Mmm, smells like Flight of the Conchords... plus Joanna Newsom
Need a pick-me-up after the new "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" soundtrack? How about a "Happy Song" with the Muppets?
"The Muppets" 2011 movie principals Jason Segal and Amy Adams help to lead "Life's a Happy Song." The title may make you urp, as may some of the lyrical content, but it may be more digestible considering who wrote it. Bret McKenzie, one half of "New Zealand's second most popular guitar-based, digi-bongo, a cappella, rap-funk-comedy folk duo" Flight of the Conchords, is serving as music supervisor on the film. Blame him for this interestingly gummy original track for the film, due in theaters on Nov. 23. Keep your ears open: Feist and Mickey Rooney also pull a cameo on the track.
There's also Joanna Newsom's nice little take on the famous puppets' theme song.
Sap and strength for Bella and Edward's wedding music
- Critic's Rating C+
- Readers' Rating A-
The soundtrack to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” follows a similar template from series music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. Conscious of its audience and of the romance and melodrama of Bella Swan and her fans’ vampiric love affair, the sets have alternated between mania and depression, bliss and melancholia, or, as “Part 1” contributor Aqualung sings, “between heaven and hell.”
This 15-track collection furthers that dichotomy, even in its missteps and variance on that love-sick theme. To those who know Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s narrative propulsion in the forthcoming film, these polarizations can be easily heard in the warm ache of Christina Perri’s voice on “A Thousand Years.” There’s a half dozen songs here that’ll whet the rabid whistles of viewers eager for the wedding ceremony, and of Edward and Bella’s longed-for love-making.
And then there’s Bruno Mars And Theophilus London. The former’s screaming bawler “It Will Rain” smacks of studio or label interference, a big-name draw from the Atlantic crew among a sea of comparatively tiny ones (apologies, recent Warner Bros. convert and labelmate Iron & Wine). And while fresh Warner Bros. signee London’s urban/electronic sound is among the most lively of the bunch, it sticks out like a sore protagonist.
The upshots are tracks like Joy Formidable’s energetic rock opener “Endtapes” and Twilight actress and singer Mia Measto’s soothing “Llovera.” The Belle Brigade is still unconvincing as a scorned-woman blues outfit but it’s countered by a hard-working stomper Noisettes; as “Part 1” looks to capitalize on the other “F” word – feminine – it’s nice to have tracks like these to compliment the emotional sap of the soft middle section of the album (Cider Sky, Iron & Wine, Imperial Mammoth, Aqualung... damn, where are the Weepies?), a situationally befitting roar instead of a whimper from our constantly imperiled Bella.
There’s also the closer from score composer Carter Burwell: getting the full context on these songs, but especially this brilliant mood-making bit, will be a welcome sound to Twi-Hards.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is out Nov. 8. The film drops on Nov. 15.
Indie-pop-rock group's 'Days' already out
Real Estate's first music video from new record "Days" is for the dogs.
Beginning with what appears to be a Ralph Lauren commercial circa 1987 tumults into an amiable Twilight Zone of happy pooches in "It's Real." The clip was shot in Livingston, N.Y. and directed by Weird Days, who named themselves keenly.
Culled from festival film 'Inni'
Earlier this year, we alerted you to the existence of "Inni," the new documentary on Icelandic band Sigur Ros. Now, the film is making its way around the country in varying theaters, and music from it is being released in bits and bobs.
The impossibly titled and previously unreleased "Lúppulagið" is now streaming, and boy is this piano-led track sad. Watch a dully fading sunset. Consider your options to otherwise support the 99%. Write your dead grandmother a letter.
The live album companion to "Inni" is out on Nov. 15, and the doc is heading to CD/LP and DVD in different combinations therein.
Tracks from forthcoming 'Lioness,' recorded in 2002 and 2008
With any posthumous album, there's going to be some mixed -- if not completely sarcastic -- feelings about what comes out.
With Amy Winehouse, there were only two complete albums to her name, solo; like a lot of people (including Tony Bennett), I felt that Winehouse had such an impressive amount of talent and it was a shame she passed before she had more to share. This is no Michael Jackson moment, and thankfully "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" has been framed as a rarities collection, and not as a totally separate, purposefully formed album
I'm glad there will be more to hear, particularly after hearing the two tracks that are out today. Nas was the inspiration behind Winehouse's "Mr. Jones" and he show's up on "Like Smoke," recorded in 2008, on a pair of verses.
Additionally, there's the 2002 cover of Ruby & The Romantics’ reggae track “Our Day Will Come,” below.
These aren't insta-classics, and I don't think they're meant to be. It fills in the blanks of a decade-short career, and in both, Winehouse exhibits her flare for character and woozy soul.
As tour kicks off, Leslie Feist pages the Flaming Lips
When it came to writing her latest album “Metals” last winter, Leslie Feist took inspiration from Jonathan Franzen, when he was writing his 2010 novel “Freedom.” The writer whittled down his work space to a minimum, to objects of bare necessity, with only a desk, laptop working solely as a word processor and a “beige, buzzing overhead light.
'Skin' will have you itching for more
Ever since Ty Segall set my face on fire at SXSW earlier this year, I gotta admit: dude's gotten under my "Skin."
You guessed it! "Skin" is the name of the new single from the consummate rock 'n' roller, who has opted to release singles, splits, EPs and one-offs more often than he does full-length records. That's why his next release may be a better overall offering than any single disc he's released (though 2010's "Melted" is divine).
"Singles 2007-2010" is a double-discer boasting 25 songs, including "Skin," and it's out via Goner on Nov. 22, in time for a psych-rockin' Christmas. It contains rare and out-of-print tracks, plus those totally unreleased.
Here is the "Singles 2007-2010" tracklist:
#1 Where We Go
#4 Son Of Sam
#7 Ms. White
#8 ...And Then Judy Walked In
#10 No No
#11 Standing At The Station
#12 My Sunshine
#13 Fuzzy Cat
#14 Maria Stacks
#16 Bullet Proof Nothing
#17 Lovely One
#18 Happy Creeps
#19 Hey Big Mouth
#21 So Alone
#22 Shoot You In The Head
#23 The Drag
#24 Standing At The Station (demo)
#25 I Think I've Had It
Stark videos for 'We All Go Back to Where We Belong'
Dial-A-Poem poet John Giorno has worked with a number of literary and art mainstays over the years, including Andy Warhol. It seems we have Warhol's continuing influence to thank for R.E.M.'s "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" two music videos.
Actress Kirsten Dunst and John Giorno star in two separate videos, during which nothing happens in either. Really. Nothing warms my heart like an old man smiling as Giorno does in his twice. Dunst sits and plays coy.
The clips were shot in black and white, with high contrast, "an effect that Stipe describes as lending 'gravity and beauty' to the proceedings," reads a release.
'Sacred Fire EP' produced by Rancid's Tim Armstrong
On Jimmy Cliff's last album, "Black Magic" in 2004, the legendary performer was inspired by sounds outside of his genre, through dance, electronica and punk. This time, punk comes to him, on his turf.
Late next month, the reggae legend is releasing his first new tracks in seven years, the "Sacred Fire EP," produced by Tim Armstrong. The Rancid frontman is also helming Cliff's next, as-yet-untitled full-length, due in 2012.
The digital version of five-track "Sacred Fire" will by out on Nov. 29, while a six-track 12" vinyl version will be out on Nov. 25, as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday indie retailer promotion.
Preceding the release is a free download (well, for the price of your email address) of leading single "Ship Is Sailing"; the sunny, only slightly frail track is a perfect segue into the year's coldest months, and it bodes well for some exciting covers. These include a take on longtime Cliff admirer Bob Dylan's adopted activist anthem "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and The Clash's classic "Guns of Brixton," which was heavily influenced by reggae music and continues to be associated with the race riots and police activity in Britain during the early '80s.
It could also serve as a nod to The Clash's Joe Strummer, who collaborated with the Jamaican star on his 2002 set "Fantastic Plastic People." Strummer died later that year. And The Clash has an undeniable influece on Rancid, whose last album was released in 2009. Cliff covers that band's former hit "Ruby Soho" on "Sacred Fire EP," as well. It's a mutual appreciation society, eh?
"I knew vaguely about Tim through working with Joe Strummer and wanted to bring something fresh to the marketplace. Us coming from such different musical poles brought a great energy to the songs. I wanted to create something with a fresh sound - that's why we decided to test the waters," said the 63-year-old activist/singer/actor in a statement.
Sacred Fire EP Special Edition 12-Inch Vinyl - Out 11/25 for Record Store Day
1. Guns of Brixton
2. World Upside Down
3. Ruby Soho
4. Ship Is Sailing
5. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
6. Brixton Version
Sacred Fire EP CD/Digital - Out 11/29
1. Guns of Brixton
2. Ruby Soho
3. Ship is Sailing
4. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
5. Brixton Version
Download 'The Unsinkable Fats Domino' for free
On Nov. 22, Guided By Voices will release their first album from the "classic" lineup in 15 years. The first single from the set "Let's Go Eat the Factory," "The Unsinkable Fats Domino," has arrived, and will be bundled with another track "We Won't Apologize" as a 7" single, to be released same-day.
"The Unsinkable Fats Domino" can be downloaded for free, via the band's label home Matador.
It most certainly sounds like a GBV song.
This blog post lasts about as long as the song does.