taylor Swift is a writer? Well, duh, I know she writes her own songs, but an editorial? And for the Wall Street Journal? The country-pop sensation wrote a piece on the future of the music industry, speculating on where music will be in 30 or 40 years. Swift describes herself at the beginning of the piece as an “enthusiastic optimist.” (Go figure.) She does say some insightful things here and there, and whether you agree with her assertions, it's not as if she's the be-all-end-all authority on music entirely. But if you want her perspective, it's not a terrible read. See what she has to say here.
Fans of Death Proof are no strangers to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (you know, the one who was dressed like a cheerleader in the second half). 'Member the scene where she sits in the car and sings a lovely cover of Smith's “Baby It's You”? Good times. Well Winstead and Dan “The Automator” Nakamura have a music project together (Got A Girl), and they're getting ready to release a record on July 22. To give people a preview, they've made the track “There's a Revolution” available. Listen to the retro pop ditty below.
There are still moments when I get tears in my eyes at the thought that I will never see The White Stripes live in person. I think back to moments when I could have seen them had I driven 3 1/2 hours, changed highways, snacked on goodies, all while playing all six of their fantastic albums in chronological order. That is slightly remedied with the release of a live White Stripes album (Live Under the Lights of the Rising Sun). No release date on it yet, but the record will have 31 tracks, and it's taken from their first tour in Japan in 2000. So it'll probably have some good early stuff. Head to NME to read more 'bout it.
V.23 No.24 | 6/12/2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
V.23 No.18 | 5/1/2014
'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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
V.23 No.9 | 2/27/2014
St. Vincent St. Vincent · Beck Morning Phase · Cibo Matto Hotel Valentine
This week we listened to new releases from St. Vincent, Beck and Cibo Matto. Now with A/V previews!
V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
The diva herself is back to claim her spot on the music charts. Mariah Carey came out with a new single this week, and the accompanying video finds Carey embracing the tropical outdoors as she sings this longing-for-love ditty. The song is titled “You're Mine (Eternal),” and it's pretty much up to par with the stuff she showcased on The Emancipation of Mimi (see “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off”), which isn't a bad thing. It just means Ms. Carey knows her niche, and she's stickin' to it. Watch the video below.
'Member how I mentioned Thee Oh Sees were going on temporary hiatus … and how frontman John Dwyer was coming out with a solo electronic LP under the name Damaged Bug … and how I expressed regret that such garage-psych weirdos are hard to find—at least good ones. Well now Thee Oh Sees are coming out with a new record titled Drop, which is scheduled to “drop” April 29. While this is good news … great news, in fact … a part of me is still wondering whether the band is back together or just giving fans one last hurrah before they leave us lonely. Head to Stereogum to view the cover art and tracklist, and listen to the album's opening track below.
My first recollection of Dolly Parton was seeing her musical cameo in the film adaptation of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” And I remember as a kid being shocked at the revelation that she was the original singer of “I Will Always Love You.” No offense, Dolly, but Whitney nailed it. Regardless, I've always had this fondness and appreciation for Parton, and old roommates used to have “Jolene” blasting because the Austin hipsters caught on to old country ... for about a week. Back to the topic at hand, Parton has announced a new album (Blue Smoke) that's set to come out May 13, and the singer iterates that, “On this CD I think there are all of the colors of my life in all the areas of music that you've allowed me to dabble in through the years.” For more info, surf on over to Billboard.
Bright Eyes emerged within my circle of friends during junior year of high school, and most alternative, hip kids caught on to Conor Oberst's project pretty quick, trading copies of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, among others. I really only fell into the deep trance of music love when I heard I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. (See “Landlocked Blues”). But Oberst is fairly prolific and a great songwriter, so it's only appropriate that he's still putting out material. He's announced a new album (Upside Down Mountain) and has debuted a track off the record. It's titled “Hundreds of Ways,” and you can listen to it below.
It looks like Kelis is officially back! I mentioned a while back that Kelis was coming out with a new record (titled Food), which was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. And now Kelis has released a track from the album. Judging from these sounds, this woman has come a long way from “Milkshake.” Not like that was a bad song or anything, but you get the idea. Listen to “Rumble” below.
The lineup for Austin Psych Fest has surfaced, and just from glancing at it, I can authoritatively predict this year's fest is going to be friggin’ sweet. It's okay, Burqueños; Austin's only about a 12-hour drive away … and that's only if you drive like old people screw. But just to give you a minor glimpse as to the reputable names gracing them stages with their presence(s), the performing groups include The Brian Jonestown Massacre (who are great live!), The Dandy Warhols, Black Lips, The War on Drugs, Pure X, The Horrors and much, much more. You can check out the full lineup over at Stereogum. The festival itself happens from May 2 to 4 at Carson Creek Ranch.
I'd never listened to Metronomy before watching their video for the track “Love Letters,” off their upcoming record of the same name. And I'll admit that the only reason I even watched the video was because of its director: Michel Gondry. An old roommate had a DVD compilation of Michel Gondry-directed videos from names like The White Stripes, Beck and Bjork, and it's nice to see his aesthetics are consistent and constantly evolving at the same time. As for Metronomy, I probably won't give them more than the time I've already invested in writing this, but you can view the video below.
Brody Dalle: That's a name I haven't come across in some time. Granted, when I was a big fan of The Distillers, it was Brody Armstrong, but that's neither here nor there. Needless to say, Ms. Dalle has been working on some new material for an upcoming album. Music blogs don't seem to know the name of the album or when it comes out, but Brody—we're on a first-name basis—has come out with a new track (titled “Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy”). That's a mouthful, and you can stream the track below.
I've always been a fan of music biopics. From What's Love Got to Do with It to La Bamba to The Temptations, I'm all about them. And I'm especially excited about the forthcoming Tupac biopic because it's going to be directed by John Singleton (of Boyz n the Hood fame). No word yet on who is playing the man himself or when the film will hit theaters, but this is exciting news nonetheless.
Just in time for spring, The Walkmen's Walter Martin delivers a track that’s so twee you might hate it so much that you'll end up loving it forever, snuggling with it under a blanket and singing along to it till you hate it once again. But right now, I love it. And it features Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, so it's got that added oomph factor. But don't take my word for it. The track (titled “Sing to Me”) comes off Martin's upcoming solo LP We're All Young Together, which hits stores and online markets on May 13. That's plenty of time for you to love it, then hate it and then love it again.
V.23 No.4 | 1/23/2014
Damon Albarn, of Blur and Gorillaz fame, has announced that he's coming out with a solo LP, titled Everyday Robots. The album comes out on April 29, which is still a little down the road, so that gives you time to save some pennies. But Albarn has made the title track and video available, so you can check that out below.
Amnesty International is putting together a Human Rights Concert (well, putting it back on, so to speak), and they've gotten some good names to provide the tunes, like Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, Cold War Kids, etc. But most importantly, they're gonna have Pussy Riot at the festivities … or at least the two members who were formerly imprisoned, but released about a month ago. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will make an appearance on Feb. 5 at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Brooklyn's Barclay's Center. So pack those bags and get to steppin'!
I've probably said this before, but I don't mind saying it again. I hate Kanye West. No. Hate is a strong word. I severely dislike Kanye West. Is the man talented? Yes. Does he need to shut his mouth if he's not spitting fierce rhymes over intricate beats? Yes. But he doesn't. That's the problem. Regardless, when Kanye isn't on a soap-box, he's actually an extremely talented individual. So I guess it's fitting that Interview Magazine paired him with innovative filmmaker Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) for a print interview. You can read that here.
When you see a music project simply called Miserable, you have to take a listen. So it was a leap that I took when Stereogum highlighted a new track by Miserable, or Kristina Esfandiari (formerly of Whirr). Granted, I've never listened to her former band; this dark, brooding track immediately drew me in. The wall of sound existing within the short expanse of time it takes to get through it is immediately apparent, the thundering drums that quietly linger in the background before becoming a full force all their own. It's a nice treat. The track (titled “Bell Jar”) comes off her Halloween Dreams 7-inch, which hits the streets on Feb. 18. But you can hear the track below.
According to NME, in 1992 Columbia Records threw a special 30th anniversary concert for Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden, which featured performances by numerous legends, from Johnny Cash to George Harrison, from Tracy Chapman to Lou Reed. And now that special concert is going to be released on CD and DVD on March 4. You can click here to get a full tracklisting of the CD and see a trailer for the DVD release.
I'm a huge Beck fan, just in case that's not already been made painfully obvious. Whether I'm listening to the gutter-soaked ramblings of a “loser” on Mellow Gold, or the electronic intonations of a veteran on The Information, the man just doesn't stop. And now Beck has released the audio of a track (“Blue Moon”) off his upcoming record Morning Phase. The album comes out on Feb. 25, which is right around the corner, so just bear with me while I try to contain my excitement. You can hear the track below.
Nicki Minaj and Drake have proven to be ubiquitous entities in the music-sphere. Good for them. It's a hard business, ain't it? So then it must be time to celebrate. I guess that's why their label is releasing Young Money: Rise of an Empire, which features tracks from Lil Wayne, the aforementioned Drake and Minaj, Birdman, Tyga and others. You can hear the Lil Wayne's track (“We Alright”) with Birdman and Euro, and read more about the compilation here.
Doesn't retiring from the music business mean not releasing any more albums? Or does it just mean releasing music but not making a public statement over it? In Tina Turner's case, it's the latter. The 74-year-old rock and soul icon has announced an album of love songs, titled Love Songs, to be released on Feb. 4. According to Billboard, the album will have some Turner classics like “What's Love Got to Do With It?” and “Private Dancer,” and some unreleased tracks. So get ready for that one.
I've only sporadically heard songs from Gary Clark Jr., but the amount of praise that's been thrown his way has been hefty. I remember reading a glowing story about the blues musician in Texas Monthly, and that made me curious about him. Of course, I forgot his name and never looked back. That won't happen twice. Now Gary Clark Jr. is coming out with Blak and Blu: The Mixtape, which features unreleased tracks and remixes featuring such names as Big K.R.I.T., Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and more. You can hear the Big K.R.I.T. Remix of “Blak and Blu” over at Consequence of Sound. Apparently the mixtape doesn't have a release date yet. So keep your eyes and ears open.
Bet you never thought Patti Smith would cover a Rihanna track. Well, she did. A video recently surfaced of a concert performance from December that features Smith singing the somber ballad “Stay.” You can view that below.
Drag City, a record label hosting such contemporaries as Joanna Newsom (one of my all-time favorites), Bill Callahan and Ty Segall, has teamed up with Fred Armisen to release a series of 7” records of … wait for it … “Saturday Night Live” songs from Armisen's time on the show. You can head over to Stereogum to read more about that.
Uh-oh, someone's trying to bring the roof down in a big way. English electro duo Disclosure released their debut LP (Settle) last year. Now they've redone their track “F For You,” but they've added Mary J. Blige to the mix. This version of the bombastic club jam will definitely hit some turntables in the coming months (if it hasn't already). You can see the video for the track below.
V.23 No.3 | 1/16/2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
V.23 No.1 | 1/2/2014
I posted a couple weeks ago that Starbucks was releasing Sweethearts 2014, featuring numerous covers of love songs by the likes of Fiona Apple, Beck, Vampire Weekend and more. Now, Beck has made his track available—a cover of John Lennon’s “Love,” which you can listen to below, and you can head over to Consequence of Sound for the full tracklist. The compilation is set to hit the music-sphere on Valentine’s Day. Que cute.
When did Amazon start streaming full albums? I guess I was napping. Like most weeks in this day and age, there’s free music that’s alive and well, sending sound vibrations across the land ... a sneak preview into an unknown dimension. Or a familiar one if you’re a fan. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks have made their latest opus (Wig Out at Jagbags) available for streaming online, and if that’s not your bag, then Del the Funky Homosapien has you covered.
I don’t consider myself too much of a Flaming Lips fan. I’ve heard some stuff that I’ve liked, and could also do without some other stuff as well. But I do love a band that never stops, and considering I read about them almost every week (minor exaggeration), they’ve gotta be tireless, restless and ____-less. Now they’ve shared a cover of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” You can hear that below.
I don’t care what people say ... I like The Eagles. When I was growing up, my Ma and Pa would always play their Greatest Hits album on the car stereo when we would take long trips or go for leisurely drives. And it always stuck with me. Tracks like “Witchy Woman,” their ever-famous “Hotel California,” and “Take It Easy” shepherded me into adolescence. And now the band is still doing it up, and in kind of a big way. Their 1976 album Hotel California has been made into a giant LP. That’s right, a giant record. You can read more at NME.
You ‘member Foster the People? That band that hit it big with that song “Pumped Up Kicks”? Well they just released a 45-second teaser that contains a snippet of a new track (probably taken from a new album?). You can view that below.
Wait ... you didn’t think the album streamage was over, did you? Not by a long shot. First up, we got Peter Gabriel’s ... And I’ll Scratch Yours (as well as its predecessor Scratch My Back) streaming in full over at NPR. And then we also got hip-hop artist Angel Haze’s major debut LP (Dirty Gold) streaming over here. Well you can also go buy it, since it’s out and about in stores, but just in case you wanted a sneak peak ...
It’s always a treat when an unreleased, unheard and un-thought-of song from a band you know about or admire comes out. It’s somewhat new. Or new to you. And now avant-pop-rock masterminds Talking Heads have shared a previously unheard track from 1976 (before the band released their debut LP). The instrumental track (with the default title “Theme”) was supposedly recorded from a show the band played at CBGB’s, opening for Television. You can hear that below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As I was about to post this week’s Rooster Roundabout online, I got an email from Pixies’ website, announcing the release of a brand new EP (EP2) and a new video for their track “Blue Eyed Hexe” (which you can view below). I have to admit that since Kim Deal left the band, my interest has sort of waned. Not to say they’re no longer relevant, just a tad less interesting. And being as ADD as I am, it’s easy to lose interest. However, I’m sure some people are really excited for new music from this tweaked institution of a band.
V.22 No.51 | 12/19/2013
This Is Happening in 2010. But all good things … Anyways, front man James Murphy recently told Rolling Stone that he's working on the live album for their final show at Madison Square Garden (the subject of the rock doc Shut Up and Play the Hits). You can read more of interview here.
Spotify wins out again (as if taking over the world's streaming sinuses weren't enough). Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue will now be available for free listening on the service. So if you're one of those who's too lazy to get out to a record store (or even purchase the physical albums online), then your wish has come true. So head over to your Spotify page, and climb that “stairway to heaven.”
Don't you love it when innovative and interesting musicians become such restless artists that they keep releasing innovative and interesting music over and over? Well, this is from judging one song. But St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, has announced a self-titled album that's set to hit music markets on Feb. 25. Clark has made the track “Birth in Reverse” available online. You can hear that below.
Don't you just love love songs? No? What's wrong with you? Having already spilled my guts by ruminating over the “myth of the love song,” I've just come to accept that it's a notion that never dies. Maybe that's why artists like Beck, Fiona Apple, Blake Mills, Jim James and more have taken to covering famous love songs for the Sweetheart 2014 compilation. You can hear Jim James' cover of Bob Marley's “Turn Your Lights Down Low” below, and head over to Pitchfork to get a full tracklist.
I feel as if Black Lips are one of those bands that you can only really appreciate if you were into them from the beginning. Granted, I've only heard their album Good Bad Not Evil (which was a good album), but after seeing them live at Emo's in Austin, Texas, the underwhelming concert wasn't enough to make me a faithful listener. Oh well … now the band has announced a new record (Underneath the Rainbow), and it was partially produced by the overrated Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney. Let's just say I probably won't get to this one.
The bossy lady herself, Kelis, has announced that she's coming out with a new album. The album, supposedly titled Food, is being produced by Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) and is slated to come out on April 28. Kelis' last album took listeners on a techno-club journey, whereas her previous efforts had a more pop-friendly rap/R&B vibe to them, so who knows what this new record holds? Either way, I'm intrigued.
Mark March 25 on your calendars. It will be a golden day indeed. Because that's the day that a “lost” Johnny Cash album (titled Out Among the Stars) is scheduled to be released. According to Pitchfork, the album was recorded in 1981, and John Carter Cash (Cash's son, duh) took the helm in restoring the recordings, which contain duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. This is good news, folks. Good news.
Movie soundtracks: Those fuckers can be a hefty bore or a good time … depending on how you look at it. David O. Russell's new film American Hustle is getting the soundtrack treatment that will be available in stores on Dec. 24. But the reason this soundtrack is extra special is because it has a new track by Jeff Lynne … yes, the front man, songwriter, composer, singer, the list goes on and on, of E.L.O. The track is titled “Stream of Stars,” and you can give it a listen below.
Wow … I must have been half-asleep if I didn't even know The Sounds had released a new album (titled Weekend) in October. Oops. But now they've premiered a video for their track “Hurt the Ones I Love.” This is my first introduction to their newer stuff, which seems to follow more closely to their work on Crossing the Rubicon. But I've always been more partial to the dance-pop-punk craze that dominated Living in America. You can view their new video below.
I could get better with rap. OK, I need to get better with rap. While my musical palate is rudimentary at best when it comes to rap and hip-hop, I always appreciate a good beat, some slick rhymes and good production. And that's what's happening on Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip's track, “Butch & Sundance,” off their mixtape The Abstract & The Dragon, which became available this week for streaming and downloading. You can hear the track below.
V.22 No.45 | 11/7/2013
Mr. Lou Reed. I can't speak for others, but he had a profound effect on how I listen to music, and he showed the immense beauty that exists when poetry and rock meld together seamlessly. It's a practice few can master. And no one did it like Reed. You can read the obituary his wife, Laurie Anderson, wrote here. This one's for you, Lou.
According to the folks over at Pitchfork, Beck has signed with Capitol Records and will be releasing a new album (Morning Phase) in February 2014. This has been sort of a long time coming, as his last full-length release was back in 2008, and it wasn't one of his best. They also stated that a good amount of personnel on this new record worked with Beck on 2002's Sea Change, so this should be interesting.
Okay, I'm obviously playing favorites at this point, but I can't help it. Savages is still very much on my radar with their stellar release Silence Yourself. And now they've come out with a new video for album closer “Marshal Dear,” one of the best tracks on the album. Then again, all of the tracks on the album are fantastic. Okay, okay … I'll stop gushing. Just watch the animated, conceptually war-torn video.
Oh those relentless psych-garage rockers! First Ty Segall and now Thee Oh Sees. The latter band is coming out with a third Singles Collection that's scheduled to drop on Nov. 26. They've also made the track “What You Need” available, so get those boomboxes (assuming you still got one) prepared for this probably-pretty-good compilation.
James Blake has one of those magnetic voices that just needs to be heard. It operates on a wavelength that mixes beautiful tones with a soulful prowess rarely seen in male vocalists. Maybe that's why Blake won the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for his album Overgrown. For those who don't know, the Mercury Prize is given once a year for the best British or Irish album. Past winners include Primal Scream, PJ Harvey and Antony & The Johnsons.
Dancing at numerous parties in Austin, Texas, it was natural to stumble upon Calle 13, a Puerto Rican outfit who've been steadily releasing albums for years to much acclaim. They've also garnered 19 Latin Grammies. Not bad, eh. Now the group has announced a new single that'll hit the streets on Nov. 13, and a new album that will come out in March, though they've stated that they plan on releasing it independently. So we'll see how that goes. You can hear their awesome track “Atrevete te te” below.
Lady Gaga has unleashed another derivative disco pop-infused club track, titled “Venus,” to the masses. Can we not have a little time to digest the last one, Gaga? Sheesh. Either way … the track is now available for listening via the world wide web. Gaga's ARTPOP is slated for a Nov. 11 release, so keep that pocket change jingling.
Devendra Banhart came out with a substantial release this past year (Mala). It was a release that showed him recycling his worldly sentiments and regurgitating them in a sonically forward-moving motion. Now Banhart has released a music video for the track “Für Hildegard Von Bingen.” You can view that below.
A week ahead of the release of The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem has shared his collaborative track with Rihanna, titled “The Monster.” If the song isn't a groundbreaking attempt to boast marketable partnerships, it's at least an okay iteration of Eminem's prowess as a rapper. And at this point, can we hope for anything more? [Editors Note: By the time this was scheduled to go up, Eminem also made his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar available, so you can hear that as well.]
V.22 No.38 | 9/19/2013
I Won't Be Long.” Now Beck has shared a new song, titled “Gimme.” And this one sounds more in tune with the work he provided on The Information, which can be good or bad, depending on what version of Beck you like. Though none of these songs will be on Beck's upcoming LP.
I was never that big a fan of Islands, until I heard last year's A Sleep and A Forgetting. But judging from one of the first songs made available from Nick Thorburn's latest work, “Wave Forms,” this might be something worth looking into. Pitchfork is currently streaming the album (titled Ski Mask) in full, or you could just get your behind to the store and buy it because it came out this week.
Not to make comparisons, but I'm gonna go ahead and say it. I knew I liked Solange Knowles better than her sister (of Beyoncé fame) when I heard her record, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. While it wasn't groundbreaking, it showed that she had more of an old school bent. She's released some stuff since, including a new video for her track “Lovers in the Parking Lot,” from her True EP. You can check it out below:
Seventeen years in the making … Okay, well, maybe they didn't spend that whole time working on the album. But Mazzy Star's upcoming release, Seasons of Your Day, drops next week, but thanks to folks over at The Guardian, you can hear it in its entirety.
I have to admit that while I don't like Britney Spears personally (not that I've met her or anything), some of her songs were markers of very specific times in my adolescence and so on. So it's not too much of an understatement to say that I still follow her career (kind of). But after Spears' latest single “Work Bitch” was leaked online, the pop star and former train-wreck decided to release it a day early.
Following Ian Curtis' suicide, he became sort of this mystical figure/poet that left the world with a handful of interesting and thought-provoking lyrics from his work with Joy Division. Now those lyrics and some previously unseen notebooks are going to be compiled into a book, titled So This Is Permanence. According to Faber Social, the book is scheduled to be published in spring 2014.
I'm sure people are winding down from the rhythmic dance party that was Daft Punk's single “Get Lucky” from their latest LP, Random Access Memories. But get your feet ready for one more spin on the floor because Daft Punk has shared the video for their second single “Lose Yourself To Dance,” which also features Pharrell and Nile Rodgers.
Allow me to wax romantic about Bass Drum of Death's recent self-titled LP. The record was a garage-psyche-punk gem. So I was delighted to find out this week that the band came out with a video for their track “Bad Reputation.” Though I should warn that the video is probably NSFW.
Thanks to the folks over at NME, you can now watch Nirvana play their fantastic track “Scentless Apprentice” on MTV's “Live and Loud.” The footage was originally unavailable, but has been released with the 20th anniversary reissue of In Utero.
V.22 No.28 | 7/11/2013
Single Before Double
Beck releases new single in anticipation of two albums coming out this year
Like most Beck fans, I was turned on to the cryptic chameleon when I first heard Odelay in '96. Though it's probably considered his most mainstream effort, save the post-breakup lament of 2002's Sea Change, it's one of his most dynamic, beat-packed and outlandish releases. Yet, the thing with Beck is that he keeps going, regardless of the direction. Sure, that's a fairly exciting thing when you've been a fan of a musician for so many years; but unless you're in it for the long haul, it can become a little tiring. After contemplating the '60s psych-twinged alt-pop of 2008's Modern Guilt, I worried that Beck was running out of steam, trying desperately to retain some semblance of the alternative cool that propelled him to stardom at the peak of '90s weirdness. But Beck's new single “I Won't Be Long” gives me hope.
Beck is supposedly releasing two albums this year (one acoustic and one that is described as a “proper follow-up” to Modern Guilt). Though speculation seems to be the way it goes with Beck until a physical album finally manifests in our radio speakers. However the single signals the more well-rounded sound that was present on 2006's The Information, one of Beck's better releases, if I do say so myself. Keeping a steady, atmospheric pace, the production is clean, organized and surprising all at the same time. You can also check out another recent single “Defriended,” below. This one sees Beck riding an elastically equipped beat, churning out rhythmic synth melodies and echo-singing through it all.
The thing about Beck—what often gets lost on people—is that you have to embrace his weirdness. You have to take his word for it that with each direction, he's going to guide you somewhere safely, fuck with your head a little bit, but have you back before dark so your parents don't worry. Take for instance his Song Reader album, released last year. The album consists of 20 songs in sheet music form. So if you want to hear it, you have to learn how to play it or find someone who can. Although if you spend a good enough amount of time on the interwebs, you can find live videos of Beck playing the album live for the first time in London on July 4.
If there's one criticism that I've heard about Beck, it's that he's constantly recycling his old tricks, using stark lyrics, slick production and quirky beats to relay the same old messages but in different words and rhythms. But what do you expect? The guy's released 10+ albums in the span of two decades. Does that not grant him a little room on experimenting with his experiments, even if they turn out similar results? Does not one gleam of inspiration immediately relay toward another spark of awakening? I'm getting carried away. All I'm saying is that if this single is anything, it's an indicator that Beck is still creating interesting work, and 2013 may just be the year that he releases another (if not two other) substantial album(s). Play on.
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