July 30, 2013
Brooklyn experimental art-rockers TV On The Radio have been a little off the radar since 2011's Nine Types of Light, but today they return with the fantastic new jam, "Mercy". While the band states that there are no plans for a full-length album any time soon, this new track should hold you over in the meantime. Check it out via Stereogum.
July 27, 2013
Before heading off to headline the Newport Folk Festival and return for dates at Prospect Park and Jones Beach, Beck took to the intimate (Le) Poisson Rouge for an acoustic set of career highlights and rarities. Bursting in with the incendiary "Golden Age" from the brilliant Sea Change, the show definitely kept to the mellow side of Beck's illustrious discography, but there were plenty of surprises along the way. After ushering in the evening with some familiar songs, he announced "I don't normally like to play songs you don't know, but this is the only way to hear them". Last year, Beck released an album called "Song Reader" which was only available in sheet music format, making it only possible to hear if one could learn to play the songs themselves. The songs were apparently influenced by Americana and Beatles melodies and gave a jolt to the softer sounds of the evening. "This is our first acoustic show in seven years" Hansen announced at one point in the evening, but the group showed no signs of rust. The night powered along with classics favorites like "Lost Cause" and "Already Dead" with a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Sleepless Nights". The intimacy also allowed for a lot of banter from Beck as he told the crowd of his early days trying to make it in New York when he was playing street corners on St. Marks and Avenue A was a ghost town. The evening continued on a high with a solo harmonica rendition of "One Foot in the Grave" the bouncing "Gamma Ray" and "Modern Guilt" from his distant, but most recent record. The highlight of the night however came with Odelay's "Sissyneck". Suddenly, the band cut out leaving a simple drum beat that Beck claimed "struck a chord in everyone's DNA". "What could it be?" he asked before the band kicked into the King of Pop's "Billie Jean". Moonwalk and hat flips included, the crowd went wild and the night erupted as Beck claimed "there are squares lighting up on floor". A slight inclusion of T. Rex's "Get it On" sealed the deal before he synced back into "Sissyneck" to close out the main set. The evening concluded with "Loser", the landmark song that put Beck on the map and probably received the most sing-a-long feedback (next to "Billie Jean") of the evening and cemented the evening's stellar performance. In the '90s, Beck was the guy who hit the bong and set the party in motion, but tonight he showcased his mature growth into a beautiful songwriter. The beautiful and sedated Sea Change saw the most recognition of the evening leaving many of the hits for another time. Everything was immediate and on point with absolute attention to detail. It can hard to watch aging rock stars perform their mega-hits twenty years after the fact as they to relive the glory of the past, but Beck is no such case. He declared long ago that he was "a loser baby" but no one wants to kill him yet.
All in Your Mind
Heart Isn't Hard
I Am the Cosmos
One Foot in the Grave
Sissyneck / Bille Jean / Get it On
Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods
July 24, 2013
Grecian duo Keep Shelly in Athens recently shared their latest single "Recollection", which matches Balearic rhythms and synths with the effortless bedroom haze of the Cocteau Twins. Look for their debut full-length At Home, on September 17.
July 20, 2013
It seemed more than fitting that the biggest tour of the summer rolled into New York City on the hottest day of the year (the heat index in Brooklyn was hovering around 106 when I made my way to the Bronx). Shortly after 9:00 PM, the iconic baseball stadium darkened and erupted in cheers as the two legends of summer strolled onto the stage for their recent collaboration, "Holy Grail" off Jay's recent Magna Carta... Holy Grail. The early part of the set consisted of the two pop stars volley hit for hit with some added assistance. Mr. Timberlake sang the vocals on the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" as Hova transitioned into "Izzo". The duo made some well calculated moves on how to make this show as smooth as possible while still making each of them the biggest names in the game. Setting themselves up as equals (a similar method that Jay Z and Kanye West used during the Watch the Throne Tour), there was no opener and this was not a pop vs hip hop show either, but rather a collision of superstars using their talents to cement themselves as entertainment legends. Both are heroes in their own right. Jay Z just scored his thirteenth number one album and while JT is fresh off the release of his first album in seven years, he is proving his showmanship with exquisite production.
Despite Justin's recent reclaim of pop music, The 20/20 Experience is currently the best selling album of the year, the night clearly belonged to the Jigga-man. Playing to his home crowd, Jay knows how to use his many anthems to rock arenas and stadiums and the massive Yankee Stadium wasn't new territory for the king of hip hop. Even with smash hits "Señorita", "Rock Your Body" and "My Love" couldn't keep up with Jay's "Big Pimpin'", "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)", "Heart of the City" and the forever epic "99 Problems" (although Justin acting as the cop was surely a site to see). The middle of the set allowed each artist sometime personal time to highlight their esteemed discographies and where Jay powered through each number, Timberlake's definitely had to carry some extra weight. That isn't to say that his musicianship and talent were laking, his soulful croon and savvy dance moves had people screaming and the hit of the summer "Mirrors" was sensational, but next to Hov it was clear who had the upper hand.
As the show began the final run, Justin appeared in left field to cover "New York, New York" before Jay launched into the mega anthem "Empire State of Mind" which has certainly been played into the ground at this point, but when Alicia Keys made her way out to deliver her infamous chorus, the song reached new levels of supreme. The entire stadium belting along with the city's new anthem was the absolute high light of the night and one of the best moments of the summer.
The use of "Encore" in a Jay Z set will never be wasted at this point in his career. The mark that the night is about to come to a close is never easy, but when the biggest hits start coming, it's hard to be too upset. Not letting Jay outrightly steal the show by brining Alicia Keys for added back-up, Justin pulled out the stops as well by ushering Timbaland onto the stage for his role in "SexyBack". Another moment fans won't soon forget.
Nearly three hours after the show began, the duo closed out the night with their other big collaboration of the year. This time it was "Suit and Tie", the single that blasted Timberlake back into the spotlight before he aided Jay by singing the hook to "Young Forever" as the two ascended up the staircase set center stage. In a day and age where the notion of a what constitutes rock star status, these two are flexing their celebrity muscles with relative ease to show just how much power and control they have over the game. "And we're all just entertainers" the duo borrow from Nirvana on "Holy Grail", but these entertainers are in ballparks all their own.
July 15, 2013
Dinosaur Jr are set to release a custom designed shoe for LA Brand Keep. The limited edition shoe costs $75 and includes a 7" picture disc of J Masics covering the dream-pop classic "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star. Check out the cover over at Pitchfork and head here to order the shoe.
July 10, 2013
Despite just releasing their great sophomore record this past winter, the incendiary Widowspeak will release a six song EP entitled The Swamps, on October 29 via Captured Tracks. "True Believer" is a perfect breezy summer jam that follows the more sepia-toned, twee vibes of Almanac.