Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
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.
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.
I'm sure a lot of people were sad after LCD Soundsystem decided to call it quits, especially after releasing the stellar This Is Happening in 2010. But all good things … Anyways, front man James Murphy recently told Rolling Stone that he's working on the live album for their final show at Madison Square Garden (the subject of the rock doc Shut Up and Play the Hits). You can read more of interview here.
Spotify wins out again (as if taking over the world's streaming sinuses weren't enough). Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue will now be available for free listening on the service. So if you're one of those who's too lazy to get out to a record store (or even purchase the physical albums online), then your wish has come true. So head over to your Spotify page, and climb that “stairway to heaven.”
Don't you love it when innovative and interesting musicians become such restless artists that they keep releasing innovative and interesting music over and over? Well, this is from judging one song. But St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, has announced a self-titled album that's set to hit music markets on Feb. 25. Clark has made the track “Birth in Reverse” available online. You can hear that below.
Don't you just love love songs? No? What's wrong with you? Having already spilled my guts by ruminating over the “myth of the love song,” I've just come to accept that it's a notion that never dies. Maybe that's why artists like Beck, Fiona Apple, Blake Mills, Jim James and more have taken to covering famous love songs for the Sweetheart 2014 compilation. You can hear Jim James' cover of Bob Marley's “Turn Your Lights Down Low” below, and head over to Pitchfork to get a full tracklist.
I feel as if Black Lips are one of those bands that you can only really appreciate if you were into them from the beginning. Granted, I've only heard their album Good Bad Not Evil (which was a good album), but after seeing them live at Emo's in Austin, Texas, the underwhelming concert wasn't enough to make me a faithful listener. Oh well … now the band has announced a new record (Underneath the Rainbow), and it was partially produced by the overrated Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney. Let's just say I probably won't get to this one.
The bossy lady herself, Kelis, has announced that she's coming out with a new album. The album, supposedly titled Food, is being produced by Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) and is slated to come out on April 28. Kelis' last album took listeners on a techno-club journey, whereas her previous efforts had a more pop-friendly rap/R&B vibe to them, so who knows what this new record holds? Either way, I'm intrigued.
Mark March 25 on your calendars. It will be a golden day indeed. Because that's the day that a “lost” Johnny Cash album (titled Out Among the Stars) is scheduled to be released. According to Pitchfork, the album was recorded in 1981, and John Carter Cash (Cash's son, duh) took the helm in restoring the recordings, which contain duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. This is good news, folks. Good news.
Movie soundtracks: Those fuckers can be a hefty bore or a good time … depending on how you look at it. David O. Russell's new film American Hustle is getting the soundtrack treatment that will be available in stores on Dec. 24. But the reason this soundtrack is extra special is because it has a new track by Jeff Lynne … yes, the front man, songwriter, composer, singer, the list goes on and on, of E.L.O. The track is titled “Stream of Stars,” and you can give it a listen below.
Wow … I must have been half-asleep if I didn't even know The Sounds had released a new album (titled Weekend) in October. Oops. But now they've premiered a video for their track “Hurt the Ones I Love.” This is my first introduction to their newer stuff, which seems to follow more closely to their work on Crossing the Rubicon. But I've always been more partial to the dance-pop-punk craze that dominated Living in America. You can view their new video below.
I could get better with rap. OK, I need to get better with rap. While my musical palate is rudimentary at best when it comes to rap and hip-hop, I always appreciate a good beat, some slick rhymes and good production. And that's what's happening on Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip's track, “Butch & Sundance,” off their mixtape The Abstract & The Dragon, which became available this week for streaming and downloading. You can hear the track below.