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.

Mark Kozelek Wants The War on Drugs to Fellate Him

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Last week, Mark Kozelek seemingly joked that he’d written a song called “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock.”

“I challenge War On Drugs to let me join them onstage and play a hilarious song I’ve written called ‘War On Drugs: Suck My Cock/Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself’ at the Fillmore, October 6,” Kozelek wrote in on his website (in a post that seems to have since been deleted), “provided they let me handle the beer commercial lead guitar.”

He wasn’t joking. Kozelek released the song to his Sun Kil Moon website at midnight EST, presumably right before The War on Drugs took the stage at its sold-out show at The Fillmore in San Francisco. In addition to repeatedly inviting the Philadelphia band to “suck my cock,” he talks about the Sun Kil Moon Hopscotch performance where he called the crowd “fuckin’ hillbillies.” (He’s still selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan.)

The War on Drugs dudes, Kozelek concedes, are “pretty nice,” but “definitely the whitest fuckin’ band I’ve ever heard.” “Sounded like basic John Fogerty rock,” he sings, and, later: “The War on Drugs loves John Mellencamp.” Also: “Bridge-and-tunnel people love them some War on Drugs.” Burn, yo.

The song is actually, as Kozelek claimed it would be, kind of hilarious — whether it’s intentional or because it paints Kozelek as an increasingly crochety, curmudgeonly dude. For instance, he follows up following up a line about The War on Drugs’ “beer commercial lead guitar” by yelping “Wait, there’s more!” and deploying a harmonized dual-guitar line. After needling the band with “To make three albums, took ’em nine fuckin’ years!,” a canned audience applauds.

It’s not all tongue-in-cheek: He lashes out at Indyweek writer Allison Hussey with the particularly vituperative couplet “Someone got offended and wrote a piece of crap / Some spoiled bitch rich kid blogger brat.” Not cool, Kozzy.

The War on Drugs, meanwhile, have yet to respond with a song called “Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself.” I’d pay to hear that one.

Stream the song from Sun Kil Moon’s website, or download it from Pitchfork.

Impluse! to (Finally) Officially Release John Coltrane’s 1966 Temple University Concert

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Back when I had, y’know, steady employment, I bought a lot of records. I made a particular mission to pick up every piece of John Coltrane vinyl I could afford. (I’m really, really regretting not buying a mint first pressing of Om when I had the chance.)

Now that I, y’know, don’t have steady employment, I don’t buy many records. But I still search out Coltrane gems when I have the extra scratch — and in September, Impluse! is releasing one.

On Sept. 23, John Coltrane’s birthday, Impulse! will release Offering, a long sought-after 1966 performance by Coltrane that took place in Philadelphia. It was one of Coltrane’s wildest but last performances; he’d be dead in less than a year. It features most of the lineup that comprised his live band in his later years: Alice Coltrane on piano, Pharoah Sanders on reeds and flute, and Rashied Ali on drums; Sonny Johnson filled in for regular bassist Jimmy Garrison.

Bootlegs of this concert have been circulating for years; to wit, Discogs currently has two for sale. But the bootleg doesn’t feature the entire show, and the sound quality is poor. Offering, uh, offers a remastered version of the entire 90-minute performance. It’ll be available as a double CD and double LP. The concert spans Coltrane’s entire oeuvre — extended interpretations of earlier material like “Naima,” from Giant Steps, and the title tracks from 1961’s My Favorite Things and (a personal favorite) 1964’s Crescent, and of later, freer jams like “Leo” and “Expression.”

Coltrane’s late ’60s concerts, when he was entrenched in the most difficult but most fascinating work of his brief but bright career — see: Concert in JapanThe Olatunde Concert — were often physically thundering affairs that nonetheless overflowed with emotional and spiritual energy. Coltrane, nearing the end of his life, played with the incendiary fury of a man in pain, but his energy — songs often stretched to near hour-long lengths — is nonetheless unflagging. If the Temple concert — I’ve never heard it — resembles anything on Concert in Japan or Olatunde, it’ll be a wild ride.

Anyway. I’ll be saving up for this one.

 

Nirvana’s Going to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — Without Chad Channing

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There’s one big sticking for eligibility for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (outside of that whole, y’know, being good and important thing). As in baseball, it’s all about time: To qualify for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there must be a passing of 25 years since the band’s first release.

It’s been exactly 25 years since Nirvana released Bleach, and if there are few first-ballot decisions as no-brainer as Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.

But Grohl didn’t play on Bleach. Chad Channing did. (He’s the guy on the far right in the above picture.)

But Chad Channing isn’t getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Worse, he found out via text message.

“Can you tell whoever looks after Chad Channing that he isn’t being inducted,” the Rock Hall wrote to Nirvana’s manager, reports radio.com. “It is just Dave, Krist and Kurt.”

Cold. Blooded.

“I’ll be there at the table ready to walk up,” Channing told the site in an earlier interview about Nirvana’s imminent induction. “When I told my daughter about the induction, she was super excited for me! So much of my excitement about it is for her!”

COLD. BLOODED. I haven’t been this upset about a Hall of Fame snub since Tim “Rock” Raines.

(Then again, if the Hall inducts Chad Channing, shouldn’t it induct Dale Crover, who played on Bleach‘s “Floyd the Barber”, “Paper Cuts” and “Downer”? Then again, isn’t the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame kind of stupid to begin with?)

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

De La Soul Offers Entire Catalog for Free for Valentine’s Day

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De La Soul’s seminal debut, the witty and weird and wonderful 3 Feet High and Rising, was released 25 years ago. In honor of that quarter-century mark, De La Soul’s offering a free download of its entire catalog for 25 hours on the group’s website. The download bonanza will begin on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. EST, and it’ll run through until Saturday at noon. (But what if I’m only halfway through downloading The Grind Date at noon on Saturday? What then, De La Soul? WHAT THEN?!)

De La Soul’s music hasn’t been offered on many free streaming sites and services due to licensing issues. Prince Paul likes buddy … but he likes sampling, too, and many of De La’s early work is built on samples that weren’t fully licensed.

“It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it,” Posdnuos tells Rolling Stone about releasing De La’s catalog. “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”

That’s one hell of a V-Day gift, Plug One. Way better than a toaster. Way to make a girl feel special.

Owls Return After 13-Year Hiatus

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HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW OWLS SONG

Owls, of course, is a Kinsella brothers-led supergroup that released one record (a great one) 13 years ago. Its members have been busy with other projects — namely Owen, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, and Ghosts & Vodka. Polyvinyl releases Two next month; it’s already leaked another song, “I’m Suprised,” from the record.

Merge Reissues Richard Buckner’s Bloomed; Buckner Extends Living Room Tour

Bloomed, released in 1994, was Richard Buckner’s first record, and his first great record. Unfortunately, it was released on an imprint of an unsympathetic major label that gave Buckner very little support in terms of promoting the record, leaving it to languish and die.

Twenty years later, Buckner, since bounced from the major-label circuit after a two-record stint with MCA, calls vaunted North Carolina indie label Merge home. In March, Merge reissues Bloomed as the third record of its Merge 25 series, which celebrates Merge’s 25th anniversary. (The first two: Lambchop’s Nixon and Superchunk’s Indoor Living, two of Merge’s finest releases.) The album will be remastered and released on CD and 180-gram vinyl. Both formats will include a bonus disc featuring radio sessions, live performances and original recordings of songs that appeared on future releases.

It’s the second time Bloomed has been reissued; Rykodisc re-released it in 1999.

In other Buckner news, the songwriter is soliciting dates for his series of living room shows, which wraps up its first run in Arizona next week.

“Basically, I’ll pull up to your house with an acoustic guitar, find a spot inside where I won’t knock anything over and play all of the hits that made me the hundredaire that I am today,” Buckner writes on his website. “The location of the shows is only known to those who purchase tickets.”

If you have a living room large enough to house one of America’s greatest living songwriters, you can see if Buckner’s looking to play your town by checking undertowmusic.com. (If he is, and you live in the Carolinas, and you book him, and you don’t tell me, I hate you.)

After the jump, some notes from Buckner, via Merge, on Bloomed.

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