of Montreal have prepped their eighth album in 10 years, "Paralytic Stalks," and now a month out from its release have another taste from the set.
"Dour Percentage" is at least 50 percent Steely Dan, though the band has never shied away from those 7ths and 9ths and unabashed '70s pop sound. Kevin Barnes' bouncy voice remains strong as always. Stream and download of Montreal's "Dour Percentage" below.
You can also check out "Wintered Debts" on the band's website.
For the first time since launching her album concept, Bjork is bringing her "Biophelia" concert presentation to the United States.
The Icelandic singer-songwriter will be performing "Biophelia" to its "original specifications" for six nights at the New York Hall of Science, then for four nights at New York's Beacon Theater. The Hall of Science allows for the vision of "audio-visual shows in an intimate setting with no audience member more than a few yards from the stage," though all 10 concerts will be performed in the round, in conjunction with The Creator's Project.
As previously reported, the ten songs on "Biophelia" featured 10 corresponding apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, thus the A/V components that will be used during the shows. Too, the live performances boast the bonkers musical instrumentation that helped in making "Biophelia," including "four 10-foot pendulum-harps" and "a MIDI-controlled pipe organ celeste re-fitted with bronze gamelan bars." Personally, I'm just happy to see Bjork with free space to roam.
What I'm also eager to see is its execution. The fact that you had to "experience" the album with an electronic device that I simply don't own is prohibitive, though many of the video elements were posted online after release. The cost of a ticket to a Bjork show may cost just as much as an iPad, true, but this at least amps more on that original idea, so that all may partake.
The first missives from the younger half of Watch the Throne were launched into orbit yesterday afternoon, with the intended result to "clarify a few things." Further into the evening, he sent his thoughts through a stream of consciousness by starting with Leonardo di Vinci quote, and ending with words from George Bernard Shaw. Clarity became somewhat opaque during the voyage. Or, as he wrote: "This is just a train of thought .. but figure it's better to read than trained thoughts." Perhaps West is still working out the kinks of a few of his own philosophical quoatations.
Below is the best interpretation of the top 10 "things" that West informed his friends and fans on Twitter:
1. He is starting a new venture called DONDA, named after his late mother. "DONDA is a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas... DONDA will be comprised of over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford..."
Bundle up. It may be "July" in Youth Lagoon's world, but wherever you are tonight, i just got a little colder.
Youth Lagoon mastermind Trevor Powers' 2011 album "The Year of Hibernation" wasn't named for nothing. It hypnotizes on the whole as it warmly mellowed and "July's" no exception. Where it gets messed up is the pristine pacing as bodies seize with the ambiguous (and literal?) hurt of our least-favorite memories of the suburbs.
"For my whole life I've dealt with extreme anxiety," said Powers in a release, on "Hibernation." "I sometimes feel like I'm literally being eaten up inside. So I started writing these songs. Not just songs about my anxiety, but about my past and my present. Songs about memories, and all those feelings that those bring. I know that if I can be honest about what is inside my mind, there will be others that will be able to relate to it."
Hip-hop didn't take this week -- the week after New Year's -- off. Raekwon, The Weeknd, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, T.I. and Das Racist's Kool A.D. all have new material from mixtapes to offer this week, some of which comes in advance of full-length studio sets.
Das Racist had some heads bobbing and others being scratched in 2011 with their set "Relax" which, retrospectively, was not all that relaxing. Kool A.D. (Victor Vasquez), one-third of DR, has palm wine on the mind for his solo 'tape. "The Palm Wine Drinkard" takes its name and general ideas from an African novel; it involves 1) drinking and 2) adventures with a wizard while drinking. The titles "Titties Out," "Fun" and "Flying Thru the Air inna Airplane" should give you some funky ideas.
After year of a sophomore set release, first-time Grammy nominations, being propelled up outlets' year-end lists and a video-laden re-release, Bon Iver is already making a few plans for 2012. The Jagjaguwar group -- headed by Justin Vernon -- will be releasing a new single "Towers" b/w "Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)."
That B-side, a John Prine cover, was originally released in June last year; you can stream it below. "Towers" is available on "Bon Iver," and will likely remain the same recording on the single release.
"Towers" will be available as a 12" in the U.S. on March 6. Last I checked, that's a little early for Record Store Day, and a little late to cash in on the Grammy Awards show (Feb. 12), so it just seems to want to live as an entity on its own.
Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt restock their saccharine combustion engine
Credit: Aaron Light
Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are actors that play music when they're not in front of the lens -- and, sometimes, when they ARE in front of the lens. Their cover of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" is an example of the latter.
The "500 Days of Summer" co-stars have posted a darling video duet on YouTube of their live-performing the classic tune, with Deschanel on wee ukelele and Gordon-Levitt on a travel guitar. The She half of She & Him dons a tiara. Of course.
"When we did '500 Days of Summer'... we spent every lunch hour dancing to Marvin Gaye in the hair and make up trailer; we had loads of fun," Deschanel mugs on HelloGiggles.com (!!), the site she co-founded. Cute! "I hope to do a thousand more movies with him because he’s simply the best." Cuter!
Once you're done picking the sugar from your teeth, note that he's "Joe" Gordon-Levitt, and don't you forget it. Because it's the cutest. Cue gooey eyes, aw.
I didn't listen to as many albums as I wanted to this year. I say this every year.
Part of it is the singles artform itself, but I didn't hear many hip-hop albums that felt complete and completely likeable as I wanted. That's not to say they're not there. Same goes for dance albums and R&B.
What astounded me was the devotion to song-craft by lighter artists, some of which have been around for years. These past few months, I noticed a lot of think-pieces on "soft rock," floating around on the blogs, sometimes in revolt of NPR-rock, dad-rock, whatever you want to call it. Among those offenders, I have several on my year-end list -- like Bon Iver, Feist and Laura Marling. But even among the growing indie establishment, I found records from St. Vincent, Panda Bear and The Weeknd to give off much the same result, that is, soothing, smart, song-centered mini-theater, start to end.
Check out the excellent first-time efforts from Washed Out, Shabazz Palaces, the Head and the Heart (yes, yes, TWO Sub Pop albums), Korallreven, tUnE-yArDs and Sallie Ford. Josh T. Pearson, let's you and me have a drink with Tom Waits, it'll make you feel better. It would be an honor for Fucked Up to f*ck up my apartment. And in news from the self-awareness camp, half of the artists on my Top 40 Songs of the Year were from artists of color; on this list, just over 10%. In 2012, I'll spend more time considering diversity: is there remedy, and is it remedy?
Beyond that, here's the hodge-podge. Listen to tracks from all of these albums (with exception to Danny Brown and The Weeknd) via my Spotify playlist.
Welcome to the last working week of 2011, where we realize at least a few stars were working for the holiday. Frank Ocean, Lady Gaga and Cat Power were all on the move.
First, as the Odd Future singer explained: "I don't cry at all... but when the sun sets just right, I might shed a tear." Ocean, who is readying his Def Jam album for 2012, posted a little track to his tumblr called "4 Tears." In it, he eplains how he spends his quota, doing a little algebra (a la Beyonce).
"[I] just listened to this a few times for myself. [F]igured maybe some else needed to hear it," he posted.
It's not lyrical calculus, but quick and pretty.
Meanwhile, Chan Marshall is a little more confrontational on "King Rides By," her charity single. The song -- originally much shorter on her 1996 album "What Would the Community Think" -- is fully fleshed out courtesy Manny Pacquiao, past the 7-minute mark.