As I mentioned in my review of Fiona Apple's show at SXSW this year, part of her beauty is her ability to tread that line of perfect sanity and snapping into brambles of a nervous breakdown. Her single "Every Single Night" -- with its close-proximity vocal recording and its war-cry chorus -- has the same appeal.
And now its music video does too. Poor Fiona is half-consumed by a octopus and needs lay down with the buffalo-headed man every single night. She is followed and afraid at points, and then utterly alone at others, weaving those spindly arms through one bizarre nocturnal rite after another. The snails are cute... her rolling around in them is not.
It sounds like Lady Gaga may be close to completing her next album, as she already has solid plans for promotion on her calendar.
"Exciting news little monsters! I've played my new record for my label and will be announcing my new Album Title in September!" she Tweeted earlier today (June 8).
Hey, maybe Gaga doesn't even know what the name is yet. But that's not the point. If she is this adamant about being ready to move on to promoting her third album, then she's ready to have her fans move on as well.
Which is a good thing. "Born This Way" didn't have the legs on it that Interscope had hoped, nor the critical acclaim. While Gaga's popularity has obviously grown since its release last May -- and her live shows and strong media personality are good reasons why -- 2012 is the time to leave that set behind, not 2013.
The news resembles the move she made with the lead-up to "Born This Way." She announced the name of the album during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV VMAs, which also are in September. She unveiled the album release date on New Year's Day this year, as well as the title track single. Then it was five solid months of album promotion in the lead-up to the May 23 release. So we now know that her label likes at least seven months of lead-up.
Mother Monster is currently on her Born This Way Ball tour overseas, with stops in Europe and Australia through the summer. However, she has yet to announce the North American leg. With news that the promotional process for her as-yet-untitled has started even now, technically, it may be that she'll modify her show to include new songs or visual motifs for her U.S. audience.
No word if the songs she played for label execs were the finalized versions, but it's good to know they've given the OK on the tunes themselves.
Frank Ocean is finally ready to drop his Def Jam studio set, and fans have to only wait a month and a week to hear it.
With a teaser trailer posted to his blog, Ocean teased "Channel Orange," due on July 17. The video features a slow, sweeping shot of a ritzy car, its passengers (if any) unclear. However, the song playing over seems to indicate all sorts of sexy happening, with his love interest "workin' at the Pyramid." Is Ocean lusting for a stripper named Cleopatra?
"Channel Orange" comes on the heels of "nostalgia, ULTRA," the mixtape he dropped last year that yielded buzz songs like "Novacane." This year, after a messy release history, "Thinkin Bout You" was dubbed to be the leading single from the new album (it was originally written for Bridget Kelly, who also released her version).
Ocean, who is also part of hip-hop collective Odd Future, has been signed to Def Jam for much longer than a year. He'd mentioned in interviews last year he wasn't considered a priority at the label until after Odd Future had blown up on everybody's radar after the South By Southwest Music conference; it seems he finally got on the dance card.
However, it is a little strange that Def Jam is announcing this so close to the release date. "Thinkin' About You" seems to be the only possible new inclusion in the tracklist, though it's up in the air if they'll be borrowing any "nostalgia, ULTRA" songs. He could certainly use more exposure to hip-hop/R&B audiences, which he'll get during his tour in July and part of August -- but he's spending some of August and beyond opening for Coldplay, and who knows what the feedback from that will be.
The Killers' new album is titled "Battle Born," and every good battle needs an army. So the Las Vegas troupe recruited a number of high-power producers including Steve Lillywhite, Damian Taylor, Brendan O’Brien, and previous collaborator Stuart Price, who helped smack the sound on the band's 2008 hit "Human."
"Battle Born," the Killers' fourth full-length will drop some time this fall, and is the follow-up to 2008's "Day & Age." Since that release, frontman Brandon Flowers went off to make a solo album, and judging from the trailer the band dropped today, the group is heading further still into synthy territory, as it's done increasingly.
In an interview with NME, drummer Ronnie Vanucci said the title fits the band's state of mind during the recording process. "It's living up to its title. This is our difficult fourth record."
Rock band Gaslight Anthem's new single "45" took some time to grow on me. It reminds me of a lot of material from their last album, and any band should feel pressure to justify the filler phrase "Heee-eeey." However, The chorus is killing me. I'm improving on my air-drumming and I find myself doing a lot of pointing, especially on the "see you on the flip side" part.
The music video for "45" features Gaslight Anthem fans reacting about the same, pushing up against the barricades at a show in the troupe's home state of New Jersey. Interspersed are shots of Asbury Park and other sites around the band's stomping grounds.
As previously reported, "45" is culled from "Handwritten," due on July 21. The band have already set many tour dates, below.
Here are the Gaslight Anthem's tour dates:
06/08 – Nickelsdorf, AT @ Nova Rock
06/09 – Munster, DE @ Vainstream Rockfest
06/11 – London, UK @ Koko’s
06/13 – Keil, DE @ Max
06/14 – Hultsfred, SE @ Hultsfred Festival
06/15 – Arhus, DK @ Northside Festival
06/16 – Oslo, NO @ Norwegian Wood
06/17 – Seinajoki, FI @ Provinssirock
06/23 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Orion Music + More
07/05 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
07/07 – Portland, OR @ Hawthrone Theater
07/08 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
07/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fineline
07/12 – Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
07/13 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
07/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bunbury Music Festival
07/16 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
07/18 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
07/19 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
07/20 – Washington, DC @ U Street
07/22 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
07/24 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
08/05 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/16-17 – Kiewit, BE @ Pukkelpop
08/18 – Ludinghausen, DE @ Area 4
08/19 – Leipzig, DE @ Highfield Festival
08/24 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
08/26 – Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
09/11 – Quebec City, QC @ Agora #
09/12 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre #
09/13 – Ottawa, ON @ CE Centre #
09/15 – Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest #
09/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom #
09/17 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Deltaplex #
09/20 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center #
09/21 – Pensacola Beach, FL @ DeLuna Fest
09/22 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion #
09/24 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium #
09/25 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium #
09/28 – Tempe, AZ @ Tempe Beach Park #
09/29 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center #
10/01 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Cafe #
10/02 – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Theatre #
10/04 – Victoria, BC @ Save On Foods Memorial Centre #
10/ 06 – Calgary, AB @ Stampede Park BMO Centre #
10/07 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Expo Centre #
* = w/ Soundgarden
# = w/ Rise Against and Hot Water Music
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.
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.
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?
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.
Using Kickstarter, 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?
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.