Wednesday, September 28, 2011
September 19, 2011
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September 19, 2011
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
For someone who wants to stay hidden, SBTRKT (pronounced "subtract") has a hard time staying in the shadows. The mask-wearing DJ-producer won't confirm his real name (reportedly Aaron Jerome), age, or talk about his musical background, but he has shared a stage with Drake, been tapped for remixes by Radiohead and Mark Ronson, and will be headlining a U.S. tour that launches this month. A little secrecy, it seems, can go a long way.
"SBTRKT is essentially about getting away from the idea that you have to talk about your music to show what it's about," explains the London resident. "For me, it was more about creating music and letting it work on its own merits -- not having to go out and say, 'I am the person behind this, this is where I was born, and this is why I make what I do.' "
Good thing his music speaks for itself. SBTRKT's eponymous Young Turks debut puts a sleek pop slant on dubstep, garage, and 2-step. Closer to the futuristic singer-songwriter music of fellow Brit James Blake than straight-up club fare, the album leans hard on the airy croon of U.K. soul singer Sampha, who also joins in for his boss' free-flowing shows, during which the masked man pounds a drum kit. "It can all go wrong," admits SBTRKT about embracing the unpredictability of playing live, "but it can all go right as well." Like when Drake joined the band for a Toronto performance. ("He just came and jammed," says SBTRKT.) The cameo wasn't wholly surprising -- Drake had remixed SBTRKT's moody "Wildfire," which features a feathery vocal assist from Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano.
More often, SBTRKT is the one doing the remixing. Last year he reworked Tinie Tempah's U.K. No. 1 single "Pass Out" and Ronson's "Bang Bang Bang." This past summer, he did the same to "Lotus Flower," from Radiohead's recent The King of Limbs, after Thom Yorke heard his music on BBC radio. Cultivating such a high-profile fan base may put a crimp in SBTRKT's plan to remain anonymous, but it's the stuff of fantasy nonetheless -- which is appropriate for his chosen genre. "As a basic thing," he says, "electronic music is not based on some personal life story. The majority is this imaginary universe of sound." These days, though, reality is looking pretty good.
With a foppish yodel and a jaunty guitar shuffle, this Brooklyn band's self-titled 2010 debut LP slotted easily alongside descendants of the Smiths and the Strokes. Maybe too easily. Guitarist Adam Kessler's exit makes room for a more overtly expansive approach on the Drums' just as solid sophomore outing, with chopped-up vocals, burbling synths, and cooing harmonies that should place them firmly in the sophisticated-yet-naive pop tradition of Saint Etienne or Swedish labels Service, Sincerely Yours, and Labrador. The Drums was as sunny as new romance, though; emotionally conflicted and at times misanthropic, Portamento is about finding out that only love can break your heart.
September 12, 2011
Now that there's little choice but to treat chillwave as an actual genre, it's at risk of the same kind of restrictive codification that's strangled so many of its predecessors. The word has come to mean a specific style-- glowing electronic pop that calls to mind faded photographs. But what initially drew comparisons between such groups as Washed Out, Neon Indian, and Memory Tapes wasn't such an easily identifiable set of musical signifiers. As with most category names that stick, chillwave was a feeling.
There's no better example of the genre's catholic origins than Toro Y Moi mastermind Chaz Bundick. Last year's Causers of This established Toro Y Moi as one of the mini-scene's leading figures, with the post-crash economic reality of lead single "Blessa" ("I found a job, I do it fine/ Not what I want, but still I try") aligning the album with Neon Indian's "Deadbeat Summer" and Washed Out's High Times-- and Bundick's full-length debut had a warmly nostalgic electro-R&B aesthetic, to boot. But by then he had already released 2009's Body Angles tape, which, yeah, presaged Causers with synthy closer "Timed Pleasure", but mostly emphasized scuzzy guitars. And Bundick has said he actually recorded this year's garage-pop "Leave Everywhere" single in 2006. In the meantime, he's given us straight-up dance (his Les Sins project) and an album that expands on the atmospheric funk of Causers using a lusher, more organic instrumental palette (this year's Underneath the Pine).
The definition of chillwave may have to expand yet again. Memory Tapes' solid if disappointing follow-up to 2009's zeitgeist-capturing Seek Magic had more in common than with the sound of this Internet-born subset, but Bundick, along with Neon Indian and Washed Out, continues to embody its spirit, which was always more body-oriented than detractors would care to admit. With the Freaking Out EP, Bundick moves from vaguely funky 1980s-tinged makeout jams to more explicitly funky 80s-tinged dancefloor jams-- think Chromeo. The change isn't as successful as his best work, but it still makes for a plenty rewarding between-albums EP.
Advance mp3 "Saturday Love"-- a cover of a 1985 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis production for R&B singers Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal-- is the highlight here, with its sweetly catchy days-of-the-week hook, tinkling two-finger piano, and thwacking neo-new jack swing drum programming. Yearning, bass-limber opener "All Alone" and finger-snapping dance finale "I Can Get Love" even share the strobe-like keyboards present on much of Causers-- the last song has that post-Dilla crackle, too. And "Sweet" applies the chopped up vocals and hazy incandescence of that album to further 80s-style R&B. "Take it easy," Bundick soothes on the title track, another uptempo floor-filler. "Don't worry anymore... Calm down." I mean, how much more chillwave can you get, right?
September 13, 2011
The nonprofit run by former President Bill Clinton is celebrating its 10th anniversary in a big way. Lady Gaga and Usher will perform at the October 15 concert, the William J. Clinton Foundation said this morning. U2's the Edge and Bono are also set to perform as an acoustic duo at the event, which takes place at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and will stream live via Yahoo!. The foundation says it will announce other performers later.
"A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation" is intended to build exposure for the foundation's work, Clinton says in news release announcing the event. "In the past decade, commitments to my Clinton Global Initiative have improved the lives of more than 300 million people around the world," the former president says. "We've lowered the cost of AIDS and HIV treatment, combated climate change, strengthened economies, increased access to education and healthcare, [and] provided financing and mentoring for small businesses."
Acoustic performances by U2's the Edge and Bono are a relatively uncommon occurrence. The two recently collaborated without drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bass player Adam Clayton to write songs for the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Check out the pair's acoustic performance of All That You Can't Leave Behind's "Stuck in a Moment" on Late Show With David Letterman below.
September 13, 2011
Halloween is six weeks off, but don't tell Deerhunter and Atlas Sound frontman Bradford Cox. He posed as Joey Ramone during the Black Lips' show Saturday night, complete with long black wig and black leather jacket. Watch their performance below (via Pitchfork and ifilmbands).
Playing at Southern Comfort Lounge in Conley, GA, Cox joined the Lips for a cover of Bobby Freeman oldie "Do You Wanna Dance?". Of course, they did the song the Ramones' way.
Cox's costumed appearance wasn't a total surprise. As Pitchfork points out, the Atlanta musician commandeered the Black Lips' Twitter feed earlier that same day, at one point typing, "There are rumors of a resurrected ghost making a guest appearance at tonight's show."
As usual, Cox has plenty of other projects in the works. His latest Atlas Sound album, Parallax, is due out November 8 -- hear first taste "Terra Incognita" here. As for Deerhunter, the noise-streaked art-rockers recently covered Georgia alt-rock icons Pylon in the midst of a recently concluded summer tour.
September 13, 2011
French electro producer DJ Mehdi has died, Consequence of Sound reports.
Born Mehdi Favéris-Essadi, the 34-year-old reportedly died due to "an accident," though further details remain unclear.
Known for massive electro-house productions, Mehdi released solo work as part of the Paris collective Ed Banger, and he collaborated with Chromeo and Justice's Xavider de Rosnay, as well as fellow French producers Riton, Cassius, and Busy P.
On Twitter, DJ Cut Killer was apparently the first to make news of Mehdi's death public. Writing in French, the Moroccan-born DJ said, "DJ Mehdi !!! There are no words to tell you the sorrow which I feel… A friend goes from there… Rest in peace fréro."
Other artists responding to Mehdi's death include Drake, Chromeo, Kid Sister, Miike Snow, Murs, and RJD2, who adds: "He had a great spirit about him. One of the nicest guys I've ever met."
See the video for Daft Punk member Thomas Bangalter's rework of Mehdi's "Signatune," from 2007 album Lucky Boy at Night, below.
September 13, 2011
Jamie xx has put his stamp on enough new music in the past few weeks to take up most of your morning. On August 27, the xx producer/percussionist and Gil Scott-Heron remixer spun a two-hour BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, which you can check out here. This week, he's back with a 30-minute mix of house and garage for FACT magazine, which you can download here.
Did we say "morning"? The FACT mix is actually better suited for late-night listening, and it features mostly moody, tranquil tracks-- including alternate takes on a couple of previous Jamie xx remixes. The BBC mix closes with a preview of Jamie xx's remix for Radiohead's The King of Limbs track "Bloom," which is set to show up on Radiohead remix compilation TKOL RMX 1234567 when it arrives October 11.
Earlier this year, Jamie xx added a tinge of futuristic calypso on his import-only 12" single "Far Nearer," issued in the U.K. via the Numbers label. He also anticipated the ongoing chart success of Adele with his club-ready "Rolling in the Deep" remix.
Around this time last year, the xx won Britain's Mercury Prize for their slinky, smoldering self-titled debut.
Hear It: Jamie xx's FACT mix FACT's site or at Soundcloud
Hear It: Jamie xx's BBC Essential mix
September 13, 2011
St. Vincent's Clark, in Los Angeles to perform for radio station KCRW and Amoeba Records, and Earle were set to go into the studio for Boardwalk Empire this week. That means they just missed the cut for the show's first soundtrack, which drops today via Elektra. Boardwalk Empire Volume 1 : Music From The HBO Original Series features Regina Spektor, Loudon Wainwright III, and Nellie McKay, along with the show's house band, Vince Giordana and the Nighthawks, putting their spin on songs made popular during the overlap between ragtime, improvised jazz, vaudeville, and Broadway show tunes.
Clark recently extended her covers repertoire to include a number by another sometimes old-timey singer-songwriter, Tom Waits. Watch her stripped-down performance of Waits' "Tango Till They're Sore" here.
St. Vincent is hitting the road this fall on a U.S. tour behind Strange Mercy this September -- see dates here. Read SPIN's cover story from our September Style Issue here, or check out a review of St. Vincent's first New York performance of Strange Mercy here.
September 12, 2011
Titled "Barb Wire," the rough track resembles little-known Smashing Pumpkins cut "Tulips" with the vocals submerged even lower in the mix. It's one of the band's heavier songs, with distorted guitar in the foreground even on the "Tulips" version. Here, the guitar sounds somewhat less heavily processed, with wailing mini-solos between verses. Check it out below.
Corgan, who announced the record club in an August 20 YouTube video, has promised "so much more free stuff" on the way. He has also said a new Smashing Pumpkins album, Oceania, will probably come out in November, and the band will debut new songs on a fall tour that starts October 5 in Los Angeles.
September 12, 2011
At the turn of the millennium, Radiohead and Aphex Twin were each separately responsible for helping drag alternative-rock fans kicking and screaming into the world of electronic music. In the early 1960s, Krzysztof Penderecki composed experimental pieces that made use of harsh, jostling dissonance, eventually making him a popular soundtrack choice for directors of ominous movies. Over the weekend, the three came together, as the Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood, Aphex Twin maestro Richard D. James, and Penderecki himself took the stage in the Polish composer's home country, reinterpreting his early work with help from an orchestra -- watch footage below.
On Friday, Greenwood premiered his "48 Responses to Polymorphia," a piece inspired by Penderecki's 1961 "Polymorphia." On Saturday, Aphex Twin unveiled his remix of Penderecki's 1960 "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" along with his own "Polymorphia" reworking, titled "Polymorphia Reloaded." The performances took place as part of the European Culture Congress in Wroclaw, Poland.
A meeting between Radiohead and Aphex Twin -- even separated by the space of an evening -- was hardly foreordained. As Consequence of Sound points out, Aphex Twin's James once told the now-defunt Kludge Magazine, "I wouldn't play with them [Radiohead] since I don't like them."
Penderecki may not be a household name for many rock fans, but he is an avant-garde luminary. As the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross notes in his book The Rest Is Noise, Penderecki was part of a wave of Eastern European composers who rose to prominence with a musical approach known as sonorism. As Ross tells it, government officials only tolerated the "shrieking cluster chords, sputtering streams of pizzicato, [and] siren-like glissandos" of "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" after Penderecki gave it that politically acceptable title. The piece was originally called "8'37"" and it appeared in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of The Shining.
In other Radiohead news, Thom Yorke's latest collaborations with German elecronic duo Modeselektor recently hit the web. Aphex Twin heads to Krakow on September 17 to take part in the Sacrum Profanum festival's Reich 75 concert, where he will join Television's Tom Verlaine, Portishead's Adrian Utley, Goldfrapp's Will Gregory, and others to honor composer Steve Reich.
WATCH: Aphex Twin, "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Remix)"
WATCH: Aphex Twin, "Polymorphia Reloaded"
September 12, 2011
Drake's records suggest late nights at the club. The Canadian rapper-singer's blog, however, suggests he spent the wee hours of Saturday night in front of his computer, uploading three new tracks: "Club Paradise," the Rick Ross-featuring "Free Spirit," and a remix of Waka Flocka Flame's "Round of Applause."
"Club Paradise" and "Free Spirit" are both produced by 40, aka Noah Shebib, who has also worked on songs by Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Trey Songz in addition to Drake's Thank Me Later. On "Club Paradise," Drake returns to a familiar topic -- feeling out of place in the fast-money circuit -- as 40 supplies woozy slow-motion backing. "Free Spirit" adds hip-hop muscle to a horn-kissed Sade sample, as Ross and Drake exchange macho boasts (Drizzy: "Tat my fucking name on you so I know it's real").
The remix of Waka Flocka's "Round of Applause" finds Drake rapping over some stuttering menace from producer Lex Luger, whose brand of monolithic blare has been everywhere lately. Drake explained on his blog: "First Lex Luger beat I ever got to rap on...feel like I got seat B60 on Southwest...everybody has gone in before me...but we made it happen!" As Luger stretches his ominous sound into strip-club fodder, Drake joins Waka Flocka with a verse about throwing bills.
The links originally posted on Drake's blog have been taken down, but you can still hear the tracks below. Drake's second album, Take Care, arrives October 24, and you can also check out the video for the brooding "Marvin's Room."
Hear It:: Drake (feat. Rick Ross), "Free Spirit"
Hear It:: Waka Flocka Flame (feat. Drake), "Round of Applause (Remix)"
September 12, 2011
Amy Winehouse's father says he thinks a seizure connected to alcohol detoxification caused the singer's unexpected death in London on July 23. "Everything Amy did, she did to excess," Mitch Winehouse said Friday in a taping of a new Anderson Cooper talk show, according to the Associated Press. "She drank to excess and did detox to excess."
The "Rehab" singer had been suffering seizures and losing consciousness during an effort to fight her alcoholism without medical assistance, her father said on Anderson's syndicated show, which is set to premiere Monday. The elder Winehouse is quoted as saying "the periods of abstinence were becoming longer, and the periods of drinking were becoming shorter. It was heading in the right direction."
Toxicology reports showed there was alcohol in the singer's system at the time of her death but did not conclusively indicate whether this was a contributing factor. No illegal drugs were present in her system, Winehouse's family said in an August 23 statement announcing the test results.
Mitch Winehouse said he learned about his daughter's death by phone, the AP reports. He was in New York, and when he heard the emotion in a security guard's voice on the other end of the call, he says he immediately asked, "Is she dead?"
The singer's father wiped away tears as Cooper's show played old video footage of her, according to the AP. "When she wasn't drinking," Mitch Winehouse reportedly said, "she was absolutely on top of the world."
Separately, British singer and songwriter Joss Stone has told the Wall Street Journal she has imagined putting together a supergroup to honor Amy Winehouse. Though she hasn't taken any steps toward doing so, she says the U.K. singers she has in mind include Adele, KT Tunstall, Corinne Bailey Rae, and 15-year-old artist Birdy.
"It would be great to put out a song, or even a five-track release," Stone told the WSJ, which points out she has an album on the way this month from SuperHeavy, her supergroup with Mick Jagger, A.R. Rahman, Damian Marley, and Dave Stewart.
September 12, 2011
Coldplay has released a lavish new single, "Paradise," the same day the British rockers revealed the tracklist for their upcoming fifth album, Mylo Xyloto. Hear the song and see the song lineup below.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin says in a press release the band started writing their new album after listening to Blur's "Sing," which appears on the U.K. version of the Damon Albarn-led British popsters' 1991 debut album Leisure (U.S. fans could hear it on the Trainspotting film soundtrack). And in fact, "Paradise" is built around slowly rotating orchestration that quite a bit resembles the early Blur track's hypnotic chords.
Martin steps back out in front on the more traditionally stately, piano-driven verses, but the swooning, impressionistic hook again recalls some of that influential Albarn group's art-school leanings. Martin sings about a woman dreaming of, well, paradise, and the music suggests that feeling of breathless exhilaration; one lyric also refers back to previous Mylo Xyloto offering "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall."
A download of "Paradise" is available starting today for fans who pre-order Mylo Xyloto from the iTunes Store. Coldplay has also unveiled the tracklist for the album, set for U.S. release on October 24, and the big surprise is that pop star Rihanna sings on the track "Princess of China." Brian Eno, who took the helm of 2008's Viva la Vida, here is credited with "enoxification and additional composition," while previous Coldplay collaborators Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson add production assistance.
Mylo Xyloto tracklist:
1. Mylo Xyloto
2. Hurts Like Heaven
4. Charlie Brown
5. Us Against The World
7. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
8. Major Minus
10. Princess of China (feat. Rihanna)
11. Up In Flames
12. A Hopeful Transmission
13. Don't Let It Break Your Heart
14. Up With The Birds
Sunday, September 11, 2011
September 9, 2011
In a little more than a year, the members of Los Angeles hip-hop crew Odd Future have gone from posting their mixtapes for free online to sharing a stage with Will Ferrell at the MTV Video Music Awards. Now they're carving out their own space on television.
Shortly after Tyler, the Creator's VMA win for Best New Artist, Adult Swim has announced it has picked up the group's 15-minute live action show, Loiter Squad. According to the youth-oriented Turner network, which shares space with the Cartoon Network, the series will consist of sketches, man on the street segments, and pranks. The show will also feature Odd Future's music.
Loiter Squad's producers, Dickhouse Entertainment, know a thing or two about pranks: The Hollywood production partnership of Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze created MTV's Jackass. Adult Swim's Nick Weidenfeld serves as an executive producer, along with Tremaine, Shanna Zablow, Dimitry Elyashkevich, and Lance Bangs.
Odd Future's multimedia ventures do not discriminate. The group's Golf Wang book, out in November, is set to detail their adventures at home and on the road.
Separately, Odd Future leader Tyler joined Clipse's Pusha T onstage earlier this week at New York City's Bowery Hotel to perform their collaboration "Trouble on My Mind," and ILLROOTS captured video. And not too long ago, a 10-minute Odd Future documentary hit the web titled A Day in Ladera: OFWGKTA. Check them both out below.
WATCH: A Day in Ladera: OFWGKTA
September 9, 2011
One thing, among many, that separates Das Racist from comedy-rap outfits like the Lonely Island: The Brooklyn trio understands that humor is already one of the many things that hip-hop can do. You don't parody rappers from Snoop Dogg and Ludacris to Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj; you compete with them. DR has offered up the first video from their new album Relax, out Tuesday, and it's in a similar joking-but-not spirit.
"I'm fuckin' great at rapping," Himanshu Suri declares on the song, the previously leaked "Michael Jackson." While DR's Suri, Victor Vazquez, and Ashok Kondabolu spout references to old TV shows, other rappers, and even their own novelty breakthrough "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" ("Whaaaat?"), the visuals -- by Weird Days, who've helmed clips by Delorean and the Black Lips -- allude to the Last Supper, a Harold and Kumar-style terrorism interrogation, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, and even Animal Collective's Panda Bear.
As Stereogum points out, the closing face-morph sequence -- itself a nod to Jackson's 1991 "Black or White" video -- also features a whole host of guests, including El-P, Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, and many others.
Das Racist haven't only been working on their own tracks. The hip-hop act recently remixed TV on the Radio's "Caffeinated Consciousness," adding their own Power Rangers-invoking rhymes.
September 9, 2011
What do you say when your rock band has just celebrated its 20th anniversary? If you're Pearl Jam, you say "Olé." Days after Eddie Vedder & co. held a massive, star-studded birthday bash in Alpine Valley, WI, the band offered up this refreshingly raw, frenzied burst. Download the MP3 at Pearl Jam's website, or watch the band play the song on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon below.
Pearl Jam covered the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" at Alpine Valley, and "Olé" has a similar off-the-rails recklessness. As the band careens along at top speed, Vedder spits the lyrics with rabid ferocity. So much rabid ferocity, in fact, you might not even notice the underlying political frustration: Vedder "ain't got words" for all the trouble he's seen. No words, that is, but "¡Olé!"
Last night Pearl Jam stopped by Fallon to rock late-night viewers from their slumber, as Anthrax had the night before. Dressed in flannel (!), a guitar-less Vedder rasped and screamed his way through the new song with the kind of showmanship Pearl Jam's huge concert following facilitates; especially dig the way he yelps about "knuckleheads."
It was a Pearl Jam kind of show. Cameron Crowe talked with Fallon about the director's upcoming PJ20 documentary. And Vedder joined the Roots to back Fallon on a "protest song" about last year's BP oil spill, titled -- yes -- "Balls in Your Mouth." Tar balls, people.
WATCH: Jimmy Fallon, Eddie Vedder, and the Roots, "Balls in Your Mouth"
WATCH: Cameron Crowe interview, part one
WATCH: Cameron Crowe interview, part two
September 9, 2011
Paramore debuted a new song at a show earlier this week, one of their first new tunes since since founding members Josh and Zac Farro left last December, and on it the Franklin, TN, band's frontwoman howls intensely about an escape that never comes.
As EW notes, the live premiere came as Paramore commemorated the 15th birthday of their record label, Fueled by Ramen, at New York City's Terminal 5. "Renegade" maintains the aggression of this summer's "Monster" -- lines like "We are just past tense" could even be references to her estranged former bandmates.
The current lineup's furious pop-punk backing makes way for a chiming, reflective bridge, and in video of the performance, the all-ages crowd seizes the moment to clap along. That's when Williams lets loose her most raucous cry yet: "I'll keep RUNNNNNINNG!"
Wearing a leopard-print tank top beneath her unmistakable red hair, Williams gave this fiery new tune a distinctly mild-mannered introduction. "This next song, we have never, ever, ever played before," she said. "And sometimes this happens and it goes wrong. I just need you guys to have fun anyways. This song we will be putting online for you to have as soon as soon as possible, as soon as we can -- we're working on it. It's called 'Renegade.'"
According to EW, Williams mentioned that Paramore would be playing no other shows in 2010, potentially clearing the way for the band to record its fourth album in time for a release next year.
September 9, 2011
Last month, Modeselektor offered up 45-second preview streams of two tracks they recorded with Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Set to appear on the German electronic duo's third album, Monkeytown, the full tracks have now made their ways into the hands of Seattle radio station 107.7 The End. Hear them here.
As previously reported, Yorke's latest glitchy collaborations with Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary resemble his contribution to 2007's "The White Flash," from the Berlin DJ/production pair's Happy Birthday!. Of the two tracks, "Shipwreck" is the more conventionally song-like. "Oh shit, I am sinking," Yorke moans elegantly atop bleeps, hums, and galloping beats. Meanwhile, "This" chops up and mangles the Radiohead frontman's lofty croon, its busy electronics at once gothic and futuristic -- save this one for your Halloween party.
To hear the entire album, stay tuned to SPIN.com, where Monkeytown will be streaming September 16. The proper full-length hits the United States on October 4 via Modeselektor's own Monkeytown label. Anti-Pop Consortium and Busdriver also guest.
In other Yorke news, he appears in Radiohead's hour-long episode of From the Basement, as the band plays two new tracks alongside cuts from The King of Limbs. What's more, a 2-CD collection of remixes from The King of Limbs, titled TKOL RMX 1234567, is due out October 11 on the band's tbd records imprint. You can already hear reworkings by Four Tet, Lone, and Pearson Sound Scavenger.
September 8, 2011
Brooklyn rock futurists Battles play their instruments like machines. British synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan became famous for playing machines like instruments. "My Machines," from the stellar Battles LP Gloss Drop, brings the two together, and now it has an unnerving video.
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who work together under the name Daniels, the clip shows Numan and Battles performing as a man's attempt to push past people on an escalator leads to harrowing consequences -- well, harrowing in escalator terms, anyway. "Listen to the sound of my life," Numan sings, his tone barely human. Battles' assault of otherworldly keyboards, rigidly methodical drumming, and crunching bass imbues the shopping mall misadventure with cinematic drama.
The Creators Project, the Intel-backed arts concern, collaborated with Warp in pairing the musicians with Daniels. The filmmaking duo, who here make a man appear to fall down an up-moving escalator, are also responsible for Chromeo's, ahem, immaculately conceived "When the Night Falls" video.
Like Battles themselves, the clip is forward-thinking yet accessible. "Our music doesn't make many compromises, but we take it into a venue that's larger than people expect," guitarist Ian Williams told SPIN earlier this year. "That's the thrill of Battles, the transgressive element."
September 8, 2011
Folks who may have fallen asleep last night while watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon were undoubtedly jarred into consciousness by a powerful dose of metal when Anthrax hit the NBC late-night show, in support of the thrash-metal icons' new album, Worship Music, which arrives September 13 via Megaforce. Check out their performances below (via Blabbermouth).
On the air, Anthrax tore into "The Devil You Know," from the upcoming LP, the band's first studio release in eight years. With crunching start-stop riffs, pummeling drums, and mosh-worthy instrumental interludes, the song did indeed sound a bit like the devil Anthrax fans have worshipped for, oh, a couple of decades now. A slight touch of maturity in the voice of singer Joey Belladonna, who rejoins Anthrax for his first full-length since 1990, does undercut the aggression somewhat. (When the censors bleep his rage-filled lyrics, though, you won't notice.)
Anthrax also played "Caught in a Mosh," from 1987 breakthrough Among the Living, a performance that appeared as an online-exclusive on the show's website. The band members are grinning broadly as the song starts; it's a speed-crazed blast, and that's what Anthrax appear to be having, too.
Anthrax were in New York ahead of their Big 4 show with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth, which will turn Yankee Stadium into a house of metal on September 14. "It's nervous excitement, like when you're a kid and it's a week away from Christmas and you can't sleep," Anthrax's Scott Ian told SPIN ahead of the first Big 4 show this spring in Indio, CA; read our review of the 50,000-strong event. According to Blabbermouth, Anthrax will also play at New York's Best Buy Theater on September 12, calling themselves Satan's Lounge Band.
WATCH: Anthrax: "Caught in a Mosh"
September 8, 2011
FX biker drama Sons of Anarchy kicked off its fourth season this week, and the episode ended with a violent montage set to "What a Wonderful World." Louis Armstrong originally recorded the song in 1968, and Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwoʻol more recently revived it. On the show, the sunny classic played underneath that montage as an eerie, bare-bones remake by belter Alison Mosshart, of the Kills and the Dead Weather. Check it out below.
Mosshart may be better known for stormy, threatening rockers, but her "What a Wonderful World" is relatively restrained. She delivers a straight, lightly scuffed vocal, swathed in vaguely ominous echoes. The Forest Rangers -- the band led by Sons of Anarchy music supervisor Bob Thiele -- lends solemn acoustic backing.
According to EW, the story behind this cover goes far beyond brutal motorcycle gangs: Thiele's father actually co-wrote the song. "There was a part of me that was a little nervous about besmirching Bob Thiele Sr.'s memory with having a montage [of] kill sequences while his song played," show creator Kurt Sutter told the website. "But Bob Thiele Jr. was thrilled and took the challenge completely made it work." Mosshart reportedly laid down the vocal from a studio in Ireland.
Mosshart has been on something of a cruise down memory lane lately. Before "What a Wonderful World," she recently joined Kills bandmate Jamie Hince for a cover of Marilyn Monroe's "One Silver Dollar." Just last month, though, she was back to her more familiar tricks, performing howling blues-punk stomper "Future Starts Slow" with the Kills on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
Hear It: Alison Mosshart and the Forest Rangers, "What a Wonderful World"
September 8, 2011
Kathleen Edwards crafted one of 2008's quieter pleasures, the affecting folk-country album Asking for Flowers, which featured twangy standouts like "I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory" and "Oil Man's War." Now that the Canadian singer-songwriter is working with Bon Iver maestro Justin Vernon (who also happens to be her boyfriend), she has a prime opportunity to get more of the critical acclaim she has already long deserved. Vernon produces and sings backing vocals on new song "Wapusk." Hear it here.
From a 7" single due September 26 on Rounder Records, "Wapusk" is as tranquil and icy-bright as its inspiration. Wapusk, as Edwards explains in a press release, is "a remote and barren spot located in northern Manitoba, where many polar bears spend their summers denning and resting on the banks of Hudson Bay." The guitar-slinging folkie returned there in summer 2010 as part of Canada's National Parks Project. Her tribute to the place is slow-paced and nicely layered, with acoustic guitars, sighing fiddles, and a sense of quiet awe.
Vernon's vocals are little more than a faint glow in the distance, but with his production involvement comes a more electronic aspect to Edward's sound. That can be heard on flip side "Change the Sheets," which you can check out here. From the same upcoming 7" as "Wapusk," the track will eventually appear on new album Voyageur, out January 2012. "Change the sheets, and then change me," Edwards sings on a bewitching song with a hint of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac in its sparkling polish and pulsing bass line.
"Wapusk" isn't Vernon's only recent collaboration. Check out his track with U.K. electronic producer James Blake.
September 8, 2011
Fleet Foxes just wrapped up a two-night homecoming stand at the Paramount in Seattle. At both shows singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold took to the stage alone with an acoustic guitar to perform a new song. According to 107.7 The End, it's called "I Let You." Watch videos of each night's renditions below.
As The Seattle Times reports, Pecknold introduced the song with references to local all-ages venues in the city he recently said he wasleaving behind for Portland, OR. "Part of this song takes place at the Paradox, and part of it takes place at the Old Fire House," he's quoted as saying.
"I Let You" is a delicate, haunting folk-pop ballad, and true to its title, it works best if you let it patiently wash over you. As with much of the band's gorgeous 2011 album Helplessness Blues, the dulcet tune and spare arrangement bring to mind the best work of Simon & Garfunkel decades earlier. Pecknold's voice is as golden as ever, as he reflects about an old flame, backed only by his own somber finger-picking. The scene: an August night, "after the band had played."
Fleet Foxes are in the midst of a U.S. tour that will last until October. In November, the harmony-loving folk-rockers will trek overseas to Europe, part of a jaunt that by January 2012 will bring the band to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
WATCH: Fleet Foxes, "I Let You"
WATCH: Fleet Foxes, "I Let You"
September 7, 2011
Ryan Adams unveiled a live, in-studio performance video for the title track off his 13th album Ashes & Fire, out October 11. The clip was posted over at the album's Amazon pre-order listing and spotted by TwentyFourBit. Check it out below.
In this stripped-down version, shot in a retro, VHS-camcorder style, "Ashes & Fire" harks back to the wrenching barroom intimacy of 2000's Heartbreaker, Adams' solo debut after leaving the alt-country band Whiskeytown. His voice creaks over waltzing strums of acoustic guitar, as he vividly juxtaposes the rural beauty of a woman whose skin smells "like black cherries" with urban grit like the "bums on the Bowery." In recent live performances, the song gains drums and weeping keyboards.
Another Ashes & Fire track, the similarly rootsy "Lucky Now," has also hit the web. Tom Petty and Heartbreakers' keyboardist Benmont Tench joins Adams on that track. Surprisingly, neither song sounds all that different from Adams' recent Iron Maiden cover.
Tench isn't alone among stars appearing on the album. As SPIN has reported, Norah Jones sings on three songs, and production comes from Glyn Jones, a veteran of albums by the Who, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles.
September 7, 2011
Lil Wayne has once again put up big numbers on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The rapper nabbed the No. 1 spot this week for his album Tha Carter IV, selling 964,000 copies, according to Billboard. It's the second-biggest first-week sales for an album this year -- behind Lady Gaga's 1.1 million for Born This Way, but ahead of Jay-Z and Kanye West's 436,000 for Watch the Throne.
Take into account Gaga's first-week discount pricing, and Wayne's sales figures look even more impressive. According to Billboard, Gaga sold an estimated 440,000 downloads for 99 cents each, during a two-day sale by Amazon's MP3 store. Tha Carter IV's sales of almost a million copies came without such pricing.
On the download front, Wayne can also claim a milestone. Yes, Tha Carter IV's first-week digital sales of 362,000 trail Gaga's 662,000, the year's most. But sources told Billboard that Wayne's album set a new iTunes single-week sales record by a wide margin, moving around 345,000 copies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that means Wayne dethroned Watch the Throne -- an album that was only available on iTunes for its four days of release. SoundScan does not share retailer-specific numbers.
The debut capped a solid month for hip-hop album sales. Right behind Tha Carter IV was West Coast rapper Game's The R.E.D. Album, which sold nearly 100,000 copies.
In other Wayne-related developments, Detail -- producer of The Carter IV hit "How to Love" -- told MTV News that Enrique Iglesias plans to record a Spanish cover of the song. "Enrique changed a couple of words to make it work for what he does, and it was a great situation," Detail said. "It was a great opportunity for two worlds to come together."
September 7, 2011
Jeff Tweedy played acoustic versions of two Black Eyed Peas songs and recited the lyrics to another last night at Chicago venue the Hideout, Time Out Chicago reports. Watch him cover "I Gotta Feeling" below.
The leader for Windy City rockers Wilco was appearing at the release party of a new book by Dan Sinker, The Fucking Epic Quest of @MayorEmanuel. During now-Mayor Rahm Emanuel's campaign, Sinker ran an uproarious fake Twitter feed dedicated to the candidate's famously obscene outbursts. As Time Out Chicago observes, @MayorEmanuel posted a series of tweets calling for Tweedy to cover Black Eyed Peas at a campaign event. "People love that shit," the fake Emanuel reasoned.
The mayor of Chicago's profane Twitter alter ego is still fictitious, but Tweedy performing the tunes made famous by Will.i.am, Fergie, and the rest of their pop troupe? That's now very real. Tweedy played acoustic guitar and sang on versions of "I Gotta Feeling" and "Rock That Body." He also gave a spoken-word reading of the lyrics to "My Humps."
"This has been very challenging," Tweedy said at the event. "I really overestimated myself or underestimated the Black Eyed Peas. I honestly have no idea which, but it's really not my skill set."
When Tweedy isn't giving his renditions of pop hits, he's been busy introducing songs from Wilco's upcoming album, The Whole Love, due Sept. 27. An acoustic performance of new song "Dawned on Me" surfaced last month, following folk-pop burst "I Might" earlier this summer.
September 7, 2011
The first time Blink-182 revealed a new song this summer, it had taken eight years. Now the MP3s are arriving as fast and furious as the Southern California band's melodic brand of pop-punk. Blink has unveiled "After Midnight," the latest taste of their fall album, Neighborhoods. Check it out below.
As KROQ reports, Blink posted an online game yesterday that allows winners to download the new song for free, and while their server eventually reportedly ground to a halt, it's now active again. Consequence of Sound also grabbed the MP3.
Blessedly, "After Midnight" has nothing to do with the laid-back J.J. Cale boogie of the same title, made famous in the 1970s by Eric Clapton. Instead, it's a bittersweet midtempo rocker, and the most contemplative of the new songs Blink has unveiled so far. "These nights go on and on," goes the chorus, perfect for bored teenagers shouting outside car windows. Think less "What's My Age Again?," more "Dammit," only mellow enough for a world where Jimmy Eat World already had hits.
In July, Blink returned with "Up All Night," the first new song since their self-titled 2003 album. "Heart's All Gone," which showed a different aspect of the band's style, came not long after. "We've all learned a lot in our respective careers during that eight-year hiatus and it wouldn't be genuine or sincere to not bring it in," guitarist-vocalist Tom DeLonge told SPIN last month. "So I think you hear all of it. If you look at the two songs we've released, everything fits between those two compositions."
Blink are currently on tour with My Chemical Romance, who just switched drummers. Read our review of their tour opener in Holmdel, NJ.
September 7, 2011
PJ Harvey picked up Britain's Barclaycard Mercury Prize last night for her war-torn album Let England Shake. The honor makes Harvey the first two-time winner in the history of the prize, according to Reuters.
Harvey previously won the award in 2001 for her fifth studio album, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. This year she topped a short list of 11 other nominees, including pop siren Adele, post-dubstep poster boy James Blake, grime MC Tinie Tempah, and fellow past Mercury Prize winners Elbow.
During her acceptance speech, Harvey drew a connection between Let England Shake and the attacks of 9/11, which prevented her from traveling to London to receive the award a decade ago. "When I last won I was in Washington, D.C., watching the Pentagon burn from my hotel window," she said, as quoted by London's Independent. "So much has happened since then. I wanted to make something meaningful and to make something that would last."
A panel of musicians and other industry representatives has awarded the Mercury Prize to their choice for the year's best album by a British or Irish artist since 1992. Past winners include the xx, the Arctic Monkeys, and Franz Ferdinand, along with Antony and the Johnsons.
Harvey talked with SPIN earlier this year about the theme of war on Let England Shake. "The way we treat one another as individuals and nations is incredibly distressing," she said. "It prompts anger and despair in me, of course, but I'm still hopeful for the capacity to change. We have to be, don't we?"
September 6, 2011
Atlanta's Criminal Records commemorates its 20th anniversary this week, but there's not much cause for celebration. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, founder and owner Eric Levin plans to shutter the store unless new investors or potential fund-raising efforts emerge to help keep it afloat. Artists who have played in-store shows at the iconic spot include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Gossip, Janelle Monáe, Def Jux's El-P and Mr. Lif, and Deerhunter, among many others; watch their performances below.
As co-founder of Record Store Day, an annual event that drew participation from more than 1,000 stores worldwide this past April in its fourth year, Levin acknowledges the symbolic importance of his decision. But he emphasizes that Criminal is hurting financially for very specific business-related reasons, not because of any failings specific to record stores in general. "We bit off more than we could chew and we got too big," Levin told SPIN.
As the Journal-Constitution story points out, Levin's store in Atlanta's Little Five Points neighborhood sells new and used CDs, vinyl records, comic books, and graphic novels, along with DVDs, magazines, art, candy, and T-shirts. Criminal moved from a 2,500-square-foot location to a 6,000-square-foot store in 2008 -- just in time for the Wall Street meltdown. The relocation reportedly tripled the store's overhead. Weather didn't help; an ice storm this January reportedly cost the store $14,000. Hosting free live music carries its own costs. And Levin's expenses also include offering his employees health insurance.
Criminal isn't going down without a fight. "OK, y'all, please hold off on the RIPs and the farewells," Criminal said via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. "We're not dead and gone yet. We are going to try and #SaveCriminalRecords." Levin mentions that several artists have gotten in touch, offering to help; Manchester Orchestra hopes to release one of their in-store performances as a way to generate revenue for the troubled store. A Facebook page, Save Criminal Records Atlanta, already has more than 2,000 "likes."
In the meantime, Levin has set Nov. 1 for himself as a deadline to "pay the man or leave." Levin told SPIN that while that is the day his first debt payment is due -- "and it's a large one" -- he's looking at ways of making money to keep the store open past that deadline. A liquidation sale is one possibility.
Levin first opened Criminal in what is now a coffee shop, reaping a windfall selling comic books after a nearby comics shop shut its doors. The Journal-Constitution reports that more than 250 subscribers now come to Criminal each week to pick up comics they order through the store. Levin made his first move to a larger space in 2004; he saw his next relocation, in 2008, as only logical. "We were doing everything we were supposed to do -- grow," he told the Atlanta newspaper.
In addition to co-founding Record Store Day, Levin also serves as president of the Alliance of Independent Media Stores. He reportedly opened his first record store, Secret Service, in Florida when he was only 19. After an obscure law led to his arrest by the actual Secret Service, a local television news reporter joked, "What's he going to call it next? 'Criminal Records?'" The name stuck, but now Levin once again finds himself at the mercy of forces that may be beyond his control.
WATCH: The Gossip: "Yr Mangled Heart" (live in 2006 at Criminal Records)
WATCH: Janelle Monáe: "Violet Stars Happy Hunting" (live in 2007 at Criminal Records)
WATCH: Mr. Lif & El-P: "Freestyle" (with RJD2 on turntables; live in 2002 at Criminal Records)
WATCH: Deerhunter: "Hazel Street" (live in 2007 at Criminal Records)
September 6, 2011
In the Britpop '90s, Noel Gallagher was a staunch advocate of New Labour. On Labor Day, while U.S. fans were celebrating a holiday, the former Oasis guitarist and singer was hard at work unveiling another new solo song. Hear "AKA...What a Life" here.
The hypnotic, piano-centered groove-rocker is set to appear on Gallagher's debut solo full-length, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. The album will be available in the U.K. on October 17, with a U.S. release to follow on November 8.
When Gallagher revealed the new album's tracklist, he described "AKA...What a Life" as the first song on the record that features guitar. "There are echoes of Oasis, but there's no guitar until the sixth song," he said of the album at the time.
Meanwhile, Noel's brother Liam Gallagher has been touring with new band Beady Eye. The two led Oasis together for seven albums after forming in 1991, then parted ways two years ago after a fight backstage in Paris. "He'd been acting like an old granny throughout the tour and he felt that I'd been a dick," Liam told SPIN earlier in 2011. "We came to blows and that was the end of it."
Hear It: Noel Gallagher: "AKA...What a Life"
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