Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Damon Albarn, of Blur and Gorillaz fame, has announced that he's coming out with a solo LP, titled Everyday Robots. The album comes out on April 29, which is still a little down the road, so that gives you time to save some pennies. But Albarn has made the title track and video available, so you can check that out below.
Amnesty International is putting together a Human Rights Concert (well, putting it back on, so to speak), and they've gotten some good names to provide the tunes, like Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, Cold War Kids, etc. But most importantly, they're gonna have Pussy Riot at the festivities … or at least the two members who were formerly imprisoned, but released about a month ago. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will make an appearance on Feb. 5 at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Brooklyn's Barclay's Center. So pack those bags and get to steppin'!
I've probably said this before, but I don't mind saying it again. I hate Kanye West. No. Hate is a strong word. I severely dislike Kanye West. Is the man talented? Yes. Does he need to shut his mouth if he's not spitting fierce rhymes over intricate beats? Yes. But he doesn't. That's the problem. Regardless, when Kanye isn't on a soap-box, he's actually an extremely talented individual. So I guess it's fitting that Interview Magazine paired him with innovative filmmaker Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) for a print interview. You can read that here.
When you see a music project simply called Miserable, you have to take a listen. So it was a leap that I took when Stereogum highlighted a new track by Miserable, or Kristina Esfandiari (formerly of Whirr). Granted, I've never listened to her former band; this dark, brooding track immediately drew me in. The wall of sound existing within the short expanse of time it takes to get through it is immediately apparent, the thundering drums that quietly linger in the background before becoming a full force all their own. It's a nice treat. The track (titled “Bell Jar”) comes off her Halloween Dreams 7-inch, which hits the streets on Feb. 18. But you can hear the track below.
According to NME, in 1992 Columbia Records threw a special 30th anniversary concert for Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden, which featured performances by numerous legends, from Johnny Cash to George Harrison, from Tracy Chapman to Lou Reed. And now that special concert is going to be released on CD and DVD on March 4. You can click here to get a full tracklisting of the CD and see a trailer for the DVD release.
I'm a huge Beck fan, just in case that's not already been made painfully obvious. Whether I'm listening to the gutter-soaked ramblings of a “loser” on Mellow Gold, or the electronic intonations of a veteran on The Information, the man just doesn't stop. And now Beck has released the audio of a track (“Blue Moon”) off his upcoming record Morning Phase. The album comes out on Feb. 25, which is right around the corner, so just bear with me while I try to contain my excitement. You can hear the track below.
Nicki Minaj and Drake have proven to be ubiquitous entities in the music-sphere. Good for them. It's a hard business, ain't it? So then it must be time to celebrate. I guess that's why their label is releasing Young Money: Rise of an Empire, which features tracks from Lil Wayne, the aforementioned Drake and Minaj, Birdman, Tyga and others. You can hear the Lil Wayne's track (“We Alright”) with Birdman and Euro, and read more about the compilation here.
Doesn't retiring from the music business mean not releasing any more albums? Or does it just mean releasing music but not making a public statement over it? In Tina Turner's case, it's the latter. The 74-year-old rock and soul icon has announced an album of love songs, titled Love Songs, to be released on Feb. 4. According to Billboard, the album will have some Turner classics like “What's Love Got to Do With It?” and “Private Dancer,” and some unreleased tracks. So get ready for that one.
I've only sporadically heard songs from Gary Clark Jr., but the amount of praise that's been thrown his way has been hefty. I remember reading a glowing story about the blues musician in Texas Monthly, and that made me curious about him. Of course, I forgot his name and never looked back. That won't happen twice. Now Gary Clark Jr. is coming out with Blak and Blu: The Mixtape, which features unreleased tracks and remixes featuring such names as Big K.R.I.T., Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and more. You can hear the Big K.R.I.T. Remix of “Blak and Blu” over at Consequence of Sound. Apparently the mixtape doesn't have a release date yet. So keep your eyes and ears open.
Bet you never thought Patti Smith would cover a Rihanna track. Well, she did. A video recently surfaced of a concert performance from December that features Smith singing the somber ballad “Stay.” You can view that below.
Drag City, a record label hosting such contemporaries as Joanna Newsom (one of my all-time favorites), Bill Callahan and Ty Segall, has teamed up with Fred Armisen to release a series of 7” records of … wait for it … “Saturday Night Live” songs from Armisen's time on the show. You can head over to Stereogum to read more about that.
Uh-oh, someone's trying to bring the roof down in a big way. English electro duo Disclosure released their debut LP (Settle) last year. Now they've redone their track “F For You,” but they've added Mary J. Blige to the mix. This version of the bombastic club jam will definitely hit some turntables in the coming months (if it hasn't already). You can see the video for the track below.
A few weeks ago, we posted Lauryn Hill's latest track “Consumerism.” Now, Ms. Hill has made a lyric video available via the interwebz. If you're anything like me (and like to learn the lyrics of songs), you may need to hit replay a few times. This one's a doozy.
So … you know Black Francis … the front man of Pixies … yeah, that one … well, apparently, he's got another project in mind. A project that will take the form of a graphic novel, titled The Good Inn. The novel, which will be illustrated by Steven Appleby, is described as “a fantastical piece of illustrated fiction based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn't yet exist.” The book is scheduled to be published in the UK in May of 2014, so you still got time to save the dough.
It was announced a few weeks back that The Velvet Underground's fantastic White Light/White Heat was getting a 3-disc reissue, which hits stores on Dec. 10, to commemorate its 45th anniversary. Now, a recording of a 19-minute live version of the track “Sister Ray,” which was performed at The Gymnasium in 1967, has become available online. You can listen to that below.
I do believe it's time for the album streamage to commence. Well, it's always that time because there's always something coming out. But now, you can stream Snoopzilla and Dam Funk's collaboration (7 Days of Funk) over at NPR. Mind you, it’s only available for the next week. And you can also stream R. Kelly's latest album, Black Panties (for real?), at VIBE.
Primal Scream released the so-so More Light earlier this year, and now they've come out with a video for the track “Goodbye Johnny.” The sometimes black-and-white, sometimes color vid is as underwhelming as the album, but who am I to criticize? You can view the video below.
Drum roll please … the lineup for Austin Psych Fest has been revealed. And this one's got some good stuff. From Black Lips to Primal Scream to The Black Angels to The Zombies to The Horrors and more, it should be a formidable celebration of aural magic. The festival happens May 2 – 4, 2014, and weekend passes will run you about $127. Not too bad. Head over to Consequence of Sound for the full lineup and more info.
I'm sure most people couldn't have predicted how huge Lorde would get, but I'm kind of happy to encounter a pop singer who actually has something to say. And so are a lot of other people because apparently the release of her new video (for the track “Team”) caused Vevo to crash. Not bad, Lorde. Not bad.
Just in case you're curious as to how Jay Z would rank his own albums.
So who wants to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts play their classic track “Bad Reputation”? We do! The band played the track in their Guitar Center Sessions performance, which airs on DirecTV tonight at 9pm EST. But you can view them performing the track below.
I like Devendra Banhart's quirkiness. It fits not only the style of music he creates, but often the visuals that go along with it. (Did I mention he's a talented artist who does most of his album artwork?) In keeping with that mentality, Banhart has released a video for the track “Taurobolium.” The animated video, titled “Mondo Taurobolium,” also features Rose McGowan, as she and Banhart (appearing as ducks), venture through a psychedelic City of Angels. You can view the video here.
I know that I've mentioned the Coen brothers upcoming flick, Inside Llewyn Davis, because of its major folky soundtrack. I also mentioned that there would be a concert special for the film (back in September), and now a video has surfaced of Jack White performing his awesome track “We're Going To Be Friends.” The concert, titled Another Day, Another Time is scheduled to air on Showtime on Dec. 13, but this video should tide you over.
Now that Lauryn Hill is a free woman (after having spent a little under three months in prison for tax evasion), she can get back to work! And Hill has wasted no time: She just released a new track, titled “Consumerism.” Her fast rhyming moves over a scattered beat … and a lot of ism's get thrown around, but hey, it's Lauryn Hill, man. Also, the track is said to be the first part of a collection titled Letters From Exile. Judging from this, I'm sure the second part will be interesting.
David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) has written an editorial piece in which he asserts that economic inequality in New York has stunted creative culture.
Fiona Apple played a new song at a show in Portland, Ore., right before she asked a heckler to leave for allegedly telling her to “get healthy.” The sound quality isn't great considering it was recorded from a live show, but it's good to hear something new from what I consider one of our generation's most elusive and genius minds. You can also hear her duet with Blake Mills, titled “Tipple,” over at Consequence of Sound.
Don't you just love it when music awards season hits? Or at least a portion of it. For interested parties, the nominees for the 2013 American Music Awards have been announced. And the musical line-up for the 2013 Soul Train Awards has also been made public by the folks over at Billboard.
It seems that David Byrne isn't the only one who wanted to write about his artistic pursuits this past week. Madonna wrote an essay for Harper's Bazaar about her early work and her so-called “daring.” In the essay she talks about her expectations vs. the reality of moving to New York, being raped at knifepoint, her marriages and more.
I pretty much stopped paying attention to Interpol after Turn On The Bright Lights, and after hearing that Paul Banks had attempted a rap album earlier this year (Everybody on My Dick Like They Supposed To Be), that further cemented my disinterest. But now, Banks is collaborating with RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) on a record, which they've been recording for the past six months. This should be interesting.
I'm sure them little monsters are jumping for joy this week. Lady Gaga revealed not only the cover art for her new album, ARTPOP, but she also shared the tracklist and a new track, “Aura.” She released the track as a lyric video, which also contains clips and pieces of the Robert Rodriguez flick Machete Kills. You can see that below.
A lot of people know Questlove from his work with The Roots. A lot of people see him every night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” A lot of people may not know who Questlove is, and for those who don't, there's always time. But now Questlove has written a book, titled Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, which hits shelves on Oct. 22. Thanks for the astute warning, man.
I first encountered Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings while wandering Austin City Limits in search of water or whiskey or my friends who had wandered away. They were playing lively funk, and Jones' voice was magnetic. Now Jones and company have shared a new video for their track “Retreat!” from their forthcoming album Give The People What They Want. The album doesn't come out 'til January, but you can listen to this snazzy track until that fateful day arrives.
I mentioned a few weeks back that Pixies had come out with a new release (EP-1). They've been slowly making the rounds on network television appearances, and now they've shared a video for their track “Andro Queen.” The video is directed by Ondi Timoner (Dig).
Random tracks from filmmaker Marie-Michele Jasmin-Belisle
Marie-Michele Jasmin-Belisle is a French Canadian filmmaker and owner of 8H51 Art Design Nouveau Cinema. When she’s not traveling and working around the world, she resides in Albuquerque. A music fan with eclectic taste, we ask the auteur behind Le Chat Lunatique’s upcoming first music video to share five random tracks.