Weird? Jack White? Noooooo. So the new Dead Weather album (Sea of Cowards, due out May 11) is now officially streaming online as of 1pm EST. Except, get this, it’s a live video feed of listening parties in Los Angeles and Nashville, and the camera is pretty much just pointed at a turntable playing a vinyl LP of the album the whole time! The feed is supposed to be up for the next 24 hours. You can check out the Ustream embed below.
Brooklyn krautrockers Bear In Heaven, who released 2009’s excellent Beast Rest Forth Mouth, were one of the many artists stranded overseas due to the Icelandic volcano eruption (pictured above). You may have heard about it. Anyway, while stuck in the Madrid airport one of the band members got bored enough to put a video camera on the baggage carousel. The resulting clip was obviously a bit boring but then they paired it with their track “Dust Cloud” (get it?) and the results are oddly hypnotic. Check out the video below.
In a cryptic email sent to the music press yesterday, Interpol made it known that they are “stirring,” presumably gearing up for the release of their fourth as-yet-untitled studio album. The message coincided with the posting of a new track (“Lights”) at the band’s website, which you can download below in exchange for your email address.
Back in November 2001, hip-hop was still my genre of choice and I was a little too engrossed by the Jay-Z/Nas beef to check out a rock artist screaming about “partying hard.” Being unfamiliar with Andrew WK’s work, I wasn’t that intrigued when I kept reading about Fang Island, an up-and-coming group that shares his penchant for genuinely unpretentious, in your face rock and roll; heavy on the handclaps, heavier on the hooks, and even heavier on the guitars. But after hearing “Daisy,” and the rest of Fang Island’s excellent self-titled debut, I’m thinking it might be time to revisit his work.
Fang Island take their name from Donald Rumsfeld’s fictional hideout in an article by The Onion, and they have such a happy disposition that the chorus to “Daisy” goes “hey that’s alright, yeah that’s ok, hey that’s alright, whoa whoa,” or something along those lines. In a recent interview they described their sound as “everyone high-fiving each other,” and that’s actually a pretty good description. The riffs on Fang Island wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rush album, and at times, it’s even reminiscent of (gulp) hair metal, yet it contains no trace of irony. It’s sort of amazing they haven’t sold a billion records already.
Fang Island does not fit the conventional definition of “indie rock,” to put it mildly, so it’s odd seeing them endorsed on so many blogs. It’s as if they slipped through the cracks and now it’s the web’s job to put them on mainstream media’s radar. So here I am doing my part, pick yourself up a copy of Fang Island, and prepare to do the happy dance.
Even if you’ve never heard of Das Racist, you might be familiar with “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” their ridiculous novelty track that hit the web in late 2008. “I’m at the Pizza Hut” “I’m at the Taco Bell” “I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” While mildly amusing, I’d rank it among the worst songs I’ve ever heard, but its musical quality is irrelevant since it’s just a joke, which is obvious when you hear the group’s non-fast food themed songs on Shut Up Dude, their new mix tape presented by Brooklyn-based fashion designer Mishka NYC.
“Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” is an accurate indicator of the group’s sense of humor, easily their defining characteristic, but what you can’t tell from the call-and-response chorus and silly banter is that Das Racist are actually skilled wordsmiths. Their rhymes are often nonsensical, lyrical substance is not their m.o., but they’ve got wordplay for days. The best example of their style, and finest moment in their short career, is “Rainbow in the Dark,” their second single and the standout track on Shut Up Dude. (the music video is embedded at the bottom of this post)
“Compliments,” whose nature-themed video you can check it out below, is the first single from Infinite Arms, the new album by Band of Horses due out May 18 on Brown Records/Fat Possum/Columbia. Already well known among indie fans for 2006’s Everything All the Time and 2007’s Cease to Begin, the latter of which debuted at #35 on the Billboard chart and produced the buzz single “Is There A Ghost,” the group has failed to catch on with mainstream audiences despite high profile appearances on The O.C. (“Ghost”) and free song promotions from iTunes and Starbucks (“No One Loves You,” a personal favorite). With Infinite Arms coming out and a summer tour that includes numerous dates opening for Pearl Jam, 2010 could finally be their year.
Delorean is an alternative dance band from Barcelona and the most recent signee to True Panther Sounds, the NYC-based indie label that was purchased by Matador Records late last year. True Panther is best known for putting out Album by Girls, one of last year’s most critically acclaimed indie records. If you want a cheap laugh, check out their ultra low budget / intentionally tacky website. Last year while in Spain for the Primavera Sound music festival, the team at True Panther discovered that Delorean, only known to American fans for their remix work, were an actual band with two studio albums and plenty of homegrown fans. “Stay Close,” which was recently released as a free download, is the first single from Subiza, their third LP and first to get a proper release in America. It won’t officially be available until June 8, but Subiza is already getting buzz as a potential album of the year contender. If the rest of the album sounds like “Stay Close,” the hype may be well justified. Give it a listen below.
(Secretly Canadian) 2010
I was disappointed when SNL fired Michaela Watkins at the end of last season, the main reason being that Angie Tempura, her snarky blogger character, was so dead on. There are a lot of people who write in a cynical tone and concentrate on trashing popular movies and music rather than focusing on sharing the stuff they love. I can understand why, it’s easier to be entertaining when everything is a joke, and articles with a negative slant always draw more comments, and in turn, traffic. Personally, I’m not a fan and was sincerely moved by Conan O’Brien’s call to “stop the cynicism” in the final minutes of his last episode of the Tonight Show. Unlike major publications, I have no obligation to review every album that comes out, I simply like writing about music and turning others on to it, so I don’t waste my time writing negative and/or cynical reviews, that’s not what this is.
I like Yeasayer and I like their new album Odd Blood, I do, but opinion has been decidedly mixed in the press. Is it great, or possibly brilliant? SPIN seems to think so. Or is it simply good, or maybe worse? That’s what Pitchfork said. Paste Magazine even ran two separate reviews in a recent issue covering both points of view. I’m always intrigued by these debates, and Yeasayer’s rising popularity is quickly making Odd Blood the most polarizing album of the year, so while I normally reserve full reviews for albums that I really love, I felt compelled to review one that I simply like.