Five Christmas Tunes that Don’t Nauseate Us
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.
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.
I always hate writing these … but sad news, people. GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (also known by his stage name Oderus Urungus) has gone to see the spirit in the sky. The musician was 50, and his cause of death is not yet known. The thrash ensemble has been performing for decades, building a loyal following. So it's an understatement to say that Brockie will be missed. R.I.P. And since their cameo in Empire Records was my first introduction to the band, it's only fitting to share that with y'all. You can watch that below.
“Do you know what this is, son? This is the panopticon. And all around us blink the brash and shifty eyes of common cash.” Sorry … a little Joanna Newsom fever going on over here … But let me get to business. Smashing Pumpkins have launched a new website called The Panopticon where they announced they're coming out with two new albums in 2015. (Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night). The recording process kicked off this past Tuesday (so says the site), and they're working with Howard Willing, whom they worked with on their Adore record. I'm sure there'll be updates on that in the coming year.
As if they couldn't get any better, blues-rock duo The Kills are now part of a documentary series (”Unlock Art”) that explores the processes, thoughts and perceptions going into creating art. The Kills' mini-doc focuses on “duos” in the art world and how collaboration can help mold, shape and magnify any particular medium. While this isn't solely music-related, I find it important in that music itself is an art form, and bandmates Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart both go into detail about great duos from Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to Jeff Koons and Cicciolina. You can read more about the doc series at NME, and you can watch The Kills' video below.
I'm sure Cyndi Lauper fans are already in the know regarding the 30th anniversary reissue of her breakout debut record She's So Unusual. The re-release of that LP will have demos, outtakes, B-sides, the works. And to give a little taste as to what surprises might be lurking within that LP (which hits stores on April 1), Lauper has shared a demo of the track “Rules and Regulations,” which didn't make the final cut of the original album. You can hear the track and Lauper's thoughts about it over at Rolling Stone.
Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has made a hefty amount of music since his debut in 1997, and now he's gearing up to release a new record: a tribute album to the late Lou Reed. Apparently Reed and Arthur were pretty chummy, and thus, Arthur felt compelled to provide a nice send-off to a close friend. The record Lou hits stores and online markets on May 13. And as a believer in signs, this release is already kind of blessed because that's my niece's birthday. But you don't wanna hear me ramble. Arthur has come out with a video for his cover of Reed's “Walk on the Wild Side.” Check it.
Some peoples are gonna be excited with this one. Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons), Elvis Costello (of Elvis Costello), T-Bone Burnett and more are going to record an album of recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics. Apparently the lyrics “date back to 1967,” and this endeavor is being handled “with Dylan's approval.” That should come out later this year, and the record is titled Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.
It took me this long to really delve into The Julie Ruin's 2013 release Run Fast. Not that I wasn't stoked, but upon hearing some tracks, I put that record on an indefinite hiatus until I found a vinyl copy at Mecca. And after giving it a thorough listen, I was delighted that Kathleen Hanna was officially back. Tracks like “Oh Come On,” “Kids in NY” and “Just My Kind” show Hanna's range from the punk-tastic overtures of Bikini Kill to the club-happy remnants of Le Tigre. And now The Julie Ruin has come out with a video for the aforementioned track “Just My Kind,” which you can watch below. Cheers!
It looks like tributes are in the air, man. Charlie Daniels (whom most of you know from his classic bar tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) is gearing up to release an album of Bob Dylan songs, titled Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan. Apparently Daniels lent a hand on some of Dylan's records (from Nashville Skyline to New Morning). The record comes out on April 1, and you can read more about it over at Billboard.
There's not a whole lot you can say about The Pretenders that's not been fit to print and re-print already. I will say that it was one of the only bands that me and my best friend's dad (who is kind of a music nerd) could agree on. I mean, just listen to Chrissie Hynde's voice. And now Hynde is gearing up to release her first solo record, Stockholm, later this year. And she's made the track “Dark Sunglasses” available. And while the track isn't overtly stellar, you can't deny Hynde's vocals. The woman's still got it.
Not a lot has been written or talked about regarding The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas’ new project (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz), other than a trailer and a website. But now, Casablancas and co. have shared an 8-minute video talking about the band, the project and the music. You can view that below.
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.
The Daily Word in Bob Dylan's crime, iPhone panties and Ron Burgundy on the sport of curling
Albuquerque City Council said no to the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Rio Grande and Candelaria. [Correction: KRQE now reports the Council voted against a bill that was against the roundabout. So, nothing new here folks.]
A French auction house wants to sell a bunch of kachina masks despite Hopi protests.
Meanwhile in France, Bob Dylan has been charged with a hate crime.
Rumor has it that unexploded US chemical weapons currently in Panama will be moved to New Mexico for disposal.
Read about a bill coming up before Congress that would make it more difficult for patent trolls to bully consumers over alleged copyright infringement.
The most popular word of the year is "science."
The Monkees and Neil Young? I'm in.
The Daily Word in voting for Lance Kerwin, Chad Kroeger and baby goats.
Don't pee on your lawn in Oklahoma.
Chad Kroeger commands you to look at this photograph.
There's a man-eating leopard on the loose in Nepal.
Let's all try this glowing black light cocktail.
Five technological leaps are coming soon.
A Santa Fe boy didn't want to clean his room.
Albuquerque fire stations for sale.
The Ether Man is expected to plead guilty.
Happy birthday, Lance Kerwin.
The Daily Word in minimum wage, cardboard bikes and Bob Dylan
State Supreme Court orders minimum wage increase back on the November ballot.
There’s a zip line at the Fair this year—and tigers.
Way to go, N.M. organ donors!
Santa Fe’s politicians call for a meeting with Zozobra organizers, saying the event should be more family-friendly.
Slinky blows physics’ mind.
The man who made the anti-Islam film causing violent protests throughout the Middle East is a 55-year-old former criminal and Coptic Christian in California, according to the Associated Press.
Protesters storm the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.
An actor from that anti-Islam film says she had no idea they were staring in a propaganda flick.
Meet the $9 recycled cardboard bike that can support a 485-pound rider.
Monica Lewinsky is writing a book, maybe.
“Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff,” says Bob Dylan in response to accusations that he’s plagiarized some of his material.
How to: Turn your wall into a projector screen for $50.
31 rad DIY projects.
The first 1,000 digits of Pi skywritten over San Francisco.
Hobby Lobby doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act to make it cover birth control for employees.
Bob Dylan in 75 Minutes
Bob Dylan isn't known for having an impeccable voice or even carrying a tune. More a poet than a musician, his thought-provoking lyrics and strong political messages became the soundtrack for change in America. Today, music historian Peter Chase hosts Bob Dylan in 75 Minutes at Esther Bone Memorial Library (950 Pinetree SE, Rio Rancho) at 6:30 p.m. Hear some of Dylan's most well-known songs performed live, watch a video and learn a thing or two about the legendary singer/songwriter. No registration required. For more, call the library at 891-5012 ext. 3128.