live through this


V.23 No.15 | 4/10/2014

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.

V.23 No.12 | 3/20/2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: Upon composing this week's column, I heard from friends and news sources about the tragedy that struck SXSW on March 13, around 12:30am local time. A driver evading police drove down Red River, a closed street and ran down numerous people, killing 2 and injuring 23. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo stated that the man will be charged with capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault.

'Member Stephin Merritt? Of the Magnetic Fields and other ventures? Yeah, the guy's fairly prolific, considering he's recorded enough material to be someone's deserted island go-to 'til the apocalypse comes. But now Merritt's coming out with a book of poems consisting of two-letter words from the game Scrabble. Mmhmm … you read right. The book will also be illustrated by The New Yorker's Roz Chast. You can read more about it at the New York Times, and you can hear one of my favorite Magnetic Fields tracks below … just for the hell of it.

Speaking of musicians writing books, Keith Richards is writing a children's book. Get the details over at Stereogum.

A couple weeks ago, I posted a new track by Brody Dalle (formerly of The Distillers). And since then, Dalle has shared more details about the upcoming album—like its title and release date: Diploid Love comes out on April 29. And now the raging songstress has come out with a new track (“Don't Mess With Me”). You can hear that below.

Can you imagine The Stooges without Iggy? Well you're gonna have to because they're gearing up to release a new record sans Pop. Supposedly, after releasing last year's Ready to Die, Iggy wanted to take 2014 off; however his bandmates were like “nah.” So they hit the studio to record unreleased tracks from their Raw Power days with guest vocalists like Ariel Pink, Jello Biafra and Teri Gender Bender (of Le Butcherettes), among others. The album (Re-Licked) is still in the works, but guitarist James Williamson says he will release a couple tracks for Record Store Day. So keep your ears open for that. (Or not.)

Speaking of unreleased material, a collaborative track featuring Daft Punk and Jay Z has surfaced. Not sure where the track (“Computerized”) is from, when it was recorded or if it will be released, but music blogs are gonna have something to talk about for a spell. I mean … Daft Punk (along with Pharrell and Stevie Wonder) put on a fantastic performance at the Grammys and Jay-Z … well, he's Jay-Z. You can hear the track below.

I can't remember how I heard of War on Drugs, but Slave Ambient was a pretty good LP. And I was delighted to hear that Kurt Vile was one of the founding members before going solo 'cause … you know … last year's Wakin on a Pretty Daze was pretty stellar. I digress … now WoD is coming out with a new album (Lost in the Dream), and it's streaming over at Pitchfork. And while we're on the topic of streaming, you should also take a listen to Kevin Drew's new record Darlings. Drew is most known for his work with Broken Social Scene. You can hear Drew’s record over at NPR. Both albums hit stores this coming Tuesday.

I know I've mentioned Johnny Cash's upcoming album of lost recordings a couple times, but now there’s a reason to mention it again. For one, it's a lost Johnny Cash album. That alone bears repeating. Secondly, a new video for the track's single “She Used to Love Me a Lot” has surfaced. The video was directed by John Hillcoat (known for his directorial works Lawless, The Road and The Proposition). You can view that below, and look for the album on March 25. That's right around the corner, y'all!

Real audio fanatics can attest that listening to mp3s or CDs can seriously diminish the sound quality of recorded material. But for most people, it's not practical to carry a record player around with them to get that realistic feel of a delectable ditty. That's why Neil Young sought to create a platform for people to hear portable music that still retains that real-sound quality. His platform, called PonoMusic, will let people listen to music digitally, but with the vibe of an original analog recording. And he's shared a video of legendary musicians talking about their experience of trying Pono out. You can watch that at Pono's kickstarter page. And thank Neil Young while you're at it.

As I've said before, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with electronic music. It either hits or it doesn't, and for me, more often than not—it doesn't. But I did see Miike Snow perform at Antones in Austin for free because a friend who knew one of the members got us on the list. The show was pretty great, and the energy was there. It was just there. And now Snow member Christian Karlsson (also known for being one half of production duo Bloodshy & Avant) is part of a new duo, which also features Linus Eklow from Style of Eye. Together, they are Galantis. Their eponymous EP is set to come out on April 1, but you can get a taste of their sound by listening to “Help” below.

Hey Zeppelin lovers! Mark June 3 on your calendars because on that day, Led Zeppelin will reissue their first three albums (Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III). And those reissues are said to contain unreleased music. It's gonna be a good day. Head over to Consequence of Sound for more info on that.

Why'd you do it, Courtney? Why? Fall Out Boy? Really? You're way better than that. Granted, Courtney Love isn't exactly the most down-to-earth or stable personality, but you can't deny the woman has recorded and written some awesome stuff. Just listen to Live Through This. That entire album is magic. But now a video of Love's collaboration with Fall Out Boy (from their album Save Rock and Roll) has surfaced. The song (for those like myself who didn't waste time or money on the album) is called “Rat a Tat.” And basically the only reason worth watching or listening is Courtney Love. You can view the video below.