There's not a whole lot I know about A$AP Rocky other than he's been making waves through the rap music-sphere for the past couple years. And now, he's going to be a more well-known face after having a Noisey documentary filmed about him (SVDDXNLY). The first part of the film, which features a cameo by Rihanna, is available online, with the rest coming out in weekly increments. Future installments of A$AP's feature-length film include appearances by Drake, Danny Brown, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Jeremy Scott. View the first part below, and check YouTube weekly for the rest of the doc.
A$AP Rocky: SVDDXNLY - Part 1/5
On the horizon ...
Bass Drum of Death's self-titled album was one of my favorites of 2013. Not enough to make my top five, but it was a bashin', thrashin' mix of a variety of influences, culminating in a wall of sound that wasn't easily forgettable. Now the band is set to release a new record (Rip This), which hits the online and physical markets on Oct. 7, and to give folks a snippet as to what the record will sound like, they've made album track “Left For Dead” available. If the track is anything to go by, this one's gonna be a keeper.
Now that Sonic Youth has called it quits (thank God, and you can quote me), Thurston Moore has had his hand in other projects, among them Chelsea Light Moving, though that project hasn't released anything since last year. However, Moore is now gearing up to release a solo LP (The Best Day), which will have contributions from Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe. The record will have other guest musicians, including Chelsea Light Moving contemporaries. And before you start marking those calendars, a release date hasn't been announced. Bummer.
I go back and forth with Stevie Nicks. I like her voice, I do. But a part of me always flinches when people declare her one of the greatest female vocalists in music. That's a bold statement to make. I mean ... have you never listened to Aretha Franklin? I digress. Nicks is releasing a compilation of unreleased tracks (24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault), which drops on Oct. 7. And Nicks has released one of the album's tunes (“The Dealer”), which you can hear below.
Stevie Nicks - “The Dealer”
The Flaming Lips is another band I don't know much about, though I was a little surprised to see photos of Wayne Coyne hanging out with Miley Cyrus and getting matching tattoos. Not up to me to question the friendship between a singer-songwriter in his fifties and a young pop star 30 years his junior. I could care less. But that's beside the point. The Lips are gearing up to release With a Little Help From My Fwends, which covers The Beatles' entire St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It'll have contributions from the aforementioned Cyrus, as well as My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, MGMT, Tegan and Sara, Moby and many more. That drops on Oct. 28, so you still have some time to save a few “coynes.” See what I did there?
If you haven't yet watched “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” here is some incentive to tune in. Well ... at least for a short time. In case you didn't know, Fred Armisen is Meyers' bandleader. However, weirdo rock/pop ingenue St. Vincent is going to fill in for Armisen on Monday, Aug. 11, and Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 10:35pm (our time). Not sure if she's going to play any of her originals, but it would be interesting to see her leading an entire house band on a network television show. Check out the video to her single “Digital Witness,” off her latest release.
St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”
Like most people who know about Jimmy Tamborello, I was introduced to him via The Postal Service. However, it wasn't until years later that a friend played me his solo work as Figurine that I became more acquainted with the artist. Then his album Dumb Luck, under the monicker Dntel, came out. And hearing his track “Roll On,” which featured vocals by Jenny Lewis, changed things. It even prompted me to see him live, which was fairly boring, as he stood on a stage with a computer in front of him, with some light installations on a screen making weird shapes and colors. Not exactly my idea of a concert, but it'll do. I digress. Now Dntel is coming out with a new record (Human Voice) on Sept. 23, and he's shared the track “If I Stay a Minute” to give peeps a taste of its oeuvre. You can hear that below.
There's nothing like a record label celebrating a quarter century of its tenure. And there's nothing better than a record label coming out with a new music compilation to celebrate such an expanse of time. In keeping with the spirit of such triumphs, XL Recordings is releasing a collection of ditties called Pay Close Attention, which “compiles important music from the label's illustrious discography.” It'll feature artists such as Radiohead, M.I.A., The White Stripes, The Prodigy, Adele, Devendra Banhart and more. There's also a Pay Close Attention website where fans can read more about why these records and songs were so monumental when they were released. And you can also preorder your copy of the compilation here.
While I'm not an overtly huge fan of electronic music, I'm not completely opposed to it. It just takes me some time. Like dipping your toe in a frozen lake before you plunge through a crack in the ice, ya dig? Austra was first introduced to me after a friend played me an acoustic piano performance of their track “Lose It,” and that's pretty much all I know of the Canadian group. The band recently came out with their Habitat EP, and they've shared a new video for the song “Doepfer,” which is viewable below. If you like LED lights and trippy electronic tunes, this has your name spray-painted all over it.
Austra - “Doepfer”
For all the New Pornographers fans out there, it's time to get excited. Or kind of excited. Band member A.C. Newman has been hard at work on the soundtrack for the film What If (a romantic comedy/drama starring Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, and Zoe Kazan). The soundtrack is out and about, meaning you can find it at your local retailers or online. Almost all of the songs were were written and recorded by Newman, though there is an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros track. Oh, and a Patrick Watson tune. But you get the idea. Head over to Pitchfork to read more 'bout it.
It's the moment some of you have been waiting for … finally here in all its glory … a new Lana Del Rey track. All bullshittery aside, the song is a good number. The tune (titled “Shades of Cool”) comes off her forthcoming record Ultraviolence. And as with most Del Rey tracks, it has a lovely, atmospheric tone that drives it forward. I wasn't particularly excited about her new record after hearing “West Coast,” but this definitely changes the game a tad. In the words of Karen Walker (of “Will and Grace”): “Denied. Denied. APPROVED!” Have a listen below.
Lana Del Rey - “Shades of Cool”
Did you know there's going to be a Duran Duran tribute album coming out later this year, titled Making Patterns Rhyme? I sure as hell didn't. But now that I do, why not share Moby's contribution to said release, in the form of a cover of Duran Duran's “Rio.” You can hear that below. The record, which doesn't have a release date yet, will also feature Warpaint, Juliette Lewis and Austra, among others. So keep an eye out.
I guess for some people, all it takes is getting arrested to fuel the creative fires and come out with some fresh material. Or maybe that's just the case with Wiz Khalifa. Upon being released from jail for marijuana possession, the rapper released a mixtape (28 grams), which is free and available for download. So head to DatPiff to get your copy.
Who wants to see 65-year-old, former Journey frontman Steve Perry perform some songs with Eels? You do, that's who! I mean, come on, the guy hasn't performed in, what, 20 years? Do yourself a favor and watch below to hear him use those amazing vocals. And you wonder why they said, “Don’t stop believin.’”
Eels with Journey lead singer Steve Perry in St. Paul
I don't know much about RiFF RAFF, other than that whole kerfuffle over James Franco allegedly stealing his likeness for the snooze-fest that was Spring Breakers. But the Texas-born rapper has been teasing his debut LP for years now, and it looks like it's going to finally see the throng of awaiting fans. His record, NEON iCON, comes out on June 24, and RAFF has shared a snippet from said album in the form of “Kokayne.” Have a listen below.
Just because Freddie Mercury is no longer with us doesn't mean that Queen has ceased to exist. Case in point: They're coming out with a new record around the end of the year. Tentatively titled Queen Forever, it's supposedly going to have some unreleased songs that Mercury sang, dating back to the '80s. Should be a hoot. But the band obviously needs some time to work out the kinks, as guitarist Brian May said they're basically piecing the album together from scraps. For more info on that, head over to Billboard.
I mentioned a while back that Led Zeppelin are in the process of reissuing their entire catalog. That's still happening; what with reissues of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III coming out on June 3, each containing unreleased material and live recordings. But now, the band has released a video for the “rough mix” version of “Whole Lotta Love,” which features some rare concert footage. Scope the video below and read some info about the song, as told by Jimmy Page himself, over at Consequence of Sound. Enjoy … And after you're done enjoying, listen to a previously unreleased instrumental track, titled “La La,” over at NME.
Led Zeppelin - “Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal)”
La Roux struck a chord a few years ago with her track “Bulletproof,” showing that retro-dynamic pop could still be a thing. And it worked in her favor. Now they've posted a track from their upcoming album Trouble in Paradise, which is set to hit stores and online markets on July 8. Listen to the track “Uptight Downtown” below, and head over to Pitchfork to check out the new music video for the song “Let Me Down Gently,” which is also on the forthcoming LP.
Say … what has Billy Idol been up to? Besides his cameo in The Wedding Singer, I haven't heard anything 'bout the guy. Apparently he's been hard at work on a new memoir (Dancing With Myself), which is “bold, searingly candid and written by Idol himself in his inimitable voice.” The book is said to chronicle Idol's life from his childhood to when he hit it big with tracks like “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding.” Should be an interesting read, assuming he has the writing chops to relay such material. The text is set to come out on Oct. 7, but you can head to Rolling Stone for more info on it.
I don't know about you, but I wasn't exactly in the know about an upcoming biopic about the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. But since I'm a lover of musical biopics (Ray, La Bamba, The Temptations, Sweet Dreams, etc.), this is definitely something I have to see. The film (Get On Up), which heads to a theater near you on Aug. 1, stars Chadwick Boseman (42), Dan Aykroyd, Octavia Spencer and the great Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt). With a cast like that, I'm sure this is going to be one enjoyable movie-viewing experience. But we'll have to wait and see. You can view the latest trailer for the film below.
Talk about a boy-band super duo: Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) and Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) have decided to join forces and take over the music world as Nick & Knight. No joke. Their debut LP drops on September 2, and shortly after they're going on tour so people can see this pop extravaganza in person. It's just as well. Interested folks can view a promotional video for the project below, and in it you can hear a snippet of their single “Just the Two of Us.” PS: The album is already available for pre-order. So have at it if you must.
Nick & Knight
'Member that little Steven Spielberg gem known as Jurassic Park? I know I do. Seeing that in theaters was one of my greatest movie-going experiences as a youngster. And if you were a fan of the music, this is your lucky day. The film’s score is getting a nice reissue on multi-colored vinyl, and it'll be available to the public on June 11. Head to Consequence of Sound for more info.
Coldplay has been steadily giving glimpses of their upcoming record Ghost Stories, which hits the music-sphere on May 19. And now they're providing listeners with another fragment in the form of “A Sky Full of Stars,” which features a collaboration with electronic, club aficionado Avicii. Basically you need to be high as a kite in a black-lit dance party to experience the full effect of the song. Other than that, what's the point? But you can give the tune a listen below.
Coldplay - “A Sky Full of Stars”
The dream of the '90s is alive in super-Earth. According to the Portland Mercury, Corin Tucker (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) have joined forces to deliver new music to the masses in the form of the aforementioned band name: super-Earth. Not sure when they'll deliver the goods, but someone somewhere is jumping with joy, or at least digging into those old mixtapes, you know … from when people used to make them.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that a documentary about the late, great Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You) is scheduled to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now you can view a teaser of the film, which provides a glimpse of Smith's legendary status and why he was (and still is) loved and admired by his peers.
Heaven Adores You teaser
Let the album streamage commence: Last week, Lily Allen gave the visual accompaniment of her upcoming record's title track (“Sheezus”), and now she's streaming the album in its entirety. You can hear that via iTunes Radio, which confuses me, so I'll just wait for it to come out, assuming I want to hear it. And while we're on the topic of pop diva streaming, you can head to NPR to stream Lykke Li's I Never Learn. Oh, and you since everyone's giving it away for free (at least momentarily), head to Consequence of Sound to hear The Horrors' new record Luminous.
I'm gonna save you the introduction and spare you talk of my love of Christopher Owens, the former frontman for rock group Girls. I've gone there time and time again, so I'll just get right to it ... Owens has posted a new track (gospel-tinged rocker “Stephen”), and it's fucking great. Not sure if this is going to be on some future release, but one can hope. Have a listen below.
Music lovers young and old have shared thoughts about the internet's influence on music culture: how record labels don't make as much money; therefore, artists don't make as much money, yadda yadda. Steve Albini (noted producer, musician and engineer who has worked with The Breeders, Nirvana, Pixies, Veruca Salt and many more) has been pretty vocal about his views on record labels sucking artists dry to make a buck. And now, contrary to what many people would have considered him to believe, he says album streaming and the internet in general have solved “the problem with music.” He goes on to say “You can literally have a worldwide audience for your music … with no corporate participation, which is tremendous.” You can read more at Quartz.
The Roots shared a track from their forthcoming record ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin a few weeks ago (and maybe another one in between), who can keep track? Either way, they've come out with another one (titled “Tomorrow”), which you can listen to below. Their album hits stores on May 13, which is right around the corner, so save them pennies.
Most folks know David Lynch from his eerie, avant-visual stylings in films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. But the filmmaker has also been making music for a while now, and his new video, which was directed by Moby and features vocals by Mindy Jones, is available for visual and aural consumption. The vid is for the title track from last year's The Big Dream, his second full-length effort. You can watch that below.