VIDEO: Elvis Costello & The Imposters “Mr. & Mrs. Hush”

Mr. Costello returned last fall from his brief cancer scare with his finest record in 15 years. Look Now! is a tour de force journey through the man’s kaleidoscopic musical songbook. The Burt Bacharach-isms mesh effortlessly with the storied yet always acerbic lyrics. As one of the finest backing bands in the business, The Imposters (who are the Attractions minus Bruce Thomas) are incredibly gifted musicians and confidently take risks amidst often complex arrangements. “Mr. & Mrs. Hush” is a standout on a stellar long-player. The band is on tour this summer with Blondie before embarking on a larger tour this fall.

→ No CommentsPosted by eric: June 26th, 2019@ 1:40 pm
Tags: video

STREAM: Silkworm “Dremate”

A definitive version of Silkworm’s 1994 classic In The West is forthcoming from Comedy Minus One records. It has been remixed from the original two-inch tape by Steve Albini, who also served as the engineer on the initial recording sessions. The physical release will be on double vinyl with re-imagined artwork and limited to 1500 copies. A bonus CD completes the package featuring 7″ b-sides and a live version of “Halloween.” This streaming version of album highlight “Dremate” is limited to the download accompaniment to the bundle.

Despite being released in the midst of college radio’s halcyon days, this record has never before been released on vinyl. Mindblowingly, Silkworm also released Libterine later that same year.

→ No CommentsPosted by eric: June 26th, 2019@ 11:45 am
Tags: news · reissue · stream

Tug Baker’s Top Albums of 2014

Tug Baker is an eater of things, and an arbiter of tunes. He has shared his best of list from About Today.

1. Run The Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal, Sony Red)

2. Hurray For The Riff Raff, Small Town Heroes (ATO)

3. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Loose Music)

4. Sharon Van Etten, Are We There (Jagjaguwar)

5. FKA twigs, LP1 (Young Turks)

6. Iceage, Plowing Into the Field of Love (Matador)

7. Cory Branan, The No-Hit Wonder (Bloodshot)

8. Cloud Nothings, Here and Nowhere Else (Carpark)

9. Alvvays, s/t (Polyvinyl)

10. Ryan Adams, 1984 (Pax AM)

[Read more →]

Comments Off on Tug Baker’s Top Albums of 2014Posted by eric: January 2nd, 2015@ 6:30 pm
Tags: lists · yearend

Robert J. Howell’s Top Albums of 2014

This year I can’t in good conscience list ten albums in order. It always feels like splitting invisible hairs to decide between one and two or five and six, and when the albums I loved this year are such a diverse bunch it just seems silly. (I would say it is like comparing apples to oranges, but one can compare apples to oranges easily. Oranges are much better. Clearly. Ask anyone.) There is a unifying theme in my list, though it embarrasses me a bit to notice it. Almost all of these albums have a throwback quality to them. They often involve attempts to recapture something pure from earlier incarnations of the genres. The best albums of the year represent pure forms of rap/hip-hop, country/rock and punk. Among the others you can hear echoes of Madonna, Magnetic Fields, Silver Jews, and (um, of course) the Talking Heads. St. Vincent is probably the exception. As an aside, it somehow seems to me that many of the newest sounds these days come from women–witness Cate LeBon, PJ Harvey, and Bjork. And Radiohead. I guess Radiohead is the exception that proves the rule is not really a rule after all. In any case, here’s my shot at this year’s list.

Tier 1

Cloud Nothings, Here and Nowhere Else (Subpop)

These Cleveland darlings just keep getting better with every release. There are shades of Nirvana, The Descendants, and about a dozen other punky lovelies. I probably listened to this one more than any album this year.

Run the Jewels, RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)

In this year of racial fucknuttery, with white cops reviving scenes of Selma and dumbasses taking it out perfectly innocent police, it was a perfect year for RTJ2 to bring us intelligent, hard hitting rap. El-P and Killer Mike have had the year of their lives and the excitement is infectious as hell. Just hearing Killer Mike start the thing out makes me start punching the air. Lie, Cheat, Steal might be the track of the year.

Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)

It’s not really fair to have a voice this strong while still kicking ass as a songwriter. How can someone like this not make those boneheads in Nashville change the way they think about making and marketing music? If you liked Sharon von Etten’s Tramp, and you did if you are even moderately reasonable, this album should be on your shelf. Like von Etten, Olsen spills her guts with style, but perhaps with a greater diversity of styles. She morphs from Patsy Cline to Leonard Cohen in a heartbeat.

 

Tier II

Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (High Top Mountain Records)

My friend Eric turned me onto this saying “This guy is legit as shit,” and this album plus that comment is a good reminder of why we love our friends. I haven’t been as excited about country since Richard Buckner’s early albums. Unapologetically excellent. (Might be paired well with Luke B. Goebel’s “14 Stories and None of them are Yours.” Those two guys might be the same damn person.)

Death from Above 1979, The Physical World (Last Gang/Warner Bros.)

Another album from a duo who packs the energy of an entire decade of rock. I doubt these two spend afterparties riding alligators around a hotel room bonfire, but they sound like it. I’ll eagerly wait another ten years for these guys to record another album if I have to. This stuff is timeless.

 

St. Vincent, St. Vincent (Loma Vista)

We Dallasites like to think of Annie Clark as our own, and those of us who have done time in that monochromatic suburb of Garland want to feel somewhat redeemed by the association. But the truth is she is probably from outer space and has some Kryptonian story of how she got here. For my money she belongs with PJ Harvey and Bjork as one of the most interesting and innovative artists out there. She can hack the guitar into pieces and hit all manner of notes while stoically packaging herself for television consumption. Every St. Vincent album is worth having, and this might be her best yet , but I wouldn’t be surprised if she just continues to get better for about sixty years.

 

Alvvays, Alvvays (Polyvinyl/Transgressive)

If I can’t include Chad VanGaalen’s album on my year end list, and honestly I can’t, I’m happy at least to include an album he produced. Toronto based Alvvays’ self-titled album is the sort of fresh lo-fi pop that is easy to try but damned difficult to pull off. While they remind me a lot of Camera Obscura, they’re willing to let a little more fray show at the edges, and their sound is a little too rough to be twee. Just try not to like Archie, Marry Me. If you do try, you’re just being a jerk.

[Read more →]

Comments Off on Robert J. Howell’s Top Albums of 2014Posted by rjh: January 2nd, 2015@ 6:28 pm
Tags: lists · yearend

Praise Be Unto D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”

Christians have been awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ for more than two millennia, now. Comparatively, we had to wait just under 15 years for Black Messiah.

Notoriously reclusive R&B superstar D’Angelo quickly and quietly released Black Messiah, the long-awaited follow-up to 2000’s Voodoo, to iTunes and Spotify last night, after teasing the album over the weekend by dropping a 15-second album trailer on Friday and first single “Sugah Daddy” on Saturday.

Fifteen years is a long time to wait for a follow-up, and the track record for albums with such long waits, uh, isn’t good. (See: Chinese Democracy; SMiLE.) But damn if Black Messiah, on first listen, is well worth the delay. Black Messiah is a superlative funk record in the vein of Prince circa Prince, Sly circa There’s a Riot Going On and P-Funk circa “Maggot Brain,” thanks in large part to D’Angelo’s fierce and fluid backing band The Vanguard. “Sugah Daddy,” teased earlier in the weekend, is vintage D’Angelo, sexy and sprightly and playful. And the vicious, quasi-industrial “1000 Deaths” is already making me regret submitting my Village Voice Pazz + Jop ballot early.

Listen below.

Comments Off on Praise Be Unto D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”Posted by pat: December 15th, 2014@ 12:13 pm
Tags: leak · new release · stream

Dirt Dress

I love when bands like Dirt Dress wear their influences so proudly on their sleeves.

Comments Off on Dirt DressPosted by k: December 8th, 2014@ 10:17 am
Tags: New2Me

STREAM: Charli XCX “Kingdom” (Ft. Simon Le Bon)

As part of the Lorde-curated soundtrack for Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, Charli XCX has teamed up with Duran Duran‘s Simon Le Bon for a dramatic piano ballad called “Kingdom.” She wrote the song with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij after they spent a drunken night at a Miley Cyrus concert. She recently told Pitchfork that Lorde insisted on bringing in someone from a different era and that she was excited “to be working with someone who’s iconic and from a different time than me.” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 soundtrack is out now via Republic.

Comments Off on STREAM: Charli XCX “Kingdom” (Ft. Simon Le Bon)Posted by eric: November 22nd, 2014@ 3:53 pm
Tags: stream

VIDEO: Jawbreaker “Boxcar”

Well, this discovery made my day. Jawbreaker has released a video for “Boxcar” from its close to perfect pop-punk song cycle, 24-Hour Revenge Therapy, a mere 20 years too late. Drummer Adam Pfahler evidently found a bunch of Super 8 footage circa 1992, and thus we have a video for “Boxcar.” I suppose it’s not without its benefits considering the band just reissued 24-Hour Revenge Therapy on Pfahler’s own Blackball records.

Comments Off on VIDEO: Jawbreaker “Boxcar”Posted by eric: November 22nd, 2014@ 2:36 pm
Tags: video

TV on the Radio Play “Happy Idiot” on Letterman

At this point I don’t think you can call it luck that TV on the Radio has ridden a decade long wave of overwhelmingly adoring press. Must be doing something right. I’ve never been much more than a cursory admirer, following the band’s trajectory only loosely. I saw TVOTR open for Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails in 2006, and I’ve got a few of their records. But I’ve yet to be blown away, despite all the accolades. I cringe at the concept of bands being “overrated” because it seems paradoxical to say so. I may be coming around, though. When I first heard “Happy Idiot” it instantly clicked with its unabashed new wave hooks, which is a first for any song by TVOTR and me. Seeds came out Tuesday, and I’ve had a hard time not keeping it on repeat.

Comments Off on TV on the Radio Play “Happy Idiot” on LettermanPosted by eric: November 22nd, 2014@ 1:48 pm
Tags: tv · video

LIVE: J Mascis Strips Down for NPR

Even though his de facto method of transmission with Dinosaur Jr. is at ear-splitting volume, J Mascis proves his chops are not merely a byproduct of noise with an acoustic performance for NPR. Mascis runs through a medley of songs off his latest solo record for Sub Pop, the unsurprisingly solid Tied to a Star, as well as the Dinosaur Jr. classic “Little Furry Things.” [via Spin]

Comments Off on LIVE: J Mascis Strips Down for NPRPosted by eric: November 22nd, 2014@ 1:06 pm
Tags: liveshow · stream · video