Have you found yourself wondering, “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite TV shows? We’re here to tell you. Check out our Spotify playlist and see why these music picks clicked. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: Spoilers ahead.) READ FULL STORY
Last year, erstwhile Two Wounded Birds front man Johnny Aries moved from London to New York in order to join up with his former tour mates The Drums. Along with playing on their most recent album, Encyclopedia, Aries has also written and recorded his first solo LP, Unbloomed, since his relocation.
Combining punchy pop with a bit of gothy postpunk edge, it’s like a trip back in time to the period in the ’80s where alternative youth culture was ruled by swooning, floppy-haired Smiths fans.
The video for its lead single, “This Grave Is My Bed Tonight,” underlines that aspect by slapping some vampiric makeup on Aries and friends and sending them out onto the streets of New York.
Ryan Hemsworth has spent the past several years doing exactly what a young producer working on the increasingly blurry border between dance music and hip-hop should do to advance his career: playing for an adoring underground fan base while also booking bigger and bigger EDM festivals and assembling a portfolio of high-profile remixes for clients like Cat Power and Frank Ocean.
According to the producer playbook, his next move should have been to cash in all the professional capital he’s accumulated to pack an album of expansive, dance-friendly pop and rap with enough guest stars to attract attention from mainstream listeners. Instead, next week he’ll release Alone for the First Time, a collection of subdued pop songs with a decidedly organic feel, created alongside cult artists like Dawn Golden and The GTW who many listeners have probably never heard of. It’s a decision he’s extremely happy with.
Covers are stubborn. For every magical Jimi Hendrix-“All Along the Watchtower” combination, hundreds of reinterpretations crash and burn. When Arcade Fire performed a new cover at every show on their Reflektor tour, for instance, they often fell short, because, well, even the Greatest Freakin’ Indie Band will struggle to nail iconic recordings by R.E.M. and Sam Cooke. Sometimes brilliance strikes, like on Cat Power’s The Covers Record, but tribute albums are frequently dull and all too often smack of washed-up stars trying to channel legends.
Considering these challenges, Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, the new tribute dedicated to one of New York City’s most seminal (and unappreciated) musicians, is remarkable. Arthur Russell isn’t a household name, but this star-studded album could make listeners wonder why.
Miley Cyrus has moved on to the newest dance craze du jour: the Nae Nae.
In recent years, the once-radical Bob Dylan has increasingly embraced rootsy American traditionalism. It makes a lot of sense, then, that the 73-year-old’s first record since 2012’s Tempest—excluding his latest archival releases—would be a covers album honoring classic musicians, some of whom predate him. READ FULL STORY
Last month Olympia, Washington weirdos Naomi Punk released Television Man, 10 tracks of jagged postpunk, Pacific Northwest grunge, and art-damaged sonic experimentation that’s as genuinely pleasurable as it is challenging. The title track is also maybe the album’s best, a hypnotic, mathy prog-punk anthem with touches of krautrock drive and almost New Age-y prismatic psychedelia.
The kaleidoscopic video for “Television Man” takes a slightly literal approach to visualizing the song with degraded videotape of flexing bodybuilders, but blasts the images into abstraction through repetition and reflection. “Basically,” writes director Robin Stein, “it came from an initial interest in using mirrors as an analog effect for manipulating video imagery. Beyond the initial visual treatment—inspired by imagery of 1970s body-building and the Philip Lorca Dicorcia photography series ‘Lucky 13’—I was looking at how the contours of extreme musculature could become an abstract and dark visual medium.”
Danity Kane’s DK3 has a lot going against it.
It had the bad luck to be released the same week as Taylor Swift’s zeitgeist-devouring 1989. The group, which broke up during its recording nearly three months ago, aren’t around to promote it. Its Clipse-sampling lead single “Lemonade” didn’t make as much of a splash on radio as it may have deserved. And at a time where R&B is overrun with insurgent post-Weeknd artists who are crazy about grimy sounds, ennui, and ambiguous eroticism, Danity Kane remains steadfastly straightforward and high-polish.
So it’s not surprising that the record’s kind of falling through the cracks. What’s surprising is that that’s kind of a shame.
In its original form, which you can hear on her River Queen EP, Sara Jackson-Holman’s “Haunt Me” is an airy piano ballad that shows off her knack for catchy melodies and interesting, unfussy arrangements, and is considerably cheerier than its title suggests.
In the hands of fellow Portlander Natasha Kmeto, whose dark but danceable electronic compositions might seem a world away from Jackson-Holman (but are actually strangely complementary), it becomes something much more, well, haunting. It should come in handy when you make your playlist of songs to get spookily down to this weekend.
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