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.