A friend suggested I wait to publish anything on Howe Gelb’s latest project until I saw the guy play piano. Last night, the Giant Sand (now Giant Giant Sand) mastermind performed solo at Joe’s Pub in New York. I’d seen Gelb play a handful of other times – mostly when he’s on guitar, mostly with other people.
The premise for R. Kelly's last music video "Share My Love" is essentially: Kels is surrounded by girls with big boobs and small waists in evening dresses and everybody's super impressed. This time, for "It's On" featuring DJ Khaled and Ace Hood, it's about the same, only the girls are strippers.
I know this is challenging stuff. I hope your shoes are tied.
In one of the most boring refrains ever uttered by the otherworldly Kelly, the R&B singer tells us it's "on on on on on on on on on." He then bottles that boredom, and saves it for when a particularly lovely lady's ass is hanging all over his face and he kinda spaces out like, "Oh, her?, it's like whatever." Alcohol music is right.
The best part is when Khaled reminds the listener at the very end that he cooked this beat by poking his silly face into the frame for about 10 milliseconds.
There's seemingly never a good or bad time to release a "Best Of" compilation -- whether you're mid-career, at the end or done with it -- so here's some news on hits collections from Kylie Minogue and Black Sabbath.
The Australian pop singer is releasing "The Best of Kylie Minogue," a 21-song comp, on June 19 in the U.S. It contains predictable hits and songs from throughout her dozen-album career. Tracklist below.
Minogue celebrated her 25th annivesary in the biz last year by touring, releasing a CD/DVD from that tour and performing off her rarities in Oz.
As for Sabbath, the band may not be in the greatest shape for their reunion gigs in England over these next few weeks, but they aren't letting the opportunity to re-hock their wares get away from them. Their umpteenth greatest hits collection "Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath" will be out on June 4 in the U.K., according to NME, though no word yet when and if it will arrive Stateside. Tracklist below.
So what's the deal with that whole "original lineup" thing? Sabbath are scheduled to play the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England on May 19 and at the Download Festival in Donington Park, England over the weekend of June 8-10. Tony Iommi, who is suffering lymphoma, will play those. But he will not be performing the other tour dates over the summer, and those are now dubbed Ozzy & Friends, featuring Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde and Slash. The only Sabbath show in American skedded is at Lollapalooza, and there's no official statement as to whether or not Iommi will perform there.
The news that Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace is making the medical transition from being a man to becoming a woman coincidentally coincides with week chock-filled with news on gay marriage.
Formerly known as Tom Gabel, Laura Jane Grace let the public know of her new chose name this week. She is not attracted to men, and will remain married to her wife, with whom she's had a daughter. She's made seven albums with Against Me!, and the public assumed she'd made them as a man.
I bring up gay marriage to highlight a cultural touchstone, that our country still strongly delineates the rights of people with differing sexual orientation. There are a minority of people who believe that people aren't "born" gay, and there certainly are opponents to the idea that gender dysphoria even exists.
Today, I thought about what this means for music. As many have rightfully pointed out, this is not the first transgender musician on the planet. Electronic Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos in the '70s. Throbbing Gristle fronter and performance artist Genesis P-Orridge became "pandrogynous" with his former wife, his other half and artistic partner Lady Jaye, an opera of a life captured in 2011 documentary in "The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye." Life of Agony singer Keith Caputo became Mina Caputo last year.
Of any, though, Grace's band is easily the most recognized groups of those who are known to yield a transgendered frontman/frontwoman. Against Me! has put a record in the top 50, and a song on the radio -- notably "I Was a Teenage Anarchist," a tune that nods at the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." title and perhaps some of its spirit. The helped helm Warped Tour in years past.
In movies, actors generally act out a role, and then they finish it and become "who they are" again. In music, fans' expectations are that artists are who they say they are, that their songs and art reflect in some way a life depiction more accurate than mere liner notes. That's why the argument for "authenticity" is still intact, no matter how exaggerated the personality.
Those who were fans or secular listeners of Against Me! were in shock today at the announcement, as evidenced by Twitter, message boards and other media. But none can argue Grace's authenticity, the truth of oneself.
Keane’s recent music video for new track “Disconnected” is a love-letter to horror films, a quick-and-dirty narrative that may compel the viewer to turn all the lights on.
I know what you're thinking. B.o.B. O.A.R. Together at last. And for an Olympic theme song, to boot.
The corporate sponsored-song "Champions" has an accompanying video interspersing sports clips with the two artists in the studio and their entourage nodding in the control room.
O.A.R. is already known for their songs-with-a-message. It's just that so few of those end with a saxophone line, a la Clarence Clemons. Otherwise, this song seems to have been crafted in a lab, so be inspired at least by the science of entertainment. My favorite part is where Bobby Ray puts his fists up in the air like a boxer and ad-libs "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah."
We've already won.
You can’t talk about Sara Watkins without dropping some big names. The former Nickel Creek member produced her first, self-titled 2009 album with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. She’s spent the years between now and then as a touring fiddler and backing singer for the Decemberists, as performer and occasional guest host for “Prairie Home Companion” and continuing the foundations of the Watkins Family Hour at L.A. mainstay Largo with her brother and Nickel Creek cohort Sean.
Little by little, Animal Collective is making new noise.
Passion Pit's return is marked with their own "immigrant song."
The energetic first single "Take a Walk" from new album "Gossamer" is memorable in its jangly, repetitive chorus, but it's more marked after repeat listens for its lyrics. Michael Angelakos reports in on the recession in America, singing from the perspective of a foreigner who has moved to the U.S., tried to make a living for himself, and then a wife, and then a whole family. It addresses what happens when bad investments tank his pensions. It's actually pretty sad.