<p>Amy Winehouse's &quot;Lioness&quot;</p>

Amy Winehouse's "Lioness"

Listen to two new Amy Winehouse tunes, including 'Like Smoke' with Nas

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.

Stream "Like Smoke."

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.

Read Full Post


Credit: Mary Rozzi

Interview: Feist talks new album, metal meeting 'Metals' with Mastodon

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. 

“I wanted to do the same thing, so all I had was my laptop, with no internet, a floor tom and one old guitar, an amp and one new guitar. I made like a little altar, with things that were dear to me like a few postcards and couple of books. It was basically modernity-forbidden zone,” Feist told me in our recent interview. She banged out ideas for “Metals” from a “shed” in the backyard of her Toronto home. When it came time to record, she and her backing players set up shop in Big Sur, out of a converted barn where “it took 20 minutes just to get drive down the driveway, to get to the highway.” There was almost no cell reception, and getting online was a hassle.
“You felt so cutoff. It was a bubble and really potent, if not a little irritating. It’d be like, ‘Oh the internet’s down again, I guess we’ll just make a record.”
Read Full Post
<p>Ty Segall's &quot;Singles 2007-2010&quot;</p>

Ty Segall's "Singles 2007-2010"

Credit: Goner

Song Of The Day: Ty Segall preps new single and singles compilation

'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.

Ty Segall - Skin - Singles 2007-2010 by GonerRecords

Here is the "Singles 2007-2010" tracklist:

#1 Where We Go
#2 It
#3 Sweets
#4 Son Of Sam
#5 Skin
#6 Booksmarts
#7 Ms. White
#8 ...And Then Judy Walked In
#9 Cents
#10 No No
#11 Standing At The Station
#12 My Sunshine
#13 Fuzzy Cat
#14 Maria Stacks
#15 Caesar
#16 Bullet Proof Nothing
#17 Lovely One
#18 Happy Creeps
#19 Hey Big Mouth
#20 Dating
#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

Read Full Post
<p>Kirsten Dunst, the anti-"Melancholia"</p>

Kirsten Dunst, the anti-"Melancholia"

Watch Kirsten Dunst do nothing in one of two R.E.M. vids for 'Belong'

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.

Read Full Post
<p>Jimmy Cliff, &quot;Sacred Fire EP&quot;</p>

Jimmy Cliff, "Sacred Fire EP"

Listen: Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff releasing first new set in seven years

'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
Side 1
1. Guns of Brixton
2. World Upside Down
3. Ruby Soho
Side 2
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

Read Full Post
<p>GBV's &quot;The Unsinkable Fats Domino&quot; single cover</p>

GBV's "The Unsinkable Fats Domino" single cover

Credit: Matador

Listen: Guided By Voices drop first 'Fats' song from new reunion album

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.

Read Full Post
<p>The Black Keys</p>

The Black Keys

Watch: Black Keys feature a 'Lonely Boy' on first single from new album

This 'El Camino' is driven by a lip-syncing superfan

The Black Keys are no strangers to bizarre music videos, and the latest for single "Lonely Boy" is no exception.

This single-shot video features the hot-stepping and lip-sycning of a man who is decidedly not the Black Keys. He, however, exhibits a familiarity of the tune as though he were.

Interestingly, the clip was shot by Jesse Dylan, an acclaimed media executive and the director of films like "Kicking & Screaming." He is also is the son of Bob Dylan. I'm not sure why the big guns were brought in for a video that looks like it was shot on your iPhone.

Read Full Post
Watch: Monica brings death and tears into 'Until It's Gone'

Watch: Monica brings death and tears into 'Until It's Gone'

There goes your Tuesday

Geez, Monica, you had to go there.

It seems that the veteran R&B singer went all the way with her "just you wait until I leave you" theme in "Until It's Gone," the Diane Martel-helmed music video to her latest song from forthcoming "New Life." It's as though she hooked up with the same melodrama machine that pumped out Lil Wayne's soap-operatic "How to Love," complete with cheating men and hospital scenes of mourning.

There's at least this grand PSA: don't forget to buckle your seatbelt.

Read Full Post
<p>Little Big Town</p>

Little Big Town

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Little Big Town covers 'Moves Like Jagger' to a T

Covers series engages with Maroon 5's mega-hit

I'll admit: I'm sick to death of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" featuring Christina Aguilera. This No. 1 was completely unavoidable all summer, and I don't like a shirtless Adam Levine smirking at me. I heard a two-year-old on the subway singing it the other day and I felt a faint urge to kidnap the little guy.

But Little Big Town is making me circle back, or at least has me putting their version on repeat. As part of the Nashville-based country band's "Scattered, Smothered and Covered" series, the group collaborated with their road band for a banjo-happy version. It's... adorable. And it's recorded backstage at a concert in Iowa.

The SSC series is a very smart move on the part of Little Big Town. By covering acts like Adele and the Jackson 5, they're grabbing the attention of folks who might not be aware of the quartet to begin with.

Look for more SSC on the Little Big Town YouTube channel.

LBT last released "The Reason Why" last year.

Read Full Post
<p>Mazzy Star</p>

Mazzy Star

Listen: Mazzy Star to 'Lay Down' new album in lieu of fresh single

Hope Sandoval and David Roback release new music for the first time in a decade

Last year at the U.S. edition of All Tomorrow's Parties, Hope Sandoval sent me straight off to Dreamland, in many good ways. The light-dappled eddies of her butter-smooth voice shot me straight back to 1994, to Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You," just a couple years before the Cowboy Junkies charmed the world with the same sound on their cover of the Velvets' "Sweet Jane." It was a cool period where ladies sounded like women, somewhat of a predecessor to artists like Neko Case, Beach House and Liz Phair, at least to these ears.

Mazzy Star -- the winning combination of Sandoval and David Roback -- hasn't released a new album since 1996. They split that year and then around the turn of the century, they went on a brief reunion tour, during which they played unreleased and new songs. Since then, both have sworn that they'd eventually put something out, including that time in 2009 Sandoval swore a new album was coming, even if the release date was a little bit hazy.

Read Full Post