The lead singer of The Monkees, Davy Jones, has died. His rep tells TMZ that he died after suffering a heart attack this morning in Florida. Jones was 66. TMZ confirmed Jones’ death with an official from the medical examiner’s office for Martin County, Fla. Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters from previous marriages. Jones joined The Monkees in 1965, with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.
Archive for February, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monkees star Davy Jones dies at age 66
Sex Pistols sign new record deal ahead of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ re-release
Sex Pistols have signed a new record deal ahead of releasing an expanded and repackaged version of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’.
The punk legends have inked a deal with Universal Music Catalogue UK to put out a 35th anniversary edition of their classic 1977 album. Other events and releases, currently under wraps, are being planned throughout the year.
Commenting, frontman Johnny Rotten said: Music can be great, when done by the great. The Sex Pistols are the greatest. Universal now has a trophy room, music is the imitation of nature, the Sex Pistols are nature, so please give generously. Thank you.
Karen Simmonds from the label added: “To be given the opportunity to re-evaluate the Sex Pistols catalogue is every music lover’s dream. We’re looking forward to working with the band and celebrating their impact on worldwide culture.”
Meanwhile, to read an exclusive interview with Rotten, where he reveals the full story behind ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ and this year’s anniversary, pick up the new issue of NME, which is on UK newsstands and available digitally from Wednesday (February 29).
Melvins Roar Back With Two New Releases
The Melvins have always been a busy bunch, issuing new recordings at a rapid pace. The new year will be no different, as a pair of new Melvins releases will hit the streets by summer. March 13th will see the release of an EP, Scion A/V Presents: The Bulls & the Bees (available as a free download via ScionAV.com), and on June 5th Ipecac Records will issue the full-length Freak Puke.
“Scion is with the double drummer [lineup] – Coady [Willis] and Jared [Warren] from Big Business. That’s the normal band that we have,” singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne tells Rolling Stone. “We’ve done three albums with them already, and five live albums.”
“Then we also had done some experimenting, where me and Dale [Crover] would play by ourselves, and we called it Melvins Lite. I played with Trevor Dunn in Fantômas and really liked the way he played bass. I hit upon the idea when I saw him play with Nels Cline, and it struck me that me and Dale should play with him for a Melvins record [Freak Puke], with him playing stand-up bass.”
Both releases will be supported by live dates. Whether with Dunn or the regular lineup, Osborne says, “it’s still the Melvins. I don’t think our fans will be confused by that. They’ve understood that we do pretty much what we want, anyway.”
In addition to his Melvins duties, Osborne supplies guitar for Fantômas. Though the band is on hiatus, he says he’s always game: “I would do whatever Mike [Patton] wants to. But it’s really not my deal. It’s really up to him. Fantômas really isn’t a band – it’s more like us trying to interpret Mike’s music. And bear in mind, Fantômas hasn’t been in the studio since 2003.”
What about collaborating with ex-Nirvana bassist/onetime Melvins roadie Krist Novoselic? “We would love to record with Krist,” says Osborne. “That would be great. I don’t know what is going on with him – I see him and talk to him once in a while, but the ex-Nirvana guys, I really don’t have much to do with. It’s not because I don’t want to. Those guys are busy doing whatever it is they’re doing.”
Despite being rulers of the rock underground for decades at this point, Osborne wouldn’t be opposed to some late-in-the-game fame and fortune. “I’ve always thought that millions of people should love our band,” he says. “I’ve never beavered away trying to be obscure, or perversely trying to make it to where everyone’s part of an exclusive club. That should have been obvious from when we signed with Atlantic in ’93.
“I’m not afraid of fame and fortune, if those sorts of things happen,” he says. “I also know, on the other hand, we’re a hard sell. We’re not a normal, easy-to-fit-into-a-category type of band.”
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Jack White confirms a second summer festival appearance
Jack White has confirmed his second European solo appearance of this summer.
The former White Stripes man will play Belgium’s Rock Werchter festival, which takes place in Rotselaar from June 28 – July 1.
Also confirmed to play at the Belgium event are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Chase and Status, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence And The Machine, Justice, The Cure, Elbow, Snow Patrol, Blink-182, Kasabian, Deadmau5 and Skrillex.
For more information about the event and for full ticket details, visit Rockwerchter.be.
Jack White will release his debut solo album ‘Blunderbuss’ on April 23. The album contains a total of 13 tracks and will be released through Third Man Records/XL. White will be appearing on US comedy show Saturday Night Live on March 3 to play tracks off the record.
Prior to his appearance at Rock Werchter, White will play a series of live shows in March in the United States. He is also confirmed to appear at Radio 1′s Hackney Weekend on June 23-24, alongside Lana Del Rey and The Maccabees.
Hear Arctic Monkeys’ brand new single ‘R U Mine?’ now
Arctic Monkeys have debuted their brand new single ‘R U Mine?’ online, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to hear the track.
The track, which does not feature on the band’s 2011 fourth album ‘Suck It And See’, was posted online in the early hours of this morning (February 27). It will be released as a single on March 2.
The band had previously said that they were planning to release “a new tune” before they undertake a lengthy stint across the USA and Canada as support to The Black Keys on their US arena tour.
The Sheffield band have also released a video for ‘R U Mine?’, which features them driving through the streets while the track is given its radio debut on California station KROQ.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Bon Iver – Towers (Official Music Video)
Nabil Elderkin, the filmmaker responsible for Bon Iver’s epic “Holocene” video, directed the third video for Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Today “Towers” premiered at Vimeo:
When Justin sent me a breakdown of what certain parts/lines of the song meant to him I did my best to decode it and curate into something simple, and hopefully the viewer can take from it their own feeling of what the towers represent. It was shot up in Washington state, mostly on Indian-preserved land, and our actor’s name was Mystic. He seemed to be very tuned into the land, and when he said he was also willing to fall into the freezing cold ocean up there (seems a bit sharky too), I knew he was my guy.
JOHN PEEL’S RECORD COLLECTION WILL BE A DIGITAL MUSEUM…
Ever wished John Peel’s record collection was yours? Well, soon it will be.
Peel’s collection is being made available to the general public, in the form of an “interactive online museum” [via NME].
The collection is understood to comprise around 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and “many thousands” of CDs. It’s going to be represented online as part of The Space, a new “experimental digital service” managed and largely funded by the Arts Council, with support from the BBC.
Tom Barker, Director of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, comments: “It is the first step in creating an interactive online museum with access to the entire collection, one of the most important archives in modern music history.”
Frank Prendergast of Eye Film And Television adds: “The idea is to digitally recreate John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, while viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians.”
“We’re very happy that we’ve finally found a way to make John’s amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted,” says Peel’s widow, Sheila Ravenscroft. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting.”
Precisely how this “interactive online museum” will work, and what users will actually be able to do with it, are ambiguous at present. What is known is that The Space will be live over the period May-October 2012, across various platforms – including PCs, smartphones and digital freeview TV. The project is receiving up to £3.5m of funding from Arts Council England.
The End Of CDs: Russian Retailer Latest To Take Music Off Shelves
It’s not just in western markets that content sales are moving rapidly from physical to digital. One of Russia’s largest electronics retailers says it will stop selling music CDs from mid-March.
M.Video says music CD sales fell by 3.5 times in the last two years.
“Discs with video and software are still on sale but, in the next two years, the retailer wants to transfer the sale of all media products on to the internet,” Vedomosti reports. “It will sell music, software and movies through the online store, not physical media.”
Content is not M.Video’s main business as much as home electronics goods. That diversity at least stands it in good stead.
Just as in publishing and other sectors, the drop-off in physical sales is becoming so pronounced that many publishers and retailers are deciding simply to get out of the physical game and to seek a more viable digital alternative.
Tower Records, Virgin Megastore and Zavvi are amongst those whose bricks and mortar have crumbled. HMV (LSE: HMV), on which labels depend for much of the UK sales which still make up the lion’s share of music revenue, was rescued from a default last month only because those labels wrote off debt by taking equity in the company.
Russian recorded music sales fell by 46 percent between 2006 and 2011, and physical sales fell by 35 percent in 2010 alone, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. But the country’s online population is booming.
As Livenation Labs emerging technology SVP Ethan Kaplan (a former Warner Bros. Records technology executive) says: “When people talk about ‘saving’ the music business, they’re talking about saving a business that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s gone. Selling records in to stores, that’s not a sustainable business.”
Music strategist Mark Mulligan told an industry event in London on Thursday: “If HMV disappeared off our high street, about half the music market could disappear overnight.”
M.Video online sales rose 90 percent through 2011, pushing company sales up 30 percent.
Friday, February 24, 2012
ATP ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR THIS YEAR’S I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR IN ASBURY PARK, CURATED BY GREG DULLI…
The Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli will be curating this year’s iteration of All Tomorrow’s Parties’ I’ll Be Your Mirror in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Yes, the movie room and the poker room will be making another appearance.
Chosen by Greg Dulli:
THE AFGHAN WHIGS
MARK LANEGAN BAND
THE DIRTBOMBS performing Ultraglide In Black
SHARON VAN ETTEN
QUINTRON AND MISS PUSSYCAT
CHARLES BRADLEY AND THE EXTRAORDINAIRES
+ more to be confirmed
Chosen by ATP:
(reforming for IBYM)
THE MAGIC BAND
THEE OH SEES
I BREAK HORSES
+ more to be confirmed
Thursday, February 23, 2012
No New At the Drive-In Music, Sorry
This At the Drive-In station is now operational… sort of. In recent interviews, guitarist Omar Rodriguez-López has explained that the newly-revived ATDI will not record any new music, and that the reunion is mostly about nostalgia and money. Three cheers for honesty.
“We’re not getting any younger and there’s been an offer of money every year,” he told NME. “You’d be a fool and a politician to pretend that wasn’t part of it.”
“Will there be a new album? No, no, no. At the Drive-In is more of a nostalgia thing– it’s songs we wrote when we were all in our 20s and we’re doing a couple of shows”, Rodriguez-López told Kerrang (via NME).
Some more gems of candor from Rodriguez-López: “Obviously [the reunion] is going to be weird. It’s like getting back with your ex-wife, only in this case there are four ex-wives!”, he said in the NME interview.
In addition to their previously announced sets at Coachella, At the Drive-In have also announced a performance at the Benicassim festival in Spain on July 12.
Watch the music video for At the Drive-In’s “One Armed Scissor”, below:
Sleigh Bells: Reign of Terror (Album Review)
Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells caused a joyful ruckus in 2010 with Treats, a startling debut that crashed Derek Miller’s monster riffs into Alexis Krauss’s girly cooing. Having lost the shock of the new, this more tuneful follow-up privileges Krauss’s pop instincts over Miller’s mayhem. They’ve managed the difficult trick of evolving a gonzoid sound, as the sultry, Pixies-ish ”Road To Hell” attests. “Never Say Die”, meanwhile, opts for insistent baroque pop. Having managed their anger, Reign of Terror feels misnamed. “Demons” and “True Shred Guitar” – the least adulterated tracks – are the standouts here, recalling the lurid fun of their debut. Sophomore slump? not quite, but certainly not the follow up we were hoping for.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Gorillaz – “DoYaThang” (Feat. James Murphy & Andre 3000)
“DoYaThing,” the previously-announced blockbuster collaboration from the Gorillaz, James Murphy, and Andre 3000 is now online in radio-rip form, and we’ve got it streaming below. As promised, Damon Albarn quasi-raps a couple of verses before Andre jumps onto the track and generally rips him to shreds. Also, Murphy sings the chorus in a weirdly squeaky voice. Listen to the whole gleaming trainwreck below. “DoYaThing” will be available as a download via the Converse website from tomorrow but below you can check out a radio rip of the track that aired this afternoon.
Jack White Shares Art, Tracklist For His Solo Album
Jack White’s inaugural solo album Blunderbuss is out April 24 on Third Man Records/Columbia. Leading up to his “Saturday Night Live” performance on March 3, he’s shared the album’s (very, very emo) art, along with the tracklist. Find that below.
01 Missing Pieces
02 Sixteen Saltines
03 Freedom at 21
04 Love Interruption
06 Hypocritical Kiss
07 Weep Themselves to Sleep
08 I’m Shakin’
09 Trash Tongue Talker
10 Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
11 I Guess I Should Go to Sleep
12 On And On And On
13 Take Me With You When You Go
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Strangers Are Strange” Video
Never strangers to an odd video concept, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new clip for “Strangers Are Strange” involves a highly-stylized, excessively amateur stakeout. Watch the Sam Kristofski-directed clip down below.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Alabama Shakes: “Heavy Chevy”
Now with a television debut and Third Man live single adding space dust to their meteoric rise, Alabama Shakes are hitting the road to do what they do best: stir up and settle down souls in person. A dozen stateside tour dates were added to the spring jaunt today while the Shakes have also shared Boys & Girls bonus cut “Heavy Chevy,” a fine doubleshot of rockabilly espresso ready to cure any listless afternoon. Stream/download the track below alongside lead single “Hold On.”
Santigold – Disparate Youth [Animated Video]
Santigold has unveiled the video for her new track ‘Disparate Youth’ – taken from upcoming album ‘Master Of My Make-Believe’.
Santigold has always had a visual element, with her shows combining flash dancing, outrageous fashion and slick dance moves. So when a new video from the Brooklyn singer emerges online we posted it right away. Hope you enjoy it.
MICHIGAN MAN BURNS A JERSEY FLAG IN PROTEST OVER WHITNEY’S HALF-MASTS…
A Michigan man whose son was killed while on patrol in Iraq in 2005 burned the New Jersey flag on his outdoor grill in protest after learning flags in that state were ordered flown at half-staff for the death of Whitney Houston.
John Burri said lowering of flags should be for those who have given their lives for their country.
“It was a slap in the face. It cheapens the meaning of lowering that flag,” said Burri, 60. “They’re watering down the meaning of a hero.”
Burri traveled to Flags Unlimited in nearby Grand Rapids and bought a New Jersey flag — just so he could burn it.
“It was $12.95 and it was the best money I ever spent,” he said.
While the move might spark patriotic furor, it isn’t illegal.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has decided in a few cases that the burning of the flag of the United States is, although offensive to many, still considered constitutionally protected speech, and therefore those decisions would apply to the burning of a flag of any given state,” said Larry Dubin, a University of Detroit Mercy law professor.
Burri slammed the flag in his trunk and drove it home, but first he passed through a veterans memorial park in Wyoming, where there’s a brick with his son’s name on it in his honor.
“I didn’t do this to offend the people of New Jersey,” he said. “If I did and you’re offended, I’m sorry. But I did this because it was wrong and it was to show the governor (of New Jersey) how wrong this was.”
His son, Army Spc. Eric T. Burri, died June 7, 2005, while on duty in Iraq. Burri, 21 of Wyoming, south of Grand Rapids, was killed when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Baghdad.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered flags to be lowered on June 15, 2005, for one day in honor of his service.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was criticized for his decision to order flags to be flown at half-staff. In published reports on Wednesday, he defended his decision.
Christie said Houston was a “cultural icon” who was a source of pride to New Jersey residents.
Granholm absorbed criticism of her own in 2003 after she decreed that flags be lowered for every Michigan soldier killed in the line of duty. Defenders of the U.S. Flag Code said she went too far. The national flag code, adopted in 1942, says the flag shall be flown at half-staff by order of the president ” … upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory.”
According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website, the flag should be flown at half-staff when directed by the president or the governor.
President George W. Bush in 2007 signed into a law a bill named after a Michigan soldier killed in Iraq that requires federal facilities to observe a governor’s decree for flags to be flown at half-staff to honor slain soldiers.
The bill was named after Army Spc. Joseph P. Micks, a 22-year-old Rapid River man killed July 8, 2006, in Ar Ramadi after an explosive device went off near his vehicle during combat operations.
Then-U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, said he learned of “uneven respect” in areas of the state when it came to lowering flags by a governor’s decree. The legislation would “ensure consistency in how we honor fallen heroes,” Stupak said in 2007. (via the Detroit News)
Debbie Harry, Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan Join Gun Club Tribute
Nick Cave, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan and more will appear on a tribute to late Gun Club frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
The Gun Club were a dark outlaw blues band from Los Angeles, led by the flamboyant frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
He was the former head of the Blondie fan club, and the band signed to Chris Stein’s record label in the early-’80s and ended up sharing members with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Cure, and Roxy Music throughout a tumultuous career.
Pierce died young, suffering a stroke and brain hemorrhage in 1996 at the age of 37.
While The Gun Club never hit the popular heights of their contemporaries, numerous stars cite The Gun Club as an influence, including Jack White, The Pixies, The Horrors and The Screaming Trees.
The forthcoming album The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project – The Journey is Long sees fans and friends interpret, and in some cases complete, unreleased songs by Pierce.
Nick Cave and Debbie Harry duet on ‘The Breaking Hands’, Tex Perkins and Lydia Lunch on ‘In My Room’, and Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell on ‘The Breaking Hands’.
Other artists to contribute include Hugo Race, Jim Jones Revue, Mick Harvey, Warren Ellis and Barry Adamson.
The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project – The Journey is Long will be released on April 9.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, dies at 68
Michael Davis, the bassist of influential late 1960s rock band MC5, has died of liver failure, his wife said Saturday. He was 68.
Davis died at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif., on Friday afternoon after a month-long hospitalization for liver disease, said Angela Davis. Born on June 5, 1943, the bassist gained attention in the revolutionary Detroit band MC5 and later played in a version of the group called DKT-MC5 with former MC5 members Wayne Kramer on guitar and Dennis Thompson on drums.
The original MC5 rose to prominence from 1964 to 1972, making waves with incendiary anti-establishment lyrics and a blistering early-punk sound, starting with their first album Kick Out the Jams, released in 1969.
A sought-after bassist and also producer, Davis was planning to be in Belgium this week recording with punk rock musician Sonny Vincent, said Davis’ wife. Davis had a scare in 2006 when he injured his back in a motorcycle accident on a Southern California freeway. He later co-founded the non-profit Music Is Revolution Foundation, dedicated to supporting music education programs in public schools.
In the last few years, Davis also returned to a love of painting, fostered when he first studied fine arts at Wayne State University in Michigan. He dropped out of the program in 1964 to play music, but started studying art again recently in Oregon and California, with the intention of finishing his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons, and a daughter from a previous marriage. Memorial plans were pending, said Angela Davis.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
DAVE GROHL RESPONDS TO HIS PERCEIVED ‘HATE’ FOR DIGITAL MUSIC…
Via a press release, Dave Grohl’s statement addressing his rip on digital music when accepting his Grammy award for something-or-other:
Oh, what a night we had last Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The glitz! The Glamour! SEACREST! Where do I begin?? Chillin’ with Lil’ Wayne…meeting Cyndi Lauper’s adorable mother…the complimentary blinking Coldplay bracelet…..much too much to recap. It’s really is still a bit of a blur. But, if there’s one thing that I remember VERY clearly, it was accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Performance…and then saying this:
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do… It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”
Not the Gettysburg Address, but hey…I’m a drummer, remember?
Well, me and my big mouth. Never has a 33 second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil’ ode to analog recording has. OK….maybe Kanye has me on this one, but….Imma let you finish….just wanted to clarify something…
I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5…..I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and…..human.
That’s exactly what I was referring to. The “human element”. That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became “bad” things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily “fixed”. The end result? I my humble opinion…..a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.
And, unfortunately, some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell…I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really fucking hard so that I don’t have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that’s what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.
I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the “craft” is equally as important, I’m sure. I mean…..if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)
So, don’t give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2 inch tape.
Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
KRAFTWERK PLANS EIGHT-SHOW CAREER RETROSPECTIVE AT THE MOMA…
Kraftwerk will give a series of eight performances, each devoted to one of its albums, as part of a Museum of Modern Art retrospective of the electronic music pioneers in April, museum officials said. The performances during “Kraftwerk-Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8,” on consecutive evenings starting April 10, will not only feature tracks from one of Kraftwerk’s albums, but also other original compositions intended to showcase the group’s influence on contemporary culture. Projected images, including 3-D ones, will accompany the music.
—New York heads are exploding right now. From ArtsBeat.
Band of Skulls- Sweet Sour (Album Review)
At the end of the day, there’s an unadulterated titillation at the core of rock and roll to which we will inevitably return. Yes, there’s solace and satisfaction to be found in the triumphant spirit of chamber pop and the soul-bearing ruminations of folk, but it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves once again held captive by the seductive charm of monstrous guitar riffs, percolating verses, and placating choruses. Nirvana and the Pixies famously championed the formula more than 20 years ago, and Jack White has become its most recent ambassador as the efficacious mastermind behind the White Stripes, Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather.
Here in 2012, no-frills, guileless rock music is once again basking in the limelight; the Kills enjoyed a taste of fame thanks to Alison Mosshart’s supergroup collaborations with White, and the Black Keys are storming SNL and talking trash about perennially reviled arena act Nickelback in the pages of Rolling Stone. It is in this extraordinary moment that we find English blues-rock act Band of Skulls jockeying for position at the apogee of all the distortion pedals and stacked amplifiers. The Southampton trio rode an unprecedented wave of hype to ubiquity some three years ago, as numerous cuts from their debut LP materialized in the unlikeliest of places, including the Twilight soundtrack and Friday Night Lights. Gritty tracks like “I Know What I Am” and “Hollywood Bowl” exuded a palpable swagger, rife with riffage, vocal hooks, and seismic grooves. It might’ve been formulaic, but it still felt somehow deliciously rebellious.
Out to conquer the infamous and aggrandized sophomore follow-up, Band of Skulls purportedly toiled under contentious working conditions to bring us the songs that comprise Sweet Sour. The album’s genesis may have been an irksome affair, but the results readily adhere to the pleasure principal with a calculated fusion of burnished alt-rock stompers and atmospheric ballads. Russel Marsden and Emma Richardson sing in sublime harmony, Matt Hayward’s drums bellow like Bonzo’s, and the guitars snarl and snap with anticipatory catharsis. It’s an irrefutable example of boilerplate rock and roll, and it feels completely awesome.
Certainly, it’s Mr. Seven Nation Army who casts the largest shadow over Sweet Sour. The titular track that gets things underway proffers a slinky, sultry blues-rock milieu that should be familiar to anyone who has Horehound or Sea of Cowards in their library. The production is that of any radio friendly unit shifter, with earworm melodies that get buried in your subconscious (“You’re sour by the minute but you’re sweeter by the hour”) and fiery guitar leads that could’ve been copped from an AC/DC record. Lead single “The Devil Takes Care of His Own” sets itself on a similar orbit, a propulsive fusion of towering drum fills and chugging guitar rhythms.
To their credit, the band doesn’t allow Sweet Sour to become a turgid affair of incessant midtempo rocking; “Bruises” sports sparking verses of acoustic guitar strums and harmonized vocals that come shockingly close to radio pop music, while “Wanderlust” rides a taut 7/8 drumbeat that finds Band of Skulls allaying duple meter temptations with considerable finesse.
The most notable shift in direction occurs on the album’s second side, where 3 of the 5 tracks eschew the fuzzy bluster of previous songs to indulge a more hypnotic and meditative sound. “Hometowns” speaks volumes about the unsettling suburban drama of going back to where you grew up (“All your loved ones / gather round you / to see what you have become”), even though the accompanying toe-tapping percussion and cooed vocals seem as if they were meant to assuage in the manner of a lullaby. “Close to Nowhere” is the quintessential slowburner, an expansive amalgam of hushed voices, chiming guitar chords, and minimalist percussion.
The vanguard spirit that’s present in the heavier moments of Sweet Sour shouldn’t be mistaken for ingenuity; it’s just the reactionary satisfaction that comes with turning the volume up when you’ve got a bone to pick. It’s the same kind of riposte that first encouraged rock’s evolution some 50 years ago, and while Band of Skulls may fail to replicate the zeal of the genre’s forbears on Sweet Sour, they make up for it with a calculated demonstration of its universal and timeless appeal.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
JOY DIVISION AND NEW ORDER MASTERS DISCOVERED IN ABANDONED LOCK BOXES BENEATH JAMIE OLIVER’S NEW RESTAURANT…
Jamie Oliver made a bank-busting find recently when builders renovating his latest restaurant found treasures worth £1.1m in the basement.
The celebrity chef has converted an old Midland bank in Manchester and in the process workmen found hundreds of safety deposit boxes dating back to 1935.
Despite efforts from the Bank of England, the owners of the boxes could not be traced and so bank bosses used drills to bust them open – and uncovered gold, sparkling jewellery and valuable master tapes of Salford bands New Order and Joy Division.
Speaking to The Sun, a source said: “There was all sorts in the boxes – even a gun in one.”
Jamie’s posh new restaurant spans three floors of the old bank building and covers the basement vault room, the main banking hall on the ground floor and the mezzanines antechambers in the old clerks’ offices.
Talking about the new restaurant recently, Jamie said: “The Manchester restaurant is going to be one of the jewels in the Jamie’s Italian crown. It’s a fantastic building in a vibrant, exciting city and I know the people of Manchester are going to love it.”
The new restaurant, which opens on Tuesday, is located next door to Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand’s Italian eaterie Rosso.
Speaking about his new diner being on the same street as Rio, Jamie told The Sun: “I haven’t had the chance to eat in his restaurant yet. But I know this is his ‘hood.
“I don’t know if we’re competition. Our pricing is very different and probably our clientele will be different too.”
Guns N’ Roses’ classic line-up set to reunite for Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction
The classic line up of Guns N’ Roses will reunite to attend their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April.
The band will be inducted along with the Faces/Small Faces, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beastie Boys at a ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 14 and keyboardist Dizzy Reed has said that all those who contributed to the band’s seminal album ‘Appetite For Destruction’ will be there.
Speaking to Billboard, Reed, who joined the band in 1990 and remains in the line-up to this day, said when asked who would be attending the ceremony: “I know that all the original band is going to be there. I don’t know exactly what’s going to go down. It’s one of those things I’m sure will all come together and be really cool.”
Reed added though that no talks had taken place about the band’s classic line-up actually playing together on the night and that he and frontman Axl Rose had not contacted former members Slash, Duff MacKagan or Steven Adler about the possibility of performing together at the ceremony.
He said of this: “Honestly, we haven’t spoken about it. I don’t know when or why or how to bring it up. It’s not an every day sort of thing. So we haven’t really talked about it, but I’m sure we’ll have to at some point.”
Reed also said that he thought the band’s current line-up would continue to work on new material after they complete a planned summer tour of Europe.
He said of this: “There are some clamoring and rumours that we might be getting some material together here after we do this run, so we’ll see what happens. There was so much material that didn’t make it onto ‘Chinese Democracy’. From what I remember there were a lot of really cool songs; I can only hope that some of that stuff does resurface and get worked out.”
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
JACK WHITE “LOVE INTERRUPTION” (Music Video)
Jack White’s self-directed video for “Love Interruption,” from his upcoming debut album Blunderbuss, out April 24 on Third Man Records/Columbia, will premiere at VEVO.com at 11:30 a.m. EST on February 14. As on the single, the “Love Interruption” video features back-up vocalist Ruby Amanfu, clarinet/bass clarinet player Emily Bowland, and Brooke Waggoner on wurlitzer electric piano.
“Love Interruption” was originally made available January 30 as a free stream at www.jackwhiteIII.com and went on sale digitally the same day via iTunes (http://www.smarturl.it/jwli). A vinyl version of the “Love Interruption” single featuring exclusive non-LP B-side “Machine Gun Silhouette” was released February 7 on Third Man Records. Third Man Records has also produced 300 limited edition Tri-Color vinyl 45s of the single and will be selling 100 copies at their Nashville storefront and select independent record stores on Feb 14th. Additionally, 50 copies of the Tri Color 7″s will be inserted into random mail orders through www.jackwhiteIII.com and www.thirdmanrecords.com.
In addition to his previously announced appearances at the Hangout Music Fest, Sasquatch! and Radio 1 Hackney Weekend, Jack is pleased to announce his first ever headline shows:
March 10th: Track 29 in Chattanooga, TN
March 12th: WorkPlay Soundstage in Birmingham, AL
March 13th: New Daisy Theatre in Memphis, TN
March 15th: Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, OK
A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available to Vault members (link to http://modlife.com/thirdmanrecords/signup) starting Wednesday at 12 pm CST. Tickets go on sale to the public at 12 pm CST on Friday, February 17th.
For additional dates, further information, etc. continue to check back at www.jackwhiteIII.com and www.thirdmanrecords.com.
Stream Sleigh Bells’ Reign of Terror
The new record from Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror, is out February 21 via Mom + Pop. The entire record is now streaming at The New York Times’ website.
As previously reported, Sleigh Bells will perform on “Saturday Night Live” on February 18. Stream the record here
Monday, February 13, 2012
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Niggas In Paris (Music Video)
On their Watch The Throne tour last year, Jay-Z and Kanye West became notorious for performing their triumphant banger “Niggas In Paris” over and over, as many as 10 times. Now one of last year’s greatest singles finally has a video, and it centers almost entirely around those live shows, with Jay and Kanye rocking a huge crowd that seems to mostly consist of models. The quick edits and laser-lights are so relentless that the video comes with an epilepsy warning, and the repeated use of lion-roars is just awesome. Watch it below.
(Video requires Flash)
Jay Reatard Documentary Better Than Something Gets First Theatrical Run
After a solid run through the festival circuit in 2011, the Jay Reatard documentary Better Than Something has announced its first official string of screenings throughout the U.S. It premiers Friday, March 2 in Brooklyn, Memphis, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.
Directors Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz captured the late punk icon in his native Memphis just months before his tragic and unexpected passing in 2009. The film mixes interviews and concert footage with cinéma vérité.
Watch the trailer after the dates:
03-02 – 03-08 Brooklyn, NY – Nitehawk Cinema
03-02 – 03-08 Memphis, TN – Malco Studio on the Square
03-02 – 03-08 Seattle, WA – Grand Illusion Cinema
03-02 – 03-08 Portland, OR – Clinton Street Theater
03-03 – 03-05 Phoenix, AZ – FilmBar
03-08 – 03-11 Los Angeles, CA – Egyptian Theatre at the American Cinematheque
03-09- 03-10 Bellingham, WA – Pickford Film Center
03-15 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center for the Arts
03-26 Austin, TX – Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
04-11 – 04-12 San Francisco, CA – Roxie Theater
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Andre 3000, Gorillaz, LCD’s James Murphy Team Up for Converse Track
As part of Converse Inc.’s continuing “Three Artists. One Song” campaign, Gorillaz, former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and Outkast rapper Andre 3000 have teamed up for an original track. “DoYaThing” will be released on Feb. 23, along with a new Gorillaz footwear collection designed by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett for Converse.
The Gorillaz partnership with Converse, which was initially announced last November, marks Murphy’s return as a vocalist after LCD Soundsystem officially disbanded last April, as well as Andre 3000′s latest feature after providing recent guest spots for Drake, Ke$ha and B.o.B. “DoYaThing” will be available as a free download on Converse’s official website.
“It was literally akin to a bunch of kids playing with toys until someone else said, ‘Ooh! I like that bit!’” Murphy talked about the process of piecing “DoYaThing” together with Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn and Andre 3000. “Writing the lyrics was the funniest part… one person would be mumble-singing something and another would overhear him and ask, ‘Oh… did you just sing…’ I don’t know… some crazy words that weren’t at ALL what the guy was singing, and those new, misunderstood words could become the hook for a verse. I loved that about it.”
Previous artistic collaborations produced from Converse’s “Three Artists. One Song” campaign include Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy and Andrew W.K. teaming up for “I’m A Goner,” and the Santigold/Pharrell/Julian Casablancas cut “My Drive Thru.”
Gorillaz Sound System, an audio-visual performance built around live DJs and the Gorillaz discography, will celebrate the Converse collaboration with a show at London’s 100 Club on Feb. 15. Meanwhile, the collection of Chuck Taylor All Star shoes featuring the four Gorillaz-inspired designs will be available at Journeys, premium retail stores and at Converse’s official site on Feb. 23.
MCCARTNEY PULLED HIS MUSIC FROM THE STREAMING SERVICES…
Like Coldplay and The Black Keys before him, but going a step further than both, Paul McCartney is opting out of all the popular music streaming services. From Digital Music News:
Paul McCartney is now pulling both solo and Wings content from Spotify and other streaming services, according to details shared by sources Tuesday evening. Specifically, the takedown is coming from Concord Records, though other McCartney releases also appear unavailable. In fact, a search this evening produced just a handful of McCartney songs, outside of covers, modified instrumentals and other variations…
These releases are being pulled not just from Spotify, but from all streaming services, at least in the US. That lists includes Rhapsody, MOG, and Rdio. Additionally, sources involved in the pulldown have also confirmed that these albums will remain available for download, at locations like the iTunes Store and AmazonMP3.
Sleigh Bells Will Appear on “Saturday Night Live”
Sleigh Bells have been announced as the musical guests on the February 18 episode of “Saturday Night Live”. They’ll play “Comeback Kid” and the album track “End of the Line”, both from the forthcoming album Reign of Terror, out February 21 via Mom+Pop. Maya Rudolph will host the episode.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Alabama Shakes- Live on Conan
Making their national television debut on Conan O’Brien’s late night TBS talk show “Conan,” Alabama Shakes (from Athens, Ala.) played one track that aired Tuesday night and one exclusively for the show’s website.
The track that appeared on the air was their popular “Hold On,” one of their many songs that has gained attention online thanks to social media and YouTube.
The web exclusive track, also performed in O’Brien’s Los Angeles studio, is called “I Ain’t the Same.”
After their soulful debut, O’Brien walked over to shake the hands of lead singer Brittany Howard and her band mates and said, “That was fantastic!”
Mark Lanegan Band, Blues Funeral (Album Review)
Undoubtedly, the crowning culmination of Mark Lanegan’s life’s work, the darkly majestic Blues Funeral offers further evidence that, for an addict, there is never any freedom from addiction.
Though apparently now clean of his former heroin habit, Lanegan’s songs here positively writhe with the lingering twitch of druggy desire, lyrically reflected in varying degrees of metaphorical imagery, from the relatively direct (“Lost on a violent sea/Gone for endless days”) to the more elliptical, but still fairly obvious (“The moon don’t smile on Saturday’s child lying still in Elysian fields/ I don’t know what the doctor he did, now I’m all day long with my body in bed”). It’s been a constant theme throughout Lanegan’s career, but this time it’s found its most appropriate and satisfying setting, in the warm, enveloping arrangements created for the songs by Alain Johannes, with textured layers of synths, Mellotron and guitars swirling miasmically about Lanegan’s smoky baritone.
Track after track finds the singer crippled with boredom, contemplating the miserable passage of days. In “Gray Goes Black”, the bustling krautrock motorik evokes the inner restlessness as he confronts the stasis of the soul, “so insect I’m in amber”. It’s a torment likewise haunting “Leviathan”, where “the hours crawl by like a spider/ hangman is following me”. The wan, disjointed organ solo is like to a cork bobbing on the ocean, unable to control its course, and when the closing coda of “everyday a prayer for what I never know” comes cascading in round-style layers of harmony, it feels like a supportive twelve-step anthem to which he’s desperately clinging.
Musically, it’s the most accomplished of Lanegan’s albums. “The Gravedigger’s Song” opens proceedings with a lumbering but limber groove that evokes the galloping menace of apocalyptic horsemen, and Josh Homme helps bring a Gun Club flavour to the predatory fuzz-guitar groove and strident lead line of “Riot in My House”. Heavier still is “Quiver Syndrome”, with harsh, strident guitar chording over a thunderous caterpillar-track beat. At the other extreme, the classic blues flood motif of “Bleeding Muddy Water” is set to an oozing, sticky blend of shivering guitar and trembling keyboard.
“St Louis Elegy” features a similarly dark, throbbing undertow of low frequencies, with the slow shuffle of drum-machine like manacles on the soul as a fretful, earthbound Lanegan contemplates death from the skies. Comparative light relief comes in the centre of the album, with “Ode to Sad Disco” recalling Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” – if that could be considered “light” – and the lovely, fatalistic melody of “Phantasmagoria Blues” floating on an oceanic miasma stippled with prickly percussion, a formula triumphantly reprised with added Mellotron and reversed guitars for the concluding “Tiny Grain of Truth”. Taken as a whole, it’s a marvellous piece of work, boasting a rare congruence between lyrical themes and musical evocations, and fronted by one of the most broodingly characterful voices in rock music. (Andy Gill-UK)
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN REUNITE AFTER FIVE YEARS AWAY, HEAD TO TEXAS…
… reuniting for their first performance in five years, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Formed by brothers Jim and William Reid, The Jesus and Mary Chain have blazed through trends in pop music since the release of their seminal debut Psychocandy in 1985. Wristbands for the festival, happening in the heart of Denton, TX March 8–11, are $50 for another 50 hours. This is your last chance at this price!
SONIC YOUTH’S KIM GORDON IS WORKING WITH FRENCH FASHION LABEL SURFACE TO AIR…
The New York Times has a profile of Gordon’s collaboration with Surface to Air (they make medium-expensive, skinny clothing):
Kim Gordon, a woman who spent the last 30 years crisscrossing the country in a tour bus as the bassist for Sonic Youth, wanted the capsule collection that she designed with the French brand Surface to Air to do two very specific things — mix and match, and fit in the overhead compartment of a bus…
Sonic Youth’s front woman and iconic 90′s heroine, Kim Gordon is no stranger to fashion design. In the early 90′s, Gordon (along with Daisy von Furth) started sister company to Beastie Boys’ X-Large streetwear label, X-girl (modeled by Sofia Coppola and Chloë Sevigny). X-girl became the official uniform of hip NY girls, from Zoe Cassavetes to Ione Skye, and if you weren’t all about it, you were not cool…
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
David Lee Roth interviews Alex and Eddie Van Halen
Watch Wilco on “Austin City Limits”
This weekend’s episode of the PBS program “Austin City Limits” featured a performance by Wilco, which included a mix of songs from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Being There, Wilco (The Album), and 2011′s The Whole Love. Jeff Tweedy said it was Wilco’s fourth appearance on “ACL”.
The band was also joined (at the 46:30 mark) by Nick Lowe, “one of [Wilco's] favorite songwriters of all time,” for a performance of “Cruel to be Kind”. Lowe and Wilco did “Cruel to Be Kind” together on Wilco’s recent iTunes session.
Watch the show, followed by a brief interview:
Video: The Black Keys: “Gold on the Ceiling”
The Black Keys premiered a new video for their El Camino track “Gold on the Ceiling” last night on MTV. Directed by Reid Long, the clip opens with street scenes shot in Downtown Manhattan, and features footage of their massive and rapturous crowds, as well as a few choice on-the-road moments.
Monday, February 6, 2012
THE SHINS: U.S. HEADLINE DATES CONFIRMED
The Shins have confirmed another leg of U.S. headline dates in support of the band’s upcoming fourth album Port Of Morrow, out March 20 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia.
Port Of Morrow is currently available for pre-order and its release has been preceded by first single “Simple Song,” out now and hailed in a 4-star ROLLING STONE single review as “magnificent” with “an ascending melody (that) will trail you like a double-espresso buzz.”
As a very special pre-tour present to their beloved fans, The Shins are offering a free stream of “September,” the B-Side to their current smash single “Simple Song,” as a free stream with accompanying custom made visuals inspired by and drawing upon Jacob Escobedo’s artwork for Port Of Morrow.
U.S. HEADLINE DATES 2012
4/13/12 LAS VEGAS, NV — COSMOPOLITAN– THE POOL
4/22/12 SANTA CRUZ, CA — CIVIC AUDITORIUM
4/23/12 DAVIS, CA — ROBERT MONDAVI CENTER
4/25/12 RENO, NV — GRAND SIERRA RESORT & CASINO
05/25/12 BEND, OR – LES SCHWAB AMPHITHEATRE
05/28/12 SALT LAKE CITY, UT – RED BUTTE GARDEN AMPHITHEATER
05/29/12 MORRISON, CO – RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
05/31/12 COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – HARRAHS COUNCIL BLUFFS
06/04/12 ST LOUIS, MO – THE PAGEANT
06/05/12 COLUMBUS, OH – LC INDOOR PAVILION
06/06/12 DETROIT, MI – FILLMORE DETROIT
06/08/12 CLEVELAND, OH – MASONIC AUDITORIUM
06/09/12 LOUISVILLE, KY – IROQUOIS AMPHITHEATRE
M.I.A.’S FINGER WON THE SUPER BOWL…
In front of some 110 million viewers on NBC and uncounted others online, she flipped the bird and appeared to sing, “I don’t give a (expletive)” at one point, though it was hard to hear her clearly…
“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, which produced Madonna’s halftime show…
“The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. ”
Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers”…
The best guest was clearly Cee Lo…
TONY, OZZY, AND GEEZER TO CONTINUE BLACK SABBATH REUNION WITHOUT DRUMMER BILL WARD…
Looks like a bluff may soon be called? Rolling Stone points to this Facebook message from the three ‘remaining’ members of Sabbath…
We were saddened to hear yesterday via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current Black Sabbath plans…we have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open… We are still in the UK with Tony. Writing and recording the new album and on a roll… See you at Download!!!
- Tony, Ozzy and Geezer
Yesterday, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward posted this statement to his website:
Dear Sabbath Fans, Fellow Musicians and Interested Parties,
At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a “signable” contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the L.A. press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another “unsignable” contract was handed to me.
Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath.
Since the news of Tony’s illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the U.K., I’ve spent everyday getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave. That involves something of a task, and as I’ve tried to find out what’s going on with the U.K. sessions, I’ve realized that I’ve been getting “the cold shoulder” (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracized, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what’shappening unless I sign “the unsignable contract.”
The place I’m in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician. I believe in freedom and freedom of speech. I grew up in a hard rock/metal band. We stood for something then, and we played from the heart with honesty and sincerity. I am in the spirit of integrity, far from the corporate malady, I am real and honest, fair and compassionate.
If I’m replaced, I have to face you, the beloved Sabbath fans. I hope you will not hold me responsible for the failure of an original Black Sabbath lineup as promoted. Without fault finding, I want to assure everyone that my loyalty to Sabbath is intact.
So here I am. I lay my truth down before you. I’m good to go IF I get a “signable” contract. I don’t want to let anyone down, especially Black Sabbath and all the Sabbath fans. You know I love you. It would be a sad day in Rock if this current situation fell to the desires of a few.
My position is not greed-driven. I’m not holding out for a “big piece” of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I’d like something that recognizes and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago. After the last tour I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honor all that I’ve brought to Black Sabbath since its beginning.
That’s the story so far.
Stay safe and stay strong.
I love every single one of you.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Video: Bonnie “Prince” Billy Black Cab Session
Will Oldham, Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly, Angel Olsen, and Ben Boye packed into a London taxi for the 100th episode of Black Cab Sessions, taking on a pair of somewhat diametrically opposed tunes: children’s song “My Nurse Smells Like Coconuts” and a more world-weary cut off their new album, Wolfroy Goes To Town. Given the intimate feel of that LP, the close-knit harmonies and patient pace of “Black Captain” fit this setting like a glove. Check it out above (Bonnie’s jumpy reaction to the siren at 3:10 is priceless).
SASQUATCH ANNOUNCES MONSTER LINEUP…
Sasquatch announced its monster lineup today.
The Sasquatch! Music Festival takes place at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington [over] Memorial Day weekend (May 25–28)…
Artists include Bon Iver, the newly solo Jack White, Beck, St. Vincent, the Shins, Spiritualized, Zola Jesus, Shabazz Palaces, tUnE-yArDs, Araabmuzik, Wild Flag, “Portlandia” (Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen), Girl Talk, Dum Dum Girls, Cass McCombs, Feist, Sbtrkt, Kurt Vile, Explosions in the Sky, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Mogwai, the War On Drugs, the Walkmen, the Roots, Beirut, Shearwater, M. Ward, Little Dragon, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Mark Lanegan, Purity Ring, THEESatisfaction, Star Slinger, SBTRKT, Metric, Active Child, Tenacious D, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and many more.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Cloud Nothings: Attack On Memory (Album Review)
In evolutionary terms, the march of indie rock into the 21st century has been largely monkey-to-man; it’s rare that a young act with pop promise takes a hard left at ape and winds up on all fours, a lion instead. Our bands have been getting smarter and more sensitive, not cannier and crueler.
So what’s up with Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings? Like so many contenders before them, their melodic sweetness burns dimly beneath mounds of sour fuzz. One of those bands we’re always apologizing for (“Dude, it’s an aesthetic!”), who are always apologizing for us (“Dude, it’s all we had”). The bands who start out as No Age (abstract, feral) and grow up to be the Pains of Being Pure at Heart (linear, twee). Seldom does a prominent buzz band flash its grimy hooks, shine them up across a series of boutique releases and an LP debut, then bury them in our shoulders to drag us into hell. Wavves’ King of the Beach was surprising because it turned out that inveterate stoners could write pop songs. Cloud Nothings’ latest is surprising because we already knew that, and this little shit decided to stone us instead.
Attack on Memory opens with a brutal one-two sucker punch. Last year’s self-titled full-length, helmed almost entirely by frontman Dylan Baldi, closed with a bouncy ball of a punk-pop jammer, “All the Time,” cruddy guitars meddling in major-chord bliss, Baldi’s voice high and spry as he sang, “I say forget forever / I’m doing fine right now.” In 2012, a whole wrecking crew now behind him, Baldi offers “No Future/No Past,” an opening statement even bleaker than its name. Pensive keys and melancholic guitar build slowly over a methodical drumbeat. A distinctly In Utero anguish boils over into a crashing finish. The words “give up” seep from Baldi’s throat like a death rattle. And this is followed by nine minutes of “Wasted Days,” an upbeat and epic thrash through bummertown that recalls the nearly proggy punk-metal of early Trail of Dead. Here, what once was a one-man basement project becomes a full band to be reckoned with — twining guitar solos, visceral bass rips, snares, and cymbals — a live thing wrestling with itself on the floor of Steve Albini’s studio. It’s enough hi-fi brimstone to block out the sun.
So when the smoke clears and Baldi resurfaces on “Fall In” with a little Green Day snot on his tongue, the effect is relief. It’s both a breath of fresh air and confirmation that the 20-year-old still can do catchy, even if the tone and message have changed. Make no mistake, not once are we allowed to forget that at the base of all that pummel and scree lie the ashes of some failed relationship, and his angst plays like a perfect storm of grungy self-loathing and hopeless emo yearn. On “Cut You,” he sways between those two poles schizophrenically, growling like Kurt Cobain (“Can he be as mean as me? / Can he cut you in your sleep?”) before pining like a Get Up Kid (“Is he gonna work out? I need to know”). Like so few of his peers, Baldi uses his voice as an actual instrument, an emotional weapon that wreaks raspy havoc, even in the midst of Attack on Memory’s brightest song, “Stay Useless.”
Big feelings. Big guitars. Very big effect. Turns out Baldi’s aspirations for Cloud Nothings are familiar after all, but his pop dream is still rooted in the ’90s. He’s naked at the front of the classroom, but he’s unashamed. His heart’s on the floor, but who cares. Banged-up Fenders and trashed Peaveys circle his head like demons. The synthesizer is someone else’s nightmare.
M. Ward Offers Up Animated Video For New Single ‘The First Time I Ran Away’
If you’re a fan of sleepy-time folk, you’re in for a promising few months ahead.
First, we’ll see if Bon Iver can pull an Arcade Fire at this year’s Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 (four nominations — including Record and Song of the Year nods — should yield something, right?). Next, whistling aficionado Andrew Bird will release his seventh solo album, “Break It Yourself,” on March 6th. And finally, the deep-throated, acoustic-strumming M. Ward will ditch She & Him bandmate Zooey Deschanel and spend some time alone again: his eighth solo album, “A Wasteland Companion,” arrives April 10th on Merge Records.
The first single off aforementioned M. Ward album — titled “The First Time I Ran Away” — arrived today via a cartoon video filled with cute animals and soothing, muted colors. Watch the Joel Trussell-directed clip below:
Kanye West Is Apparently Making a New Short Film That Takes Place in the Middle East
Remember that ultra-conceptual short film called Runaway that Kanye West released in 2010 in the weeks leading up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? The New York Observer reports that Kanye is planning a similar short film, this time to be shot somewhere in the Middle East:
Sources tell The Observer that Mr. West sent members of his team to meet with film companies and government officials based out of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha, Qatar to explore the idea of a production. A number of local municipal officials and film companies are said to be engaged in what was characterized as a heated bidding war for the contracts involved in bringing Mr. West’s vision to life.
The Observer reports that “Mr. West’s creative team is moving to the region for a few weeks, as part of an effort to create an ‘authentic’ depiction of the culture.” The film will feature actors from the region.
No concrete details have been released, but I’m guessing it’ll wind up looking something like this.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Don Cornelius, ‘Soul Train’ creator, dead at 75 from apparent suicide
“Soul Train” creator and host Don Cornelius, who brought R&B into America’s living rooms with his long-running television show, committed suicide Wednesday, according to TMZ.com
The 75-year-old Cornelius was found with a gunshot wound to the head around 4 a.m. inside his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home, Los Angeles police said.
The celebrity web site said the fatal gunshot was self-inflicted.
Cornelius had battled health problems in recent years, and endured an ugly, public divorce that followed a 2009 sentence of three years’ probation for spousal battery.
His legendary television show, dubbed “The Hippest Trip in America,” presented stars like Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and Barry White to a national television audience.
Cornelius, with his deep voice, stylish clothes and soaring Afro, provided a hipper alternative to Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” when his show debuted on Aug. 17, 1970.
The first episodes aired locally in Chicago, broadcasting from a too-small studio inside Chicago Board of Trade building. Cornelius put up $400 of his own money to produce the first show.
He then lured the talent to the unusual venue: the Staple Singers, Curtis Mayfield, B.B. King.
New Peavey Guitar Is the T-Pain of Electric Guitars
Why should Akon have all the fun? This new guitar has a built-in Auto-Tune feature that can change the pitch and tuning of any note played—in real-time—at the press of a button.
Sure, Gibson’s been making self-tuning guitars for a while now, but the AT-200 works differently. It’s outfitted with an Auto-Tune for Guitar DSP from Anteres—makers of the original Auto-Tune—that essentially does the same for guitar notes as it does for vocals by instantly providing perfect tone and pitch.
According to a Peavey press release,
The Peavey AT-200 guitar with the Antares Solid-Tune™ intonation system constantly monitors the precise pitch of each individual string and electronically makes any corrections necessary to ensure that every note of every chord and riff is always in tune, regardless of variables like finger position or pressure.
The AT-200 can also perform some impressive acoustic alchemy with your hot licks. It’s able to instantly tune your guitar, switch instantly between alternate tunings, help maintain intonation was you move between chords, and all the heavy sound modulation that we’ve come to expect from Cher songs.
It’s also upgradable. New features can be loaded into the guitar via any MIDI source or an iOS device running Auto-Tune control software. The AT-200 will be available in July 2012, though no price has been set yet. (via gizmodo)
Neil Young: Apple was working on super high-def music
Recording artist Neil Young today said that he was working with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on a project that would push the quality of digital downloads to studio-quality levels.
In an interview with All Things Digital at the outlet’s D: Dive Into Media conference today, Young discussed the quality of digital recordings, chiding MP3s for having just “5 percent of the data present in the original recording.”
The answer to that other 95 percent would be “high-resolution” digital tracks that are of the same quality as the original studio recording, Young offered.
There are technical hurdles involved with making that happen though, including larger files. Young suggested that these high-resolution audio files be made readily available, and able to be downloaded at a speed of 30 minutes per song, with manufacturers offering a device that could offer size for 30-such albums, something like an iPod.
When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was “working on it,” but that “not much” ended up happening to the pursuit.
Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.
“Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music, and his legacy is tremendous,” Young told the crowd. “But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you’ve got to believe that if he’d lived long enough, he would have done what I’m trying to do.”
An Apple spokesman declined to comment on Young’s statements.
A report from CNN last February suggested Apple and several of its competitors were in talks with record labels about selling 24-bit, high-fidelity audio recordings. Said recordings would come at a price premium, the report suggested, as well as requiring hardware manufacturers (including Apple) to make adjustments to future models to support the higher-quality files.
Apple’s digital music offerings currently top out at 256 kbps, a quality level introduced as part of its iTunes Plus program in 2007. It began on EMI and trickled out to the rest of the labels, and the entire iTunes Store in January 2009. Despite that, the company has its own “lossless” format, which went open-source near the end of last year. Unlike the studio recordings Young was talking about, that technology was designed to provide a lossless copy of tracks ripped from CDs.