Shortly before she took the prize for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, Adele wowed audiences across the board with the very track that earned her the Oscar honor. "Skyfall" fell on the stage with a full orchestra, choir and floor to ceiling sparkle, with the acclaimed British singer front-and-center.
Now, if only her vocals could have been treated the same. All night, the house orchestra tended to overpower vocals -- including on other powerhouse performances from 007-famed Shirley Bassey and "Dreamgirls" Oscars winner Jennifer Hudson. While Adele kept her kinder notes understated like in the recording, her backing band seemed to challenge her. Great performance on her part, but an iffy mix.
Still, she put a little shimmy in, with the glitter of her heels and the shine of that dress. It was a win for the James Bond franchise, another feather in Adele's already ample cap -- even for a 24-year-old -- and another step toward the inevitable: Adele for EGOT. Just don't go for the Tony too soon.
Listen to new music out this week, from Sallie Ford, Nick Cave, Samantha Crain, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Iceage, Lusine and Sin Fang.
I've frothed over Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside many times before, and their new album "Untamed Beast" has me in a damned-near tizzy. It was released on Tuesday, and you can stream it in all it's full-throated, big bassy, dumbfounding glory here.
Oklahoma-based, folk-inspired rocker Samantha Crain has another new one, too. "Kid Face" not only has a delightful name, but a sparse-but-lush arrangement around her trove of lyrics. She gets wiser with age, and at 26 with three albums and one EP, I can't wait to hear more and more. Hear "Kid Face" in whole here.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy is putting something out every other week, which means every other every other week my heart breaks with good music. He and longtime collabo Dawn McCarthy made a whole album of Everly Brothers covers, "What the Brothers Sang," and released this week. KCRW has the whole stream here.
Copenhagen punk-rockers Iceage put out their second full-length "You're Nothing" out through Matador this week. It sounds like hormones on fire, so here's "Ecstacy" in case you thought you had your sh*t together.
Jamie Lidell has all these sneaky, sexy dance songs fitted in-between seasoned funk freak-outs, and his new, self-titled album has plenty of both. And the video "You Naked" is both. MySpace has his whole damn album streaming, and -- I swear to God -- if it didn't take me five different tries to try and establish a new damn profile on the damn new damn MySpace, I'd recommend you listen to it there. Alas. So here's just the video.
Ghostly put out one of my favorite albums last year -- Matthew Dear's "Beams" -- so it doesn't surprise me they have something else that I love this early into 2013. Check out this chilly action from electronica mastermind Lusine, called "Another Tomorrow."
The first time I listened to Sin Fang's organized, noisy kum-ba-ya "Flowers," I was like, "no... wait, let me hear that again." Then it was like, "huh." Then, "I got this," and now, "Listen to this loveable nonsense."
The world's deepest sleeper has been identified, and she is laying half-clothed next to Drake in Kendrick Lamar's music video for "Poetic Justice."
The latter Compton MC's cut is off of his -- ahem -- critically acclaimed "good kid, m.A.A.d. city," featuring an ill-fated L.A. love story, with a violent rush ending with a bang. Lamar dials his buddy Drizzy, who picks up the phone in the bedroom. He is clothed, with the lights on, rapping on the phone, as his lady dozes next to him. Considering Drake's irresistibility, she is the Olympic champion of Sleeping.
Lamar is also making headlines today for being added to a big SXSW party next month: He'll be headlining Spin's Austin Throwdown on March 15 at Stubb's.
He also told MTV that he'd like Janet Jackson to appear in his music video for "Poetic Justice," off of his jaw-dropping 2012 album "good kid, m.A.A.d city." And wouldn't you know it, Jackson got word and is now considering it.
"Janet, c'mon, Janet. No paperwork with the managers, contact the managers. This is artist to artist," Lamar pitched in December. "This is a young boy that looked up to you for years. Please, yeah, video, Janet Jackson 'Poetic Justice.' It'll only be right."
Now: "Yeah, she heard the message, so we're still crossing our fingers right now."
Trent Reznor's group How to destroy angels__, in preparation for the March 5 release of its debut full-length album 'Welcom oblivion' has been rolling out some promotional activity behind the release, namely a tour and an official stream of the new album.
And "rolling out," that means in pieces. Today the band announced tour dates, and tour cities, but not venues, which they'll be revealing tomorrow, adding mysteriously: "These are the only dates we have scheduled right now. To preemptively answer the 'when are you coming to my city/country??' questions: We just don’t know. Right now, the dates above are the only dates. There are some other announcements coming soon that will impact this as well…"
Maybe "other announcements" means there's more festival appearances, since this week seems to be the week of all festival announcements. Or maybe Nine Inch Nails is putting out a covers set of How To Destroy Angels songs. Who knows.
Meanwhile, you can sample "Welcome oblivion" in its entirety via Pitchfork. It includes the cuts from the " Check out the creepy, dark music video for "How Long" by Shynola, the London art collective which, on the flip side, was behind the totally amazing Coldplay vid for "Strawberry Swing."
Here are the How to destroy angels__ tour dates, to be updated when venues arrive:
4.12 indio, ca [coachella]
4.13 las vegas, nv
4.17 monterey, ca
4.18 san francisco, ca
4.19 indo, ca [coachella]
4.21 denver, co
4.23 chicago, il
4.25 toronto, on
4.27 boston, ma
4.28 montclair, nj
4.29 new york, ny
Billy Corgan, when he's not playing and recording with Smashing Pumpkins, runs a pro wrestling promotions company called Resistance Pro Wrestling. Its members and Corgan himself star in a commercial for the Walter E. Smithe furniture store, which is Chicago-based.
For the record, if I was famous, I'd do this kind of thing all the time.
Jack White has been appointed the official ambassador for Record Store Day this year, to help support and market the April 20 push for music-buyers to head into their local mom-and-pop shops.
To kick off the festivities, the Third Man Record head posted a cheeky video chock full of conspiracy theories set at the United vinyl-pressing plant in Nashville; he is also dressed like Boris Badenov, the villain from "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show."
White also went to the lengths of penning a pro-vinyl post that commented on digital technology, the generation gap of music-buying and the importance of face-to-face interactions. The entirety of that missive is below.
Speaking to digital distribution of art and entertainment, White rhetorically asks, "What's the point?"
"Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences?" he wrote. "Well here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click. There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum)."
Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Bjork and R. Kelly are headlining the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this year, marking a lineup that has hedged a little bit away from the fest's jam-oriented roots.
Organizers announced the complete lineup today during an hour-long press conference by "Weird Al" Yankovic, who's also headed to Manchester, Tenn. for the four-day event, which runs June 13-16.
Other big names to join the bill are The National, the reunited Wu-Tang Clan, David Byrne and St. Vincent, Immaculate Noise favorite Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Of Monsters and Men, Nas, ZZ Top, Cat Power, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and more.
Early bird tickets already sold out, but general onsale begins on Saturday (Feb. 23) at noon EST. Like years previous, only 4-day tickets can be bought, no single-days.
It's good seeing names like McCartney and Petty on festival bills like these: normally, we'd see such veteran artists only do headlining tours or one-offs. It looks like Bonnaroo is interested in full catalog artists instead of long-termers who merely have a new album to promote. McCartney puts on a damn fine show, with more than three hours of legwork ahead of him with each date, so I'm curious how long his slot will be at the festival. Not bad for a septuagenarian.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds fans rejoiced this winter when it was announced that the legendary songwriter and his band had completed a new album, "Push the Sky Away."
Now one of you may have an even bigger reason to cheer: HitFix is giving away an autographed vinyl copy of "Push the Sky Away" this week.
Check out the promotion below, share it basically everyone you know, and you could win!
"Push the Sky Away" hit stores today (Feb. 19) and you can buy it through iTunes here. The group is also supporting the set on the road, with a stop at the South By Southwest music conference plus tour dates below.
Mar 14: Dallas, TX McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, Southern Methodist University
Mar 16: Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Mar 17: Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
Mar 20: North Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
Mar 22: Montreal, Canada Metropolis
Mar 23: Toronto, Canada Massey Hall
Mar 24: Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
Mar 28: New York, NY Beacon Theatre
Mar 29: New York, NY Beacon Theatre
Apr 1: Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
Apr 3: Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
When I read the term "pentatonic" as a descriptor for the new Phoenix album "Bankrupt!," I felt a little skeptical (the usual emotion after a hearty eye-roll). But that is an honest, qualitative way of illustrating just what "Entertainment" is.
The lead synth melody line sounds like something sampled from a Chinese film, or a movie that's trying at least to depict that. It's both cinematic and a little exotic, more challenging than their big hits like "Lisztomania" and "1901." Furthermore, it comes off as emotionally ambiguous, nesting in neither a major or a minor, and lacks a big explosive proper chorus to let you know either way. It's mostly like a long pre-chorus, with some tricky rhythm work that warrants a repeat listen.