We are, admittedly, late on this. The young California rapper Vince Staples released the Hell Can Wait EP, his Def Jam debut, on Tuesday, and it’s been streaming on Spotify since then. We probably should’ve posted the stream on Tuesday. But Tuesday was a busy release date, and EPs generally seem less important than albums. So I apologize for taking so long to let you know something you might already know, but you should really hear Hell Can Wait. It is a major statement. Staples has style: An awesomely blase monotone rap style, an ear for beats that combine chaotic siren-screech noise with the chilly minimalism of recent West Coast rap. But he also has substance, and on tracks like “Hands Up,” there’s real rage in with all that cool. We posted early singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede,” but you really need to hear the whole thing. If you’ve got Spotify, you can stream it below.
Robert Plant went on The Colbert Report last night to promote his latest solo album, Lullaby And … The Ceaseless Roar. He sat down for an interview with Colbert (who asked him if he was always at “full Robert Plant-ness”) and talked about English poetry, his dog Arthur, and even gave the host a special gift (hint: it was weed). The former Led Zeppelin member and his backing band the Sensational Space Shifters then performed “Rainbow” and “Little Maggie.” You can watch his interview and the two performances below.
Merchandise are on tour right now supporting star-turn After The End, and in the midst of their travels they’ve shared the video for album highlight “Telephone.” It’s directed by the band and features Scottish playwright John Byrne, known for ’80s BBC sitcom Tutti Fruiti and for dating Tilda Swinton. The concept is a play on Byrne’s Slab Boys Trilogy, which tells the tale of three working-class Scots growing up. Merchandise frontman Carson Cox shared a statement on Byrne and the video:
Earlier this week, the Atlanta rap bugout artist Rome Fortune released his very good Small VVorld mixtape, probably the most immediate document of how his explosive art-kid weirdness can make for great rap music. A few tracks from that tape feature OG Maco, the Rome protege whose viral hit “U Guessed It” is one of the most fun rap bangers that’s come along in recent months. And in the new video for the Rome/Maco collab “Four Seasons,” we see the two of them invading TV shows across the dial, like a crudely animated version of the 1992 John Ritter movie Stay Tuned. Goldrush directs; watch it below.
As any dyed-in-the-wool Aphex Twin fan worth their weight in trivia answers will tell you, there’s really no such thing as a bad album written by Richard D. James. Sure, some are better than others, and there are probably some you don’t even like that much. But a bad record from modern electronic music’s preeminent producer is like Bigfoot — even if it happens to be real, no sane person will actually believe it exists. This creates a serious problem when making a “Worst To Best” list of Aphex Twin albums, especially considering how many vastly different styles and genres the multi-talented UK artist works with. Can you really measure an otherworldly ambient classic with the same ruler as a colicky, noodling record of acid experiments? I’m not entirely sure that you can, but I’ve nonetheless gone ahead and done my best.
If “Ohmu Shell” was some kind of spiritual relative to “The Great Ohmu,” like the matching titles suggest, it would probably be the little brother: a little more eager to please, a little less penetrating. It’s another track from the Connecticut band that finds bliss in upheaval and comfort in the familiar. Ovlov spends the first half of the song in rapid-fire hook mode, and use the back half to carefully pick apart everything in a satisfying breakdown. Following Krill’s “Peanut Butter,” it’s the second song we’ve heard from the stacked Krill/Ovlov/LVL UP/Radiator Hospital split that comes out next week. Listen below.
Earlier this week, the L.A. singer Tinashe released Aquarius, maybe the year’s best R&B album. And last night, she was on Jimmy Kimmel Live, with guest rapper Schoolboy Q, to perform her breakout single “2 On.” That song came out way back at the beginning of the year, but it’s had remarkable staying power, and it’s still slinking out of plenty of car windows 10 months later. On the show, Tinashe had a full complement of dancers with her, and she kept up an athletic choreographed routine all the way through the song. For whatever reason, she also had a drummer, who didn’t really add anything to a skeletal song like this. Still, a great song on TV is a great song on TV. Also on the show: Schoolboy Q’s mom, who recited some of his “Collared Greens” lyrics as part of a regular Kimmel segment called “Words From Your Mother.” Watch the performance and the comedy bit below.
Along with the Beatles and Genesis and the Eagles, Radiohead are the rare band where the drummer can make a respectable go of it as a solo singer-songwriter. Radiohead skin-basher Philip Selway just released Weatherhouse, his second album of lovely, softhearted solo songs. And last night, he was the musical guest on The Tonight Show, where he neglected his drum set for a piano. Performing “It Will End In Tears,” Selway had an unlikely backing band: ’60s-soul revivalists the Dap-Kings, better known for backing up Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse. They sounded awesome behind him, especially as the song hit its climax. Watch it below.
Billboard reports that their sources have confirmed that Katy Perry will be the halftime performer for Super Bowl XLIX. Last week during an appearance on ESPN’s College Game Day, the singer was coy about whether she would perform and added that she’s “not the kind of girl who would pay to play the Super Bowl,” addressing an earlier rumor that the NFL had asked whoever performed to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour profits to the organization. The NFL has declined to comment on the report.
Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp have declared that their upcoming LP, appropriately entitled The Inevitable End, will be their last release to adhere to the traditional album format. We’ve already heard “Skulls.” Now they’ve shared the Jamie McDermott collab “You Know I Have To Go,” a gently pulsating electro-torch song bathed in floating synth and anchored by McDermott’s soulful, all-too-human vocals. On their website, Röyksopp offer a few words about the song: “The attraction and the doubt; the dilemma as whether to succumb to one’s feelings or not. The sheer length of the track is meant to illustrate the prolonging internal struggle between reason and lust.” You can listen to it over on theinevitableend.com.var chartbeat_zone = "misc";
Nothing released their debut album, Guilty Of Everything, earlier this year via the largely metal-focused Relapse Records. It was an odd yet fitting choice for their brand of intense shoegaze to be surrounded by so many hardened peers. Their next release comes on the more appropriate Run For Cover in the form of a 12-inch with fellow shoegazers Whirr. “July The Fourth” is one of Nothing’s contributions to the release and it goes as hard as anything else they’ve put out so far. “I guess it’s just about being hung up on something,” lead guitarist Brandon Setta told Vogue. “And using any method, no matter how extreme, to erase it from your brain just to obtain some sort of freedom.” Listen below.
A Neil Young news roundup for you: At a show in Philadelphia last night, Young responded to an audience member by saying that “CSNY will never tour again, ever … I love those guys.” The last extensive Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young tour was in 2006, though they also played together at 2013′s Bridge School benefit.
At the end of July, we premiered “Wizard Staff,” a single from Wampire’s new album, Bazaar. Today Wampire released the video to go along with “Wizard Staff” — it’s a whimsical depiction of two goofy detectives on the hunt for a wizard who is running rampant around Portland, OR. Directed by Robbie Auspurger, the video shows the two founding members of Wampire, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps, searching high and low for the wizard after receiving a generous ransom offer from a pretty lady. The video parodies the melodrama of a classic detective story: the detective(s) who can’t sleep or eat until the mystery is solved or the suspect is found. Will the two detectives find the wizard, or will their tomfoolery ultimately get in the way of their goal? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Houston rapper Bun B makes an appearance in a recent advertisement for Rembrandt, a teeth whitening company. He acknowledges the absurdity right of the bat: “I am probably not the normal person that you’d see in a toothpaste ad.” He stars in the commercial alongside Marvel comics editor Sana Amanat and Top Chef winner Kristen Kish. The whole point of the ad is about celebrating individuality and seeing how “original people” (whatever those are) would appear in a typical teeth whitening commercial. “Most of the guys I worth with … their teeth are golden,” Bun B says later in the ad. “I think my smile is unique and it’s intoxicating.” Watch below.
Damon Albarn’s debut solo album, Everyday Robots, focused both thematically and sonically on the interaction between humanity and technology, the organic and the artificial. So it’s only natural that Albarn was recently invited to perform at Tokyo’s National Museum Of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) for an audience that contained a couple of creepy Uncanny Valley-esque androids. The Blur and Gorillaz frontman played a live acoustic set that included “Everyday Robots” and Blur’s “Strange News From Another Star,” while android attendee Otonaroid contorted her face into shapes that vaguely and frighteningly resembled human emotions. “I might write a song about singing to an android now,” Albarn says. You can watch the performance below, along with some footage of Albarn musing about technology and wandering around what looks like a really cool museum.
Action Bronson and the New York producer Party Supplies have already joined forces for two ridiculously entertaining mixtapes, Blue Chips and Blue Chips 2. And now Bronson is helping out on “The Light In The Addict,” a weirdly evocative new soul-blues track from Party Supplies. The Bronson verse on the intro is pretty much perfect, especially the part where he starts singing, and there’s a nice hook on there from the Montreal soul singer Black Atlass, as well. Listen to the track below.
Anyone who’s seen Grimes perform live can tell you she’s a boss, figuratively. But as Claire Boucher recently explained for Tavi Gevinson’s new literature collection ROOKIE YEARBOOK THREE, she’s also a boss, literally. In the name of getting her music out there, she already owns two companies and just started a third one with her brother. Grimes’ essay includes 13 tips on how to be an entrepreneur. Elle reprinted the article today, and you can read the list below.
Jack White has long been a regular on late-night TV, and now it looks like he’s branching out into daytime as well. Earlier today, White was a guest on Ellen, and it sadly appears that he did not do the dancing-through the audience thing. He did, however, perform the Lazaretto tracks “Would You Fight For My Love” and “Alone In My Home,” though video of the former has yet to surface online. And he sat for a fidgety interview with Ellen DeGeneres, in which he discussed parenting ideas and what happens when you take a bad fall onstage. Watch the interview below.