With 600 shows under his belt, how has playing live helped with his band?
José González and his bandmates Junip have justreturned home after three dozen-plus dates in America that included stops at SXSW and Bonnaroo. Late last month, they made their way to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for the Celebrate! concert series, and then Gonzalez was led to a rooftop party in the big city for a screening of the documentary film "The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of José González" and he played solo.
The songwriter is a bit split between the two worlds of his group and his thoughtful acoustic-based solo songs. It might have never been possible for Junip to move forward as a band in large markets like America were it not for the quiet acclaim and steadfast touring he did in support of his two full-length albums, "Veneer" (2005) and "In Our Nature" (2007). It was a combination of busy schedules and "laziness," as González' bandmate Tobias Winterkorn said, that prevented Junip from even making one full-length album until starting in 2008.
At last, "Fields" was released last year, and the band's subsequent tour may leave González' fans surprised -- not just at the quality of the effort, but that the quiet-voiced writer can rock so hard.
"From all 600 shows I've done solo, it's really helped me learn to stick to [playing] the nylon string guitar," González told me from backstage of his Brooklyn show last month. "Most people will just give up and settle for a crappy guitar sound or switch to steel stringed guitar or electric. The sound... makes it a bit unique."
It also doesn't hurt that the trio has known each other since the late 1990s, or that their previous bands were of the hard rock and hardcore variety. Based out of Gothenburg, the band has been carving out their own skills and sound as some particular scenes arose from their native city.
"Gothenburg is really well known for melodic death metal... and weird harmony indie-pop..." Gonzalez said.
"Y'know, like young boys who can’t sing, but sing loudly?" Winterkorn finished, laughing.
Junip has a handful of show dates overseas left, and has only one more U.S. stop (Outside Lands festival in San Francisco in August).
And today, Gonzalez announced he'd be playing two solo shows during that short jaunt, among his very few scheduled solo appearances this year -- which included opening for Arcade Fire in Austria. Of the two, July 26 at the Old Royal Naval College in London is his last one "for a while," according to a release.
It's sort of like his schedule for recording. Junip plans on starting to write for their sophomore set in the fall for a release in 2012; Gonzalez plans on releasing another solo album after that. Winterkorn said that the band is considering combining subsequent tours with Junip and Jose Gonzalez solo on the same bill.
"When we write for Junip, its always us three writing together. I never come prepared for those sessions. At home, I write for myself," Gonzalez said. "I have a lot of sketches, almost too many, so I'm having a hard time knowing which way to go."
Title track 'Running Blind' leads off follow-up to songwriter's full-length from 2010
On the heels of his full-length solo album debut "Familial" from August last year, Selway is prepping the release of an EP, "Running Blind." The tracks are culled from the "Familial" sessions and were re-recorded later.
The title track to that set is streaming below.
I've given it a couple whirls. And aside from the fact that Selway is Radiohead's drummer and can pick out some nice melodies, I'm not sure exactly how he wants to distinguish himself (other than with some expensive tracking and a little hint of theramin).
But creatively, this may be what is required for the members of Radiohead to cleanse their respective palates. Thom Yorke has hinted at more solo material, and somebody's always after Johnny Greenwood for film.
"Running Blind" will by out July 25 in the U.K.
Here is the tracklist for "Running Blind":
1. What Goes Around
2. Every Spit and Couch
3. Running Blind
4. All In All
What do you think of this new track?
Track performed during British band's recent tour
Just like country kinsman Florence Welch, Mumford & Sons have fans clamoring for more beyond just the single LP. And, similarly, the crew has been taking a new song around with them on tour, though a studio version is unavailable just yet.
In a song that fans have dubbed "Home," Mumford trots out their best sad bastard side, with the usual longing and emotive peaking that have made their album "Sigh No More" such a surprising hit.
"Home" was performed live for Colorado radio station KBCO (and posted by twentyfourbit).
Mumford currently have only one tour date, overseas, on slate.
The snake eats its own tail
One good thing to come out of last week's not-news of Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Watch the Throne" maybe-sorta-I-hear-rumored-release date of July 4 is that the chatter may have inspired the duo to finally launch a website and fuel new speculation of its arrival.
The West-Jay-Z pairing has new album artwork and a pre-order section for the set, which still hasn't been issued a release date. The site indicates there will be a standard and deluxe version of the full-length, available on CD and digital download.
"H.A.M." is the only single to have come from the camp, production from Lex Luger. Other helmers that may be included on the effort are frequent collaborators Swizz Beatz and No ID; Bruno Mars and Hov's wife Beyonce could also be contributing.
Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci designed the Def Jam album's gold cover.
While Jay-Z and West have combined many times on record, "Watch the Throne" will mark their first album together. The former last released "The Blueprint 3" in 2009; the latter dropped "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" last year.
12" series has round one 'out the box'
Radiohead are now streaming the first two remixes from their "King of Limbs" 12" series, and have announced round two.
As previously reported, Caribou and Jacques Greene had at "Little by Little" and "Lotus Flower," respectively, and the British group has posted both on its website for stream. Check them out below.
The tracks become available digitally and on vinyl on Tuesday (July 5).
And on to the next one: Nathan Fake is doing his own spin on "Morning Mr. Magpie" and Mark Pritchard is providing two remixes of "Bloom," one under his own name and one under his moniker Harmonic 313.
Fake is a spinner from Reading, leaning more in the ambient-techno direction. Pritchard put out some killer mixes with Tom Middleton (Global Communication) and under the name Reload in the '90s, signed to Warp and has been incorporating a little hip-hop and a little latin into his house-loving beats since.
It looks like these 'mixes will be available on or around July 14, which -- for those playing at home -- is really soon.
One with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan seems to be lightening up, and seems to be interested in promoting his band again. That's why the group released a promo video and an official music video to "Owata."
The latter is culled from ongoing 44-track online album-thingie "Teargarden By Kaleidyscope." And the clip goes for 12 minutes. On underground female wrestlers. It's almost as tolerable as the song, which you can interpret as you will.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also showed up for a 20-second promo to warn the world of a new album "Oceania" from the Chicago-based rock band, erm, soon.
Does "Owata" get you excited for SP material? Does Kareem?
Could this Seattle band be the next Mumford & Sons?
Partly animated clip takes the graffiti theme to a new degree
The fun part of being in Coldplay is the ability to purchase an abandoned residential building in the middle of nowhere and cover it in paint. Or, at least, that's what the British soft rock band got up to for the music video to "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall."
Frontman Chris Martin has said that the band was inspired by '80s graffiti and tagging in New York as they made their new, as-yet-untitled effort. If you check their promo photos, and the single art for "Waterfall," you'll see they may be beating the theme to death, as they did with the French military motif for last "Viva La Vida."
However, the overwhelming smell of drying paint and spraycan fumes won't overtake your viewing experience of the clip, which features some beautiful stop-motion concept work. The sad part is, the band turns to the wrong decade -- the '90s -- for those parts with the blacklight paint. Whatever. Wait for the end as you watch an entire building structure get covered in color, splashes raining down from the windows as the band "rocks out" in a field.
Coldplay are working on finishing their fifth full-length, and have already premiered two additional new songs this month for the "Teardrop" EP. No word yet if those songs, "Major Minus" and "Moving to Mars," will be on the full studio set. They headlined Glastonbury over the weekend and will be pulling similar duty at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August.
Springsteen, Jackson Brown, Foo Fighters: Songs on campaign trails that hit bumps
Tom Petty has penned some pretty iconic songs in the past, but the liberal-leaning artist isn't always keen on letting politicians use his tracks on the campaign trail. In the latest example of artists dissenting to politicians' use of their songs for polling gain, the rocker has told Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to quit using his song "American Girl" at rallies.
Bachmann reportedly played the track during her stops in Iowa this week. There is no word yet if Petty has served a cease-and-desist letter to prevent its further use.
Petty had a similar problem with former president George W. Bush's use of "Won't Back Down" during his campaign in 2000, and a letter was served then. However, the same song was approved for use from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential run in 2008. Virginia's Jim Webb and New Jersey's Robert Menendez used the track in their Senate races and Eliot Spitzer had it during his gubernatorial run.
A cease-and-desist letter sometimes stops a song's use dead in its tracks; sometimes there is a disconnect between an artist's personal endorsement and copyright holders' and performance rights groups' allowance for a song's usage. Sometimes politicians continue to use songs without securing license for a song use and risk going to court later. Some have even rewritten tunes under the auspices of "parody," a legal use of a melody. And some candidates an continue
Below is a short history of other somewhat recent stand-offs between politician and musicians. In many cases, the fight is against Republican or right wing-leaning candidates. Can you think of some more?