Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
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.
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.
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.
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.
While I'm not much of a Robin Thicke fan, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked “Blurred Lines” because it reminded me of my favorite Marvin Gaye track “Got to Give it Up.” (Lest we forget that's the reason the Gaye family is suing Thicke.) Regardless, Thicke has released his new video for the track “Feel Good,” and while this one doesn't have the same laid-back, good-time vibe of “Blurred Lines,” I can foresee it becoming a club favorite. I think that's the goal at this point for most pop musicians, right?
Reverend Horton Heat was one of those musicians that various friends played, but never really stuck. Maybe I was sleeping … maybe my mind just wasn't too much into the psychobilly fanaticism that permeated an outsider group of friends around 2008. Regardless Reverend Horton Heat (real name Jim Heath) is prepping a new album, titled Rev, that's scheduled to be released on Jan. 21. You can hear a track from it, titled “Spooky Boots,” (which also gives a shout-out to the Land of Enchantment) over at Billboard. Because why not.
What would it be like if Megadeth released an album of Christmas standards? And what would it be like if Jenny Lewis did a duet with them?
Soul singer Charles Bradley is proof that it doesn't matter how old you are or what your background is. If you have natural, raw talent, people will notice. Having two albums under his belt, Bradley has taken a somewhat unthinkable turn: He's provided a soulful cover of Black Sabbath's “Changes.” And it's fantastic. You can listen to that below.
It's that time again, y'all. Time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to announce the newest pool of inductees. Among the musicians to be inducted and honored at this year's festivities is Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Kiss, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt. The ceremony takes place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 10.
My first introduction to Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez was his cover of The Knife's “Heartbeats.” While that track was excellent, it couldn't have compared to the magnetic prowess that made the original so noticeable. But that's neither here nor there. Now Gonzalez has a few tracks on the soundtrack to the Ben Stiller flick The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And Gonzalez has released a video for the track “Stay Alive,” which was written by Ryan Adams. You can watch that below.
I'm a fan of bare acoustic ditties. Maybe that's why it took me hearing A Sleep & A Forgetting to finally notice Islands, even though a friend had tried to get me to listen to them for years. Nick Thorburn (the front man, songwriter, extraordinaire) released Islands' latest opus, Ski Mask, earlier this year, and now he's shared an acoustic track that he recorded last Friday. You can hear it below.
Girls who were 16 circa 1998 are about to be very, very excited … and cry. For what, I don't know. But, Dave Matthews, Jakob Dylan and a host of other musicians have formed a new band (The Nauts). Apparently they got together at Brady Blade's Studios in Shreveport, La., to record some material, and now they've booked some live shows. Let the crying commence!
Country music legend Ray Price died at the age of 87 this past week. Though a lot of people (myself included) weren't too familiar with Price's repertoire, his indelible imprint in the music country sphere has been felt and ruminated over since his death to pancreatic cancer was announced. It's always hard to see a legend called home. So here's “Crazy Arms.”
I've said it once, and I'll say it again: If it's free, it's me. Texas group Okkervil River have released a third EP of '80s covers, titled Golden Opportunities 3. The mix features covers of artists ranging from Roseanne Cash to Don Henley. You can download or stream the EP (and get the two previous Golden Opportunities releases) here.
Every bit as dark and seductive as they were when they first started, the Dead Weather's latest song, “Open Up (That's Enough),” shows the group in a stylized light that further exemplifies their hard blues rock tendencies. Maybe the cigarettes are helping Mosshart's voice because it's working on this track. But enough of my gushing. You can hear the track below, and you can download it digitally on Jan. 14.
Sufjan Stevens has gotten together with Son Lux and Serengeti to form a trio of ideas (and music, obviously) called Sisyphus. And they're coming out with their eponymous debut on March 18, and they've shared a track, titled “Calm It Down.” Judging from the single alone, it could be interesting, or it could get old really fast. Let's see what happens.