Gov. Scott Walker may really like Dropkick Murphys, but Dropkick Murphys don’t seem to like him back. READ FULL STORY
For almost nearly a solid decade, New Jersey trio Screaming Females has been vociferously championing a brand of guitar-based rock music that’s at once both forward-looking and steeped in the long tradition of axe shredders within which frontwoman Marisa Paternoster has carved out a unique spot for herself. In the lead-up to the group’s sixth studio LP, Rose Mountain (due out Feb. 24 on Don Giovanni Records) they’ve assembled a playlist of songs drawn from indie rock, punk, and posthardcore that offers a unique perspective of the role of the guitar in modern music.
“Screaming Females are fans of lots of different types of music,” Paternoster writes in an email, “but here is a short list of guitar-driven songs that we particularly enjoy on a regular basis, in the van, at home, and maybe even at the YMCA.”
“More and more the band formula of guitar, bass, drums, vocals seems to be a thing of the past,” Jarrett Dougherty adds. “Evolution is a good thing but I’ll always love driving rock music.”
You’ll notice that there are a couple of Screaming Females tracks in the mix alongside Joy Division, Aussie avant-punks Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and alt-rock heroes Shellac. “This is only to demonstrate the fact that we are musical hacks,” bassist Michael Abbate writes. “These other bands do rock music better than we do.”
Brothers Donald and Julian Peña were going to school for jazz before they met up with Janel Blanco and formed The Maya Spectra and took a deep dive into electronics-based pop. The result of their collision is a contemporary update on the smoothly chill, jazz-infused brand of trip-hop that dominated the genre during the late ’90s and ended up becoming one of the era’s defining sounds. Their new single “Music Box” sets Blanco’s cabaret vocals against a backdrop of paranoid funk decorated with flourishes of modern EDM and a wailing, fuzzed-out guitar solo worthy of Prince.
“Black Sun” features characteristically melancholy lyrics like “How could something so fair be so cruel” sung over downtempo instrumentation that sounds fit for 2008’s Narrow Stairs. This is their first single since founding member Chris Walla left the band in August. READ FULL STORY
Sharp-eared listeners have been pointing out the melodic similarities between Sam Smith’s breakout solo hit “Stay With Me” and Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” since the former dropped last spring. Apparently one of them was Petty himselfU.K. paper The Sun reports that the classic rocker and Smith settled a lawsuit out of court last fall that gives Petty and his “I Won’t Back Down” songwriting partner, ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, 12.5 percent of the royalties from “Stay With Me.”
A rep for Smith says, “Recently the publishers for the song ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, contacted the publishers for ‘Stay With Me,’ written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips, about similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions. Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of ‘Stay With Me’ listened to ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and acknowledged the similarity. Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of ‘Stay With Me’ along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips.”
As Consequence of Sound points out, Petty and Lynne have already been given songwriting credit through the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. “Stay With Me” has sold more than 4 million copies to date.
Rihanna is best known for dance hits like “Umbrella” and “Only Girl (In the World),” but her latest track might fit in better at a bonfire sing-along than at the club. An acoustic duet with Kanye West—and featuring Paul McCartney—“FourFiveSeconds” is built on an unplugged guitar, an organ, and semisweet lines like “If I go to jail tonight, promise you’ll pay my bail.”
This marks West and McCartney’s second collaboration since releasing “Only One,” a confessional ballad sung from the perspective of West’s late mother. While “FourFiveSeconds” isn’t nearly the tearjerker “Only One” is, it does have the same raw feel elevated by Rihanna and West’s musical back-and-forth and McCartney’s gentle strumming. READ FULL STORY
When it comes to lyrics, the Decemberists can get weird. But on Jimmy Kimmel last night, the Portland band skipped their usual fare about shape-shifting forest dwellers, fairy queens, and magical cranes to turn their indie folk stylings toward trashy YouTube comments. You haven’t truly experienced YouTube comments—or the Decemberists’ music, for that matter—until you’ve heard Colin Meloy sing “I can’t believe I make $5,000 a month working from home!!!! Click link below to find out how” over a jaunty baroque pop melody.
PC Music makes garishly vibrant electronic pop music, but the collective itself is shrouded in shadows. Among the many mysteries surrounding it: how many members it has, whether or not all of them are actually people, whether or not you can accurately call it a label, and what (if any) ulterior motives it might have. It seems safe to say that a person named A. G. Cook plays a key role in the group, and may possibly have started the whole thing.
Cook and PC Music have been steadily rising through the dance music underground, and their hyperpop aesthetic—which jams together J-pop, happy hardcore, R&B, and several hard drives’ worth of electronic sound effects—seems ripe to burst into the mainstream. They’ve taken a step in that direction with a new official remix of Charli XCX’s Rita Ora-featuring single “Doing It,” which Cook has turned into something that sounds like a PlayStation-era video game rave colliding happening in a terminally glitchy laptop emulator.
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