The Flaming Lips tapped into some seriously weird talent for their forthcoming collaborative album “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends” -- weird, not just in type, but the breadth. The Oklahoma-based rock band put their heads together with noise rockers Lightning Bolt for something called “ I'm Working At NASA On Acid,” but then flipped a cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” with Erykah Badu. Other big names like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Yoko Ono and Nick Cave grace the track list of “Fwends,” but it was Ke$ha that surprised Lips frontman Wayne Coyne the most.
Making your way through a new Mars Volta record isn’t that it's always a challenge; there’s just always the promise of density and compositions that take some digestion. With newest “Noctourniquet,” there’s also bigger bevy of memorable refrains than before, with fewer diatribes. The songs are singular and tighter, too. This may piss some fans off.
I like Regina Spektor's new single "All the Rowboats" an awful lot, and now the track from "What We Saw From the Cheap Seats" went and got itself a matching music video.
The singer-songwriter isn't the most convincing pantomime (or lip-syncer), and the animation is a little touch-and-go, but much like that song, it seems to be more about atmosphere than anything else. The serious and ominous track puts Spektor's beautiful mug under a very large bed of hair and sets to work on causing her much discomfort. Sometimes the rocking of a boat is the only comfort.
"My beautiful friends Adria Petty, Peter Sluszka and Ivan Abel co-directed it! It was like getting the band back together- I love their brains and hearts! So many people worked very hard on this and it was really interesting to make. I hope you enjoy!!!!!" she enthused on her Facebook page.
"What We Saw from the Cheap Seats" is out on May 29; another song from it, "Don't Leave Me- (Ne Me Quitte Pas)," bowed last week. You can also find the tracklist via that link. The pre-order for the iTunes digital deluxe version of the album is open today.
Spektor will also release a pair of Russian cover songs on Record Store Day, April 21.
The problem with posting the lyrics to a new song is that there may be a heavier reading into said song than intended or necessary. But when it comes to the Flaming Lips, they might not care one way or another. The experiment is much more necessary to the adventure.
That could be said of "Ashes in the Air," their collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon for their Record Store Day collaborative effort "The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends." Even if the sheet of lyrics hadn't revealed its exacting phrases, the words "f*cked up" and "robot dogs" would surely jump out at you anyway. Laser sounds and synths swirl around this little dirge, a death salute suitable to Vernon's usual style.
See ya in six minutes, if you last.
The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” runs into the same problems that albums like those from the New Pornographers or of Montreal do. There is a calculation and formula to great pop songwriting, and its expert writers sometimes struggle to distinguish each song as an individual work. There’s only small windows of spontaneous possibilities, like the predictable pinch-hits of Nels Cline when a Wilco song gets lost.
The Black Keys have been a vocal opponent of Spotify before. Only this time they've called an important music/media tech guy and "assh*le." Oh gosh!
Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney clarified the band's stance to Grand Rapids, Mich. radio station WGRD this week, indicating that the streaming service's royalties scheme doesn't have enough of a payout for the band to make all releases available.
"The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I’m totally not against it. It’s just we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense," he said. "Trust me, Dan and I like to make money. If it was fair to the artist we would be involved in it... I imagine if Spotify becomes something that people are willing to pay for, then I’m sure iTunes will just create their own service, and they’re actually fair to artists.”
Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins seem finally ready to release their long-gestating album-in-an-album project, "Oceania," due June 19. And with the announcement, comes other indications of sea change.
The album is an incorporated part of Corgan's 44-song concept project "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope," which initially intended to thrwart the traditional album release schedule and promotional thinking. Corgan and Co. -- drummer Mike Byrne, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and guitarist Jeff Schroeder -- have released 10 official "Kaleidyscope" tracks, practically as they were being created, in a work-in-progress effort to bring singular attention to each song in consideration of the whole, which is a conceptual "Fool's Journey" through Tarot cards. The first eight tracks were packed into two different EPs, both released in 2010. The last "Kaleidyscope" song was released in May 2011.
So up until the news today, fans have been left to wonder what happened to that "journey" in the last 10 months, with talk of "Oceania," but not a specific idea of how it fit into the Kaleidyscopic vision, particularly since the band has been dropping tracks almost exclusively on their own.
"Oceania," as has been revealed, will be released through Corgan's own Martha's Music publishing with distribution and support from EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution.
"The Smashing Pumpkins created Oceania as an album experience, and it is intended for the process of the release to follow a path of inclusion, so that best efforts are made for all the fans hear it at the same time as press or radio. We were excited to find partners in EMI Label Services that were equally passionate about the plan for the album release as well as being huge fans of the Pumpkins," says Peter Katsis in a statement.
Now just who the hell is Peter Katsis?
For all the anticipation and money going into "Men In Black 3," there was a collective shrug from the internet when it was announced that Pitbull would be composing its theme.
Continue shrugging. "Back in Time" is a high-mastered, thudding bumbler, with Pitbull's big-mouthed, good-timing, half-handed zingers draped in samples from a well-known, beloved former hit (Micky & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange") and a few bars of dubstep just to prove it's "with it." In other words, it's a Black Eyed Peas song without lady vocals.
Recent documentary “No Room For Rock Stars” makes and twists evidence that, during Warped Tour, everybody and nobody during the fest are rock stars.
Regina Spektor's cover of "Ne me quitte pas" is awfully upbeat, but the singer-songwriter's weekend felt more like her harrowing new single "All the Rowboats" sounds.
The singer-songwriter went on a brief rant addressing the fact that bits and bobs of her new album "What We Saw From the Cheap Seats" -- like demos and art -- have been leaking. On her Facebook page, she questioned motive: "So sad to have art/photos/videos/music keep leaking online unfinished and at the wrong time... The strange thing is that if it's getting stolen and put out by someone who likes me and my music- why would they want to put me through this?" she wrote. "[A]nd if it's someone who doesn't like me- why would they waste all that precious time on me... it's confusing/feels sh*tty/takes much of the fun out (there's too much fun to take all of it out, though) Feels strange just waiting for things i'm working on to get stolen one by one."
It's a losing battle many artists have fought for years, a small war that only acts like Madonna and Watch the Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West) have the control and resources to prevent. It's also an inevitable part of the promotional process and album cycle that announces new albums three months out, release a single or song at that time and then have that awful waiting period super-fans must endure during that time, especially if a tour starts only a month out from that.
It's still no excuse. Spektor has the backing of Sire/Warner, but her profile is still small enough that every blow counts.