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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Jesse Schulz

Music/Film

There's not a whole lot I know about A$AP Rocky other than he's been making waves through the rap music-sphere for the past couple years. And now, he's going to be a more well-known face after having a Noisey documentary filmed about him (SVDDXNLY). The first part of the film, which features a cameo by Rihanna, is available online, with the rest coming out in weekly increments. Future installments of A$AP's feature-length film include appearances by Drake, Danny Brown, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Jeremy Scott. View the first part below, and check YouTube weekly for the rest of the doc.

Play Youtube Video
A$AP Rocky: SVDDXNLY - Part 1/5

On the horizon ...

Bass Drum of Death's self-titled album was one of my favorites of 2013. Not enough to make my top five, but it was a bashin', thrashin' mix of a variety of influences, culminating in a wall of sound that wasn't easily forgettable. Now the band is set to release a new record (Rip This), which hits the online and physical markets on Oct. 7, and to give folks a snippet as to what the record will sound like, they've made album track “Left For Dead” available. If the track is anything to go by, this one's gonna be a keeper.

Now that Sonic Youth has called it quits (thank God, and you can quote me), Thurston Moore has had his hand in other projects, among them Chelsea Light Moving, though that project hasn't released anything since last year. However, Moore is now gearing up to release a solo LP (The Best Day), which will have contributions from Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe. The record will have other guest musicians, including Chelsea Light Moving contemporaries. And before you start marking those calendars, a release date hasn't been announced. Bummer.

I go back and forth with Stevie Nicks. I like her voice, I do. But a part of me always flinches when people declare her one of the greatest female vocalists in music. That's a bold statement to make. I mean ... have you never listened to Aretha Franklin? I digress. Nicks is releasing a compilation of unreleased tracks (24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault), which drops on Oct. 7. And Nicks has released one of the album's tunes (“The Dealer”), which you can hear below.

Play Youtube Video
Stevie Nicks - “The Dealer”

The Flaming Lips is another band I don't know much about, though I was a little surprised to see photos of Wayne Coyne hanging out with Miley Cyrus and getting matching tattoos. Not up to me to question the friendship between a singer-songwriter in his fifties and a young pop star 30 years his junior. I could care less. But that's beside the point. The Lips are gearing up to release With a Little Help From My Fwends, which covers The Beatles' entire St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It'll have contributions from the aforementioned Cyrus, as well as My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, MGMT, Tegan and Sara, Moby and many more. That drops on Oct. 28, so you still have some time to save a few “coynes.” See what I did there?

Music television

If you haven't yet watched “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” here is some incentive to tune in. Well ... at least for a short time. In case you didn't know, Fred Armisen is Meyers' bandleader. However, weirdo rock/pop ingenue St. Vincent is going to fill in for Armisen on Monday, Aug. 11, and Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 10:35pm (our time). Not sure if she's going to play any of her originals, but it would be interesting to see her leading an entire house band on a network television show. Check out the video to her single “Digital Witness,” off her latest release.

Play Youtube Video
St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”

Is electro

Like most people who know about Jimmy Tamborello, I was introduced to him via The Postal Service. However, it wasn't until years later that a friend played me his solo work as Figurine that I became more acquainted with the artist. Then his album Dumb Luck, under the monicker Dntel, came out. And hearing his track “Roll On,” which featured vocals by Jenny Lewis, changed things. It even prompted me to see him live, which was fairly boring, as he stood on a stage with a computer in front of him, with some light installations on a screen making weird shapes and colors. Not exactly my idea of a concert, but it'll do. I digress. Now Dntel is coming out with a new record (Human Voice) on Sept. 23, and he's shared the track “If I Stay a Minute” to give peeps a taste of its oeuvre. You can hear that below.

There's nothing like a record label celebrating a quarter century of its tenure. And there's nothing better than a record label coming out with a new music compilation to celebrate such an expanse of time. In keeping with the spirit of such triumphs, XL Recordings is releasing a collection of ditties called Pay Close Attention, which “compiles important music from the label's illustrious discography.” It'll feature artists such as Radiohead, M.I.A., The White Stripes, The Prodigy, Adele, Devendra Banhart and more. There's also a Pay Close Attention website where fans can read more about why these records and songs were so monumental when they were released. And you can also preorder your copy of the compilation here.

Audio/Visual

While I'm not an overtly huge fan of electronic music, I'm not completely opposed to it. It just takes me some time. Like dipping your toe in a frozen lake before you plunge through a crack in the ice, ya dig? Austra was first introduced to me after a friend played me an acoustic piano performance of their track “Lose It,” and that's pretty much all I know of the Canadian group. The band recently came out with their Habitat EP, and they've shared a new video for the song “Doepfer,” which is viewable below. If you like LED lights and trippy electronic tunes, this has your name spray-painted all over it.

Play Youtube Video
Austra - “Doepfer”

For all the New Pornographers fans out there, it's time to get excited. Or kind of excited. Band member A.C. Newman has been hard at work on the soundtrack for the film What If (a romantic comedy/drama starring Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, and Zoe Kazan). The soundtrack is out and about, meaning you can find it at your local retailers or online. Almost all of the songs were were written and recorded by Newman, though there is an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros track. Oh, and a Patrick Watson tune. But you get the idea. Head over to Pitchfork to read more 'bout it.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

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.

Play Youtube Video
Damon Albarn - “Everyday Robots”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Kanye West - “Everything I Am”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Beck - “Blue Moon”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Ike & Tina Turner - “Fool in Love”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Patti Smith - “Stay”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige - “F For You”

More Videos

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Who Am I? How Did I Get Here?

Grandpa?
Grandpa?

Last night, I spent about four hours playing with Geni, an online genealogy tool that my hubby forwarded to me. I’ve always loved family trees and made several on posterboards when I was a kid. I also love posterboards. But this Geni thing is almost sweet enought to make me put down my construction paper and rounded edge scissors forever.

In constructing my tree and doing online research to supplement what I already knew, I came across a branch of my tree on an ancestry website, done most likely by a fellow descendant of my maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother. Or something. Some of what I found was no surprise: that I’m mostly of English descent, with a lot of Scottish, some Irish and German. But, if this person’s research is right, I can trace part of my lineage to the Drakes of England, all the way back to the 1300s. Whoa.

It’s interesting because as far as we knew before, we’d come from poor people in Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico. But those people had to come from somewhere (like I said, I’m probably of 99% European descent). And this strain came from New Jersey and Massachusetts and England, and were Drakes, wealthy enough to be recorded.

It could all be wrong. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We’re accidents, living and then dying. But we’re also, paradoxically, the result of choices made by thousands of people we’ll never know. For me, just this one branch includes the Mylwayes, Gawtons, Walkers, Philbricks, Trotters, Batmasons, Marches, Byerleys, Wrens, Heighingtons, Gibbses, FitzRandolphs, Duvals and more. And don’t even get me started on the Deatherages.

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