Friday, January 31, 2014

What's New(s)?

Mac Demarco/Tyler, the Creator working together...

That ellipses in the headline exists for a reason. Two undeniable goofballs like Mac Demarco and Tyler, the Creator doesn't just give cause to pause, but cause for concern. The pair have spent some time together in the studio while Demarco's been in L.A., presumably to promote his upcoming Salad Days LP. Yesterday, music site Line of Best Fit tweet out the above photo, which we can take to mean the two are filming something. The real news of course would be if whatever it is doesn't turn out to be: weird, schlocky, or downright disgusting.

Mac Demarco’s aforementioned Salad Days arrives April 1 via Captured Tracks, and you can hear the jangly first-take "Passing Out Pieces" below.

The Flaming Lips, Sting, Broken Bells to pay tribute to the Beatles on Letterman

For the next six years if you're a music fan at all, you can expect a constant barrage of "On this day fifty years ago in the Beatles..." statuses. The first major domino in that parade will topple next week with a "Beatles Cover Week" on CBS's Letterman program. Considering CBS was the network that Ed Sullivan was on when the Fab Four first joined him in '64 and Letterman films in the very same theatre, it's only appropriate to reignite Beatlemania from the locale. 

So beginning Monday of next week, a bevy of artists ranging from The Flaming Lips (no strangers to Beatles covers) to Sting, Broken Bells, and John Lennon's son Sean, will all tip their hats to the lads from Liverpool, leading up to a February 9th airing (the exact date of the Sullivan gig) of tribute special called The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles. Twist, shout, scream. Do whatever you'd like to celebrate the milestone.

For news updates throughout the day, follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter and check back in Monday for more of the newest in new(s).

"Get Down" ft. Gucci Mane- Migos

Migos wouldn't exist without ATL's ultimate weirdo Gucci Mane. There's no other way to parse it. The dark, slinky (read cheap) beats they routinely pulverize were perfected by Gucci and frequent collaborator Zaytoven years ago. A line like "keep f***ing with me n**** they find you in the river somewhere in Chattanooga, Tennessee" is the sort of specific threat Guwop could rattle off without raising his voice.

So hearing two of Atlanta's best-known entities together again on a track is an incredible treat. While Migos' flamethrowing threatens Gucci's cool persona on the Gothic wobble of "Get Down", he never melts under the pressure. Somehow between flipping off the prosecution and warning local rappers "I'll put you on the local news" Gucci has the time to "snatch all the clothes out the mall like the looters do." Consider that. The man doesn't have closets full of clothes, he's got entire malls he can lay claim to. It's wise for Migos to slot Gucci second in the lineup, because his magnitude anchors everyone on the track. The promise to "hit 'em with guns made from Germany" would be out of place without Gucci's bizarre table-setting. And more than an anchor, Gucci acts as inspiration. Migos' monosyllabic intensity is turned to 11 here; every barked line could leave them hoarse. Even when Gucci Mane's kicking back, he gets others to stand at full attention.

"Get Down" will be featured on a forthcoming Gangsta Grillz compilation entitled Solid Foundation and Migos currently have Y.R.N. 2 coming down the pipeline at any time now. Gucci Mane continues to await sentencing on federal gun charges, which could net him up to 20 years in prison.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Athena"- Yuck

The main talking point concerning British shoegazers Yuck continues to be the departure of former frontman Daniel Blumberg. In nearly every review of the band's second LP, 2013's Glow & Behold, Max Bloom's move to the lead was mentioned. And though Bloom acquitted himself and the band nicely, it was repeated ad nauseum that the band had lost their "frazzled energy." 

Any concerns of energy are forgotten when the faint strum of "Athena" comes into focus. The bowing electric guitars hearken back to My Bloody Valentine, if they had been prescribed Prozac. Even when he's wondering aloud "where do I stand?" in a moment of existential crisis, Bloom's cooing presence is comforting. While engaging, Bloom's quizzical crisis takes a back seat to the rest of the band's 6/8 shuffling. Jonny Rogoff's drumming tinctures the song's delicate frame without ever blotting it out. Tiny flourishes of what scans as Mellotron pull "Athena" further into the dreamworld, with only bits of fuzzy guitar to interrupt the trip.  Hearing Yuck in their current incarnation, Modest Mouse circa Moon & Antarctica comes to mind; when Isaac Brock's jaw was wired shut for several months and the band leaned heavily on instrumental passages. Yuck's taken the band's best advice to heart. When your group starts to fall apart at the seams, sometimes the best strategy is simply to "float on." 

Yuck's new EP Southern Skies is out this spring through Fat Possum Records and they're currently touring the U.S. performing new songs from the release.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's New(s)?

Cam'ron & A-Trak team up

The amazing cover art you see above is from Federal Reserve, a forthcoming collaborative effort between Killa Cam and producer/Fool's Gold label owner A-Trak. Cam's been on a career revival over the last few years and first-cut "Humphrey" continues the trend. The pink one comes correct with his indelible gangsterisms and liquid non-sequiturs, as an A-Trak/Party Supplies soul-speckled beat soars in the background. If this track ended up on Purple Haze or Come Home with Me you wouldn't bat an eye.

The record is executive produced by former Roc-a-Fella partner Dame Dash and features appearances by Dipset crewmates Jim Jones and Juelz Santana. Federal Reserve doesn't have a release date yet, but it's out through Fool's Gold.


Hear Future cover Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love"

"Drunk" is an all-too-easy word to describe rap/R&B star Future's delivery. Slathered in Auto-tune, he slurs so many words and lines together you'd swear he'd had a few sips before he took to the mike. So his taking to Beyoncé's unreservedly giddy "Drunk in Love" is perfect. Keeping the vocal mysticism of the original beat intact, the ATLien idly floats on a river of vodka and exploratory synth noises. "I can't get my eyes off you" he admits in a moment of naked honesty. He's so forthcoming, that even in the sobered up verse when he brags "f****ng in my gold chains," it registers as endearing. 

Future's upcoming 2nd LP Honest  is without a release date for now, but given the material he's been putting out, a spring release seems completely plausible.

Neko Case expands tour

Just yesterday on Twitter, Neko Case jokingly tweeted "We never stop touring, we just don't. We'll show up in your town eventually." And that brief aside is much more resonant today, as the alt-country/indie siren has announced a smattering of new tour dates in support of the excellent The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More Love You. The dates, in the U.S. and Canada, are book-ended by spots at Coachella and the Governor's Ball, and will feature indie-folk duo the Dodos as the opener.

Before the new tour begins, Case and company are winding down with a final pair of American dates and then capping off the run with a February 3rd spot on Conan.

Tour Dates:

1/30 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue (w. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down)
1/31 Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor Folk Festival @ Hill Auditorium
(w. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down)
2/27 Fremantle, Australia - Fly By Night

3/1 Melbourne, Australia - Melbourne Zoo
3/2 Melbourne, Australia - Corner Hotel
3/3 Sydney, Australia - Sydney Opera House
3/5 Brisbane, Australia - The Hi-Fi
3/7 Adelaide, Australia - Womad Festival
3/8 Victoria, Australia - Meeniyan Town Hall
3/9 Victoria, Australia - Golden Plains Festival
3/12 Wellington, New Zealand - NZ Festival
3/14 Auckland, New Zealand - The Powerstation
3/16 Singapore - Mosaic Music Festival @ Esplanade Concert Hall
4/11 Indio, CA - Coachella
4/12 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre (w. The Dodos)
4/13 Flagstaff, AZ - The Orpheum Theater (
w. The Dodos)
4/14 Santa Fe, NM - The Lensic Performing Arts Center
(w. The Dodos)
4/18 Indio, CA - Coachella
5/7 Albany, NY - Hart Theatre @ The Egg (w. The Dodos)
5/8 Montreal, Quebec - Corona Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/9 Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall (w. The Dodos)
5/10 Ottawa, Ontario - Bronson Centre (w. The Dodos)
5/11 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom (w. The Dodos)
5/13 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/14 Madison, WI - Orpheum Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/16 Fargo, ND - Fargo Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/17 Winnipeg, Manitoba - The Burton Cummings Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/18 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - O'Brians Event Centre (w. The Dodos)
5/19 Edmonton, Alberta - Winspear Centre (w. The Dodos)
5/21 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theatre (w. The Dodos)
5/22 Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater (w. The Dodos)
06-06 New York, NY - Governors Ball

"Night Still Comes" (Live in Studio Q)

Check back in tomorrow for more of the newest in new(s) and follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

"Robes" ft. Earl Sweatshirt & Domo Genesis- Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

In 2012 with the release of Domo Genesis and the Alchemist's No Idols tape, the rap world was robbed of a potentially head-turning collabo: the knotty Earl Sweatshirt and rapid-fire Gangsta Gibbs. Both appeared on the well-received album, but the divide between the tracks they're on may as well have been a chasm.

The soulful "Robes" from Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's Piñata acts as a corrective. While Domo Genesis lazily sliding across a hazy beat has become commonplace, it's still disarming to hear O.F. partner Earl Sweatshirt take to it. Even with two phenomenal LPs under his belt, Sweatshirt (to his benefit) has no clearly defined aesthetic. So any new sound is revelatory for the listener and another challenge for Earl to attack and conquer. "I ball because I don't know how to cope with s***," he confesses over muffled horns and blunted drums. Earl's dense lines are as much an attempt to put up walls, as they are a mission to flat-out rap. Gibbs meanwhile is all business. Instead of kicking back and soaking up the track's sunny rays, he's continuing to "make foreign bread" and staying motivated. "I always got a job" he blurts during his dizzying verse. Everyone here is a professional; they're just in different fields.

Piñata is out 3/18 on Madlib’s Madlib Invazion label.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Track Attack- "Bankrupt on Selling" (Modest Mouse)

A few weeks ago when a friend and me were traveling down a long, desolate stretch of highway in Northeastern Missouri, we started talking about album "rules". One my friend posed that I was blissfully unaware of was the "9th track rule", which argues that the 9th track on an album is frequently the best. On Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited it's the hypnotic folk epic "Desolation Row". Pavement's breakout 1994 effort Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain claims the loping cowpunk "Range Life" as its 9th track. The acoustic sway of "Who'll Stop the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival comes in 9th place on Cosmo's Factory. In the past decade, tracks from "Do You Realize?" to "Swimming Pools (Drank)" have held the high honor of batting 9th.

I'd argue another rule that stands on even ground with the "9th track rule" is the "penultimate track rule". Tracks under this banner include: the Rolling Stones immortal elegy "Shine a Light", doleful Smiths offering "There is a Light That Never Goes Out", Radiohead's "Morning Bell", and most recently Arcade Fire for "Afterlife" (whose career has been defined by the rule). However, for all of the success the penultimate track sees, it's not an enviable position. A penultimate track has the lofty goal of preparing listeners for the end of a musical journey. In life, it's the white light we see before floating into the great beyond. 

In the past two decades, few penultimate tracks have had as much weight dropped dead on their shoulders as Modest Mouse's "Bankrupt on Selling" from Lonesome Crowded West. A sprawling mess of a record, it is also a masterpiece documenting the slow incursion of the free-market on the free-range lifestyle of the west. Bright mom and pop store fronts are replaced by anemic Orange Julius' and cement parking lots bleed into asphalt-paved highways. As frontman Isaac Brock summarized the LP in "Cowboy Dan", "I didn't move to the city the city moved to me." 

By the time "Bankrupt on Selling" peers out from the endless traffic jams, there's no humanity left, only machine men with machine minds. "Well all the Apostles-they're sitting in swings, saying 'I'd sell off my Savior for a set of new rings,'" Brock sullenly warbles in the opening lines. If the Son of God was sold off for 30 pieces of silver, none of us stand a chance when swimming against the roaring tide of the economy. Left behind at auction with a ragged acoustic figure and chiming electric guitar, Brock sees this cycle of "buying and selling is endless." Unlike the wheel of samsara, it's a cycle we can never escape from. An "unlimited hell." 

Brand new wings and collegiate stints can't free us either. We learn "two-dollar words" in halls of higher learning only to scream profanities when we're stuck in a fight. In a world over-reliant on expediency, everything risks being thrown away. We'll forget meaningful friends and relationships if given enough distractions. And on the off-chance we break out of this loop and "come clean with ourselves" as Brock attempts in the conclusion, it's often too late. We're left wanting what we can't have and longing to be what we can never be. 


If you have suggestions for songs you want to see featured in future editions of Track Attack, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What's New(s)?

Watch/listen to Lana Del Rey's theme for Maleficent

Lana Del Rey's yearning, pop ballads always felt like fairytales set to music, so it's no real surprise she'd be tapped to record the theme-song for Disney's upcoming Maleficent. A re-imagining of the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent delivers the point-of-view of the "tragically misunderstood" titular character as played by Angelina Jolie. Reportedly Jolie herself handpicked Del Ray for the job of updating the Sleeping Beauty tune, which first aired last night during the Grammys. All of the benchmarks of Del Rey are present in "Once Upon a Dream" from breathless vocals to elegiac strings that float like clouds of smoke. If dream weren't already in the title, it'd be one of the first few words that comes to mind.

You can download "Once Upon A Dream" via Google Play and view the trailer for the film which opens in theaters May 30.

Chvrches cover "Bela Lugosi's Dead" for Vampire Academy soundtrack

I've never been a staunch advocate for covers. In most cases it's a lose-lose situation, particularly when an artist is tackling a bonafide classic. Bahaus' 1979 single "Bela Lugosi's Dead" falls into "classic" category, cloaked in scraping guitars and unstable drums it essentially launched the goth-rock genre.

Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches apparently could not care less about the song's mythic stature based on their decision to resurrect the number for the Vampire Academy soundtrack. Lauren Mayberry and company already proved their chops with their wistful take on Janelle Monáe's "Tightrope", so this seismic offering feels like a victory lap for the group. "Driving" is a word unlikely to appear in the same paragraph as "goth-rock" but Chvrches' effort is marked by electronic propulsion. Peter Murphy's tombstone croon is swapped for Mayberry's longing chirp, and unsettled guitar sounds tag out for warm synths. Where the original seemed terrified of the fallen horror legend, Chvrches cover scans as celebratory.

The soundtrack which also features music from: Sky Ferreira, Bear in Heaven, Au Revoir, Simone, and more is out February 4th via Universal.

2014 Grammys Round-up

Anyone fearing a rise of the machines was in full-panic mode last night, as robotic French duo Daft Punk took home "Album of the Year" for the career defining Random Access Memories. Robots Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo also nabbed Grammys for "Record of the Year" and "Best Pop Duo/Group Performance" for effortless disco hit "Get Lucky", which they shared with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell.

Another big winner of the night was New Zealand teen Lorde who took home "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Solo Performance" for the effervescent, beat-driven "Royals". Jay Z/Justin Timberlake partnering "Holy Grail" won "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration", while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cleaned up in the rest of the category winning for: "Best Rap Performance", "Best Rap Song", and "Best Rap Album" (More on that tomorrow).  

Elsewhere Vampire Weekend captured a win for "Best Alternative Music Album" in a crowded field that also featured Neko Case, the National, Nine Inch Nails, and Tame Impala. And in one of the night's biggest surprises, Taylor Swift was shut out of all country categories, including "Best Country Album" which she lost to Kacey Musgraves. 

There are too many great moments to list (Yoko Ono getting down to Daft Punk and Jay Z/Beyonce swaying to Kendrick stand among them), so check out a few of the choice performances here.

Check back in tomorrow for more of the newest in new(s) and follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

"I'm Not Part of Me"- Cloud Nothings

In their round-up of the "Top 50 Albums of 2012", Pitchfork referred to the Dylan Baldi fronted Cloud Nothings as torchbearers of Nevermind, arriving as a "cacophony cavalry" to put some of the bite back into indie rock. They were no doubt correct that 2012 was a banner year for no-frills "RAWK", but Nirvana seemed to be a dubious touchstone for a band like Cloud Nothings. Cobain's lyrics were frequently too surreal to fully embrace, a sentiment like "I like you" in "Drain You" is simple enough, though "I travel through a tube and end up in your infection" is much less resonant. In that respect Cloud Nothings hem closer to the Replacements, wearing their heart on their sleeve as they look dead in your eye and ask "what's wrong?"

"I'm Not Part of Me", the first taste of the forthcoming Here and Nowhere Else, continues that emotional directness even as Baldi attempts to dodge any stinging questions. "I'm not telling you all I'm going through" he defiantly yelps over bone-dry drums and pressure-packed guitars. It's a misdirect, Baldi feigns reservation while potently delivering "you're not what I really needed" in the chugging verses. When you're in the midst of a fight, it's all-too-easy to jab one moment and flee to your corner the next. You say "nothing's wrong" when that sentiment couldn't be further from the truth. Baldi's coping mechanism of "leaving all the memory of what we did when we were young" can only last for so long. The memories we make are as a part of us as anything else. 

Here and Nowhere Else drops April 1 through Carpark Records/Mom & Pop Music.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Nothing But Some Pain"- Young Thug & Bloody Jay

Consider this '99 MF Doom linking up with Kool Keith of the Dr. Octagonecologyst era. Alternatively imagine Cam'ron circa Purple Haze and Dedication 2 Weezy teaming up to free-associate a track into oblivion. Equate it to an ice-cream free Gucci Mane and the BasedGod blessing a beat in tandem. Whatever pairing you conjure just make sure it's two of-the-moment rap weirdos getting together, because that's exactly what "Nothing But Some Pain" is.

Granted one-half of the oddballs, Future, comes in disembodied sample form only. Still Future, slathered in Auto-tune and accompanied by a twinkling piano casts a ghostly pallor over the track. Where past efforts from the interplanetary R&B star would be ideal for booming out of your car on a sunny day, "Nothing But Some Pain" is a windows up late-night affair. And in that witching hour, fellow ATL-native Bloody Jay comes slithering forward. Jay stumbles all over himself in his verses, stopping at so many odd moments you'd think the thudding drum beat was the sound of Jay hitting concrete. "He's me...I'm Lee...and there's nothing bigger than the bee..." he pregnantly pauses in one uncomfortable stretch. The best way to scare someone in our static-laden society is to remain silent.

Young Thug and Bloody Jay's extremely replayable Black Portland mixtape is available for free now.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

"I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You"- The Hold Steady

It's almost redundant for the Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn to be touting a "big rock record" with Teeth Dreams, the band's 6th LP. Since their debut with 2004's Almost Killed Me, that's the only sort of album they've made. Hold Steady efforts arrive overstuffed with barbarous guitars, doleful keyboards, chugging bass, and rat-a-tat drums. Craig Finn's lyrics are best described as character studies, sifting through America's trash for narrative treasure.

First single "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" sobers up the band's take on bloozy rock without sacrificing any of the intensity. Though the guitars shimmer like never before, Finn's still ashen gray in his outlook. "Most of them are dead and some don't even live here anymore," he reflects on his old stomping ground of Minneapolis. The denizens of Finn's world chase scores like Olympic track-stars and fall in-and-out of love by closing time. "They always got something to prove" he postulates over reflective organ in his unmistakable sing-song. Where forerunners of the "big rock record" like Springsteen were itching to "get out while we're young," Finn sympathizes too much to ever bid full farewell. And when he arrives home, it'll be as a survivor not a hero.

Teeth Dreams is out March 25th on Washington Square, and you can hear "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" here.

"Passing Out Pieces"- Mac Demarco

As I’m writing this, I want to shove my head straight through my laptop. Internally I’m screaming  one “simple” question in my head, “why does Mac Demarco do this?” “Why shield gorgeous jangle pop with juvenile live shows and slimy presentation?” I wonder aloud. Trying to rationalize “an off-kilter persona is perfectly acceptable in rock,” I abruptly pause once realizing that if taken too far “off-kilter” can become an unwelcome diversion. Scanning my own library, most “slackers” I find are paper tigers. Stephan Malkmus appears borderline “lazy” in his delivery on a track like “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”, but he still had to get up off the couch and write the anthemic chorus.

I picture Edmonton-native Demarco sinking further into a couch, Cheetos crumbs and flecks of stale weed showering over him. Hearing the sedate guitar riffs and tottering “surf synth” of “Passing Out Pieces” doesn’t win any hearts or minds. Demarco volunteers, “watching my life pass right in front of my eyes” and as he says it you can hear the infinite resignation in his voice. He’s not powerless to stop what’s going on; so much as he’s unwilling. When you hear “oh is it boring” sighed, you want to shake Demarco out of his glassy-eyed stare. “What mom don’t know has taken its toll on me,” is the one kernel of honesty to be pried out of the gap-toothed singer. The slovenly exterior isn’t a distraction from the music; it’s a distraction from Demarco.

Mac Demarco’s new album Salad Days arrives April 1 via Captured Tracks.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's New(s)?

Built to Spill cover Bob Dylan
For all of the respect Bob Dylan receives and all the covers he inspires, little if any of those has anything to do with the 1980s. Where Lennon had his infamous "Lost Weekend", Dylan had the "Lost Decade", when Grateful Dead collaborations and new-wave influences ran wild. Perhaps not surprisingly it was his least successful stretch both commercially and critically, and it took 1997's inscrutable Time Out of Mind to end the "dry-spell."

Bob Dylan in the 80s, an upcoming release from ATO Records is revisiting that Dust-Bowl era of Dylan's career and cultivating incredible talent for the effort. Craig Finn of the Hold Steady is tackling Infidels cut "Sweetheart Like You", Gene Ween and Slash (yes Slash) are improbably teaming up for the reviled "Wiggle Wiggle", and comedian Reggie Watts stands in the unenviable position of recreating the 11-minute epic "Brownsville Girl". On paper though, one of the most intriguing covers is Built to Spill taking on "Jokerman" from the aforementioned Infidels. A finger-wagging, reggae-influenced tale the song regularly appears on best-of Dylan lists. Doug Martsch and company forgo the grounded island vibes for their tradition skyward guitar scrawl. It's simultaneously world-weary and gorgeous, proving the 80s were far from a lost-cause for rock's poet laureate.

Bob Dylan in the 80s is out March 25 via ATO Records. You can view the tracklist below and hear Built to Spill's cover here.

1. "Got My Mind Made Up"- Langhorne Slim & the Law
2. "Jokerman"- Built to Spill
3. "Brownsville Girl (Reprise)"- Reggie Watts
4. "Sweetheart Like You"- Craig Finn
5. "You Changed My Life"- Ivan & Alyosha 
6. "Night After Night"- Deer Tick
7. "Dark Eyes"- Dawn Landes & Bonnie "Prince" Billy
8. "Waiting to Get Beat"- Tea Leaf Green
9. "Wiggle Wiggle"- Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) & Slash
10. "Congratulations"- Elvis Perkins
11. "Covenant Woman"- Hannah Cohen
12. "Every Grain of Sand"- Marco Benevento
13. "Series of Dreams"- Yellowbirds
14. "Unbelievable"- Blitzen Trapper
15. "When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky"- Lucius
16. "Pressing On"- Glen Hansard
17. "Death is Not the End"- Carl Broemel

Patti Smith covers Rihanna

No you're not reading that headline wrong and this isn't some sort of hoax. While playing at NYC's Webster Hall on December 30, punk luminary Patti Smith dove into her own cover of Rihanna's gargantuan piano-ballad "Stay". As Stereogum writer Tom Breihan astutely pointed out, "Stay" once and for all proved "that she can actually sing." 

Smith's own performance doesn't stray far from the starkly expressive vocals of the original, aside from the piano Smith's essentially alone on stage. Virtually none of the power her voice rang out with in the 70s has dissipated, every line rings with agony. And if you catch a glimpse of Smith in the grainy-clip, it's clear that even though the number isn't her own she can still relate.


The Black Lips debut completely NSFW video for "Boys in the Wood"

Anyone who has ever had the fortune of seeing Atlanta garage-rockers the Black Lips live knows they aren't exactly tame. Stage-diving, beer-swilling, and vomiting are all fixtures of the band's shows and those register as some of the tamer elements. With that in mind, it's still hard to stomach the skin-crawling video for "Boys in the Wood" from their upcoming 7th LP Underneath the Rainbow. The clip, directed by Atlanta-duo the ATL-Twins, slithers through a dark Georgia night where illicit drugs are done out in the open and individuals are beaten to within an inch of their life. Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine would smile with delighted approval if he saw the slow-burner, which is only missing animal cruelty to complete the "perfect recipe."

The Black Lips album Underneath the Rainbow is out March 18 through Vice.

Check back in tomorrow for more of the newest in new(s) and follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

"Break the Bank"- Schoolboy Q

Despite running a music blog, I border on being a musical Luddite. I don't have a Spotify account, have never seen Pandora in action, and still haven't managed the ins and outs of Soundcloud. When albums leak I don't ever hear them, partially because download sites are alien to me but also because I don't like my listening experience to be spoiled. I'm the same with singles being released ahead of an album. I can listen to one in advance without any concern, but I start to grow nervous if I hear a second or third. Though it's admittedly silly, I don't want to be shown the whole picture. I want to figure it out on my own.

That said, Schoolboy Q could share all of Oxymoron before it debuts and I'd listen-in without any qualms. Everything off the Black Hippy's third release has been that compelling. There's chest-puffing earworm "Collard Greens", claustrophobic rumbler "Banger (MOSHPIT)", and the perpetually bouncing "Man of the Year". Alchemist collabo "Break the Bank" continues the trend while threading a needle through the disparate strands. The tremulous guitar sample recalls "Banger (MOSHPIT)" without marinating as long. A descending piano figure will linger in your memory bank as long as "Collard Greens" blissfully nonsensical chorus. And a warning of "good grades and skipped school, this life gon' catch up soon" rivals the gnarled wisdom of "home of the paid on the first, then probably going broke by the third." Q continuously veers across multiple lanes for the length of the track's six minutes. In one instance he's singing "la di da di da", then he's running from baseheads in the park. As a brash teen he's says "f*** rap" before embracing it in his wizened 20s. An album change isn't enough to rid Schoolboy Q of his inherent contradictions.

Oxymoron drops February 25th through TDE/Interscope

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's New(s)?

Interpol plan new tour/album

Interpol has been making a bit of a comeback of late. The NYC three-piece announced a slew of tour dates on their website, including choice dates at the Governor's Ball Music Festival and All Tomorrow's Parties Iceland. Along with those festival dates, frontman (and occasional rapper) Paul Banks, guitarist Dan Kessler, and drummer Sam Fogarino will be top-billed on NME's Awards Tour which spans eight dates across the U.K. in March.

While the band tours the U.K., they'll be wrapping up their as-of-yet unnamed fifth LP. Recording for the follow-up to 2010's self-titled release concluded in December, so plans for a 2014 release seem incredibly high considering the flurry of tour activity. That said, there haven't been any tracklists shared so things are still incredibly tentative. While you wait for the effort to materialize, help yourself to "Barricade" from Interpol's self-titled album.

Tour Dates:
3/18 Glasgow, Scotland- Glasgow O2 Academy
3/19 Leeds, England- Leeds O2 Academy
3/20 Manchester, England- Manchester Academy
3/22 Liverpool, England- Liverpool O2 Academy
3/23 Nottingham, England- Nottingham Rock City
3/25 Birmingham, England- Birmingham O2 Academy
3/26 Bristol, England- Bristol O2 Academy
3/27 London, England- London O2 Academy Brixton
6/6 New York, NY- The Governors Ball Music Festival
6/20 Scheessel, German- Hurricane Festival
6/20 Neuhausen, Germany- Southside Festival
7/10 Lisbon, Portugal- Optimus Alive
7/12 Keflavík, Iceland- All Tomorrow's Parties Iceland

Big K.R.I.T. remixes Gary Clark Jr.

Considering Mississippi-native Big K.R.I.T.'s predilection for blending hip-hop, blues, soul, and it seems all-too-appropriate he'd be linking up with blues-revivalist Gary Clark Jr. The Texas bluesman is currently prepping a "remixtape" of his well-received 2012 debut LP Blak and Blu, and the K.R.I.T. remix of the title-track is our first sampling. K.R.I.T. leisurely travels down the motivational lane for the number. Krizzle offers up pearls of wisdom like "I know what you're going through, no need to be shy about it, ain't none of us brand new, don't let the world brand you," atop a steady knocking beat. Clark dials down on the traditional bluesy hollering for a soulful croon, giving the whole affair a weightless feeling. 

No official date has been announced for Blak and the Blu: The Mixtape, but Spin is reporting Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Bilal will be guesting on the tape. You can hear the title-track here, and view a clip for the monstrous "Numb" below.

Check back in tomorrow for more of the newest in new(s) and follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Track Attack- "Can't Seem To Make You Mine" (The Seeds)

(Welcome to "Track Attack", where each Tuesday a "new" song will be reviewed. Anything is fair-game for this feature, from 50s rockabilly to 70s disco and 90s shoegaze or 2000s freak-folk. Week 2 of the feature is tackling the emotionally raw garage-rock classic "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" by the Seeds.)   

At the risk of sounding clichéd, unrequited love is awful. Songs from "Layla" to "Creep" and "Tiny Vessels" have taught us having a constant one-sided conversation can be frustrating and downright draining. While the concept is all-too-common in modern music, in the 1960s with rock less than a decade old it was a relatively alien idea. Elvis' outstretched hand in "Can't Help Falling in Love" you'd bet anything it wouldn't go unaccompanied. Buddy Holly's waiting would dissipate given enough days. Of all the 50s rock progenitors, only Roy Orbison seemed destined to be in eternal waiting. 

That said, even the most pained moments of Orbison's waiting can't compare to the Seeds' 1966 gut-wrencher  "Can't Seem to Make You Mine". From Sky Saxon's first yelp "I can't seem to make you mine" atop a wavering guitar line, you know something is wrong. The drums and bass plot a straight course, but Saxon veers in every direction; trying everything he knows. He's helpless, begging for love while acknowledging the four-letter word can only "fill my heart with misery." Two central "tenets" of unrequited love are over-idealization and romanticization. Speaking from personal experience, when you're in an "unrequited relationship" there's a tendency to treat the other person as a savior or more than human. The love you have glosses over their own faults.

In Saxon's case, he's willing to forgive any pain he's had to bear for the potential joy a relationship would afford. Instead of the guitar's shakiness, all Saxon hears is the lilting piano in the bridge. That sashaying comes to a standstill soon enough when he's desperately pleading "come back." Few moments in popular music are as heart-rending as that plea. Wonderfully reductionist, it offers proof that in the real world our declarations of love rarely go according to plan. We stumble or say the complete opposite of what we intended. We don't always get what we want. 


If you have suggestions for songs to be featured in future reviews of Track Attack, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Monday, January 20, 2014

What's New(s)?

Beck shares a new song


After teasing a new song in the trailer for his upcoming album Morning Phase on Friday, Beck has released the first taste of his upcoming 12th studio LP with "Blue Moon". The record has been touted as a "companion piece" to 2002's lush Sea Change and the carefully strummed first single confirms the reports. Beck's voice hovers above the acoustic and orchestral strings, resonating "don't leave me on my own" during the chorus.

Morning Phase, Beck's follow-up to 2008's sorely under-appreciated Modern Guilt will be released February 25th through Capital Records.

Death Grips working on a new album

Experimental-rap/punk group Death Grips can be accused of being many things, but lazy isn't one of them. Since the three-piece's clamoring debut in 2011, they've released three LPs, including two in 2012 and the phenomenal 2013 manifesto Government Plates.

According to drummer Zach Hill, the group doesn't have any intent to slow down in 2014.
Taking to Facebook, Hill writes "starting to record the new Death Grips album right now," and adds "hope to tour a lot this summer." And while the band's touring record has been "spotty" at best, there's nothing to suggest their output will suddenly taper off in 2014. Even if they fall into old show routines, I'm willing to bet that by late-Summer/early-Fall all will be forgiven with the release of a new album.

 "Whatever I want (F*** who's watching)"

Damon Albarn unveils a video for "Everyday Robots"


It's almost impossible to believe that in the incredibly prolific three-decade career, Damon Albarn of Blur/Gorillaz/The Good, The Bad, and the Queen fame has released exactly one solo LP, 2003's largely underwhelming Democrazy. That all changes with the release of Everyday Robots, which Albarn tells Rolling Stone is a sort-of "folk soul project."

Now the project has an accompanying CGI-heavy video for the title-track. The hauntingly skittish "Everyday Robots" which features clanking percussion and scratchy orchestral strings blurs together with cranial scans of Albarn to create an intensely personal video. Director Aitor Thorup calls the piece "a unique digital portrait of Damon" and you can see the artist discuss the making of the clip courtesy of Dazed.

As for the album, a press-release reveals the record will feature contributions by electronic-music luminary Brian Eno and Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan. Featuring production-work by XL Recordings head Richard Russell, Everyday Robots arrives in the U.S. April 28.

Check back in tomorrow for more of the newest in new(s) and follow @AllFreshSounds on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

"Worms"- Youth Lagoon

Considering 2013 was the year the cold vastness of space grew larger with the debut of Gravity, it seems oddly appropriate music in the early part of 2014 would begin to reflect that vastness. "Space-rock" is a sub-genre that's been floating around for decades, but has largely been ignored by the mainstream since Hawkwind's brief flirtation with Billboard in the early-70s and Pink Floyd's shift to more Earthly-concerns with Dark Side of the Moon. Lefse Records is attempting to change that with their ambitious Space Project, which uses actual "sounds" from space. Though it's not directly possible to hear sound in space, it is possible to take fluctuations in electromagnetic radiation and particles and "convert" those occurrences into sound. 

That's exactly what the label has done for the upcoming release by utilizing recordings of the Voyager spacecrafts. And our first taste of this conversion process comes courtesy of Boise's own Youth Lagoon. "Worms" culls noises from the rings of Uranus to craft a swirling number. Plucked strings dance into the great beyond while warped synthesizers evince the slow-burn of a rocket. You can hear the nervousness in Trevor Powers as he heads into an expanse of nothingness, croaking "you're much more competent, but they can't see you when you're afraid." And hidden amongst all of these sounds are tiny bleeps taken from the seventh planet in this Solar System. Small in "size", but colossal in importance they echo Powers' own sentiment, "the most significant statement is one that isn't spoken."

The Space Project doesn't have a set in stone release date yet, but it is coming soon from Lefse.