Monday, December 30, 2013

Congratulation John McAuley!

I guess this is popular time of the year for musicians to get hitched. Earlier in this holiday season, it was The Strokes' Albert Hammond, Jr., and now, Deer Tick's lead John McAuley tying the knot. He married fellow musician Vanessa Carlton (remember her? "A Thousand Miles"). They were married by yet another musician, Stevie Nicks.

"In Our Time" from Deer Tick's latest album, Negativity, featured vocals from Miss Carlton!

New Music Tuesday - December 10, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Brendan Benson - You Were Right

Brendan Benson has has as long a career as his Raconteurs bandmate Jack White, having released his debut in 1996. However, he's  flown under most people's radars. You Were Right is his sixth album and his sound continues to be rewarding.

Listen: "Rejuvenate Me"
Listen: "Red White and Blues"

Robert Pollard - Blazing Gentlemen

Pollard's insane prolific-ness will not be stopping anytime soon. With Guided By Voices, he released English Little League in April and will release another, Motivational Jumpsuit, in February. In the meantime, we get another solo release from him!

Listen: "Blazing Gentlemen"
Listen: "Return of the Drums"

Other New Releases

!!! - "And Anyways It's Christmas"

Every year the list of artists putting out Christmas songs or albums seems to get stranger and stranger. This year's most prominent Christmas release comes from !!! (chk-chk-chk), who released a full-length album, Thriller, in April of this year.

Listen: "Any Anyways It's Christmas"

Arctic Monkeys - "One for the Road"/"You're So Dark"

The Arctic Monkeys made a lot of people very happy (myself included) when they released their fifth album, AM, in September. To follow up that release, they're releasing a single from the album with a great new song that didn't quite make the cut.

Watch: "One for the Road"
Listen: "You're So Dark"

Eric Clapton - Give Me Strength: The '74/'75 Recordings

"Give Me Strength" is one of the tracks from Clapton's iconic 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard. This new release features the recordings from that album, along with a broader collection of Clapton songs recorded live in Long Beach, Nassau and London.

Listen: "Motherless Children"
Listen: "Give Me Strength"

Jeff The Brotherhood - Past 7" Recordings

This brother duo has released a series of 7" singles throughout their 12-year career. This box set brings those various releases together into one collection.

Listen: "Cancer Killer"
Listen: "The Tropics"

Mexican Summer: Five Years

Mexican Summer is an independent record label that has put out releases from Best Coast, Daniel Lopatin, Tamaryn, No Joy, Kurt Vile and many others; and they are celebrating their five-year anniversary. To commemmorate, they have released a limited-edition book, which comes with an LP with songs from some of the label's artists.

Listen: Autre Ne Veut and Fennesz - "Alive"

Peter Morén - Broken Swenglish, Vol. 1 EP

Peter Morén has become known as the lead singer of Peter Bjorn and John, and has three albums to his name as a solo artist. Starting this year, he will be putting out a series of solo Broken Swenglish EPs.

Listen: "Constant Reaction"

Serengeti - C.A.B.

Serengeti is a Chicago-based alternative rapper who I became familiar with when he worked with Sufjan Stevens and Son Lux as S / S / S. He has also had long solo career. Just in time for Christmas, he is releasing a free followup EP to last year's C.A.R.

Listen: "In Love with a Woman"
Listen: "Find My Peace"

Sides of Chaz - "Sweet Tea"/"Take My Car"

Sides of Chaz is a new project from Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick. I guess he would like us to see a new side to him apart from his synthpop main act. It's just a couple of songs right now, but it will be interesting to see how it may expand as a project.

Listen: "Sweet Tea"

Tame Impala - "Be Above It" (Erol Alkan Rework)

Tame Impala released an absolutely incredible album, Lonerism, last year. Rather than giving the full album the remix treatment, they are teasing us with just one song, remixed by London producer Erol Alkan.

Listen: "Be Above It"
Listen: "Be Above It" (Erol Alkan Rework)

You Be My Heart

You Be My Heart is a benefit album for 826, which focuses on creative writing skills for kids. The release features tracks from the likes of Bowerbirds, Mark Kozelek, Maps & Atlases and Marissa Nadler.

Listen: Marissa Nadler - "Half as Much"
Listen: Maps & Atlases - "She's Like a Hologram"

Young Turks 2013

Throughout the year, the label Young Turks put out a series of split singles from its various artists. The finish off the year, they are compiling those tracks into one release. Featured here are Sampha, The xx and SBTRKT.

Listen: The xx - "Reconsider"
Listen: SBTRKT - "IMO"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Congratulations Albert Hammond, Jr!

Two days ago, The Strokes' guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. married his girlfriend, Justyna Sroka. To announce the marriage, Albert posted the news on Twitter, including that she had taken his last name (including the "Jr."...cute!)

Hammond penned the track "St. Justice" from his recent EP for Justyna.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pixies - "Indie Cindy"

2013 may be the busiest year that the Pixies have had since they got back together in 2004. They hired new bassists (twice) and put out a single and EP, which was their first new content since 2004. "Indie Cindy" is a song from that EP. The video for the track shows a tough night for a girl (I'm assuming the titular Cindy) in reverse, then forward.

Pixies released the EP-1 EP in September of this year.

New Music Tuesday - 12/03/2013

New Full-Length Releases


Brian DeGraw is a founding member of the experimental electronic group Gang Gang Dance. He is releasing his first solo album under the phonetic spelling of his initials (get it? B.D.G.). The sound takes on a more straightforward electronic sound than the work he does with his band.

Watch: "Flowers" (featuring Lovefoxx)
Listen: "Bricks"

Magic Trick - River of Souls

Magic Trick is the side project of garage rock band The Fresh & Onlys' Tim Cohen. This is the third album from this project, which injects some psychedelia into the garage sound.

Listen: "Come Inside"
Listen: "The Store"

Other New Releases

Beck - "Gimme"

Beck continues his run of 2013 single releases with "Gimme," the last of the year. He's set to release a new studio album, Morning Phase, in February!

Listen: "Gimme"

Charli XCX - "SuperLove"

Charli may have just released her debut, True Romance, in April of this year, but she's already at work on a follow-up (excited to get more adult ideas out there). "SuperLove" will likely be a single from that album.

Watch: "SuperLove"
Watch: "SuperLove" (Yeasayer Remix)

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories Box Set

Daft Punk released their highly-regarded fourth album in May. The box set version of the album is now out (for a mere $275) and features artwork, extended tracks and film.

Watch: "Instant Crush" (featuring Julian Casablancas)
Listen: "Get Lucky" (Daft Punk Remix)

The Flaming Lips - Peace Sword EP

The entirety of the Peace Sword EP was written for the film Ender's Game, which was released in early November. The producer's only took the EP's title track, but featured it in the credits of the film.

Listen: "Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)"
Listen: "Think Like a Machine, Not a Boy"

Franz Ferdinand - Right Action Remixes

Franz Ferdinand released their highly-anticipated (by me, at least) fourth album just in time for my birthday in August. The title track is getting the remix treatment with contributions from Liv Spencer, Matias Aguayo, Zero Set and Golden Teacher.

Watch: "Right Action"
Listen: "Right Action" (Liv Spencer Remix)

Glen Hansard - Drive All Night EP

Glen Hansard become known for the Swell Season and the film Once. He released his debut solo album, Rhythm & Repose, last year and is following it up with a short set of songs.

Listen: "Drive All Night"
Listen: "Pennies in the Fountain"

Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording

The latest film from The Coen Brothers tells the story of a down-on-his-luck folk musician in the 1960s. The soundtrack follows suit to the style of the time. It features tracks from the film's star, Oscar Isaac, as well as Justin Timberlake and Marcus Mumford.

Listen: Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford - "Fare Thee Well"
Listen: Justin Timberlake & Carey Mullian - "Five Hundred Miles"

Josh Tillman - The History of Caves

Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) has a wife, Emma, who is a film-maker. She recently released a film, trailer and information here, and enlisted her man to do the film's score and soundtrack.

Listen: "Finish Those Cigarettes & Go to Bed"
Listen: "Of Course I Live with Them"

Kate Nash - Have Faith with Kate Nash This Christmas EP

British singer Kate Nash invites us to spend Christmas with her. Her EP features new songs along with holiday classics.

Watch: "I Hate You This Christmas"
Listen: "Auld Lang Syne"

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Live from KCRW

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds released an incredible album earlier this year. In promoting the album, they recorded a session with KCRW in April. It features a few song from that album, as well as earlier work.

Listen: "Higgs Boson Blues" (live)
Listen: "Wide Lovely Eyes" (live)

ONXRT: Live from the Archives, Vol. 15

Chicago-based radio station WXRT has been releasing highlights from in-studio sessions for 20 years. The latest collection features Jim James, The National and Passion Pit, among others.

Listen: The Postal Service - "Such Great Heights"
Listen: The National - "Don't Swallow the Cap"

She & Him - The Capitol Studios Session

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward released their third album as She & Him, earlier this year. They visited Capitol Studios to record new versions of four tracks off of that album.

Listen: "I Could Have Been Your Girl"
Listen: "Shadow of Love"

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat Reissue

The Velvet Underground  released this iconic album more than 45 years ago. This reissue is coming along with mono, instrumental and live versions of many of the album's tracks.

Listen: "Sister Ray"
Listen: "I'm Not a Young Man Anymore" (Live in New York City/1967)

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat Tribute Album

To go along with the above reissue is a covers album. Featured artists here include Natural Child, Gap Dream and many others!

Listen: Gap Dream - "Sister Ray"
Listen: Natural Child - "White Light/White Heat"

For my list of upcoming releases, click here!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon has become known over the past couple of decades for supernatural television series and superhero movies. He recently took a break from his high-budget projects to work on a passion project. This interpretation of the Shakespeare classic uses the original dialog, but places in the action in a more modern setting.

I haven't really read or watched Shakespeare since high school and always had some trouble understanding it without a guide. I really enjoyed this interpretation. Though it maintained the dialog, the setting and the characters' mannerisms made the plot easier to understand. I want Whedon to film all of Shakespeare's plays!

Mini soundtrack:

Jed Whedon - "Sigh No More"
Jed Whedon - "Heavily"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TV on the Radio - "Million Miles"

This is the first we've heard from TV on the Radio (as a full band) since 2011's excellent Nine Types of Light. Their return is just one song, but it's a great one. The accompanying video features a disgruntled gardening show host escaping into nature and finding some fun-looking drugs.

TV on the Radio released their last record, Nine Types of Light in 2011, but lead singer Tunde Adebimpe released a eponymous EP with his side project Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 11/26/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Billie Joe & Norah Jones - Foreverly

Talk about an unconventional partnership! Jazz chanteuse Norah Jones and "punk" rocker Billie Joe Armstrong are not exactly the first two musicians you would expect to get together to record an album, but here they are with a collection of Everly Brothers singles (also unexpected). The songs are all taken from the relatively forgotten Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Thankfully, it seems to be more in the vein of Jones' music than of Armstrongs'.

Listen: "Roving Gambler"

Kevin Morby - Harlem River

Morby has performed as a member of Woods and started a side project, The Babies, with Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls in 2009. He's gradually halved the number of people that he's worked with until now, where it's just himself. Harlem River sees him finally stepping out into the forefront and releasing something more personal than his previous work.

Listen: "Harlem River"

Sébastien Tellier - Confection

Sébastien Tellier is a French singer and producer who has become noted for his New Wave meets electronic style. I've flip-flopped on his music for a little while, but after hearing the Caroline Polachek-assisted "In the Crew of Tea Time" (which is not actually on this record), I got pushed over the edge in his favor. I'm excited for this latest record as well as to go back over his back catalog and find more to love!

Listen/Watch: "L’amour naissant"

Other New Releases

Alt-J - Summer EP

Alt-J released an incredible album, An Awesome Wave, early last year and got on the fast track to being one of my favorite new bands. They're getting the remix treatment this year. This EP features mixes of songs from that debut album by the likes of The Internet, Dave Sitek and Ben Lovett (of Mumford & Sons).

Listen: "Dissolve Me" (Ben Lovett Remix)

Beady Eye - "Soul Love"/"Iz Rite"

Since the dissolution of Oasis, both Gallagher brothers have been very busy in new bands. Beady Eye is the project of Liam Gallagher, who released their sophomore album, BE, earlier this year. Now, they're releasing a pair of songs from that album as a single!

Listen/Watch: "Soul Love"

Destroyer - Five Spanish Songs EP

Dan Bejar is a Canadian musician who's released music with several supergroups, including Swan Lake and The New Pornographers. Destroyer, however, is a project that's primarily his and in which he's put out the most content. Five Spanish Songs is a short collection of tracks sung all in Spanish.

Listen/Watch: "Bye Bye"

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Soundtrack

The second installment of the latest movie franchise craze is out and, with it, another collection of new songs. I'm always impressed by the caliber of artists that are recruited for movie soundtracks these days and this one is no different. New songs from Patti Smith, The Weeknd, Sia and The National feature on this soundtrack!

Listen: The National - "Lean"

Flume & Chet Faker - Lockjaw EP

I've only recently started listening to Flume, but quickly began to love his music. He very recently released a deluxe version of debut self-titled album and is quickly following that up with a collaborative EP with Chet Faker (not to be confused with jazz musician Chet Baker).

Listen/Watch: "Drop the Game"

Robert Pollard - "Return of the Drums"/"My Museum Needs an Elevator"

Such a busy, busy man. Pollard released an album with Guided by Voices early this year and is set to release another in early 2014. Additionally, he is soon releasing another solo record after also releasing one earlier this year. I don't know how musicians like this do it, but it's great to see the love for their craft on record!

Listen: "Return of the Drums"

Shearwater - Fellow Travelers

Shearwater has been performing since 2001 and, in that time, they've toured or collaborated with a lot of other bands. With this release, they are honoring many of those collaborators with covers of their songs. On this album are songs originally sung by Coldplay, St. Vincent and Xiu Xiu, and others.

Listen/Watch: "I Luv the Valley OH!"

Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time B-Sides

Ferreira has been making quite a splash with her debut album, released just a few weeks ago. She's quickly following that up with a collection of b-sides from the recording of her debut.

Listen: "Werewolf (I Like You)"

Thee Oh Sees - Singles Collection, Volume 3

Thee Oh Sees have been around for about 16 years and have put out 12 albums. This is their third collection of non-album singles!

Listen: "What You Need"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mount Kimbie - "Home Recording"

The latest video from Mount Kimbie features shots of both nature and indoor places overlaid on top of each other. The effect is visually stunning and it perfectly fits the tone of the song.

Mount Kimbie released their second album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, in May of this year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 11/19/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

Disregard the misleading title of this album, it is neither a reissued or remastered version of an already existing record. Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) has been performing for eight years. He started his career as a member of Test Icicles, then began a solo career under the name Lightspeed Champion, which is when I became familiar with his work. He released his first record under the current name in 2011. Each project has had a unique sound; in Blood Orange, it's a throwback to 1980s R&B.

Listen/Watch: "Time Will Tell"

Ejecta - Dominae

Ejecta is the electronic project of Leanne Macomber and Joel Ford. Macomber has performed as a member of Neon Indian's band and Ford has done much production work with Daniel Lopatin. As such, both bring unique and varied perspectives on electronic music to their new project. It will be interesting to see how they bring it all together.

Listen: "Afraid of the Dark"

Other New Releases

Kallisti - Arc of Fire EP

Kallisti is the project of Canadian musician Chris d'Eon, who has released music under his own name since 2010. He partnered up with fellow Canadian Grimes for 2012's Darkbloom. Arc of Fire is his first release under this name and sees him taking a slight turn away from his previous styles.

Listen/Watch: "Arc of Fire"

Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze: Deluxe Daze (Post Haze)

Kurt Vile released his excellent fifth solo studio album earlier this year. The requisite deluxe edition features some additional tracks along with a bonus EP, It's a Big World Out There (And I Am Scared).

Listen/Watch: "Never Run Away"

Lily Allen - "Hard Out Here"

Lily Allen has been away for quite some time. She released her last full-length, It's Not Me, It's You, in 2009 and has spent the interim starting a family and considering ending her music career. Thank god she hasn't because she's back with a great new single. The song and its accompanying video take a jab at the expectations of young female pop stars.

Listen/Watch: "Hard Out Here"

M83 - You and the Night Soundtrack

What's the point of having a musician brother if you can't have him score your movies? That's exactly what director Yann Gonzalez did for his film You and the Night. Yann is the brother of musician M83 (Anthony Gonzalez), who contributed his talents to Yann's film.

Listen: "L'inconnu"

Prince - "Da Bourgeoisie"

Prince has been releasing a series of singles lately, many under the name 3rdeyegirl. It's not yet clear if these releases are leading up to a new album from the legendary artist, but he certainly is showing that he's still got it going on.

Listen: "Da Bourgeoisie"

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Cologne

Queens of the Stone Age released their latest album, ...Like Clockwork, in June of this year. This release is a short live EP with a name and artwork that harkens back to that album. The songs on the EP were recorded when the band performed at Cologne's Kulturkirche Köln in September.

Listen: "Make It Wit Chu" (Live Acoustic)

Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White

Since he released his first album with The White Stripes back in 1999. Just about everything that he has done has turned to gold, from that first band to The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather and then to his solo career. For this release, a number of legendary musicians have come together with covers of his songs. Included on the release are Bobby Vee, Los Straightjackets and Wanda Jackson.

Listen: Wanda Jackson - "In the Cold Cold Night"

Yo La Tengo - Fade Deluxe Edition

Another deluxe edition! This one from Yo La Tengo, who released Fade way back in January. This deluxe release added just one bonus track, "Oriole."

Listen/Watch: "Is That Enough"