Inside Music with Katie Hasty
Single culled from Nov. 1 new album release
Florence + The Machine's first single and music video to "Ceremonials," due Nov. 1, has dropped, and there's a lot going on here.
Florence Welch traded only a few of her Stevie Nicksian chiffon gowns for something a little wilder, tighter, for this clip. In it, the singer is equal parts naughty and nice as she cavorts between dancing, drinking, shaking it out and shrinking away during this fairy tale party. She flows between beautiful people in masquerade masks and drops in on a seance. There's candles and indirect light galore, and the styling is beyond pristine. What is this, an Annie Lennox video?
And beyond that, her vocals remind me of Lennox here, too, in their strength and abounding character. While a couple lyrics' metaphors are, erm, beaten to death, the melody leaves no room for misery or second-guessing. This is easily one of Welch's best vocal performances to date, and the imagery will leave a mark on fans and aspiring fans to boot.
Mother Monster tries a showtune on for size
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is used to putting her paws up, but now she's a babe in arms.
The pop superstar joined forces with Tony Bennett on his "Duets II" album for "The Lady Is a Tramp," an upbeat number from '30s musical "Babes in Arms." And while I don't this this Lady is always well-suited for showtunes (particularly up against the undefeatable Bennett), the pair seem to have a really fun time, in that weirdly I-just-met-you sort of way. Gaga is fun as a filly and Tony just kind of eggs her on.
As previously reported, Bennett earned his very first No. 1 album at the age of 85 last week with the duets set.
Gaga was on hand on Saturday night -- along with other musical stars like Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder -- to celebrate Sting's 60th birthday at the Beacon Theater in New York.
Damian Kulash explains what makes this video-making foursome different from Rihanna
Damian Kulash didn’t set out to have a band that dances on treadmills or invested part of its profits in color coordinated suits. But OK Go has become a brand, on top of an expression of the evolving nature of the music business. Their reputation for producing forward-thinking and fun-fashioned music videos has allowed them some rare opportunities, like re-making the “The Muppet Show” theme for the new movie, creating a fight song for hometown Chicago’s pro soccer team and penning “The Greatest Song I Ever Heard” for Morgan Spurlock’s “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”
The foursome was at first on Capitol records and now run their own show, label and publishing; they are their own A&R and advances, which has allowed them to collaborate with companies like Chrome and then turn around to engineers from MIT. Regardless of audiences opinion of OK Go’s variety of pop rock, it can’t be denied they’ve influenced music videos, “viral” videos (whatever the hell that means anymore) and independent marketing.
Late this summer I sat down with Kulash to discuss the band’s goals with the next record, their plans for more videos and what makes them different from Rihanna.
Have fun with word association
There's good reason to be excited for Feist's new album. I'll get to that when I post my review of "Metals" later this week.
In the meantime, you can stream it for yourself, in full, at Feist's website.
She also took time for craft hour with a little note to fans, and to reveal what words journalists thought of when she said the word "Metals," a little word association for you nerds.
Feist's tour starts on Oct. 15; the album arrives next week on Oct. 4.
Is this sad jammer for Bella and Jacob?
Credit: AP Photo
Fans of the "Twilight" series -- or at least the soundtracks -- now have a first taste of the "Breaking Dawn" set.
Bruno Mars has dropped kiss-off single "It Will Rain" today (Sept. 27), and boy is it stormy.
I wish the acclaimed singer/songwriter wasn't yelling at me the entire time, but at least he's pushing his range and there's no irritating, requisite rap verse. The bass end is pushed way, way up in the mix, giving it a Timberlake sheen.
So what do you think this song with soundtrack in the movie? Does Jacob fall out of love with Edward? Does Bella have to put down a kitten?
Songwriter releases another song from 'Bad As Me'
Tom Waits new album title "Bad as Me" certainly has a tinge of brawler, but his newly released song "Back in the Crowd" is trending bawler. And by that I mean I just slow-danced by myself and had a good cry.
Purchase the track through the usual digital suspects or listen for free on Spotify.
The Southwestern, nylon-string-enhanced loner ballad is the second track to arrive from the new Anti- album, after the stomping title track.
"Bad as Me" is out Oct. 24.
Enter here, metal and non-metal fans
Mastodon, "The Hunter" (I mean, just look at it.)
Now is the perfect time for Mastodon’s “The Hunter” arrival. This month has been a running log of grunge and ‘90s rock revisits, in addition to the speculation that the Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration album will equal a worst-case scenario. Plus, somehow, Mastodon has spent the last three records as the metal band added to the playlists of people who don’t typically listen to metal.
The Atlanta-based foursome got a bump, in part, from scoring their first film, 2010’s “Jonah Hex,” and spent the last several years touring with more general rock groups like Cursive, Against Me! and Soundgarden as much as they have with Slayer, Metallica and Killswitch Engage. “Blood Mountain” (2006) and “Crack the Skye” (2009) shared the progressive temperaments of King Crimson and the serrated post-punk and -rock of Helmet along with other typically cited influences. But this latest set is the best testament of Mastodon’s expanding, diverse appeal.
“Curl of the Burl” is a good example of this: while it’s not nearly my favorite track on the album overall, it has all the trappings of a mainstream hard rock hit. The band flies into the triumphantly dark “All the Heavy Lifting” with the thrashy encouragement to “Just close your eyes / And pretend everything’s fine” during its enormous chorus – this right before the comparatively tender title track, its vocals ripped from an Ozzy instructional guide.
Surprise: No new Muse (or Robert Pattinson) on the 'Twilight Saga' songlist
Credit: Atlantic/Summit/Chop Shop
The tracklist to "The Twiight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" has finally been unveiled, and there are a few surprises.
First, what we knew: all the tracks included are exclusive, or are exclusive remixes or alternate versions
The "fun" surprises: I love seeing Joy Formidable and Theophilus London on this list, they even out some of the sad bastards and emo bands like Sleeping at Last, Aqualung and Iron & Wine (as loveable as they are). The Daytrotter version of the Everly Brothers -- The Belle Brigade -- may surprise "Twilight's" long-time fans.
Here is the "bummer" surprises: No Muse
, for the first time in "Twilight" soundtrack history. And it is actress Mia Maestro
(Carmen) who contributed the Mystery Twilight Alumni track, not Robert Pattinson
, Kristen Stewart or Jackson Rathbone.
And the "huh?" surprise: Who the hell is Cider Sky? The band has, at press time, exactly one dozen fans on Facebook... and is fronted by Simon Wilcox, the female "singer-songwriter with boys' name" that astoundingly showed up on the "Brothers" soundtrack a couple years ago. So this is apparently the band's debut?
Let's quit talking about 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'
While we’re talking about the arbitrary, 5- or 10-year incremental celebrations of albums, let’s prepare for impending decade anniversary of Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” That seminal effort dropped in April 2002; pick through reviews of the Chicago-based band’s last three albums – 2009’s “Wilco (The Album),” 2007’s “Sky Blue Sky” and 2004’s “A Ghost Is Born” -- and see critics reaching and plucking out what they can of some semblance to “YHF.”
That’s in part because Wilco still subscribes to those same influences like Beatles, Big Star and the Byrds. But it’s still evident on new “The Whole Love” that the band no interest in making “YHF 2.” Why would they? Every album since then has had a different tone and, for the most part, different personnel. (I write this, too, as more site continue appraising Ryan Adams' new material to that of "Heartbreaker." There's yet another artist who cannot escape criticism waged for not sounding like his past.)
Here, on “The Whole Love,” is where advancement is heard most in the musicianship. The lineup -- frontman Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardists/multi-instrumentalists Mikael Jorgensen and Patrick Sansone and drummer Glenn Kotche -- is now consistent, and there’s an even delegation of roles. Cline is like the weirdo ringer, adding volume and dangerous textures to tracks like “Dawned on Me,” and Kotche being the micomanager, with little details in his rhythms on otherwise-sleepy “Capitol City” and subtlety to already-subtle “Rising Red Lung.” Stirratt makes himself known on the biggest rockers, like single “I Might” and “Standing O,” the latter of which breaks up the soft middle section of the album (but why do both feature the same organ part, borrowed from Elvis Costello's Attractions?).
Which brings me to one of my major qualms with “The Whole Love,” in its sequencing and propensity to tease.
The capitalization of death-iversaries
Nirvana thrived in contradiction: quiet and loud, passion and disassociation, melody and dissonance, clarity and obliqueness, pop-unfriendly and radio-baiting. Like their breakthrough single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the grunge pioneers headed a revolution and simultaneously made a cruel farce of it.
The re-release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind
” features that same clashing nature. Today (Sept. 24) is the exact day 20 years ago that the album dropped; on Tuesday, “Nevermind” can be found in multiple re-released formats, like on a single, or 2- or 4-disc set, or vinyl; there’s video on the DVD of the Paramount show from 1991, a digital version; newly unearthed demos, old alternative takes, live takes, remixes. It smacks of exhaustive capitalization from the get-go, but a celebratory injection of nostalgia and remembrance doesn’t serve to merely restock the raided coffers of Geffen records.
As acclaimed rock writer Simon Reynolds wrote for Slate
on the recent Nirvana revisitation, it “feels rote, the predictable upshot of the way that commemorative cycles have become a structural, in-built component of the media and entertainment industry. This revival is largely top-down, not grass-roots.” There’s something particularly inauthentic about capitalizing on a band lauded for its authenticity, and on its face never registered as a capital-generating band.