That's some speak-singing right there
Matt & Kim is one of those acts whose lyrics I never really pay attention to, particularly because they tend to use words and verses as just another form of setting the beat. "Cameras," the first single from the band's as-yet-untitled third album, is an example of this, where Matt Johnson could very well be spewing proverbs, or the ingredients from a box of cereal, or nonsensical syllables, and it'd still make for a solid, energy-emanating song.
Because this Brooklyn duo is all and only about rhythms, and they have one nailed here, with blips from what sounds like an old gaming console, to the rattling trombones of a high school marching band and an '80s throwback drumbeat. Johnson's voice just gives rise to the chorus' crescendo and flattens out that sneaky minor, making it feel dynamic and complete. It sounds like a celebration, and, if the track is any indicator of what's to come on the album, there's going to be plenty to celebrate.
The single goes wide on the web tomorrow, but you can stream it on the band's Facebook or, if you don't feel like "liking" them, Seattle station The End got the premiere.
No word yet when the album will be released (on Fader's label), but we bet it's before Christmas and we bet there will be more info soon on Matt & Kim's Twitter.
Being the road warriors they are, the pair are touring extensively this fall, dates below. They're still gaining traction after their video for "Lessons Learned" went viral and won awards at the 2009 MTV VMAs and at the 2009 MTVu Woodie Awards, so look for more packed houses.
Here are Matt & Kim's tour dates:
Yo JB! This sounds just how you think it would!
Take the sample from Wu-Tang Clan's famed "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F*ck Wit" and buttress it with the chorus from Justin Bieber's lady-sounding "Runaway Love." Give Raekwon a couple sweet verses to rap. Give Kanye West one.
The result is what is being dubbed Kanye West's "Runaway Love" featuring Raekwon and Justin Bieber. This would be a lot more fun if it were a proper mashup, but, on its face, it's not very good. It's just a remix folks, nothing to see here, except for two obnoxious internet phenoms and perhaps Raekwon laughing his head off all the way to the bank.
This track was brought to you by the letter Tweet, a result of the Twitter love-in between the three artists a couple weeks ago.
Kanye West is bound to remain omnipresent as he continues to unleash drips and drabs over the social networking sites and new tracks every Friday in anticipation of his forthcoming, as-yet-unnamed album.
These are pop-up windows you won't want to close... Or maybe you will
"We Used to Wait," from the band's latest "The Suburbs," has been cast into a website dubbed "The Wilderness Downtown" with an interactive interface that takes the address of your childhood home and spits out a unique video experience. A number of moving images, in sync with the music, appear in pop-up windows -- some feature a generic shoot of a teen in a hoodie running on wet streets, and some are from Google Earth satellite images of shots compiled from around your old 'hood.
Granted, get "used to waiting" for the experience to work. The video is intended for viewing in Google Chrome (and, sometimes, Safari) and has an excruciating load time. It crashed my browser three times and I've got a machine capable of quantum physics and somersaults. This is likely due to the fact that, now, thousands of fans are trying to operate the site simultaneously. So you may wait until tomorrow to see what a craphole your old house has become.
And that seems to be some of the point. Arcade Fire's album is a reflection on the neighborhoods we grew up in, in the banalities and nostalgia of the 'burbs. Running along with our hooded friend through our own street gives off a sense of exploration as well as escape. But the fact that it's not tailor-made for each user -- that this is, in fact, a generic program on its face -- in itself becomes a false experience on massive scale. Tantalizing!
The Wilderness Downtown site is a product of mastermind Chris Milk, who took us on a first-person camera trip to the airport in Kanye West's "All Falls Down" clip and the head-f*ck that was Gnarls Barkley's cover of "Gone Daddy Gone."
What do you think of The Wilderness Downtown / "We Used to Wait?"
What other acts have had strong brand alignment? And which ones should?
Independent twee pop act The Weepies announced a "music initiative partnership" with Whole Foods supermarkets, which will place the band's new album "Be My Thrill" prominently in check-out aisles across the country starting Sept. 7 for two months (general release is on Aug. 31). The CDs will likely sit next to organic breath mints, yoga magazines and discount bottles of white tea.
The chain's blog, Whole Story, will also have exclusive rights to start streaming the whole thing starting on Sept. 3, marking the first time the site's hosted a full album stream. The feature will be wedged between posts on likely topics like grass-fed cattle, chewable vitamin spotlights, seasonal changes in diet and mood or focus on farms.
I'm not being facetious in the distinctions between products: these branding touchstones are items that Whole Food have long sought to propagate, and, no doubt, the decision to align themselves with a brand identity such as Whole Foods' was one long considered by the band and its label Nettwerk.
Because at the end of the day, Nettwerk needs to sell product in order to stay in business, and The Weepies thus far have admirably sold their artistry as product.
To get a tip on what the band has to offer, check out the duo's new song "Please Speak Well of Me" below.
BostonCambridge-based act has been featured in prominent TV advertisement for JC Penney and Old Navy before, and have been all over the map in licensing to TV shows. They play soft-hearted, harmless adult-leaning music -- a hot commodity in licensing these days -- stuff that a lot of people would like but conceivably would never be discovered if they hadn't pulled the trigger on what was once considered "selling out." They're not hipster blog sweethearts, and even if they were, that hardly means a guarantee of any sort of paycheck.
Starbucks is a comparably brand that came to mind when I read this announcement. While the coffee chain's record label wasn't exactly a bustling success story, Starbucks has been a brand spanked onto many an album artist -- even ones that didn't stock their albums on shop shelves. Andrew Bird, Wilco and, most recently Ray LaMontagne have been "Select" artists there before, alongside James Taylor greatest hits sets or Christmas compilations and easy listening covers collections.
There's media "brand" bands too -- like Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest" becoming an unofficial NPR darling in 2009, or when The National let the New York Times stream their "High Violet" earlier this year. Then there's tours like Paramore going out for Honda, or Jagermeister covering all its lovers with country act Pat Green or schlocky modern rockers Korn. (As I mentioned earlier this year, music has a long history with beverage brands.) Devo handed over their entire "Something For Everybody" marketing and promotions campaign, appropriately, to an ad agency (which, by the way, would have made an outstanding episode of "Mad Men"). And that doesn't even get into the "branding" of licensing music to certain shows, movies, networks or picture houses.
Where I think that this Weepies announcement strikes an odd chord with new music lovers is the span of the Whole Foods brand. Sure, it's a yuppietopia with a penchant for overpricing, but it's a huge, entire line of products, not just ceramic mugs and coffee gift sets. And it's not the music passivley playing overhead as customers push carts of pineapple and specialty chocolate. It's kind of a big deal, though I'm unsure of how much money was exchanged into whose hands.
This brand identity and opportunity to the Weepies is an expanding of the corporate music mind for labels and music consumers -- since our CD stores have been shut down or cornered into Targets and other big boxes, how else do we get our new music recommendations? Word of mouth, engines like Pandora, terrestrial and satellite radio, shops from Hot Topic to Hallmark, TV programs, movie soundtracks.. and now, the grocery aisle. It isn't that novel, except in maybe scale.
Whole Foods and the Weepies? Sure. In my head, it works. Forget "pure" artistry -- it's not like the album are songs written about gluten-free baby food or Amy's Burritos -- the band found itself a better bedfellow than most.
It got my head spinning about other artists who would make for good branding synergists*. Drake should hook up with Axe -- "Thank Me Later" should be a name of a new body spray. Thievery Corporation could drive Lexus and Vampire Weekend could fly JetBlue. Instead of just keeping with album exclusives and clothing lines, Miley Cyrus should go all the way with her love affair with Walmart while the Ting Tings could add some flare to the rows and the extra-long fitting room line in H&M. And what's to keep them?**
* Not a real word.
Check out the newly minted supergroup's self-titled song
So far, they've gotten around to posting a Twitter account (under the "Men Who Stare At Goats" moniker Lyn Cassady, no less), a MySpace with dummy text for a bio and a Facebook account that reveals they're posted in Venice, Calif.
On top of that, they've revealed their first known song, a self-titled, sadly sweeping rocker. Vocally, there's little trading of vocals on "Fistful of Mercy," though there's a lot going on in that chorus, where it sounds like three wispy, raspy guys who all split into harmonies but in their heart-of-hearts all wish they were singing melody. I could be a little off, but the chorus seems to say, "Maybe it's soft inside of a fistful of mercy / maybe it counts from where we are / the land of the thirsty / hungry." The track'ss enhanced by violin, a little tonal and slide guitar work and a dramatic cache of drumming.
The beginning of the clip features a sketch of a goat. We see a goat theme developing.
The band has announced its first public performance, to take place at Easy Street Records in Seattle tomorrow night (Aug. 27).
No release dates or label information is available. A rep had not replied to our request for more information by press time.
Harper last released "White Lies for Dark Times" with the Relentless7 in 2009, out on Virgin. Joseph Arthur has been releasing album over the last four years on his own label, Lonely Astronaut, with his last studio full-length out in 2008. Dhani Harrison, son of Beatle George Harrison, first started playing music when he helped complete his dad's last effort, 2002's "Brainwashed." He sings and plays guitar with his band thenewno2, which has completed one album.
What do you think of the song?
Exclusive: Comedienne recording new song 'Stick It In' with The Cliks frontman
Margaret Cho lost her voice over the weekend and is very sweetly describing her new and first comedy music hybrid album “Cho Dependent.” She gushes on the “warmth and love” there was between her and her famous collaborators like Andrew Bird, Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, Tegan and Sara, Ani DiFranco and the New Pornographers’ A.C. Newman, who worked on music to her lyrics. It’s fielding a balance, she said, between being known as a comedian but have great standards for a musical output.
Is it, perhaps, like having two sides to a coin, an alter-ego?
Below are Margaret Cho's music videos with Andrew Bird and Grant Lee Phillips, in "I'm Sorry" and "Eat Sh*t and Die," respectively.
A comet hurdling toward earth, graves and 'dammit': kids these days
A natural disaster makes it way toward land, as its creatures -- living in peace -- hurry away for shelter. "The comet,' Bjork sings, "Oh dammit / the comet comes hurdling down / on our precious plot of earth."
Yup, sounds like a children's film to me.
Click here to watch the video.
The famed Icelandic singer contributed new "The Comet Song" to the stop-motion animated movie "The Moomins and the Comet Chase," a Finnish movie released earlier this month. The felt-animals and footage of the film is comprised of scenes from the Polish TV show "Comet in Moominland" series, which were based on the Swedish "Moonmins" books (written by a Swedish-Finn). Follow?
That all goes to say, Bjork is a fan of the stuff and her odd tune pushes the clip straight into creepy territory, right up there with "The Dark Crystal." But, hey, she's donating proceeds from the sale of "The Comet Song" to UNICEF. It goes up on iTunes tomorrow (Aug. 24).
'California Gurls' singer returns with follow-up to 'One of the Boys'
In interviews, Katy Perry has said essentially that she wants her new album to be every teenage boys’ wet dream – though it’s teenage girls that will be putting “Teenage Dream” on repeat. The end result is watering down of the teenage experience, oscillating between only two points of perspective: Adorable Mischief and A Broken Heart. The former seems to subsist on nudity, drinking and sex, while the latter is of direct consequence of the former. And, as “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” says, “Do it all again.”
Katy Perry's "American Dream" is out tomorrow (Aug. 24).
The Gnarls Barkley crooner spells it out in a NSFW video: Is he your X-Box?
Have you considered showing up at your lady love's new midtown apartment, crying, in the middle of the night, drunk on cheap vodka and sporting a boombox, a la John Cusack in "Say Anything," only not blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" but something to tell her and her new beau off instead?
How about something '50s-inspired, profanity-laced and sung by Cee-Lo? "F*ck You" says what it means, and the placeholder music video says what it says what it means.
In several LOL moments, the Gnarls Barkley crooner recounts how "being in love with your @ss ain't cheap" and compares himself to an Atari while the new guy's an X-Box. He also quotes notable prophet and philosopher Mr. T.
I'm not particularly fond of the long-running trend of songs that lament how girlfriends bankrupt men, "b*tches be shoppin'," et cetera, but at least this track has the wisdom of self-effacement and hilarity. It's an insta-earworm, though not one whose words should sung aloud in public places or around small children.
In fact, I doubt it can pass the censors to be a radio single release, though in the case of Eminem et al., radio will always find a way.
A proper music video release is slated for next week; the song is culled from Cee-Lo's "Lady Killer," due in December.
Be warned, again: this song and video is not safe for work (NSFW).
Listen: Streaming and on sale now, for $5, on Bandcamp: Hooray
1. All Delighted People (Original Version)
2. Enchanting Ghost
4. From the Mouth of Gabriel
5. The Owl and the Tanager
6. All Delighted People (Classic Rock Version)