This is week old and you have probably heard it already and if you are a certain age it sounds exactly like growing up (with all the good and bad that conveys) but gosh if it isn't ever pretty, and in this winter we are having right now that is going to have to be enough. Enjoy. Like, turn off everything that would keep you from enjoying and just enjoy. I know you can do it.
There is a certain type of musician who is mostly famous for being unknown. You’re probably familiar: an independent documentary filmmaker pulls a beloved musician from the ash pile of rock and roll history and—with the help of some talking heads and archival concert flyers—brings them in to the spotlight for their encore. It is a genre pioneered by The Nomi Song and Anvil! The Story of Anvil and rounded out recently by A Band Called Death and the Oscar winning Searching For Sugarman and it’s always a captivating story, a kind of final balancing of the Scales of Rock Justice.
We talk about movies [...]
You know, if Onyx, A$AP Ferg and Sean Price don't fucking care, can you imagine how I feel? Never has a track better reflected my "oh my God are you kidding me with this week" Friday ennui. Enjoy. [Via]
Annie Clark’s fourth record as St. Vincent, out February 25, has elevated some eyebrows because it is self-titled (“underwhelming,” one journalist called the decision). Self-titled albums tend to be statements: either This is the sound of St. Vincent or I am redefining myself, and this is the NEW sound of St. Vincent. Thankfully, neither of those items seem to be on Clark’s agenda here. Rather, the title St. Vincent is just one of many explorations of worship on the record, a kind of self-aware acknowledgement of Clark’s new fan base. St. Vincent’s cover art, depicting Annie Clark on a throne, sitting regally “above” the viewer, furthers this concept. [...]
This somehow blew by me when it was announced back in 2013 (Remember last year? You might not, seeing as 2014 has somehow lasted for the span of three winters so far) but this Tuesday sees the reissue of two of the most unlikely albums to be released by a major label at the end of the '80s. You should buy them.
I was just listening to Bauhaus' original of this song last night (it is a long story, but I promise you I am not some kind of vampire who spends his evenings listening to the music of his youth and lamenting all the things he has lost as the years have passed by; vampires aren't real!) and thinking about how as much as Peter Murphy's vocals are integral to its mood one of the most amazing things is how the assemblage of the guitar scratches and pops and screechy bits that would come to be instantly recognizable as the Bauhaus sound was there right at the beginning, which leads [...]
I am really into this song, but as someone who is sad and tired all the time and who spends most of his days in a deep morass of despair that seems impossible to break out of and who is only briefly comforted by a nostalgia that swiftly loses its powers of consolation on my recollection that the past was just as terrible as the present is and the only difference is the days that have already disappeared were filled with more potential for poor choices and desperate decisions and that those choices have all been made, badly, so now I am left with nothing but the terrible consequences [...]
Happy Mardi Gras! While you watch the joy unfold down in New Orleans, listen to this:
I recently experienced a stunning revelation about the aging process that, as is the case with any worthwhile realization, caused me to fully reevaluate a firmly-held conviction and ultimately made me a wiser, more sympathetic person to all those for whom it has occurred. Anyway, for a long time I was completely convinced that people became "old" when their fear of new developments and technologies outweighed the innate curiosity and excitement we tend to feel when introduced to something of which we have been previously ignorant. In this conception aging is not so much a function of chronology or exhaustion as it is a result of uneasiness or discomfort [...]
This one may be a little too spare to burn up the Internet in the way you'd expect of anything associated with Robyn, but boy does it ever deserve to. Neneh Cherry! [Via]
I have previously expressed my fondness for Charli XCX in this space. I am less familiar with the oeuvre of Iggy Azalea, but if this collaboration between the two is any indication she is an artist whose other work I would enjoy. Anyway, it is Friday of what has been yet another intolerable week, and if you need just a little push to help get you over the finish line this is not unsuitable for such an effort. Enjoy.
Clevelander Dylan Baldi is, technically speaking, still in his larval form (he's 21). But his band Cloud Nothings has already put out three absolutely killer albums (their second, self-titled album is bonkers good) that straddle the lines between power pop, punk, garage pop, low-fi, and whatever other basically meaningless subgenres mean "noisy and obscenely hooky pop music." Cloud Nothings' new album is called "Here and Nowhere Else" and comes out April 1st.
"During the holiday season, my matron’s bellicose gaze often searches wearily for the Hallmark Channel. Because of this, I know all about magic. I know it answers a child’s wish, brings unlikely couples together and turns the bitter toy store owner’s humbug into a carol. But seriously, what is Santa’s source of power? Goodness? Heaven? Does he bugger dour Blitzen in a Lucifer-raising ceremony? If the First Law of Thermodynamics simply does not apply when it comes to the North Pole — [...]
My friend Christopher Trapani is a composer of classical music. Apparently he is quite a good one, having won the Julius F. Ježek and Gaudeamus Prizes, among others. Also, one of his pieces was performed at Carnegie Hall, which I've heard of.
Before I met Chris I assumed that new classical music mostly involved people trying to find new discordant ways to extract terrible sounds from instruments that were designed to produce pleasant ones. It turns out that's exactly what it is, but with program notes like this: "Florence in 1899, or the unexplored ends of the earth. An exotic wash of sonorities, mystical metallic shades—almglocken, steel drum, [...]
Nestled midway on "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy's 1990 platinum album—and one of the greatest musical releases of all time—comes "Burn Hollywood Burn." (Halfway between "911 Is A Joke" and "Fight the Power"! I mean!)
The track is notable not just for rhyming "burn" TERM and "perm" (important correction!) but for the collaboration with Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane—the only guest stars on the album. "Butlers and maids," slaves and hoes" is how Kane describes available Hollywood roles for black people.
Here we are in the future, 24 years later! How did the fellas take last night's best picture win for 12 Years A Slave, in [...]
Are Eels the most underrated band of the last 20 years? That's a tough call to make, because everyone has their own opinion on who is rated how and whether or not they deserve it, so I will just say that, for me, Eels are probably the most underrated band of the last 20 years in that sense that, in a world more to my liking, they would be one of the biggest things going, but I fully recognize that a world more to my liking would be one in which the celebration of various arts would almost certainly be more focused on work that tended toward the less [...]
Eeeeeee the great Montreal band The Unicorns, which recorded one perfect, perfectly weird album (2003's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?), are mulling a reunion.
Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast that the band recently acquired back the master rights to their 2003 full-length Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? and might reissue it. Penner said the band discussed the idea of remastering the album and "including some other recordings that never made it out."
But, Penner added, "the important thing right now is that we might play some shows and maybe even record some new material while we’re at it. These are all maybes, [...]
If February really does shake out in the way that it seems like it's going to so far, this might be a mandatory purchase. You can seethe and soothe at the same time! Recommended.
Have you ever wondered why The Cure is used to soundtrack so many romantic comedies? Have you ever stopped to think about what that implies, that this British deep-goth turned pop-rock band hits a particular sweet spot, like the meet-cute, for this dying movie genre? A few months ago, I went to go see About Time, a middling romcom by the same writer and director of Love Actually, and when I heard "Friday I’m in Love," something in me snapped.
I couldn’t enjoy the montage. It was Rachel McAdams and a surprisingly alluring ginger man (Domhnall Gleeson) running around, changing from chic outfit to chic outfit, falling [...]