ariel pink


V.23 No.12 | 3/20/2014

Music

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.

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.

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!

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.

V.23 No.6 | 2/6/2014

Am I the only one who’s surprised Korn is still making music? Probably … because it seems the band is still going strong, having released The Paradigm Shift late last year. My last foray into the world of Korn was Follow The Leader when I was a kid. And that was largely a byproduct of having an older brother. Regardless the band has come out with a video for the track “Spike in My Veins,” from their latest record. You can watch that video below.

Granted my musical repertoire could use some brushing up on the rap front. I guess it's just a genre I spent a vast majority of my life being woefully ignorant of, but hey: There's always room for improvement. Nas was always a name thrown at me growing up, whether it was cousins sharing his new tracks or aficionados urging me to pick up one of his LPs. Now Nas has decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut record in a big way: He's releasing a reissue (Illmatic XX) that features remixes, freestyles and demos. And he's also coming out with a documentary about working on the album, “Time Is Illmatic.” You can read more about it and view the tracklist over at Pitchfork.

I posted Jenny Lewis' contribution to the soundtrack for HBO series “Girls” a couple weeks back. Now a new track—that is also on said compilation, titled Girls, Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do—has surfaced. It's Miguel's song “Simplethings,” which layers lofty fuzz over an otherwise-typical modern R&B beat. Still, it works, and you can hear it below. And as of press time, Lily Allen's contribution to the soundtrack was revealed via Rolling Stone. So head over there to hear her track. The album itself comes out on Feb. 11.

'Member when I mentioned John Dwyer's new project Damaged Bug? Dwyer, singer/guitarist of currently defunct garage contemporaries Thee Oh Sees, is gearing up to release Bug's first record (Hubba Bubba) on Feb. 25. And since that date is fast approaching, he's made a new tune from said album available. This track is titled “Photograph,” and while it has more electronic leanings, it also has got some distorted overtones ringing throughout. Nice job. You can head over to Pitchfork to give that a listen.

Ohhh snap! Folks who are still keeping tabs on Robert Smith and the gang are sure to be excited that The Cure has announced a new album for 2014 (titled 4:14 Scream). Now I've never been much of a Cure fan—which was blasphemy to my “goth” friends in high school—but I can appreciate their appeal. And some tracks have stirred my emotions, here and there (see “Plainsong”). I was always looking for something with more cojones, but you can learn more at the A.V. Club.

I believe that it was Hole that said, “If the world is so wrong, yeah, you can take it all with one song.” I'm not saying that The Men's new track “Different Days” is that song, but it's enough to at least put a smile on your face, make you get your ass off that seat and start jumping around. And isn't that what rock and roll is all about? Minus the sex and drugs … Either way, the track comes off The Men's upcoming album (Tomorrow's Hits), which gets released on March 4, and you can take a listen to it below.

For those who may not be too familiar with them, The Jesus Lizard is a rock band that started out in Texas in the late '80s. And while they haven't released a standard LP since 1998, they've always been a band I've heard about from various, excited friends. But I've said it before: I always hear about things late in the game. Aside from that, guitarist Duane Denison has joined with Tomahawk and Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten to form a new band called The Unsemble. They've shared a tune off their upcoming self-titled debut—which hits stores on March 4—and you can hear that over at the A.V. Club.

Okay … it may seem like I'm playing favorites here … what with mentioning St. Vincent's upcoming self-titled release again. But it's not from a lack of trying to expand my horizons, people. It's just that Annie Clark has now posted another song, “Prince Johnny,” from her upcoming LP, and since it's real good stuff, I thought, “why not share it?” So you can hear that below.

It's no secret that Kurt Vile's Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze was a pretty stellar release. We don't need to go there, ’cause I've already gone there. But this isn't about Vile. No, this is about Ms. Aly Spaltro aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. LLB's 2013 record Ripely Pine was one of my favorite albums of the year—and for damn good reason (see “Crane Your Neck” or “You Are the Apple”). But now Ms. Spaltro has covered Vile's “Girl Called Alex” to pay homage to what she considered the best record of 2013. You can hear that below.

So many collaborations! Just last week I mentioned Ariel Pink's involvement in Raw Deal. Apparently he's also involved in another project with Jorge Elbrecht, and that’s called Jorge Elbrose. They've just come out with a video for their track “Called to Ring.” You can read more about their project at Pitchfork, and you can watch the video below.

V.23 No.5 | 1/30/2014

Folk master Pete Seeger passed away this past Monday at the age of 94. Sources say it was due to natural causes. This is a sad loss for music, but Seeger's legacy will for sure live on … and his songs will always retain the zeal and prosperity he showed while playing. From creating an anthem for civil rights to performing an inaugural show for President Barack Obama, this man was a legacy in his own. And Pete, this one's for you …

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti was introduced by a friend while driving in his car and smoking a joint as the Corpus Christi heat beat down on our bodies from outside half-tinted windows. Those were the days. I immediately liked his lo-fi basement recordings, but never kept up with his later pursuits. And now Pink is teaming up with producer Justin Raisen, and together they are production duo Raw Deal. They've been working with a band called the Garden, based out of California. You can read more about that collaboration at Pitchfork.

Former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal released his second album (Nobody knows.) last year, and while it wasn't a stellar release, it had some good moments. (See “Coming Through,” which features Cat Power.) And now Beal has recorded a third album, titled A Place That Doesn't Exist. It contains more of the lo-fi intonations of his first record, but his voice is always front and center. And what a voice it is. He announced that he'd like to “give it away for free,” but the album hasn't come out. However, you can stream it below!

I'm sure some people are about to shit themselves … or at least fart from excitement. Singer-songwriter Mike Doughty posted some tracks that feature Elliott Smith's vocals (deeming them “new” tracks.) He went on to specify that they are new (or at least unreleased) in that Smith recorded the vocals in 1998, to be “sliced/diced over beats.” You can read more about that and hear the tracks over at A.V. Club.

I'm sure most Burqueños know about Deerhoof, what with band member John Dieterich calling this burg home now. And considering they've been making music since the '90s, it's no wonder they've gained a massive following, if not an adoring fanbase. And after coming out with their 11th record in 2012, the band seems to be riding that engine with some lasting intent, seeing as how they've come out with a music video for album-cut “Flowers.” You can watch that below.

'Til this day, the cover of Eels' Beautiful Freak haunts me. I never bought the album, but seeing it on the shelves at Best Buy when I was in my formative years (you know … between six and nine years old), I always stopped to pick it up. And I always wondered if I'd get the courage to ask my mom to buy it for me. I never did. Instead I saved that courage for Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals when I was 10. That was a doozy. I digress … Mark Oliver Everett (the main man behind Eels) has come out with a new track, off The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (which hits stores on April 22). The song (“Agatha Chang”) is a sentimental yet somber tune that I'll gladly add to my collection. You can hear that at Consequence of Sound.

Pixies recently released a brand new collection of material in the form of EP2. And as Alibi writer August March pointed out, the release was kind of underwhelming. But seriously … what can you expect? Kim Deal's not in the band anymore. And you know home-gurl added the most fire to the festivities. But now the band has come out with a video for their track “Magdalena.” You can view that below.

It's no secret that the Russian government has treated the LGBTQ community with the upmost disrespect, if not outright hate. And to bring attention to Russian activists fighting the good fight in support of gay rights, Melissa Etheridge formed a coalition to support them. She also wrote a song, “Uprising of Love,” to coincide with the movement. You can hear that below.

I mentioned a while back that Strokes guitar player Albert Hammond Jr. was coming out with a solo EP (AHJ). Well that collection is out and about, but now Hammond has shared a visual representation for one of the tracks from said release (“Strange Tidings”). You can view that below.

Karen O, frontwoman of art-rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is no stranger to covers. She's tackled “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. She's taken on Led Zeppelin's “Immigrant Song.” And now, she's covering Bob Marley's “I Shot the Sheriff.” She recorded the song with Sam Spiegel (of N.A.S.A.), and it's here for your listening pleasure.

You 'member Sarah McLachlan? You know … the one that founded Lilith Fair and was on that really sad dog commercial that made me cry every time it aired on public access? No? Oh, she's also a singer. Yeah, if you were around in the '90s, you remember her. I had an older sister who had her album Surfacing, so let's just say I remember her well. Aside from that, McLachlan has just signed with Verve and is coming out with a new record (Shine On) on May 6. You can read more about that over at Billboard.