V.24 No.2 | 1/8/2015
Better Late Than Never
Rooster Roundabout’s Top 5 albums of 2014
By Mark Lopez [ Wed Jan 7 2015 7:12 PM ]
Writer Mark Lopez muses on his Top 5 albums of 2014.
V.23 No.43 | 10/23/2014
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
By Mark Lopez [ Fri Oct 17 2014 4:04 PM ]
Writer Mark Lopez muses on an alternate recording of “Rock and Roll,” album reissues from Pixies and Cursive and a slick Rihanna cover.
V.23 No.17 | 4/24/2014
By Mark Lopez [ Fri Apr 18 2014 4:55 PM ]
Yup, watching Belle and Sebastian cover Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” for a group of kids at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta might be the cutest thing in music this week. You can check that out below, but you might need to have a tissue handy.
A few weeks ago, I posted a track from Buzz Osborne's upcoming solo acoustic album This Machine Kills Artists. And now King Buzzo has posted another snippet from that forthcoming record, which, despite being acoustic, is pretty heavy and dark. But that's a good thing. You can hear his new song (“Drunken Baby”) by heading over to A.V. Club.
For those of you that think Lana Del Rey is all that and a bag of stale potato chips, the moment you've waited for is finally here. The singer-songwriter has come out with the first track from her upcoming sophomore LP Ultraviolence. Some blogs have already touted the tune as the “song of the summer.” Getting ahead of yourselves much? But I'll let y'all be the judge of that. You can listen to “West Coast” below.
I guess it’s only appropriate that I mention tomorrow is Record Store Day. Not only is it a way to promote shopping at your local record stores, it opens your horizons to new and exciting music emerging from the depths of post-Top 40-whatever. Meh ... political correctness aside, I’m not much of a fan of Record Store Day. Most record stores don’t carry the releases the peak my interests, and sometimes it makes me wonder whether it’s a trick to get you into the stores in the first place. Regardless, you’ll probably see me at Mecca tomorrow. But you can read Pitchfork’s top Record Store Day Releases by clicking here.
Hmmm... trippy sound effects, a slick guitar riff quietly sneaking around the bush and lush vocals … The Black Keys' new tune (the title track from their forthcoming Turn Blue) isn't half bad. I just may be tricked into hearing more. Could this be a change of heart or a momentary lapse of judgment? I don't know, but it's one good ditty. I'm impressed, Keys. The tune should tide fans over till May 13, when the album hits stores. Preach on!
I'll admit that the only reason I decided to write about this follow-up item is because Kelley Deal is involved. Sure, everyone knows about her sister Kim (Pixies, Breeders, Amps, etc.), but Kelley Deal is a good songwriter in her own right. Check out The Kelley Deal 6000 if you haven't yet. Now Deal is featured on a track by Motel Beds (“Tropics in The Sand”). It's supposed to be on a split 7-inch that'll be out on Record Store Day, but you can hear the track over at Stereogum if you don't plan on participating. Cause why would you do that anyways?
The only stuff I've heard from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were tracks on a compilation album I got for free at Austin City Limits. And I don't even remember the names of the songs; that's how out of touch I am. But they've shared a new track via SoundCloud, and if I can describe it in one word: cute. It doesn't hit hard like Bass Drum of Death, but it's not overtly twee like She & Him. It holds a nice place in the middle. Let's call it cute without the “e.” Wait, that spells “cut.” That doesn't work. Just listen to the damn thing.
Well this just seems to be a good week for streaming albums in full ahead of their release dates. You can head over to NPR to listen to Kelis' new record Food. And you can head over to The New York Times to listen to Eels' The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. And then head over to Consequence of Sound to listen to Nas' Illmatic XX reissue. Thank your kind publications for letting you get a sneak peak before you go purchase these albums … assuming you will actually purchase them.
If you ever wanted to see Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age play a disappointing gay man … here's your chance.
V.23 No.11 | 3/13/2014
By Mark Lopez [ Fri Mar 7 2014 5:25 PM ]
Hip-hop trio De La Soul has decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut full-length release 3 Feet High and Rising by making their entire music catalog available for free download. How's that for giving it away? And they've also shared a track “Dilla Plugged In,” which was produced by the late J Dilla. The song will be featured on an upcoming mixtape, titled Smell the D.A.I.S.Y. So thank them and get to listening.
I'm gonna do it … I'm just gonna mention it … because I think it'll do me good … it'll do you good … it'll do us both good. Thee Oh Sees have come out with another snippet off their forthcoming record (Drop) in the form of the song “The Lens.” The track, which is a slower number, incorporates strings (which is sort of reminiscent of “So Nice” off their Putrifiers II LP). That's all I'll say. Promise. Oh, you can head over to Pitchfork to give that a listen.
I don't know much about Son Lux. But it's just as well. The reason this particular snippet caught my attention is because the track features Lorde. And just in case you didn't read my “Best Albums of 2013” article, Lorde was on it. I won't repeat myself, but if you haven't listened to Pure Heroine, please do. You won't be disappointed. But now the New Zealand native is featured on a Son Lux remix track, titled “Easy (Switch Screens).” The ditty comes off Son Lux' 4-song EP (Alternate Worlds), which is available online and will be out in physical form on May 27. In the meantime, you can hear the track below.
I shared a track off The Black Lips' upcoming album (Underneath the Rainbow) some time back. Well now the entire album is available for streamage over at Noisey. So go there. Seriously … go there. And while we're on the subject of streaming albums, why don't you also check out Kimono Kult's new EP (Hiding in the Light) over at Consequence of Sound. The band features Omar Rodríguez-López from The Mars Volta and John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers … in case you were wondering.
Arctic Monkeys are another one of those bands that peaked my interest, but only for a short amount of time. I reviewed Humbug for my college paper, and other than that release, there's not a whole lot in the way of fandom for this listener. Friends have been adamantly recommending them over the years, but like I said, I have music-listening ADD and get bored easily. But after hearing frontman Alex Turner's acceptance speech for winning Best Album at this year's BRIT Awards, I decided to take somewhat of a closer look. And that started this week with their video for the track “Arabella,” off their most recent album AM. You can watch that below. By the way, the video is NSFW-ish.
I'm trying to think of how I can say this without sounding like I mean it … oh well … I hate Linkin Park. Hate 'em. Now, that's a strong word, but in this instance, there really is no substitute. So why even mention them, you might ask. Well, I do respect Jay-Z's work, and apparently their joint album (2004's Collision Course) is getting a reissue for this year's Record Store Day. The album (which I haven't heard) is said to feature Jay-Z's raps mashed with the band's tunes. Someone somewhere must be celebrating in some fashion. Let 'em carry on.
A lot of people think Dandy Warhols and immediately want to associate them with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, what with Ondi Timoner's Dig documentary. And while it sparks arguments over who is the better band, that's beside the point entirely. Each band has their own particular sound, their own aura, so to speak. Regardless, the Warhols went on tour last year to celebrate the 13th anniversary of 2000's Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia and are now gearing up to release a live album from the concerts' proceedings. It hits shelves on March 25, but in the meantime, the band has shared a video of them playing a cut from the record (“Godless”). You can watch that below.
I can respect Toadies. Granted, I never delved much into their catalog because a lot of their songs sounded somewhat samey to me. But I always appreciated their aesthetic. And a friend's band in high school used to do a lot of Toadies covers that went well for the teen crowds partaking in Friday night jam sessions at a venue in my hometown. But now the Toadies have come out with a new track, a cover of Pylon's “Stop It,” and the band are also “in the midst of finishing a new album.” You can hear the track and read more about their new stuff over at Billboard.
Sadly, I got into Girls after listening to their second release (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), and we all know what happened after that, right? Well, they broke up. And Christopher Owens later released a solo LP (Lysandre), which was as good as we could have expected. Makes sense considering he was Girls' main songwriter. And now Owens has come out with a new solo track “It Comes Back To You,” which is very much in keeping with the soulful, rock-ballad aesthetics that Girls strived for on their second album. Supposedly it comes off of an upcoming LP, but no details on that at the moment. You can hear the track below.
It it common for a band to release an album, and then come out with another one mere months later? Is this not the definition of prolific? Well rock group Guided By Voices must have an insane backlog of material if they're coming out with an entirely new LP (Cool Planet) in a couple months (May 13). I mean they literally just released Motivational Jumpsuit not even a month ago. And to prove that they've got new stuff brewing, they're previewing a track off the forthcoming record (“Bad Love is Easy to Do”), and you can take a listen below.
V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
By Mark Lopez [ Fri Feb 14 2014 4:38 PM ]
The diva herself is back to claim her spot on the music charts. Mariah Carey came out with a new single this week, and the accompanying video finds Carey embracing the tropical outdoors as she sings this longing-for-love ditty. The song is titled “You're Mine (Eternal),” and it's pretty much up to par with the stuff she showcased on The Emancipation of Mimi (see “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off”), which isn't a bad thing. It just means Ms. Carey knows her niche, and she's stickin' to it. Watch the video below.
'Member how I mentioned Thee Oh Sees were going on temporary hiatus … and how frontman John Dwyer was coming out with a solo electronic LP under the name Damaged Bug … and how I expressed regret that such garage-psych weirdos are hard to find—at least good ones. Well now Thee Oh Sees are coming out with a new record titled Drop, which is scheduled to “drop” April 29. While this is good news … great news, in fact … a part of me is still wondering whether the band is back together or just giving fans one last hurrah before they leave us lonely. Head to Stereogum to view the cover art and tracklist, and listen to the album's opening track below.
My first recollection of Dolly Parton was seeing her musical cameo in the film adaptation of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” And I remember as a kid being shocked at the revelation that she was the original singer of “I Will Always Love You.” No offense, Dolly, but Whitney nailed it. Regardless, I've always had this fondness and appreciation for Parton, and old roommates used to have “Jolene” blasting because the Austin hipsters caught on to old country ... for about a week. Back to the topic at hand, Parton has announced a new album (Blue Smoke) that's set to come out May 13, and the singer iterates that, “On this CD I think there are all of the colors of my life in all the areas of music that you've allowed me to dabble in through the years.” For more info, surf on over to Billboard.
Bright Eyes emerged within my circle of friends during junior year of high school, and most alternative, hip kids caught on to Conor Oberst's project pretty quick, trading copies of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, among others. I really only fell into the deep trance of music love when I heard I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. (See “Landlocked Blues”). But Oberst is fairly prolific and a great songwriter, so it's only appropriate that he's still putting out material. He's announced a new album (Upside Down Mountain) and has debuted a track off the record. It's titled “Hundreds of Ways,” and you can listen to it below.
It looks like Kelis is officially back! I mentioned a while back that Kelis was coming out with a new record (titled Food), which was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. And now Kelis has released a track from the album. Judging from these sounds, this woman has come a long way from “Milkshake.” Not like that was a bad song or anything, but you get the idea. Listen to “Rumble” below.
The lineup for Austin Psych Fest has surfaced, and just from glancing at it, I can authoritatively predict this year's fest is going to be friggin’ sweet. It's okay, Burqueños; Austin's only about a 12-hour drive away … and that's only if you drive like old people screw. But just to give you a minor glimpse as to the reputable names gracing them stages with their presence(s), the performing groups include The Brian Jonestown Massacre (who are great live!), The Dandy Warhols, Black Lips, The War on Drugs, Pure X, The Horrors and much, much more. You can check out the full lineup over at Stereogum. The festival itself happens from May 2 to 4 at Carson Creek Ranch.
I'd never listened to Metronomy before watching their video for the track “Love Letters,” off their upcoming record of the same name. And I'll admit that the only reason I even watched the video was because of its director: Michel Gondry. An old roommate had a DVD compilation of Michel Gondry-directed videos from names like The White Stripes, Beck and Bjork, and it's nice to see his aesthetics are consistent and constantly evolving at the same time. As for Metronomy, I probably won't give them more than the time I've already invested in writing this, but you can view the video below.
Brody Dalle: That's a name I haven't come across in some time. Granted, when I was a big fan of The Distillers, it was Brody Armstrong, but that's neither here nor there. Needless to say, Ms. Dalle has been working on some new material for an upcoming album. Music blogs don't seem to know the name of the album or when it comes out, but Brody—we're on a first-name basis—has come out with a new track (titled “Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy”). That's a mouthful, and you can stream the track below.
I've always been a fan of music biopics. From What's Love Got to Do with It to La Bamba to The Temptations, I'm all about them. And I'm especially excited about the forthcoming Tupac biopic because it's going to be directed by John Singleton (of Boyz n the Hood fame). No word yet on who is playing the man himself or when the film will hit theaters, but this is exciting news nonetheless.
Just in time for spring, The Walkmen's Walter Martin delivers a track that’s so twee you might hate it so much that you'll end up loving it forever, snuggling with it under a blanket and singing along to it till you hate it once again. But right now, I love it. And it features Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, so it's got that added oomph factor. But don't take my word for it. The track (titled “Sing to Me”) comes off Martin's upcoming solo LP We're All Young Together, which hits stores and online markets on May 13. That's plenty of time for you to love it, then hate it and then love it again.
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