For 35 years, “Weird Al” Yankovic has been music’s most reliable satirist, sending up the biggest pop hits and the most iconic artists for the sake of belly laughs. He’s about to release a brand new album called Mandatory Fun on July 15, so to prepare for a fresh batch of tunes we caught up with Yankovic to get the stories behind hits both big and small. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Indie Rock (31-40 of 653)
A few months back, I had the distinct pleasure of receiving a phone call from Beck. The connection wasn’t great, though I chalked that up to the fact that he was calling me from a parallel universe—one that was not wholly unlike the one I exist in, but both slightly more contemplative and way more funky.
We discussed the artists, albums, and songs that have informed his life, and more than once he brought up British death metal band Carcass (whose Surgical Steel was one of my favorite albums of 2013). He seemed mostly charmed by their insane-sounding song titles (“Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites” was a favorite), but based on Beck’s show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday night, he also digs Carcass because, when given the chance, he likes to shred. READ FULL STORY
Vow is an L.A.-based duo, consisting of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Thomas and vocalist Julia Blake, who are giving a contemporary update to the gothy ambience and gauzy textures of ’80s and ’90s dream-pop (which is currently in the midst of a fairly serious comeback). On August 12, they’ll release their second EP, Make Me Yours, on the buzzy Native Sound label, the follow-up to last summer’s Make Me Young. The lead single, “Planks,” boasts a propulsive electro foundation topped with reverb-drenched piano and washes of ambient guitar noise, as well as a swoony vocal performance by Blake that should appeal to fans of the Cocteau Twins and Lana Del Rey.
Blake says of the track, “Andrew approached me with the instrumental for this song when I was learning I was in love with someone who was addicted to unnecessary suffering. ‘Planks’ is about caring for someone when they are at their lowest and wanting all their pain to go away, but in the end, love just sometimes isn’t enough.”
The Second Summer of Love was a period in the late ’80s where MDMA, Chicago acid house, and British youth culture collided explosively to create what came to be called “raving.” It’s also the title of a ripping new song from the new album, Get Back, by Canada’s greatest extant rock band Pink Mountaintops.
The song is a vaguely apocalyptic portrait of subultural youth, and the video takes it a step further with a bunch of grunge kids wielding baseball bats, riding flaming skateboards, and looking existential in front of pyrotechnic displays. You’re not likely to see this much ennui and fire in one place all day.
Hit the jump to check it out. READ FULL STORY
The last Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, Mosquito, was their most elaborate recording to date, complete with the gospel choir that’s pretty much de rigueur for overproduced rock records. For her upcoming debut solo album, frontwoman Karen O is going hard in the opposite direction. Crush Songs, which will be released on Strokes singer Julian Casablancas’s Cult Records on September 9, is a collection of stripped-down, lo-fi home recordings along the lines of “The Moon Song,” her Oscar-nominated contribution to the soundtrack for Spike Jonze’s Her.
The material on Crush Songs was recorded in 2006 and 2007, during the peak of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs post-Fever to Tell popularity. Karen O was 27 at the time, and according to a quote in her press release, she “crushed a lot” during that time.
Crush Songs will be available on CD, digitally, and in a special limited edition that includes a sunburst-colored vinyl album and a set of personal drawings with handwritten lyrics, which is available for pre-order now.
As big as hip-hop’s tent has gotten, Bay Area rapper K.Flay still stands out as something of an oddity: a Stanford double-major (psychology and sociology) who’s worked with Liam Howlett from ’90s electro-punks the Prodigy and toured with Icona Pop and Passion Pit.
After a stint on a major label, she’s gone independent for her new album Life as a Dog, which she crowdfunded through PledgeMusic. The album, out today, pairs spaced-out rap beats and chiming indie rock that K.Flay tops with her frequently tricky flows, making a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter situation that should please rap-loving indie rockers, or the other way around.
After the jump, we have an exclusive first look at her new video for the uber-hooky single “Thicker Than Dust.”
Record Store Day 2014 marked the official recorded return of Veruca Salt, the Chicago-born quartet whose albums American Thighs and Eight Arms To Hold You are definitive entries in any ’90s alt-rock fan’s collection. The band’s original lineup—Louise Post, Nina Gordon, Steve Lack, and Jim Shapiro—hadn’t played together since 1998, but they have stormed back with a pair of tracks on a limited-edition 10-inch piece of vinyl that ended up being one of the big gets of RSD. READ FULL STORY
Orenda Fink first made her name as the vocalist for the Bright Eyes-approved dream indie rock duo Azure Ray. But over the course of a few solo albums she’s made an identity for herself that’s part dream pop and part dusty Americana. Her latest, Blue Dream (out August 19 on the Saddle Creek label), is a meditation on death inspired by the passing of a dog she had for 16 years and a quote by the artist Laurie Anderson that a friend sent to help her get over it. Despite the dark subject matter, it’s not a heavy record—instead, it floats in a state of meditative weightlessness suspended by plentiful pop hooks. Fans of Kate Bush should be pleased by the results.
The track “You Can Be Loved,” with its chiming guitar figures and ethereal multitracked vocals, puts all of Blue Dream‘s best qualities in one place. Hear the exclusive premiere after the jump.
Like a lot of underground rock bands, California five-piece the Growlers started out with some very rough edges, but after a few years of seemingly constant recording and touring, they’ve refined their sound into a poppy, retro-leaning style that they call “beach goth,” a combination of chiming, reverb-drenched guitars, snappy drums, and frontman Brooks Nielsen’s languid vocals, which suggest a guy who never takes his shades off, even indoors.
On their upcoming fifth album, Chinese Fountain (out Sept. 23 on Everloving Records), they show off their flexibility by tackling disco, reggae, and golden oldies à la Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” along with the expected quotient of straight-up guitar pop, like the lead single “Big Toe,” which we’re happy to be premiering here.
The song, and the Growlers’ upcoming tour dates, are after the jump. READ FULL STORY
In 1995, Everclear released their second album Sparkle & Fade, which not only contained the band’s breakout hit “Santa Monica” but also a ruggedly dreamy composition called “Summerland.” Nearly two decades later, Summerland is more than just a song. It’s a franchise, and it serves as the name of Everclear frontman Art Alexakis’ touring mini-festival, which is about to kick off its third consecutive year on the road (and fourth overall). Starting this Friday, June 13, in Pompano Beach, FL, Everclear will take Soul Asylum, Eve 6, and Spacehog across North America for a healthy series of doses of alt-rock nostalgia. “These are still real bands,” Alexakis notes. “They’re not bands coming out of the mothballs to play the hits. That’s the difference between our tour and some of the other ‘90s tours. If that’s what you want to see, that’s totally cool, but that’s my thing. A lot of those bands are starting to sound like karaoke bands. I want to hear rock bands.”
Enjoy EW’s conversation with Alexakis about the new trappings of rock stardom below, and check out the official Summerland site for the full list of tour dates.
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