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Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

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.

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The Magnetic Fields - “Two Characters in Search of a Country Song”

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.

Play Youtube Video
Daft Punk feat. Jay Z - “Computerized”

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!

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Johnny Cash - “She Used to Love Me a Lot”

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.

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Fall Out Boy feat. Courtney Love - “Rat a Tat”

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

So … Katy Perry has come out with a music video for her track “Dark Horse.” And let me just preface it by saying that this seems like her attempt at channeling Liz Taylor's take on Cleopatra, but like most current notions that attempt to pay homage to classic ideas, it falls flat. Regardless, Perry fans will go nuts over its ridiculousness. But you don't gotta listen to me, you can watch it below and see for yourself.

I'm a thrash novice … maybe a hardcore one, too. Still, I can appreciate a bunch of guys coming together to whale on some instruments, create new tunes and just do what they do the only way they know how … by laying on the heavy. So it's kind of cool that Dave Grohl's joined with some hardcore veterans to create a new group called Teenage Time Killer. The group also includes Corrosion Of Conformity’s Mike Dean and Reed Mullin, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and much more. You can read more about it at Stereogum.

In 2009, when I first started learning to play the guitar, an acquaintance (who'd played in several bands and was pretty much a guitar virtuoso) was teaching me some basic chords when we had a conversation about guitarists. Naturally I expressed my love of Jimmy Page and Hendrix, and then he asked, “Have you ever listened to Rodrigo y Gabriela?” I hadn't. And though I only know a handful of their songs, their mastery of this instrument is friggin bonkers. It's so easy to get lost in their music because it's manic, precise and brilliant. And now the duo have shared a track from their forthcoming album 9 Dead Alive (out April 29), and you can hear that below.

If you were born in the late '80s, like I was, then you had the privilege to come of age when '90s alternative was peaking in a great way. Looking back, you can think what you will, but back then Vertical Horizon's “Everything You Want” was one of my favorite songs, and just for nostalgia's sake, I still dip into Third Eye Blind's first record. And when listening to Cheap Girls' latest song, I was overcome with that pop-rock liveliness that was prominent in such bands as Everclear and (sometimes) The Wallflowers. Cheap Girls' tune comes off their forthcoming record Famous Graves (out May 13), and you can hear that over at A.V. Club.

When it comes to record labels, I've always appreciated the work put out by Sub Pop. From obsessing over releases by Nirvana, L7, King Tuff, Cocorosie, Red House Painters, etc., it's always a treat to hear new(er) bands that are signed to the label, groups that record and distribute good tracks for wanting listeners. I digress … rock band Dum Dum Girls (another Sup Pop contemporary) has come out with a video for the song “Too True to Be Good.” And you can view that visual snippet below.

Dum Dum Girls - “Too True to Be Good”

I like Pharrell. I like his radio hits, but hey, what do you think makes people buy albums, eh? So I'm not especially excited, nor am I too keen on ignoring the news that he's coming out with a new record, titled G I R L. The album is also said to feature the single “Happy,” which earned Pharrell an Oscar nomination for being on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. You can head over to Pitchfork to read more about the record, and you can also watch the 24-hour “Happy” video here. How's that for comin' out with a bizzang?

If former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal had founded an actual cult, under the moniker The Church of Nobody … in the New Mexico desert … and recruited Mischa Barton … and soundtracked it with his excellent song “Coming Through,” which features Cat Power … the below video would have been the only remains of said religion. And it's weird shit. The song itself starts a little after the 7-minute mark.

Willis Earl Beal feat. Cat Power - “Coming Through”

I promise—this will be the last time I mention St. Vincent's upcoming self-titled LP, which hits stores and online markets next week. The record is now streaming over at The Guardian, and it's phenomenal. I think I'm gonna buy it.

Bob Casale, one of the founding members of new wave band Devo (known for their famous hit “Whip It”), passed away this week. He was 61 years old. Granted, I wasn't that big of a Devo fan, it's always sad to see a musician called home. RIP Bob. And for old time's sake …

Devo - “Whip It”

I go back and forth about Lana Del Rey. While some of her songs strike a chord, I usually can't get past her bad lyrics: “I'm your national anthem, God you're so handsome.” But I understand why her sound/look appeals to people who are always looking for something vaguely different in the pop world. But now, fans can look forward to her collaboration with Dan Auerbach (of the overrated Black Keys). Supposedly, he's lending a hand on her upcoming album Ultraviolence, and you can read more about that here.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Oh how relentless this Beck guy is … after his last album was released in 2008 (with production duties handled by Danger Mouse), he kind of laid low (minus a sheet music album). That is until he started releasing tracks early this summer, including “I Won't Be Long.” Now Beck has shared a new song, titled “Gimme.” And this one sounds more in tune with the work he provided on The Information, which can be good or bad, depending on what version of Beck you like. Though none of these songs will be on Beck's upcoming LP.

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Beck - “Gimme”

I was never that big a fan of Islands, until I heard last year's A Sleep and A Forgetting. But judging from one of the first songs made available from Nick Thorburn's latest work, “Wave Forms,” this might be something worth looking into. Pitchfork is currently streaming the album (titled Ski Mask) in full, or you could just get your behind to the store and buy it because it came out this week.

Not to make comparisons, but I'm gonna go ahead and say it. I knew I liked Solange Knowles better than her sister (of Beyoncé fame) when I heard her record, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. While it wasn't groundbreaking, it showed that she had more of an old school bent. She's released some stuff since, including a new video for her track “Lovers in the Parking Lot,” from her True EP. You can check it out below:

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Solange - “Lovers in the Parking Lot”

Seventeen years in the making … Okay, well, maybe they didn't spend that whole time working on the album. But Mazzy Star's upcoming release, Seasons of Your Day, drops next week, but thanks to folks over at The Guardian, you can hear it in its entirety.

I have to admit that while I don't like Britney Spears personally (not that I've met her or anything), some of her songs were markers of very specific times in my adolescence and so on. So it's not too much of an understatement to say that I still follow her career (kind of). But after Spears' latest single “Work Bitch” was leaked online, the pop star and former train-wreck decided to release it a day early.

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Britney Spears - “Work Bitch”

Following Ian Curtis' suicide, he became sort of this mystical figure/poet that left the world with a handful of interesting and thought-provoking lyrics from his work with Joy Division. Now those lyrics and some previously unseen notebooks are going to be compiled into a book, titled So This Is Permanence. According to Faber Social, the book is scheduled to be published in spring 2014.

I'm sure people are winding down from the rhythmic dance party that was Daft Punk's single “Get Lucky” from their latest LP, Random Access Memories. But get your feet ready for one more spin on the floor because Daft Punk has shared the video for their second single “Lose Yourself To Dance,” which also features Pharrell and Nile Rodgers.

Play Youtube Video
Daft Punk - “Lose Yourself To Dance”

Allow me to wax romantic about Bass Drum of Death's recent self-titled LP. The record was a garage-psyche-punk gem. So I was delighted to find out this week that the band came out with a video for their track “Bad Reputation.” Though I should warn that the video is probably NSFW.

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Bass Drum of Death - “Bad Reputation”

Thanks to the folks over at NME, you can now watch Nirvana play their fantastic track “Scentless Apprentice” on MTV's “Live and Loud.” The footage was originally unavailable, but has been released with the 20th anniversary reissue of In Utero.

Nirvana playing “Scentless Apprentice” on MTV’s “Live and Loud”

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This Week’s Music Highlights

In a bold move, Robin Thicke and Pharrell are suing Funkadelic and Marvin Gaye’s estate in an effort to protect the track, “Blurred Lines,” after allegations the song too-closely resembles Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

Allen Lanier died at the age of 67 due to lung disease complications. Lanier, who died on Aug. 14, was a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult and played keyboards and guitar for the band. RIP Mr. Lanier. You can view a video of the band playing the iHeartRadio Theater in December 2012.

George Strait granted a rare interview with Billboard, wherein he talks about his first band (garage rock!), his career and why he doesn’t like to give interviews.

According to MTV, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have announced that they’re going to perform their single, “Same Love,” an ode to marriage equality, at the 2013 VMAs, which air on Sunday, Aug. 25.

King Tuff finally made a music video for “Sun Medallion,” my favorite track off 2008's Was Dead.

Continuing with a string of 7-inch releases, Kim Deal has come out with a new song, titled “Are You Mine?” But Ms. Deal has gone the extra mile to deliver an official music video for the track as well.

If you were as obsessed with Pitch Perfect as I was (and no, not in an ironic way), then you may be tickled pink to know they're coming out with an a capella Christmas record. Yes siree, the holidays just got aca-serious.

Fiona Apple's made a career out of break-ups, but you gotta admit no one can write a poetic ode to a failed relationship like this woman. Apple is gearing up to go on tour with Blake Mills and shared a video of them two playing a classic Fiona Apple track, “I Know,” from her 1999 album, When The Pawn...

The tracklist for the triple-disc reissue of Nirvana's In Utero can now be scoped by the public. The reissue hits stores and online markets on Sept. 24.

So Franz Ferdinand are still at it? I'm sure excitement is a-brewing for their upcoming release, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, set to hit stores Aug. 27. But you can see their performance of “Love Illumination” via Pitchfork.

L.A. sister trio, Haim, shared the video for their latest single, “The Wire.” If you like rhythmic pop with a stylish kick, this just may be your thing.

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    Stephen Marley
    Stephen Marley5.20.2014