T. Cole Rachel
This week Mark Ronson released Uptown Special, his fourth proper solo album and the launching pad for the increasingly inescapable Bruno Mars jam “Uptown Funk!” The album — Ronson’s first in nearly five years — features contributions from Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt, Mystikal (!), Stevie Wonder (!!) and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon (?). While the album shares the same kind of savvy curatorial vision as his previous records, Uptown Special is a much more cohesive collection of songs, diving deeper into seamless R&B, dirty funk, and soul-inflected pop music than anything he’s ever done before. I chatted with him about how the record came to be and how sometimes it’s good to just recognize and embrace the things that inspire you.
This week Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox, also of Animal Collective) will release the highly anticipated Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, his fifth proper solo album. In anticipation of the new record, we took a stroll down Memory Lane with Lennox and looked back at some of his past work, including student films, early Panda Bear performances, and some of Animal Collective’s more iconic video moments. For Lennox, who prefers looking forward to looking back, revisiting his YouTube history proved fairly refreshing. “This is wild,” he said. “Some of this stuff I haven’t thought about in years, and some of this stuff I’m not sure I’ve actually ever seen.”
Since coming out as transgender in 2012, Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace has been living in a kind of whirlwind, having not only spent the past two years navigating her new identity under the watchful gaze of the public, but also touring nonstop in support of one of the year’s best albums Transgender Dysphoria Blues, AND — if that weren’t enough — filming a web series, True Trans, that explores Grace’s own personal journey and helps illuminate the transgender experience. While all of this might be enough to leave most people feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, Grace seems to have happily taken it all in stride. I called her up to chat about the highs and lows of 2014, the making of True Trans, and what people can expect next from her band.
Some of you were asking about my setlist. This is what I sent Nina and Louise. I included spots for them to insert some new songs.
1 – Get Back
2 – All Hail Me
3 – The Museum of Broken Relationships
4 – Straight
5 – NEW SONG
6 – NEW SONG
7 – Seether
8 – Don’t Make Me Prove It
9 – Shutterbug
10 – Forsythia
11 – Wolf
12 – The Morning Sad
13 – NEW SONG
14 – Fly
15 – Spiderman
16 – It’s Holy
17 – Celebrate You
18 – 25
19 – Shimmer Like A Girl
20 – Volcano Girls
I approve of this cat-oriented artwork. And the song.
With all due respect, I can only WISH that my name was Z. Cole Rachel Smith.
Thanks for your comments.
I generally enjoy that my Stereogum interviews are casual and conversational, but maybe you’re right–I probably could have cut some of our initial chatter. In any case, I hope there was at least something in the interview you enjoyed. I don’t want anyone to feel like their time is being wasted.
I wish. I would love to be able to take credit for writing “How Long Have You Known?”
Yes, total spellcheck malfunction. I could die a thousand deaths for not spotting that, as Icky Mettle truly is one of my favorite albums of all time. SORRY, FOLKS.
Yes, “When The President Talks to God” is a stand-alone single that Bright Eyes released in 2005. I didn’t necessarily mean to imply that it was included on “Wide Awake.”
I stand totally–and accurately–corrected. For some reason The Feelies have always felt like a predecessor to those bands, but clearly that is only a reality in my overcluttered brain. Thanks for setting me straight.