christopher owens


V.23 No.29 | 7/17/2014

Good news for good news lovers

King Tuff's Was Dead album was one of my favorites of 2013. Though it came out years ago, fan fervor over the original recordings made him reissue it last year, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic record. Now Tuff is gearing up to release another LP (Black Moon Spell), and he's giving a taste of what it'll entail with the album track “Eyes of the Muse.” That should tide you over 'til Sept. 23, but I'm sure he'll release more previews between then and now. Here's hoping.

I've always liked Usher ... well, mostly. I've lost touch with a lot of his recent work, but “Confessions Part II,” “Nice and Slow” and “Yeah” are some good songs to dance, reflect or get in the mood to. Whatever your preference, the man knows what he's doing. Now Usher has made a track available that was produced by Pharrell and features Nicki Minaj. The slick, club-happy number will definitely be a crowdpleaser. Head to Hip-Hop Wired to hear it.

Coldplay and Cat Power? I'm sure some could have predicted it … probably not. Cat Power is ... well ... Cat Power. And Coldplay used to be good. Regardless, it's an interesting combination any way you squeeze it, and the song they've concocted together (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sung by Chan Marshall) is a contemplative little number. The track “Wish I Was Here” was written and recorded for Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name. How that'll go is an entirely different thing. But check out the song below.

There's always dissension when a legendary rock group announces they've recorded new material. Some say it's going to be awful. Some say it's a new era, a new sound. Whatever your views, that still doesn't stop it from happening. Take Pink Floyd for instance. The group is coming out with a new record (The Endless River) in October, and according to the band's website, it's “an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.” So keep an eye out for that one … or don't … I mean I might not even remember … I probably will though.

I mentioned a few weeks back that Christopher Owens (former frontman from Girls) was coming out with his second solo album. Well, that's still happening. The record (A New Testament) hits the music-sphere on Sept. 30. And Owens shared a snippet in the form of “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” which you can view below.

It's happening. Beck is going to release a new album titled Song Reader. I know, I know, he already came out with a record called Song Reader (though it was a release of sheet music, made to be interpreted by skilled musicians). But Beck is going to release actual recordings of those songs, and each track is going to be done by a different artist. Among them are Laura Marling, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and much more. Head to Pitchfork to get more deets on that. Oh, and it drops on July 29, which is hella soon!

Audio/Visual

Like most, I became familiar with The Vines at the turn of the millennium when they graced us with “Get Free.” Anyone else remember the Hives vs. Vines battle during MTV's Music Awards? Them's were the days. The band has been steadily releasing albums over the past decade, though none have found their way on my radar. Now, they're coming out with a new double LP (Wicked Nature). They're self-releasing it via PledgeMusic where fans donate funds and get free downloads of some of the album's tracks. So there ya go. Not sure when the record is coming out, but you can watch the video for their new song “Metal Zone” below.

Out the left hangar

Taylor Swift is a writer? Well, duh, I know she writes her own songs, but an editorial? And for the Wall Street Journal? The country-pop sensation wrote a piece on the future of the music industry, speculating on where music will be in 30 or 40 years. Swift describes herself at the beginning of the piece as an “enthusiastic optimist.” (Go figure.) She does say some insightful things here and there, and whether you agree with her assertions, it's not as if she's the be-all-end-all authority on music entirely. But if you want her perspective, it's not a terrible read. See what she has to say here.

Fans of Death Proof are no strangers to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (you know, the one who was dressed like a cheerleader in the second half). 'Member the scene where she sits in the car and sings a lovely cover of Smith's “Baby It's You”? Good times. Well Winstead and Dan “The Automator” Nakamura have a music project together (Got A Girl), and they're getting ready to release a record on July 22. To give people a preview, they've made the track “There's a Revolution” available. Listen to the retro pop ditty below.

There are still moments when I get tears in my eyes at the thought that I will never see The White Stripes live in person. I think back to moments when I could have seen them had I driven 3 1/2 hours, changed highways, snacked on goodies, all while playing all six of their fantastic albums in chronological order. That is slightly remedied with the release of a live White Stripes album (Live Under the Lights of the Rising Sun). No release date on it yet, but the record will have 31 tracks, and it's taken from their first tour in Japan in 2000. So it'll probably have some good early stuff. Head to NME to read more 'bout it.

V.23 No.19 | 5/8/2014

Talk about a boy-band super duo: Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys) and Jordan Knight (of New Kids on the Block) have decided to join forces and take over the music world as Nick & Knight. No joke. Their debut LP drops on September 2, and shortly after they're going on tour so people can see this pop extravaganza in person. It's just as well. Interested folks can view a promotional video for the project below, and in it you can hear a snippet of their single “Just the Two of Us.” PS: The album is already available for pre-order. So have at it if you must.

'Member that little Steven Spielberg gem known as Jurassic Park? I know I do. Seeing that in theaters was one of my greatest movie-going experiences as a youngster. And if you were a fan of the music, this is your lucky day. The film’s score is getting a nice reissue on multi-colored vinyl, and it'll be available to the public on June 11. Head to Consequence of Sound for more info.

Coldplay has been steadily giving glimpses of their upcoming record Ghost Stories, which hits the music-sphere on May 19. And now they're providing listeners with another fragment in the form of “A Sky Full of Stars,” which features a collaboration with electronic, club aficionado Avicii. Basically you need to be high as a kite in a black-lit dance party to experience the full effect of the song. Other than that, what's the point? But you can give the tune a listen below.

The dream of the '90s is alive in super-Earth. According to the Portland Mercury, Corin Tucker (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) have joined forces to deliver new music to the masses in the form of the aforementioned band name: super-Earth. Not sure when they'll deliver the goods, but someone somewhere is jumping with joy, or at least digging into those old mixtapes, you know … from when people used to make them.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that a documentary about the late, great Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You) is scheduled to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now you can view a teaser of the film, which provides a glimpse of Smith's legendary status and why he was (and still is) loved and admired by his peers.

Let the album streamage commence: Last week, Lily Allen gave the visual accompaniment of her upcoming record's title track (“Sheezus”), and now she's streaming the album in its entirety. You can hear that via iTunes Radio, which confuses me, so I'll just wait for it to come out, assuming I want to hear it. And while we're on the topic of pop diva streaming, you can head to NPR to stream Lykke Li's I Never Learn. Oh, and you since everyone's giving it away for free (at least momentarily), head to Consequence of Sound to hear The Horrors' new record Luminous.

I'm gonna save you the introduction and spare you talk of my love of Christopher Owens, the former frontman for rock group Girls. I've gone there time and time again, so I'll just get right to it ... Owens has posted a new track (gospel-tinged rocker “Stephen”), and it's fucking great. Not sure if this is going to be on some future release, but one can hope. Have a listen below.

Music lovers young and old have shared thoughts about the internet's influence on music culture: how record labels don't make as much money; therefore, artists don't make as much money, yadda yadda. Steve Albini (noted producer, musician and engineer who has worked with The Breeders, Nirvana, Pixies, Veruca Salt and many more) has been pretty vocal about his views on record labels sucking artists dry to make a buck. And now, contrary to what many people would have considered him to believe, he says album streaming and the internet in general have solved “the problem with music.” He goes on to say “You can literally have a worldwide audience for your music … with no corporate participation, which is tremendous.” You can read more at Quartz.

The Roots shared a track from their forthcoming record ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin a few weeks ago (and maybe another one in between), who can keep track? Either way, they've come out with another one (titled “Tomorrow”), which you can listen to below. Their album hits stores on May 13, which is right around the corner, so save them pennies.

Most folks know David Lynch from his eerie, avant-visual stylings in films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. But the filmmaker has also been making music for a while now, and his new video, which was directed by Moby and features vocals by Mindy Jones, is available for visual and aural consumption. The vid is for the title track from last year's The Big Dream, his second full-length effort. You can watch that below.

V.23 No.11 | 3/13/2014

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.

V.22 No.4 | 1/24/2013

Music

Sonic reductions of Christopher Owens, Feast of the Epiphany and Antoni Maiovvi

Music writers Mark Lopez, Derek Caterwaul and Ehren Salazar checked out new releases from Christopher Owens, Feast of the Epiphany and Antoni Maovvi. Read their takes in this week’s Sonic Reducer. Check out A/V from featured acts below.