Inside Music with Katie Hasty
Brooklyn band sets international tour dates
Grizzly Bear is back, with a growl and a whimper.
The Brooklyn-based crew has released a fresh song "Sleeping Ute" ahead of the Sept. 18 drop of their as-yet-untitled new album for Warp.
The track unfolds in segments, starting with a sort of calculated, forceful opening with long vowels and embattled acoustic guitars, an unsettling rock breakdown with drums thisclose to your face. It deelops into an "admission," where our singer gently admits to his "countless empty days." "I live to see your faces / and I hate to see you go..." The riffs get ripped apart like paper, and the drop with flurry of a flemenco-inspired notes. It's pretty.
This new full-length effort is the follow-up to "Veckatimest" from 2009.
Right in time for CMT Music Awards and major summer tour kickoff
Kenny Chesney's music video for "Come Over" asserts that Kenny Chesney is very rich, very straight and is in very good shape.
The Shaun Silva-directed clip was shot in Miami, featuring what looks like Chesney's own 60-foot yacht chugging around Miami. It co-stars a beautiful young woman who suffers from poverty, as she appears to own no clothes besides lingerie and bikinis.
Spooky single precedes set recorded in New Orleans
Calexico has always had a good handle on loss. Their new song "Para" and its accompanying music video has a downward spiral feel, aside from the obvious lyrical themes and fuzzy shots of parenthood; this dramatic track features wobbly home videos and the band performing behind distorted lenses. Oh, and Joey Burns gets a shave.
"Para" precedes the Sept. 11 release of "Algiers," the dusty-rock band's debut for Anti- and their first full-length in four years. The group released albums for years through Quarterstick/Touch & Go, rest in peace.
Calexico's principals Burns and John Convertino recorded this effort out of New Orleans with co-producer Craig Schumacher, who's worked with the band and other of their Southwesternly neighbors like Neko Case, DeVotchka and Depedro. The latter band is led by Jairo Zavala, a frequent Calexico cohort who returns to "Algiers" for a collaboration on "No Te Vayas" with Jacob Valenzuela.
In a statement, Burns explains that the choice to write and work out of New Orleans was very conscious.
"The place is strong and bold, soulful to the core, but surrounded by a sea of darkness," Burns said. "There's something creepy and old on the edge of town and written throughout the town's histories. Those kinds of aesthetics help with the writing."
Well, "Para" is certainly creepy. And marvelously visual. I'm looking forward to more, particularly to opener "Epic." Sounds like a threat, doesn't it?
Listen to new song 'I Want It Back'
Long gone are the days where artists had to sign their lives away to a big, evil record conglomerate in order to get money to make music.
On her quest to raise dough for a new project, Amanda Palmer
, formerly of The Dresden Dolls, instead went straight to the source -- her fans.
, the post-modern burlesque singer was able to raise over $1 million from her cult-like followers, who in return will get everything from a deluxe copy of the CD (per $25 pledge) to dinner with the singer (two fans pledged a whopping $10,000 each).
Somewhat surprisingly, it's the largest music-related money-raising effort in Kickstarter history and, outside of Radiohead, it's extremely rare for an artist to enjoy that much creative independence based solely on fan loyalty.
Palmer's already recorded the album, "Theater of Evil
," but will spend the money on the stuff that record labels usually pay for: Album packaging, videos, touring production values, and an art book to compliment the record.
Earlier this week, fans got to hear a little bit of what they're helping to fund, as Palmer released a track online.
Listen to "Want It Back" below.
"Evil" is Palmer's first album in four years (and her first since leaving Roadrunner Records). Her new band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, features Michael McQuilken, Chad Raines and Jherek Bischoff. "Evil" was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Modest Mouse) and is due out in September.
Palmer has high hopes for the set. On her Kickstarter page, she noted, "i expect great, big, giant things to happen when this record comes out in september. the band & i will be touring it across the globe ALL YEAR."
What do you think of the new song? How much did you donate?
Another track from 'The Idler Wheel...' arrives
Sometimes we need to listen to songs that make us happy when we are breaking up. Sometimes we need to hear tunes that are about breakups during our breakups. Fiona Apple's new track "Werewolf" is a song you should put on in the instances of the latter.
The track is fairly minimal -- with Apple' s voice and a big, breathy grand piano -- but it's a little found-sound sample that gives this heart-wringer more life. The sound of children playing rattles over the melody as Apple admits that the best way she and her ex-lover can help each other is to "avoid each other." She has a sense of humor about the whole thing, even with the drooping submission of her manic voice. It's an odd track, stirring in how plain-spoken a bust-up can be.
Chris Martin fights the pop star, and it's love
When you're a rock star, you can probably make demands like, "I want to be a ninja in my next music video, but I don't want to change out of my tennis shoes."
If I were Chris Martin, that's what I'd do too. The Coldplay frontman fights many enemies and even Rihanna, who puts the "ire" in "desire" for the band's "Princess of China" single. The stylish video allows for the pop stars to get their "Crouching Tiger" on, with the Bajan singer having the added benefit of an unbelievable geisha get-up and a gorgeous fainting couch.
The two oscillate between admiring and dueling each other, finishing off their romance with a sad embrace in the end. Speaking of romance, check out Martin getting his "Bad Romance" on circa 3:16, all Yuri Bradac-ing the crap out of that chair. Yes, Chris, her dance is stunning and in slow-motion.
How was the opening act?
Ever want to know how the band behind ubiquitous "We Are Young" would fare on popular broadcast television? Pretty well, actually.
fun. took the stage to open the 2012 MTV Movie Awards during the live broadcast on Sunday night, tackling their hit "We Are Young" with the help of Janelle Monae, who features on the song. Donning matching white tuxedos with cropped pants, the band was joined by a mini-choir and the buoyant singer, who reversed her outfit to be mostly-black-clad. All looked postively amped.
Frontman Nate Ruess -- formerly of the Format -- came off almost overly eager, considering his breath control, but proved powerful and on-point with the excitement of the teen-endearing evening. Monae was very visible in the latter half of the song, much more evident than her criminally underutilized vocal part in the actual song.
"We Are Young" was a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100. The band is on tour now, and will remain eternally as such.
MTV's 'Generation Award' winner
Johnny Depp took home a "Generation Award" at tonight's MTV Movie Awards, but perhaps he felt more honored to be taking the stage with the Black Keys.
The Oscar-nominated actor performed on guitar to the Keys' summer jam "Gold on the Ceiling" on a stage in-the-round at the Los Angeles-based, live-broadcast ceremony. Depp was wordless during the song, allowing for singer Dan Auerbach's 50 shades of sexy to resonate against the uptempo jam.
After accepting his award from Aerosmith -- who are desperate to promote their "G.I. Joe" song "Legendary Child" and their new album, and who have very little to do with Johnny Depp -- Depp continued to play through the commercial with the blues-rock group on "Lonely Boy," which is also off their latest "El Camino."
Depp was quiet and appreciative in his speech, thanking legends Aerosmith and "up-and-coming legends the Black Keys." The presenting hosts reminded audiences that Depp dropped out of school at a young age to become a musician; he's been known to perform with other artists from Oasis to Marilyn Manson, and looked to Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as his inspiration for the role of Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise films.
Two very different radio jams, one as a Young Money/G.O.O.D. Music mash-up
Lil Wayne may have recent conflict with Kanye West's G.O.O.D. camp -- specifically Pusha T -- but that hasn't kept him from releasing what has been suggested is the first song to arrive from his "I Am Not a Human Being 2" album.
"My Homies Still" features G.O.O.D. Music's Big Sean, from whom Weezy borrows heavily for the hook and even some of the rap's generally sunny outlook; he injects "Go stupid" from Sean's 2011 hit "Dance (A$$)" while he and his collaborator weave around girls, skating and a mix of both good and bad one-liners.
I can't stand how it opens. I grow to love it as it ends. Their voices are good together. Too bad their respective labels aren't.
Pusha T lobbed a little beef Lil Wayne's lil buddy Drake's and Young Money's way with his "Exodus 23:1," with veiled talk of "n*ggas" signing other "n*ggas" and "Contract all f*cked / Explain up I guess that means you all f*cked up." This was a little more than a week ago, after which Weezy Tweeted "F*ck pusha t and anybody that love em." About a day later, he dropped Pusha diss track "Goulish." (It wasn't... great.. They can't all be zingers, but you can actually give a response some time, Wayne.)
'I Just Started Hating Some People Today,' 'Blue Randy' and 'Silk Pillow' arrive
Funny Beck, blue Beck, rapping Beck. Fans got all three this week as the trailblazing singer-songwriter released a new single through Third Man Records with Jack White, and collaborated with Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) on a one-off posted to the rapper's website.
As previously reported, Beck Hansen dropped by White's Third Man Nashville studio at the tail-end of a album recording mission, with White producing and guesting what would be "I Just Started Hating Some People Today" with B-Side saddy "Blue Randy."
As was discussed in my interview with Third Man cohort Reggie Watts, the label loves to mix comedy with music, but that's been a part of Beck's history for years. He weaves his snark and deadpan with a country guitar performance and loping, cool melodies on this A-Side, grinding it to an halt with White screaming and a casual woman's voice showing you the door. Who he hates -- and if he really hates -- may not be the message, but it's a theme and that would fit perfectly well on White's solo effort "Blunderbuss."
The singer-songwriter goes into his typical bonkers wordplay mode on "Silk Pillow," rapping with Gambino in a bro-down of dorks dorking out. Beyond those obvious motifs, the co-production is what holds this attention-deficit ditty together. A fun outing for the boys, but not sure how long it will last for the community.
Stream "Silk Pillow" here. Enjoy Big Ghost's liner notes and that amusing "cover."