Far from the big labels and high-priced venues of New York and L.A., bands and solo artists are forming their own business and audience opportunities. It's not really unlike the old days—but now you don't need the critical mass of an Athens or a Seattle scene. In addition to club shows and local tours, there's a chance to grow up or even break out on the Internet. Here's a guide to four strong and hungry acts working and playing in North Carolina.
"Swing the gas mask like an elephant trunk/then dunk/ the whole beat/ in a O-Z /of somethin’ skunk/Then I said what's up/They say my ish was [...]
This self-tribute is so awkwardly put together, though, that it comes off like a celebrity shouting to someone who doesn't recognize her, "Do you know who I am?" What is mildly shocking about it, though, is how hamfisted "MDNA" sounds at times. There are audible clashes between various pieces of the mix that just sound bad; Madonna's rapping on "I Don't Give A," for example, sounds like a "Saturday Night Live" parody of a Madonna rap song until Nicki Minaj comes in…. "Superstar" is a plainspoken love song with an instantly memorable melody, but something about its production brings to mind the Education Connection commercials with the rapping [...]
After nearly ripping the Internet apart, “Lana Del Rey” will make her grand U.S. debut tonight at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Del Rey is the stage name of one Lizzy Grant, who, all the way back in 2008, arrived in the city from Lake Placid to try to make it as a singer-songwriter. Her hair was platinum blonde then, and her music, earnest and surf-inflected, was heavy on the organ. Though she did stick around long enough to do an interview with the Huffington Post, Grant ditched her persona (and her hair color) and emerged, this summer, as the current Interscope Records-signed entity known as [...]
Here is a new video for a new Sade song. Well, pretty new. The song came out last month, one of four previously unreleased tracks on The Ultimate Collection. One of the others was a remix of "Moon and the Sky," featuring a verse rapped by Jay-Z. That one was kind of underwhelming to me. I think I'd be more interested in hearing Raekwon rap on a Sade song. There's a new video from him today, too. With Nas, for a song they did for Rae's recent Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang album.
The Decemberists' new album, The King Is Dead, takes the band in a new direction: tamer, more pastoral lyrics and a pared-down, bluegrass-tinged sensibility (with guest vocals from the always-excellent Gillian Welch). Critics have taken note, and the reviews have been mostly positive—people seem relieved by the band's turn away from the melodramatic subject matter and overwrought musical stylings that have characterized their last couple albums. But the most notable difference from the band’s older music—and one I've yet to see a critic mention—is that there's not a single rape or abduction to be found on the entire album.
I started listening to The Decemberists eight years ago, when [...]
How do you think rapper Danny Brown is preparing for Hurricane Sandy? (He lives in Detroit, so he's probably not doing anything this weekend except watching the Tigers. We know how much he likes Tigers.) But even if he lived on the East Coast, you kinda get the feeling that he might not be too fazed. He seems like the type of person who could ride out three days in a basement strip club without ever going to sleep or knowing whether or not it's raining outside. For the rest of us, some very good rap videos came out the past few days. Let's use this weekend to [...]
Nice! This new Nas song (co-produced by the late Heavy D!) would indicate that the excellence of last year's "Nasty" was no fluke, and raises the hope that the new album, Life Is Good, is going to be good indeed, when it ever comes out. (He should change the album title before it does, though. Because, come on, hasn't he read that article in Wired, or the new report from the OECD? Life sucks.)
“It was a tree, and there was one leaf left on the tree, and I wondered: ‘Wow, if you can make it through winter, you may be here until next year. Wouldn’t that be great, if you were just the only guy that hung on?’ I guess you could say everything’s a metaphor for everything else, but sometimes it’s just what it is. It’s just what it’s about—about a tree.” —Tomorrow is a day to celebrate, in that Tom Waits will release Bad As Me, his first new album in seven years.If you missed the interview with him in yesterday's Times, it's full of his inimitable charm. [...]
The emotional rollercoaster of upcoming Kate Bush albums has been really hard on me! First it was like, oh holy cats, after six years, there's a new surprise Kate Bush album! And then it was revealed that first, there was a reissue album, with no "new" material on it, just recastings of older material, and there's vague talk of an album of new material, with no release date. But then that "covers" album started to sound very cool! (Plus she got permission from the James Joyce estate for the original lyrics to "The Sensual World"?!) And but then the tracklisting came out and then… there were only [...]
This just in: A new PJ Harvey song from her forthcoming album Let England Shake, which comes out next February. The song is a half-spiky, half-spacey track that finds Harvey exploring the upper register of her voice the way she did on White Chalk; it is called "Written On The Forehead," and it's definitely not what I expected after hearing other songs she'd been working on. (A sampling of artists/labels name-checked by friends who'd heard the track: Deerhunter, Cocteau Twins, the Knife, Kate Bush, "early 4AD," "almost Stones Throw.") But what fun would the predictable be? Stream after the jump.
This is an EP, in advance of an album this summer, by the "Harlequin Futurist Ghetto Flamenco Queen" Ana Lola Roman. Lady electro! Post goth kitty cat music! She has all of the potential. (Also someone's got a Tumblr.) (via)
I have slowly been falling for Beach House this winter, moving from that stage of "huh what is this, let's fastforward on my iTunes" to "oh hmm?" to "singing along," and so am gratified to hear a new song today from their forthcoming fourth record.
I have been patiently (OK, semi-patiently) waiting for the release of the first full-length by Patrick Stump, the former Fall Out Boy lead singer and ex-Law & Order guest star who also happens to possess one of the best voices in pop today. He also has finely tuned musical instincts; I saw him play a brief set at SXSW in March, where he pulled off a Jon Brion-at-Largo style "play all the instruments then loop them" bit and a Bobby Womack cover. (It was awesome. Too short, of course, but awesome.) Last night he released the first single off his forthcoming record, "Spotlight," in not one but [...]