Monthly Archives: September 2014

Prince retains royal title as king of rock on “Plectrumelectrum”

Songwriter, producer, guitarist, and hardest-working man Prince has released two powerhouse albums, the solo “Art Official Age” and “Plectrumelectrum,” with his band 3 Eye Girl.prince-3rdeyegirl-fixurlifeup-600x450

“Plectrumelectrum” is more rock-oriented than “Art Official Age,” and richer as well; a crowd-pleasing arena-rock binge.

“Wow,” with its grand refrain, is a lesson on the right way to open an album and sets the bar for the rest of “Plectrumelectrum.” Its message of a beautiful drug addict in denial is an unexpected twist.

“Another Love” also weaves a venomous message. As he cries out, “The greatest living soul, you’ll never know,” Prince is defiant in his bitter testament to lost love.

The hard-rock hooks on the title track riff a bit off the first half of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean,” and the instrumental only gains strength.

Monster ’80s guitar chords and rhythms, including roiling chunks of downright hot funk, all dominate “Plectrumelectrum” ’s master-blaster sound.

The album is also full of sensitive, beautiful melodies. The country-tinged female vocals for “Whitecaps” float effortlessly on a contemporary wave, while “Stop This Train” is a delicate love duet set to a reggae beat.

Prince’s vocals sound just as good as they did five, 10, 15 albums ago, but now he’s got an extra edge to his messages of sensual love and social awareness.

If some felt Prince needed to shore up his title as the royal authority on dance, pop, funk and rock, “Plectrumelectrum” is here to shut them all down.

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Filed under Funk, New Music, Pop, Rock

Listen to Lorde’s explosive “Yellow Flicker Beat”

Update: Lorde dropped “Yellow Flicker Beat” today; the 17-year-old rarely disappoints.

emilystrax

Lorde-Yellow-Flicker-Beat-

This morning Lorde dropped her new single to the Hunger Games soundtrack: “Yellow Flicker Beat.” It’s got Lorde written all over it, her honey-deep voice enunciating every syllable. It begins quietly and ends with an explosive dance beat that further cements her growing stardom.

More below:

Brace yourselves: Lorde is releasing a new single Monday, Sept. 29. Prepare for social-media implosion.

It’s only one song really, but hearing new music from the teen-alt dynamo for the first time since “Pure Heroin” is big news for Lorde fans.

According to a story at Consequence of Sound, Lorde wrote the song, “Yellow Flicker Beat,” for “The Hunger Games-Mockingjay Part 1” movie soundtrack. “Hunger Games” is set for release Nov. 21.

Another juicy snippet, according to Consequence of Sound — Lorde is allegedly working on new music with Kanye West.

But it was also rumoured not that long ago (August) that West and Paul McCartney were…

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Catch Prince, 3rdEyeGirl at Yahoo album-release party Sept. 30

Prince: Art Official Age

Prince: Art Official Age

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, Prince and his band 3rdEyegirl are expected to appear on the Live Nation Channel on Yahoo at 9:30 p.m. (Central Time) for his “Plectrumelectrumartofficialage” album-release party (yes, it’s one big word). And yes, it will celebrate the double-whammy on Tuesday of his albums “Art Official Age” and “Plectrumelectrum.”
Fans are also expected to get an in-depth look at Paisley Park, Prince’s recording studio in Minnesota, which is where you could be headed if you preorder “Plectrumelectrum”– preordering entitles you to a chance to be flown to the studio for a performance with the Man in October.
According to a press release, the entire live stream will be available using the Yahoo Screen App or at http://www.yahoo.com/live.

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Filed under New Music, News

Listen to Lorde’s explosive “Yellow Flicker Beat”

Lorde-Yellow-Flicker-Beat-

This morning Lorde dropped her new single to the Hunger Games soundtrack: “Yellow Flicker Beat.” It’s got Lorde written all over it, her honey-deep voice enunciating every syllable. It begins quietly and ends with an explosive dance beat that further cements her growing stardom.

More below:

Brace yourselves: Lorde is releasing a new single Monday, Sept. 29. Prepare for social-media implosion.

It’s only one song really, but hearing new music from the teen-alt dynamo for the first time since “Pure Heroin” is big news for Lorde fans.

According to a story at Consequence of Sound, Lorde wrote the song, “Yellow Flicker Beat,” for “The Hunger Games-Mockingjay Part 1” movie soundtrack. “Hunger Games” is set for release Nov. 21.

Another juicy snippet, according to Consequence of Sound — Lorde is allegedly working on new music with Kanye West.

But it was also rumoured not that long ago (August) that West and Paul McCartney were collaborating, and how is that going? Only time will tell.

For now, look for “Yellow Flicker Beat” on Monday or just check your local Twitter location.

lorde mockingjay

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Filed under alternative pop, Electronic, News, Preview

Songwriter, fireball Juana Molina directs too: See the video for “Lo Decidi Yo”

Singer, songwriter and now co-director Juana Molina has released a video for her 2013 song “Lo Decidi Yo,” (“The decision was mine.”)

A girl who finds herself in all parts of the world, doing her little happy dance, in all directions and atmospheres, fits Molina’s quirky and highly individual style to a T.

juana-molina-video

Molina’s latest album, “Wed 21,” was recently awarded the Carlos Gardel Award for Best Alternative Rock and Pop Album of 2013. The video for “Lo Decidi Yo” is the third off “Wed 21.”

Wed 21

Wed 21

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Filed under Electronic, Experimental, VIdeos

Wand’s “Flying Golem” video an electric, stream-of-consiousness trip

When it comes to videos, for music fans, ultimately, It’s the song that matters — we hope so, anyway.

But sometimes video and music sort of become one — that’s how much Wand‘s new video for “Flying Golem” seem custom-built for each other.

The video represents the single from Wand’s new album “Ganglion Reef,” and was created by directors and animators Meghan Tryon and Garrett M. Davis, and they do the song proud.

The video has got this stream of consciousness to it  — the kind where someone draws a weird face with a pencil, and the pencil becomes a long line, then another weird face, then all of a sudden you’re fighting evil, fluorescent skulls in some alternate scene that was ditched from the Sgt. Pepper movie….. you get the picture.

wand-flying-golem-video

The song has an innocent organic acoustic sound to it, then magically becomes a 60s psychedelic trip, and the video brings you along for the tie-dyed ride. Indian influences help close out the eclectic sound of “Flying Golem.”

Wand’s “Ganglion Reef” is out now on Drag City imprint GOD? .

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Filed under Experimental, New Music, Psychedelic rock, VIdeos

Get psyched for Cassette Store Day!

Cassette-Store-Day 2014

You didn’t miss it… yet. The annual Cassette Store Day is tomorrow (Sept. 27), so there’s still time to plan your attack!

emilystrax was raised in the Golden Cassette Age of the 80s (think Songs From the Big Chair/Disintegration), so celebrating this event is only natural.

The U.S. ambassador this year is Burger Records, but the UK and Europe are also taking part. Burger Records has also been releasing new tracks off tomorrow’s releases (see below.)

There are instant standouts at CSD, enough that most music fans will likely think it’s worthwhile to check out:

Two from Julian Casablancas’ label, Cult Records: Karen O’s “Crush Songs” and Julian Casablancas’ band the Voidz, “Tyranny”

Gaslight Anthem: “The ’59 Sound”

White Lung: “Deep Fantasy”

Vivian Girls: “Share The Joy”

Foxygen: “… And Star Power”

Cymbals Eat Guitars: “LOSE”

Plus TWO singles from They Might Be Giants and TWO full-length releases: “They Might Be Giants”   and “Lincoln”

There’s also, as usual, some bizarre, creative band names — (Sleepybeef and Butterqueen come to mind), as well as stuff from bands with names like Phalec Baldwin, Nude Human and Wild Wild Wets (hopefully they’re not XXX).

Visit the Cassette Store Day website for the full list.

Burger Records has also been releasing new tracks ahead of the day’s festivities, so even if you can’t get out there, you can still get a little new music:

Natural Child – “White People” Live (from Live In Birmingham) http://bit.ly/1oi41tz

Townes Van Zandt – “Waiting Around To Die” (from Townes Van Zandt)

 The Golden Dawn – “Starvation” (from Power Plant)

The Adolescents – “Wrecking Crew” Demo (from The Complete Demos: 1980-1986)

LIST OF PARTICIPATING STORES: http://cassettestoreday.us/usstores

LIST OF CSD EVENTS: http://cassettestoreday.us/usevents

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Filed under cassettes, New Music, News, Preview, Uncategorized

Prince announces 2 new albums Sept. 30

Prince: Art Official Age

Prince: Art Official Age

Plectrumelectrum

Plectrumelectrum

Today the Purple One announced the upcoming arrival of two new studio albums, “Art Official Age” and “Plectrumelectrum” through Warner Bros., for a Sept. 30 release.

“Art Official Age” is solo Prince, while “Plectrumelectrum” is by Prince’s band 3rdeyegirl.

In keeping with Prince’s allure, the releases will be marked by events to take place globally, and which will be confirmed soon, according to a press release.

The news comes as the artist and Warner Bros. have come back together with the record label returning Prince’s recordings back to him, including 80s blockbusters “Dirty Mind,” “1999,” “Purple Rain” and “Sign ‘O’ the Times.”

More info will be coming– the Artist Formerly Known As Prince likes keeping his fans waiting, but it’s a good chance that wait will be worth it.

Below is the track listing for both new albums:

ART OFFICIAL AGE                                   PLECTRUMELECTRUM

ART OFFICIAL CAGE                                  WOW

CLOUDS                                                       PRETZELBODYLOGIC

BREAKDOWN                                              AINTTURNINROUND

THE GOLD STANDARD                             PLECTRUMELECTRUM

U KNOW                                                        WHITECAPS

BREAKFAST CAN WAIT                             FIXURLIFEUP

THIS COULD BE US                                   BOYTROUBLE

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE                                 STOPTHISTRAIN

affirmation I & II                                            ANOTHERLOVE

WAY BACK HOME                                       TICTACTOE

FUNKNROLL                                               MARZ

TIME                                                               FUNKNROLL

affirmation III

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, News, Pop

Chris Stein’s new book and Blondie’s look

Blondie by Chris Stein

Blondie by Chris Stein

Chris Stein, Blondie co-founder and guitarist, had a front-row seat to the NYC punk-music scene in the 70s and used that lucky access wisely.

Good thing Stein is also a genius with the camera.

Blondie, by Chris Stein

Blondie, by Chris Stein

Stein is releasing a new book this week, “Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk,” on Rizzoli. “Negative” is also in celebration of the band’s 40th (!) anniversary.

The book will be full of many of Stein’s photos of his girlfriend at the time, Deborah Harry, as well as other punk revolutionaries, including music journalist Lester Bangs. Stein’s photos of Harry seem to dominate the book, and rightfully so– Blondie’s look breathed rebellion, youth and DIY glamour.

Lester Bangs, by Chris Stein

Lester Bangs, by Chris Stein

Photo by Chris Stein

Photo by Chris Stein

BTW, check out the video for “Rapture.”

See more photos and a story at New York Times Magazine.

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Filed under artpunk, DIY, News

Shoegazers Nite Fields release “Vacation” ahead of 2015 album

nite fields

Australian newcomers Nite Fields, who hail from the Brisbane DIY scene, have released “Vacation,” their first U.S. single.

Lead singer and songwriter Danny Venzin, at first listen, seems pretty low-key, but it only means the vibe is just very mellow on “Vacation.”
Nite Fields cavernous sound is reminiscent of Magnetic Fields, with Stephin Merritt’s drone. Among that noisy grime, heavy wisps of Joy Division or shoegazers the Horrors (albeit a tad toned down) can also be heard.

Just about everything in the song is drenched in echo– that “wall of sound” we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on who you ask.)
The debut from Nite Fields’ is due early next year on Felte Records.

Listen to “Vacation.”

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Filed under DIY, New Music, Shoegaze