It seems like the music media has been in a Kanye West trance this fall, but last week we were treated to a brief respite courtesy of mashup maestro numero uno Mr. Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, and the surprise release of All Day, his fifth and most ambitious album to date. Of course with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy coming out today, on the heels of a 10.0 from Pitchfork no less, this moment was short lived, but that’s how it goes in the world of post-Twitter Kanye.
Girl Talk’s week in the spotlight started last Monday as news that All Day was available for FREE on the Illegal Art website quickly went viral. In a recent interview with Vulture, Gillis claimed that the free download wasn’t a legal decision, but a marketing strategy to build his fan base because if something online “is not free, or in your face, you might not be interested.” Well, people were clearly interested as reports of downloads failing were widespread, and it took many hours to get in some cases. You can download it here if you haven’t done so already.
All Day is quite good, the best Girl Talk effort to date in my opinion, but what’s really been remarkable is the way the web has consumed it. The album’s Wikipedia entry was created seemingly within minutes of its release and quickly filled up with an exhaustive list of its samples, 372 of which have been identified as of this writing. While collaborative editing is cool and all, this is 2010, so naturally a sweet visualization wasn’t far behind. Head over to Mashup Breakdown to watch the samples light up in real time as the songs play. It’s a bit of a time suck, but very helpful for identifying the songs you’re sure to be downloading in a drunken stupor late this Thanksgiving Eve. Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” anyone?
If you’ve read a music magazine any time in the last two years, you’re probably aware that Drake is the hottest new rapper in the game right now. If you’ve read a music blog any time in that period, you may also be aware that the man pictured above, the elusive Jay Electronica, is the hottest new emcee in the game, and depending on who you ask, he just might be the savior of hip-hop.
You can read about his curious methods on Wikipedia, but here’s a few key details. He’s from New Orleans. He likes to rap over movie scores. He’s released most of his material via posts in random web forums and his mysteriously disappearing and reappearing MySpace and Twitter accounts. He just had a baby with Erykah Badu. He has produced for and toured with Nas. There is intense speculation as to when, if ever, he will release a proper debut album. And oh yeah, he can rap his ass off.
Continue reading “Jay Electronica Channels Biggie Smalls”
The New Pornographers isn’t the only Canadian indie rock supergroup with a new album out today. Broken Social Scene is also back with Forgiveness Rock Record, their fourth proper group album and first in 5 years. BSS is best known among indie fans for 2002’s You Forgot It In People, their seminal indie rock opus that Pitchfork placed at #23 in their Top 200 Albums of the Decade. They are best known to everybody else for the solo success of group member Leslie Feist, aka Feist, whose single “1, 2, 3, 4” was one of those ubiquitous iPod ad songs in 2007.
Forgiveness Rock Record is getting a lot of love in early reviews, including a Best New Music rating from Pitchfork. Several songs from the album have been available on the web for weeks, including “World Sick,” which they released as a free download. You can download it below and you should because it’s freaking epic. You can also check out the rest of the album with the official embeddable widget of the album. Hopefully artists will be doing more of this with Lala biting the dust at the end of the month.
Broken Social Scene – World Sick
This week is a pretty big one for new releases in the indie rock world with new albums from genre mainstays like The Hold Steady, Broken Social Scene, and, of course, The New Pornographers. It’s the Canadian indie supergroup’s fifth album, and first since 2007’s Challengers, but they haven’t been inactive, as last year saw the release of well-received solo albums by frontman A.C. Newman (Get Guilty) and female vocalist Neko Case (Middle Cyclone), who was nominated for two Grammys.
The new album, Together, out today on Matador, is receiving very positive feedback, including this glowing review from Aquarium Drunkard, where I picked up free downloads of two tracks. The songs, “Your Hands (Together)” and “Crash Years,” are classic New P’s and seem to support AD’s viewpoint that this is a return to form after Challengers, which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t on the level of their previous work. Check out the two tracks below and make sure to pick up a copy of the album.
The New Pornographers – Crash Years
The New Pornograpers – Your Hands (Together)
The most famous indie rock outfit from Montreal not named Arcade Fire is back. Wolf Parade revealed the name (EXPO 86) and cover art (above) of their forthcoming third album a few weeks ago, and earlier today Sub Pop, who released each of their previous LPs, announced the new album’s street date (June 29) and posted two new songs from it on the web. The two tracks, “What Did My Lover Say” and “Ghost Pressure,” can both be downloaded below.
Lest I offend Spencer Krug fans with my oversimplified, Arcade Fire-referencing first line, I must point out that with this release we’re going on 5 consecutive years of new LPs from either Wolf Parade, or Krug’s other group Sunset Rubdown, who released last year’s criminally underrated Dragonslayer, with no decline in quality in sight. In fact, these two new tracks suggest this may be the best Wolf Parade album to date.
Wolf Parade – What Did My Lover Say
Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure
Sleigh Bells were one of the breakout acts from last year’s CMJ Music Marathon, and were named one of 2010’s Top Artists to Watch in many publications. The duo recently signed with M.I.A.’s N.E.E.T. imprint and last week she announced the release of their debut LP via her Twitter, which has quickly become her preferred method of communicating with the press. The album is called Treats and will be out May 11. “Tell ‘Em” is the first single and it’s currently available as a free download over on what appears to be their official website, which judging by the look of things, may have been designed by M.I.A.’s art team (epileptics beware).
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em
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.
Continue reading “Interpol Is Stirring”
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)
Continue reading “Das Racist – Shut Up Dude”
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.
Delorean – Stay Close
Bandcamp is a free, no frills website creation tool for musicians looking to post a few songs to share with friends, family, and (if they’re lucky) fans. A little over a month ago, three songs, “Go Outside,” “Most Wanted,” and “The Curse,” were posted on the profile of a totally unknown artist named Cults. Over the course of the last few weeks, Cults has become a viral sensation and one of the most talked about new acts of 2010. Their three songs have been featured on seemingly every major music blog, even earning them the coveted Best New Music tag from Pitchfork, and yesterday, Forest Family Records, a new venture by popular bloggers Gorilla vs. Bear and Weekly Tape Deck, announced that their first release will be a 7” vinyl from Cults.
Even by interweb standards, that’s an improbable overnight success. Their music is best described as Lo-fi Pop, and it has a vintage sixties soul sound to it. Personally, I dig it, hence it being featured here and all. You can download all three songs below or at their website if you’re interested in checking it out and if you’re interested in learning more about the band themselves, check out this recent interview.
Cults – Go Outside
Cults – Most Wanted
Cults – The Curse
“Most Wanted” is definitely my favorite, but I enjoy all three.