Hamilton Leithauser may (or may not?) have played his final show with The Walkmen, but his first solo record, Black Hours, is definitely coming out this May via Ribbon Music. This first single is an uncharacteristically upbeat affair. It’s odd hearing Leithauser’s voice in such a self-confident and cheerful setting, but when you can sing like that you can get away with just about anything. I dare you not to like this.
Lily Allen has announced the name of her new record with the following post on Instagram: “Oh Christ” adorned with the above photo. This is amazing. Kanye West is going to hate this so much, and I can’t wait to see his reaction.
And here’s the video for the second single off Sheezus, “Hot Air Balloon,” featuring Allen all blinged out and in fine form.
It’s amazing what the exposure from being featured on the closing credits of an episode of Girls can do for you. It’s not that Broncho’s (soft “ch”) blend of garage punk with obvious pop hooks wouldn’t stand up on its own, but being christened with Lena Dunham’s seal of approval is an automatic 7″ seller. It also helps that the song is an instant earworm for anyone with a penchant for unpretentious old school DIY punk. I love the simplicity of this song. And the swagger. It rocks.
I’m so glad I pre-ordered this album before hearing a single note. You earn that type of loyalty when you put out a mind blower like 2002′s Neon Golden. Both tracks I’ve heard off the forthcoming Sub Pop release, Close to the Glass, have exceeded expectations. “Kong” harkens back to the band’s poppier, Dinosaur Jr. period explored on 12 and Shrink, respectively. While very few bands could swing two albums on the level of Neon Golden in one career, The Notwist is never a band to underestimate.
Continuing promotion for 2013′s startlingly haunting Once I Was An Eagle, Laura Marling recorded an intimate (is there any other type from her?) session for eTown, a program on NPR, where she premiered the live staple “Born To Love.” She also covered Townes Van Zandt’s “Colorado Girl.” I. Can’t. Look. Away.
The Numero Group‘s meticulous reissue campaign of Unwound’s storied discography continues with Rat Conspiracy. Collecting the band’s Kill Rock Stars debut, Fake Train, it’s expansive follow-up, New Plastic Ideas, and an assortment of 7″ singles, radio sessions, and compilation appearances, Rat Conspiracy reveals the band arching towards its creative apex. Limited to 1000 pressings, this 32-track collection is packed with seminal punk fury, house show photographs, and a 10,000 word narrative. The set is available for pre-order now before it’s March 18th release.
“What Was Wound” from New Plastic Ideas:
As we continue to wonder whether or not this extended Blur reunion will actually produce any new music, lead-singer Damon Albarn puts us off once again with his first proper solo album. Due April 29 on XL, Everyday Robots is an exploration of time and memory against a backdrop of hazy, electronic ether and, of course, Albarn’s languorous voice.
His quips to Rolling Stone recently suggest Blur is taking a backseat to his myriad other endeavors:
“I was playing in Japan — what day is it now? — on Tuesday, I played at the Budokan with Blur. There’s one song called “To the End,” and it’s the end of that period, and it’s the last gig we were planning to do together for the foreseeable future.”
So, it sounds like a new Blur record won’t happen any time soon, if ever. Everyday Robots may have to fill the void.
Arctic Monkeys racked up again at the Brit Awards this year, taking home Best British Group for the fourth time and its well-deserved third Best British Album for AM. Lead singer Alex Turner used the occasion to drop an irony-laced speech that was a winking piss-take on the “state” of rock ‘n roll. Reactions have been hilariously all over the map. Peaches Geldof called him an “ungrateful twat,” but I dare say she didn’t pick up on any of Turner’s subversive humor. The comment section on this subject at The Guardian is a goldmine.
Full transcript of Turner’s mic-dropping speech:
“That rock’n'roll, ay? That rock’n'roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate from time to time, sink back into the swamp. I think the cyclical nature of the universe in which it exists demands that it acquiesce to some of its rules. But it’s always waiting there, just around the corner, ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever. Yeah, that rock’n'roll, it seems like it’s faded away sometimes, but it will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Invoice me for the microphone if you need to.”
I’ve always been intrigued by St. Vincent’s music but never fully engaged. Everything she produces is extremely stylized, but the substance often seemed a bit lacking. Evidently, Annie Clark’s 2012 collaboration with David Byrne did her much good, as ”Digital Witness” has an immediate and profound impact with its bracing funk syncopation and paranoid social commentary. If she hadn’t collaborated with Byrne, the lazy Talking Heads association might not be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. But how can it hurt?
The founding Devo guitarist died from complications that lead to heart failure earlier this past week. He was 61. Devo had released its first record in 20 years back in 2010. Something for Everybody was a remarkably un-embarrassing foray back into Devo’s world of quirky synth-pop. Vice has unearthed an amazing photo archive of rare shots from the band’s early Akron, Ohio days.
This hit last week, but I’m still obsessing over it. I always assumed Arctic Monkeys would be difficult to cover because so much of the band’s appeal rests in Alex Turner’s cadence, but CHVRCHES do justice to Turner’s slinkiest riff to date with this ethereal interpretation. Or maybe it’s just that I could listen to Lauren Mayberry’s voice sing anything. Either way, more please.
Wow, the new Bleeding Rainbow is going to be amazing, if this first single is any indication. Much more aggressive than last year’s heavily MBV-influenced Yeah Right LP. I keep playing this over and over and cannot get enough. The new record, Interrupt, is out Tuesday via Kanine.
You think you’ve got game, and then you meet Drew Harkins and you throw the game away because you just can’t win.
Deerhunter, Monomania (4AD)
Pick your favorite review of this album:
a.) Monomania is a willfully inscrutable/abstruse nocturnal garage pastiche of shopworn indie standards, pieced together meticulously from a post-nothing fakebook, delivered with mesmerizing panache and terrorizing aplomb.
b.) Deerhunter’s Monomania re-imagined as a Phish setlist, the way that guy from Dirty Projectors did Black Flag:
Anti-Scale Mode -> Puke Racket, Pot Arpeggioz, Schlock & Choogle II, Churn/Thrust N’ Fey, Jam Progression -> Lawnmower Ratchet -> Omega Point, Denouement, Coy Spoon Acoustic Reprise
c.) When you get a tattoo on your shin, the majority of the work takes place on the fleshy haft of your lower leg. It’s mostly easy dermis for canvas, all smooth and humming along with the perfect amount of pinch, subtly reminding that you’re permanently defacing your skin.
The only actual pain comes when the needle bears down on the distal ends. A pitted feeling sucks your gut but passes quickly. Those couple moments when the point clicks over that little groove in the ridgeline is the real treat, because it’s just enough to make your privates tingle.
d.) The Black Lips dudes dubbed Monomania “transcend-fi” and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel.
e.) Yes, Bradford. It was great. And it was punk.
Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork (Matador)
“Some men are so macho they’ll get you pregnant just to kill a rabbit.” – Maureen Murphy
De La Soul’s seminal debut, the witty and weird and wonderful 3 Feet High and Rising, was released 25 years ago. In honor of that quarter-century mark, De La Soul’s offering a free download of its entire catalog for 25 hours on the group’s website. The download bonanza will begin on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. EST, and it’ll run through until Saturday at noon. (But what if I’m only halfway through downloading The Grind Date at noon on Saturday? What then, De La Soul? WHAT THEN?!)
De La Soul’s music hasn’t been offered on many free streaming sites and services due to licensing issues. Prince Paul likes buddy … but he likes sampling, too, and many of De La’s early work is built on samples that weren’t fully licensed.
“It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it,” Posdnuos tells Rolling Stone about releasing De La’s catalog. “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”
That’s one hell of a V-Day gift, Plug One. Way better than a toaster. Way to make a girl feel special.
HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG
Owls, of course, is a Kinsella brothers-led supergroup that released one record (a great one) 13 years ago. Its members have been busy with other projects — namely Owen, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, and Ghosts & Vodka. Polyvinyl releases Two next month; it’s already leaked another song, “I’m Suprised,” from the record.
Bloomed, released in 1994, was Richard Buckner’s first record, and his first great record. Unfortunately, it was released on an imprint of an unsympathetic major label that gave Buckner very little support in terms of promoting the record, leaving it to languish and die.
Twenty years later, Buckner, since bounced from the major-label circuit after a two-record stint with MCA, calls vaunted North Carolina indie label Merge home. In March, Merge reissues Bloomed as the third record of its Merge 25 series, which celebrates Merge’s 25th anniversary. (The first two: Lambchop’s Nixon and Superchunk’s Indoor Living, two of Merge’s finest releases.) The album will be remastered and released on CD and 180-gram vinyl. Both formats will include a bonus disc featuring radio sessions, live performances and original recordings of songs that appeared on future releases.
It’s the second time Bloomed has been reissued; Rykodisc re-released it in 1999.
In other Buckner news, the songwriter is soliciting dates for his series of living room shows, which wraps up its first run in Arizona next week.
“Basically, I’ll pull up to your house with an acoustic guitar, find a spot inside where I won’t knock anything over and play all of the hits that made me the hundredaire that I am today,” Buckner writes on his website. “The location of the shows is only known to those who purchase tickets.”
If you have a living room large enough to house one of America’s greatest living songwriters, you can see if Buckner’s looking to play your town by checking undertowmusic.com. (If he is, and you live in the Carolinas, and you book him, and you don’t tell me, I hate you.)
After the jump, some notes from Buckner, via Merge, on Bloomed.
Slint’s landmark Spiderland, now 23 years old, will be reissued as a deluxe box set by Touch and Go in April.
No other band was as largely overlooked during its relatively brief lifespan as Slint, which posthumously became one of the most influential and far-reaching bands to emerge from the American underground the 1980s. The band broke up before the release of its magnum opus Spiderland, and couldn’t reap the rewards of its legacy: Innovative and iconoclastic, the group’s deft, extremist manipulations of volume, tempo and structure cast them as clear (though unwitting) progenitors of the post-rock movement that blossomed in the decades to come.
The box set includes the album, remastered from the original analog master tapes by Bob Weston and pressed on 180 gram vinyl, plus 14 previously unreleased demos, outtakes and live cuts. (The box set comes with a CD of all of the above, too.)
The box set also comes with a 104-page book replete with never-before-seen photos documenting Slint’s entire history, as well as lyrics to the songs on Spiderland and a forward by Will Oldham. (Most of Slint’s members spent at least a little time in Oldham’s Palace Music project, and Oldham took the album’s famous cover photo.) There’s also the brand-new, 90-minute documentary Breadcrumb Trail documentary about Slint and the making of Spiderland; it’s directed by Lance Bangs.
There are only 3,138 copies available, and a limited number of pre-ordered box sets will be signed by all four members of Slint. Pre-orders also include a T-shirt created from the re-discovered silk screen used to print Slint’s one and only tour shirt.
You can pre-order the box set here, and the tracklisting is below.
breadcrumb trail (remastered)
nosferatu man (remastered)
don, aman (remastered)
for dinner… (remastered)
good morning, captain (remastered)
Nosferatu Man (basement practice)
Washer (basement practice)
Good Morning, Captain (demo)
Pam (rough mix, Spiderland outtake)
Glenn (Spiderland outtake)
Todd’s Song (post-Spiderland song in progress)
Brian’s Song (post-Spiderland demo)
Cortez The Killer (live Chicago 1989)
Washer (4 track vocal demo)
Nosferatu Man (4 track vocal demo)
Pam (4 track vocal demo)
Good Morning, Captain (Evanston riff tape)
Nosferatu Man (Evanston riff tape)
Pam (Evanston riff tape)
To paraphrase Walt Whitman: Does Prince contradict himself? Very well, then. He is large, and he contains multitudes.
Earlier today, The New York Times reported that two weeks ago Prince Rogers Nelson filed a lawsuit — well, his lawyers did on his behalf, anyway — against 22 bootleggers who allegedly posted unauthorized recordings of his concerts to peer-to-peer sharing sites and their Facebook pages. The timestamp on the most recent update to the Times story reads 4:11 p.m. EST. (Oh, and
But not more than three hours later, The Purple One changed his mind, TMZ reported.
Oh, yeah, he also dropped a teaser of “PRETZELBODYLOGIC,” a song from his 3rd Eye Girl collaboration with Donna Grantis, Hannah Ford and Ida Neilsen. You can hear the 30-second clip above.
The lesson, as always: Prince moves in mysterious ways.
There are not words sufficient enough to commemorate the life of or incalculably lasting influence of Pete Seeger. Just listen to the man sing.
February would have been a big month for James Dewitt Yancey, better known as die uberproducer J Dilla, this year, were he alive.
February marks both Dilla’s birthday — he’d have been 40 on Feb. 7 — and release date of his magnum opus Donuts, released shortly after his untimely death in 2006. Since 2007, hip-hop heads have marked Dilla’s memory with loving tributes held for worldwide. (The Charleston-based Dillamental live instrumental tribute, hosts shows in Charleston and Raleigh in early February.) And emcees have continued to uses Dilla’s beats and evoke his name, furthering his already significant legacy.
One of the best tributes this year, though, comes from one of Dilla’s former collaborators: Rapper Phife Dawg, erstwhile of A Tribe Called Quest. “#dearDILLA” is both touching — it opens with a soliloquy from Phife about a dream he had about sharing a hospital room with Dilla (Phife has well documented health struggles himself) — and head-nodding, Phife spitting over a jazzier rendition of Dilla’s “Hold Tight” beat from Slum Village‘s Fantastic, Vol. 2.
“Jay Dee, flip another beat for me,” Phife chants, almost like a mantra, in the chorus. Would that he could.