Notable new releases this week are completely overshadowed by the Sunday digital release of Radiohead’s 9th studio album (could it be their last?) “A Moon Shaped Pool”. This is all I’ve been listening to all week in the car, and it’s a pretty incredible piece of work. It’s a moody, mellow effort and loaded with the most intricate aural effects and sounds – extremely well-crafted. If you’re already a fan you’ll love it, if you’re not a fan you may still want to check it out. I’m still absorbing it almost one week in and discovering new things in the music each day. So it’s great if you want to sit and just fully concentrate on absorbing the music, but it would also work well playing in the background. It’s not something you throw on to listen to while working out or exercising though. The amount of devotion/obsession shown by their fanatics online is beyond crazy though. These guys are treated like deities by their fans, and to a ridiculous level in many cases. Hey, I’ve been a big fan of the band for 20+ years and I have all of their albums, but c’mon people, get a grip. Yes, they are an immensely talented band and create some very unique music, but there’s no need to get overly carried away by it. Anyway, I’m not featuring Radiohead this week and may not ever, they get plenty of attention on their own. But if you’d like me to highlight some music from their latest album, let me know and I can put something together in a future email. Other releases to note this week include the third album “Nattesferd” from Norwegian metal maniacs Kvelertak, Chance the Rapper’s self-released follow-up to the acclaimed “Acid Rap” – “Coloring Book” featuring a slew of guests, and a new single from Manchester legends the Stone Roses just came out Thursday. If you’re not familiar with the Stone Roses, then go seek out a copy of their S/T debut album which came out in 1989 – and you’re welcome.
There’s been so many great new releases the past few weeks, that I’ve failed to tout a few albums that came out right before then. So this week I’m highlighting the 3rd album from Parquet Courts titled “Human Performance”, which came out in early April. Parquet Courts are yet another Brooklyn band (originally hailing from Texas), that came together in 2010. They have an indie rock sound with some jagged punk edges, and at times you can hear a lot of Pavement influence in their music. They released their first album on cassette only in 2011 “American Specialties”, which also got a vinyl release a year later. Their “official” debut came out in the summer of 2012 “Light Up Gold” and it quickly gained critical acclaim and they built a solid fan base as they toured to support this album. They cut an EP in 2013 and then released their second album in 2014 “Sunbathing Animal”. This then led to a slew of different recordings (not proper albums) including a full-length as the Parkay Quarts, a concert album, a few 7” singles and a mostly instrumental EP. Obviously the band was working through a lot of experimentation and songwriting techniques. Their 3rd proper album “Human Performance” is their first album with songwriting contributions from all four members (Andrew Savage vocals/guitar/keyboards, Austin Brown guitar/vocals, Sean Yeaton bass/vocals and Max Savage behind the kit + vocals). All of the experimentation the band did between albums seems to have really paid off because “Human Performance” is their best and most focused effort yet. Not that they don’t have their share of curveballs worked in throughout the 13 songs on the album. But the band has kicked it into a different gear and seem to have settled into a nice groove. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
“Dust” – This is a good example of how the band has evolved on the new album. “Dust” is a straightforward, catchy track that highlights some of the deadpan humor the band often shows “It comes through the window and it comes through the floor, it comes through the roof and it comes through the door. Dust is everywhere. Sweep! Sweep.”. It’s executed far better than it reads! Great guitar, a hooky chorus and some interesting keyboard work are highlights on this track.
“Berlin Got Blurry” – This song starts off with a guitar that sounds like it was plucked from a western movie. The verses then speed up and go on a different path. Then that western guitar comes back in the instrumental breaks between verses. During the choruses, there’s a cool keyboard burst that brings on a ‘60s vibe. The keyboards and organ later on start playing together to fully flesh out the track. The band packs a lot of words into the verses on this song, which is completely the opposite of the minimal lyrics in “Dust”.
A handful of notable new releases out today, at the top of my personal anticipation list is the new album from SoCal rockers Rival Sons “Hollow Bones”. Also, you can find new albums from the quadruple guitar attack of Diarrhea Planet on “Turn to Gold”, alt-rock/country stalwarts Band of Horses with “Why Are You OK”, and Garbage pull out a surprisingly strong release in their genre with “Strange Little Birds”.
I first heard Xenia Rubinos just this past week from Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist that’s updated every Monday and assembled based on your music listening preferences. I often have some pretty random artists selected since my listening preferences are all over the board; I’m sure I make it pretty difficult for their algorithms. But since I’m always open to hearing new and different music, I’ve discovered some interesting artists that were pushed to me from Spotify. Rubinos is an excellent example of this, because I don’t think I would have come across her otherwise (although Pitchfork put up a solid review of her new album later on in the week so it may have hit my radar anyway). Rubinos’ new album “Black Terry Cat” is her second release, and I was impressed by her eclecticism and originality. She is definitely bringing something fresh to the table. While Xenia is currently based in Brooklyn, she was raised in Hartford, CT in a household of Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage (and you hear this influence in her music). She studied voice at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met some of her backing band. Her first album was released in 2013 “Magic Trix”, which was equally ambitious and mixed jazz, hip-hop, funk, Caribbean rhythms and electronics into her sound. Her jazz vocal stylings with this musical mishmash creates a unique sound for her. On her latest album, I hear some Erykah Badu influence on her vocal stylings, but it doesn’t take away from her uniqueness. The sounds on “Black Terry Cat” highlight some good grooves, a mix of organic and mechanical sounds and solid production. Rubinos also isn’t afraid to shy away from social commentary and politics in her lyrics, bringing an added fierceness to some of her songs. So with the diverse influences in her music, and the ability to challenge while keeping the grooves infectious, Rubinos has crafted an album that stands out from most other releases. Here are three tracks to check out.
“Mexican Chef” – A big bass line and crisp drums kick off my favorite track on the album right now. I love how Rubinos delivers her vocals on this song as well, mixing in some hip-hop/rap with some jazz and R&B, trading off between verses and the chorus. And the guitar wraps it all up to complete the package. This song will get you bouncing!
“Black Stars” – On this track, you can hear much more of an electronic influence in the music, but it’s deftly mixed in with organic sounds of the piano and drums. The music is very cool on this song. Rubinos also breaks out more actual singing, showcasing another element of her voice.
“Right?” – A big fuzzy organ sound dominates this song, along with a solid rhythm section (her drummer is also the producer on the album and co-writer on some of the tracks). Rubinos’ vocals also get a spotlight on this track, which really is very simple instrumentally. But after mixing her vocals in, the song sounds much bigger than the few elements contributing to it. This is another good example of her uniqueness as an artist.
R.I.P. Prince – truly one of the most original, talented and influential musicians during our lifetime. 2016 is turning into a crushingly hard year for the music world. Below are a couple of links that show just a glimpse of the talent Prince so easily harnessed throughout his career.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y – Prince decides to take over this all-star performance tribute of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for George Harrison at about the 3:30 mark of this video and proceeds to solo all the way through until the song ends – and he ends it with a flourish by tossing his guitar straight up in the air (which mysteriously never comes back down…)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NN3gsSf-Ys – Prince’s legendary Super Bowl halftime performance. A little bit of rain was never going to bring him down…
Noisy Planet presents the TOP 20 SONGS TO GET HIGH TO:
1. “Because I Got High” Afroman
2. “Good Times (I Get High) Styles P
3. “Marijuana” Kid Cudi
4. “I Got 5 On It” The Luniz
5. “Smoke Two Joints” Sublime
6. “Stay High” Three 6 Mafia feat. 8 Ball & MJG and Young Buck
7. “Purple Haze” Jimi Hendrix
8. “Kaya” Bob Marley
9. “One Toke Over The Line” Brewer & Shiple
10. “Sweet Leaf” Black Sabbath
11. “Reefer Head Woman” Aerosmith
12. ‘(Roll Another Number) For The Road’ Neil Young
13. “Reefer Man” Cab Calloway
14. “How High” Method Man and Redman
15. “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” Bob Dylan
16. “Hits From The Bong” Cypress Hill
17. “You’re Making Me High” Toni Braxton
18. “Mary Jane” Rick James
19. “Jesus of Suburbia” Green Day
20. “Weed Song” Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
You have probably heard about entrepreneurs, students and start-up businesses receiving grants from the government or some other institution. But did you know that the government is now giving out money to help promote the work of independent artists? In the United Kingdom, more than twelve songwriters and music labels have been given £200,000 by the British government to fund the promotion of their work in other countries.
About two years ago, a department of the British government called the UK Trade and Investment created a music export scheme worth £2.5 million. Their purpose was to help independent music companies and artists within the United Kingdom help make a name for themselves in other countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. There were a total of thirteen music companies chosen for this funding, including the management company responsible for “Catfish and the Bottlemen.” Other songwriters who have received grants include Georgie Dennis, Christopher Wortley, and Greig Watts. Out of all the past recipients who have received grant money, they have 10 international music awards and 13 record deals all together as a result of this funding.
Critics speculate the real reason behind this funding program for new artists. Some believe it is because the United States has taken the lead as the entertainment capital of the world and the United Kingdom wants to compete by bringing more of their artists into the music scene. However, the minister of UK Trade and Investment says the United Kingdom had £17 billion in exports from the creative sector during 2013. This Music Export Growth Scheme not only helps aspiring British musical talent make a name for themselves, but it also boosts the number of sales for music in the United Kingdom as well. In turn, this creates more jobs and boosts the British economy in the long run.
In the 21st century, there aren’t too many musical artists making names for themselves in various countries throughout the world. It seems that the only artists you hear about these days come from the United States. However, this might not be a good thing for countries in the rest of the world that have an economy worse than the U.S. Perhaps the United Kingdom has the right idea by investing money into their creative sector. After all, consumers love to spend money on creative products like music and movies. It is a billion pound industry that is continuing to grow every day. If other countries would invest in their own creative industries then perhaps their economies countries would invest in their own creative industries then perhaps their economies would grow too.
For those of you who are into gaming and rock music, you are probably familiar with the Rock Band game franchise on Xbox. The last game in the franchise to come out was Rock Band 3 in 2010. It was known for having many content offerings available for download, which stopped being available in late 2013 but then started up again in early 2015. However, fans of the Rock Band franchise had gotten to the point where they weren’t just looking for new downloadable content for Rock Band 3. They were looking for an entirely new sequel all together. The creator of the franchise, Harmonix, is finally going to satisfy these demands.
It was just announced by Harmonix that Rock Band 4 is in the works and will be released five years after the previous game came out. It is also predicted that it will have all new downloadable content available for gamers to purchase. The great thing about downloadable content in Rock Band is that you can request your own songs to be placed into the game, and then you get to play them yourself. Remember, Rock Band is all about creating your own rock band and living the life of a rock star virtually through your gaming console. But this also gives you the chance to play some of your favorite songs as a rock star and to experience the thrill of having an audience cheering you on as you play it.
The only thing Rock Band needs to have is newer songs in its downloadable content. In fact, there are ten songs in particular created within the last five years that need to find their way to Rock Band 4 as downloadable content.
These songs are “Bucker Buster” by Viet Cong
“BlockBuster Night Part 1” by Run the Jewels
“Under Control” by the Internet
“Reflektor” by Arcade Fire
“II. Shadow” by Childish Gambino
“We Were Rock & Roll” by Janelle Monae
“Graceless” by the National
“Under the Pressure” by The War on Drugs
“King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar
“New You” by My Bloody Valentine
Chances are newer gamers from the current generation would have probably heard of these songs and bands by now. If you are an older gamer from the 80s generation then you are probably looking for soft or classic rock.
Either way, you’ll still have a good time playing these songs if they do become available for Rock Band 4.
On a recent episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Chvrches performed as the musical guests on the show. The song they performed on the show was a single from their album Every Open Eye called “Leave a Trace.” Chvrches claim they had “channeled the forces of the universe” in order to get the inspiration to write the songs of Every Open Eye. Jimmy Fallon is known for bringing a lot of different variety to his version of the Tonight Show. He has become known for giving newer bands and singers a chance to make a name for themselves by allowing them to perform on the Tonight Show. Now that Chvrches has performed their single for the first time on the show, they are bound to gain more fans and popularity in the months and years to come.
Chvrches is pronounced as churches. They are an electronic band from Scotland that was created in 2011. The band consists of three members; Lauren Mayberry, Martin Doherty and Iain Cook. Mayberry does the lead vocals and assists with the synthesizers. Doherty does the synthesizers, vocals and samplers. Cook does the vocals, synthesizers, bass and guitar. The band came in 5th place on BBC’s Sound of 2013, which is a list that contains promising talent from around the United Kingdom. Chvrches’ debut album was released in September of 2013. It was called “The Bones of What You Believe.” And now, their second album “Every Open Eye” will be released on September 25th, 2015. For a four year old band, they have already released two albums and “Recover EP” on March of 2013. One of their songs entitled “The Mother We Share” was used in that video that opened the 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, which took place on July 23rd 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
If you haven’t seen their performance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” you can find clips of their musical performance on YouTube or through the NBC website. On YouTube, check out the official Tonight Show channel that has authorized video clips from the actual televised show. This is the one that will have the best picture and sound quality as well. Once you listen to their music, you will become a fan of Chvrches right away. Thanks to the internet, it is much easier for new independent bands like this to get discovered. They will probably be watched more on YouTube than they were when they performed on the televised episode of the Tonight Show.