Congratulations to wordsmith, songwriter and damned fine live performer Sam Amidon, who has signed to Nonesuch records. The label will be releasing "Bright Sunny South" on May 14.
The set was produced by Amidon, Doveman (aka Thomas Bartlett) and industry mainstay Jerry Boys, and features Amidon on guitar, fiddle, banjo and piano for his folk- and American roots-based tunes. Bartlett, Shahzad Ismaily, Chris Vatalaro and jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also perform.
Check out the first song to arrive from "South," "My Old Friend," and just let instrumental arrival after verse one just lift this one up.
The band fun. does its best to leave its baggage behind in the video for "Why Am I the One." A literal piece of luggage co-stars in this slick, sad clip.
The Grammy Award-winning band slogs its way through a city and sips of drinks as personal baggage keeps symbolically re-appearing, enduring bumps in the road, scuffs, abuse and abduction. In the finale, Nate Ruess and the rest address the baggage-head on, but turning it into song and then sending it on its way.
A relationship with repeated offense can be such the burden. Check out the lyrics below the video in YouTube.
And also keep your ears open for the very start, for the muzak version of "Some Nights," the title track to the album from which "Why Am I the One" is culled.
As previously reported, fun. is on tour all summer with Tegan and Sara and is on tap for the newly announced Boston Calling rock festival this May.
Thom Yorke's supercrew of sticksmen makes for a complex listening experience
Katie Hasty Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 7:20 PM
Atoms For Peace is the project name for Thom Yorke’s full band when he’s gone solo, and structurally the album “AMOK” shows he’s still its leader. For it, the Radiohead frontman assembled a mighty drum circle.
Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco and Yorke beat, tap, hum and stir their way through a mere nine songs for the album, which feels further abbreviated by it’s ultra-tidy sound. Every tapestry of rhythm churns at a similar clip, with small and short programmed drum sounds rarely stepping in the way of Yorke's falsetto and protracted vowels.
“Judge, Jury, Executioner,” one of the first songs farmed out from “AMOK,” still remains one of its highlights, in its odd time signature and recognizable, daunting chorus. Textural “Dropped” is a jaw-dropping array of punctuated rhythms and counter-rhythms, making it a dream for headphone listening; “Reverse Running” is similar, like a case-study in the use of panning and intricacies in stereo.
As expertly as the album’s played, there’s still the curse of over-thinking, when the attention to detail overpowers the longing for a lush, completed song. “Stuck Together Pieces” is one example of this, in that even its name implies useable segments merely glued together. Every time I hear “Unless,” I’ve forgotten I’ve even heard it before, and I then forget again.
Still, for fans of “Erase,” this will satisfy in layers, through first listens and repeated. These complex, highly detailed tracks may be skeletal at times, but intoxicating nonetheless.
'Grace for Saints and Ramblers' rambles as 'Lovers' Revolution' slinks
Katie Hasty Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 4:13 PM
Iron & Wine has now unleashed two new songs from forthcoming album "Ghost on Ghost," due April 16 via Nonesuch.
Today's "Grace for Saints and Ramblers" is one of Sam Beam's wordy-word tracks, chugging along an easy snare beat and sunnily beaming on its Tom Waitsian cousin "Lovers' Revolution." That track is an obvious example of how Iron & Wine's collaboration with Calexico has rubbed off, in a slinky, dreamer-lidded rumble of horns and bass-centric sound.
Both are part of the style evolution of Iron & Wine, which has become increasingly visible among the AAA crowd since moving over to a major two years ago for "Kiss Each Other Clean." It's no coincidence that set became I&W's best-selling and highest charting effort, peaking at No. 2 on the 200.
Judging from these two tracks and from Beam's trajectory, do you think "Ghost on Ghost" can go higher?
Fresh tour dates announced ahead of what may be the indie band's biggest release
Katie Hasty Monday, Feb 25, 2013 7:25 PM
The National will be releasing a new album, the follow-up to "High Violet," this spring. The Brooklyn rock band is hitting the road for an extensive tour in June, piggy-backing off their high-profile gig at the Barclay's Center in their homebase, but you can bet there will be some warm-ups (like the one at Ithaca's State Theater) where the band will be previewing new material.
4AD is yet again behind the release of the as-yet-untitled set, which I suppose may be in the running for the band's biggest-selling or highest charting album. 2010's "High Violet" was not only a critical favorite, but also landed the group at No. 3 on The Billboard 200, their best yet. Depending on the date they choose in May, they could contend for the top spot. So I'd recommend shooting for some other week after May 7, which is the date other indie favorites like She & Him and label-group-mates Vampire Weekend are dropping their latest, as is Fall Out Boy (hrm.), Lady Antebellum and Natalie Maines.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have lifted the curtain on their very dramatic first single from their new album. "Sacrilege," from "Mosquito," is a dark, saucy rocker with a choir and a show-stopping a capella ending. It's the one for the festivals and arenas, which also makes me hesitant to assume the rest of the effort, due April 16, is anything like it, considering all the psychedelia of that album cover, the mysterium of the album teaser trailer and the YYY's long, happy history of curve ball album cuts.
That drum sound -- the cymbals in particular -- is so delicious and crunchy and in-room. I want that to be applied to Karen O's nuanced, door-busting vocals, and instead it seems to be needlesly buried under a pile-on of effects for the sake of drama. This has a gospel choir, for crying out loud, it needn't push the winning "Watchtower"/"Gimme Shelter" formula into an acid bath, but I see what you did there with all God's angels singing about sacrilege. I feel like I just walked out of the post-Apocalypse.
Dave Sitek produced the whole set, so make sure your speakers are cranked to sample.
Members of Jane's Addiction, King Crimson and more join the jaunt
Katie Hasty Monday, Feb 25, 2013 4:03 PM
Trent Reznor has always maintained that Nine Inch Nails was never over, just that he had some other interests. Now, we'll hear what the frontman has in mind for his long-lasting industrial/rock project, as they hit the road this summer in a new configuration.
The new lineup boasts of Reznor and NIN alumni Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin, plus Eric Avery (Jane's Addiction), Adrian Belew (King Crimson) and Josh Eustois (Telefon Tel Aviv). The addition I'm most curious about is Belew, who at 63 has proven himself over and over again as a frontman, as a flavorful guest guitarist on Nine Inch Nails' records and an able-bodied multi-instrumentalist. On the road he may (or hopefully) will support the band with more than some choice licks.
According to the release, NIN will be playing in arenas, purportedly after HTDA_ is all finished promoting the full-length. No word on an album release.
Here is the full statement from Reznor via Pitchfork:
'Chicago,' Barbra Streisand, Norah Jones, Shirley Bassey and Dancing With The Stars
Katie Hasty Monday, Feb 25, 2013 1:58 AM
Music and the movies was the unofficial-official theme of the 2013 Academy Awards, and big names were on hand to flesh the concept out. Jennifer Hudson, Adele, Barbra Streisand, host Seth MacFarlane, Kristin Chenoweth, Shirley Bassey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Norah Jones the cast of "Les Miserables" and more were all on hand to work the wares from their famed flicks.
Below is an outline of the show's big numbers and some commentary. Be sure to vote on which you think was the best. Has Adele won over your heart, too?
+ The show host Seth MacFarlane had promised big musical numbers from the top, once he got the job, and considering the depth of know-how from his creation of "Family Guy," the dude knows how to speak Hollywood. And did he. Maybe a little too well... or a little too Old Hollywood. In between cracks with Captain Kirk, he trotted out A-Lister Dancing With The Stars Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron for "The Way You Look Tonight" and a soft shoe bit with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe, who recently caught the Broadway musical bug.
+ Honoring 50 years of James Bond, the lead entertainer was Shirley Bassey and her "Goldfinger," which warranted a standing ovation. Watchers were perhaps hoping for a much bigger, more surprising combination of 007 alum (hey, I hear Paul McCartney's just sitting by the phone), but this stood well on its own.
+ An entire segment devoted to the stage musical turned out to honor only a couple of movies. The producers of the Oscars also happened to be executive producers of "Chicago," and they took this opportunity to pat themselves on the back. This first time: Catherine Zeta-Jones, doing a decent job of retreading her "All That Jazz" except for that whole lip-syncing thing. Jennifer Hudson, on the other hand, couldn't have phoned in her big, gorgeous, Academy Award-winning "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls," reminding us that a movie doesn't necessarily have to be good in order to yield some timeless performances. "Les Miserables" had its big cast moment that even included Russell Crowe, bless his heart, for "One Day More" and "Suddenly." It felt like it went on for one day more.
+ Adele sang her Oscar-winner "Skyfall' with grace and shimmying charm. The overall sound mix was far less elegance. Watch it and read more here.
Academy Awards gets music A-lister power and a James Bond win
Katie Hasty Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 11:41 PM
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 songs and full albums from Lusine, Samantha Crain and more
Katie Hasty Friday, Feb 22, 2013 7:32 PM
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."