Thursday, December 1, 2011

50 Cent Posts New Track, Boasts, Types 'LOL'

News Article
November 29, 2011

It's been a second since rapper 50 Cent actually, you know, rapped. The actor, author, and G-Unit leader picks up where he left off on "Stop Crying," the first track to surface from his upcoming Big 10 mixtape (via Illroots). And that's OK.

Fiddy's last album, 2009's Before I Self Destruct, saw him teaming up with then-hot collaborators. While the eerily squiggling synth-rap production here isn't as obviously au courant, it's a logical progression — no more, no less. Fiddy's guttural, menacing boasts, meanwhile, are pretty typical gangsta-rap mixtape fodder. Curtis wisely keeps them out of the way, so you can chant along as he warns us to "get it through your bloodclot head" and not get too distracted each time he lazily rhymes "crying" with "dying" ("no lying"!).

Just in time for the 10-year anniversary of 50 Cent's still-great 2002 mixtape, 50 Cent Is the Future, the new Big 10 mixtape "is gonna be crazy better then most albums this year," he tweeted (via Vulture), adding, "trust me lol."

Sonic Youth's Future Still Unclear

News Article
November 29, 2011

The outlook for Sonic Youth's future is no brighter following a fascinating Rolling Stone interview with guitarist Lee Ranaldo. "I'm feeling optimistic about the future no matter what happens at this point," Ranaldo said. Unfortunately, the question was about "the future of the band" — a phrase Ranaldo drops from his answer, which could be telling or could just be a coincidence, but either way doesn't sound entirely optimistic. Especially not for anyone still hoping for a follow-up to 2009's The Eternal, or at least more SY live shows.

Ranaldo went on to say, "I mean, every band runs its course. We've been together way longer than any of us ever imagined would happen and it's been for the most part an incredibly pleasurable ride. There's still a lot of stuff we're going to continue to do. There's tons and tons of archival projects and things like that that are still going on, so there are so many ways in which we are tied to each other for the future both musically and in other ways. I'm just happy right now to let the future take its course and I guess I'm kind of thankful that I've got this other project that kind of came about on its own."

That "other project" is Ranaldo's first proper solo album, Between the Times and the Tides due on March 20, 2012, via Matador. "Over the last couple years Sonic Youth has slowed down markedly, just because we've all been working on our own projects," Ranaldo told Rolling Stone, "and I guess I was just starting to feel a little bit antsy or something." As previously reported, Sonic Youth's lead couple Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon are going their separate ways after 21 years of marriage; Moore released his third solo album, the Beck-produced Demolished Thoughts, earlier this year.

Look at Moore and Gordon's relationship in pictures here, and check out SPIN's examination of their relationship in song here.

The Killers Go Country, Kind Of, for Holiday Single

News Article
November 29, 2011

What do you give the band that's done everything, at least when it comes to annual holiday singles? Cowboy hats, of course! Every year around this time, Las Vegas pomp-rockers the Killers release a new single benefiting AIDS-fighting charity RED. And every year, they come up with something suitably grandiose: 2008's collaboration with Elton John and Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, 2009's Spanish-flavored team-up with Wild Light and Mariachi El Bronx, or last year's It's a Wonderful Life-themed video directed by Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess, to name a few examples.

This year, the Killers have gone country-western — relatively speaking, anyway. They've reunited for a new holiday single that fan communities are alternately calling "Cowboy Christmas" or "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball," with a digital release apparently due on Thursday, according to the blog Arjan Writes. Hear an unofficial stream here, via the Audio Perv.

The Killers' latest effort is a whimsically upbeat, shuffling tune, with plenty of local color (the Truckee River, Carson City, bighorns "a-grazin' "), and enough of a country tinge to have more than a few fans of even the Killers' synthier material itching to don their cowboy boots. Lots of chiming, holiday-friendly instrumentation, too. A drinking song? "Woo!" cries frontman Brandon Flowers, like an old ranch hand, or just a Wild West pop star having a ton of fun. Think of it as "Fairytale of Old Nevada," perhaps. Fa la-la-la-la, and a do-si-do.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watch She & Him, Das Racist, and Jimmy Cliff Hit Late-Night TV

News Article
November 29, 2011

'Twas the season on late-night TV last night, though given that it isn't even December yet, exactly which season isn't entirely clear.

On The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, the indie-folk duo She & Him — whose quaintly dulcet music really needs to stop being used to smear the word twee by association — sang a song from new holiday album A Very She & Him Christmas. Both recently single actress-singer Zooey Deschanel and finger-picking guitarist M. Ward were decked out as if for a holiday party, against a very yuletide-appropriate backdrop of Christmas trees and stockings hung by the chimney with care. Their delicate rendition of "The Christmas Waltz" (y'know, the one about "this song of mine, in three-quarter time") won't erase the most famous version, sung by Frank Sinatra. But you already know whether or not you'll want to spin it at your own seasonal gatherings, don't you? (Via the Audio Perv.)

When it came to smart-ass New York hip-hop outfit Das Racist's appearance on Conan, you could be forgiven for thinking it was Halloween again. Joined by additional percussionists, a neat upgrade from their DJ-backed touring sets, the guys performed Relax video selection "Michael Jackson". Though sadly forced to censor the song's signature "I'm fucking great at rapping" boast, DR pulled out plenty of stops in their TV debut: a ridiculous wig, a Nirvana T-shirt, and, of course, a revivified Michael Jackson. Consider the whole thing a late-November treat. Or trick? No, just tricking you guys, it was actually a treat. (Tweeted the group: "Cover of Spin. Conan OBrien tomorrow. No manager. No label. Third World Family. Greedhead Music. OTK. FSS. #QUEENS.")

Meanwhile, over on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, TV watchers might've found themselves thinking of warmer times, or at least warmer climes. Reggae icon Jimmy Cliff was on hand, giving a stirring rendition of his classic "The Harder They Come," backed by recent controversy-generators the Roots. With a backwards baseball cap and unbelievable silver jacket, Cliff still looked — and sounded — like a true Hall of Famer. He also sang inequality-themed jam "World Upside Down," as a Web exclusive — hey, Miley Cyrus, maybe you'll be feeling this one?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Herman Cain's Board Service Emerges as Campaign Issue

News Analysis
November 28, 2011
Link (subscription required)

Nabors Industries Sued Over $100M Termination Payment

News Analysis
November 28, 2011
Link (subscription required)

Hewlett-Packard Appoints Activist Whitworth to Board

News Analysis
November 28, 2011
Link (subscription required)

James Murdoch Leaves a Board; Randy Michaels Recoups on Resignation

News Analysis
November 28, 2011
Link (subscription required)

In an iTunes age, do we need the record store?


November 20, 2011

Salon Home

On Wednesday night, hundreds of people passed through the doors of Other Music, one of New York City’s last remaining record stores. Yes, there was free booze. But the young, plugged-in crowd came to celebrate, not necessarily to buy. “The World’s First Perfect Zine,” a new print publication from the author of a well-known blog devoted to reviews of album reviews, was holding a release party. Along with a contribution by the novelist Tao Lin, the zine includes writing by members of the groups Vampire Weekend, Das Racist and jj, among others.

In what could be an intriguing — or depressing — glimpse into the future of record stores, all those extra bodies in the room didn’t necessarily translate into extra business. “There was a remarkably low number of kids who came in there and said, ‘I haven’t seen this, I’ll pick it up,’” observed Other Music co-owner Josh Madell, a day after the event. The zine’s editor, pseudonymous Pitchfork Reviews Reviews blogger David Shapiro, didn’t dispute the point. “Part of the reason was that the store was so packed that browsing for CDs and records wasn’t really physically possible,” he explained, in an email response to questions. “But beyond that, of course, people don’t really buy records that much anymore — especially people in a small, hyper-Internet-savvy subset of young New Yorkers.”

The episode neatly illustrates a fundamental paradox facing record store owners in 2011. Many music fans romanticize the record store as a source of both hard-to-find culture and local community. “It was a library and a clubhouse,” as director Cameron Crowe, one of the ultimate nostalgists, told the authors of the 2009 book “Record Store Days.” At the same time, however, record stores are just that — stores — and ever-fewer consumers are choosing to buy the little pieces of plastic they sell. For record stores overall, then, the outlook appears bleak. “As an institution, it had its function,” said Alexander Weheliye, a professor of English and African-American studies at Northwestern University. But the survivors aren’t going away. They’re simply changing their tune, becoming smaller and more focused. Time will tell whether that’s enough — for some, continued existence may require a whole new arrangement.

“A record store nowadays can’t just sell records. That’s the first step to failure,” said Ben Blackwell, a longtime record collector who handles manufacture and distribution of vinyl at Jack White’s label, Third Man Records. “Record stores need to put on events. They need to host live shows. They need to do listening parties. You have to have an active way with which to communicate to your buyers. You need a mailing list, you need a Twitter account, you need Facebook pages. All this stuff that wasn’t around 10 years ago when record stores were seemingly doing fine is what you need to employ to stay in the race.” But what happens when, like at Other Music, even cool events aren’t enough?

Hear Adele's Full 'Live at the Royal Albert Hall'

News Article
November 28, 2011

How good was Adele's 2011? So good the British singer-songwriter gets an Andre 3000 shout-out on one of the year's biggest hip-hop releases, Drake's Take Care. On Tuesday, Adele caps off her remarkable run with the release of concert CD/DVD Live at the Royal Albert Hall. Hear the whole thing below (via The Guardian).

Adele's sophomore album, 21, has been the year's biggest seller by far, with more than 4 million copies snatched up in the United States alone. Throat problems requiring laser surgery on the 23-year-old soul belter's golden vocal cords have sadly prevented U.S. fans from seeing Adele perform her sleeper smash on tour, so this stark, emotion-packed set is the closest most of us will get for a while. Tear-jerking No. 1 single "Someone Like You"? It's here. Brutal blues-pop kiss-off "Rolling in the Deep"? Of course. A cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me"? Pure gravy.

OK, sure, the stream below is audio only. But given this strong singer's unadorned, all-about-the-music approach — the contrast between her and the gaudier pop stars at MTV's Video Music Awards this summer could hardly have been starker — we're clearly getting the part she wants us to focus on, anyway. Love hurts:

Fugazi Ready Massive Online Live Archive

News Article
November 28, 2011

Fugazi's obsessive focus is the stuff of do-it-yourself music legend. Led by Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye, formerly of hugely influential Washington, D.C., hardcore band Minor Threat, the taut, dub-inflected post-punk outfit kept its admission prices low — and, somewhat more controversially, its crowds safe for those who'd prefer not to mosh — from 1987 until an indefinite hiatus that began at the end of 2002. A similar compulsive drive, it turns out, led the band to amass a cache of its own live shows on a scale more typical of jam bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish.

On Thursday, Dischord will put online the first batch from a hoard of more than 800 live Fugazi performances the band taped over the years, the New York Times reports, picking up on a story that was first reported in April. "As with a lot of collections, once we had a couple hundred tapes, we just continued to amass them," MacKaye is quoted as saying about the Fugazi Live Series. "Why stop? We'd already gotten this far."

The same question could be asked of Fugazi, who released their last album together, The Argument, way back in 2001. In a recent interview with the Onion's A.V. Club, Fugazi bass player Joe Lally hinted at a possible reunion, calling the band's swan song "a great record that we should try and top." We wait (and wait and wait)...

Don't jet without reading Andrew Beaujon's incredible history of Dischord Records from SPIN's May 2003 issue, "Out of Step With the World":

Watch Florence Cover Drake, the Weeknd's First Video, and Beyonce's 'Dance for You'

News Article
November 28, 2011

Televised performances by Nickelback, Enrique Iglesias (featuring Pitbull), and Lady Gaga weren't the only offerings over the long Turkey Day weekend. Thanks to the glory of the internet, music listeners could also check out options as varied as Florence and the Machine covering Drake, the first officially official video from the Weeknd, and another fresh clip from Beyoncé.

"This is pretty exciting, 'cause it's sung by one of my fave — well, two of my favorite art... — well, three, actually," laughed Florence Welch, introducing Florence and the Machine's rendition of the title track from Drake's second LP Take Care. "Three of my absolute favorite artists." Make that four: In addition to vocals by Drake and guest singer Rihanna, the original track also features the xx maestro Jamie xx's remix of "I'll Take Care of You" by (wait for it) Gil Scott Heron. Welch's performance is wonderfully intense, if without quite the wrinkled idiosyncrasies of Drake or the blank mystery of Rihanna. Her backing of strings, piano, and atmospheric guitars neatly approximates the album track's moody grandeur for the BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge setting (via Disco Naivete).

The high-concept sci-fi footage for the Weeknd's "The Knowing," from this year's marvelous House of Balloons mixtape, isn't the first professional-looking video to pop up from the self-consciously shadowy Canadian R&B phantom/phenom; nicely polished clips have also emerged for the same mixtape's "What You Need" (since removed from YouTube) and follow-up Thursday "The Birds (Part 1)." It is, however, the first to be truly official, and it's appropriately vast, involving time-traveling and, well, see for yourself. French filmmaker Mikael Colombu, whose previous work includes visuals for Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monáe, and Bilal, offers up a sumptuously weird look for a sumptuously weird slow jam (via Pitchfork).

"Dance for You," from the deluxe edition of Beyoncé's 4, is a sort of strip-club jam set, as with the rest of the album, in the context of a triumphantly monogamous relationship. Though the bluesy guitar and smoky organ wouldn't be out of place on a track by the Weeknd, it's not exactly worth plunking down another 32 bucks for. The video follows pretty literally from the song's theme, with Mrs. Jay-Z grinding sensuously in a superfluous film-noir setting; "Wanna show you how much you got your girl feelin' good," she purrs. The private detective appears to approve. (via Consequence of Sound)

Courtney Love to Simon Cowell: 'Want Some Nirvana Songs?'

News Article
November 28, 2011

A campaign is underway pitting Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" against whoever wins The X Factor for Britain's coveted "Christmas No. 1" single. But what if U.K. music fans didn't have to choose? That seemingly far-fetched idea moved one step closer to the realm of the somewhat-plausible on November 24, when Courtney Love offered up a Nirvana song to the U.K. TV talent show.

In a tweet to The X Factor producer Simon Cowell, the Hole frontwoman appeared to suggest her late husband Kurt Cobain's songs as material for Janet Devlin, a contestant on the show. Love wrote: "@SimonCowell you want some Nirvana songs? @JanetJealousy is from same town as Kurt? I have the perfect idea for that, call me babe." (Cobain's ancestry traces back to a village in Ireland near Devlin's hometown, according to

Don't hold your breath. London tabloid The Sun reports that The X Factor's producers were "stunned" by Love's offer, given not only the usual difficulty of clearing songs for the show but also Love's notoriously tight rein over Nirvana's songs, which she has controlled since Cobain's tragic 1994 suicide. And Love doesn't look to be letting The X Factor pick and choose from Nirvana's hits: In a tweet on November 26, she singled out Nevermind's "In Bloom," a song that could be interpreted as taking aim at casual listeners such as those in a TV show audience. She wrote: "@JanetJealousy @simoncowell i know it when i see it, but id want to have a hand in it, in bloom is the song, nothing else."

The Twitter exchange comes after a pair of recent Love rants involving her Nirvana income. After lambasting former Nirvana drummer (and current Foo Fighters frontman) Dave Grohl during a Hole set earlier this month in Brazil, she doubled down during a post-show interview: "I own Nirvana with my daughter [Frances Bean]. Because of tax reasons I have to give that money to my sister, Kim Cobain, and [Kurt's mother] Wendy Cobain. Dave makes five million a show ... why the fuck, then, does he have a Nirvana Inc. credit card and I don't?" Hey, Simon Cowell seems like a pretty successful music businessman — maybe she should ask him? Before something like this happens again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Busta Rhymes Extends Rebound on Kendrick Lamar's 'Rigamortus' Remix

News Article
November 23, 2011

Woo hah! Busta Rhymes has got 2011 pretty much in check. Two decades after his debut album with former group Leaders of the New School, and a decade removed from his most recent platinum-selling album (2001's Genesis), the fast-talking rapper has had a remarkable year. Busta's lyrically nimble guest appearance alongside Lil Wayne on Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" helped make for one of 2011's most ubiquitous — and undeniable — radio hits. Busta's new Cash Money deal, revealed last week at the launch of Google Music, puts him in a position to benefit from the success of younger labelmates like Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.

Now to cap off Busta's big year comes a long-teased remix of a track by one of the rap world's most gifted up-and-comers, current SPIN story subject Kendrick Lamar (via Fader). On the smoothly jazz-boho "Rigamortis (Remix)," originally from Lamar's excellent 2011 album Section.80, outsider and veteran pile up verses that are deft and tongue-twisting, but never virtuosic merely for the sake of virtuosity. "I'm spittin'," rasps Busta, "you should be happy." Amen.

A Short History of Big Boi's Kate Bush Obsession

News Article
November 23, 2011

Big Boi's recent praise for Kate Bush's new album 50 Words for Snow has been making the rounds lately, and with good reason. "The album, to me, is just very somber and very chill," the OutKast MC memorably told Rolling Stone. "Knowing her music and being a fan, it's very, very deep Kate Bush for me. It's concentrated. It's raw emotion. It's almost like a scene from her diary — she seems to be in love like a motherfucker. Really, really, really in love."

Still, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton's deep feeling for Bush's music shouldn't come as a surprise. As Rolling Stone notes, the rapper has been a fan of the idiosyncratic British singer-songwriter since his uncle turned him on to her records when Big Boi was only in middle school. In fact, Daddy Sax's ongoing admiration for the singer behind such classic songs as "Hounds of Love" and "Running Up That Hill" is well documented. Below, some examples from the past:

  • Deeper Than the Page of a Book, Let Me Look: In the March 2001 issue of SPIN, Big Boi said, "Kate Bush — I go deep into her music."
  • Back in the Day When I Was Younger, Hunger: According to 2004 book Hey Ya! The Unauthorized Biography of OutKast, Big Boi said that after his uncle introduced him to Bush's music, it affected him so much he couldn't put it into words, so, "I'd sit and think and play her records for hours."
  • Girl, I Hardly Know You, But You've Got Your Very Own Ringtone: In 2004, London's Observer Music Monthly reported that Big Boi's ringtone was "Babooshka," from Bush's 1980 album Never for Ever. "Kate Bush is my favorite artist of all time," he's quoted as saying.
  • Tryna Find You, Where Are You Now: In July 2010, Big Boi told the British GQ about his efforts to get in touch with Bush: "I've been trying for some years now. She's like a kinda recluse. She lives somewhere in a castle around here and plays some sort of oversized piano like the Phantom of the Opera! You can hear music come out the windows! I'm looking for her, know what I'm saying? That's my dream collaboration for sure."
  • Do You Wanna Bump and Slump With Us: Also in July 2010, asked with whom he would like to collaborate, Big Boi told British magazine Flavour: "Kate Bush. I've been trying to get Kate Bush for the last seven years and now I'm come over here to camp out for a month just to find her. Kate Bush is definitely my dream U.K. collaboration."
  • Sweeter Than a Plate of Yams With Extra Syrup: Around the same time, Big Boi reportedly elaborated to Britain's Live From Studio Five TV show: "I want to work with Kate Bush... That's, like, my dream collaboration, most definitely. Just the realness of her music, the stories behind the songs as well as the production, how things kind of evolve as the song progresses ... She's a very creative artist, producer and writer. She's like my top favorite next to Bob Marley ... Kate Bush is number one on the list."
  • Old School Players to New School Fools: In September 2010, Boi told the Los Angeles Times about his uncle hipping him to Bush's music: "[She] became my favorite artist of all time. Her and Bob Marley would tie for first. I used to listen to 'The Kick Inside' and 'Wuthering Heights' and 'This Woman's Work' and just admiring the style of music she was making, from the production side of it to the lyrics … It was kind of mind-blowing. I was like OK, I wanted to be like her."

Lady Gaga Is Totally Feeling the Holiday Spirit

News Article
November 23, 2011

It's a Thanksgiving miracle. Lady Gaga is ringing in the holiday season in particularly grand fashion, from the world of luxury retail to network TV to products that people too poor for couture can also buy. Ah, what a truly magical season to be an iconic brand!

The pop star has just opened Gaga's Workshop, a colorful, high-concept display taking up an entire floor of luxury retailer Barneys New York. Admirably, 25 percent of sales from this exhibition will go toward her anti-bullying charity, the Born This Way Foundation. Then again, this also means people who can afford the high-end prices will able to stop worrying about those dirty Occupy Wall Street hippies and once again go to sleep feeling good about themselves — so in other words, Gaga saved Christmas.

As for the 99 percent, we can enjoy our holiday dose of the Mother Monster, too. Any fans still hankering for more music after Nickelback's scheduled NFL halftime show can gorge themselves on a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving TV special. A Very Gaga Thanksgiving airs Thursday night on ABC, and it's directed by Gaga herself. For an extra-magical burst of corporate synergy, you can watch ABC's Good Morning America interview with the singer: "This is a real Christmas moment for me, because this is my first custom Chanel," she explains, obviously quoting Tiny Tim's famous speech from A Christmas Carol.

If you're wondering when you'll be able to buy the music from this special, well, you're also in luck! Gaga has packed four songs from the show into an EP titled A Very Gaga Holiday, available on iTunes now and elsewhere starting on Saturday. Check out Gaga's jazzy rendition of "White Christmas" below, featuring a random extra verse about a snowman, and be sure to avoid any unpleasant mental comparisons with A Charlie Brown Christmas:

New Nicki Minaj Album 'Roman Reloaded' Due February 14

News Article
November 23, 2011

Nicki Minaj is welcoming her nasty Roman Zolanski alter ego for another record, and the official release date is just around the corner. In a tweet on Tuesday, the Harajuku Barbie herself said, "Pink Friday : ROMAN RELOADED will be released on Valentines Day, 2012. Heeeee's baaaacccckkkkk." That might appear to suggest an expanded deluxe edition rather than a proper sophomore LP, but the February 14, 2012 target lines up neatly with Cash Money boss Birdman's just-revealed plans for a follow-up album "in the first quarter" of next year. Besides, the original Pink Friday already has a deluxe edition: That's where fans could first hear radio smash "Super Bass" (watch the video again below). So, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, in time for your romantic Valentine's Day evening — it's just too bad "Roman's Revenge" was already taken.

Update: Minaj confirmed the album is all new with a tweet reading, " 'Pink Friday: ROMAN RELAODED' | Valentines Day| 2012 | Not a Re-Release | ALL new tracks | YMCMB | *salutes the nation*."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I can’t hate Coldplay anymore

October 23, 2011

Salon Home

This past June, in front of tens of thousands of fans at Britain’s annual Glastonbury Festival, Chris Martin balked. About halfway into a new song titled “Us Against the World,” the Coldplay frontman abruptly stopped singing or playing his guitar. “Will, can you do that verse again?” he asked drummer Will Champion with a broad grin. “I fucked that one up … We’re supposed to be professional headliners.” Luckily, they’re supposed to be the sort of professional headliners who also connect with listeners on a human level. They finished the song.

Five albums in, the British band has found an uncanny equilibrium between swooping, arena-ready pop and cheesy, down-to-earth humility. “Mylo Xyloto,” which arrives Tuesday, is the most sonically expansive record yet by Martin, Champion, guitarist Jonny Buckland and bass player Guy Berryman. But it’s also their most focused, without the overblown “anthems for anthems’ sake” of 2005′s “X&Y,” or the inarticulate self-importance of 2008′s “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends,” their first collaboration with Brian Eno (the ambient musician who magicked U2 to multi-platinum status). If Coldplay specialize in creating the illusion of intimacy on an arena scale, then their latest effort succeeds by being bigger and smaller at the same time. Familiarity has bred admiration, however grudging.

Love them or loathe them, Coldplay are indisputably one of the biggest rock bands in the world. They’ve won seven Grammy Awards. “Viva La Vida” was the best-selling 2008 album on the planet. “Paradise” and “Every Teardrop a Waterfall,” the first two singles from “Mylo Xyloto,” had already sold more than a million downloads as of an Oct. 13 profile in the New York Times. “They’ve found a way, identity-wise, to be from everywhere,” John Mayer told SPIN in 2004, “whereas most bands come to America with ‘British’ written all over them.” Glastonbury wasn’t exactly Coldplay’s only festival headlining gig this year. Lollapalooza in Chicago? Fuji Rocks in Japan? Splendour in the Grass in Australia? These guys topped bills everywhere.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Foo Fighters Protest Hate-Filled Church Group

News Article
September 19, 2011

A religious group known for picketing U.S. soldiers' funerals got a taste of its own medicine on Friday afternoon. The Foo Fighters stood atop a flatbed before their Kansas City show that night and sardonically treated the protesters from Westboro Baptist Church to a live performance, in a counter-protest of the Topeka, KS-based church's anti-gay views. (via NBC Action News)

Dressed in trucker costumes from their recent "Hot Buns" video, the band members hit back at the protesters with a message of tolerance and American pride. "Land of the free, home of the brave," frontman Dave Grohl declared at the end of the song, in an exaggerated drawl. "I don't care if you're black or white or purple or green, whether you're Pennsylvanian or Transylvanian, Lady Gaga or Lady Antebellum. It takes all kinds."

The Foo Fighters posted additional video of the counter-protest on their website, receiving more than 400,000 views over the weekend. The band kicked off a 27-date North American tour earlier last week in St. Paul, MN, in support of latest studio album Wasting Light. The "Hot Buns" song itself is a twangy country spoof with goofy lyrics about "hot man muffins," in the grand faux-trucker tradition of mid-1990s Blur B-side "Rednecks."

In addition to military funerals, the Westboro church has also picketed funerals of well-known figures, such as that of Elizabeth Edwards, the late wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards. Missouri and other states have passed laws trying to limit the church's protests, but have been repeatedly overruled by the Supreme Court on free-speech grounds.
WATCH: Foo Fighters, "Keep It Clean (Hot Buns)"

New ODB Box Set Includes Food Stamp Replica

News Article
September 16, 2011

Wu-Tang Clan fans can now walk around with their own Ol' Dirty Bastard food stamp card. ODB's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, is returning as a box set on November 22 via boutique imprint Get On Down, the label has announced.

The box set will included a remastered version of the late Wu-Tang member's gold-selling 1995 solo debut album, plus a 12-track bonus disc featuring various remixes, a cappellas, and instrumentals. The reissue also comes with a poster, additional artwork, extensive liner notes, and a billfold wallet, where buyers can display a laminated reproduction of the ODB food stamp card depicted in the album's cover art, according to Get On Down.

You can pre-order ODB's Return to the Chambers: The Dirty Version Wallet Box Set at Get On Down promises more information on its website.

According to Okayplayer, which reportedly got its hands on the box set, the tracklist features previously 12"-only tracks such as "Brooklyn Zoo (Lord Digga Remix)."

ODB's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
WATCH: Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Brooklyn Zoo (Lord Digga Remix)"

WATCH: Ol' Dirty Bastard getting his food stamps

Interscope Records Entangled in U.S. Drug Probe

News Article
September 16, 2011

Interscope Records -- a major label with a roster that includes U2, Eminem, and Lady Gaga -- has found itself caught up in a year-long federal drug-trafficking investigation. According to documents first reported in The Smoking Gun, Department of Justice prosecutors say members of a cocaine ring used the label's Los Angeles-area offices to transfer packages containing drugs and cash.

Prosecutors included the allegations in a letter laying out evidence against Czar Entertainment CEO James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, a music-industry manager whose clients include Interscope rapper the Game. Rosemond, who was indicted in June on felony drug-trafficking charges, is reportedly being held in custody. His lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, told The Wall Street Journal he hadn't gone over the Sept. 12 letter, which prosecutors filed in federal court in Brooklyn, NY.

The letter says prosecutors were turning over, among other evidence, 65 pages of shipping records from Rock-It Cargo, a freight forwarding company that handles music tours and other live events. In the letter, prosecutor Todd Kaminsky points out that the records were "specifically referencing pickups and deliveries at...Interscope Records" and a New York City recording studio.

The letter contains no allegations that Interscope employees had any involvement in or knowledge of the alleged drug transfers. A spokesman for corporate parent Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group had no immediate comment for the Journal.
According to the reports, prosecutors say Rosemond's organization sent hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Los Angeles to New York in road cases for musical equipment, and the cases would go back filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in vacuum-sealed $20 bills.

Left unclear in the letter was how prosecutors think Rosemond and his associates got access to the Interscope facilities to pick up and unload the shipments, the Journal notes.

The Smoking Gun reports that the shipping records have also implicated a road manager for the Game. The L.A. rapper recently released his fourth LP, The R.E.D. Album.

Arctic Monkeys' Drummer Stars in NSFW Video

News Article
September 16, 2011

Ultramagnetic MCs famously offered to "Give the Drummer Some" -- and that's exactly what Arctic Monkeys have done in their video for the title track off the British rockers' fourth album, Suck It and See.

In the clip, drummer Matt Helders stars as a musclebound biker dude who has a tempestuous relationship with his scantily (and sometimes un-) clad girlfriend. They take to the open road, make out atop the Union Jack, wield guns, and more, while Alex Turner intones his finely wrought, quintessentially English lyrics on this jangling, patient tune. "That's not a skirt, girl, that's a sawn-off shotgun  / And I can only hope you've got it aimed at me," he sings.

The song that SPIN's review said "may be the loveliest thing they've ever recorded," doesn't clear up much about the album's title -- supposedly British slang meaning you should try something to find out what happens.

There's brief semi-nudity and a handcuff-wielding sex scene, so be warned if your workplace frowns on that sort of thing. The video was directed by Focus Creeps, whose previous work includes videos for Neon Indian, Morning Benders, and Girls.

The SPIN July cover subjects will release "Suck It and See" as a U.K. single on October 31, backed by new song "Evil Twin." The band kicks off three U.S. co-headlining shows with TV on the Radio later this month, followed by their own North American headlining tour. Check out the tour dates here.

And to see this lovely tune in a completely different light, watch Alex Turner's unplugged take on "Suck It and See," filmed at SPIN's cover shoot, here.

Watch: Arctic Monkeys, "Suck It and See"

Moby, New Order's Peter Hook Play Joy Division

News Article
September 16, 2011

An ongoing feud between co-founding members of two hugely influential British bands-- Joy Division and New Order-- has taken a new turn. Peter Hook, who played bass in both groups, held a Joy Division tribute show this week in Los Angeles, just days after New Order said they would play a set of concerts without him. Longtime Joy Division fan Moby jumped on the stage to join Hook and his current band, the Light; via Slicing Up Eyeballs and YouTube user kalavinka1, watch fan-made videos showing their performances of "Transmission" and "A Means to an End" below.

Earlier this month, New Order announced plans to play a pair of benefit shows in Europe without Hook, who left the band amid highly public in-fighting in 2007. Hook issued a statement September 9 about the two New Order gigs, saying, "Everyone knows that New Order without Peter Hook is like Queen without Freddie Mercury, U2 without the Edge."

Hook's live tribute to Closer, Joy Division's second and final album before the death of singer Ian Curtis, was already long planned before the New Order news. It follows his nine-date tour last year revisiting Joy Division's 1979 debut LP, Unknown Pleasures, which he's also scheduled to perform tonight at L.A. venue the El Rey. According to SPIN's review of one of the 2010 Unknown Pleasure shows, Hook and the Light bring machine-like precision to the performances, eschewing bells and whistles while at times turning these often-funereal songs into celebrations.

Though Hook criticizes his former bandmates for touring as New Order without him, he has also taken some guff from fans for playing Joy Division songs without the rest of the group. "The criticism has been aimed at me, saying I'm cashing in on Joy Division and Ian Curtis," Hook told SPIN last year. "But it took 30 years to cash in. So does that count? Usually you cash in after waiting 30 minutes."

At the Music Box in L.A. on Wednesday night, Hook and the Light played Closer in its entirety, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "It's been an interesting week," Hook is quoted as saying. Along with Moby, Jane Addiction's Perry Farrell also joined Hook on stage. Farrell sang "Isolation," while Moby sang on "Colony," "A Means to an End," and an encore performance of non-Closer single "Transmission."

WATCH: Peter Hook and the Light (feat. Moby), "Transmission"

WATCH: Peter Hook and the Light (feat. Moby), "A Means to an End"

WATCH: Peter Hook and the Light (feat. Perry Farrell), "Isolation"

Stills, Broken Social Members Form Eight and a Half

News Article
September 16, 2011

In April, the Stills announced they were splitting up, after three albums that saw the Canadian rockers gradually move from post-punk revivalism to a looser, rootsier approach. In the wake of the breakup, former members Dave Hamelin and Liam O'Neil have teamed up with Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff for a new band called Eight and a Half. Check out their first song here.

Hamelin sang, wrote songs, and played drums and guitars for the Stills, and O'Neil provided keyboard, percussion, and backing vocals, so a spin-off isn't exactly a stretch for them. Still, new track "Scissors" does represent a bit of a change for the trio, who now share a name with the acclaimed 1963 film by director Federico Fellini. Lush and layered, the song is moody, synth-based pop, with a galloping drum beat beneath wounded vocals that plead for someone to "hold me, like an old friend ... like an omen."

As Canada's Exclaim reports, Eight and a Half have an album on the way in 2012 via Arts & Crafts. The self-produced collection is reportedly being mixed by Metric producer John O'Mahony. "It's very synth-driven, but not in a 2007 electro way," Broken Social Scene's Peroff told Exclaim. "It's pretty heavy."
Hear It: Eight and a Half, "Scissors"

Thom Yorke Debuts Glitchy Solo Track on Radio

News Article
September 16, 2011

A mix by Thom Yorke aired on British radio station XFM, and it featured a first glimpse of a new solo track by the Radiohead frontman called "The Twist." Hear it now over at OneThirtyBPM, or check out the entire mix below. Click the play button, and Thom's song will stream first.

Yorke's "MoneyBack mix" appeared on British radio DJ and music journalist Mary Anne Hobbs' "Music Response" program. The 25-minute compilation mostly consists of fairly opaque, dub-inflected electronic blips and beats, including Yorke's own remix of a track by forward-thinking U.K. composers John Matthias and Nick Ryan. Music by Modeselektor, with whom Yorke recently collaborated.

The mix also includes a pair of remixes of tracks from Radiohead's The King of Limbs. By London producer Blawan and fellow knob-twiddler Thriller Houseghost, the reworkings are set to appear on the band's forthcoming remix collection, TKOL RMX 1234567, due out October 11.

Meanwhile, as Consequence of Sound points out, the drumbeat has begun to have Radiohead play at next year's Coachella. In fact, according to music trade publication Hits Daily Double, event organizers already booked Radiohead and No Doubt as headliners for the 2012 festival, and are "very close to finalizing a deal" with the Rolling Stones. The report has yet to be independently confirmed.

Hear It: Thom Yorke, "MoneyBack mix"

New Splashy Dance Clips From Cut Copy, SBTRKT

News Article
September 15, 2011

New videos from two of electronic pop's big hopes make for a study in contrasts. Australian dance-rockers Cut Copy beam their dismembered heads to a planet of the apes in the elaborately conceived, effects-wielding clip for their "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution," from this year's Zonoscope. Masked London beatmaker SBTRKT, meanwhile, keeps it relatively simple, letting guest vocalist Roses Gabor stay in the foreground in the clean, no-frills video for his self-titled debut's "Pharaohs."

Cut Copy's members show up in pieces in the "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution" video: heads singing without torsos, forearms playing the drums without the rest of the arm, and so on. It's hard to say what the lithe synth-pop song has to do with all these body parts winding up in the clutches of highly intelligent apes in monk garb -- "We're on the path to eternity," frontman Dan Whitford sings on the chorus, perhaps providing a clue -- but there's plenty to watch, as the computer effects set the stage for a full-on ape-man concert.

The clip for SBTRKT's "Pharaohs" is no less sharply executed, but despite the SPIN "Breaking Out" subject's forward-thinking productions, the approach here is of a more streamlined variety. SBTRKT can occasionally be glimpsed in the background behind his African-style mask, but the focus is -- literally -- on Gabor, who dances and sings in a shadowy room filled with cameras. "I need me a golden crown," she coos atop SBTRKT's rubbery electro-R&B, in this fitting follow-up to his Little Dragon-featuring hit "Wildfire."

WATCH: Cut Copy, "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution"

WATCH: SBTRKT (feat. Roses Gabor), "Pharaohs"

Hear MGMT's Trippy Bauhaus Cover

News Article
September 15, 2011

MGMT have covered goth icons Bauhaus for the psychedelic rockers' entry in the LateNightTales compilation series. Hear the East Coast band's spaced-out take on The Sky's Gone Out slow-burner "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" below (via Pitchfork).

This one's for the fans who preferred MGMT's zonked-out sophomore album, Congratulations, to synth-toting 2008 breakthrough Oracular Spectacular. Bauhaus' 1982 original already had plenty of neo-hippie tendencies, whatever the band's spooky image -- airy acoustic plucks, impressionistic lyrics, anti-industrial theme -- and MGMT go even more warped and pastoral with their trippy, effects-heavy take.

LateNightTales is a U.K. compilation series that asks artists to curate their own mixes. Previous contributors have included the Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian, Air, Four Tet, and Snow Patrol. MGMT's installment, which features tracks from the likes of the Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, and Suicide, is available for streaming here; check out the tracklist below.
Hear It: MGMT, "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything"

MGMT's LateNightTales tracklist,
1. Disco Inferno, "Can't See Through It"
2. The Great Society, "Love You Girl"
3. Suicide, "Cheree"
4. Television Personalities, "Stop and Smell the Roses"
5. The Velvet Underground, "Ocean"
6. Felt, "Red Indians"
7. Julian Cope, "Laughing Boy"
8. Durutti Column, "For Belgium Friends"
9. Charlie Feathers, "Mound of Clay"
10. Mark Fry, "For Wilde"
11. MGMT, "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" (Bauhaus Cover)
12. Cheval Sombre, "Troubled Mind"
13. Dave Bixby, "Drug Song"
14. The Jacobites, "Hearts Are Like Flowers"
15. The Chills, "Pink Frost"
16. Martin Rev, "Sparks"
17 The Wake, "Melancholy Man"
18. Spacemen 3, "Lord Can You Hear Me?"
19. Pauline Anna Strom, "Morning Splendor"
20. Paul Morley, "Lost for Words Part 2"

Reports Shed Light on DJ Mehdi Death

News Article
September 15, 2011

As artists continue to pay their respects to DJ Mehdi, more facts are coming to the surface about the French electro producer's death Tuesday at age 34.

Born Mehdi Favéris-Essadi, the genre-crossing beatmaker was fatally injured after a skylight in his Paris apartment's Plexiglas floor broke into pieces, sending Mehdi and three friends on a drop of seven meters (about 23 feet), MTV reports, citing French magazine Liberation Next. No further details have emerged on the three friends, who were reportedly hospitalized, too. MTV also points out a report in French newspaper France Soir saying Mehdi was hosting a birthday party for friend DJ Riton. The two recorded together as Carte Blanche.

As Billboard notes, Riton reassured fans via Twitter. "Just want everyone to know that we were all laughing our asses off 1/2 second before the accident and simon alegia and louise are all well," he wrote.

Mehdi's label, Ed Banger, reportedly issued a brief statement confirming Mehdi's death. "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our friend DJ Mehdi," they said, according to multiple reports. "Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones." The label's website and all social media outlets have gone to black.

From the world of hip-hop and from the world of electronic music, from the United States and from Europe, condolences for Mehdi continued to roll in. Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo pushed back a Dallas gig to travel to Paris, Billboard reports. "I have no words," fellow Canadian producerA-Trak wrote on Twitter. "My heart is completely shattered. Not this." Among other artists paying Mehdi tribute were Drake, Kid Sister, Miike Snow, Murs, and RJD2.

You can download Mehdi's Tunisian Summer Mix here, via Discobelle, which has the tracklist, and check out some of his videos below.

WATCH: DJ Mehdi, "Signature" (Thomas Bangalter Edit)

WATCH: DJ Mehdi (feat. Chromeo), "I Am Somebody

WATCH: Carte Blanche (feat. Kid Sister), "Do! Do! Do!"

Download Pretty Lights' Soul-Tinged Banger

News Article
September 15, 2011

The temperature may be dropping, the days starting to get shorter, but Pretty Lights is extending that summer feeling a bit longer into September. The Colorado electronic musician has posted a free, high-quality download of his just-released single, "I Know the Truth," which he debuted live at Bonnaroo back in those halcyon days of June. Get it at Pretty Lights' website in an exchange for an e-mail address.

The latest from Fort Collins-based Derek Vincent Smith is a blippy dubstep track with hints of '60s soul represents a new approach for the sample-happy beatmaker. Recalling the production methods used on trip-hop innovators Portishead's 1997 self-titled album, Smith pressed analog recordings of his own studio session to vinyl, then sampled that to create the single.

"It's my first attempt at producing in a new style I like to call analog electronica," the Pretty Lights maestro says in a news release. "It's modern electronic music production created with an approach based on techniques from 40-50 years ago."

Pretty Lights is also in the midst of a U.S. tour that will stop by Austin City Limits Music Festival tomorrow. Check out the tour dates below, and watch the video for "Pretty Lights vs. Led Zeppelin," which samples seven Zep tunes and refracts them through Pretty Lights' big-beat electronic style. Read SPIN's review of Pretty Lights' Lollapalooza set here.

WATCH: Pretty Lights, "Pretty Lights vs. Led Zeppelin"

Pretty Lights Tour Dates:

9/15, Austin, TX (Austin Music Hall) #

9/16, Austin, TX (Austin City Limits Music Festival)

9/17, New Orleans, LA (The Sugar Mill)

9/20, Asheville, NC (Thomas Wolfe Auditorium)

9/21, Charlottesville, VA (Telos Wireless Pavilion)

9/22, Binghamtom, NY (Events Center)

9/23, Boston, MA (Bank of America Pavilion)

9/24, Philadelphia, PA (Popped! Festival @ FDR Park)

9/25, Lewiston, ME (The Colisee)

9/27, Burlington, VT (Burlington Memorial Auditorium)

9/28, Wallingford, CT (The Dome at Oakdale)

9/29, Silver Spring, MD (The Fillmore D.C.)

9/30, Columbus, OH (The LC Pavilion)

10/1, Detroit, MI (The Fillmore Detroit)

10/4, Pittsburgh, PA (Stage AE)

10/5, South Bend, IN (Morris Center)

10/6, Dekalb, IL (NIU Convocation Center)

10/7, Milwaukee, WI (Eagles Ballroom)

10/8, St. Paul, MN (Myth)

10/9, Des Moines, IA (Val Air Ballroom)

10/11, Oxford, MS (Lyric Theatre)

10/12, Oxford, MS (Lyric Theatre)

10/13, Tuscaloosa, AL (Tuscaloosa Amphitheater)%

10/14, Alpharetta, GA (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)*

10/15, Alpharetta, GA (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)*

10/27, Lincoln, NE (Pershing Center)

10/28, Tulsa, OK (The Brady Theater)

10/29, Little Rock, AR (Verizon Arena)

10/31, Nashville, TN (Nashville Municipal Auditorium)

# w/ Nas opening

* w/ co-headlining with Bassnectar

% benefit for Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund

Jay-Z Goes Hard on J. Cole's "Mr. Nice Watch"

News Article
September 15, 2011

Jay-Z has been all about collaborations lately. First he teamed up with Kanye West for their chart-topping album Watch the Throne; then came news at the MTV Video Music Awards that he and Beyoncé were expecting a baby. Now Jay has added a supremely scornful verse to a new track by North Carolina rapper J. Cole, who previously appeared on Hova's own 2009 LP, The Blueprint 3. Hear it here, via Consequence of Sound.

"Mr. Nice Watch," from Cole's long-delayed debut album, is dubstep-tinged electro-rap built around a pun on expensive male wrist jewelery: "If we ever go broke, then time is all we got," Cole sings on the chorus, his plainspoken half-croon more T.I. than, say, Drake. Jay balances the track with some needed arrogance, giving his Roc Nation signee a breathless, foul-mouthed verse with some fittingly Southern references to college football. "No Mr. Nice Guy, hello Mr. Nice Watch," Jay exhorts, paraphrasing Cole.

Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story, due out September 27 via Roc Nation/Columbia, has been in the works for some time. After getting the nod to rap on Hova's own "A Star Is Born," Cole landed on SPIN's list of albums that matter most -- for the winter of 2010-11 -- for his then-untitled debut LP. Check out SPIN's review of J. Cole's 2010 mixtape Friday Night Lights.

Hear It: J. Cole (feat. Jay-Z), "Mr. Nice Watch"

Florence and the Machine Share Second New Song

News Article
September 14, 2011

Powerhouse British vocalist Florence Welch and her band the Machine, one of SPIN's 2010 Artists of the Year, have offered up a second taste of their second album, which follows last year's Lungs. Check out "Shake It Out" here.
Florence and the Machine, "Shake It Out"

In keeping with previously unveiled track "What the Water Gave Me," the four-and-a-half-minute song is swelling, gospel-flavored pop, with churchy organ and pounding drums setting a cathartic scene for Welch's fiery singing. "It's hard to dance with the devil on your back," she roars. "So shake him off!"

Florence and the Machine have also provided details on their new album. According to iTunes UK, the LP will be called Ceremonials, and it will be out in Britain on October 31, which typically means a U.S. release a day later.

As previously reported, the band worked on the album at London's famed Abbey Road Studios with producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Bloc Party). Epworth was also behind the boards on Lungs' "Cosmic Love" and "Blinding." The full Ceremonials tracklist is below.
Ceremonials tracklist:

1. Only If for Night

2. Shake It Out

3. What The Water Gave Me

4. Never Let Me Go

5. Breaking Down

6. Lover to Lover

7. No Light No Light

8. Seven Devils

9. Heartline

10. Spectrum

11. All This and Heaven Too

12. Leave My Body

Lil Wayne: GOP Is "Never Going to Like Us"

News Article
September 14, 2011

While he didn't exactly pull a Kanye West, and say that the Republican party doesn't care about black people, Lil Wayne took the current crop of Republican presidential candidates to task in an interview with VIBE.

"You learn from what the right wing is doing and you take something from it," Wayne told VIBE. "I feel like as a people the most we can do is better ourselves and learn. Then look at yourself and ask 'Am I the person they’re talking about or am I not?' You have to make the most of who you are because the Republicans are never going to like us."

The rapper also said that while taking the president to task over the economy may be fair, the intensity of conservative outrage has less to do with policies than with Obama's race. "I don't think I have to say that for everybody to know that," Wayne told VIBE.

Wayne vaulted to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart last week for his album Tha Carter IV. His first-week sales of 964,000 copies were the year's second-biggest, behind behind Lady Gaga's 1.1 million for Born This Way.

WATCH: Lil Wayne, "How to Love"

Search This Blog

Press Mentions

"Goes over the top and stays there to very nice effect."
-- David Carr, The New York Times

"I wasn't fully convinced. But I was interested."
-- Rob Walker, The New York Times

" Marc Hogan wrote in Spin..."
-- Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

Blog Archive