karen o


V.23 No.37 | 9/11/2014

Sonic Reducer

Robert Plant lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar · Pere Ubu Carnival of Souls · Karen O Crush Songs

This week we listened to new albums by Robert Plant, Pere Ubu and Karen O. Now with A/V!
V.23 No.27 | 7/3/2014

Good news for good news lovers

Man, them Swedish folks sure know how to craft a nice pop tune. This song may have some bubblegum-ness to it, but damn if it ain't catchy. Oh, I'm talking about Icona Pop's new song. In case you're unfamiliar with the Swedish pop duo, they hit it pretty big with their track “I Love It,” and now they've come out with a new tune that might not have the same edge of the aforementioned ditty, but it's for sure gonna snare them some new fans, if not keep the old ones steady until a full-length manifests. Have a listen to “Get Lost” below.

I'm sure there has been talk of this, but I wasn't aware. Aretha Franklin is recording a divas covers album. Ms. Franklin took the time to speak with Billboard about working with Andre 3000 (who is a co-producer on the record), the status of the album (she's “on it”) and named a few songs she's covering. Among them are Adele's “Rollin in the Deep,” Donna Summer's “Last Dance” and Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do With It.” Head to Billboard to read what one of the best vocalists ever had to say about what she's working on.

Some electronica-lovin' folks are 'bout to get super-duper excited. Grimes has come out with a new track (apparently her first in two years), and it was originally written to be performed by Rihanna ... who turned it down. So what was Grimes to do? Why, record it herself! The song (titled “Go”) is a lovely, atmospheric tune that's got a banging beat, background yelps and some smooth, slick production, and it also features Blood Diamonds. Have a listen below.

For fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, including myself, it's time to get excited: Karen O is coming out with her first solo effort (Crush Songs). Granted, she already recorded solo material with Native Korean Rock & the Fishnets, but that project only released rough demos, which you can still find on YouTube. But this is an actual full-length endeavor, y'all. That drops on Sept. 9, which isn't too far off, so keep scanning those headlines for more info in the coming months.

While I didn't listen to Robert Plant's last solo record (Band of Joy), I was a huge fan of his collaborative LP with Alison Krauss (Raising Sand). That record was phenomenal; all you have to do is listen and hear how their voices meld together to form a sound that can't be replicated, a sound that is pure magic. See “Stick With Me Baby.” Regardless, Plant is coming out with another solo effort, titled lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar. That'll hit stores on Sept. 9, and you can have a listen to album track “Rainbow” below.

It's here people! Well, the announcement is here. Julian Casablancas + the Voidz have officially announced their debut record (or Casablancas' second solo record). The album (Tyranny) hits stores and online markets on Sept. 23 and will be sold through Casablancas' Cult Records, where it's on preorder now for the mere cost of $3.87. You read that right. Head over to Rolling Stone to read more about the album.

Get ready for the blasphemy because I'm gonna say it: I've never really listened to Radiohead. And it's not because of any disrespect, but mostly because they just haven't crossed my path as much as most. Wait ... does "Creep" count? Okay, back to the point. Radiohead drummer Philip Selway is coming out with a new solo record. There isn't too much info on the release, other than it's called Weatherhouse and comes out on Oct. 7. So keep an ear out for that.

Oh snap! Prince is back! Well, he never really went away, but you know what I mean. The pop diva (erm ... divo? What's the male term?) has announced another album is on the way (on top of his 3rdEyeGirl record, which still hasn't seen a proper release). Good news? Hell, you're getting two for the price of one, or maybe not the price of one, but you catch my drift, right? As for the album, there's no title or release date, but Prince did name a few tracks: “The Gold Standard” and “This Could Be Us.” Head to Pitchfork to read more ‘bout it.

Audio/Visual

If you've read this column, I'm sure you're tired of witnessing my excitement concerning Veruca Salt's reunion. But hey, it didn't end there, and it won’t end here. The band has now come out with a video to the b-side of their first single, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” aka “It's Holy.” The video features band footage along with fans listening to the record in the comfort of their own homes. Scroll down a little further to view the little gem.

As Rolling Stone notes, Robin Thicke's new video for the song “Get Her Back” is kind of “awkward.” While I don't indulge in gossip, the track is supposedly a plea to his estranged wife, begging for her to come back. The awkward (and so 2014) parts of the video are the text messages that flash across the screen. I'm not sure if they're real, but either way, it's pretty uncomfortable. But I'll let you decide for yourself. Also, you can pick up the album (titled Paula, yes, after his wife) next week. Enjoy! Or don't.

V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014

The diva herself is back to claim her spot on the music charts. Mariah Carey came out with a new single this week, and the accompanying video finds Carey embracing the tropical outdoors as she sings this longing-for-love ditty. The song is titled “You're Mine (Eternal),” and it's pretty much up to par with the stuff she showcased on The Emancipation of Mimi (see “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off”), which isn't a bad thing. It just means Ms. Carey knows her niche, and she's stickin' to it. Watch the video below.

'Member how I mentioned Thee Oh Sees were going on temporary hiatus … and how frontman John Dwyer was coming out with a solo electronic LP under the name Damaged Bug … and how I expressed regret that such garage-psych weirdos are hard to find—at least good ones. Well now Thee Oh Sees are coming out with a new record titled Drop, which is scheduled to “drop” April 29. While this is good news … great news, in fact … a part of me is still wondering whether the band is back together or just giving fans one last hurrah before they leave us lonely. Head to Stereogum to view the cover art and tracklist, and listen to the album's opening track below.

My first recollection of Dolly Parton was seeing her musical cameo in the film adaptation of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” And I remember as a kid being shocked at the revelation that she was the original singer of “I Will Always Love You.” No offense, Dolly, but Whitney nailed it. Regardless, I've always had this fondness and appreciation for Parton, and old roommates used to have “Jolene” blasting because the Austin hipsters caught on to old country ... for about a week. Back to the topic at hand, Parton has announced a new album (Blue Smoke) that's set to come out May 13, and the singer iterates that, “On this CD I think there are all of the colors of my life in all the areas of music that you've allowed me to dabble in through the years.” For more info, surf on over to Billboard.

Bright Eyes emerged within my circle of friends during junior year of high school, and most alternative, hip kids caught on to Conor Oberst's project pretty quick, trading copies of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, among others. I really only fell into the deep trance of music love when I heard I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. (See “Landlocked Blues”). But Oberst is fairly prolific and a great songwriter, so it's only appropriate that he's still putting out material. He's announced a new album (Upside Down Mountain) and has debuted a track off the record. It's titled “Hundreds of Ways,” and you can listen to it below.

It looks like Kelis is officially back! I mentioned a while back that Kelis was coming out with a new record (titled Food), which was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. And now Kelis has released a track from the album. Judging from these sounds, this woman has come a long way from “Milkshake.” Not like that was a bad song or anything, but you get the idea. Listen to “Rumble” below.

The lineup for Austin Psych Fest has surfaced, and just from glancing at it, I can authoritatively predict this year's fest is going to be friggin’ sweet. It's okay, Burqueños; Austin's only about a 12-hour drive away … and that's only if you drive like old people screw. But just to give you a minor glimpse as to the reputable names gracing them stages with their presence(s), the performing groups include The Brian Jonestown Massacre (who are great live!), The Dandy Warhols, Black Lips, The War on Drugs, Pure X, The Horrors and much, much more. You can check out the full lineup over at Stereogum. The festival itself happens from May 2 to 4 at Carson Creek Ranch.

I'd never listened to Metronomy before watching their video for the track “Love Letters,” off their upcoming record of the same name. And I'll admit that the only reason I even watched the video was because of its director: Michel Gondry. An old roommate had a DVD compilation of Michel Gondry-directed videos from names like The White Stripes, Beck and Bjork, and it's nice to see his aesthetics are consistent and constantly evolving at the same time. As for Metronomy, I probably won't give them more than the time I've already invested in writing this, but you can view the video below.

Brody Dalle: That's a name I haven't come across in some time. Granted, when I was a big fan of The Distillers, it was Brody Armstrong, but that's neither here nor there. Needless to say, Ms. Dalle has been working on some new material for an upcoming album. Music blogs don't seem to know the name of the album or when it comes out, but Brody—we're on a first-name basis—has come out with a new track (titled “Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy”). That's a mouthful, and you can stream the track below.

I've always been a fan of music biopics. From What's Love Got to Do with It to La Bamba to The Temptations, I'm all about them. And I'm especially excited about the forthcoming Tupac biopic because it's going to be directed by John Singleton (of Boyz n the Hood fame). No word yet on who is playing the man himself or when the film will hit theaters, but this is exciting news nonetheless.

Just in time for spring, The Walkmen's Walter Martin delivers a track that’s so twee you might hate it so much that you'll end up loving it forever, snuggling with it under a blanket and singing along to it till you hate it once again. But right now, I love it. And it features Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, so it's got that added oomph factor. But don't take my word for it. The track (titled “Sing to Me”) comes off Martin's upcoming solo LP We're All Young Together, which hits stores and online markets on May 13. That's plenty of time for you to love it, then hate it and then love it again.

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.36 | 9/5/2013

Music

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.