V.23 No.13 | 3/27/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
I'd like to take a quick moment to honor the memory of Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, drummer and one of the founding members of The Stooges, who passed away this week at the age of 64. We'll miss you. And here's a tune from The Stooges eponymous debut as a little send-off to the man. R.I.P.
Wu-Tang fans rejoice! The legendary hip-hop group has come out with a new single (“Keep Watch”), which comes off their upcoming LP A Better Tomorrow. The track features Method Man, GZA, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck and Nathaniel. You can head to MissInfo to hear the tune.
I like a powerful pop tune as much as the next guy and that's what Lykke Li has delivered with her new track “No Rest For The Wicked.” Unfortunately most of what I know about Li has been that song where she calls herself a prostitute or some such … and I didn't dig it at all. Thank Urban Outfitters for overplaying that one. But the track comes off her upcoming LP I Never Learn, which hits stores and online markets on May 5. So keep your eyes and ears out for that. You can hear the track below.
This is one that bears repeating. 'Member a few weeks (or months) ago when I mentioned that Veruca Salt might be getting back together. Well the band has announced that they are, in fact, reuniting with the original lineup (including Louise Post, Nina Gordon, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro), and they're scheduled to come out with new material for Record Store Day. It's a good day, indeed.
It's another sad one, folks, and I found out about this one too late to include in last week's column. Gary Burger, lead singer/guitarist of garage rock band The Monks died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72 on March 14. The band was formed in the '60s by five American soldiers who were stationed in Germany, and they only came out with one album (the excellent Black Monk Time). It is a sad day for rock and roll. R.I.P. Gary. And as a salute to the contributions he made to music, here's the band playing my favorite Monks tune.
I don't know much about BANKS. Nothing, in fact. The only reason I'm sharing this next bit is because I was, and still am, a fan of the late Aaliyah. Her music just has that capability of taking you back to when times were simpler (considering I was a kid when she came to prominence). But the aforementioned artist BANKS did a cover of Aaliyah's track “Are You That Somebody?” for BBC Live Lounge. It's a pretty great acoustic cover, and her voice is pretty stellar. You can hear that (as well as her track “Brain”) over at Stereogum.
And the good news just keeps on comin'. The fantastic Kim Deal (of The Breeders and former bass player for Pixies) is coming out with a fourth installation of her 7” series. The upcoming release will be available for purchase on April 1, and it will include the tracks “The Root” and “Range on Castle.” You can view the official video for “The Root” below.
There's not really a whole lot you can say about Joy Division that hasn't already been said before, so I'm just gonna get right to it. Their debut EP An Ideal for Living is getting reissued for Record Store Day, and the release features notable tracks like “Warsaw,” “Leaders of Men” and my personal favorite “No Love Lost.” You can read more about it over on Facebook, and save them pennies for this illustrious event.
I'm not that into the Melvins, but the band is an institution, considering they've been playing for over two decades and were a favorite of the late Kurt Cobain. I also got to interview frontman Buzz Osborne via phone before a show in Austin, Texas, and he was funny as all hell ... comparing listening to your own records to looking at yourself in a mirror while masturbating. I digress ... now Buzz Osborne is coming out with an acoustic solo LP, titled This Machine Kills Artists, and he's shared a track off the album. And Judging from the song, this release is something I could get on board with.
Seaking of Kurt Cobain, who died nearly 20 years ago, I should mention that Seattle police are looking at four rolls of 35mm film that investigators found in Cobain’s home at the time of his suicide in 1994. The film was recently developed, and police report that “they depict the scene more clearly than the earlier Polaroid photos taken by investigators.” You can read more about that over at CBS News.
V.22 No.29 | 7/18/2013
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?
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