Monday, July 27, 2015

Run the Jewels - "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)"

It seems that, recently, tensions between law enforcement and people of color have been at an especially high level. Many artists have tackled the issue through their work, and Run the Jewels are among the latest to allude to those tensions both in their music and their videos.

They present a bit of a twist on the concept, though. We are presented with two men, a white police officer and a black suspect. At first, it appears that the cop is attempting to arrest an uncooperative suspect, but the fight stretches beyond the course of the afternoon and into the night, far longer than one would expect before an arrest is made, backup is called, or someone is dead. By the end, we're left questioning the nature of the relationship between the men.

Run the Jewels released their amazing sophomore album, Run the Jewels 2, last year. This particular track, a standout from the record, features a guest verse from Zack De La Rocha, formerly of Rage Against the Machine.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Music Tuesday - June 16, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Active Child - Mercy

Mercy is the sophomore album from Pat Grossi, who released his incredible debut You Are All I See, in 2011. His debut received rave reviews and even spawned a cover by Ellie Goulding of the song "Hanging On" a year later on her Halcyon album. On the follow-up, he has partnered with producer Van Rivers, who helped him to push and develop his writing and vocals.

Watch: "1999"
Listen: "Never Far Away"

Ben Browning - Turns

Ben Browning daylights as the bassist for Australian band Cut Copy. He began his solo career in 2012 with the EP Lover Motion. He is following that up with his debut full-length. There's no word yet on whether to expect new music soon from his band, who released Free Your Mind in November 2013.

Watch: "Make It Easy"
Watch: "Friends of Mine"

Giorgio Moroder - Déjà Vu

Giorgio Moroder was a disco-era icon, though his career dried up a bit as disco waned in popularity. Dance, electronic, and even disco, have had a big resurgence over the past few years, making it a prime time for Moroder to come back. His first album in 30 years features vocals from a bevy of younger performers, including: Charli XCX, Kelis, Britney Spears, and Sia.

Watch: "Déjà Vu" (featuring Sia)
Watch: "Right Here, Right Now" (featuring Kylie Minogue)

Heartless Bastards - Restless Ones

Over their five albums, this Cincinnati-based band has often been compared to another Ohio act, The Black Keys. Both bands started with a minimalist blues rock sound. Recently, The Black Keys have started to stray from that sound; the Heartless Bastards seem to be following suit. Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom promises that the album is a departure, allowing the band to grow and avoid making the same record twice.

Watch: "Gates of Dawn"
Watch: "Hi-Line"

Ryn Weaver - The Fool

Ryn Weaver is one of the latest benefactors (or maybe victim - not a statement of her talent) of the hype cycle. She became an overnight sensation last summer with the release of the single "OctaHate." Her debut EP, Promises, followed not long after and now she's out with her full-length debut.

Watch: "OctaHate"
Watch: "The Fool"

Other Full-Length Releases

Czarface - Every Hero Needs a Villain

Listen: "Ka-Bang" (featuring MF DOOM)
Listen: "Deadly Class" (featuring Meyhem Lauren)

Hudson Mohawke - Lantern

Watch: "Very First Breath" (featuring Irfane)
Watch: "Warriors" (featuring Ruckazoid & Devaeux)

John Metcalfe - The Appearance of Colour

Watch: "Gold Green"
Watch: "Parsal"

Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic

Watch: "AhHa"
Watch: "Grand Romantic"

Outfit - Slowness

Watch: "New Air"
Watch: "Framed"

Purple - Silence & Remorse

Listen: "The Deepest Night"
Listen: "Never Come Back"

Slum Village - Yes!

Watch: "Love Is" (featuring Bilal & Illa J)
Listen: "Right Back" (featuring De La Soul)

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Air - The Virgin Suicides - 15th Anniversary Edition

Listen: "Playground Love" (KCRW LA Radio Jan 2000)

The Antlers - Live in London

Watch: "Director"
Watch: "Doppelgänger"

Cold Cave - Full Cold Moon

Listen: "Nausea, the Earth, and Me"

Dave Monks - All Signs Point to Yes EP

Watch: "Gasoline"
Listen: "The Rules"

Dope: Music from the Motion Picture

Listen: Nas - "The World Is Yours"
Listen: Public Enemy - "Rebel Without a Pause"

Fucked Up - Year of the Hare

Listen: "California Cold"

Gener8ion - Bromance #21

Watch: "The New International Sound Pt. II" (featuring M.I.A.)
Listen: "Walled City"

Hotei - "How the Cookie Crumbles"

Watch: "How the Cookie Crumbles" (featuring Iggy Pop)

Mates of State - You're Going to Make It

Watch: "Staring Contest"
Listen: "Beautiful Kids"

Protomartyr/R. Ring - A Half of Seven

Listen: Protomartyr - "Blues Festival" (featuring Kelley Deal)

The Radio Dept. - Occupied EP
Listen: "Occupied"
Listen: "It Looked Like Heaven (But Feels Like Hell)"

Raury - "Devil's Whisper"

Listen: "Devil's Whisper"

Tobias Jesso Jr. - "True Love"/"Without You" 7"

Listen: "True Love"
Listen: "Without You" (Alternate Version)

The Twilight Sad - "It Was Never the Same"

Watch: "It Was Never the Same"
Listen: The Cure - "There's a Girl in the Corner"

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending July 25)

Before we get started on the album and other music announcements that excited me this week, remember that a more comprehensive list of upcoming releases is always available here for your perusing enjoyment!

My announcement of the week goes to the band Wavves, who announced their fifth album, appropriately named V.

The band, fronted by Nathan Williams, has been around since 2008. They have a sound that is, at its base, garage rock, but with elements of noise, surf, grunge, and punk. When I first heard of them and started listening to their music, I didn't take them very seriously. They seemed like a bunch of kids interested in just rocking out and content with releasing a similar collection of music every few years. Then, Afraid of Heights came out in 2013. It was more mature, the songwriting was better, and the melodies more developed. There was still a sense of the silliness and irreverence they'd displayed before, just presented in a better package.

They first announced that a follow-up would be coming back in January, but with all of the things that the band, and especially their frontman, have going on, I quickly forgot that it would be happening. The band continued their contributions to the Grand Theft Auto V music series (the latest was released in April), and then released a collaborative album with Cloud Nothings, No Life for Me, just last month. Just a few days before the latest album was announced, the band released a new song, "Way Too Much," but I still didn't put two and two together. V was officially announced on Monday, and is set to be released October 2.

Also announced this week:

2 Chainz - Trapavelli 3 (August 14)
Blitzen Trapper - All Across This Land (October 2)
Cold Cave, Genesis Breyer, P-Orridge, & Black Rain - Rebellion Is Over (available at live shows)
David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock (September 18)
Fuzz - II (October 23)
Gazing with Tranquility: A Tribute to Donovan (October 16)
Here We Go Magic - Be Small (October 16)
Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down (September 25)
Lou Barlow - Brace the Wave (September 4)
Matthew E. White - Fresh Blood: No Skin (out now)
Monika - Secret in the Dark (October 2)
Olga Bell - Incitation EP (October 16)
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magnifique - Love Is Free (August 7)
Roísín Murphy - Evil Eye Mixes (no set date)
Say Hi - Bleeder's Digest (September 18)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending July 18)

Welcome to the second installment of my new upcoming album feature! As always, a broad list of upcoming releases can be viewed here.

There were a few exciting releases announced this week, but there was one that stood out just above the others: a new record, Every Open Eye, from Chvrches.

Although it hasn't even been two years since the release of the Scottish trio's debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, Chvrches announced that they were headed back into the studio in January of this year. They completed recording just last month and announced the album's release on Wednesday. They released the first single from the album, "Leave a Trace," the next day.

A fairly young band (they started in 2011), Chvrches made a big impact with the release of their September 2013 debut album. It was a perfect mix of pop, electronic, and dance, with an amazing lead singer whose almost-saccharine vocals belied biting lyrics. That album ended up being one of my favorites by the end of the year.

The follow-up is one of a seemingly dwindling number of releases that come as no surprise to fans (in a world where some artists are dropping albums with no warning). This band let fans in at every step of the way. They announced when they started recording, provided periodic updates (including a prank on their manager), and announced when they were finished. We all knew that a formal announcement was coming at any moment. And that's something that I appreciate (though surprises can be fun).

Also announced this week:

Battles - La Di Da Di (September 18)
Editors - In Dream (October 2)
Hamilton Leithauser & Paul Maroon - Dear God (late August)
Joe Jackson - Fast Forward (October 2)
JR JR - JR JR (September 25)
M.I.A. - Matahdatah (no release date, yet)
PINS - "Dazed By You"/"Live and Let Go" (August 21)
Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect (October 9)

New Music Tuesday - June 9, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Damaged Bug - Cold Hot Plumbs

Thee Oh Sees and frontman John Dwyer are quickly reaching Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard levels of prolificness. In May, the band continued their consistency in releasing a new album every year with Mutilator Defeated at Last. Last year, Dwyer began his solo project Damaged Bug with Hubba Bubba. Just one year later, and a few weeks after the latest with his band, he is back with his sophomore solo record.

Watch: "Jet in the Jungle"


FFS is the collaboration of two very different bands; Franz Ferdinand, a Scottish art rock band active since the early 2000s, and Sparks, an LA chamber pop band around since 1971. It's not clear how exactly they hooked up, but it seems they've been recording together since around 2005. I'm not very familiar with Sparks, but the collaboration is certainly more experimental than the music that Franz Ferdinand create on their own.

Watch: "Johnny Delusional"
Watch: "Piss Off"

No Joy - More Faithful

No Joy is a Canadian shoegaze band active since 2009. They began their career in their native Montréal and quickly gained the attention of more prominent musicians, including Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü and Bethany Cosentino, who described them as "Two hot blonde girls just shredding away." Six years and three albums later, they are still going strong, and getting better with every release.

Watch: "Everything New"
Listen: "Moon in My Mouth"

Other Full-Length Releases

J Fernandez - Many Levels of Laughter

Watch: "Between the Channels"
Watch: "Markers"

Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, girl

Watch: "That Battle Is Over"
Listen: "Sabbath"

Leftfield - Alternative Light Source

Watch: "Bilocaiton" (featuring Channy Leaneagh)
Watch: "Universal Everything"

Of Monsters and Men - Beneath the Skin

Watch: "Crystals"
Listen: "I of the Storm"

Pete Townshend - Classic Quadrophenia

Watch: "Love Reign O'er Me" (featuring Alfie Boe)

PINS - Wild Nights

Watch: "Molly"
Watch: "Young Girls"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Live in Paris

Watch: "Let the Day Begin"
Watch: "Beat the Devil's Tattoo"

John Lennon - Lennon Box Set

Listen: "Imagine"
Listen: "Mind Games"

Sharon Van Etten - I Don't Want to Let You Down EP

Listen: "I Don't Want to Let You Down"
Listen: "Just Like Blood"

Uniform - Perfect World

Listen: "Perfect World"

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Upcoming Album of the Week

Not too long ago, maybe a year or so, I added a new page to my blog to list upcoming releases. The page gets a good amount of views, but I was trying to think of ways I can better let my wonderful readers know of new album announcements. I love the list, but it may be difficult to see what albums were announced more recently, versus those which have been on the list for weeks or months.

So, the idea for this post was born! This will be a weekly post to highlight one notable release announcement each week, while also providing a quick list for other announcements from throughout the week. I cannot promise that it will be comprehensive, even to the music that I enjoy, but I hope that it can provide a quick update each week of upcoming albums, EPs, singles, soundtracks, and more!

So, on to this week's albums. There was a few announcements that got me excited, but one in particular that has me waiting on pins and needles. It is a new record from The Dead Weather, one of several side projects Jack White began while The White Stripes were still together. On Monday, the band announced their third album, Dodge & Burn, to be released in September (we'll get a more specific date as it comes closer).

The band includes a number of other great musicians, as well: Jack Lawrence of The Greenhornes, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age, and Alison Mosshart of The Kills. It's a supergroup of sorts, one that brings together some of the best in hard and blues rock.

The band released albums in 2009 and 2010, Horehound and Sea of Cowards, but took a bit of a break until 2013 when they released a pair of new songs, "Open Up (That's Enough)" and "Rough Detective." They did the same in 2014 with "Buzzkill(er)" and "It's Just Too Bad."

The new record will be released in both a standard edition and a special limited edition available to subscribers of Third Man Records' Vault series. The special edition will include exclusive artwork, a 7" containing even more new songs, and a pack of playing cards. The songs released over the past couple of years are confirmed to be on the album.

Also announced this week:

Diet Cig - "Sleep Talk"/"Dinner Date" (September 18)
Future - DS2 (July 17)
Helen - The Original Faces (September 4)
Julia Holter - Have You in My Wilderness (September 25)
Keith Richards - Crosseyed Heart (September 18)
Mark Kozelek - Dreams of Childhood (October 30)
Ought - Sun Coming Down (September 25)
Talib Kweli - Train of Thought: Lost Lyrics, Rare Releases, & Beautiful B-Sides, Vol. 1 (it's already out)
WAND - 1000 Days (September 25)
The Weeknd - Beauty Before the Madness (August 28)
Youth Lagoon - Savage Hills Ballroom (no release date, yet)

New Music Tuesday - June 2, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Algiers - Algiers

Algiers is a three-piece band out of Atlanta. Though they've been performing together for eight years, this is just their first album. The band is well-informed by many of the indie and experimental bands that came before them, but also incorporate a bit of gospel, influenced by frontman Franklin James Fisher's upbringing in the church.

Watch: "Black Eunuch"
Watch: "Irony. Utility. Pretext"

Daughn Gibson - Carnation

Daughn Gibson, real name Josh Martin, is a singer and songwriter from Pennsylvania. He began his career as the guitarist for Pearls and Brass, but struck out on his own as a solo artist with the release of 2012's All Hell. Carnation is his third record.

Watch: "Daddy I Cut My Hair"
Listen: "It Wants Everything"

Florence + The Machine - How Big How Blue How Beautiful

Every album from Florence + The Machine has been great, with excellent songwriting and even better vocals. Frontwoman Florence Welch describes their third album as the most personal that the band has made, coming after a period where she had a "bit of a nervous breakdown" and dealt with her alcohol abuse. Because of this, the album feels the most fully mature and sincere of the three.

Watch: "St. Jude"
Watch: "What Kind of Man"

Jamie xx - In Colour

Jamie xx is a member of the UK band The xx, but he has had the most active solo career of the bandmates. In addition to the production work for the band, he has also produced for Gil-Scott Heron & Alicia Keys. With his first solo album, he furthers the electronic, house, and techno dominance that British musicians have held over the past few years.

Watch: "Gosh"
Watch: "Loud Places" (featuring Romy)

Sun Kil Moon - Universal Themes

Over the past year or so, Mark Kozelek has proven himself to be an artist best experienced on record rather that live. He has begun several one-sided feuds, both with other musicians and with journalists, from the stage and come off as a bit of an ass. Still, he remains an incredible musician and songwriter; something that remains evident on his seventh album under the name Sun Kil Moon.

Listen: "Ali/Spinks 2"
Listen: "Garden of Lavender"

Other Full-Length Releases

Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands

Watch: "Things Happen" Listen: "Right on Time"

Major Lazer - Peace Is the Mission

Watch: "Lean On" (featuring MØ)
Watch: "Powerful"

Melody Gardot - Currency of Man

Watch: "Preacherman"
Watch: "Same to You"

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard - Django & Jimmie

Watch: "It's All Going to Pot"
Watch: "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Bleachers - Like a River Runs

Listen: Sia - "Like a River Runs"
Listen: "Like a River Runs" (Jack's 2015 Rework)

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Reissue

Listen: "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth"
Listen: "Heavy Metal"

Communions - Communions EP

Listen: "Summer's Oath"
Listen: "Out of My World"

The Cribs - "Different Angle"/"Orange Star Rattle"

Watch: "Different Angle"
Listen: "Orange Star Rattle"

Mastodon - Crack the Skye Reissue

Listen: "Divinations"
Listen: "The Czar"

Motel Pools - Motel Pools EP

Listen: "Human Cannonball" (featuring Kyp Malone)

Porcelain Raft - Half Awake EP

Listen: "All in My Head"
Listen: "Half Awake"