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?
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
Thanks to the similarity in their names, musical influences, hometowns, and number of group members, The Black Keys have endlessly been compared to fellow blues rock revivalists The White Stripes. But when it comes to career trajectory, the similarities stop. Unlike the overnight success of their Detroit counterparts, The Black Keys (Akron, Ohio natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney), have enjoyed a slower, but steady, rise to prominence that culminated in the release of 2008’s Attack and Release, their critically acclaimed fifth album that debuted at #14 on Billboard.
Two years, one excellent solo album (Auerbach’s Keep It Hid), and one mediocre hip-hop collaboration later (Blakroc), the Keys return with Brothers, due out May 18th on Nonesuch. That’s the ultra-literal album art above. “Tighten Up,” which was produced by Danger Mouse (who helmed Attack & Release), was the first track released to the web, but now there’s a video for an additional track, “New Girl,” which I actually like better. The viral marketing influenced clip features a puppet t-rex chilling poolside, lip syncing the song, while surrounded by babes in bikinis. In other words, it’s awesome. Check it out below.
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
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.
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