the julie ruin
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
I always hate writing these … but sad news, people. GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (also known by his stage name Oderus Urungus) has gone to see the spirit in the sky. The musician was 50, and his cause of death is not yet known. The thrash ensemble has been performing for decades, building a loyal following. So it's an understatement to say that Brockie will be missed. R.I.P. And since their cameo in Empire Records was my first introduction to the band, it's only fitting to share that with y'all. You can watch that below.
“Do you know what this is, son? This is the panopticon. And all around us blink the brash and shifty eyes of common cash.” Sorry … a little Joanna Newsom fever going on over here … But let me get to business. Smashing Pumpkins have launched a new website called The Panopticon where they announced they're coming out with two new albums in 2015. (Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night). The recording process kicked off this past Tuesday (so says the site), and they're working with Howard Willing, whom they worked with on their Adore record. I'm sure there'll be updates on that in the coming year.
As if they couldn't get any better, blues-rock duo The Kills are now part of a documentary series (”Unlock Art”) that explores the processes, thoughts and perceptions going into creating art. The Kills' mini-doc focuses on “duos” in the art world and how collaboration can help mold, shape and magnify any particular medium. While this isn't solely music-related, I find it important in that music itself is an art form, and bandmates Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart both go into detail about great duos from Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to Jeff Koons and Cicciolina. You can read more about the doc series at NME, and you can watch The Kills' video below.
I'm sure Cyndi Lauper fans are already in the know regarding the 30th anniversary reissue of her breakout debut record She's So Unusual. The re-release of that LP will have demos, outtakes, B-sides, the works. And to give a little taste as to what surprises might be lurking within that LP (which hits stores on April 1), Lauper has shared a demo of the track “Rules and Regulations,” which didn't make the final cut of the original album. You can hear the track and Lauper's thoughts about it over at Rolling Stone.
Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has made a hefty amount of music since his debut in 1997, and now he's gearing up to release a new record: a tribute album to the late Lou Reed. Apparently Reed and Arthur were pretty chummy, and thus, Arthur felt compelled to provide a nice send-off to a close friend. The record Lou hits stores and online markets on May 13. And as a believer in signs, this release is already kind of blessed because that's my niece's birthday. But you don't wanna hear me ramble. Arthur has come out with a video for his cover of Reed's “Walk on the Wild Side.” Check it.
Some peoples are gonna be excited with this one. Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons), Elvis Costello (of Elvis Costello), T-Bone Burnett and more are going to record an album of recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics. Apparently the lyrics “date back to 1967,” and this endeavor is being handled “with Dylan's approval.” That should come out later this year, and the record is titled Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.
It took me this long to really delve into The Julie Ruin's 2013 release Run Fast. Not that I wasn't stoked, but upon hearing some tracks, I put that record on an indefinite hiatus until I found a vinyl copy at Mecca. And after giving it a thorough listen, I was delighted that Kathleen Hanna was officially back. Tracks like “Oh Come On,” “Kids in NY” and “Just My Kind” show Hanna's range from the punk-tastic overtures of Bikini Kill to the club-happy remnants of Le Tigre. And now The Julie Ruin has come out with a video for the aforementioned track “Just My Kind,” which you can watch below. Cheers!
It looks like tributes are in the air, man. Charlie Daniels (whom most of you know from his classic bar tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) is gearing up to release an album of Bob Dylan songs, titled Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan. Apparently Daniels lent a hand on some of Dylan's records (from Nashville Skyline to New Morning). The record comes out on April 1, and you can read more about it over at Billboard.
There's not a whole lot you can say about The Pretenders that's not been fit to print and re-print already. I will say that it was one of the only bands that me and my best friend's dad (who is kind of a music nerd) could agree on. I mean, just listen to Chrissie Hynde's voice. And now Hynde is gearing up to release her first solo record, Stockholm, later this year. And she's made the track “Dark Sunglasses” available. And while the track isn't overtly stellar, you can't deny Hynde's vocals. The woman's still got it.
Not a lot has been written or talked about regarding The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas’ new project (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz), other than a trailer and a website. But now, Casablancas and co. have shared an 8-minute video talking about the band, the project and the music. You can view that below.
The Punk Singer Keeps On Livin’
An interview with Kathleen Hanna
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Do you remember where you were when you first heard Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP? I remember trying to be cool with my older brother and his friends, jamming out to it at someone's house … or was that in a dream? Regardless the sequel is headed our way in the form of MMLP2, which comes out Nov. 5. But Eminem (who's blonde again) shared the track, “Berzerk,” which you can hear below:
You gotta love NPR and their “first listen” antics. Right now, they're streaming The Julie Ruin's Run Fast, which hits stores Sept. 3. Don't think, just hit play.
When I was a kid, I watched Almost Famous, and the song “Sparks” by The Who completely enthralled me to the point where it sort of became my own personal mantra to follow. It’s fantastic. On that note, Universal is going to reissue The Who’s Tommy in a deluxe edition, set to break down walls on Nov. 11.
In honor of The Breeders’ Last Splash turning 20, Stereogum writer Tom Breihan did a little write-up about his love/hate relationship with one of the best records of the ’90s.
Spike Jonze and Karen O collaborate again! After Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs handled the soundtrack to Jonze's rendition of Where the Wild Things Are, she has now provided a track, titled “The Moon Song,” for his new film, Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix. You can hear the track below as well as view a trailer for the flick.
Apparently, some lost Joy Division and New Order tapes have been recovered and former member of both bands, Peter Hook, is in talks to buy them back. Unheard material? Yes please!
Cursive's The Ugly Organ confirmed two things for me. The first was that a rock band could be self-critical but with a poetic, angry prowess, and that Tim Kasher had one of the most tragically unique voices I've ever heard. But here's Kasher in a more synth-friendly, less angsty light, with his new track, “Truly Freaking Out,” taken from his new solo record, Adult Film, which hits the music-sphere on Oct. 8.
Alibi Arts Editor Lisa Barrow has suggested I tune in to watch “Boardwalk Empire.” I still have yet to get see it because I'm always weary when it comes to getting obsessed with a new show. I still haven't gotten into “Breaking Bad,” and that show's already coming to a close. But I digress, the soundtrack for “Boardwalk Empire,” which features Patti Smith (!), St. Vincent, Stephan DeRosa, Elvis Costello and more, drops next week (Sept. 3), but thanks to the folks at Billboard, you can hear it now.
In case you're wondering what Paul McCartney is up to, he's released a new track, titled “New,” from his upcoming album of the same name. The track maintains that whimsical style that made The Beatles so legendary. Look for the new record on Oct. 15.
According to Consequence of Sound, The Dead Weather just got a little deadlier. The band, featuring Jack White on drums, singer Alison Mosshart, guitarist Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence handling bass, released two albums, their last being 2010's Sea of Cowards. But Third Man Records announced, via Twitter, that the band is working on some new material (!).
4AD American pioneers, Throwing Muses, are coming out with an art book/album. According to Pitchfork, the release, titled Purgatory/Paradise, is scheduled for release on Oct. 28, with a full(er) release set for Nov. 11. So, if you're feeling nostalgic, pull out those late-'80s, early-'90s albums, or have a listen to their new track, “sleepwalking 1.”
I love A.V. Club. From their “Hatesong” columns to their Undercover music series, they know how to wrangle interesting musicians and make them do interesting things. Like here … we have Kurt Vile covering “Down In It” by Nine Inch Nails.
If you've never listened to “I Luv the Valley, OH!” by Xiu Xiu, where've you been? It's a fantastic song that captures the sadness and anger of misspent youth and the hardships of all-consuming love. At least that's my interpretation. But, Shearwater's covering it for their new LP (of covers) titled Fellow Travelers. The album drops on Nov. 26 via Sub Pop, and will feature covers of songs by St. Vincent, Smog, Coldplay, etc.
Will The Julie Ruin you for all others?
Kathleen Hanna drops Ruin release deets
Who the hell is Kathleen Hanna ... other than a feminist punk poet with an affinity for zine writing workmanship? Who is this woman who dwells in the netherworld of alternative culture, plotting and demonstrating? Who is this transformative post-whatever icon who keeps pushing the waistband on the pants of pop-rock aesthetics to fit her angry, rabble-rousing agendas? Well, she's just a writer. At least that's how I've pegged her since I first started listening to Bikini Kill and Le Tigre during my formative years as a gay outcast in high school. Granted, her music scorched the silly side of a grounded movement at times. I never took her stances too seriously—at least not as seriously as those who deem themselves riot grrrls—but I always appreciated her mediums. On hearing that she’s resurrected the Julie Ruin moniker to release new material, I was psyched, and I still am.
Putting the word “The” in front of the name—thus making it The Julie Ruin, y'all—Hanna has resurrected not only a name, but an idea and a good one at that. If you haven't heard her post-Bikini Kill bedroom recordings, you should take a listen. They're not groundbreaking, but they were a solid precursor to the “Deceptacon”-era Hanna who would make her mark on the music industry. Maybe she wasn't a chart-topper, but she maintains a loyal fanbase that is keen on hearing her wild vocals inundate them with a little radical mystique—Feminist Sweepstakes, anyone? I digress … Hanna has announced that The Julie Ruin's debut album, titled Run Fast, is set to hit the streets on the 3rd of September (you know ... the day we’ll always remember). So be on the lookout for that, and while you're waiting for that illustrious morn to approach, you still have the old basement recordings of the original incarnation to tide you over. And if Le Tigre's This Island and The Julie Ruin’s first single, “Oh Come On,” are anything to go by, then you know Hanna delivers the goods when she has the proper studio treatment to rely on. Just sayin'.