Last week, we said goodbye to the last surviving founding member of The Ramones: drummer Tommy Ramone. He was 65 and had been battling cancer. If you know anything about The Ramones, there really is nothing left to say, other than we'll always have the music. RIP Tommy and a safe journey to the worlds beyond. EDITOR'S NOTE: As of press time, it was also announced that legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter passed away at the age of 70. We bid you a kind farewell, sir. Rest in peace.
The Ramones - “Beat on the Brat”
Dream of the stream
It's finally here, y'all. Well, not here exactly, but you can now stream La Roux' new record Trouble in Paradise. Though the record doesn't come out till next week, this'll at least give you an opportunity to decide whether you wanna drop some coin for it. Happy listening! And since we're on the topic of album streamage, why not check out White Fence's The Recently Found Innocent over at NPR. Assuming you can't wait for it to drop on the 22nd.
If there's a fun video out there right now, Jenny Lewis' visual for “Just One of the Guys” takes the cake. The single comes off her latest solo record (The Voyager), which hits stores on July 29. What makes the video so good are probably the dude-bro performances by such notable actresses as Kristen Stewart (Panic Room), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Brie Larson (Short Term 12 (!)). Donning men's tracksuits and mustaches, it's pretty laughable and great. Have a looksie below.
Jenny Lewis - “Just One of the Guys”
Stuart Murdoch's long-in-the-works film (God Help the Girl) is finally getting its release date. Oh, and the official motion picture soundtrack too. The film hits movie theaters in the US on Sept. 5, and the soundtrack will be available in stores on Sept. 2, which isn't too far off. The Belle and Sebastian singer-songwriter wrote and directed the movie after some hefty crowd-funding and whatnot. Most of us already know that he's a great musician, but what of his prowess as a filmmaker? We'll soon find out. You can listen to a cut from the soundtrack below. PS: The film also stars Emily Browning (of Sucker Punch and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events), who sings the aforementioned track.
What is a world without “Weird Al” Yankovic parodying the obsessions of his modern compatriots. If it wasn't Nirvana, it was Lady Gaga; nothing really seems to be off limits for Mr. Al. Now he's decided to take on Robin Thicke's “Blurred Lines” with a song called “Word Crimes,” which aims to teach people how to use proper grammar. The song comes off his latest record (Mandatory Fun), which is out now. But have a listen of the track below. You can also head here to see his parody of Pharrell's “Happy” or here to see his parody of Lorde's “Royals.”
Good news for good news lovers
Since you can't really find music shows on MTV anymore (unless you have weird cable channels that give you MTV 2, 3, 4, 5 …), there's little in the way of seeing interactions between various musicians on cable television. To remedy that, VH1 has come out with a new series (“SoundClash”) that puts various artists on stage together to give it more of a music festival feel. The first episode airs on July 23 and has performances from Fall Out Boy, T.I. and London Grammar. You can head to Stereogum to view those performances now. How's that for a special preview?
I first heard of Vashti Bunyan from interviews with Devendra Banhart, in which he listed her as a major influence. That was during my “freak folk” phase. Singer-songwriter Bunyan released her first album in 1970 and waited 35 years to come out with her second offering. And now, the third album approaches. Titled Heartleap, that will see the light of day in October, but you can take a listen to the record's opening track (“Across the Water”) below. Enjoy!
Talk about coming together: Over 700 independent record labels have gathered to form the “Fair Digital Deals Declaration,” which seeks to make a more cohesive and transparent policy in regards to how they deal with their artists. There are five stipulations, one of which is to support artists who oppose unauthorized uses of their music. Another stipulation is to clearly explain downloading and streaming revenues to musicians. Some labels who are taking part are Domino, Drag City, Sub-Pop, Epitaph and Saddle Creek. Head over to Billboard to read more about that.
'Member how I told yous guys that Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) and Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) were becoming a dynamic duo (Nick & Knight)? That's still true. In fact, they've put out their debut single “One More Time.” Their self-titled album doesn't hit stores until Sept. 2, but I'm sure they wanted their single to gain traction, what with it being somewhat of a summer jam and all. Listen to the ditty below.
Nick & Knight - “One More Time”
Attention: The first official Beatle's film in 44 years is about to commence! Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard (you know ... from “Happy Days”) is gonna direct a documentary about the band's touring years from 1960 to 1966. The surviving members and spouses of the late members have all signed off on it, so you know it's going to be fairly legit. The filmmakers are also looking for live footage of The Beatles, so who knows? Your footage could make it into the film. Head to Consequence of Sound to read more 'bout it.
Finally, a snippet of what Jenny Lewis has been up to for the past few years. You see, I mentioned a week or two ago that her new record (The Voyager) is set to hit the music-sphere on July 29. Little did I know that Lewis was getting ready to release a lyric video of an album track a short time later. Fate or not, I'm glad for it. The song is called “Just One of the Guys,” and it's produced by none other than Beck himself. If we're judging Lewis' sound off this one track, it definitely lacks the grit of Acid Tongue, but hey: evolution, right? Listen to that below.
Jenny Lewis - “Just One of the Guys” [Official Lyric Video]
Talk about cute: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has formed a group with his 18-year-old son. They're simply called Tweedy, and their debut record (Sukierae) hits stores on Sept. 16 (aka my birthday). The duo have made a song from said record available on the interwebz. Have a listen to “I'll Sing It” below, and look out for more news about the record in the coming months. Cheers!
I was one of those people that listened to Interpol's first LP (Turn On the Bright Lights), obsessed over it and never paid much attention to what they came out with afterwards. It wasn't necessarily from lack of interest ... or maybe that's exactly what it was. Regardless, they've been steadily releasing records over the years, and they're preparing the release of their fifth studio album El Pintor. That record drops on Sept. 9. Head over to Pitchfork for album details and whatnot.
Though there's been leaked videos galore all over the internet (all of them having shitty quality, I might add), the official video of Nirvana's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has now appeared online. The ceremony aired on HBO on May 31 and included other inductees like Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens. However, since the late Kurt Cobain obviously wasn't in attendance, there was a lot of speculation over who would perform as lead singer. In short, Joan Jett (who provided an underwhelming version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), Kim Gordon, Annie Clark (of St. Vincent) and Lorde performed vocals. The best performance was definitely Lorde singing “All Apologies.” You can view the performances, induction speeches and more below.
Nirvana 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame HD Full Induction & Performances
I first found out about Common after seeing him on HBO's “Def Poets.” By the way, they need to bring that back. Now, Common is set to release his upcoming record Nobody's Smiling on July 22. And like most artists trying to build some buzz over a forthcoming LP, he's made album track “Kingdom,” which features Vince Staples, available online for listeners and the like. So get to listening.
Unless you've been following her career, which I haven't, you probably know Sinead O'Connor mostly from “Nothing Compares 2U” or her tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II. Regardless, she's preparing to release her 10th full-length effort, which recently got retitled as I'm not Bossy, I'm the Boss, after Sheryl Sandberg's “Ban Bossy” campaign. The album is set to hit stores on Aug. 12. For more info on that, head over to Billboard.
It's no secret that people are seriously itching for the release of Lana Del Rey's third full-length effort (Ultraviolence), seeing as how every week a new song becomes available. It's almost as if the countdown to the Mother Ship docking into the Atlantic will coincide with the record's release. And judging from the title track, it's clear that Del Rey has honed her skills to make sultry, noir-pop that aims for some semblance of controversy (ie. “he hit me, and it felt like a kiss”). I can already see headlines asserting she's glorifying abuse. But whatevs, it's one of the better tracks she's put out in a hot minute. Take a listen below, and look for the album on July 17.
Lana Del Rey - “Ultraviolence”
I can't remember how I first heard of indie-pop duo Tennis. I want to say it was one of those momentary lapse of Pandora-predicted listens that brought me to them. While I wasn't wowed, I thought their cutesy vibe was enough to sustain a few more songs from their repertoire. And now the band is coming out with a new record titled Ritual in Repeat. To give fans a taste of the LP's vibe, they've shared the song “Never Work for Free.” The album doesn't hit stores 'til Sept. 9, so that gives you some time to reacquaint yourselves to the sound of balls ... uh, I mean Tennis. Head to Stereogum to listen to that little number.
Hey there, album streamers. We've got what some good ones for ya. First is Jack White's Lazaretto. If you're too impatient to wait 'til Tuesday to pick up a physical copy, iTunes Radio has you covered. But since I lack the hardware, have Pitchfork guide you to the land of free music ... or rather, free music streaming. PS: You can watch the video to “Lazaretto” below. And while you're at it, why don't you stream First Aid Kit's latest LP (Stay Gold), which also comes out on Tuesday. That one's over at NPR.
Jack White - “Lazaretto”
Fresh off her last release (The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You), Neko Case has come out with a new track that also features Kelly Hogan. The song (“These Aren't the Droids”) comes off a compilation titled 2776: A Millennium of American Asskickery. The release is a “comedy-musical benefit compilation” that hits stores on July 4, and proceeds from purchases will go to OneKid OneWorld. Other folks appearing on that record are Patton Oswalt, Andrew W.K., Aimee Mann, Reggie Watts and much more. Head to Pitchfork to give that a listen.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'Member how I mentioned that Veruca Salt was getting back together? Well guitarists/vocalists Nina Gordon and Louise Post have had their first joint interview in … oh … 17 years? Yes, it's definitely worth reading. Head over to Stereogum to see what these women have been up to and what the future holds for one of the most welcomed reunions ever. Oh, and you can also hear their excellent new track, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” below.
Veruca Salt - “The Museum of Broken Relationships”
Nothing like a 40th anniversary to inspire new material. Rock band Blondie has decided to come out with a new double LP that will feature new songs as well as their greatest hits. The album, titled Blondie 4(0) Ever, will contain their 10th studio album (Ghosts of Download) as the first disc; the second portion will be a compilation of their most famous tracks. That hits stores on May 13, but in the meantime, you can head over to Billboard to read more.
Most people know of punk band Death from watching A Band Called Death (a documentary by Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett). While the band didn't see much mainstream success in their heyday (early to late '70s), they're now regarded as precursors to later punk sounds and revolutionary for being an all-black trio of brothers who created wild and uncompromising tunes. The group recently played on “Arsenio,” and you can view that performance below. Also, look out for III, a Drag City reissue of unreleased material, which is out now.
Death - “Freakin’ Out”
In case you haven't been keeping tabs on Pixies, they've released three EPs in the past year (EP-1, EP-2 and EP-3). And you'd think that with a steady stream of new material, they'd hop back in the studio to record what I would consider to be an appopriate full-length. But I guess laziness prevailed, as they've compiled all three releases into one album (titled Indie Cindy) that comes out on April 29. You don't need me (or want me) to comment on the recordings themselves; rather, you should provide your own educated analysis of the band's material post-Kim Deal's departure. Head over to The Guardian to give that a listen.
Music: the gift that keeps on giving. Jack White broke records this past Saturday by recording and distributing the “world's fastest released record.” And on top of that, he's also given fans another taste of his upcoming LP (after sharing “High Ball Stepper” a week or two ago) in the form of the album's title track. The record comes out on June 10, so keep your eyes and ears open for that. You can give “Lazaretto” a listen below and view some recaps of his record-breaking record making over at Pitchfork. Enjoy!
Jack White - “Lazaretto”
Austin City Limits is a festival always worth mentioning. Having gone three times, it's one of those experiences that can't be replicated. The only way to truly experience it is to go. And now the fest is two weekends instead of one (Oct. 3-5, 10-12), fancy that. Folks gracing the stage(s) include Beck, Lorde, Eminem, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent, Juanes, Mac Demarco and many, many more. You can view the full lineup at the ACL website.
When I think of Courtney Love, the first thought that comes to mind is “bitch be crazy.” Granted, she's done little to prove otherwise, but feeding that particular beast has done well for her songwriting. Take her latest track “You Know My Name,” being released as a single with the tune “Wedding Day”; that's scheduled to hit stores on May 4. You can take a listen to the punk-inflected ditty below.
Courtney Love - “You Know My Name”
Ever so prolific, Neil Young surprised fans with a new album of covers (titled A Letter Home) via Jack White's Third Man Records. The LP contains covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and more. Rolling Stone reports that there was no official announcement, but you can order the album on Third Man's website. To add to that, the album is also getting the deluxe box set treatment, with the vinyl record, CD, singles, picture book, the works. So have at it!
Songwriter/composer and performer Owen Pallett first caught my attention when a friend sent me a recording of him covering Joanna Newsom's “Peach, Plum, Pear.” I liked his voice, but as far as delving into his sonic landscapes, there wasn't much in the way of follow-up. But I've heard several excited whispers about his upcoming LP In Conflict, which hits physical and online markets on May 27. And now Pallett has posted a video for his track “Song for Five & Six.” You can view that below.
Owen Pallett - “Song for Five & Six”
When Lily Allen announced the title of her forthcoming record (Sheezus), many thought she was parodying Kanye West's last full-length effort Yeezus. However, Allen was quick to point out that it was an homage, rather than making fun of anyone. And now Allen has shared a video of the title track of said LP, wherein she compares herself to a fighter, while also name-checking various pop divas. You can hear the track below.
Hip-hop trio De La Soul has decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut full-length release 3 Feet High and Rising by making their entire music catalog available for free download. How's that for giving it away? And they've also shared a track “Dilla Plugged In,” which was produced by the late J Dilla. The song will be featured on an upcoming mixtape, titled Smell the D.A.I.S.Y. So thank them and get to listening.
I'm gonna do it … I'm just gonna mention it … because I think it'll do me good … it'll do you good … it'll do us both good. Thee Oh Sees have come out with another snippet off their forthcoming record (Drop) in the form of the song “The Lens.” The track, which is a slower number, incorporates strings (which is sort of reminiscent of “So Nice” off their Putrifiers II LP). That's all I'll say. Promise. Oh, you can head over to Pitchfork to give that a listen.
I don't know much about Son Lux. But it's just as well. The reason this particular snippet caught my attention is because the track features Lorde. And just in case you didn't read my “Best Albums of 2013” article, Lorde was on it. I won't repeat myself, but if you haven't listened to Pure Heroine, please do. You won't be disappointed. But now the New Zealand native is featured on a Son Lux remix track, titled “Easy (Switch Screens).” The ditty comes off Son Lux' 4-song EP (Alternate Worlds), which is available online and will be out in physical form on May 27. In the meantime, you can hear the track below.
Son Lux feat. Lorde - “Easy (Switch Screens)”
I shared a track off The Black Lips' upcoming album (Underneath the Rainbow) some time back. Well now the entire album is available for streamage over at Noisey. So go there. Seriously … go there. And while we're on the subject of streaming albums, why don't you also check out Kimono Kult's new EP (Hiding in the Light) over at Consequence of Sound. The band features Omar Rodríguez-López from The Mars Volta and John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers … in case you were wondering.
Arctic Monkeys are another one of those bands that peaked my interest, but only for a short amount of time. I reviewed Humbug for my college paper, and other than that release, there's not a whole lot in the way of fandom for this listener. Friends have been adamantly recommending them over the years, but like I said, I have music-listening ADD and get bored easily. But after hearing frontman Alex Turner's acceptance speech for winning Best Album at this year's BRIT Awards, I decided to take somewhat of a closer look. And that started this week with their video for the track “Arabella,” off their most recent album AM. You can watch that below. By the way, the video is NSFW-ish.
Arctic Monkeys - “Arabella”
I'm trying to think of how I can say this without sounding like I mean it … oh well … I hate Linkin Park. Hate 'em. Now, that's a strong word, but in this instance, there really is no substitute. So why even mention them, you might ask. Well, I do respect Jay-Z's work, and apparently their joint album (2004's Collision Course) is getting a reissue for this year's Record Store Day. The album (which I haven't heard) is said to feature Jay-Z's raps mashed with the band's tunes. Someone somewhere must be celebrating in some fashion. Let 'em carry on.
A lot of people think Dandy Warhols and immediately want to associate them with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, what with Ondi Timoner's Dig documentary. And while it sparks arguments over who is the better band, that's beside the point entirely. Each band has their own particular sound, their own aura, so to speak. Regardless, the Warhols went on tour last year to celebrate the 13th anniversary of 2000's Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia and are now gearing up to release a live album from the concerts' proceedings. It hits shelves on March 25, but in the meantime, the band has shared a video of them playing a cut from the record (“Godless”). You can watch that below.
The Dandy Warhols - “Godless”
I can respect Toadies. Granted, I never delved much into their catalog because a lot of their songs sounded somewhat samey to me. But I always appreciated their aesthetic. And a friend's band in high school used to do a lot of Toadies covers that went well for the teen crowds partaking in Friday night jam sessions at a venue in my hometown. But now the Toadies have come out with a new track, a cover of Pylon's “Stop It,” and the band are also “in the midst of finishing a new album.” You can hear the track and read more about their new stuff over at Billboard.
Sadly, I got into Girls after listening to their second release (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), and we all know what happened after that, right? Well, they broke up. And Christopher Owens later released a solo LP (Lysandre), which was as good as we could have expected. Makes sense considering he was Girls' main songwriter. And now Owens has come out with a new solo track “It Comes Back To You,” which is very much in keeping with the soulful, rock-ballad aesthetics that Girls strived for on their second album. Supposedly it comes off of an upcoming LP, but no details on that at the moment. You can hear the track below.
It it common for a band to release an album, and then come out with another one mere months later? Is this not the definition of prolific? Well rock group Guided By Voices must have an insane backlog of material if they're coming out with an entirely new LP (Cool Planet) in a couple months (May 13). I mean they literally just released Motivational Jumpsuit not even a month ago. And to prove that they've got new stuff brewing, they're previewing a track off the forthcoming record (“Bad Love is Easy to Do”), and you can take a listen below.
Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is upon us, many music outlets are looking back at one more year in music and the many bands that inhabited that particular point in time. 2013 was a big year. We had releases from Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and much more. But I’ve never been one to look at year-end lists because I mostly don’t agree with the writers, or I get bored with them. So if you get bored reading this one, I completely understand and won’t fault you. Now, the idea of a year-end list is to boast the work created that year. I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to list the top five albums I listened to this year.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean these albums were made this year. Hell, a couple of them were made decades ago. But, in my humble perspective, I always urge people to delve into music of the past. My argument is that you can’t completely focus on the music of today without understanding how past music shaped that sound. IE: I recently heard an interview with Lorde (who is on this list) where she said that if the Beatles hadn’t done what they did, she wouldn’t have done what she did. You get the idea. So ... here’s my list! Enjoy or don’t enjoy. And remember ... there’s always next year.
Lorde - Pure Heroine
This album completely came out of nowhere. I remember hearing “Royals” on the radio and wondering who this pop princess was. Turns out she wasn’t a “princess” per se, but more of a weird little goth chick who made sparse electronic ditties. What won me over was the fact that she wrote her own songs, helped produce the album and she was only 16 when the album was finished. If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is. Oh, and the album is actually good. Songs like “400 Lux,” “Buzzcut Season,” and “White Teeth Teens” show her range and vivacity.
Lorde - “400 Lux”
Hank Williams - Wait For the Light to Shine
While I do believe in God, I’m not especially religious. So church hymns, gospel and good ol’ fashioned odes to Jesus via country music rhythms and rhymes always strike a music fancy to my eardrums. And Williams’ homage to the Lord is no exception. Tracks like “Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine” and the title track show Williams crooning over typical country ditties, but his voice presents a magic wash over the scratchy record I got at Charley’s for $1.99. My hands-down favorite track on the record is “Devil’s Train.” It’s the most scratchy, and maybe that’s why I like it.
Hank Williams - “Devil’s Train”
King Tuff - Was Dead
Apparently the original pressing of this record is impossible to find, but due to an overwhelming number of people attempting to get a copy in their sweaty hands, Burger Records reissued the album, making it available for people like me (who find out about bands very late in the game). This LP never left my record player for a good month. Whether I was cleaning, eating or pooping, it was always on in the background. Album opener “Dancing On You” immediately grabs you, and Tuff’s trippy (sometimes whiny) vocals just take over. My personal favorite is “Sun Medallion,” but “Freak When I’m Dead” and “Just Strut” are great songs as well. Actually, just listen to the whole thing. It’s a keeper.
King Tuff - “Sun Medallion”
Patti Smith - Horses
This record dominated 2013 for me. While I’m an artist, I had gone through a slump, so I started becoming more diligent by painting again. So one day while painting, I played Smith’s most famous album. I’d already been a fan of it, but for some reason, while blending colors and etching out pieces of cardboard with a needle, it just hit me. It’s brilliant. From her opening rendition of “Gloria” to “Land,” the album is genius. If you haven’t listened to it, there’s still time. So from then on, any time I sat down to paint, draw, sketch or take photographs of weird ornaments, it was always on in the background ... and still is. It’s the perfect “art” record.
Patti Smith - “Land”
Savages - Silence Yourself
I can’t remember the last time I got this excited about a band. While every music blog was riding the wave of salivating over this “post-punk” prodigy, I just couldn’t get over their stark single “I Am Here.” It was my obsession with that song that prompted me to buy the album (at Urban Outfitters no less). While it has a dark, menacing tone, the musicality at work is of the upmost cohesive. Each song blends into the next, but each track is a stand-alone gem. “Husbands” is quick and painful. “City’s Full” is fantastically dreadful. And album closer “Marshal Dear” ties it all together with some horns and piano. It’s a masterpiece, and it makes me brim with anticipation for what they’ll put out next.
Savages - “Husbands”
Those were my top five albums of the year. What were yours? Feel free to comment.
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.
Primal Scream - “Goodbye Johnny”
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.
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.
Joan Jett and the Black Hearts - “Bad Reputation”
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.