Monday, April 28, 2014

Check Out: Future Islands

As much as I try not to overwhelm myself with all the new music coming out in any given week, I still love discovering artists that I'm not already familiar with. Future Islands is the latest artist that I've decided to give a try and have loved!

I first heard of this Baltimore-based band during the run-up to their fourth studio album, Singles, released just last month. It seemed like I was seeing their name everywhere, but was hesitant to check them out. I caught a snippet of an NPR interview with the band about a month ago and, while I didn't hear a lot, what I did hear, I really liked.

At that point, the new album wasn't out yet, so I had to tide myself over with the early singles from the albums, their past three records and a new-infamous performance from the band on David Letterman.

Nearly since the album came out, it has been on repeat for me. All songs on the release are amazing, but there have been a couple of big stand-outs for me. "Sun in the Morning" is a fairly light and lovelorn song that shows off Sam Herring's crooner side. "Fall from Grace," by contrast, is the heaviest song on the album, with Sam showing off his ability to growl along with the hardest metalhead.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: John Ridley, Solomon Northup
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup), Michael Fassbender (Edwin Epps), Lupita Nyong'o (Patsey), Benedict Cumberbatch (Ford)

12 Years a Slave was the heavy-hitting drama of 2013. The movie was based on the true story and memoir of Solomon Northup, a free-man who was forcibly sold into slavery in 1841. Northup spent the next 12 years moving between owners, asserting his freedom, and trying to get back to his family in New York.

The movie featured some amazing performances all-around. Ejiofor, Fassbender and Cumberbatch are all expectedly incredible; Paul Dano further shows his rise as an actor; and Lupito Nyong'o not only turned out a great break-out performance, she also earned herself an Academy Award. The movie also won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Adapted screenplay.

Mini soundtrack:

David Hughey & Roosevelt Credit - "My Lord, Sunshine"
Tim Fain - "Money Musk"
Colin Stetson - "Awake on Foreign Shores"

New Music Tuesday - April 8, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks - Enter the Slasher House

Animal Collective has been a very active band since their inception in 1999. Each member has also had active solo careers. Avey Tare released his own solo record, Down There, in 2010 and is following it up with Enter the Slasher House. He gets some help this time around with Angel Derodoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) and Jeremy Hyman (formerly of Ponytail).

Watch: "Little Fang"
Watch: "Strange Colores"

EMA - The Future's Void

EMA is the stage name of Erika M. Anderson, who's been working as a musician since 2006. She started as a guitarist for Amps for Christ, then released her first album in 2010. She started to gain more attention following the release of her sophomore album, Past Life Martyred Saints. It's been three years since that, but she's made the wait well worth it with her latest release.

Watch: "So Blonde"
Watch: "Satellites"

OFF! - Wasted Years

OFF! is a hardcore punk supergroup made up of members of Burning Brides, Hot Snakes, Redd Kross and Black Flag. They formed in 2009 and have been incredibly active since. This is the combination's third album.

Watch: "Void You Out"
Watch: "Hypnotized"

Ratking - So It Goes

Ratking is a young hip hop band out of New York City. I first checked out the band when they released the King Krule-featuring "So Sick Stories." The song, like many others on the record, is a gritty story of their city. The band further proves that the newest class of rappers are ready and able to change the hip hop game.

Watch: "Canal"
Watch: "So Sick Stories" (featuring King Krule)

Sweet Apple - The Golden Age of Glitter

Sweet Apple is another supergroup, this one made of Dave Sweetapple, Robert Pollard, Mark Lanegan and J Mascis. The group formed in 2009 and released Love and Desperation. Five years, and countless other releases from members of the collective, they are releasing a follow-up.

Watch: "Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)"
Watch: "Boys in Her Fanclub"


SZA is the stage name of R&B chanteuse Solana Rowe. I first became familiar with her when I heard the Kendrick Lamar-assisted "Babylon" (I'm thinking I should make that man my music-finding assistant...if he weren't a world-famous recording artist, that is). Her style, similar to many other contemporary R&B artists, is a mix that includes genres that always associated with R&B. In her case, she brings in some synthpop.

Watch: "Warm Winds" (featuring Isaiah Rashad)
Watch: "Babylon" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey - Going Back Home

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey are both British classic rocks icons; Johnson as the guitarist for Dr. Feelgood and Daltrey as the frontman for The Who. The pair had no intention of recording together, nor had they met, when they were seated next to each other at a 2010 awards ceremony. They quickly hit it off and recorded this album together. It's become the first big hit either of them have had for over thirty years!

Listen: "Going Back Home"
Watch: "I Keep It to Myself"

Other New Releases

Franz Ferdinand - "Fresh Strawberries"/"Erdbeer Mund"

Franz Ferdinand released their fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words Right Action, in August of last year. "Fresh Strawberries" is a track from that release, being released now as a single backed with "Erdbeer Mund." The latter is sung fully in German.

Watch: "Fresh Strawberries"
Watch: "Erdbeer Mund"

Girl Talk & Freeway - Broken Ankles EP

Girl Talk has long been a lone artist, putting out five mashup albums, mainly consisting of classic rock and modern hip hop. He's lending his considerable production skills to rapper Freeway to release this collaborative EP.

Watch: "Tolerated" (featuring Waka Flocka Flame)
Listen: "Lived It"

Iggy Azalea - "Fancy"

We've had white rappers and we've had female rappers for a long time now. White female rappers have been a rarer breed, but Iggy Azalea is out to prove that she can play with the big boys. She will be releasing her debut album, The New Classic, on April 22, which will feature this Charli XCX-assisted track.

Watch: "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX)

Jagwar Ma - Uncertainty Remixes EP

Jagwar Ma released their debut album Howlin' last year and now one of the record's best tracks is getting the necessary remix treatment. Featured on this EP are contributions from Ewan Pearson, Missngno, Charles Murdoch, and Cut Copy.

Listen: "Uncertainty" (Cut Copy Remix)
Listen: "Uncertainty" (Missngno Remix)

Linda Ronstadt - Duets

Linda Ronstadt had a career spanning nearly 35 years (she retired in 2011). During that time, she performed and recorded a number of duets with other vocalists. This release collects some of her better-known collaborations.

Listen: "I Never Will Marry" (with Dolly Parton)
Listen: "Don't Know Much" (with Aaron Neville)

Willis Earl Beal - Curious Cool

Willis Beal Earl came out swinging when he released his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, in 2012. He released a follow-up, Nobody Knows, last year, but has been far more prolific than just that. Despite being signed to XL Recordings, he has put out several free releases. This is his second just this year.

Listen: "Lust"
Listen: "Why"

Monday, April 21, 2014

The World's Fastest Record

Jack White is not one to shy away from a challenge or an opportunity to try and set a world record. In 2007, the White Stripes attempted to play the world's "shortest concert" with a one-note show in Newfoundland, Canada. The feat almost got them into the Guinness Book of World Records for 2009, but they were unfortunately disincluded after other bands attempted to best the record and measurement became too difficult.

Jack White was apparently a little bitter about that, but tried again this year to get another record in the books, this time, the "World's Fastest Record." The idea behind this attempt was to have the shortest time between recording a single and getting it distributed for sale.

This past Record Store Day, April 19, White set to the task for the title track for his upcoming solo record, Lazzaretto. He was able to get it from studio to sale in his own Third Man Records store in just three hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds!

No word yet if Guinness will accept this record.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Music Tuesday - April 1, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Architecture in Helsinki - NOW + 4EVA

NOW + 4EVA is the fifth studio album from this Australian indie pop band. I first heard the band sitting in a friend's living room back when I lived in Bloomington. While they can, at times, be a little too quirky for my tastes, their music is often good for a quick pick-me-up!

Watch: "Dream a Little Crazy"
Listen: "In the Future"

Band of Skulls - Himalayan

Bonnaroo is a great place to hear new music, and not necessarily just those artists performing at the festival. Band of Skulls was playing on loud speakers while another band was setting up to play. I immediately loved their sound (at the time, the male lead singer's voice reminded by of Jaill). They've continued to prove their worth with this latest album with an awesome garage rock-revival sound.

Watch: "Asleep at the Wheel"
Watch: "Nightmares"

The Body - I Shall Die Here

Last year was the year that I really got into hip hop and it's starting to look like 2014 will be my year for metal music. The Body is a sludge metal band and this is their fifth studio album. The record is a collaboration with The Haxan Cloak, who I became intrigued by last year following mass critical acclaim for his own record, Excavation.

Watch: "Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain"
Watch: "At the Mercy of It All"

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings became an easy new favorite band with 2012's Attack on Memory, which became one of my favorites for the year. I always have some nervousness when the artist that produced a favorite album gets ready to follow it up. At first listen, this one didn't quite strike me as living up. On subsequent listens, however, I've become more convinced that this is a great one, as well.

Watch: "I'm Not a Part of Me"
Watch: "Now Hear In"

Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education & War

Kaiser Chiefs were a part of the post-punk revival wave that start in the early 2000s. 14 years after the band got together, they are still going strong when many of their contemporaries have since disbanded. Education, Education, Education & War (a reference to a quote from Tony Blair) is the band's fifth album.

Watch: "Coming Home"
Watch: "Misery Company"

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Mac DeMarco is quickly becoming indie rock's favorite goofball. He released his second studio album, 2, a couple of years ago to a fair amount of acclaim and things aren't very different with this release. His goofball status is mainly a result of skits and collaborations he has done with groups such as Odd Future. He doesn't take himself too seriously, but is able to put out some incredible work.

Listen: "Passing out the Pieces"
Listen: "Treat Her Better"

Manchester Orchestra - Cope

This band first caught my attention, and that of many other fans and critics, with the release of their sophomore album, Mean Everything to Nothing, in 2009. For their fourth album, they wanted to deliver something more "brutal" and guitar-heavy. I think they've done that, it's certainly a rocking album, but I don't think they've fully lost the emotion that became a signature aspect of their sound.

Watch: "Top Notch"
Listen: "Every Stone"

Millie & Andrea - Drop the Vowels

Millie & Andrea is a side project of producer and musician Andy Stott and Miles Whitaker. This is their debut album, following a series of 12" releases over the past few years. Their sound together holds to the dark electronic music put out by both musicians as solo artists.

Listen: "Corrosive"
Listen: "Back Down"

Nickel Creek - A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek went on a hiatus in 2007, which seemed, at the time, like it would be permanent. The time apart was to allow the band members to explore other musical projects, which they did; Chris Thile in Punch Brothers, Sara Watkins as a solo artist and Sean Watkins with Fiction Family. They've done some great work apart, but having them back together is a treat and the album feels like a true return.

Listen: "Love of Mine"
Listen: "Destination"

S. Carey - Range of Light

S. Carey started his career the drummer and backing vocalist for fellow Wisconsinite Bon Iver, who band he joined shortly after the release of For Emma, Forever Ago. He quickly embarked on his own solo career, though. This is his second album, the first was 2010's All We Grow, and while his sound is similar to that of his other project, he brings his own unique style to the table.

Watch: "Fire-Scene"
Watch: "Crown the Pines"

Split Single - Fragmented World

Britt Daniel has kept himself very busy recently. He became known as the primary singer and songwriter for Spoon, but released an album with Sam Brown and Dan Boeckner as Divine Fits two years ago. Before any new Spoon material, we get another side project from the prolific musician. Here, he's not contributing vocals, letting that task go to Jason Narducy. Daniel plays the bass in this project.

Listen: "Waiting for the Sun"

Thievery Corporation - Saudade

Thievery Corporation has made a name for themselves by combining various musical styles from around the world. Perhaps most pervasive in their sound has been bossa nova, but they've also incorporated jazz, reggae and Middle Eastern sounds. They've also made a habit of enlisting other notable artists as vocalists on their work. This latest album features contributions from Shana Halligan, Natalia Clavier and Lou Lou Ghelichkhani.

Listen: "Depth of My Soul" (featuring Shana Halligan)
Listen: "Claridad" (featuring Natalia Clavier)

Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams

This is my new music risk of the month! I love exploring new music, but know that I don't have the time to listen to everything mentioned by every blog I read. I try to wait until artists hit a certain "critical mass," meaning that they're talked about (and praised) by more than one trusted source. Timber Timbre hit that mass and, on first listen, I loved it as well. They remind me a bit of 70s singer-songwriters or, more recently, Phosphorescent.

Watch: "Hot Dreams"
Listen: "Run from Me"

Other New Releases

Friendly Fires & The Asphodells - "Before Your Eyes"/"Velo"

I loved Friendly Fires' 2011 album, Pala, and have long been hoping for a follow-up. That's not quite here yet, but we do now have a collaborative single with The Asphodells (Andrew Weatherall & Timothy J. Fairplay).

Listen: "Before Your Eyes"
Listen: "Velo"

Kim Deal & Morgan Nagler - "The Root"/"Range on Castle"

Kim Deal was an early member of the Pixies, playing bass for the band starting in 1986. She joined her bandmates when they reunited in 2004 and stayed until last year. Since leaving that iconic band, she has released a few solo singles, the last was "Are You Mine?" in August of last year.

Watch: "The Root"
Listen: "Range on Castle"

Klaxons - "There Is No Other Time"/"Children of the Sun"

It's been four years since the release of Klaxons' previous album, Surfing the Void. They're readying a follow-up, Love Frequency, for June, with a couple of singles here to tide us over.

Watch: "There Is No Other Time"
Watch: "Children of the Sun"

Small Black - Real People EP

Small Black is band out of Brooklyn who have become known for a chilled-out, synthpop sound. They released their second studio album, Limits of Desire, last year and are following it up with an EP. They got a little bit of help from fellow Brooklynite Frankie Rose.

Watch: "Real People" (featuring Frankie Rose)
Listen: "Lines of Latitude" (featuring Frankie Rose)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 03/25/2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

The Baseball Project - 3rd

The Baseball Project is a side project of former R.E.M. member Peter Buck, who has released a number of solo records since the demise of his band. Also included in this project are Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), and Mike Mills (R.E.M.). As the name implies, their music revolves around that great-American past-time, with songs about Babe Ruth and the Oakland A's, just to name a few.

Listen: "13"
Listen: "They Are the Oakland A's"

Future Islands - Singles

Future Islands has been getting a lot of attention in the run-up to the release of their fourth studio album (and first while signed to 4AD). I wasn't too set on checking them out until I caught a snippet of a recent interview and live performance on NPR. I knew I had to check them out and was hooked as soon as I heard tracks from the record. They remind me a bit of Greg Dulli, but with synth-pop music in place of dark indie rock.

Watch: "A Dream of You and Me"
Watch: "Seasons (Waiting on You)"

Glenn Kotche - Adventureland

Glenn Kotche is the drummer of the band Wilco, but has also made a name for himself as an experimental percussionist (you can see some of his work in an ad for Delta Faucets). This is his fourth solo release, which collects various work that Kotche has done for ensembles.

Listen: "Anomaly Mvt 2"

Johnny Cash - Out Among the Stars

Johnny Cash passed away in 2003 so, of course, this is not a collection of newly-recorded songs. The tracks on this latest album come from a series lost 1980s recording sessions that were scrapped when Cash hit a lull in his career. In 2012, his son, John Carter Cash, found the old recordings and put them together for this release. Carter Cash promises that he has enough material for several more albums, so this will probably not be the last we hear from this legend.

Watch: "She Used to Love Me a Lot"
Listen: "Out Among the Stars"

Liars - Mess

Liars change up their sound with each release, but never seem to lose the experimental edge to their music. The band specifically contrasted this record with their previous release, WIXIW, calling it "fun, instinctual and confident." Through their changes, Liars manages to maintain a strong fan base and high critical acclaim for all their records, which is no different with this release.

Watch: "Mess on a Mission"
Listen: "Mask Maker"

Tokyo Police Club - Forcefield

Forcefield is the fourth studio album from this Canadian indie rock band. The album was preceded by the release of the epic 9-minute single "Argentina." The band has always had a strong pop aesthetic to their sound, but seemed determined to bring some of the pomp often seen in other genres to their own sound.

Watch: "Argentina (Parts I, II, III)"
Watch: "Hot Tonight"

Wolfmother - New Crown

Some bands spend months releasing singles, giving interviews and touring in order to promote a new record. Wolfmother did none of that, dropping this latest album as a surprise on their Bandcamp page and letting the fans discover it for themselves. It seemed that the Wolfmother name was dead after the release of a solo album from frontman Andrew Stockdale last year. This latest release proves that the band is still going strong and are as excellent as ever!

Listen: "New Crown"
Listen: "Enemy Is in Your Mind"

Other New Releases

Bob Dylan in the 80s

The 80s weren't exactly the most highly-acclaimed decade of Bob Dylan's career. That doesn't stop a group of musicians from coming together to record covers of some of his tracks from that era. Included on this release are Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper, and Built to Spill.

Listen: Built to Spill - "Jokerman"
Listen: Reggie Watts - "Brownsville Girl"

D'Angelo - Live at the Jazz Cafe, London: The Complete Show

We're still waiting for a new studio album from this incredible singer. In the meantime, however, we get a re-release of his 1998 set at the Jazz Cafe in London. The re-release features six additional tracks not featured on the original.

Listen: "Cruisin'"
Listen: "Shit, Damn, Motherfucker"

De La Soul - Smell the D.A.I.S.Y.

De La Soul is planning to release a new album, currently titled You're Welcome, later this year. Leading up to that, however, they are putting out a mixtape fully produced by J. Dilla.

Listen: "Dilla Plugged In"
Listen: "Goes with the Word"

Goldfrapp - Thea Remixes EP

"Thea" was a stand-out track from Goldfrapp's latest album, Tales of Us. This remix EP contains reworkings of the track from Blood Diamonds, WAWA, Red Top, and Twin Shadow.

Listen: "Thea"
Listen: "Thea" (Twin Shadow Remix)

King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe - Sing More Songs Together...

Well, I'm familiar with Chelsea Wolfe (thanks to her incredible 2013 album Pain in Beauty). I'm less familiar with her partner on this release, King Dude. This, however, is not their first recording collaboration, they released Sing Songs Together... in 2013.

Listen: "Be Free"

Lotus Plaza - "Indian Paintbrush"/"Gemini Pt. 1"

Cassette may not be the preferred listening method for most music fans, but it is seeing a bit of a resurgence of late. The latest release come from Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter and Lotus Plaza. The tracks here are some experimental improvisation on his guitar.

Listen: "Indian Paintbrush"
Listen: "Gemini Pt. 1"

Loud Dreams, Vol. 1

Sean C and LV are a production duo in the world of hip-hop. This release is a bit of a mixtape of some of their work, including tracks from Jadakiss, Fabolous, A$AP Ferg and Pusha T.

Listen: Pusha T & A$AP Ferg - "Hand in My Pocket"

Miles Davis - Miles at the Fillmore

This release is the third of a "bootleg" series of releases from Columbia, collecting various Miles Davis live recordings. He performed at the Fillmore in San Francisco many times, and there are a number of recordings out there with the same or similar names. However, these latest constitute some of the highest quality available.


Noah: Music from the Motion Picture

Make a movie about a story out of the Bible and you're just asking for controversy. While the film-makers admit to taking liberties with the well-known story of Noah and the ark, there are many who question whether the film should have been made. I have no opinion on that, but I'm happy that it's given us a new track from the incredible Patti Smith!

Listen: Patti Smith - "Mercy Is"

Rio 2 Soundtrack

Cartoons tend to be a lot less controversial, but this isn't one that I'm likely to see. However, it has given us a new song from another incredible musician, Janelle Monáe!

Listen: Janelle Monáe - "What Is Love"

Sylvan Esso - "Coffee"

Sylvan Esso is a side project of Amelia Meath of Mountain Man and Nick Sanborn of Made of Oak. The new collaboration developed somewhat surprisingly, and this is the first release from the project. From the sound of it, though, I hope there is more to come!

Watch: "Coffee"