Later this month, T.I. is back with his new album Paperwork, and he’s sounded extra hungry on early singles like “About The Money,” with Young Thug, and “Turn It.” The album’s title track, though, is a different story. It’s a laid-back, soulful memoir, a fond, grizzled remembrance of a dangerous youth. The song has a weird off-kilter beat and a chorus from Pharrell in total falsetto mode. It’s probably best if you don’t think of this song as a partial “Blurred Lines” reunion, and if you instead think of it as a partial reunion of the people who put together Tip’s 2001 single “I’m Serious.” (Where is Beenie Man on this thing, anyway?) Listen to “Paperwork” below.
New York disco outfit Escort have released only one album, but in the spirit of the genre, they tend to work primarily in one-off singles. Their most recent was the weightless “If You Say So.” That track sounded like it came straight from the ’70s, but its B-side is something much more contemporary. Escort’s cover of St. Vincent’s “Actor Out Of Work” has the same punchy pulse as the original, but the band transmutes the song from surging guitar rock to a jittery electronic jam — which actually fits right in with all the great stuff Annie Clark is doing right now. This may be a cover, but it stands on its own as one of the best songs Escort has done. Listen below.
Toronto trio Absolutely Free conjure a soaring, otherworldly sort of psychedelia on their debut full-length. The album’s airy fantasies reach back to the sounds of the Elephant 6 collective, Broadcast’s retro-futuristic lounge music, and Caribou’s deepest dalliances with psychedelic pop — and really much farther back than that to ’70s krautrock and ’60s psych (hello, Zappa) — but mostly it reaches outward toward the open sky. Fucked Up’s Mike Haliechuk produced Absolutely Free., and the album’s scope is as ambitious as that of any Fucked Up record, just more floaty and dreamlike. Titles like “Burred Lens” and “Striped Light” hint at Absolutely Free’s headspace, and even the band name itself is indicative of the wide-open sounds they’ve created together. You’ve heard “Beneath The Air” and “Vision’s,” now stream the whole album below.
Morrissey took the stage today for the first time since parting ways with Harvest Records earlier this year. He kicked off a European tour in Lisbon and his band came out in t-shirts that read, “FUCK HARVEST,” while Morrissey wore all white with what appears to be some animal rights sticker on his chest. It’s no “Be kind to animals or I’ll kill you” shirt, but maybe Moz will start selling these in his online store too.
The Walking Dead’s fifth season premieres this Sunday, and a new teaser trailer has been released that uses the U2/Lykke Li collab “The Troubles” from last month’s Songs Of Innocence. In the past, the zombie show has used songs from Waxahatchee, A.C. Newman, Phantogram, and a bunch more on a soundtrack series called Songs Of Survival. Watch the trailer below.
The videos that have come from Obits’ 2013 album Bed & Bugs have been all over the place. There was the alien invasion of “Operation Bikini,” the TP-ing in “Spun Out,” and the cartoon goofiness of “I’m Closing In.” For the softer track “Machines,” director Alexis Fleisig crafts a video as hypnotic as the song itself — gliding over animated charts and strange machinery, it fits the song just right. Watch it below.
T: The New York Times Style Magazine had the bright idea to have some musicians visit Stevie Nicks’ house for a joint interview, and to everyone’s delight, Nicks chose Haim. While they were all together at Nicks’ mansion in Santa Monica, the four of them performed the Nicks-penned 1976 Fleetwood Mac hit “Rhiannon” around a piano. It’s a stripped-down, low-key, off-the-cuff affair, and it must’ve been a dream come true for noted Mac disciples Danielle, Este, and Alana. Hear the performance below and read the interview here.
Q&A: Colin Marston Of Krallice/Gorguts/Dysrhythmia On The Ins & Outs Of Engineering And The Realities Of Running A Recording Studio
It takes time to make a rock album. A lot of time.
That sounds deeply obvious, but unless you’ve made a full-length album, it’s hard to process just how many man-hours are involved.
Let’s say you’re starting from scratch. You’re just some kid who dreams of being in a band. First, you have to get your hands on an instrument: an urge that summer jobs are made of. Then you have to practice until you reach competency, which can take years by itself. Then you have to either find competent, like-minded bandmates or learn some more instruments. Then you have to write and rehearse good songs, though many bands skip this part because it’s too hard. You probably want to get some live experience under your belts at this juncture too.
It hasn’t made sense to refer to the music of the Canadian band Stars as “indie-pop” for a long time. The music has grown too bright and big and dramatic for that genre tag to apply anymore; at this point, they’re halfway to Broadway. The band’s new album No One Is Lost arrives next month, and we’ve posted a few of its songs: “From The Night,” “Turn It Up,” the title track. The whole album is now streaming online; check it out at NPR.
No One Is Lost is out 10/14 on ATO.var chartbeat_zone = "misc";
New Jersey duo Dads are following up 2012′s American Radass (This Is Important) with a strong new collection called I’ll Be The Tornado. The album is a reminder that Dads are better than most at that timeless emo trope of fumbling toward maturity in the context of dramatically sweeping guitar music. The music is stirring, and the lyrics are both clever (“We could be drunk together/ We could be punk together”) and unapologetically blunt (“How much time did I waste on people who eventually left?”). We’ve already heard ace singles “Fake Knees” and “Chewing Ghosts,” and now the whole batch of anthems is streaming online. Hear it at Pitchfork.
When last we heard about Kanye West’s mysterious new album, it was Theophilus London writing an Instagram caption about how Kanye had played the album three times at a Paris listening party. This, understandably, led many of us to believe that the album is done. This is apparently not the case. Or, anyway, Theophilus London later tweeted that actually, no, it isn’t done, and he also, sort of hilariously, disparaged the “Hypebeast bloggers out there writing for your magazine blogs” who reported otherwise. And now Malik Yusuf, who collaborated with Kanye on two solo albums and G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer, says that Kanye has “20 finished songs” that might make the album. Hey, that’s something!
The Atlanta chillwave-rap weirdo ILoveMakonnen is one of the most interesting new voices we’ve heard in rap in a long time. His I Love Makonnen EP really should’ve been Mixtape Of The Week months ago, if I hadn’t slept on it, and he’s now poised for something like stardom, now that Drake has remixed his “Tuesday” and signed him to OVO Sound. Now Andy Milonakis, the former MTV star and 3 Loco member, has made a video for his I Love Makonnen EP track “Too Much.” Milonakis directed the video, and he stars in it, made up like the mannequin head from the EP cover. The low-budget, absurdist video also stars a lady in a bikini and a big box of Skittles. Watch it and read some words from Milonakis below.
If you thought 2013 was a huge year for Disclosure — they released the acclaimed Settle and became a crossover critical sensation — just think about how big 2014′s been for the duo. They had a platinum top-10 hit in the US with the long-simmering “Latch,” dominated at festivals all summer, appeared on TV several times over, got nominated for a Grammy, and teamed with Mary J. Blige — and if our interview at Coachella is to be believed, they worked with lots of other big names we haven’t heard about yet. Not too shabby! To close out their biggest year yet, the Lawrence brothers will throw one of their Wild Life parties on New Year’s Eve at New York venue Pier 94. Openers include Claude VonStroke, Dusky, Mario Basanov’s Ten Walls, Isaac Tichauer, and Kyle Hall. If we know our Disclosure, there will undoubtedly be special guests too. Get tickets here.var chartbeat_zone = "misc";
In a way, it’s going to be sad when Jessie Ware’s new album Tough Love comes out, since it means she’s probably going to stop posting incredible new songs on Soundcloud at regular intervals. We’ve already heard five different new songs — “Say You Love Me” is probably the champion right now — and now she’s given us another one. “Pieces” is a beautiful, string-drenched soul-wrecker about feeling absolutely destroyed after a breakup. It builds slowly and ends abruptly. Ware wrote the song with Jimmy Napes and Tourist, and Emile Haynie produced it. Listen below.
I’ve been to a lot of shows at Madison Square Garden, and the best one I ever saw was probably the White Stripes, with Grinderman and the late Porter Wagoner opening, in 2007. Jack White absolutely owned the Garden that night, stomping and preening and flailing his way across a mostly-unadorned stage. I remember seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner wandering through the MSG hallway after the show, looking dazed. After a couple of #1 albums, White has now gotten to the point in his solo career where he gets to return to the Garden. On the Third Man website, White announced today that he’ll play Madison Square Garden 1/30. He’ll also play Bridgestone Arena, in his adapted hometown of Nashville, 1/28. And he’ll appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show 10/9 — this Thursday — which should be pretty interesting.var chartbeat_zone = "misc";
There’s little about Steve Gunn that suggests he has trouble standing still. When you meet him, he’s a remarkably calm and soft-spoken man. His work, usually rooted in folk traditions, can range from experimental guitar music to spare, almost singer-songwriter material. His newest, Way Out Weather, finds him fleshing it all out more than ever before, working with a band and achieving a sound that’s moderately psychedelic but still folky. The unifying factor is that everything he does seems like the kind of music that takes some introspection, some catching of your breath, to make properly. And yet, Gunn may have as many as four releases attached to him this year or by early next year, and this after a different solo album already last year. It’s a furious succession of work considering the way Gunn comes off and the way he describes his life. Consider it a quiet focus that manages to burn fast, I suppose.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to make a secret song, you just had to put it at the end of your CD, after an extra-long pause. That doesn’t really work in the digital era. Everybody’s going to know about it immediately, and anyway, you’re going to fuck up someone’s iTunes shuffle experience. So Childish Gambino has come up with an alternate method, leaving a breadcrumb trail of clues for internet detectives. Gambino released his STN MTN / Kauai mixtape last week and included a hidden a capella on his website. It synced up with the mixtape’s closing track, and so someone out there combined the two and came up with “Secret Track.” The end result sounds like a pretty good Childish Gambino song. Listen below.
TUnE-yArDs’ video for “Water Fountain” channeled the loose and colorful glee of Merrill Garbus’ new album so well that it’s a bit of a bummer it’s taken this long to see another video from Nikki Nack. Now we finally have, and it’s another doozy. Director Tom Jobbins has described the video as “Charlie Chaplin-like,” but just as “Water Fountain” director Joel Kefali used Pee Wee’s Playhouse as a jumping-off point to create something wholly original, this moves in the same way. There are echoes of Modern Times as Jobbins creates an assembly line where Garbus is eventually built, piece-by-piece, for the dance-filled finale. It’s a totally bizarre video, but then again, Nikki Nack is a totally bizarre album, and in both cases, Garbus’ massive charisma makes you not want it any other way. Watch it below and check out tUnE-yArDs’ newest tour dates, including a four-night stint in Brooklyn.
In 2012, New Jersey punk trio Screaming Females released Ugly, one of the best straight-up guitar-rock albums I’ve heard this decade. Since then, there’s been a cassette EP and a live album and a furiously badass single, and now they’ve got a new 7″ single that finds the band sounding like they’re ready to take over the world. “Wishing Well,” which is for sale right now, is a big, sweet, catchy song, one that brings the band somewhere within the range of ’90s alt-pop. It’s melodically sweeter than the band’s older music, but it kicks nearly as hard. Listen to it and read some words from frontwoman Marissa Paternoster below.
The xx are the only band I’ve ever seen that can make a festival crowd sing along with a wordless song. That song is “Intro,” the first track from their self-titled first album, and it’s about as iconic a side-one/track-one as this century has produced. So when Hugo Boss pretty much wholesale jacked the song in a commercial for their sunglasses, people noticed. Young Turks, the band’s label, called out Hugo Boss for the bald ripoff move on Twitter. Here’s what they said.