Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
The man is back! Jack White has been hinting at a new solo release pretty much since 2012's Blunderbuss hit shelves. And now he's shared a snippet from his upcoming LP, titled Lazaretto, which hits stores and online markets on June 10. It's an all-instrumental track (sorry for those who like when White's wailin' vocals recall Robert Plant), but it's a good indicator of what the album will sound like: pure magic. You can hear that below.
For those of you who miss “Breaking Bad” so much that streaming the entire series on Netflix isn't cutting it … well, now you can purchase the show's score. The double LP, titled Breaking Bad (Original Score From the Television Series), is scheduled to be released on April 29. That's right around the corner, y'all. Soon, after listening to the album, you'll relive Walter White's drug-enterprising endeavors and feel the emotional decline of Jesse Pinkman as the show's tunes provide some lovely soundscapes. Or sinister ones, depending on which track you hear. Read more about that over at Billboard.
Here's another exciting thing on the horizon: The mid-’90s lineup of Hole is reuniting. Yup, you read right. According to Courtney Love, she and Eric Erlandson, Patty Schemel and Melissa Auf Der Maur have been rehearsing some new material. If we're lucky, it will have the same ferocity, fragility and angst that made Live Through This such a gem. You can read more about that at the Quietus, and have a listen to LTT album cut “Violet” below.
I'm gonna say this … and I'll take whatever flack I get. It's called honesty. But … wow, this is hard … okay … just say it, Mark. Okay … I've always preferred The Jackson 5 to Michael Jackson's solo work. Any and everyone I've told this to throughout the years has basically deemed such a proclamation sacrilegious. I can't help how I feel. But MJ fans will be excited to know a new record of unreleased material (XSCAPE) is slated to come out May 13. Read more about that over at Pitchfork.
It's no secret that Janelle Monáe is a big David Bowie fan because … well … she’s said so several times. But now the funky fresh artist has decided to do Bowie a solid by covering “Heroes.” You don't need me to talk about it. You can hear it below.
My knowledge of Elliott Smith is rudimentary at best. And before you commence to gasping, I'll clarify by stating that most of what I've heard has been through hearing his music in films (like Good Will Hunting and The Royal Tenenbaums). Granted, that makes sense for me. I'm a very cinematic-minded person; it matters to me how music is used to shape a scene and capture a moment. While we're on the topic of film, a new documentary about Smith titled Heaven Adores You will premiere at the San Francisco Film Festival on May 5, and that film will include “unheard songs, personal pictures and lost footage.” So keep an eye (or both eyes) open for that.
My first foray into the world of Swedish duo First Aid Kit was watching a video of them covering Patti Smith's “Dancing Barefoot,” with Smith reduced to tears of gratitude in the audience. It was magical. Now the group is getting ready to release a third LP titled Stay Gold. That record comes out June 10, and you can hear some of what it has to offer by listening to the track “My Silver Lining” below.
Late spoken-word performer and musician Gil Scott-Heron's unreleased recordings are going to see the light of day … or be listened to by people. Apparently he'd recorded some of his older songs during sessions for his 2010 album I'm New Here, but those recordings were shelved. Now, for Record Store Day, a posthumous release, Nothing New, is slated for April 19. Read more about the record over at Rolling Stone.
I don't know much about Stagnant Pools. Nothing, in fact, other than they're a sibling duo that makes noise-inflected rock music, and they're coming out with their second LP Geist. I clicked the link to listen to their new song after reading comparisons to Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain. After listening to their new track from the forthcoming album (which hits stores on June 10), I think I need to pay some attention to their first record Temporary Room. Listen to their track “Intentions” below.
This one may seem to come out of left field, but there's context … at least for me. Country star Martina McBride's new record of pop and R&B covers, Everlasting, comes out next week. And for the hipsters, no … there's no irony here. I grew up in South Texas where '90s country was a staple. Hell, McBride's “Independence Day” was one of my favorite songs growing up. Now that that's out of the way … McBride is streaming her album in its entirety over at Billboard. Head that way to get a first glimpse.
We got another leak, people. Some time back, self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Rey announced she's releasing a new album (Ultraviolence) later this year. And now a track has appeared online, though there's no clarification about whether the track is from the upcoming record or not. Your guess is as good as mine, and you can listen to that below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video has since been removed. Sorry for any inconvenience.
I'd like to take a quick moment to honor the memory of Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, drummer and one of the founding members of The Stooges, who passed away this week at the age of 64. We'll miss you. And here's a tune from The Stooges eponymous debut as a little send-off to the man. R.I.P.
Wu-Tang fans rejoice! The legendary hip-hop group has come out with a new single (“Keep Watch”), which comes off their upcoming LP A Better Tomorrow. The track features Method Man, GZA, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck and Nathaniel. You can head to MissInfo to hear the tune.
I like a powerful pop tune as much as the next guy and that's what Lykke Li has delivered with her new track “No Rest For The Wicked.” Unfortunately most of what I know about Li has been that song where she calls herself a prostitute or some such … and I didn't dig it at all. Thank Urban Outfitters for overplaying that one. But the track comes off her upcoming LP I Never Learn, which hits stores and online markets on May 5. So keep your eyes and ears out for that. You can hear the track below.
This is one that bears repeating. 'Member a few weeks (or months) ago when I mentioned that Veruca Salt might be getting back together. Well the band has announced that they are, in fact, reuniting with the original lineup (including Louise Post, Nina Gordon, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro), and they're scheduled to come out with new material for Record Store Day. It's a good day, indeed.
It's another sad one, folks, and I found out about this one too late to include in last week's column. Gary Burger, lead singer/guitarist of garage rock band The Monks died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72 on March 14. The band was formed in the '60s by five American soldiers who were stationed in Germany, and they only came out with one album (the excellent Black Monk Time). It is a sad day for rock and roll. R.I.P. Gary. And as a salute to the contributions he made to music, here's the band playing my favorite Monks tune.
I don't know much about BANKS. Nothing, in fact. The only reason I'm sharing this next bit is because I was, and still am, a fan of the late Aaliyah. Her music just has that capability of taking you back to when times were simpler (considering I was a kid when she came to prominence). But the aforementioned artist BANKS did a cover of Aaliyah's track “Are You That Somebody?” for BBC Live Lounge. It's a pretty great acoustic cover, and her voice is pretty stellar. You can hear that (as well as her track “Brain”) over at Stereogum.
And the good news just keeps on comin'. The fantastic Kim Deal (of The Breeders and former bass player for Pixies) is coming out with a fourth installation of her 7” series. The upcoming release will be available for purchase on April 1, and it will include the tracks “The Root” and “Range on Castle.” You can view the official video for “The Root” below.
There's not really a whole lot you can say about Joy Division that hasn't already been said before, so I'm just gonna get right to it. Their debut EP An Ideal for Living is getting reissued for Record Store Day, and the release features notable tracks like “Warsaw,” “Leaders of Men” and my personal favorite “No Love Lost.” You can read more about it over on Facebook, and save them pennies for this illustrious event.
I'm not that into the Melvins, but the band is an institution, considering they've been playing for over two decades and were a favorite of the late Kurt Cobain. I also got to interview frontman Buzz Osborne via phone before a show in Austin, Texas, and he was funny as all hell ... comparing listening to your own records to looking at yourself in a mirror while masturbating. I digress ... now Buzz Osborne is coming out with an acoustic solo LP, titled This Machine Kills Artists, and he's shared a track off the album. And Judging from the song, this release is something I could get on board with.
Seaking of Kurt Cobain, who died nearly 20 years ago, I should mention that Seattle police are looking at four rolls of 35mm film that investigators found in Cobain’s home at the time of his suicide in 1994. The film was recently developed, and police report that “they depict the scene more clearly than the earlier Polaroid photos taken by investigators.” You can read more about that over at CBS News.
Oh how relentless this Beck guy is … after his last album was released in 2008 (with production duties handled by Danger Mouse), he kind of laid low (minus a sheet music album). That is until he started releasing tracks early this summer, including “I Won't Be Long.” Now Beck has shared a new song, titled “Gimme.” And this one sounds more in tune with the work he provided on The Information, which can be good or bad, depending on what version of Beck you like. Though none of these songs will be on Beck's upcoming LP.
I was never that big a fan of Islands, until I heard last year's A Sleep and A Forgetting. But judging from one of the first songs made available from Nick Thorburn's latest work, “Wave Forms,” this might be something worth looking into. Pitchfork is currently streaming the album (titled Ski Mask) in full, or you could just get your behind to the store and buy it because it came out this week.
Not to make comparisons, but I'm gonna go ahead and say it. I knew I liked Solange Knowles better than her sister (of Beyoncé fame) when I heard her record, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. While it wasn't groundbreaking, it showed that she had more of an old school bent. She's released some stuff since, including a new video for her track “Lovers in the Parking Lot,” from her True EP. You can check it out below:
Seventeen years in the making … Okay, well, maybe they didn't spend that whole time working on the album. But Mazzy Star's upcoming release, Seasons of Your Day, drops next week, but thanks to folks over at The Guardian, you can hear it in its entirety.
I have to admit that while I don't like Britney Spears personally (not that I've met her or anything), some of her songs were markers of very specific times in my adolescence and so on. So it's not too much of an understatement to say that I still follow her career (kind of). But after Spears' latest single “Work Bitch” was leaked online, the pop star and former train-wreck decided to release it a day early.
Following Ian Curtis' suicide, he became sort of this mystical figure/poet that left the world with a handful of interesting and thought-provoking lyrics from his work with Joy Division. Now those lyrics and some previously unseen notebooks are going to be compiled into a book, titled So This Is Permanence. According to Faber Social, the book is scheduled to be published in spring 2014.
I'm sure people are winding down from the rhythmic dance party that was Daft Punk's single “Get Lucky” from their latest LP, Random Access Memories. But get your feet ready for one more spin on the floor because Daft Punk has shared the video for their second single “Lose Yourself To Dance,” which also features Pharrell and Nile Rodgers.
Allow me to wax romantic about Bass Drum of Death's recent self-titled LP. The record was a garage-psyche-punk gem. So I was delighted to find out this week that the band came out with a video for their track “Bad Reputation.” Though I should warn that the video is probably NSFW.
Thanks to the folks over at NME, you can now watch Nirvana play their fantastic track “Scentless Apprentice” on MTV's “Live and Loud.” The footage was originally unavailable, but has been released with the 20th anniversary reissue of In Utero.
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (!).
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.”
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.
Origin of the Unknown Pleasures cover
As Geoffrey Plant reported in Cubes of Beauty, Jack-of-all-trades Ben Adams transformed a plain Jane Alibi distro box into a visual ode to Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover. Adams' español tribute to the iconic image sits and broods outside Tractor Brewing Company. In the below video by Visualized, art director and graphic designer Peter Saville muses about the creation and cultural impact of his most well-known Factory Records album art.