coming through


V.23 No.8 | 2/20/2014

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

So … Katy Perry has come out with a music video for her track “Dark Horse.” And let me just preface it by saying that this seems like her attempt at channeling Liz Taylor's take on Cleopatra, but like most current notions that attempt to pay homage to classic ideas, it falls flat. Regardless, Perry fans will go nuts over its ridiculousness. But you don't gotta listen to me, you can watch it below and see for yourself.

I'm a thrash novice … maybe a hardcore one, too. Still, I can appreciate a bunch of guys coming together to whale on some instruments, create new tunes and just do what they do the only way they know how … by laying on the heavy. So it's kind of cool that Dave Grohl's joined with some hardcore veterans to create a new group called Teenage Time Killer. The group also includes Corrosion Of Conformity’s Mike Dean and Reed Mullin, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and much more. You can read more about it at Stereogum.

In 2009, when I first started learning to play the guitar, an acquaintance (who'd played in several bands and was pretty much a guitar virtuoso) was teaching me some basic chords when we had a conversation about guitarists. Naturally I expressed my love of Jimmy Page and Hendrix, and then he asked, “Have you ever listened to Rodrigo y Gabriela?” I hadn't. And though I only know a handful of their songs, their mastery of this instrument is friggin bonkers. It's so easy to get lost in their music because it's manic, precise and brilliant. And now the duo have shared a track from their forthcoming album 9 Dead Alive (out April 29), and you can hear that below.

If you were born in the late '80s, like I was, then you had the privilege to come of age when '90s alternative was peaking in a great way. Looking back, you can think what you will, but back then Vertical Horizon's “Everything You Want” was one of my favorite songs, and just for nostalgia's sake, I still dip into Third Eye Blind's first record. And when listening to Cheap Girls' latest song, I was overcome with that pop-rock liveliness that was prominent in such bands as Everclear and (sometimes) The Wallflowers. Cheap Girls' tune comes off their forthcoming record Famous Graves (out May 13), and you can hear that over at A.V. Club.

When it comes to record labels, I've always appreciated the work put out by Sub Pop. From obsessing over releases by Nirvana, L7, King Tuff, Cocorosie, Red House Painters, etc., it's always a treat to hear new(er) bands that are signed to the label, groups that record and distribute good tracks for wanting listeners. I digress … rock band Dum Dum Girls (another Sup Pop contemporary) has come out with a video for the song “Too True to Be Good.” And you can view that visual snippet below.

I like Pharrell. I like his radio hits, but hey, what do you think makes people buy albums, eh? So I'm not especially excited, nor am I too keen on ignoring the news that he's coming out with a new record, titled G I R L. The album is also said to feature the single “Happy,” which earned Pharrell an Oscar nomination for being on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. You can head over to Pitchfork to read more about the record, and you can also watch the 24-hour “Happy” video here. How's that for comin' out with a bizzang?

If former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal had founded an actual cult, under the moniker The Church of Nobody … in the New Mexico desert … and recruited Mischa Barton … and soundtracked it with his excellent song “Coming Through,” which features Cat Power … the below video would have been the only remains of said religion. And it's weird shit. The song itself starts a little after the 7-minute mark.

I promise—this will be the last time I mention St. Vincent's upcoming self-titled LP, which hits stores and online markets next week. The record is now streaming over at The Guardian, and it's phenomenal. I think I'm gonna buy it.

Bob Casale, one of the founding members of new wave band Devo (known for their famous hit “Whip It”), passed away this week. He was 61 years old. Granted, I wasn't that big of a Devo fan, it's always sad to see a musician called home. RIP Bob. And for old time's sake …

I go back and forth about Lana Del Rey. While some of her songs strike a chord, I usually can't get past her bad lyrics: “I'm your national anthem, God you're so handsome.” But I understand why her sound/look appeals to people who are always looking for something vaguely different in the pop world. But now, fans can look forward to her collaboration with Dan Auerbach (of the overrated Black Keys). Supposedly, he's lending a hand on her upcoming album Ultraviolence, and you can read more about that here.

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.