Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Chemical Brothers - "Wide Open" (featuring Beck)

This week, The Chemical Brothers released a video for their collaboration with Beck, "Wide Open," from their latest album.

The video features dancer Sonoya Mizuno, who you may recognize from Ex Machina. She, of course, dances in the video, but as she's dancing, parts of her body are transformed into an open mesh. I can't even begin to understand how they made this happen, but it's a stunning video.

Born in the Echoes was released on June 17 of last year.

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending January 30)

January's been a busy month for new album announcements. You can keep up with the albums slated for release over the next few months over at my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, one of my favorite Canadian bands, Suuns, announced their third album, Hold/Still.

Suuns became one of my beloved bands after the release of their 2010 debut, Zeroes QC, which is still a great record that you should check out if you haven't heard it before. They followed that up with Images du Futur in 2013 and a collaborative album with fellow Canadians Jerusalem in My Heart last year.

The new album was recorded with producer John Congleton (who also announced an album with his band this week), in Dallas last May. The announcement came with a new video for "Translate" and a Dark Sky remix of the track.

Hold/Still is set for release on April 15.

Also announced this week:

Ash Koosha - I AKA I (April 1)
Ashley Shadow - Ashley Shadow (April 15)
Bianca Casady & The C.i.A. - Oscar Hocks (out now)
Carter Tanton - Jettison the Valley (March 4)
Cate Le Bon - Crab Day (April 15)
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - PersonA (spring)
Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing (April 1)
Jessy Lanza - Oh No (May 13)
John Congleton and The Nighty Night - Until the Horror Goes (March 4)
The Joy Formidable - Hitch (March 25)
Mr. Dan - “Firewater” (February 26)
Operators - Blue Wave (April 1)
Tim Hecker - Love Streams (April 8)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell, Annie Mumolo
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Robert De Niro (Rudy), Bradley Cooper (Neil Walker), Édgar Ramírez (Tony), Susan Lucci (Danica)

Joy is the story of my life. Okay, not really, it actually tells the story of Joy Mangano, an entrepreneur best known for the invention of the self-wringing Miracle Mop. It focuses on the period of time before the invention, where Mangano is a divorced mother of two stuck with caring for her parents, grandmother, and her ex-husband. She's an inventor, but struggles to devote time to her passion between her daily responsibilities and a dead-end job. She finally gets a chance to bring her idea to market, but still must deal with the doubts from her family and their constant attempts to sabotage her.

The film is a very loose, and fictionalized interpretation of the real Joy's life. It has a fantastical feel that makes it easy to lose the story at times. However, it's anchored by an unsurprisingly solid performance from Lawrence.

Mini soundtrack:

Cream - "I Feel Free"
Alabama Shakes - "Gimme All Your Love"
Elvis Presley - "A Little Less Conversation"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Music Friday - December 18, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Cage the Elephant - Tell Me I’m Pretty

Cage the Elephant's fourth album was produced by Dan Auerbach. His influence seemed obvious upon the release of the album's first single, with fans noting similarities to the style of Auerbach's main band, The Black Keys. The comparisons, and the attendant criticism, waned a bit once more songs were released, displaying a broader range of styles than the blues rock the record's producer is known for.

Watch: "Mess Around"
Listen: "Trouble"

Pusha T - King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Pusha T had been teasing a new album, King Push, for most of 2015. This is not that album; which is currently slated for release in July. This album is a bit of a prequel to that highly-anticipated record, but is a fully flushed out release in its own right. The album was preceded by a new short film from Pusha, entitled Darkest Before Dawn.

Watch: "Crutches, Crosses, Caskets"
Watch: "Untouchable"

Other Full-Length Releases

Stephen O’Malley - F**k Fundamentalist Pigs

Taylor Bennett - Broad Shoulders

Listen: "Broad Shoulders" (featuring Chance The Rapper)
Listen: "Dancing in the Rain" (featuring Donnie Trumpet, Shay Lewis, & Brandon Fox)

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

30th Century Records Compilation Volume 1

Listen: Sam Cohen - "Use Your Illusion"
Listen: The Arcs - "Fool’s Gold"

Ariana Grande - Christmas & Chill

Watch: "True Love"
Listen: "Wit It This Christmas"

The Avett Brothers - Live, Vol. 4

East India Youth - REMIX EP

Jehnny Beth & Julian Casablancas - "Boy/Girl"

Watch: "Boy/Girl"

Lil Durk - 300 Days, 300 Nights

Watch: "My Beyoncé" (featuring Dej Loaf)
Watch: "Ride 4 Me"

Thomas Fekete - Burner

Listen: "Pick Up the Things That You Need"
Listen: "Treason"

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending January 23)

New albums are announced almost constantly, it can be hard to keep up with everything that's to come. I've done some of the hard work and collected my most anticipated records on my Upcoming Releases page. You're welcome!

This week's album announcement came from Fatima Al Qadiri, who announced her sophomore album, Brute.

Al Qadiri is a producer, electronic musician, and visual artist from Kuwait. She has released several EPs on a variety of electronic-focused labels and released her debut album Asiatisch, in 2014 on the influential Hyperdub label. Last year, she joined up with J-Cush, Asma Maroof, and Daniel Pineda, as Future Brown and released a self-titled album with them.

Her sophomore album was announced along with a new single, "Battery," and some mildly terrifying album artwork. Brute is set to be released on March 4.

Also announced this week:

Beverly - The Blue Swell (May 6)
BJ the Chicago Kid - In My Mind (February 19)
The I Don’t Cares - Wild Stab (out now)
Iggy Pop & Josh Homme - Post Pop Depression (March)
Kevin Morby - Singing Saw (April 15)
Låpsley - Long Way Home (March 4)
The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You’ve Come to Expect (April 1)
Marching Church - Coming Down: Sessions in April (February 19)
PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project (April 15)
SAD13 x Lizzo - “Basement Queens” (out now)
Sean Watkins - What to Fear (March 18)
The Skiffle Players - Skifflin’ (February 12)
Starwalker - Starwalker (April 1)
Wussy - Forever Sounds (March 4)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Favorite Albums of 2015

20. Hippo Campus - The Halocline EPs

Watch: "South"
Watch: "Violet"

19. Speedy Ortiz - Foil Deer

Watch: "Swell Content"
Watch: "My Dead Girl"

18. José González - Vestiges & Claws

Watch: "Let It Carry You"
Watch: "Open Book"

17. The Dead Weather - Dodge & Burn

Watch: "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)"
Listen: "Buzzkill(er)"

16. Alabama Shakes - Sound & Colour

Watch: "Sound & Color"
Watch: "Don’t Wanna Fight"

15. Earl Sweatshirt - I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

Watch: "Off Top"
Watch: "Grief"

14. Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet

Listen: "A Beautiful Woman"
Listen: "The Eye"

13. Ibeyi - Ibeyi

Watch: "Ghosts"
Watch: "Mama Says"

12. PINS - Wild Nights

Watch: "Got It Bad"
Watch: "Dazed By You"

11. Laura Marling - Short Movie

Watch: "I Feel Your Love"
Watch: "Gurdjieff’s Daughter"

10. Lady Lamb - After

So much new music is over-produced, so it's refreshing to see an artist who not only keeps things simple, but still manages to do something new and interesting. This album was on repeat during the early part of the year; with many amazing tracks (my favorite is probably "Violent Clementines").

Watch: "Spat Out Spit"
Watch: "Billions of Eyes"

9. Empress Of - Me

This one snuck in on me during the last month of the year. Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, released her debut back in September and I decided to check it out after hearing her praises sung from many a publication. The praise of well-deserved; she recalls the best parts of 80s pop in a way that seems danceable, yet still intimate. The real clincher is her voice, which lilts and climbs through the album's ten tracks.

Watch: "Icon"
Watch: "Standard"

8. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

I didn't listen to this album nearly as much as I should have, but it was not an easy listen. Named for his mother and stepfather, it's the most personal of his repertoire, and he certainly seems to be exorcising some demons. The album is sharply different from his last offering, 2010's The Age of Adz; the instrumentation here is sparse and Sufjan's voice is barely a whisper. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking album.

Watch: "Should Have Known Better"
Watch: "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross"

7. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

This is another difficult listen, but for a slightly different reason. Whereas Sufjan's is a look inwards, Kendrick Lamar seems to hold a mirror back on the country. The perspective is still immensely internal, with Lamar struggling with feeling like a hypocrite, speaking to what he feels his responsibility is to his community. His music became an anthem for a new movement, while also challenging expectations of what hip hop is supposed to sound like.

Watch: "King Kunta"
Watch: "Alright"

6. Everything Everything - Get to Heaven

But sometimes you just need something fun to listen to. Everything Everything are purveyors of overstuffed "kitchen sink" rock and have only gotten better with each successive album. Getting my hands on this required ordering from Amazon's British site as the album still hasn't technically been released here. Their music can be overwhelming with varied themes and often strange lyrics, but I'm always drawn back to Jonathan Higgs' incredible vocals.

Watch: "No Reptiles"
Watch: "Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread"

5. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

If I was only judging on lyrics, I think this would be my favorite album last year. Barnett is an artist who revels in exploring the mundane. The album's opening track is a rambling account of a man completely bored with life and it only gets better from there. Few people could write about everyday thoughts and feelings yet still manage to sound so insightful.

Watch: "Dead Fox"
Watch: "Kim’s Caravan"

4. Chvrches - Every Open Eye

Many bands fall prey to the "sophomore slump" and fail to follow-up on an excellent debut. I was afraid that Chvrches may be one of those bands, with a synthpop sound that became nearly ubiquitous not long after the release of their The Bones of What We Believe three years ago. They fought the slump by doubling down on that sound. They don't stray far from their debut, either lyrically or sonically, but that's perfectly alright.

Watch: "Empty Threat"
Watch: "Leave a Trace"

3. Vince Staples - Summertime ‘06

If Lamar's album was revolutionary, Staples represents a move back to the heyday of West Coast hip hop. He's frank about gang involvement and drug dealing, a life that he does say he has gotten away from. It's also a personal album, exploring a time in his life when it seems that everything changed. Lyrically, it's impressive, with better turns of phrase than I can imagine any other 22-year-old busting out. This was one that I listened to on endlessly last summer.

Watch: "Norf Norf"
Watch: "Señorita"

2. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

There are a handful of artists who I believe can do no wrong. Bradford Cox is one of those; whether it's his solo work as Atlas Sound or working with this band, everything has been just incredible. I was dismayed at how Deerhunter's last album, Monomania, was overlooked, but the world restored my faith with the response to this follow-up. This is a great album, with just the right balance of accessibility and weirdness.

Watch: "Living My Life"
Watch: "Snakeskin"

1. Tame Impala - Currents

I was apprehensive about that album at first. Tame Impala drifted pretty far from their style on their excellent sophomore album, Lonerism, something that seemed almost unforgivable at first. This record grew on me pretty quickly. It seems odd for a bunch of white Australian boys to take inspiration from disco and R&B, but they incorporate the styles well. This album grooves so incredibly hard, it's hard to keep myself from bobbing my head along whenever I listen.

Watch: "Let It Happen"
Watch: "The Less I Know the Better"

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending January 16)

With falling temperatures and actual snow on the ground (albeit only briefly before the melt), it's time for fun winter games. But before you head outside this weekend, be sure to check out the albums to come on my Upcoming Releases page!

Weezer is a band that just won't quit. They got some praise for their first and second albums, Weezer (Blue Album) and Pinkerton, which remain my two favorites of their repertoire, but there hasn't been as much love for their work since. Many see them as a band who, 1) won't grow up and 2) aren't living up to their potential. This week, they announced their 10th album, returning to their habit of self-titled releases; this one will be referred to as the White Album. Judging by the tracks' names, they won't shake the claims of immaturity anytime soon, but their has been some cautious praise for their most recent singles, so it may be a return to form. The album is set to be released on April 1, no foolin'.

Also announced this week:

Black Mountain - IV (April 1)
Bleached - Welcome the Worms (April 1)
Bob Mould - Patch the Sky (March 25)
Flatbush Zombies - 3001: A Laced Odyssey (March 11)
Jeremy Gara - Limn (March 11)
LNZNDRF - LNZNDRF (February 19)
Lust for Youth - Compassion (March 18)
Majical Cloudz - Wait & See (out now)
Moderat - III (April 1)
Robert Pollard - Of Course You Are (March 4)
Rostam - “EOS” (out now)
Tiga - No Fantasy Required (March 4)
Vinyl: Music from the HBO Original Series - Volume 1 (February 12)
Willie Nelson - Summertime: WIllie Nelson Sings Gershwin (February 26)
Woods - City Sun Eater in the River of Light (April 8)
Yuck - Stranger Things (February 26)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Music Friday - December 11, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Archy Marshall - A New Place 2 Drown

Archy Marshall is better known by his stage name King Krule; under which he released his debut album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, in 2013. His follow-up album is a companion piece to a new short film and a book from the artist. The book includes a collection of poetry and art from both Archy and his brother Jack.

Listen: "Ammi Ammi" (featuring Jamie Isaac)
Listen: "Thames Water"

jennylee - right on!

jennylee is Jenny Lee Lindberg, the bassist for Warpaint. The band itself released their last album, Warpaint, almost two years ago. Two solo projects have come out in the gap since; this and BOSS, featuring guitarist and vocalist Theresa Wayman. jennylee's debut was recorded with Norm Blake, Dan Elkan, and Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa.

Watch: "never"
Listen: "long lonely winter"

Wiki - Lil Me

Like jennylee, Wiki is mostly known for his work as a part of a group, the hip hop trio Ratking. The group released an excellent debut album, So It Goes, in 2014, but their de facto leader wasted no time in getting out his own solo debut. No hip hop album is complete without more than a few featured guests and Wiki enlists Nasty Nigel, Jesse James Solomon, and Skepta, among others, for his new record.

Watch: "Hate Is Earned"
Watch: "Livin’ with My Moms"

Other Full-Length Releases

Lizzo - Big GRRRL Small World

Watch: "My Skin"
Listen: "Humanize"

Prince - HITNRUN Phase Two

R. Kelly - The Buffet

Listen: "Let’s Be Real Now" (featuring Tinashe)
Listen: "Wake Up Everybody"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

#HORROR Soundtrack

Watch: EMA - "Amnesia Haze"

The Arcs vs. The Inventors

Listen: "Young"
Listen: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"

Ariel Pink - "I Need a Minute"/"Hall of Screams"

Watch: "I Need a Minute"
Listen: "Hall of Screams"

Cass McCombs - A Folk Set Apart: Rarities, B-Sides & Space Junk, Etc.

Watch: "I Cannot Lie"
Listen: "Evangeline"

Cassie Ramone - Christmas in Reno

Listen: "Run Run Rudolph"
Listen: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

Daye Jack - "Hands Up"

Listen: "Hands Up" (featuring Killer Mike)

Driftless Ambient II

Listen: Jack Tatum - "Above"
Listen: CFCF - "Dissecting"

Mr. Oizo - Hand in the Fire

Listen: "Hand in the Fire" (featuring Charli XCX)

Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds - "The Dying of the Light"

Watch: "The Dying of the Light"
Watch: "The Girl with the X-Ray Eyes"

PRhyme - PRhyme Deluxe Edition

Watch: "Courtesy"
Watch: "You Should Know" (featuring Dwele, DJ Premier, & Royce Da 5’9”)

Spoon - Gimme Fiction Reissue

Listen: "Was It You" (demo)

Yoko Ono & The Flaming Lips - "Happy Xmas"/"Atlas Eets Christmas"
Listen: "Atlas Eets Christmas"