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.
King Tuff - “Eyes of the Muse”
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.
Coldplay & Cat Power - “Wish I Was Here”
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.
Christopher Owens - “Nothing More Than Everything to Me”
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.
The Vines - “Metal Zone”
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.
Talk about a boy-band super duo: Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) and Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) have decided to join forces and take over the music world as Nick & Knight. No joke. Their debut LP drops on September 2, and shortly after they're going on tour so people can see this pop extravaganza in person. It's just as well. Interested folks can view a promotional video for the project below, and in it you can hear a snippet of their single “Just the Two of Us.” PS: The album is already available for pre-order. So have at it if you must.
Nick & Knight
'Member that little Steven Spielberg gem known as Jurassic Park? I know I do. Seeing that in theaters was one of my greatest movie-going experiences as a youngster. And if you were a fan of the music, this is your lucky day. The film’s score is getting a nice reissue on multi-colored vinyl, and it'll be available to the public on June 11. Head to Consequence of Sound for more info.
Coldplay has been steadily giving glimpses of their upcoming record Ghost Stories, which hits the music-sphere on May 19. And now they're providing listeners with another fragment in the form of “A Sky Full of Stars,” which features a collaboration with electronic, club aficionado Avicii. Basically you need to be high as a kite in a black-lit dance party to experience the full effect of the song. Other than that, what's the point? But you can give the tune a listen below.
Coldplay - “A Sky Full of Stars”
The dream of the '90s is alive in super-Earth. According to the Portland Mercury, Corin Tucker (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) have joined forces to deliver new music to the masses in the form of the aforementioned band name: super-Earth. Not sure when they'll deliver the goods, but someone somewhere is jumping with joy, or at least digging into those old mixtapes, you know … from when people used to make them.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that a documentary about the late, great Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You) is scheduled to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now you can view a teaser of the film, which provides a glimpse of Smith's legendary status and why he was (and still is) loved and admired by his peers.
Heaven Adores You teaser
Let the album streamage commence: Last week, Lily Allen gave the visual accompaniment of her upcoming record's title track (“Sheezus”), and now she's streaming the album in its entirety. You can hear that via iTunes Radio, which confuses me, so I'll just wait for it to come out, assuming I want to hear it. And while we're on the topic of pop diva streaming, you can head to NPR to stream Lykke Li's I Never Learn. Oh, and you since everyone's giving it away for free (at least momentarily), head to Consequence of Sound to hear The Horrors' new record Luminous.
I'm gonna save you the introduction and spare you talk of my love of Christopher Owens, the former frontman for rock group Girls. I've gone there time and time again, so I'll just get right to it ... Owens has posted a new track (gospel-tinged rocker “Stephen”), and it's fucking great. Not sure if this is going to be on some future release, but one can hope. Have a listen below.
Music lovers young and old have shared thoughts about the internet's influence on music culture: how record labels don't make as much money; therefore, artists don't make as much money, yadda yadda. Steve Albini (noted producer, musician and engineer who has worked with The Breeders, Nirvana, Pixies, Veruca Salt and many more) has been pretty vocal about his views on record labels sucking artists dry to make a buck. And now, contrary to what many people would have considered him to believe, he says album streaming and the internet in general have solved “the problem with music.” He goes on to say “You can literally have a worldwide audience for your music … with no corporate participation, which is tremendous.” You can read more at Quartz.
The Roots shared a track from their forthcoming record ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin a few weeks ago (and maybe another one in between), who can keep track? Either way, they've come out with another one (titled “Tomorrow”), which you can listen to below. Their album hits stores on May 13, which is right around the corner, so save them pennies.
Most folks know David Lynch from his eerie, avant-visual stylings in films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. But the filmmaker has also been making music for a while now, and his new video, which was directed by Moby and features vocals by Mindy Jones, is available for visual and aural consumption. The vid is for the title track from last year's The Big Dream, his second full-length effort. You can watch that below.
Call me superficial. Call me impulsive. Call me weird. But the only reason I even watched the video for EMA's track “So Blonde” was because the default photo showed her wearing a Jim Morrison t-shirt. In case we haven't met, I have a tattoo of Morrison on my left arm. So yeah, let's just say I admire the “American poet.” But I am glad I clicked the link because the track contains some alt.rock, grunge tendencies that remind me of later Hole (around the Celebrity Skin era). You can watch that below.
EMA - “So Blonde”
While I'm not a crazy fanatic of Wes Anderson's films, I've always appreciated his aesthetic, his color, his attention to detail and his creativity in general. But as well as having an incredible eye for visuals, he's got a sharp ear for sound. You can tell by listening to the The Royal Tenenbaums' tunes, which include Paul Simon, Nico, The Ramones, etc. And now, thanks to the folks over at Pitchfork, you can hear the full soundtrack of his upcoming film The Grand Budapest Hotel. But keep in mind that it'll only be available for streaming till March 2 … right in time for the Oscars. What what!
Bring on the abuse! The Faint are back. I remember being introduced to them by pre-hipster kids that my friends used to know in high school, and their tunes could always be heard blasting from speakers at house parties where 16-year-old girls with eating disorders passed out on couches, and people would sneakily retreat to bathrooms for bumps on the toilet. The Faint always seemed like an appropriate soundtrack, and their new track (off their upcoming record Doom Abuse) seems to have the same sentiment. I foresee it being played at similar festivities upon its release. You can watch the video below, and look for their album on April 8.
The Faint - “Help in the Head”
A couple weeks back, I posted rock band The Men's track “Different Days” and noted its boisterous beat and wild direction. And now you can hear their entire forthcoming album Tomorrow's Hits over at the New York Times website. Enjoy …
'Member when Coldplay used to be good? You know … around A Rush of Blood to the Head? 'Member how their lyrics and melodies would strike at the heart and making your blood boil with confusion, sadness and reflection? Well, after that Viva La Vida bullshit, that sort of went out the window, and it seems as if they've gotten worse and worse with age. But maybe there's hope? Maybe their new, contemplative track “Midnight” might stir some emotion? See for yourself …
Coldplay - “Midnight”
It looks like iTunes is the place to listen to albums ahead of their release dates (or surprise albums in Kid Cudi's case). The Kid released his record (Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon) this past week on the music-buying and listening platform. So go get it! On another note, last week I mentioned that Pharrell was coming out with a new album (titled G I R L), and folks, you're in luck because Pharrell has decided to stream the album in its entirety via iTunes Radio. How's that for digitally representing yourself? And while you're at it, take a listen to Rick Ross' new Mastermind LP. Since you'll already be on iTunes anyway.
Sister trio Haim have been making quite a name for themselves in the pop world. Their track “The Wire” gained them some pretty good traction, considering they'd been teasing their album (Days Are Gone) for a while before it finally came out. And now the sisters have released a video for album track “If I Could Change Your Mind,” and they've added some groovy dance moves to the proceedings. You can watch that below.
Haim - “If I Could Change Your Mind”
I've always liked Mudhoney. I feel like they were the more creative, low-key sibling of more well-known grunge contemporaries. But when you hear their sound, it's anything but low-key. Just listen to their album Superfuzz Bigmuff to get a taste of their crunchy cool. But on to the news, people. Mudhoney and Divine Fits recently recorded live records at Jack White's Third Man Records studio. And both albums hit the music market Tuesday. That's right … this coming Tuesday. So get to buyin'.
Damnit! Every time I hear Screaming Females, I'm admonished for not having purchased one of their albums, so I just need to get with it already and make a buy. In due time, people. In due time. But I've just been reminded of how their particular brand of rock is necessary in my collection after hearing a live recording of their track “Lights Out.” The song comes off their upcoming LP Live at the Hideout, which is out on April 8. Listen ... and let your ears bear witness to greatness.
Nothing says good vibes like songs with the word “happy” in the title, which is evidenced by aforementioned Pharrell Williams' track “Happy.” But Billboard took the initiative to compile a list of 20 chart-topping songs that contain the word “happy.” NOTE: Most of them are gracious golden oldies because, let's face it, them's was the good ol' days. Keep in mind, just because a song has the word “happy” in the title doesn't mean it's going to put a smile on your face. But as an added treat, I've included one of my favorites (which is also on the list). Enjoy …
I'm sure a lot of people were sad when Rilo Kiley called it quits. Personally, I could care less. I've always liked Jenny Lewis' solo work much more. But, in keeping with their faithful fans, the band released a compilation of rarities and b-sides, titled RKives. Now they've shared a video for the track “Emotional” off said record. You can watch that below.
Roger Waters, the former bassist and singer of Pink Floyd, has announced that he's got a new album of “rock material” in the works. It's always hit-or-miss when aging rockers try to maintain a certain edge in this “shock-less” culture, but who knows? Maybe he's still got it.
Still reeling from Lou Reed's death, musicians and fans have come out and shared their condolences, goodbye thoughts and whatnot. Now Morrissey has announced that his live cover of Reed's “Satellite of Love,” which was recorded a couple years ago, will be released as a single on Dec. 2 (Dec. 3 digitally), which is the same day his autobiography comes out. Go figure.
Morrissey - “Satellite of Love”
I never really cared for Phoenix (and still don't). Their brand of electro-pop-rock just never sat with me. It just never seemed to bring anything new to the table. But that's just me. However, I love frontman Thomas Mars' wife, Sofia Coppola. Yes, I'm a huuuuge fan of her movies, so naturally I was excited to read that she directed Phoenix' new video for their track “Chloroform.” You can head to MoMa's PopRally to view the video.
We shared a while back that Shearwater was releasing an album of covers, featuring tracks originally penned by the likes of St. Vincent, Xiu Xiu, Coldplay and more. Now they've made a video for their Xiu Xiu cover (“I Luv the Valley OH!”) available for viewing. You can check that out below, and don't forget to look for the album (Fellow Travelers) on Nov. 26.
Shearwater - “I Luv the Valley, OH!”
Willis Earl Beal released the so-so Nobody knows. earlier this year, and while the album wasn't epic, it had some great moments. NowStereogum reports that Beal shared two new songs on Youtube, though it's unclear when they were recorded or what was intended for them. But you can head over to their site to hear the tracks, titled “Babble On.” and “Coriander Tree Life.”
Regardless of Lily Allen's pop leanings, I always appreciate a musician with a sense of humor. Allen has sort of been MIA for the past couple years … but then again, motherhood'll do that to you. Now she's back with a new track/video titled “Hard Out Here.” In the track Allen talks about the injustice of sexism in the music industry and describes how hard it is “for a bitch.” And already it's generating a heap of criticism. You can watch the video below.
Lily Allen - “Hard Out Here”
Considering Jack White's repertoire and every magical note he's recorded, it's no wonder that a band of legendary musicians have come together to record a series of covers of White's creative catalog. The collection of covers is set to come out on Nov. 19 and is titled Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White. It features the likes of Wanda Jackson, Bobby Vee, Rosie Flores and more. You can hear Wanda Jackson's cover of “In the Cold, Cold Night” (originally performed by The White Stripes) here. And you can get more details about the release via Rolling Stone.
A couple weeks ago, we shared Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong's cover of “Long Time Gone,” originally by the Everly Brothers. The track comes off their forthcoming covers record (Foreverly). Now they've made another track available, titled “Silver Haired Daddy of Mine,” which … you guessed it … is another Everly Brothers cover. The album itself hits stores and online markets on Nov. 25, and in the words of Wayne Campbell, “I think I'm gonna buy it.”
Just because “Breaking Bad” is over doesn't mean that the people who inhabited the controversial and edgy world it created have withered into dust. Actor RJ Mitte, who played Walt Jr. on the show, has expressed an interest in starting a music career. While attending MTV's European Music Awards, he said he's in the process of learning guitar and piano and hopes to break into the music industry. You can read more at NME.
MGMT are some weird dudes. While I was a fan of Oracular Spectacular, 2010's Congratulations just flew by without really sticking, and I don't regret that. But the third time's a charm? They have an upcoming self-titled album coming out on Sept. 17 via Columbia, and the band has shared a short film/trailer featuring some tracks from the soon-to-be-released record.
Sonic Youth-alum Kim Gordon has a new project to add to her wide array of artistic pursuits. Together with Bill Nace, they are Body/Head, and their new album, Coming Apart, gets released next week. But thanks to the folks over at Pitchfork, you can stream the album now.
If you've been following Pixies for the past few months, you may have already known that they're planning on releasing new material slowly but surely over the next year or so. For those who've been waiting, the wait is over. The band has released a 4-song EP, titled EP-1. It's available for purchase digitally and also as a limited edition 10” vinyl, which you can buy on their website. Sadly Kim Deal's not involved in these tracks, but you can hear new song “Indie Cindy” below:
“Indie Cindy” by Pixies
Apparently music blogs were iterating that Fiona Apple had another “meltdown” onstage at an event in Tokyo (remember Roseland?), in which she stormed off stage. But a friend of Apple's, ?uestlove of The Roots, received an email from the singer/songwriter, asking that he publish her statement because, you know, she likes to stay somewhat under the radar and all. But you can read the statement via Okayplayer.
I can admit when I've made a mistake. Or when I've mistakenly avoided a band. Savages is that band, and judging from their new video for the track “I Am Here,” that was definitely my bad. You can also read about the band's re-recording process while making the video via Pitchfork. Now I have to go buy Silence Yourself.
“I Am Here” by Savages
What the hell are Arcade Fire up to? Whatever it is, they're planning something for Sept. 9 at 9pm, and they've released a video trailer for whatever is expected to go down. It could be their title single, “Reflektor,” which supposedly gets out to the public on Monday. Oh, and their follow-up to 2010's The Surburbs hits the streets on Oct. 29. It's called Reflektor, obviously.
Reflektor trailer by Arcade Fire
I don't get Reddit. I'm just not tech-savvy enough to fully comprehend everything that Reddit has to offer, but I am a fan of their “AMA (Ask Me Anything” series where fans can post comments and receive answers to questions they've been dying to ask. And Big Boi is one of the latest artists to take part, wherein he talks about his work with Modest Mouse, sheds light on a possible Outkast reunion and new stuff he's working on.
Loretta Lynn's collaboration with Jack White, 2004's Van Lear Rose, was a masterpiece. I won't go into it again; I already have. But in an interview with Billboard, Lynn expressed her desire to work with White again. Though she's a busy woman; she says she's “got a Christmas album done, a religious album done, a CD of mountain songs with Shawn Camp,” so it'd be safe to assume we're going to be hearing some great stuff from one of country music's most loved and iconic performers. Also, White was recently named an honorary dean of Fermatta Music Academy in Mexico City.
Loretta Lynn and Jack White performing “Portland, Oregon” on David Letterman
If you haven't heard of Fred Stobaugh, it's okay. Even though he's 96, he's relatively new, having only written one song (a poetic ode to his wife of 72 years, who passed away in April). The song, titled “Oh Sweet Lorraine,” was entered in a songwriting contest by Green Shoe Studio, and it made such an impression that musician Jacob Colgan and Green Shoe Studio recorded the track and gave Stobaugh writing credit. And now Fred is the oldest artist to appear on Billboard's Hot 100. Not bad, Fred.
Short doc about Stobaugh and the writing of “Oh Sweet Lorraine”
Neko Case's latest album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, hit the music-sphere this week, and the singer/songwriter did an interview for A.V. Club's “Set List” where she talks about songs on the album, including her single, “Man,” and some of her noted previous work.
“Man” by Neko Case
I have mixed feelings about Coldplay. While I like A Rush of Blood to the Head, I’ve had a stagnant relationship with everything they’ve done after, minus “Speed of Sound.” But now Chris Martin and company have shared a new track, titled “Atlas,” which is going to be featured on the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which hits multiplexes on Nov. 22. Somewhere out there, some teenage girls just cried.
Do you remember where you were when you first heard Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP? I remember trying to be cool with my older brother and his friends, jamming out to it at someone's house … or was that in a dream? Regardless the sequel is headed our way in the form of MMLP2, which comes out Nov. 5. But Eminem (who's blonde again) shared the track, “Berzerk,” which you can hear below:
“Berzerk” by Eminem
You gotta love NPR and their “first listen” antics. Right now, they're streaming The Julie Ruin's Run Fast, which hits stores Sept. 3. Don't think, just hit play.
When I was a kid, I watched Almost Famous, and the song “Sparks” by The Who completely enthralled me to the point where it sort of became my own personal mantra to follow. It’s fantastic. On that note, Universal is going to reissue The Who’s Tommy in a deluxe edition, set to break down walls on Nov. 11.
The Who - “Sparks”
In honor of The Breeders’ Last Splash turning 20, Stereogum writer Tom Breihan did a little write-up about his love/hate relationship with one of the best records of the ’90s.
Spike Jonze and Karen O collaborate again! After Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs handled the soundtrack to Jonze's rendition of Where the Wild Things Are, she has now provided a track, titled “The Moon Song,” for his new film, Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix. You can hear the track below as well as view a trailer for the flick.
“The Moon Song” by Karen O
Apparently, some lost Joy Division and New Order tapes have been recovered and former member of both bands, Peter Hook, is in talks to buy them back. Unheard material? Yes please!
Cursive's The Ugly Organ confirmed two things for me. The first was that a rock band could be self-critical but with a poetic, angry prowess, and that Tim Kasher had one of the most tragically unique voices I've ever heard. But here's Kasher in a more synth-friendly, less angsty light, with his new track, “Truly Freaking Out,” taken from his new solo record, Adult Film, which hits the music-sphere on Oct. 8.
“Truly Freaking Out” by Tim Kasher
Alibi Arts Editor Lisa Barrow has suggested I tune in to watch “Boardwalk Empire.” I still have yet to get see it because I'm always weary when it comes to getting obsessed with a new show. I still haven't gotten into “Breaking Bad,” and that show's already coming to a close. But I digress, the soundtrack for “Boardwalk Empire,” which features Patti Smith (!), St. Vincent, Stephan DeRosa, Elvis Costello and more, drops next week (Sept. 3), but thanks to the folks at Billboard, you can hear it now.
In case you're wondering what Paul McCartney is up to, he's released a new track, titled “New,” from his upcoming album of the same name. The track maintains that whimsical style that made The Beatles so legendary. Look for the new record on Oct. 15.
“New” by Paul McCartney
According to Consequence of Sound, The Dead Weather just got a little deadlier. The band, featuring Jack White on drums, singer Alison Mosshart, guitarist Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence handling bass, released two albums, their last being 2010's Sea of Cowards. But Third Man Records announced, via Twitter, that the band is working on some new material (!).
“Die by the Drop” by The Dead Weather from Sea of Cowards
4AD American pioneers, Throwing Muses, are coming out with an art book/album. According to Pitchfork, the release, titled Purgatory/Paradise, is scheduled for release on Oct. 28, with a full(er) release set for Nov. 11. So, if you're feeling nostalgic, pull out those late-'80s, early-'90s albums, or have a listen to their new track, “sleepwalking 1.”
Throwing Muses’ “sleepwalking 1”
I love A.V. Club. From their “Hatesong” columns to their Undercover music series, they know how to wrangle interesting musicians and make them do interesting things. Like here … we have Kurt Vile covering “Down In It” by Nine Inch Nails.
If you've never listened to “I Luv the Valley, OH!” by Xiu Xiu, where've you been? It's a fantastic song that captures the sadness and anger of misspent youth and the hardships of all-consuming love. At least that's my interpretation. But, Shearwater's covering it for their new LP (of covers) titled Fellow Travelers. The album drops on Nov. 26 via Sub Pop, and will feature covers of songs by St. Vincent, Smog, Coldplay, etc.