Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tom Waits: "Back in the Crowd"

I feel like I've been posting a lot of Tom Waits lately, but the recent Throwback was done before I even realized he had a new record on the horizon.  I wasn't entirely sold on the first new single, "Bad As Me", but "Back in the Crowd" eschews the labored quirkiness of that song for a more straight forward, Spanish-inflected ballad sound.  It's a little brief at 2:50 but the two singles combine to reassure that Bad as Me, the album, will be the diverse collection we're used to expecting out of Waits.  If one song isn't your bag, the next one probably will be... and as a whole the man tends to bat well over .500.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Throwback 1997 || Oasis: "Magic Pie"

...and with this fine LP Oasis were publicly cast upon the ash heap, forevermore to be seen and not heard.  I kept stumbling across video links to the new Noel Gallagher solo song in my RSS feed today, and since it's no more post-worthy than brother Liam's Beady Eye phone in I instead alighted to my youth, a time when I worked in the music department at Hastings and Be Here Now was one of the few legit rock albums in our playbin (couldn't offend the blue hairs shopping for books a couple of aisles over with thumping techno or JSBX, after all... though one day a particularly iconoclastic night manager allowed - nay, insisted - that I play the album of death metal Metallica covers that I'd just gotten via special order.  Watching all those customers walk around trying to pretend like absolutely nothing was wrong or out of the ordinary was a pretty amazing experience, and one which I still refer to in job interviews to this day).

Lou Reed & Metallica: "The View"

Wow.  I come back from a literal death-in-the-family weekend to this?  It's almost like a cosmic set up, a profound joke only the doomed could understand.  Although I have to confess that when I first heard that Metallica and Lou Reed were collaborating I never expected it to be much better than this half assed poetry slam backed with a monotonous, first draft guitar riff.  For those of you that haven't been following the news, this project came together rather quickly... and it shows.  Oh, does it show.  This whole thing means about as much as the mannequin artwork above.  Exactly nothing.
   The View by Lou Reed & Metallica

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Primus: "Lee Van Cleef"

I've been sitting on this for awhile, waiting for the band to film a video for a single - any single - but that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon, so here's one of my own faves from Primus' brand spanker Green Naugahyde.  Kind of an underwhelming album title (and cover) but this record is in every way an antidote for the cruel twelve-year hangover that was Antipop.  More of a (probably deliberate) back-to-their-roots effort, Naugahyde jettisons the jazzy jam band aesthetic of Brown Album in favor of a stripped down, more song-oriented collection more akin to Frizzle Fry or Sailing the Seas of Cheese.  Sgt. Baker would be proud, boys.  YES SIR! YES SIR!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Avey Tare: "Oliver Twist"

Animated vids seem to be all the rage in 2011.  Actually, the album containing this song - the first solo effort by Animal Collective's Avey Tare - has been out since October 2010, but for some reason this is just now being released as a single.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Zambri: "On Call"

Now this is some trippy shit.  Sounds like a cross between Siouxsie and the Banshees, MIA and an electroclash lawnmower. Zambri is the surname of sisters Cristi Jo and Jessica, and their cat-raping aural aesthetic will either tie your room together or split your chromosomes, depending on your tolerance for Glossolalia... which is the name of their upcoming EP as well as an apt description for their shattered psych pop.

Zambri- On Call from Johnny Woods on Vimeo.

High Places: "Altos Lugares"

Take that, Brooklyn!  In a rare breach of coastal loyalty, the duo that is High Places relocated from loathsomely trendy Brooklyn - Bed Stuy, but still - to the sunnier climes of LA, itself a trending hipster Mecca but 1) it's been a minute since LA was known for great music and it's their turn to shine, and b) at least it's not Williamsburg.  This is apparently off an upcoming album called Original Colors, but details are skimpy since I got this off Gorilla vs Bear and we're all just basically stealing off some ur-blog to begin with.

High Places - Altos Lugares from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Alex Clare: "Too Close"

Taking the torch from James Blake, upstart British crooner Alex Clare crafts a more accessible, radio friendly version of Blake's neo-soul-via-dubstep template.  Whereas Blake's aesthetic tips the balance in favor of dubstep with soulful vocals layered over top, Clare flips that notion on its head: this is definitely pop music first, dubstep second.  Not that that's a bad thing, and the production courtesy Diplo and Switch ensures that the dubstep elements are legit, if only ornamental.

Anthrax: "The Devil You Know"

On the heels of their recent tour announcement (with Testament and Death Angel), Anthrax recently dropped the second single from their upcoming album, Worship Music.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I've listened to the full album - will be reviewing it for Metal Injection this weekend - and this is no reinvention of the wheel.  It's more of a retreat back to 1990, when the last album with Joey Belladonna came out.  After Belladonna left and John Bush came in I still liked Anthrax, but they were no longer really a thrash band at that point.  Worship Music is actually more akin to 1987's thrash fundamentals clinic Among the Living than 1990's slightly more experimental Persistence of Time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Throwback 1967 || Vanilla Fudge: "You Keep Me Hangin' On"

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was originally recorded by the Supremes and released in October 1966, becoming the group's eighth number one hit the next month.  Almost immediately, the song became a staple cover in rock/R&B circles, and amongst those taking a crack at it were American psych rock band Vanilla Fudge

This version, shown below in a "live" clip from the Ed Sullivan Show, would be the band's first single (in a three minute truncated form) in 1967, reaching #6 on the charts.  Vanilla Fudge are best known today for giving the hard rock world Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, both of whom recorded an album with Jeff Beck in the mid-70's.  Appice in particular has kept monstrously busy over the years, contributing to the bands Cactus, King Kobra, Blue Murder and his own Guitar Zeus project amongst many others.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Opeth: "I Feel the Dark"

Yep.  I really think Heritage is going to be the album to get me back on board the Opeth horse-and-carriage.  I don't go so far as to call their more recent albums "selling out", but there has definitely been that sort of phoned in quality of a talented band with chops galore just going through the motions, much the same glaring indifference as Opeth BFF's Dream Theater have toiled under for a decade.  Between this song and previous leak "The Devil's Orchard" I'm definitely down with the virtually metal-free 70s prog sound I'm hearing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mastodon: "Spectrelight"

At the risk of gorilla pimping this band's recent output, here's another ridiculously promising new track from Mastodon's upcoming The Hunter.  For those keeping score, this is the third officially released song from that 13 track album, so by the time September 26th rolls around you should definitely have decided you need it in your life by that point.  Like I said last time around, I'm pretty stoked to hear the more stripped down, balls out rock material coming out of the band, as opposed to the bloated, progressive sound they've been fucking with in recent years.  Tell me why I'm wrong in the comments, otherwise I'll take your silence as tacit consent.

Ryan Adams: "Wasted Years" (Iron Maiden cover)

Here's a recent Ryan Adams cover of the eloquent Iron Maiden folk song (huh???) "Wasted Years", recorded live for BBC2 on August 30, 2011.  Chew your food, bitches!

Adams has a new record, Ashes & Fire, coming out October 11th, but this will not be on there, yet another in a long line of intentionally bootleg-ready material.

Justice: "Audio, Video, Disco"

This has the breezy vocals of early Air combined with the oh so French electro rock that Justice have helped pioneer, itself a handshake compromise between traditional filter disco and the disco punk that is all the rage at present.  "Audio, Video, Disco" is the title track off the band's upcoming album of the same name, due 25 Oct 2011 in the US (see what I did there, motherfuckers?).  This is the second single off of that album, following "Civilization" released way back in April.  I like "Audio, Video, Disco" better as a song, but "Civilization" had the better video.

Wavves (feat. Best Coast): "Nodding Off"

Back from vacation, hiatus over.  This is a good summer tune to come back to, the weather in New York seasonal compared to the perennial 105-degree heat wave I left behind in Austin, the return to Austin met with unexpectedly similar cool temperatures as I basked in while guerilla pimping the Big Apple.

"Nodding Off" is primarily a Wavves affair, basically employing singer Nathan Williams' main squeeze Bethany Cosentino (of Best Coast renown) as harmony singer.  There isn't much of the trademark Best Coast lo-fi here, it's primarily well-produced, upbeat party time rock a la Wavves' "King of the Beach".  "Nodding Off" will be featured on the upcoming Life Sux EP, which should be out as soon as the distributor finishes up at your mother's house.