blake mills


V.23 No.31 | 7/31/2014
Jesse Schulz

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Good news for good news lovers

Those musicians and their surprise album releases. Indie-rock duo The Raveonettes just released a new record (Pe'ahi), and though I'm sure some knew it was coming, it's still a lovely surprise. Cause new music is new music, no? Have a listen to the album's opening track below, and look for the record … well … everywhere!

It's a good day, y'all. 'Member how I mentioned The Unicorns had sort of reformed to play some live shows (even though they insinuated no plans to record new material)? Well, not that it's exactly new material, but the band has decided to reissue their phenomenal 2003 record Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?. The reissue will be available digitally (July 29) and via CD (Aug. 26) and vinyl (Oct. 7). So depending on your format, mark them dates on your calendars. Among the few unreleased tracks available on the reissue is the Daniel Johnston cover “Rocketship,” which you can tune into below.

Damn that Mr. Jack White and his prolific prowess as a singer/songwriter/producer/record label owner/ and now book publisher. In keeping with the theme of hard work and tangible results, Mr. White has launched a book publishing company through his record label, under the guise Third Man Books, and he's gearing up to release a book of art, poetry and prose, titled Language Lessons: Vol. 1. Contributors to the text include Dale Ray Phillips, Richard Hell and Tav Falco. To read more 'bout the book, which hits stores and online markets on Aug. 5, head over to Pitchfork.

I know tons of people are excited to see a new release from rock band Weezer. Hell, even I'm excited, and I'm not even that big of a fan. Their new record (Everything Will Be Alright in the End) hits stores on Sept. 30, but the band has made album track “Back to the Shack” available for aural consumption. Here's where you thank them. Have a listen below.

All I know of Blake Mills seems to carry a connection to Fiona Apple. I first found out about him from reading that they were doing a tour together last year. Then came the video of Apple and Mills performing my favorite Apple track “I Know.” Now Apple is appearing on Mills' ditty “Don't Tell Our Friends About Me,” off his upcoming record Heigh Ho. The song also features Jon Brion (who produced Apple's fantastic When The Pawn …). See all those connecting dots? See 'em? You can hear the track below, and look for Mills' record on Sept. 16.

Dream of the stream

We know you love streaming new albums. And why shouldn't you? It's a nice way to preview an entire album before deciding whether or not you want to spend your heard-earned pennies. We get you. We understand you. And so does Tom Petty, which is why you can stream the new Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album (Hypnotic Eye) over at NPR. And while you're there, why not check out Jenny Lewis' The Voyager as well. Happy listenin'! Editor’s Note: The streams are only available for a short period of time, so apologies in advance if they’re no longer online.

Music/Film

What would a superhero movie be without a theme song? A superhero movie without a theme song. Regardless, it makes sense that if you're gong to have some dudes (or in this case, turtles) fighting crime, a slick tune is required to kick some ass and take some nombres. So Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign have banded together to make “Shell Shocked,” a track from the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (out Aug. 8). Let's not talk about Megan Fox being cast as April O'Neil. It's just upsetting. But who knows? The film could be friggin sweet. Have a listen to the tune below.

Those musicians and their film scores … First we have Jenny Lewis scoring Naomi Foner's Very Good Girls, and now we got James Murphy (formerly of LCD Soundsystem) scoring Noah Baumbach's upcoming film While We're Young. This is essentially exciting because not only do I consider Baumbach to be one of the greatest living directors around (see Margot at the Wedding, Squid & the Whale or his last film Frances Ha), but Murphy is a perfectly reputable guy to get for scoring duties. Oh, and he also scored Baumbach's Greenberg, so this should be somewhat of a kind reunion. PS: Ad-Rock (of Beastie Boys) is also set to star in the film. To read more 'bout it, head to Stereogum.

An undercover cover

In case I haven't mentioned it before (though I'm sure I have), A.V. Club does a series called A.V. Undercover where they put out a list of famous songs, and bands come in and choose a song to cover at the publication's headquarters. After a song is covered, it gets crossed off the list, so no bands can do one that's already been done. Their latest is The Coathangers covering The Go-Go's “We Got the Beat.” Though their version is “We Got the Weed.” You know … cause weed makes things better. You can view that below, and don't miss out on The Coathangers, who are playing at Sister on Wednesday, July 30. Your trusty Alibi writer August March wrote a little somethin' 'bout 'em in the latest issue. Enjoy!

On the horizon ...

I'm sure some people have wondered what Eric Clapton's been up to. Though I'm sure those in the know have gathered that Clapton doesn't really ever stop. Sure, you can search the old record bins for his work in The Yardbirds, or you can listen to his new record: The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale. The album includes 16 tracks and numerous collaborations with such musicians as Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and John Mayer. In fact, you can hear Clapton's “Don't Wait,” featuring the aforementioned Mayer over at Billboard. The album itself hits the music-sphere on July 29, so keep your ears out for that one.

V.22 No.51 | 12/19/2013

I'm sure a lot of people were sad after LCD Soundsystem decided to call it quits, especially after releasing the stellar 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.

You mean to tell me that kid from Home Alone is in a “pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band”? Seriously? You're not joking? Come on … And there's a demo??? And a video of their first concert???

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.41 | 10/10/2013

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

V.22 No.34 | 8/22/2013

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This Week’s Music Highlights

In a bold move, Robin Thicke and Pharrell are suing Funkadelic and Marvin Gaye’s estate in an effort to protect the track, “Blurred Lines,” after allegations the song too-closely resembles Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

Allen Lanier died at the age of 67 due to lung disease complications. Lanier, who died on Aug. 14, was a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult and played keyboards and guitar for the band. RIP Mr. Lanier. You can view a video of the band playing the iHeartRadio Theater in December 2012.

George Strait granted a rare interview with Billboard, wherein he talks about his first band (garage rock!), his career and why he doesn’t like to give interviews.

According to MTV, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have announced that they’re going to perform their single, “Same Love,” an ode to marriage equality, at the 2013 VMAs, which air on Sunday, Aug. 25.

King Tuff finally made a music video for “Sun Medallion,” my favorite track off 2008's Was Dead.

Continuing with a string of 7-inch releases, Kim Deal has come out with a new song, titled “Are You Mine?” But Ms. Deal has gone the extra mile to deliver an official music video for the track as well.

If you were as obsessed with Pitch Perfect as I was (and no, not in an ironic way), then you may be tickled pink to know they're coming out with an a capella Christmas record. Yes siree, the holidays just got aca-serious.

Fiona Apple's made a career out of break-ups, but you gotta admit no one can write a poetic ode to a failed relationship like this woman. Apple is gearing up to go on tour with Blake Mills and shared a video of them two playing a classic Fiona Apple track, “I Know,” from her 1999 album, When The Pawn...

The tracklist for the triple-disc reissue of Nirvana's In Utero can now be scoped by the public. The reissue hits stores and online markets on Sept. 24.

So Franz Ferdinand are still at it? I'm sure excitement is a-brewing for their upcoming release, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, set to hit stores Aug. 27. But you can see their performance of “Love Illumination” via Pitchfork.

L.A. sister trio, Haim, shared the video for their latest single, “The Wire.” If you like rhythmic pop with a stylish kick, this just may be your thing.