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Watch A Very Intense EMA Make Her TV Debut On Letterman
Aug 27, 2014 9:12am | StereoGum

At this point, we’re used to seeing indie bands catapult from relative obscurity to national TV exposure. But if you’ve every been lucky enough to see Erika Anderson stalking the stage of a tiny club, with her old band Gowns or on her own as EMA, then you know what an unlikely triumph it is to see her standing in a late-night show’s spotlight, hearing David Letterman splutter, “Holy crap, South Dakota?!” while introducing her. Anderson is a noise-scene veteran with a gut-ripping emotional intensity; she is not supposed to be there. And yet, there she was, fronting her future-punk backing band and seething her way through “Neuromancer,” one of many highlights on her great new album The Future’s Void. I’m delighted to report that the confrontational power of her live show translates way better on television than you’d ever expect. She looked like a star last night, and you can, and should, watch her performance below.


Modern Vices Taller In The Sunshine (Stereogum Premiere)
Aug 27, 2014 9:06am | StereoGum

Chicago rockers Modern Vices call themselves a “dirty doo-wop” band, but that’s not a very good description of what they do on “Taller In The Sunshine.” The song is much closer to the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand — swaggering urban garage rock with discordant guitar leads and a battered, hi-hat-heavy drumbeat topped off by a commanding croon. Thankfully the quintet is a lot better at making music than they are at describing it. This track, from their self-titled EP coming this fall, reminds me that the oft-maligned garage rock revolution of the early aughts was a worthwhile enterprise after all. Join “a romantic revolution” below.


Caught On Tape: the months essential cassette releases, August 2014
Aug 27, 2014 9:04am | Fact Magazine

Summer 2014 just won’t stop when it comes to awesome tape releases – everyone is stepping up their game.

This month we get into the deconstructed dubs of SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL, Bewilderbeast’s cut & paste r&b, Rain Drinkers sprawling effort, avant-whatever from Attempt, pummeling techno from Marreck, and Topdown Dialectic’s minimalist gestures.

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Giveaway: Win Two Tickets To Basilica SoundScape Contest Ends Today
Aug 27, 2014 9:00am | CMJ

Our recent report on the Woodsist fest seemed a metaphor for the way this busy, busy summer music festival season seems to be catching up with everyone. The music’s still good, the sunsets still gorgeous, but the constant hutzpah needed to run around to all these things might be reaching that autumnal tamp-down. Then again, maybe it’s just the realization that there are only so many times you can see the Flaming Lips.

Fear not! The creatively curated, third annual Basilica SoundScape festival is coming to add an intriguing, unexpected program. It runs from September 12-14 in a reclaimed 1880s factory in Hudson, NY, called Basilica Hudson, run by Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins) and her husband, filmmaker Tony Stone. The booking (we are of the mind that the term “curate” has reached satuation) is provided by auf der Maur and Stone, plus Pitchfork Senior Editor Brandon Stosuy and Brian de Ran of Leg Up Management. Together they’ve concocted an interconnected program of music, literature and visual arts that they hope doesn’t fall into the usual summer fest parameters.

The psych-rock-leaning musical menu includes Michael Chapman, Julia Holter, Endless Boogie, Deafheaven, White Lung, Majical Cloudz, solo sets from members of bands you may or may not have heard of, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire playing material from his upcoming solo album, and the Swans doing a planned two-hour set. There will be nume...

Morrissey takes a swipe at Robin Williams, for no real reason
Aug 27, 2014 8:59am | Cosequence Of Sound

Not that it should come as a surprise, but Morrissey managed to botch a well-intentioned tribute to film legends Richard Attenborough and Lauren Bacall.

In a statement posted to True To You, Moz said he was bothered that Bacall’s death was overshadowed by Robin Williams, because “It was Lauren, not Robin, who changed motion picture history. Yet modern media has an odd way of forgetting the more senior servers of the arts,” he explained.

Not that the comparison even makes sense (it would be like weighing the importance of Elvis vs. Morrissey’s own The Smiths), but his comments couldn’t be more ill-timed and insensitive: Williams was laid to rest less than a week ago and the coroner’s investigation is still ongoing.

But again, none of this should come as a surprise.

Read the full statement below.

“I was thrilled beyond words to have met Richard Attenborough, who, of course, played Pinkie in Brighton Rock (1947), a central theme of my song Now my heart is full. When I met Sir Richard he was delightful, and I asked him if Brighton Rock seemed like a hundred years ago. He replied ‘Oh, much more than that …’.
I also had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting the recently deceased Lauren Bacall … so beautiful, so cautious … and so sad that her death was overshadowed by that of Robin Williams. It was Lauren, not Robin, who changed...

Usher She Came To Give It To You (Feat. Nicki Minaj) Video
Aug 27, 2014 8:58am | StereoGum

Usher begins the video for his new song “She Came To Give It To You” by walking through a gambling ring in the back of an empty electronics shop before ending up at the club, where everything isn’t as okay as it seems. Subtly creepy visuals invade the dance floor, stuff like eyes popping out of sockets and whole heads turning into skulls. When Nicki Minaj comes in to deliver her song-elevating guest verse, she has a tarantula crawling over her and is posted up in front of a row of television security monitors. Watch the video below, plus some bonus footage from the set of Drake and Minaj goofing around in a convenience store.


Wilderness of Mirrors
Aug 27, 2014 8:55am | Fact Magazine

Available on: Room40

Abstract or instrumental music is often described as cinematic, but its a term that can be problematic. For the sake of argument, a definition of the word as applied to music might incorporate a tendency to follow narrative arcs, expansiveness, expressive mood, and physicality. In that regard, Lawrence Englishs latest album Wilderness of Mirrors fits the descriptor well.

Tracks are painterly, with drones rendered in thick impastos and light washes that are constantly shifting, swelling and retreating. Another Body crushes you in rolling waves of hot noise before weightless, trebly drones emerge from the clamour in a terrific manipulation of sonic space thats alternately claustrophobic and expansive (and, occasionally, both at once). The Liquid Casket, the albums soaring opener, sustains a harmonic drone throughout, English dotting it with metallic flecks and grinds and adding layers that mesh without merging into an indistinct blur as they fill the space.

In an interview with John Twells, English explains that when he was producing the album thered be a layer, and another layer and Id just erase that first layer. So what might have been a melodic progression becomes a kind of harmonic echo. On Wilderness of Mirrors quieter passages, the effect can be like a musical palimpsest. Take the clanking chimes on Guillotines and Kingmakers, submerged somewhere within a fiercely bi...

Christopher Owens Never Wanna See That Look Again
Aug 27, 2014 8:49am | StereoGum

The former Girls frontman Christopher Owens is now a month away from releasing A New Testament, his second solo album, and we already know two big, important things about the album. We know that it has Owens playing around, even more than usual, with ancestral American-music forms like country and gospel. And we know that, with recent singles like “It Comes Back To You” and “Stephen” and “Nothing More Than Everything To Me,” he’s back to showing some of the fragile grace and power he had when he was with his old band. “Never Wanna See That Look Again,” the latest song he’s shared, isn’t as heavy as something like “Stephen,” but it’s a charming and breezy piece of old-school popcraft. It leaves me thinking of the Everly Brothers, which is a good thing. Listen to it below.


Lese Majesty
Aug 27, 2014 8:48am | Fact Magazine

Available on: Sub Pop

The story of leftfield hip-hop is as shambolic as the records the term covers. But if the history of rap to the left of the mainstream is tricky, any enthusiast will tell you that Shabazz Palaces, the group comprised of core members Tendai Mariare and Ishamel Butler aka Palaceer Lazaro, formerly of Digable Planets, are among its contemporary leading lights. Its telling of both Shabazz Palaces influence and catholic approach that not only are they signed to Sub Pop, a label more commonly associated with indie rock than rap, but also that Butler was recently appointed one of the labels A&Rs.

In an interview on his new role, Butler outlined his ambition to sign imaginative artists, daring artists, courageous artists, independent-thinking artists, artists that arent relying on trends or superficial things to get noticed. Its unsurprising, then, that Shabazz Palaces own music fits nicely under this rubric. Lese Majesty builds on the groups 2011 debut LP Black Up, a deeply singular mélange of psychedelic beats and Afrofuturist lyrics, to reach new heights of brilliant weirdness.

Despite its 18-track length, snaking song structures and Palaceers opaque lyricism, Lese Majesty never feels too long or difficult to unpack. This is largely thanks to the records sequencing into seven suites, such as Palace War Council Meeting, made up of Soundview, Ishmael and Dow...

Kate Bush: Before The Dawn Hammersmith Apollo, London 26/08/14
Aug 27, 2014 8:37am | The Line Of Best Fit
35 years after her last tour, Kate Bush returns with a show well still be scratching our heads and crying with joy about in 2049.

J Mascis Every Morning Video (Feat. Fred Armisen)
Aug 27, 2014 8:33am | StereoGum

You keep thinking Fred Armisen’s schedule is so busy that he’ll have to stop appearing in random indie rock music videos, but no, he never does. Yesterday, Armisen’s buddy J Mascis, the Dinosaur Jr. guitar hero, released a beautifully weary solo album called Tied To A Star. And now Armisen and Mascis are co-starring in director Danny Jelinek’s video for first single “Every Morning.” The clip tells the story of a mysteriously disappeared ’70s cult. Mascis is cannily cast as a shambling cult leader, and Armisen is the square trying to bring the cult down. I’m pretty sure I saw the Shins’ James Mercer in there as a cult member, too. The video debuted on Funny Or Die this morning, and you can check it out below.


Cold Specks: “I think people think Im gloomy, but I can be trippy when I want to be”
Aug 27, 2014 8:30am | The Line Of Best Fit
Ahead of her performance at End of the Road this weekend, we talk with Al Spx about collaborating with Michael Gira and the darkness of her songwriting.

Morrissey Managed To Disparage Robin Williams In His Richard Attenborough Obit
Aug 27, 2014 8:22am | StereoGum

Even when Morrissey is trying to be perfectly innocuous, he manages to ruffle some feathers. A post on quasi-official website True To You starts off well enough, as he reminisces about the time he met the late actor, producer, and director Richard Attenborough, who starred in the 1947 film Brighton Rock that inspired the Vauxhall and I song “Now My Heart Is Full.” He goes on to mention the recent passing of Lauren Bacall, who also had an acclaimed career in film and, for some reason, decided to bring Robin Williams’ death into the discussion as well. “So sad that her death was overshadowed by that of Robin Williams,” he said in the obituary. “It was Lauren, not Robin, who changed motion picture history. Yet modern media has an odd way of forgetting the more senior servers of the arts.” Read his full statement below.


Listen: Christopher Owens new song Never Want To See That Look Again
Aug 27, 2014 8:19am | Cosequence Of Sound

For his sophomore solo album, A New Testament, ex-Girls frontman Christopher Owens drew inspiration from the “fundamentals of American music — Gospel, Country, R&B,” dedicating himself to “honest, earnest, simple songwriting three chords and the truth’.”

Already we’ve heard a few album tracks that speak to that country-fried style: the twangy “It Comes Back to You”; the gospel-inspired “Stephen”; and the honky-tonk jam “Nothing More Than Everything To Me”. Today, Owens shares “Never Want To See That Look Again”, a track that epitomizes the entirety of his newfound musical credo.

Taking cues from Roy Oribinsons brand of rock/country, Owens fills the track with plenty of musical goodies: his voice manages a sweet spot between boyish, poppy croon and haggard outlaw moaning; the guitars somehow punch like John Mellencamp but still chug along like Johnny Cash; and the rhythms make this tune apt for either line dancing or solemn contemplation. Catchy and thoughtful, its a country music master class in under three minutes.

Listen in below.

A New Testament is due out September 29th via Turnstile Records.

A New Testament Tracklist:
01. My Troubled Heart
02. Nothing More Than Everything To Me
03. It Comes Back To You
04. Stephen
05. Oh My Love
06. Nobodys Bu...

Watch: Fred Armisen and James Mercer in J Mascis video for Every Morning
Aug 27, 2014 8:16am | Cosequence Of Sound

A religious cult led by Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis and featuring The Shins’ James Mercer as a member doesn’t sound too terrible on paper. But when Fred Armisen stumbles upon these fanatics, he’s determined to set them on the straight and narrow. The tale of The Space Children Of The Forest and their mysterious disappearance is the basis for Mascis’ new video for “Every Morning”, the latest single off his upcoming LP, Tied to a Star. Watch the Funny or Die product below.

Tied to a Star, the follow-up to 2011s Several Shades of Why, is out this week via Sub Pop Records.

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