Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Call me superficial. Call me impulsive. Call me weird. But the only reason I even watched the video for EMA's track “So Blonde” was because the default photo showed her wearing a Jim Morrison t-shirt. In case we haven't met, I have a tattoo of Morrison on my left arm. So yeah, let's just say I admire the “American poet.” But I am glad I clicked the link because the track contains some alt.rock, grunge tendencies that remind me of later Hole (around the Celebrity Skin era). You can watch that below.
While I'm not a crazy fanatic of Wes Anderson's films, I've always appreciated his aesthetic, his color, his attention to detail and his creativity in general. But as well as having an incredible eye for visuals, he's got a sharp ear for sound. You can tell by listening to the The Royal Tenenbaums' tunes, which include Paul Simon, Nico, The Ramones, etc. And now, thanks to the folks over at Pitchfork, you can hear the full soundtrack of his upcoming film The Grand Budapest Hotel. But keep in mind that it'll only be available for streaming till March 2 … right in time for the Oscars. What what!
Bring on the abuse! The Faint are back. I remember being introduced to them by pre-hipster kids that my friends used to know in high school, and their tunes could always be heard blasting from speakers at house parties where 16-year-old girls with eating disorders passed out on couches, and people would sneakily retreat to bathrooms for bumps on the toilet. The Faint always seemed like an appropriate soundtrack, and their new track (off their upcoming record Doom Abuse) seems to have the same sentiment. I foresee it being played at similar festivities upon its release. You can watch the video below, and look for their album on April 8.
A couple weeks back, I posted rock band The Men's track “Different Days” and noted its boisterous beat and wild direction. And now you can hear their entire forthcoming album Tomorrow's Hits over at the New York Times website. Enjoy …
'Member when Coldplay used to be good? You know … around A Rush of Blood to the Head? 'Member how their lyrics and melodies would strike at the heart and making your blood boil with confusion, sadness and reflection? Well, after that Viva La Vida bullshit, that sort of went out the window, and it seems as if they've gotten worse and worse with age. But maybe there's hope? Maybe their new, contemplative track “Midnight” might stir some emotion? See for yourself …
It looks like iTunes is the place to listen to albums ahead of their release dates (or surprise albums in Kid Cudi's case). The Kid released his record (Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon) this past week on the music-buying and listening platform. So go get it! On another note, last week I mentioned that Pharrell was coming out with a new album (titled G I R L), and folks, you're in luck because Pharrell has decided to stream the album in its entirety via iTunes Radio. How's that for digitally representing yourself? And while you're at it, take a listen to Rick Ross' new Mastermind LP. Since you'll already be on iTunes anyway.
Sister trio Haim have been making quite a name for themselves in the pop world. Their track “The Wire” gained them some pretty good traction, considering they'd been teasing their album (Days Are Gone) for a while before it finally came out. And now the sisters have released a video for album track “If I Could Change Your Mind,” and they've added some groovy dance moves to the proceedings. You can watch that below.
I've always liked Mudhoney. I feel like they were the more creative, low-key sibling of more well-known grunge contemporaries. But when you hear their sound, it's anything but low-key. Just listen to their album Superfuzz Bigmuff to get a taste of their crunchy cool. But on to the news, people. Mudhoney and Divine Fits recently recorded live records at Jack White's Third Man Records studio. And both albums hit the music market Tuesday. That's right … this coming Tuesday. So get to buyin'.
Damnit! Every time I hear Screaming Females, I'm admonished for not having purchased one of their albums, so I just need to get with it already and make a buy. In due time, people. In due time. But I've just been reminded of how their particular brand of rock is necessary in my collection after hearing a live recording of their track “Lights Out.” The song comes off their upcoming LP Live at the Hideout, which is out on April 8. Listen ... and let your ears bear witness to greatness.
Nothing says good vibes like songs with the word “happy” in the title, which is evidenced by aforementioned Pharrell Williams' track “Happy.” But Billboard took the initiative to compile a list of 20 chart-topping songs that contain the word “happy.” NOTE: Most of them are gracious golden oldies because, let's face it, them's was the good ol' days. Keep in mind, just because a song has the word “happy” in the title doesn't mean it's going to put a smile on your face. But as an added treat, I've included one of my favorites (which is also on the list). Enjoy …
Labor of love
Staff writer Mark Lopez explores the history of the love song and modern variations on the theme in The Mystic Myth of the Love Song. Peruse lovey-dovey A/V below, and share the love by posting your favorite modern or classic love song as a comment.
The Mystic Myth of the Love Song
The Daily Word in dog cop, Hoffa and Morrisey
27-year-old Abiquiú writer wins $53,000 on “Jeopardy.”
A KRQE interview with Chris Johnson, co-ower of the Weekly Alibi who also founded The Onion.
Schools around town give Breathalyzer tests to see if students are drunk.
In Vaughn, N.M., the only member of the police force is a dog.
How to casually exit a semitruck smash.
Is the Earth trying to shake us off?
British words creeping into American English.
What’s the deal with gluten?
Samuel L. Jackson curses his way through a children’s story in the name of politics.
Hand gestures can tell you what’s really going on.
Police look for Jimmy Hoffa under a driveway in Detroit.
Romney can’t keep his lines straight on health care.
Mexican navy captures top Los Zetas guy.
A letter from teenage Morrisey about how the Ramones are rubbish.
A playlist slathered in SPF 50
The first day of summer officially arrives on June 20. But with school being out and temperatures reaching into the upper ’80s, it’s as good as here. Assuming the moth army retreats from our corner of the world some point soon, I expect the next 12 weeks or so to be the finest of the year. Here are 15 hot tracks to go with it. Listen here.