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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Jesse Schulz

Social awakening

When it comes to speaking out on injustice, who better to share words than people who've been held in high regard for their artistic and thought-provoking contributions within a specific canon. Hip-hop artist Killer Mike took to the written word (via an op-ed for Billboard) to speak his mind on the horrible outcomes surrounding the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. He not only addresses the shooting, but addresses the abuse of power in regards to the unsightly tactics law enforcement have undertaken in an effort to keep protesters at bay. Head to Billboard to read the article in its entirety. The rapper also went on CNN to talk about the piece and his thoughts on Ferguson. You can watch it below.

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Killer Mike CNN Interview

Delivering the rage

And while we're on the topic of Ferguson, rapper/singer Lauryn Hill posted an old sketch track (“Black Rage”) on SoundCloud, dedicating it to what's going on over in Missouri. The song is a version of the famous number “My Favorite Things.” You can hear that ditty below.

The voodoo chile returns

If you have a pen, highlighter or Sharpie in hand, you should flip your calendar over to September, work your magic little finger over to the 15th and circle, circle, circle. Because on that day, two out-of-print records from the late, great Jimi Hendrix are set to be re-released. Both records (The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge) were recorded in 1969 and 1970, but weren't released until after Hendrix' death in 1970. Those albums will get the full treatment, meaning people can purchase them on CD, vinyl and digital formats. So, again, mark that calendar.

A swift return

Well ... it's official. Taylor Swift has abandoned her country roots. Rebranding herself under the pop umbrella, Swift released the video for the first single (“Shake It Off”) off her upcoming record (1989), which comes out on Oct. 27. If we're looking at the single from a very distant eye-glance, it's not really anything special, though Swift is using her cutesy wiles to poke fun at herself, while alerting listeners to shake off the bad vibes. Cause that hasn't been heard in music before. Have a looksie below.

Play Youtube Video
Taylor Swift - “Shake It Off”

Tuff it out

I mentioned a while back that King Tuff was coming out with a new record (Black Moon Spell) on Sept. 23. Well, that's still happening. Gasp! But Tuff has taken the initiative to make the title track available for your listening pressure. And let's just say that this is a real treat of a song, and if the tune is any indication of the record itself ... it's gonna be one ferocious little gem. Have a listen below.

Still not fadin’ away

Talk about a sneaker-upper ... a group of country musicians have banded together to create a tribute album to one of rock's greatest gifts: Buddy Holly. Mmhmm, you read that right. Artists like Merle Haggard, T. Graham Brown and Helen Cornelius will tackle songs from Holly's oeuvre and give them a good ol' country spin. The record, The Buddy Holly Country Tribute: Remember Me, hits stores and online markets on Sept. 7, on what would have been Holly's 78th birthday if he'd still been alive. Whether or not you dig country (or what passes for country nowadays), this should be an exciting release.

The last slice

This is a sad one, y'all. Swedish experimental duo The Knife have announced that they're calling it quits. After their tour is finished in November, the band is going to dissolve, though they didn't specify as to what's next for each of the members. All speculation aside, I'm sure that they'll both go on to do interesting and innovative things. So as a goodbye, have a listen to their song “Heartbeats” below. Head over to Dazed to read what the band had to say about the break-up and the future.

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The Knife - “Heartbeats”

Something savage this way comes

In case I wasn't overtly explicit, I love Savages. Well, at least their debut record (which made my Best Albums of 2013 list). I'm not going to go into my love over it because it would take all day, and I'm sure you've got important things lined up in your schedule. To the point: Savages is teaming up with “acid punk” band Bo Ningen for a collaborative record. Apparently, the album is going to be one 37-minute track, described as a “Sonic Simultaneous Poem.” And that's expected to be out and about on Nov. 17. Any way you spin this, it's exciting news. Head over to Pitchfork to read more about the upcoming release.

Out of the basement

It was announced a while back that unearthed Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967 were going to be recorded and released as Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. The record is produced by T. Bone Burnett and includes performances by Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and more. The first snippet of what the record will entail has been posted online. Have a listen to Jim James' version of Dylan's “Nothing To It.”

Play Youtube Video
The New Basement Tapes - “Nothing To It (Official Lyric Video)”

Dream of the stream

Oh snap, it's time for some album streamage. You know you've been waiting for this one ... it's the New Pornographers' new record (Brill Bruisers)! Exciting news for people who like the band. I can't count myself in that group, though I've not heard enough from them to make a valid listening decision. You know ... laziness and all. It gets the best of us. Regardless, head over to iTunes Radio to give that a listen before it gets stale from staying out too long. Wait ... that's bread. And since you're getting it for free, you may as well head over to NPR to hear Ty Segall's new record Manipulator. EDITOR’S NOTE: These streams are only up for a limited time, so apologies if they’re no longer available by the time you click these links.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

I've never understood people's obsession with rap-rave group Die Antwoord. While I can appreciate them repping Cape Town and the culture therein, their music just never sat well with me, and still doesn't. A friend responded to this by saying “you just don't get it.” Maybe that's so. But for those that do get it, I'm sure you'll be ecstatic (or a little giddy) to know their new record (Donker Mag) comes out on June 3. So mark them calendars. The group has also shared a video for album track “Pitbull Terrier,” which you can watch below. PS: It's kind of graphic and, but what else do you expect from them?

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Die Antwoord - “Pitbull Terrier”

I never liked Rilo Kiley, but I always loved the country-twinged aesthetic that singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis pursued on her solo material. It had a sort of grittiness and longing that I always felt RK seriously lacked. Now the songstress is releasing a new record on July 29, titled The Voyager. After the brilliance that was Acid Tongue, I'm sure this one will be a poignant and enchanting effort. You can read more details, including the tracklist, over at Rolling Stone.

It's no secret this past year was partially owned by Robin Thicke, as his single “Blurred Lines” was everywhere and anywhere that had speakers and a sound system. Not that that's bad. It's a good song. And now, Thicke is set to release a new album on July 1, though the title and tracklist haven't been revealed. The only indication of the new record's sound is the track “Get Her Back,” which Thicke debuted at the Billboard Music Awards. You can watch that performance below, and keep an ear out for news on that upcoming record. Who knows? 2014 may also be his year.

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Robin Thicke - “Get Her Back” (2014 Billboard Music Awards)

It's a Destiny's Child reunion! Well, kind of. Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé appeared on a Michelle Williams song from her upcoming album Journey to Freedom. The track features Solange, as well. Titled “Say Yes!,” it's a remix of a Nigerian gospel track (“When Jesus Says Yes”) and though it's not the most excellent ditty, it's nice to hear these women back together. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of Beyoncé solo. Destiny's Child needs to make a full comeback, am I right? Head to MissInfo to hear the tune.

While I'm not a huge fan, I appreciate The Knife. Several songs in their catalog have struck my fancy, from their oft-referenced “Heartbeats” to “Pass This On.” But my interest fizzled over the years. However, the group is still going strong … at least strong enough to release reworked versions of various tracks from their catalogue. Shaken-Up Versions hits the public in the face on June 17, so keep a lookout. You can also view the video for the “shaken-up” version of “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” below.

Play Youtube Video
The Knife - “My Life Would Be Boring Without You (Shaken-Up Version)”

What better way to celebrate the mark you've made on the music industry than by reissuing the material that catapulted you to stardom? That's what Bon Jovi plans on doing. The band is set to reissue a large amount of their catalog, and that starts with 1988's New Jersey, which hits stores (again) on July 1. That album had such notable hits as “Bad Medicine” and “I'll Be There For You.” The reissue will include deluxe editions that have bonus material and whatnot. For more details, head to Rolling Stone.

I've always loved M.I.A. Granted, MAYA wasn't her best album, but I had hopes for Matangi. And that record proved to be a world-born effort of a Sri Lankan rapper still fighting to be heard and still pursuing controversial material with the swagger of a soldier and an aesthetic of a cut-and-paste artist. Now she's released a video for Matangi-track “Double Bubble Trouble,” which features 3D-printed guns, kids of varying cultures and lots of color. You can give it a looksie below.

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M.I.A. & the Partysquad - “Double Bubble Trouble”

Talk about a match made on Earth. Lorde and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst were paired up in an artistic conversation for The New York Times. The duo talked about their writing styles, their processes, backlash and whatnot. You can read that here.

I'm a-gonna be honest. The only reason I clicked the link for the following video was because the folks over at A.V. Club provided the headline: “Mat Devine’s Wrongchilde channels John Hughes on a new single.” If you say someone channels John Hughes, I'm there. I, like most people my age or older, grew up on Hughes' films, and I have to say their assumption is fairly accurate with the '80s imagery (Karate Kid, anyone?), colorific exploration and, of course, the synth-heavy track. And yes, I know Karate Kid wasn't by Hughes, but we're talkin' about the '80s, man. Like, get it? Anyway, you can listen to Wrongchilde's “Gold Blooded” below.

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Wrongchilde - “Gold Blooded” Lyric Video

Lastly, Richard Reed Parry, one of the many members of Arcade Fire, is releasing his own record (titled Music for Heart and Breath) on June 9, which is right around the corner. The multi-instrumentalist will have such guests as the Kronos Quartet, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner of The National. So keep your eyes and ears open, and for more info on it, head over to Pitchfork.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

While I'm not much of a Robin Thicke fan, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked “Blurred Lines” because it reminded me of my favorite Marvin Gaye track “Got to Give it Up.” (Lest we forget that's the reason the Gaye family is suing Thicke.) Regardless, Thicke has released his new video for the track “Feel Good,” and while this one doesn't have the same laid-back, good-time vibe of “Blurred Lines,” I can foresee it becoming a club favorite. I think that's the goal at this point for most pop musicians, right?

Reverend Horton Heat was one of those musicians that various friends played, but never really stuck. Maybe I was sleeping … maybe my mind just wasn't too much into the psychobilly fanaticism that permeated an outsider group of friends around 2008. Regardless Reverend Horton Heat (real name Jim Heath) is prepping a new album, titled Rev, that's scheduled to be released on Jan. 21. You can hear a track from it, titled “Spooky Boots,” (which also gives a shout-out to the Land of Enchantment) over at Billboard. Because why not.

What would it be like if Megadeth released an album of Christmas standards? And what would it be like if Jenny Lewis did a duet with them?

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Megadeth’s New Holiday Album feat. Jenny Lewis

Soul singer Charles Bradley is proof that it doesn't matter how old you are or what your background is. If you have natural, raw talent, people will notice. Having two albums under his belt, Bradley has taken a somewhat unthinkable turn: He's provided a soulful cover of Black Sabbath's “Changes.” And it's fantastic. You can listen to that below.

It's that time again, y'all. Time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to announce the newest pool of inductees. Among the musicians to be inducted and honored at this year's festivities is Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Kiss, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt. The ceremony takes place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 10.

My first introduction to Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez was his cover of The Knife's “Heartbeats.” While that track was excellent, it couldn't have compared to the magnetic prowess that made the original so noticeable. But that's neither here nor there. Now Gonzalez has a few tracks on the soundtrack to the Ben Stiller flick The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And Gonzalez has released a video for the track “Stay Alive,” which was written by Ryan Adams. You can watch that below.

I'm a fan of bare acoustic ditties. Maybe that's why it took me hearing A Sleep & A Forgetting to finally notice Islands, even though a friend had tried to get me to listen to them for years. Nick Thorburn (the front man, songwriter, extraordinaire) released Islands' latest opus, Ski Mask, earlier this year, and now he's shared an acoustic track that he recorded last Friday. You can hear it below.

Girls who were 16 circa 1998 are about to be very, very excited … and cry. For what, I don't know. But, Dave Matthews, Jakob Dylan and a host of other musicians have formed a new band (The Nauts). Apparently they got together at Brady Blade's Studios in Shreveport, La., to record some material, and now they've booked some live shows. Let the crying commence!

Country music legend Ray Price died at the age of 87 this past week. Though a lot of people (myself included) weren't too familiar with Price's repertoire, his indelible imprint in the music country sphere has been felt and ruminated over since his death to pancreatic cancer was announced. It's always hard to see a legend called home. So here's “Crazy Arms.”

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Ray Price - “Crazy Arms”

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: If it's free, it's me. Texas group Okkervil River have released a third EP of '80s covers, titled Golden Opportunities 3. The mix features covers of artists ranging from Roseanne Cash to Don Henley. You can download or stream the EP (and get the two previous Golden Opportunities releases) here.

Every bit as dark and seductive as they were when they first started, the Dead Weather's latest song, “Open Up (That's Enough),” shows the group in a stylized light that further exemplifies their hard blues rock tendencies. Maybe the cigarettes are helping Mosshart's voice because it's working on this track. But enough of my gushing. You can hear the track below, and you can download it digitally on Jan. 14.

Play Youtube Video
The Dead Weather - “Open Up (That’s Enough)”

Sufjan Stevens has gotten together with Son Lux and Serengeti to form a trio of ideas (and music, obviously) called Sisyphus. And they're coming out with their eponymous debut on March 18, and they've shared a track, titled “Calm It Down.” Judging from the single alone, it could be interesting, or it could get old really fast. Let's see what happens.

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Today's Events

The 90th Burning of Zozobra at Fort Marcy Park

Kick off the Fiestas de Santa Fe with the burning of Will Shuster's Zozobra, staged every year by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe.

Summertime in Old Town: Animal Opera at Historic Old Town

AZ/NM Connection at Masks y Mas

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