Last Thursday, Sia released a single “Cheap Thrills,” the first we’ve heard of her since last year’s album 1000 Forms of Fear. The song was originally written for Rihanna, who turned it down in the end. As Sia said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her. It’s more Icona Pop.”
Well, Sia and Grimes now have something in common. In 2014 Grimes released “Go,” a song originally written for Rihanna that she rejected. Grimes decided to make the song herself instead, a respectable “waste not, want not” approach to songwriting—but with, overall, an unimpressive effect. While “Go” is instrumentally interesting, it sticks out like a sore thumb in the context of Grimes’ oeuvre. It sounds, for a good reason, like a Rihanna song performed by Grimes.
Similarly, “Cheap Thrills” is less exciting than what I was expecting next from Sia. It’s a dancefloor gem, with a steady beat and lots of “all hail the weekend” party lyrics — but it’s so lyrically boring that I just can’t get into it. Sia has a knack for slipping razor-sharp commentary into dancy pop gems (see “Chandelier” and “Buttons”), but it’s just not present in “Cheap Thrills.” The ultimate point of the song is “I don’t need a lot of money to have fun!” which, sung by Rihanna (who, if you recall, last made the charts with a track called “Bitch Better Have My Money”), would actually be kind of interesting. But from Sia, it just sounds like fluff.
I’m just hoping that somebody could get in touch with Rihanna’s people and tell them to stop turning down awesome material from great writers? Please, it’ll help the careers of everybody involved.
Man, them Swedish folks sure know how to craft a nice pop tune. This song may have some bubblegum-ness to it, but damn if it ain't catchy. Oh, I'm talking about Icona Pop's new song. In case you're unfamiliar with the Swedish pop duo, they hit it pretty big with their track “I Love It,” and now they've come out with a new tune that might not have the same edge of the aforementioned ditty, but it's for sure gonna snare them some new fans, if not keep the old ones steady until a full-length manifests. Have a listen to “Get Lost” below.
I'm sure there has been talk of this, but I wasn't aware. Aretha Franklin is recording a divas covers album. Ms. Franklin took the time to speak with Billboard about working with Andre 3000 (who is a co-producer on the record), the status of the album (she's “on it”) and named a few songs she's covering. Among them are Adele's “Rollin in the Deep,” Donna Summer's “Last Dance” and Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do With It.” Head to Billboard to read what one of the best vocalists ever had to say about what she's working on.
Some electronica-lovin' folks are 'bout to get super-duper excited. Grimes has come out with a new track (apparently her first in two years), and it was originally written to be performed by Rihanna ... who turned it down. So what was Grimes to do? Why, record it herself! The song (titled “Go”) is a lovely, atmospheric tune that's got a banging beat, background yelps and some smooth, slick production, and it also features Blood Diamonds. Have a listen below.
For fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, including myself, it's time to get excited: Karen O is coming out with her first solo effort (Crush Songs). Granted, she already recorded solo material with Native Korean Rock & the Fishnets, but that project only released rough demos, which you can still find on YouTube. But this is an actual full-length endeavor, y'all. That drops on Sept. 9, which isn't too far off, so keep scanning those headlines for more info in the coming months.
While I didn't listen to Robert Plant's last solo record (Band of Joy), I was a huge fan of his collaborative LP with Alison Krauss (Raising Sand). That record was phenomenal; all you have to do is listen and hear how their voices meld together to form a sound that can't be replicated, a sound that is pure magic. See “Stick With Me Baby.” Regardless, Plant is coming out with another solo effort, titled lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar. That'll hit stores on Sept. 9, and you can have a listen to album track “Rainbow” below.
It's here people! Well, the announcement is here. Julian Casablancas + the Voidz have officially announced their debut record (or Casablancas' second solo record). The album (Tyranny) hits stores and online markets on Sept. 23 and will be sold through Casablancas' Cult Records, where it's on preorder now for the mere cost of $3.87. You read that right. Head over to Rolling Stone to read more about the album.
Get ready for the blasphemy because I'm gonna say it: I've never really listened to Radiohead. And it's not because of any disrespect, but mostly because they just haven't crossed my path as much as most. Wait ... does "Creep" count? Okay, back to the point. Radiohead drummer Philip Selway is coming out with a new solo record. There isn't too much info on the release, other than it's called Weatherhouse and comes out on Oct. 7. So keep an ear out for that.
Oh snap! Prince is back! Well, he never really went away, but you know what I mean. The pop diva (erm ... divo? What's the male term?) has announced another album is on the way (on top of his 3rdEyeGirl record, which still hasn't seen a proper release). Good news? Hell, you're getting two for the price of one, or maybe not the price of one, but you catch my drift, right? As for the album, there's no title or release date, but Prince did name a few tracks: “The Gold Standard” and “This Could Be Us.” Head to Pitchfork to read more ‘bout it.
If you've read this column, I'm sure you're tired of witnessing my excitement concerning Veruca Salt's reunion. But hey, it didn't end there, and it won’t end here. The band has now come out with a video to the b-side of their first single, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” aka “It's Holy.” The video features band footage along with fans listening to the record in the comfort of their own homes. Scroll down a little further to view the little gem.
As Rolling Stone notes, Robin Thicke's new video for the song “Get Her Back” is kind of “awkward.” While I don't indulge in gossip, the track is supposedly a plea to his estranged wife, begging for her to come back. The awkward (and so 2014) parts of the video are the text messages that flash across the screen. I'm not sure if they're real, but either way, it's pretty uncomfortable. But I'll let you decide for yourself. Also, you can pick up the album (titled Paula, yes, after his wife) next week. Enjoy! Or don't.
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.
My first introduction to YACHT was when a friend played their song “The Afterlife” in his car. I liked the dark, '80s vibe emanating from his speakers, and the lyrics immediately grabbed me, what with singer Claire L. Evans deadpanning “We know how to make life go on.” Their show at Emo's in Austin, Texas was a pretty dynamic affair. People danced whether they wanted to or not. Now the band has shared a new single, “Plastic Soul,” and an accompanying video. You can watch that below.
I know … I know … It must get tiresome with all this love in the air and Valentine's day looming ahead like an unstoppable force coming to claim your hard-earned cash and whatnot. But the Sweetheart compilation I've been plugging for the past few weeks (posting tracks by Beck and Jim James) has shared a new track. This time it's Fiona Apple and her cabaret-singing sister Maude Maggart singing Anton Karas' “I'm in the Middle of a Riddle.” You can check that out at the Wall Street Journal. PS: You can also hear Ben Harper covering Mazzy Star for this compilation over at Consequence of Sound. And the compilation is out on Feb. 4.
While I've already ruminated over the music of the hit HBO series “Girls,” it's always nice when the good music keeps a-flowin'. And now we've got a new track by Jenny Lewis, titled “Completely Not Me.” The song was produced by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, which I'm assuming is supposed to be impressive. But you can hear the track below, and check out the Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do… over at Entertainment Weekly.
I've always appreciated Kevin Drew's atmospheric musicality in Broken Social Scene. I never really followed his solo work, but I guess it's better late than never. Now Drew is coming out with a new record (titled Darlings), slated to hit stores on March 18. And he's shared a track off said album (“Good Sex”), which you can listen to below.
While it's probably completely out of left field, Led Zeppelin themselves always had sort of an unpredictably whimsical quality about them. I mean, come on … they made medieval stories sound ridiculously cool. Regardless, John Paul Jones has teamed up with electronic artist Deathprod, and together they are Minibus Pimps. You can read more about 'em over at Pitchfork.
A friend first introduced me to Neutral Milk Hotel my sophomore year of high school, and (no joke!) my life was changed. I understood what it meant to make music an actual art form. Poetry and rock and roll had melted together into these seamless barrage of sound, all of it surrounding Jeff Mangum and his vibrant guitar. And now (after never thinking it was possible), I'll get to see them live because the band has added some more dates to their tour, and they'll be stopping at Albuquerque's Kiva Auditorium on April 17. Tickets went on sale this morning, so go get 'em before they sell out (if they haven't already). You can also hear my all-time favorite NMH track (“Two Headed Boy, Pt. 2) below.
Alibi Managing Editor and Music Editor Samantha Anne Carrillo covered Syracuse punk outfit Perfect Pussy in one of her Four Up's and noted how Captured Tracks had enough confidence in the band to sign them … Well, you can see why with their track “Driver” off their upcoming full-length debut (Say Yes To Love), which hits online and physical stores on March 18. It looks like the noise is headed our way.
Let those withering clouds part and the sonic sun descend upon the masses. It's been “confirmed” that Jack White and Neil Young have recorded an album of covers (apparently with Jack White handling production duties). According to music journalist Michael Goldberg, a source close to the project has confirmed it, but you know how that stuff goes. I say speculation until a physical copy is in my hands. It looks like I need to hit up Third Man Records for an advanced copy, what what!
For the past few weeks, music blogs have been abuzz over the long-lost Johnny Cash album (Out Among the Stars), which was recorded in the early '80s. The record will get a proper release, thanks to his son John Carter Cash. And now Cash's son has picked the album's lead single (“She Used to Love Me a Lot”). The album hits the music-sphere on March 25, but you can hear the aforementioned track below.
I've mentioned before that I like Ty Segall. I like his thrashy, disgusting, melted face approach to garage rock. It's supposed to be that way. And now his side project FUZZ has released a cover of The Kinks' track “Till The End Of The Day.” You can hear that below.
I don't know what it is with me and losing interest after a band's first album. It's a curse. That's how it went with The Mars Volta. De-Loused in the Comatorium was a fantastic album that highlighted my sophomore year of high school. (Or was it junior year?) Either way, now former member Omar Rodríguez-López and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member John Frusciante have started a new collaboration. The project is called Kimono Kult, and they're fixing to release a debut EP (Hiding in the Light) on March 4. But you can hear a new track from this group over at Rolling Stone.
It's always exciting when two powerhouse divas get together for a collaboration. (Britney and Madonna, anyone?) So I'm sure Shakira's collaboration with Rihanna will be no different. And the thing about Shakira (besides her being this pop sensation) was that she used to be this cool, alternative, Latin musician. Check out Dónde Están Los Ladrones? or her MTV Unplugged version of “Ciega, Sordomuda” if you don't believe me. That album is fantastic. Either way, I'm sure most people will go nuts over this track, so here's “Can't Remember to Forget You.”
Since last week's Rooster Roundabout, we lost one of rock 'n' roll's truest gods … Mr. Lou Reed. I can't speak for others, but he had a profound effect on how I listen to music, and he showed the immense beauty that exists when poetry and rock meld together seamlessly. It's a practice few can master. And no one did it like Reed. You can read the obituary his wife, Laurie Anderson, wrote here. This one's for you, Lou.
According to the folks over at Pitchfork, Beck has signed with Capitol Records and will be releasing a new album (Morning Phase) in February 2014. This has been sort of a long time coming, as his last full-length release was back in 2008, and it wasn't one of his best. They also stated that a good amount of personnel on this new record worked with Beck on 2002's Sea Change, so this should be interesting.
Okay, I'm obviously playing favorites at this point, but I can't help it. Savages is still very much on my radar with their stellar release Silence Yourself. And now they've come out with a new video for album closer “Marshal Dear,” one of the best tracks on the album. Then again, all of the tracks on the album are fantastic. Okay, okay … I'll stop gushing. Just watch the animated, conceptually war-torn video.
Oh those relentless psych-garage rockers! First Ty Segall and now Thee Oh Sees. The latter band is coming out with a third Singles Collection that's scheduled to drop on Nov. 26. They've also made the track “What You Need” available, so get those boomboxes (assuming you still got one) prepared for this probably-pretty-good compilation.
James Blake has one of those magnetic voices that just needs to be heard. It operates on a wavelength that mixes beautiful tones with a soulful prowess rarely seen in male vocalists. Maybe that's why Blake won the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for his album Overgrown. For those who don't know, the Mercury Prize is given once a year for the best British or Irish album. Past winners include Primal Scream, PJ Harvey and Antony & The Johnsons.
Dancing at numerous parties in Austin, Texas, it was natural to stumble upon Calle 13, a Puerto Rican outfit who've been steadily releasing albums for years to much acclaim. They've also garnered 19 Latin Grammies. Not bad, eh. Now the group has announced a new single that'll hit the streets on Nov. 13, and a new album that will come out in March, though they've stated that they plan on releasing it independently. So we'll see how that goes. You can hear their awesome track “Atrevete te te” below.
Lady Gaga has unleashed another derivative disco pop-infused club track, titled “Venus,” to the masses. Can we not have a little time to digest the last one, Gaga? Sheesh. Either way … the track is now available for listening via the world wide web. Gaga's ARTPOP is slated for a Nov. 11 release, so keep that pocket change jingling.
Devendra Banhart came out with a substantial release this past year (Mala). It was a release that showed him recycling his worldly sentiments and regurgitating them in a sonically forward-moving motion. Now Banhart has released a music video for the track “Für Hildegard Von Bingen.” You can view that below.
A week ahead of the release of The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem has shared his collaborative track with Rihanna, titled “The Monster.” If the song isn't a groundbreaking attempt to boast marketable partnerships, it's at least an okay iteration of Eminem's prowess as a rapper. And at this point, can we hope for anything more? [Editors Note: By the time this was scheduled to go up, Eminem also made his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar available, so you can hear that as well.]
Ex-LAPD officer a triple-murder suspect.
Rihanna accompanied Chris Brown to court to support him during his probation hearing as a result of his 2009 assault case for beating her.
Lobos sail past Air Force 81-58 to remain high atop the Mountain West standings.
Statewide texting and driving ban has not yet cleared the senate judiciary committee.
CBS thinks maybe it’s time for ladies on the red carpet to cover up a bit more.
Patrick Leach, son of Barney creator Sheryl Leach, charged with attempted murder.
Santa Fe man accused of biting his girlfriend’s toe down to the bone.
This cat is dressed up as Walter White.
In addition to being a vital aspect of entertainment, music and the news surrounding it often serve as a lens for considering important cultural phenomena. Rather than providing the overdone top ten album list, like I did last year, I focused on overarching themes in national, international and hyper-local music news in Macro and Micro Music Review. Since I neglected to mention Of God and Science in my local band R.I.P. list, check out their music video for “Turbulence” below.
Beloved elderly man dies in the cold on his porch in La Mesilla, NM.
New state laws for 2012 bring about happy hour bans, fire-breathing regulations and more.
Canadian drug found successful in treating ovarian cancer.
99-year-old Italian man divorcing his wife of 77 years over her 1940's affair.
Amazon, Facebook and Google consider a coordinated anti-SOPA blackout.
Target becomes target (hehe) for large public gathering of breast-feeding moms.
Too bad Christmas is over: I would have wanted a Batman iPod dock with built in taser.
Let's make some New Year's Eve resolutions.
Fox apologizes to Jews for Facebook poll on Jesus' death.
Words of comfort: Russia test fires long-range missile with new warhead.
Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador on American soil uncovered.
This "Let Women Die" act sounds unsettling.
Bad news for the Roswell UFO Museum.
Keep on the lookout for terrorists holding snowglobes.
The worlds largest virus is ironically called Megavirus.
The Kraken's lair discovered in Nevada.
R.I.P. gay rights activist Frank Kameny.
The 50 best signs from Occupy Wall Street.
Reddit has a child porn problem.
Avengers. Trailer. Here.
Ladies, keep your boobs away from this phony door-to-door breast examiner.
What's the deal with these rubbing rocks from the Atacama desert?
Peanut butter prices are set to skyrocket next month.
New website will help you find free parking around UNM.
AshPoopie does exactly what you think it will do. Please tell me you were thinking it would incinerate your dog crap!
Dr. Pepper unveils a
lame macho diet soda.
The McZüri is the first McDonald's burger made from ground-veal.
25 abandoned Yugoslavian monuments.
That American Pie reunion is happening.
The world's oldest car runs better than mine.
Rihanna named Esquire's sexiest woman alive.