Category Archives: Uncategorized

Charles Bradley cancels tour dates due to cancer diagnosis

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires have canceled their upcoming tour dates. In a statement released today, the soul singer, 67, announced that doctors have found a cancerous tumor in his stomach.

Bradley wrote part of the statement:

In the past few months, I have had to cancel a number of shows due to illness, taking me away from my beautiful fans.

My doctors recently discovered a cancerous tumor in my stomach.  

I’m getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I’ve fought through the many other obstacles in my life.

My upcoming tour dates will be postponed so I can concentrate on healing.

Thank you all for understanding. Music is how I share my love with the world, and the love that my fans have given back brings me so much joy. I look forward to seeing your gorgeous faces soon, and to continue to share my love through music.

Bradley has been on the road for much of 2016, but has recently canceled several shows  in light of his health issues. The press release states part of his time off will be for treatment and recovery. 

After Bradley worked as a cook for 10 years, he lived in various cities across the country, playing  at small venues and working menial jobs for about 20 years. His career began again in 1996 under the alias “Black Velvet,” as a James Brown impersonator. He was later discovered by Daptone’s Gabriel Roth. His first single was 2002’s “Take It As It Come, Pt. 1” and “Take It As It Come, Pt. 2.” Since 2011 he’s released three albums, including Changes, out this year.

Read more about Bradley in this 2011 story.

While I haven’t covered much of Bradley’s music on the blog, I’ve admired his music and soulful style, and I hope he makes a quick recovery.

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Filed under Music News, R&B, Retro Soul, Soul, Uncategorized

Black metal band’s album cover stirs controversy

While music is always about personal expression, there’s a level of humanity that can still be found in the darkest of music genres.

The album cover for post-black-metal band Numenorean is of a young dead girl who appears to have been brutally murdered.

That’s shocking enough, but the album has also received positive reviews from at least two music sites, one of which is not exclusively about metal (that site failed to post an image of the album cover, which makes perfect sense now.) Another site I found does call attention to how the image overpowers the music — good for them. I’m not going to post the image here, or links to Numenorean’s album, because I just don’t think I should. I’m including the band name because without that, this post would be completely irrelevant.

Every music site out there has its guidelines and rules for what they will or won’t cover, and that’s perfectly within their right. I don’t know if any soul-searching had to be done at those sites when it came to this album, but it certainly got me thinking.

If you read the band’s description of the album (which you can easily google), they explain how the only way people can experience a child’s innocence again is through death, and how listeners will eventually come to realize that as they keep looking at the picture of the dead girl.

I’ve heard the EP and thought the music was intriguing, but couldn’t get past the cover. The image of the girl, with what looks like a faint smile on her face, to me speaks 100 times louder than the music. It’s horrific and it’s terrifying. All I wanted to know was: Who is she? How and when did she die? How was this band allowed to use this picture? Where is the girl’s family and what do they think?

I had more questions about the picture than about the music: Was the entire band in agreement that this was OK? Did they consider how this might personally affect listeners? It was no longer about the music; it was disturbing to the core. This one crosses the line.

A few screenshots of comments about the album show a brief cross-section of what is giving some pause.

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(So far I’ve only been able to turn up this with regards to who the child might be.)

Another music site contained positive and negative feedback:

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Some apparently thought the image was Photoshopped:

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More conversation, with a mention that if the band had the copyright to the image then it’s fair game:

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Again, every music site has its own goals and guidelines as to what’s OK to publish, and that’s what the internet is all about — freedom to say and post what we feel. As a journalist I try to be as unbiased as possible. Maybe I’m taking things too seriously, maybe I’m soft, maybe I’m making a big thing out of nothing. But I think it’s important to note how much music and imagery can happily coexist and to remember those rare times that combination can send the wrong message.

 

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Filed under Album covers, Commentary, Metal, Uncategorized

DC’s Pure Disgust is back with a timely, rage-filled album

Pure Disgust’s self-titled album, released on Bandcamp on July 13,  is take-no-prisoners punk to the extreme, with boiling hot lyrics that match seething, agitated vocals like “The new racism is a denial of racism.” Rings a bell, doesn’t it?

Some songs, like “White Silence” or “Untitled,” begin with deceptively calmer throwback intros, but then let loose like an angry dog, linking timely subjects like No Child Left Behind with the failing prison system. Some songs end on a fade, which is not always appealing for a punk anthem, but that’s only a minor point.

I’m imagining a Pure Disgust show ending in a sweaty, frothy, beautiful mess.

 

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Filed under Hardcore punk, Punk, Speed punk, Uncategorized

The Julie Ruin’s Hit Reset is out now

Hit Reset, Kathleen Hanna’s latest installment of her off, on musical project The Julie Ruin, can be ordered online today, but you can still hear it through Spotify and read Ann Powers’ take on the album at NPR Music here.

If you haven’t heard Hit Reset yet, Hanna sounds just as good as the first Julie Ruin album, a bit more reserved than Le Tigre, and with all the fire she’s had since she was 9, when she first heard Gloria Steinem speak.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/4D4vLiYKRycKzBSX1Y1sjg

Watch The Julie Ruin’s video for “I Decide,” with Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, wearing a Yoko T-shirt, walking down a thoroughfare at South By Southwest.

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Filed under artpunk, Feminist punk, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, New Music, Punk, Riot-Grrrl, Uncategorized, VIdeos

Open Windows 3: Deap Vally grinds and Alexis Taylor unwinds

Prince’s influence on the music world after his death continues unabated. Via FactMag, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor has now covered the Prince unreleased rarity, “Old Friends 4 Sale,” with heartfelt, somber piano notes. Taylor unplugging himself from his electro-synth world is jarring enough; Taylor explaining how he wanted to relearn the song as a tribute to Prince is even more emotional.

 

Deap Valley’s finally got new music on the horizon, and we’re thankful they haven’t changed their stripes. The female duo continues their blues-punk, guitar-dripping sound with the slow-burning track “Royal Jelly” and some advice for those who want to rule the world.

Deap Vally’s album Femijism, produced by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner, will be out Sept. 16 on Nevado.

Watch the video below:

Read NPR’s blurb on Deap Vally in their “New Mix” wrapup: http://www.npr.org/player/embed/484374847/484377500

Deap Vally also released the video last month for “Smile More,” a tender ode to guys who try that advice on others.  “I am not ashamed of my age/ I am not ashamed of my rage,” Lindsey Troy sings. Deap Vally always knows the right thing to say.

 

The first two songs off Lando Chill’s upcoming album are more than just promising. The Tucson hip-hop artist spits honest truth, whether he’s feeling just fine rolling a bowl on “Early In the Morning” or fighting demons like depression on “Coroner”:

“There’s no more to say, no more to pay, no world to save / I’m not the man you believe in, see I’m just the man you were leaving,” Lando Chill says rather calmly on the song, and you believe he’s got something bubbling underneath the surface.

His album, For Mark, Your Son, will be out Aug. 12 on Mello Music Group. Listen on Bandcamp:

 

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Filed under Covers, Electro-pop, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, Hip-Hop, Indie electronic, Open Windows New Music, Uncategorized

Catch The Buzzcocks on their brief U.S. tour

British punk originators Buzzcocks have announced an eight-date U.S. tour, welcome news for fans.

They kick off Sept. 22 at Vic Theatre in Chicago and wrap up Oct. 1 at Irving Plaza in NYC. Tickets go on sale June 17 but an AmEx presale starts tomorrow (6-14). They’ve already been touring in Europe as part of their 40th (!) anniversary.

For the U.S. dates visit BrooklynVegan.com, while the Buzzcocks‘ site lists their UK/European dates.

Not that you need a refresher, but check out “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” (one of my favorite songs):

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Filed under '80s, Garage Punk, Post-punk, Punk, Tour Dates, Tour Info, Uncategorized

Sir Weston’s EP “Over” touches on the mellow side of indie folk

Sir Weston (Matt Martin and Weston Taylor) is an indie/folk/pop group that creates well-crafted hooks that are extremely pleasing to the ear, begging to be memorized.

According to Sir Weston’s Bandcamp page, Weston Taylor, of Atlanta, has been writing for more than 10 years. Sir Weston’s slightly skewed, heartfelt style recalls the sound of Soul Asylum or early Coldplay vocals from the “Yellow” era. The moody guitar notes drives “Waking Up,” and a more rock and roll indie sound dominates “Pretty Pictures.” Hold a torch for the soothing acoustic title track, which gives a shoutout to classic ’60s pop of the Beatles and the Byrds; “Cure For Cancer” is a standout.

Check out their Over EP, which was released in October 2015:

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Filed under bandcamp, Indie, Indie folk, Indie pop, Indie Rock, Uncategorized

Open Windows 2: Nice dreams, coathangers and shoegaze/metal fire

Atlanta garage punk group The Coathangers paid a visit to Paste’s studios recently. The band members all have stage names ending in Coathanger — Rusty Coathanger, Crook Kid Coathanger and Minnie Coathanger. They’re already seasoned punk veterans, with their fifth album, Nosebleed Weekend, out April 15 on Suicide Squeeze Records.

With the constant tick-ticking of the rim and two acoustic guitars, the three of them play a stripped-down version of their song “Make It Right” for Paste, but to hear them in their full punk-rock glory, watch them do the cutting in their video for “Hurricane” from 2011:

 

The debut from Boston-based thrash-metal-shoegaze group Astronoid is out June 10 on Blood Music, and Metal Injection has posted the lyric video for “Up and Atom.” One listen to that song will hook you– their vocal harmonies simply float in the heavens, while waves of guitars perform their own shredded masterpiece below. Their debut is going to be huge.

 

Almost everyone’s reviewing Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, including an 8-year-old who’s broken the songs down in very simple terms. Radiohead’s music is extremely dense and layered with different meanings, so it’s refreshing to see a child tackle the album, track by track. And to be honest, every music critic has to start somewhere, and my early reviews started like this, so kudos to him for getting an early jump.

Read it for yourself:

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Jazz/classical/synth and sonic mastermind Floating Points (Sam Shepherd) has released the studio version of an 18-minute song called “Kuiper,” part of his upcoming Kuiper EP out July 22 on Luaka Bop/PLUTO. Shepherd had earlier released the live version on video. His instrumental works are pieces of electronic art. Kuiper will be available to download May 20.

Actor and MC Daveed Diggs can rap 19 words in 3 seconds — the fastest rapper on Broadway. While there’s not many rappers on Broadway, that’s pretty damn impressive. Diggs shows off his skills in the song “Guns and Ships” which he performs on the massive Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Don’t blink as he slams a few verses from his hip-hop group, clipping., on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:

 

EL VY, a project created by The National’s Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of Menomena, have mixed and released Wye Oak’s song “Need A Friend.”

Wye Oak’s Andy Stack said this about the remix:

I spent the last quarter of 2015 playing drums on tour with EL VY. “Need a Friend” was consistently our closer, and arguably the most high-energy song of the set. By contrast, when I went to remix it, I imagined it as a Sade-style slow jam (complete with horn solo), a genuine reading of the angst, “love” and “heartbreak” which the original presents as more tongue-in-cheek. 

Wye Oak has been hinting at new music and will head out on tour this summer.

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Filed under Electronic, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, Instrumental, Jazz, Metal, Noise Punk, Open Windows New Music, Rap, Shoegaze, Synth, Thrash, Uncategorized

Fall down the rabbit hole with the Claypool Lennon Delirium

Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, along comes the joint venture of Sean Lennon and Les Claypool, in the form of The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Claypool, of course, was the driving force behind Primus, and Sean Lennon shares John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s DNA, so there’s that. In addition, though, they make a pretty good rock-psych band.

They’ve released a lyric video for their single “Cricket & The Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)”. Prepare to be mesmerized by the changing kaleidoscope of colors for the video, to say nothing of the album artwork:

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The Monolith of Phobos is an actual thing: It’s a big rock, like a monolith, on the surface of Mars’ moon Phobos.

Meanwhile, Claypool calls his and Lennon’s collaboration a “glorious freak stew:”

“Sean is a musical mutant after my own heart. He definitely reflects his genetics — not just the sensibilities of his dad but also the abstract perspective and unique approach of his mother.”

The Claypool Lennon Delirium will be on a U.S. tour throughout the summer, supported by JJUUJJUU, Chicano Batman and the Dean Ween Group.

Monolith of Phobos is out June 3 on ATO Records.

Tracklist via Consequence of Sound:

Monolith of Phobos:

01. The Monolith of Phobos
02. Cricket And The Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)
03. Cricket And The Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket)
04. Mr. Wright
05. Boomerang Baby
06. Breath of a Salesman
07. Captain Lariat
08. Oxycontin Girl
09. Bubbles Burst
10. There’s No Underwear In Space
11. Ohmerica

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Filed under Art rock, Psychedelic, Psychedelic rock, Uncategorized

Hear Justin Timberlake’s new disco hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

justin-timberlake-cant-stop-the-feeling

Justin Timberlake tonight dropped the song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from his upcoming album. Via Complex, MissInfo and 2DopeBoyz, it’s got a happy disco beat that rides from beginning to end. Pharrell’s been at work with JT for this new project, and you can easily hear that influence. It’s still Justin Timberlake’s dance sound, and thank god for that.

“I got that sunshine in my pocket,” he says, and no one can argue with that.

Check out the audio here, and you can grab it on iTunes as well. The song was set to premier on Friday but apparently has leaked. A piece of the song was already previewed though.

 

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Filed under Dance, Music News, New Music, New R&B, Uncategorized