Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 05/28/2013

New Full-Length Releases

CocoRosie - Tales of a Grasswidow

The sister duo that makes up CocoRosie don't exactly make the most immediate music. They have, however, become more and more accessible over the years. This seemed to be culminated in a pair of singles released last year, "Tearz for Animals" and "We Are on Fire." The release was easily my favorite from the musicians, so I'm pretty excited for the album most immediately following. I hope that it can capture my attention as much as those singles did!

Listen/Watch: "After the Afterlife"

Laura Marling - Once I Was an Eagle

Marling has a sound and voice far beyond her 23 years. She's been one of the most consistent artists of the past few years and this release presents nothing less. Her previous album, A Creature I Don't Know, was one of my absolute favorites in 2011. I also went out of my way to get her 2012 Record Store Day single. If you can't guess, I'm pretty excited for this new album and anticipate that it will be one of my favorites for this year.

Listen/Watch: "Master Hunter"

Mount Kimbie - Cold Spring Fault Less Youth

It seems that electronic music is really having a moment and, for some reason, I seem intent on checking it all out. I'm trying out Mount Kimbie for the first time, but they seem to be doing something really great; not just with their past work, but with this album, as well. It's nice to get reminders that electronic music doesn't need to be something you can only hear in a club. Their music, as well as that of their better peers, shows just as much emotion as the music of someone like, say, Laura Marling.

Listen/Watch: "Made to Stray"

Other New Releases

Animal Collective - Monkey Been to Burn Town

Animal Collective released their excellent ninth album, Centipede Hz, last year. This year, they are releasing an EP of remixes of the track "Monkey Riches" (and one remix of "New Town Burn Out"). The release includes remixes from Shabazz Palaces, Teengirl Fantasy and Gang Gang Dance.

Listen: "New Town Burnout" (Shabazz Palaces remix)

Cold Cave - "Black Boots"/"Meaningful Life"

Wesley Eisold has spent the past couple of years releasing a series of singles with his Cold Cave project. While I'm still anxious for a new full-length, I'm excited for what I can get. This single was released in a limited pressing of 2,000 copies, some on clear vinyl. It's available to order from The Heartworm and will be on sale during their summer tour.

Listen/Watch: "Black Boots"

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Brass Tactics EP

Announced and released on New Music Tuesday, this free EP (download here) from David Byrne & St. Vincent follows an excellent album from the pair last year. I love it when artists show some love to their fans and release music for free. It's like a present from some of my favorite people!

Listen: "Lightning" (Kent Rockafeller remix)

The Jet Age of Tomorrow - The JellyFish Mentality

Odd Future has become one of the most prominent rap groups of the past few years, inspiring both controversy and praise. They released this free mixtape last Friday (download here). Such Odd Future staples as The Stepkids, Earl Sweatshirt and Hodgy Beats are featured on the release.

Listen: "One Take" (featuring Earl Sweatshirt & Casey Veggies)

True Blood: Music from the HBO Original Series, Vol.4

I feel guilty admitting this, but I have yet to watch True Blood, though it is on my must list. I'm listing the soundtrack here because it features new songs from some of my favorites artists, including Iggy Pop, Jenny Lewis and My Morning Jacket. Maybe this will finally prod me to watch the show!

Listen/Watch: Eric Burdon & Jenny Lewis - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

Wings - Wings Over America Remaster

I guess Paul McCartney has been around long enough that just about all of the work he's done is getting remastered and re-released. Last year it was Ram, a solo album recorded with his wife, Linda. This year, it's an album from his second most famous band, Wings. The live album has been remastered and includes a bonus disc recorded at Cow Palace in San Francisco.

Watch the album trailer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

On Repeat: "Retrograde"

James Blake's latest album, Overgrown, has been one of my favorites of 2013. The stand out track for me has been no. 5, "Retrograde;" I love the melodic vocal loop that weaves itself throughout the song. It also shows the actual chops that Blake has that can sometimes get lost in his production.

James Blake's latest album was released on April 9.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - "Holy Roller"

Thao trades faces with a motley cast of characters in her new video for "Holy Roller."

Thao released her latest album, We the Common, on February 5.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to the iconic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and is also based on the novels of Frank L. Baum. It's set 20 years before the events of Wizard and follows Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) as he follows the same path to Oz that Dorothy would later take; that is, in a tornado. Once in Oz, he meets a variety of fantastical creatures, including a talking monkey, a girl made of porcelain and, of course, the infamous flying monkeys. We are also introduced to Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams) and the bad witches (Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis).

So, where do I start on this one...this was not a good film. James Franco was woefully miscast. Though he perfectly conveyed the lying huckster side of the wizard, he couldn't sell his more redemptive qualities. As much as I like Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis, they both left me feeling cold. Michelle was a bit of a deer in headlights for the entire film and Kunis reverted to Meg (her character on Family Guy). There was one bright spot, though, Zach Braff voicing the talking monkey assistant.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Music Tuesday - May 21, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

With eight years since the release of their last album, Human After All, this has been a long wait for Daft Punk fans. They've come back in full force, though. They aired a few cryptic ads during episodes of Saturday Night Live and released a series of collaborator interviews with the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers and Panda Bear. They've built up a lot of hype for themselves, but that doesn't mean they haven't delivered in the final product. They may have created their best album yet!

Listen: "Get Lucky"

Dirty Beaches - Drifters/Love Is the Devil

The music that Dirty Beaches (a.k.a. Alex Zhang Hungtai) makes music that I could only describe as 1950s rockabilly shredded in a blender, run over a few times by a semi-truck, then dunked into an acid bath. Needless to say, his music is very experimental and very deconstructed. It certainly wasn't love at first listen for me, but his interesting take on early rock and roll eventually captured my attention. I've very excited for a new release!

Listen/Watch: "Casino Lisboa"

The National - Trouble Will Find Me

The first that I heard of The National was when I was record shopping with a good friend. I'd never heard their music, but I trusted that friend's tastes enough to check out their music when I got hope. And guess what...I loved it! Their style hasn't changed much on the past few albums; dark, brooding indie rock. This time around, though, they're making greater use of the connections they've picked up along the way. The album features Sharon van Etten, Richard Reed Perry and Sufjan Stevens.

Listen/Watch: "Demons"

Other New Releases

The Beach Boys - Live - The 50th Anniversary Tour

Well, The Beach Boys' reunion started off promising enough; they came together for a memorable Grammy set, released a lost album, and even recorded and released a brand new album. All good things must come to an end, though. Earlier this year, towards the end of their reunion tour, there were signs of a rift; with separate shows planned by various members of the group. At least us fans get this memento of their most recent comeback.

Watch Album Trailer

Monday, May 20, 2013

Queens of the Stone Age Pentalogy

Queens of the Stone Age will be releasing a new album, ...Like Clockwork, on June 4. To promote the new album, they have released a series of five videos for the songs "I Appear Missing", "Kalopsia", "Keep Your Eyes Peeled", "If I Had a Tail", and "My God Is the Sun." Together, the videos all link together, introducing four somewhat terrifying characters. The images in the video come from Boneface, who also created the album's artwork.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

On Repeat: "Joy"

I swear that this song is also my name is not the only reason that I like it. Iron & Wine wrote a beautifully simple love song for his wife. It almost makes me feel as though I know the feeling of being in love.

Iron & Wine released their most recent album, Ghost on Ghost, on April 16, and it is already one of my favorites this year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 05/14/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Dungeonesse - Dungeonesse

Jenn Wasner began with the Baltimore band Wye Oak, releasing three albums and one EP. While I'm pretty sure that project is still together, she's done quite a bit of exploring in the past year or so. She started touring last year as Flock of Dimes (where I saw her open for Sharon van Etten). She released several singles with that project, but her first non-Wye Oak full-length is coming from yet another project, Dungeonesse. Honestly, I'm pretty excited whenever her name is on something.

Listen/Watch: "Drive You Crazy"

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend started their career garnering many comparisons to Paul Simon's Graceland album, due to strong elements of African music in their sound. For their third album, they are pulling themselves away from that aesthetic and starting to explore more with their style. It may have delivered them their best album yet. It still maintains many of the elements that made their music great, but their successfully growing their sound, as well.

Listen/Watch: "Ya Hey"

Other New Releases

R.E.M. - Green Reissue

R.E.M. first released this exploration of green politics almost 25 years ago. In the time since, the album has become a classic in the alternative rock world and featured the singles "Stand", "Get Up" and "Pop Sog 89." For this reissue, the album has been remastered and features additional content in the form of a live album recorded in 1989.

Listen/Watch: "Stand"

Wild Nothing - Empty Estate EP

Jack Tatum wore his influences on his sleeve for his first two albums with this project; evoking early '90s dream pop like My Bloody Valentine. This EP seems to signal a potential shift in the sound of his music. The music is more experimental and relies less on saturated sounds.

Listen/Watch: "A Dancing Shell"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The National - "Sea of Love"

Five men in black suits perform in a tiny room; their instruments plugged not into an amp, but into an air conditioning unit. As you think that this may be the extent of the video concept, a little boy comes out and starts playing the air guitar in time with the band. This was the concept for a 1980s music video by Russian band Zvuki Mu for the song "Grubiy Zakat", which inspired modern American band The National to make their own.

The National will release their sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, on May 21.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair tells of the short life of Queen Caroline Matilda of Denmark and Norway. It starts with her marriage to the mentally ill king Christian VII and the birth of their children. It focuses greatly on her affair with the royal physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee, who is believed to have fathered her younger child. With the king in no state to adequately rule, the radical Struensee exercises more and more influence over him, threatening not only the monarchy, but also the royal marriage and all of their lives.

This film came from the Danish film industry and featured some great Danish talent, both new and established. Although, Alicia Vikander, who played Caroline Matilda, is Swedish and learned Danish just for the role. Mads Mikkelsen (Struensee) and Mikkel Følsgaard (Christian) are both Danish, though. This was Følsgaard's first film, he was still in school at the time that it was filmed. Mikkelsen can be recognized as the villain in Casino Royale, though seeing him in a more sympathetic role was certainly a treat.

New Music Tuesday - 05/07/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Deerhunter - Monomania

With their fifth album, 2010's Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter had started going more in a pop direction and began gaining more mainstream attention, like many indie artists before them; the album was their highest charting in their career. While I can't predict how this album will chart, they're returning to the more experimental noise rock sound that the started with. Regardless of the the direction of their sound, though, the music is always great!

Listen/Watch: "Monomania"

Fitz & The Tantrums - More Than Just a Dream

For their debut album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, Fitz & The Tantrums took on a decidedly retro sound, taking inspiration from 1960s soul. For their follow-up, they're moving up a few decades to the 1980s. While any change in sound can be a risky undertaking for a band, many retro-inspired bands have become easily pigeon-holed by that sound. It's great that Fitz is exploring the different eras of soul music.

Listen/Watch: "Out of My League"

Noah & The Whale - Heart of Nowhere

Sometimes, it's the artists that a band has collaborated with that prods me into checking them out. Such was the case with Noah & The Whale. Although I had heard their name floating around, it wasn't until I got really into Laura Marling (and discovered that she had been an early member of the band) that I decided to check them out. I was not disappointed, whereas in her solo career, Marling has had a folk sound more evocative of older sounds, The Whale bring in a much more modern rock element.

Listen/Watch: "There Will Come a Time"

Scott & Rivers - Scott & Rivers

This album came out of nowhere! I only found out on Tuesday (the day it was released) that Rivers Cuomo of Weezer was releasing a new album. Though most of more visible work has been with his band, Cuomo is no stranger to solo work, having released three "Home Recordings" albums and a live EP. This go-around sees him working with Scott Murphy of Allister on an album sung partially in Japanese.

Listen/Watch: "Homely Girl"

She & Him - Volume 3

If you find a good formula, stick with it, at least that seems to be the approach of Zooey Deschanel. It's been present in her look (she pretty much created the manic-pixie dream girl) and in her indie pop. For her third album with M. Ward, she's also showing that the approach works when naming albums. This is their third album (not counting last year's Christmas album) and, as you can probably guess, the first two are Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Listen: "Never Wanted Your Love"

Talib Kweli - Prisoner of Conscious

Talib Kweli has struggled with his music being labeled "conscious hip hop," the album title seems to allude to a feeling of being trapped by the label. Despite their issues with labels placed on them, the best artists (this includes Kweli) manage to make music that feels like something more than that label. They can be important though, where many established hip hop artists focus on their excesses and many new artists on partying and girls, music like Kweli's seems to demand to be called something different.

Listen/Watch: "Push Thru"

Other New Releases

Garage Swim

The Cartoon Network block of adult-oriented television, Adult Swim, has had an impressive group of music collaborations in recent years, releasing exclusive singles from Wavves, Odd Future and Liars, among many others. Now, they seem to be doing a little bit more with those collaborations. Garage Swim is a free collection of garage rock songs recorded exclusively for Adult Swim. Artists include Jeff the Brotherhood, Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees.

Listen: Thee Oh Sees - "Devil Again"

Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film The Great Gatsby

It's rare for a soundtrack to actually include all new songs, even rarer for those songs to feel like they could exist outside the compilation. Jay-Z has proven himself time and again as a great artist and producer. Although a hip hop artist seems like a strange choice to curate a soundtrack for a movie set in the 1920s, he's proven adept here as well. The album does call to mind certain sounds of the era, but does so in a remarkably modern way.

Listen: Sia - "Kill & Run"

Justice - Access All Arenas

Access All Arenas is Justice's second live album. It was recorded at the Arena of Nîmes, a Roman ampitheater in Nîmes, France, last summer. It includes songs from both of the band's studio albums, and Audio, Video, Disco.

Listen: "On'n'On" (Live)

Los Campesinos! - A Good Night for a Fistfight

Another live album this week, this one from English band Los Campesinos! (the exclamation point is a part of their name). This is their first live album; it was recorded at Islington Assembly Hall in London on December 15 of last year.

Listen: "We are Beautiful, We are Doomed" (Live at Islington Assembly Hall)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Janelle Monáe - "Q.U.E.E.N." (featuring Erykah Badu)

I don't think that this song could have any better a title with these two ladies on the track. To go along with a great new song, Monáe has released this visually stunning, black and white video. It's awesome to see her wearing something other than menswear... she's so cute!

The single was released on April 23, a new full-length is promised for later this year.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


The life of Abraham Lincoln is something nearly all American children know even before we can barely speak. He is perhaps the most revered American president and deserves only the greatest treatment on film. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the titular president as he tries to get the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery) passed. The film details the steps that Lincoln and his cabinet took to get the requisite votes from Congress in order to pass the amendment.

Although there's nothing less that can be expected from Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg, this film is spectacular with many deserved awards and nominations. While Daniel Day-Lewis is nearly always the stand-out in any of his films, I feel like I spent much of the movie being surprised as to who was "beneath that beard" and amazed by all performances.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 04/30/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Akron/Family - Sub Verses

Akron/Family was one of the first bands that I saw live after moving to Cincinnati. I had loved their experimental, "freak folk" sound and quickly fell in love with their 2011 album, Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. The couple of songs that I've heard from this new album imply that the band may be calming their sound a bit; it does retain enough of the experimental elements to keep their sound interesting, though!

Listen/Watch: "Until the Morning"

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare vol. 3: To See More Light

Bon Iver may have a magic touch in music, he has been instrumental in helping to launch the careers of many other artists and Colin Stetson may be a benefactor of his association. Stetson, a bass saxophonist, played on Bon Iver's self-titled sophomore album and was also involved in two Arcade Fire releases. For his third full-length solo album, Stetson is differentiating himself from the other great artists he has played with.

Listen/Watch: "Among the Sef"

Guided By Voices - English Little League

Guided By Voices is an Ohio band that started performing together in the early 1980s. They were together until 2004, then there was nothing from the band for eight years. They came back with a vengeance and released three albums just in 2012 (guess there was a lot of catching up to do); this is first full-length for this year. They may have gotten all of that pent up creativity out, since no future releases have yet been announced.

Listen: "Islands (She Talks in Rainbows)"

Iggy and The Stooges - Ready to Die

I don't know how either, but Iggy Pop is still living. He's spent the past few years releasing jazz albums and collaborating with scores of other artists across all musical genres. The band in which he got his start, however, hadn't been together since 1973. They released their first reunion album, The Weirdness, in 2007 to fairly poor reviews. The reviews for this release have been moderately better. Iggy and The Stooges are such punk icons, though, that it may not matter much.

Listen: "Burn"

Os Mutantes - Fool Metal Jack

Os Mutantes are legends in psychedelic rock. They came to prominence in the 1960s as part of the Tropicália movement, which combined Brazilian culture with more modern elements. They were perhaps best known for their song "A Minha Menina" (if you don't know the title, you definitely know the tune). They also took a long break in between the 1970s and 2000s. They released a new album in 2009, Haih Or Amortecedor, which must have been the push needed to get them back out there!

Listen: "The Dream Is Gone"

!!! - Thr!!!er

!!! is pronounced 'chk chk chk' and they are an indie dance band with a high-energy sound. I saw them the first time that I went to the Pitchfork Music Festival way back in 2006 and they were just an overall good time. This is their fifth album and, despite almost 20 years together, they show no signs of slowing down.

Listen: "One Boy/One Girl"

Other New Releases

Andrew Stockdale - Keep Moving EP

Andrew Stockdale released two albums with the band Wolfmother. However, the line-up had completely changed by the second album (and it wasn't very good), so I don't usually count it. I'm glad he's done away with the guise of still being Wolfmother, especially considering that there was even more turn-over. The shift to his own name may be exactly what was needed, even the first song from his return EP is better than anything on that second album.

Listen/Watch: "Long Way to Go"

Disclosure - The Singles

I'm not sure, but I'm starting to think that 2013 will be a bit of a British invasion year, especially in the world of electronic music. Already Charli XCX and James Blake have made waves with their 2013 releases and Disclosure seems poised to be the next. Before their debut album, though, they are releasing an EP of their earlier singles, which have helped to get their name on the map.

Listen: "You & Me" (featuring Eliza Doolittle)

Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall Soundtrack

The third installment of the Iron Man movies will be released this Friday and, of course, a soundtrack album must be there to accompany it. What really excites me about this soundtrack is the inclusion of a song from a friend's band, Walk the Moon. It's definitely great to see someone I know doing so well. Don't get me wrong, I'm also excited to hear new tracks from Andrew Stockdale and Passion Pit!

Listen: Walk the Moon - "Big Bad Wolves"