The great L.A. rapper and producer DJ Quik released Quik Is The Name, his classic debut album, 23 years ago, and he remains absolutely vital today. I can’t think of a single other person in rap who’s been as good as Quik for anywhere near as long, and he’s still wrecking shit. Quik’s got a new solo album called The Midnight Life coming out next month. On first single “That Getter,” he goes deep into his personal history over a hard, funky track that doesn’t sound remotely old-school. The track has a “featuring David Blake” credit, but David Blake is Quik’s birth name, and we hear him rapping in a couple of different voices on the song. The track bangs, and you can hear it below.
Disclosure’s “Latch” is coming up on two years old now, but the Sam Smith-assisted song is having a second life on radio, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 a few weeks back. With that newfound popularity comes new remixes and this one sees Schoolboy Q hopping on the track and adding a quick new verse towards the end of the song. Listen below.
Since leaving the CBS News anchor desk in 2006, Dan Rather has been producing news programs for AXS TV, including a show called The Big Interview that consists of in-depth conversations with celebrities and has recently featured people like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Darius Rucker. His latest guest was Jack White, fresh off the release of his latest solo album, Lazaretto. “There is Jack White the rock star… but who is Jack White the person?” Rather asks at the beginning of the interview. “What I found was one of the most interesting — and surprising — American artists I have ever met.” Throughout the almost hour-long interview, the singer talks about what made him moved from Detroit to Nashville, his favorite country song ever, play around with some of his favorite old guitars, and a whole lot more. He also does a cover of Hank Williams’ “Tennessee Border” around the 48-minute mark. Watch the whole video below, plus some outtakes that didn’t make it into the final cut.
The Mountain Goats’ mastermind John Darnielle recently released his debut novel, Wolf In White Van, to really good reviews. (You can hear the first few minutes of the audiobook version, read by Darnielle himself, right here.) The New York Times reports that the novel has been nominated for the 2014 National Book Award for fiction. The book is on the long list, which contains 10 nominees, which will be narrowed down to five finalists on 10/15. The winner will be announced on 11/19. The full list of nominees is here.
We’ve been on board with Lydia Ainsworth for a while now, after being captivated by the whispered menace of her “Malachite” video and the majestic specter of “PS1.” Ainsworth’s classically considered production spreads out like a shrouded forest, much like the artwork for her upcoming debut album, Right From Real. “Hologram” is perhaps her most insular piece yet, the beats stretched out like sheets of ice with her voice gracefully sliding across their surface. The song is surrounded by hints of darkness, moments when Ainsworth dips into her lower register to hint at a dark portent underneath. “I found peace in dreaming of you and all the things we’ll never do,” she sings, wistful and restless. Listen below.
Ryan Adams’ new self-titled LP is one of the best things he’s ever released, and one of my favorite albums of the year, and even though its singles are really goddamn good, there are at least four songs on this thing that are better still. Hell, two of the three songs off the Jacksonville EP that dropped yesterday might be better than the two singles he’s thus far released from Ryan Adams. Again, not a dig at those singles! When I wrote up the album’s first single, “Gimme Something Good,” I called it “a total knockout”! Today, Adams releases a video for the album’s second single, “My Wrecking Ball,” which, I mean, is an incredibly beautiful, powerful piece of music. It brings me to the verge of tears almost every time. If this were the best song on Ryan Adams, the album would still probably be amazing and essential. But it’s so much better than that. Check out the video below and for god’s sake get the record.
Sharon Van Etten gave us the sweepingly beautiful album Are We There this past spring, and the Juan Maclean put out the Album Of The Week-honored In A Dream yesterday, so they’re both strong artists in top form, but who could have predicted they’d mesh together so well? This new remix of Van Etten’s “Our Love” sparingly takes her vocals and lays them out over a lush and hypnotic rhythm that only a DFA vet like the Juan MacLean could pull off. Listen to it below.
Jessie Ware debuted “Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe” at Flow Festival in August, but today she drops the studio version, on which she is assisted by none other than Miguel. It’s a breathlessly stunning, sensual slow jam, yet another highlight from her upcoming Tough Love, which, at this point, has given us nothing but highlights. Listen.
The lyrics of Allo Darlin’s “Bright Eyes” do not directly reference Conor Oberst’s band, but there’s a touch of teenage Oberst’s spirit in Elizabeth Morris and Paul Rains’ jangly boy-girl serenade. Not that this is an emo-folk song or anything of that sort; like “Romance And Adventure” before it, “Bright Eyes” is twee with a skip in its step and abundant casually excellent guitar playing. The difference is that while Allo Darlin’s first We Come From the Same Place single was resolutely overcast, this one is the sound of sunshine peeking through the clouds. “I feel better hangin’ out with you” is about as plain as you can put it, and when you do simple this well, there’s no reason to complicate things. Listen below.
Rick Ross already released one album this year, the orchestrally grandiose Mastermind, and now he’s planning on following it up with a new album called Hood Billionaire before the end of 2014. First single “Elvis Presley Blvd.” works as an extended homage to Memphis rap and features a verse from Memphis original Project Pat, who should really guest on every rap song. It’s an impressively guttural track, harder and more immediate than almost anything on Mastermind. And its new video, from frequent Ross collaborator DRE Films, is nearly as tough. It has Ross kicking around Memphis and hanging out with a bank-robbing Elvis impersonator, which seems like the thing to do when you’re in Memphis. Watch it below.
Zola Jesus has a new album called Taiga coming out next month, and from everything we’re hearing, it continues her move away from operatic noise-goth and toward a glossy sort of darkness. The album’s first single was the grand, triumphant “Dangerous Days.” She’s now followed it up with “Go (Blank Sea),” a glimmering, heavy piece of synthy melody that sounds closer to the Weeknd than I ever imagined Zola Jesus would come. But there’s a pulsing heart at the center of the song, and that’s been a part of Nika Roza Danilova’s sound since the beginning. Listen to the song below.
It’s too late now, but I really fucked up when I didn’t make ILoveMakonnen’s I Love Makonnen EP mixtape of the week a month or two ago. Makonnen has songs, and he probably would’ve been a cult star in the making even without the Drake co-sign. More to the point, he represents something exciting: A growing wave of young Atlanta DIY rappers, guys who take cues from hometown heroes like Gucci Mane but also from Lil B and queasy synth musicians and ferociously drugged-out internet shit. Rome Fortune presaged that wave, and he’s poised to do some very exciting things. And a rapper like the difficult-to-Google Father, a stylist who permanently sounds like he’s got five different kinds of pill in his system and who has a way of chanting phrases that bounce around in your head all day. Makonnen shows up on Father’s Young Hot Ebony and makes a case that he’s improving as a rapper all the time: “Super-chef Makonnen, might sprinkle serotonin / Be careful when you rollin’ because my wrist is so goddam potent.” But his presence on the tape is symbolic, too; it’s a signal that there’s a small army of kindred spirits out there right now, making rap music its own by pulling in whatever fits his own personal aesthetic.
Today M83′s previously unseen “In The Cold I’m Standing” video is released — only nine years after Before The Dawn Heals Us, the album on which that song appears. Last month, Anthony Gonzales reissued the first three M83 albums: 2001′s M83, 2004′s Dead Cities, Read Seas, And Lost Ghosts, and 2005′s Before The Dawn Heals Us. The albums are now available in digital formats for the first time, as well as on CD and vinyl. This is not the only new video to be released by M83 recently. A week before the reissue of the albums, a video for “Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun” appeared.
Kero Kero Bonito are a UK trio that demanded attention earlier this year with “Sick Beat,” a mashup of hip-hop, dance music, and sugary pop all wrapped around a cheery vocalist who slides between English and Japanese without a care in the world. Now all those elements have been stretched to their extremes courtesy of producer Danny L Harle, a member of the PC Music collective best known for his contribution to the label’s colossal pass-the-mic style DISown mix, which is one of the best hours of music you’ll find this year. In the meantime, listen to Harle make Kero Kero Bonito even weirder and better than they already were.
Sometime between the release of the teaser video for “Lonely Girl” and the release of this teaser, for “The British Are Coming,” I got my hands on an advance of the new Weezer LP, Everything Will Be Alright In The End. And while your mileage will surely vary, I’m all-in on the thing: IMO this is pretty easily the best Weezer record since Pinkerton. You hear almost none of “The British Are Coming” in this clip, but I will tell you this much: That title isn’t a misdirect; it’s a song about Paul Revere’s ride and the Revolutionary War. You don’t hear enough here to get an idea what it sounds like, so I’ll tell you this much, too: It’s a fucking great song, one of the LP’s best. What you see in this teaser won’t convince you of that, but you should check it out just the same.
We’ve been hearing all year that Kendrick Lamar would have a new album out this fall, but up until now there hasn’t been any musical evidence to support those claims. That’s about to change: The rapper just tweeted cover art for a new single called “I,” which is rumored for release next week. Early reports suggested that the tune would be called “I Love Myself,” though something tells me this won’t be your typical self-aggrandizing hip-hop track. 2014 has been a slow year for major rap releases, but between this, Nicki Minaj’s The Pink Print, Kanye’s long-rumored Yeezus follow-up, and what might be a revitalized Lil Wayne on The Carter V, Q4 is looking pretty stacked. It’s time to get excited, people!var chartbeat_zone = "misc";
The Rembrandts are a power-pop duo who have been around since 1989 and who became briefly famous in the mid-’90s, when their song “I’ll Be There For You” became the theme song of the TV show Friends. Obviously, Friends stayed huge, but the popularity of “I’ll Be There For You” was such that people wanted to hear it even when they weren’t watching Friends. The song was in heavy rotation on alt-rock radio and everything. It was weird. Anyway, Friends turns 20 on Monday, and someone marked the occasion by putting up a pop-up version of Central Perk, the show’s fictional coffee shop, in New York. The Rembrandts played at the pop-up, doing “I’ll Be There For You” acoustic for a crowd that couldn’t figure out that they were supposed to clap during the clapping part. They also played Phoebe’s perennial open-mic song “Smelly Cat” and then played “I’ll Be There For You” again, this time with the guy who played Gunther (James Michael Tyler) helping out. Buzzfeed has video of the theme song performance, but there were no umbrellas. Go watch it and feel old. “Smelly Cat” looked and sounded like this:
Today, UK-born, Toronto-based avant chamber-pop artist John Southworth releases a down-tempo track from his latest solo album, Niagara. “Butterfly Shadows” is on the Canadian side of the double LP, which is split into two halves: a nine-track Canadian side and an eleven-track American side, based on what Southworth felt best emulated each country’s musical styles. The experimental way of organizing the album reflects the dynamic between towns surrounding Niagara Falls in both nations. “Butterfly Shadows” is an ethereal, jazzy song with mellow synths accented by the occasional clinking of a xylophone and a saxophone interlude; the disparity of sounds makes Southworth’s musical style difficult to pigeonhole. Like Niagara Falls itself, the music is something you simply have to experience. Listen.
The Chairlift frontwoman Caroline Polachek has been very busy in the last 12 months: Writing for Beyoncé, singing with Blood Orange and SBTRKT, and releasing her own solo album as Ramona Lisa. She’s also put together a Ramona Lisa live show that involves choreography, headset mics, and very strange facepaint. Someone at Mercedes-Benz ended up writing a check to pay for a short film about that live show and Polachek’s preparation for it. The filmmaker Andrew Neel and the former Warhol associate Michel Auder made the 15-minute film, and you can watch it below.
There’s a buoyancy to “Stuck,” the first single from Caddywhompus’ upcoming sophomore full-length, Feathering A Nest. The track inhales and exhales, drawing breath up tight before letting it all loose in a whoosh of air. It sounds restless, unwilling or unable to be pinned down to one idea or sound. Blending a mix of art- and post-rock, the song sets up an off-kilter rhythm, jerking back and forth between exuberant clarity and intricate noise. The New Orleans group is only made up of two guys and it’s amazing how they manage to flesh out their full-bodied instrumentation and build an atmosphere that feels vast and limitless, yet warm and intimate at the same time. Listen below.