the kills


V.23 No.14 | 4/3/2014

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

I always hate writing these … but sad news, people. GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (also known by his stage name Oderus Urungus) has gone to see the spirit in the sky. The musician was 50, and his cause of death is not yet known. The thrash ensemble has been performing for decades, building a loyal following. So it's an understatement to say that Brockie will be missed. R.I.P. And since their cameo in Empire Records was my first introduction to the band, it's only fitting to share that with y'all. You can watch that below.

“Do you know what this is, son? This is the panopticon. And all around us blink the brash and shifty eyes of common cash.” Sorry … a little Joanna Newsom fever going on over here … But let me get to business. Smashing Pumpkins have launched a new website called The Panopticon where they announced they're coming out with two new albums in 2015. (Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night). The recording process kicked off this past Tuesday (so says the site), and they're working with Howard Willing, whom they worked with on their Adore record. I'm sure there'll be updates on that in the coming year.

As if they couldn't get any better, blues-rock duo The Kills are now part of a documentary series (”Unlock Art”) that explores the processes, thoughts and perceptions going into creating art. The Kills' mini-doc focuses on “duos” in the art world and how collaboration can help mold, shape and magnify any particular medium. While this isn't solely music-related, I find it important in that music itself is an art form, and bandmates Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart both go into detail about great duos from Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to Jeff Koons and Cicciolina. You can read more about the doc series at NME, and you can watch The Kills' video below.

I'm sure Cyndi Lauper fans are already in the know regarding the 30th anniversary reissue of her breakout debut record She's So Unusual. The re-release of that LP will have demos, outtakes, B-sides, the works. And to give a little taste as to what surprises might be lurking within that LP (which hits stores on April 1), Lauper has shared a demo of the track “Rules and Regulations,” which didn't make the final cut of the original album. You can hear the track and Lauper's thoughts about it over at Rolling Stone.

Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has made a hefty amount of music since his debut in 1997, and now he's gearing up to release a new record: a tribute album to the late Lou Reed. Apparently Reed and Arthur were pretty chummy, and thus, Arthur felt compelled to provide a nice send-off to a close friend. The record Lou hits stores and online markets on May 13. And as a believer in signs, this release is already kind of blessed because that's my niece's birthday. But you don't wanna hear me ramble. Arthur has come out with a video for his cover of Reed's “Walk on the Wild Side.” Check it.

Some peoples are gonna be excited with this one. Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons), Elvis Costello (of Elvis Costello), T-Bone Burnett and more are going to record an album of recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics. Apparently the lyrics “date back to 1967,” and this endeavor is being handled “with Dylan's approval.” That should come out later this year, and the record is titled Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.

It took me this long to really delve into The Julie Ruin's 2013 release Run Fast. Not that I wasn't stoked, but upon hearing some tracks, I put that record on an indefinite hiatus until I found a vinyl copy at Mecca. And after giving it a thorough listen, I was delighted that Kathleen Hanna was officially back. Tracks like “Oh Come On,” “Kids in NY” and “Just My Kind” show Hanna's range from the punk-tastic overtures of Bikini Kill to the club-happy remnants of Le Tigre. And now The Julie Ruin has come out with a video for the aforementioned track “Just My Kind,” which you can watch below. Cheers!

It looks like tributes are in the air, man. Charlie Daniels (whom most of you know from his classic bar tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) is gearing up to release an album of Bob Dylan songs, titled Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan. Apparently Daniels lent a hand on some of Dylan's records (from Nashville Skyline to New Morning). The record comes out on April 1, and you can read more about it over at Billboard.

There's not a whole lot you can say about The Pretenders that's not been fit to print and re-print already. I will say that it was one of the only bands that me and my best friend's dad (who is kind of a music nerd) could agree on. I mean, just listen to Chrissie Hynde's voice. And now Hynde is gearing up to release her first solo record, Stockholm, later this year. And she's made the track “Dark Sunglasses” available. And while the track isn't overtly stellar, you can't deny Hynde's vocals. The woman's still got it.

Not a lot has been written or talked about regarding The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas’ new project (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz), other than a trailer and a website. But now, Casablancas and co. have shared an 8-minute video talking about the band, the project and the music. You can view that below.

V.22 No.40 | 10/3/2013

Now that “Breaking Bad” is over, fans are going to miss Jesse Pinkman saying “bitch” all the time. But now they can rest easy by listening to the track “Dance Bitch,” which features Aaron Paul. The track was recorded and produced by Zen Freeman and Tom Neville.

YouTube is coming out with its own music awards show … and Jason Schwartzman is hosting. This should be interesting.

People will now say, “It was the 3rd of December.” And what will that be in reference to? The reissue of The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, of course. Sure, most people think of The Velvet Underground and Nico when they think of these guys, and they tend to overlook their second (and some would say revolutionary) album. The reissue comes with three discs of remastered versions of the songs and much more.

I never cared for Fall Out Boy. Their brand of pop-rock just never sat well with me, so it was easy to blow them off as derivative poster children for the uncreative b-team. But now, they're releasing a surprise album (surprise as in it comes out Oct. 15, which is pretty short notice). The album was produced by Ryan Adams and sees the band going towards a more hardcore punk style. And it's not as bad as I thought.

The Sabbath has returned … Black Sabbath that is. They came out with an album earlier this year, titled 13, and after touring said release, they decided to come out with a concert DVD. Black Sabbath: Live...Gathered in Their Masses hits stores and online markets on Nov. 26th. You can get more details at Consequence of Sound.

'Member the Dead Weather? That band that had Jack White, Alison Mosshart (of The Kills), Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs)? Well, they've shared a snazzy sample of an upcoming track titled “Open Up (That's Enough).” And you can hear a preview of that little ditty below.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's Ripely Pine was one of my favorite releases this year. It had a clever mix of folk and rock that is cute, yet punishing all at the same time. You shouldn't take my word for it, you should go buy it or stream it or download it or what-have-you. But Aly Spaltro (her real name) has recorded a mini documentary detailing her return to Maine (where she's from) to play a show following the album's release. You can check it out over at Consequence of Sound.

It makes me angry that you have to be an active Facebook user to enter a contest. But oh well. Since Paul Simon turns 72 this month, Legacy Recordings has decided to commemorate that special year by releasing The Complete Album Collection. You heard right. That's 12 studio albums, 2 live albums and so much more. This ginormous release comes out on Oct. 15, and you can go to Stereogum for info on how to win this awesome package.

David Bowie released his first album in a decade earlier this year, titled The Next Day. Now Bowie's decided to expand on said release by … well, expanding the release itself. By this, I mean that Bowie's coming out with an extended version (The Next Day Extra), which is scheduled to hit the globe on Nov. 5. So, keep an ear out for that 3-disc nugget.

Think what you want about Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros … sure they're hippy hipsters with an affinity for whimsical, heartfelt music, but these band of cool fools know how to lay it down when it matters (see Here). Now they've turned their harmonious energy toward covering The Beatles' “I Saw Her Standing There” for a new album, titled Beatles Reimagined—an album of Beatles covers by modern musicians. That record hit stores this past week, so get to shopping.

I love The Doors. Hell, I even have Jim Morrison tattooed on my left forearm. But that's neither here nor there. I bring them up because the band's remaining members have decided to release a video, titled R-Evolution, on Dec. 3, which contains early concert and TV footage with the band and much more. You can read more about it at Rolling Stone.

V.21 No.48 | 11/29/2012
Jessica Stone, a.k.a. DJ Bea

Music

DJ Bea has No Fun rockin’ the Roulette

Jessica Stone, a.k.a. DJ Bea, got random with us this week in celebration of her hectic weekend DJ schedule. Learn more about the post-punk, garage and soul-lovin’ golden girl and read her thoughts on fate’s reflective assignment in this week’s Song Roulette. Check out video’s from the artists Stone randomly meditated on below. Blackbird Buvette • No Fun Dance Party • Sat Dec 1 • 10 pm • FREE • 21+ • blackbirdbuvette.com

V.21 No.40 |
a4gpa / CC BY-SA 2.0

music

Balloon-y tunes for all your fiesta needs

I like making mixes. It started with a Christmas music obsession and snowballed from there. I'm not a DJ, but I get obsessed with themes. I readily admit my thematic mixes are indulgent and perhaps even a tad autistic, but I know—or maybe hope?—that at least one other person digs each obsessive attempt at theme-casting.

Last year, I made a balloon-centric podcast to celebrate the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. When you start searching for balloon-themed tunes, you find yourself running into a lot of children's music and a couple of songs smack you in the face over and over again. Jimmy Webb's “Up, Up and Away,” as performed by The Fifth Dimension, is the classic balloon song. German pop-rock quintet Nena's protest song “99 Luftballoons” and its English-language version, “99 Red Balloons,” are catchy, imaginative and overplayed.

My Balloon Fiesta mix showcases 12 lesser-known songs from bands like Twin Shadow, The Kills, Spell, Ween, Beastie Boys and Matmos and a sprinkling of stand-up comedy, vintage educational radio and spoken word. Stream it above or visit my blog for the full track list. Happy ballooning! (Depending on where you work, the opening Mitch Hedberg excerpt may qualify as NSFW.)