Monday, June 30, 2014

Palo Alto

Director: Gia Coppola
Writers: Gia Coppola, James Franco
Stars: Emma Roberts (April), Nat Wolff (Fred), Jack Kilmer (Teddy), Val Kilmer (Stewart), Chris Messina (Mitch)

Palo Alto is based on a book of the same name written by James Franco and released in 2010. Whereas the book was a collection of separate short stories, the movie tells a more cohesive story of a group of teens as they interact with one another. The main focus of the film is April, a shy and virginal soccer star. There's a mutual interest between her and Teddy, but both are too shy to do anything. Instead, she receives advances from her older soccer coach and teacher, Mr. B (Franco). Teddy, meanwhile, spends much of his time with Fred, who is impulsive and dangerous; though Teddy has to deal with his own legal issues. Fred spends his own time away from Teddy cavorting with, and ultimately embarrassing Emily (Zoe Levin), the girl who's become the school slut.

While neither is great, the film greatly improves upon some of the weaknesses in the book. It tones down the shock value (a bit) and feels more cohesive.

Mini soundtrack:

Devonté Hynes - "Palo Alto"
Blood Orange - "You're Not Good Enough"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Beyoncé - "Yonce"

For one of the many videos for tracks from her surprise 2013 album, Beyoncé enlisted a small army of gorgeous black supermodels to join her. Featured in the video are Joan Smalls, Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn.

Beyoncé, the album, was released in December of last year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 06/24/2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Ab Soul - These Days

Ab Soul is a member of the Black Hippy hip hop collective along with SchoolBoy Q, Jay Rock, and Kendrick Lamar. He has been active in music since 2003 and this is his third studio album. His latest record features other members of Black Hippy, along with Rick Ross, Mac Miller, and SZA.

Watch: "Closure"
Listen: "Changes"

Circulatory System - Mosaics within Mosaics

Circulatory System is a member band of the Elephant Six collective, which also includes of Montreal, Olivia Tremor Control, and Neutral Milk Hotel. The band even shares members with other acts on the label. This is the psychedelic band's third studio album.

Listen: "If You Think About It Now"
Listen: "Stars and Molecules"

How to Dress Well - "What Is This Heart?"

When I first heard about How to Dress Well (aka Tom Krell), I was mostly intrigued by his name. Over time, though, I became a huge fan of his music, as well. Krell is able to create music that is immensely heartfelt and personal, all with his unique indie R&B style.

Watch: "Repeat Pleasure"
Watch: "Face Again"

Mastodon - Once More Round the Sun

Mastodon is a progressive metal band out of Atlanta, Georgia. They've released six studio albums in their 14 years together. For their latest, the band sought to continue on their previous album, 2011's The Hunter, but also to advance their sound.

Watch: "High Road"
Watch: "Chimes at Midnight"

Peter Matthew Bauer - Liberation!

Peter Matthew Bauer was the bassist for The Walkmen before the band went on an "extreme hiatus" earlier this year. Following Walter Martin and Hamilton Leithauser earlier this year, he is releasing his first solo album. It's his first foray as a primary songwriter and vocalist, but he doesn't sound like a newbie. The members of The Walkmen have all proven themselves to be as capable solo as they are together.

Watch: "Philadelphia Raga"
Watch: "Latin American Ficciones"

Strand of Oaks - Heal

Strand of Oaks (Tim Showalter) is a bearded, emotional folk rocker who first came to prominence with the release of his 2010 album Pope Killdragon. His follow-up was inspired by a realization that he needed to heal following the break-up of a marriage and the pressures of being on the road for two years.

Watch: "Shut In"
Watch: "Goshen '97"

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent

A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a Philadelphia-based band who have been active since 2006. The band is led by Ben Daniels, but with rotating backing musicians. Sea When Absent is the band's fourth album, which I first became familiar with when the band was featured in a "best of the week" column on Stereogum!

Watch: "In Love with Useless"
Listen: "Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)"

Other New Releases

22 Jump Street: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

22 Jump Street is the sequel to the movie version of 21 Jump Street, which was released 2012. The soundtrack features new tracks from Wiz Khalifa, Duck Sauce, and Angel Haze.

Listen: Angel Haze - "22 Jump Street"

Ghostface Killah - "Six Degrees"

Ghostface Killah is a member of the Wu-Tang clan and a critically-acclaimed solo performer. For his latest single, he has teamed up with BADBADNOTGOOD and Danny Brown.

Listen: "Six Degrees"

They Came Together EP

They Came Together is a new rom-com starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd. A short soundtrack (just EP length) is being released for the film. Contributors include Craig Wedren, Amy Miles, and Norah Jones.

Watch: Norah Jones - "It Was the Last Thing on Your Mind"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New Music Tuesday - June 17, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Alexis Taylor - Await Barbarians

Alexis Taylor is primarily known for his work in the electronic group Hot Chip, with which he has been performing since 2000. Many members of the band have been engaged in side projects such as LCD Soundsystem, About Group and The 2 Bears. Alexis, however, has sidelined as a solo act. He released his debut in 2008 and a follow-up EP in early 2013.

Watch: "Elvis Has Left the Building"
Watch: "Without a Crutch (2)"

The Antlers - Familiars

Familiars is The Antlers' follow-up to the incredible 2011 release Burst Apart. Each release from the band has, in a metaphorical way, approached a different subject, from heartbreak, to sexual frustration, to sadness. Their latest is no different; it explores the subject of death, using self-discovery as the metaphor (man, that's dark). Their use of sound remains largely consistent, if not at least becoming more solid in their approach.

Watch: "Hotel"
Watch: "Palace"

Kasabian - 48:13

There are some typical avenues artists take to name albums; the name of an album track, the artist's name, a lyric on the album, or even the number of the album in the artist's discography. British indie rock outfit Kasabian is taking a fairly new, or at least infrequently used approach; the album's title is also its length, 48 minutes and 13 seconds. The tracks on their latest have actually been given names, the artwork does show the length of each track, though.

Watch: "Eez-eh"
Listen: "Explodes"

Klaxons - Love Frequency

The Klaxons manage to create music that sounds like a futuristic indie punk, yet still incorporates distinctive styles from the past few decades; including new wave and psychedelia. Predictably, their music is extremely enjoyable to listen to; though not extremely deep. Love Frequency is their third album and a follow-up to 2010's Surfing the Void.

Watch: "Show Me a Miracle"
Watch: "There Is No Other Time"

Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

I have been extremely apprehensive to check out Lana Del Rey's music. She seemed to be a pop chanteuse manufactured specifically for the hipster crowd and, after seeing a lackluster SNL performance of hers, I was convinced she had nothing really to offer. I was intrigued, though, when it was announced that her sophomore album was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. While I'm not convinced she's a great artist, after a few listens I consider to be an interesting artist and one worth listening to.

Watch: "Shades of Cool"
Listen: "Pretty When You Cry"

Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour

Sam Smith first shot to fame as a guest vocalist for other artists, most notably on "Latch" by Disclosure and "La La La" by Naughty Boy. Last year, he began releasing his own solo material, and proved that he can stand on his own and possibly heralding in a new era for British crooners. In the Lonely Hour is his debut record.

Watch: "Money on My Mind"
Watch: "Leave Your Lover"

Say Hi - Endless Wonder

Say Hi may be thought of as a band, but is really the solo work of musician Eric Elbogen, who sings and plays all of the instruments on his records. He began his career in 2002 and has fairly consistently released one album per two years since. Endless Wonder is his eighth album.

Listen: "Such a Drag"
Listen: "Critters"

Siinai - Supermarket

Siinai is a Finnish rock band who contributed to Moonface's (Spencer Krug) 2012 album Heartbreaking Bravery. This is perhaps very fitting, as their music is unique, but all instrumental. They served as a good accompaniment to Krug's vocals. They are back to being just Siinai, though; Supermarket is their first record since that collaboration.

Watch: "Shopping Trance"
Watch: "Entrance"

The Soft Pink Truth - Why Do the Heathen Rage

The Soft Pink Truth is a house band that was started by Matmos frontman Drew Daniel as a dare (someone didn't believe that he could create house music). Albums were released in 2003 and 2004 from the project, then they went quiet for awhile. They return this year with an album of heavy metal covers, done in a house/electronic style. The album features contributions from M.C. Schmidt, Antony Hegarty and Jenn Wasner.

Watch: "Black Metal"
Listen: "Ready to Fuck"

Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers

Despite his age, Willie Nelson has been an incredibly prolific recorder and performer. He's released four albums just in the past two years and estimates that he performs around 150 concerts per year. Despite this, it's been a long time since he's released an album of songs that he himself has written, nearly 20 years. Band of Brothers marks his return to writing.

Watch: "The Wall"

Other New Releases

Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll Reissue

Cocteau Twins were a highly-influential dream pop band active from 1979 and 1997. Two of their better known albums are getting reissued this week; Blue Bell Knoll was initially released in 1988 and was the band's first album to receive major-label distribution.

Watch: "Carolyn's Fingers"
Listen: "Blue Bell Knoll"

Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas Reissue

Heaven or Las Vegas was the 1990 follow-up to Blue Bell Knoll. It would go on to be included in a number of "best of the decade" lists and has often been considered to be Cocteau Twins' best work.

Watch: "Heaven or Las Vegas"
Watch: "Iceblink Luck"

Dave Sitek - "God Damn Beauty"

Dave Sitek is primarily known as a multi-instrumentalist for TV on the Radio and as a producer. He has also started making a name for himself as a solo artist. He released his debut, Maximum Balloon, in 2010 and is following up with a new single.

Listen: "God Damn Beauty"

Detroit Swindle - 64 Ways: The Remixes (featuring Mayer Hawthorne)

House band Detroit Swindle released a full-length album, Boxed In, in March of this year. That album included a track with vocal contributions from Mayer Hawthorne. That track has been remixed by a number of producers, including Kraak & Smaak. Those remixes have been compiled onto this release.

Listen: "64 Ways"
Listen: "64 Ways" (Kraak & Smaak Remix)

Joakim - "Bring Your Love" (featuring Luke Jenner)

Joakim, another house producer, also released an album earlier this year. Luke Jenner, formerly of The Rapture, was included on a track off the album, which is now seeing its single release.

Watch: "Bring Your Love"

The Knife - Shaken-Up Versions

The Knife released an incredible fourth album last year following a seven-year new music hiatus for the band. Songs from that album are getting "shaken-up" with reworkings of the original compositions.

Watch: "Without You My Life would Be Boring" (Shaken-Up Version)

Red Hot + Bach

The Red Hot Organization is an association dedicated to fighting AIDS. To support their mission, they have released a number of themed albums, featuring contributions from many prominent musicians. In the latest, musicians use Bach compositions to create new music. Contributors here include Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Julianna Barwick.

Watch: Julianna Barwick - "Very Own"
Listen: Shara Worden - "Time Drinks Three Shots" (from "You Us We All")

St. Vincent - "Digital Witness"

St. Vincent released what may turn out to be the best album of the year this past February. "Digital Witness" was a stand-out from the album and is getting released as a single backed with a remix of the track done by Darkside.

Watch: "Digital Witness"
Listen: "Digital Witness" (Darkside Remix)

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit Reissue

There's a connection between these last two artists. Before breaking out on her own, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) spent time in the touring band for Sufjan Stevens. This was after he released this album in 2001. The musician's sophomore album, based on the Chinese zodiac, is getting a reissue this week.

Listen: "Enjoy Your Rabbit"
Listen: "Year of the Ox"

Monday, June 16, 2014

Run the Jewels - "A Christmas Fucking Miracle"

Run the Jewels gave us the most awkward and awesome Christmas card of 2013. Their video for "A Christmas Fucking Miracle" shows El-P and Killer Mike in a variety of ugly holiday sweaters and awkward photo poses.

Run the Jewel's eponymous debut album was released in June of last year.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 06/10/2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

For such a young duo, the Söderberg sister act hit the ground running. This is their third studio album; their first, The Big Black & Blue, in 2010, when the younger sister, Johanna, was just 17 years old. Stay Gold is their most personal album yet, perhaps influenced by a young adulthood spent on the road away from other family.

Watch: "My Silver Lining"
Watch: "Cedar Lane"

The Fresh & Onlys - House of Spirits

The Fresh & Onlys create an interesting mix of genres, spanning from psychedelic folk to garage rock. They've been an incredibly prolific band, releasing five albums over the past six years. Their latest was written by frontman Tim Cohen on an isolated Arizona horse ranch.

Listen: "Animal of One"
Listen: "Bells of Paonia"

Jack White - Lazaretto

Jack White had spent so much time in bands, it started to seem like it was his comfort zone. It's been four years, however, since the release of his last record in a band, The Dead Weather's Sea of Cowards. He released his first solo record in 2012 so I guess solo his his new milieu!

Watch: "Lazaretto"
Watch: "High Ball Stepper"

Stagnant Pools - Geist

When I decide to check out a new artist, it's usually because I've heard a song that they were featured on or have heard a lot about them from a variety of publications. I only heard about Stagnant Pools once, on the AVClub, but the headline mentioned that there were an Indiana band. Reading the story, I discovered they were from Bloomington. I did actually listen to the music and really liked it, but Hoosier pride people!

Listen: "Intentions"

Other New Releases

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Music from the Motion Picture

Now, I haven't actually seen the How to Train Your Dragon films, though I did see snippets of the first and it looked cute. I'm including the soundtrack on my weekly list, however, due to a contribution to the soundtrack from Jónsi, lead singer for Sigur Rós.

Listen: Jónsi - "Where No One Goes"

Pepsi Beats of the Beautiful Game

As I'm sure everyone knows, the 2014 World Cup began this week in Brazil. To celebrate the world's most popular sport, Pepsi has put together a collection of songs (some new, some old) to represent the various cultures also present in the Cup.

Listen: Santigold - "Kicking Down Doors"
Watch: Janelle Monáe - "Heroes"

Poliça - Shulamith Deluxe Edition

Poliça released one hell of an album last year. This year, it's getting its re-release with a few newer songs and an awesome cover of the Lesley Gore classic, "You Don't Own Me."

Watch: "Raw Exit"
Listen: "You Don't Own Me"

Real Estate - Spotify Sessions: Live at SXSW

The band Real Estate performed at this year's SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. The performance was a part of a series of Spotify Sessions and is now getting a release (exclusively through the music streaming service, of course) this summer.

Listen: "Crime"
Listen: "Had to Hear"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Music Tuesday - June 03, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Brian Reitzell - Auto Music

Brian Reitzell is musician, composer and producer who has become known for compiling and composing music for film soundtracks, including The Bling Ring, Stranger Than Fiction and Marie Antoinette. He is also a member of the band TV Eyes. Auto Music is his debut solo album. For the record, he has teamed with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

Listen: "Last Summer"

Clap You Hands Say Yeah - Only Run

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came in on a mid-2000s upbeat indie pop/rock wave that didn't produce many lasting artists. CYHSY has managed to stay on the radar. Despite a sophomore-album lull, they have maintained a solid fanbase and advanced their sound without losing elements that make their music so much fun to listen to!

Watch: "As Always"
Listen: "Coming Down"

Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites

Echo & The Bunnymen are one of those classic '80s post-punk bands who have managed to hang on through many changes in the music landscape. They formed in 1978 and, discounting a three-year break in the '90s, have been together ever since. 1984's "The Killing Moon" may remain their best-known and -loved song, but they've continued to make great music throughout their 12 studio albums.

Listen: "Market Town"
Listen: "Burn It Down"

Fucked Up - Glass Boys

Fucked Up is, at its base, a hardcore punk band with a name and sound that would scare any Midwestern housewife. Looking a little deeper, though, it's easy to see a band that stands out greatly from others in the genre. With each album, the music around Damian Abraham's screaming vocals is somewhat softer and more melodic, supported with sweet backing vocals from Sandy Miranda. Their music is a fascinating exploration in contrast.

Watch: "Sun Glass"
Watch: "Paper the House"

Hamilton Leithauser - Black Hours

The Walkmen's last album, Heaven, was a marked departure in the sound of the band. Now, perhaps, we see where that new sound was going. Hamilton Leithauser, lead singer of the currently-on-hiatus band, is the second member to release a solo album this year. His debut album brings to mind many of the sounds and subject matter present on Heaven. I'll miss The Walkmen until they (hopefully) come back, but he shines as a solo act and I'm loving this just as much.

Watch: "Alexandra"
Watch: "I Retired"

Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

Parquet Courts were one of the biggest acts of 2012 following the release of their breakout sophomore album, Light Up Gold. This follow-up was written while the band was on tour in support of that sophomore record. The music and lyrics were inspired by the mix of freedom and captivity that can exist for a young band on the road.

Watch: "Sunbathing Animal"
Watch: "Black and White"

Peter Murphy - Lion

Peter Murphy was the frontman for the band Bauhaus, who contributed their own iconic song to the post-punk movement, "Bela Lugosi's Dead." They broke up in 1983, but have had intermittent reunions in the '90s and 2000s. Murphy has been active as solo artist for nearly that entire time, he released his debut in 1986. His latest finds him experimenting with disparate genres, with influences ranging from opera to The Beatles.

Watch: "Eliza"
Watch: "Hang Up"

Other New Releases

Andrew Bird - Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of...

Andrew Bird covered a song from The Handsome Family on 2003's Weather Systems. Here, he is revisiting his love of that band's music with a full album of covers.

Listen: "My Sister's Tiny Hands"

Julianna Barwick - Rosabi EP

Musicians may often find some sort of inspiration in beer, but probably none in the way that Julianna Barwick has. Her latest release is in collaboration with Dogfish Head Brewery. Some of the music is made up of sounds gathered from the brewing process. In tandem with this EP, Dogfish Head has also released a new beer, also named Rosabi, which is an IPA.

Listen: "Meet You at Midnight"

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin Reissue

The first three albums of the legendary classic rock band Led Zeppelin's discography are getting the remaster and reissue treatment this year. The first was originally released in 1969.

Listen: "Good Times Bad Times"
Listen: "Communication Breakdown"

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II Reissue

The second Led Zeppelin album getting re-released was also first released in 1969. This album was the band's first to hit number one in both the UK and the US.

Listen: "Moby Dick"
Listen: "Whole Lotta Love"

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III Reissue

Led Zeppelin's third album was released in 1970. The album was a move towards a folkier sound, which didn't result in much commercial success at the time, but has made it one of their most highly-regarded records of their repertoire.

Listen: "Immigrant Song"
Listen: "Hey Hey What Can I Do"

Moby - "Rio"

Recently, Duran Duran released an album with their songs covered by other artists. Moby was one of the contributors to the compilation. His cover is getting its own single release.

Listen: "Rio"

Morrissey - Vauxhall and I Reissue

Morrissey has been a prolific solo artist since the demise of The Smiths in 1987. His fourth album, released in 1994, is getting re-released. He will be releasing a new solo album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, in July!

Listen: "The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get"
Listen: "Hold on to Your Friends"

Palo Alto: Music from the Motion Picture

Palo Alto is a new movie, based on a book of short stories by James Franco. I've read the book, it's alright, but I'm excited about the names behind the film and its soundtrack! The film is directed by Gia Coppola, the latest director in the legendary Coppola family, and features new music from Devonté Hynes (aka Lightspeed Champion aka Blood Orange).

Watch: Blood Orange - "Champagne Coast"
Listen: Devonté Hynes - "Palo Alto"

SBTRKT - Transitions III

This is the final piece in the Transitions project from SBTRKT. While there's some indication that a follow-up sophomore album is in the cards for 2014, Transitions represents an album's-worth of new material from the musician.

Listen: "High & Lows"