elliott smith


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

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

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.15 | 4/10/2014

The man is back! Jack White has been hinting at a new solo release pretty much since 2012's Blunderbuss hit shelves. And now he's shared a snippet from his upcoming LP, titled Lazaretto, which hits stores and online markets on June 10. It's an all-instrumental track (sorry for those who like when White's wailin' vocals recall Robert Plant), but it's a good indicator of what the album will sound like: pure magic. You can hear that below.

For those of you who miss “Breaking Bad” so much that streaming the entire series on Netflix isn't cutting it … well, now you can purchase the show's score. The double LP, titled Breaking Bad (Original Score From the Television Series), is scheduled to be released on April 29. That's right around the corner, y'all. Soon, after listening to the album, you'll relive Walter White's drug-enterprising endeavors and feel the emotional decline of Jesse Pinkman as the show's tunes provide some lovely soundscapes. Or sinister ones, depending on which track you hear. Read more about that over at Billboard.

Here's another exciting thing on the horizon: The mid-’90s lineup of Hole is reuniting. Yup, you read right. According to Courtney Love, she and Eric Erlandson, Patty Schemel and Melissa Auf Der Maur have been rehearsing some new material. If we're lucky, it will have the same ferocity, fragility and angst that made Live Through This such a gem. You can read more about that at the Quietus, and have a listen to LTT album cut “Violet” below.

I'm gonna say this … and I'll take whatever flack I get. It's called honesty. But … wow, this is hard … okay … just say it, Mark. Okay … I've always preferred The Jackson 5 to Michael Jackson's solo work. Any and everyone I've told this to throughout the years has basically deemed such a proclamation sacrilegious. I can't help how I feel. But MJ fans will be excited to know a new record of unreleased material (XSCAPE) is slated to come out May 13. Read more about that over at Pitchfork.

It's no secret that Janelle Monáe is a big David Bowie fan because … well … she’s said so several times. But now the funky fresh artist has decided to do Bowie a solid by covering “Heroes.” You don't need me to talk about it. You can hear it below.

My knowledge of Elliott Smith is rudimentary at best. And before you commence to gasping, I'll clarify by stating that most of what I've heard has been through hearing his music in films (like Good Will Hunting and The Royal Tenenbaums). Granted, that makes sense for me. I'm a very cinematic-minded person; it matters to me how music is used to shape a scene and capture a moment. While we're on the topic of film, a new documentary about Smith titled Heaven Adores You will premiere at the San Francisco Film Festival on May 5, and that film will include “unheard songs, personal pictures and lost footage.” So keep an eye (or both eyes) open for that.

My first foray into the world of Swedish duo First Aid Kit was watching a video of them covering Patti Smith's “Dancing Barefoot,” with Smith reduced to tears of gratitude in the audience. It was magical. Now the group is getting ready to release a third LP titled Stay Gold. That record comes out June 10, and you can hear some of what it has to offer by listening to the track “My Silver Lining” below.

Late spoken-word performer and musician Gil Scott-Heron's unreleased recordings are going to see the light of day … or be listened to by people. Apparently he'd recorded some of his older songs during sessions for his 2010 album I'm New Here, but those recordings were shelved. Now, for Record Store Day, a posthumous release, Nothing New, is slated for April 19. Read more about the record over at Rolling Stone.

I don't know much about Stagnant Pools. Nothing, in fact, other than they're a sibling duo that makes noise-inflected rock music, and they're coming out with their second LP Geist. I clicked the link to listen to their new song after reading comparisons to Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain. After listening to their new track from the forthcoming album (which hits stores on June 10), I think I need to pay some attention to their first record Temporary Room. Listen to their track “Intentions” below.

This one may seem to come out of left field, but there's context … at least for me. Country star Martina McBride's new record of pop and R&B covers, Everlasting, comes out next week. And for the hipsters, no … there's no irony here. I grew up in South Texas where '90s country was a staple. Hell, McBride's “Independence Day” was one of my favorite songs growing up. Now that that's out of the way … McBride is streaming her album in its entirety over at Billboard. Head that way to get a first glimpse.

We got another leak, people. Some time back, self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Rey announced she's releasing a new album (Ultraviolence) later this year. And now a track has appeared online, though there's no clarification about whether the track is from the upcoming record or not. Your guess is as good as mine, and you can listen to that below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video has since been removed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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.

V.22 No.39 | 9/26/2013

Now that TLC has a biopic coming out, starring Lil Mama (of “Lip Gloss” fame), they've also decided to come out with a greatest hits LP, which drops on Oct. 15. You can head over to Pitchfork for the tracklist, which includes “Waterfalls,” “Red Light Special” and “Creep.”

Your stamp collection just got a little cooler.

The dream of the '90s seems to be alive and kickin' as Veruca Salt have announced via Twitter that they're reuniting and recording with Brad Wood, who they worked with on their first record, American Thighs. Who knows what could become of this, but this is the most exciting news I've heard all week.

Just in case you were wondering what M.I.A.'s upcoming album, Matangi, looks like. You can view the tracklist and see the cover art over at Pitchfork. The album hits shelves on Nov. 5.

If you haven't listened to Mudhoney, you should definitely entertain the notion of listening to Mudhoney. They've been steadily releasing material in their 20+ years as a band, and their newest record, Vanishing Point, is currently available in stores or via online markets. They've just released a video of the track “The Only Son Of The Widow From Nain,” which you can check out now. Probably NSFW.

Dr. Dog's newest album, B-Room, comes out next week, but thanks to the folks over at Rolling Stone, you can stream the whole thing. Oh, and you can read about the band's efforts in making the album.

Jennifer Hudson's voice mixed with Pharrell's production and a cameo by T.I.? Yes, please!

What is it with the Coen brothers and churning out movies that provide killer soundtracks? O Brother, Where Art Thou?, anyone? Their upcoming flick, Inside Llewyn Davis is another Coen film that is getting the star-powered soundtrack treatment, and you can hear Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac singing “Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)” from the film via Billboard.

Ever the chameleon, Madonna channels inspiration from the world around her. But then again, doesn't every other artist? Now, she's channeling inspiration in the fight for freedom of expression, and her latest mode of exacting said message is by covering Elliott Smith's “Between the Bars.” You can see the performance below and check out her Art for Freedom short film here.

Don't act like you're not excited that the tracklist for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been released. I'm actually surprised at some of the big and interesting names they were able to get for it, but then again, it's got Jennifer Lawrence, so... Some people on this venture include Christina Aguilera (have you heard this woman sing?), Sia, Antony & The Johnsons, Patti Smith and much more.

A couple weeks back, it was announced that Albert Hammond Jr. (most notable from his work with The Strokes) was going to release a solo EP, titled AHJ, on Oct. 8. Well now Mr. Hammond (Jr.) has shared the first single from said release. It's sort of like old-school Strokes with a more crisp, poppy tone to it. Appoved.

Savages, my latest obsession, have shared a video for the track “Husbands,” off their fantastic debut LP Silence Yourself. The black-and-white vid has footage of the band playing interspersed with footage of cells, maggots, rising smoke and white triangles. Sounds about right.

Just in case you wanted to see Justin Bieber getting spanked by Zach Galifianakis.

Peter Gabriel released an album of covers, titled Scratch My Back, in 2010. Now Gabriel has flipped the switch by having artists take a whack at his songs on a second album of covers, titled And I'll Scratch Yours. The album features the likes of St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Lou Reed, Regina Spektor and more. The album is available this week, but you can hear Feist's cover of Gabriel's “Don't Give Up,” featuring Timber Timbre.