The Grammys again announced their nominations with some extra flash and fanfare this year, flipping the old morning podium announcement into another primetime concert special live from the Staples Center in L.A. LL Cool J, who hosted last year’s Grammy broadcast, was back to MC this show as he will for the ceremony next month. Performers included inescapable 2013 stars Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift, all of whom received nominations in major categories. Keith Urban and Miguel teamed for a typically suave cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” too, which was truly pleasant. You can watch some of these performances at the bottom of this post. In the end, Jay Z was nominated for nine Grammys; Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell were each nominated for seven; and Daft Punk and Drake were nominated for five. Here’s how the major categories stand…
This week we revealed our list of The 50 Best Albums Of 2013. Was it the same as your list? If you’re Noel Gallagher, probably not! We also published a long, behind-the-scenes profile of the Walkmen’s last days before their extreme hiatus. Did you like it? Y/y? Answer Y to receive more long, behind-the-scenes profiles next year. Elsewhere, James Murphy garnered some advance buzz for Best Coffee Of 2014, Eddie Vedder shaved off a fan’s dreads, and, in a move reminiscent of last month’s hottest topic, Jay Z and Beyoncé temporarily went vegan (but not to protest animal cruelty or anything). Speaking of meat, there was no Shut Up, Dude last week because of Thanksgiving (apologies to Morrissey … and Mastodon) so comments from both this week and last week were eligible for this countdown. Check out the winners and losers below.
Three exhilarating punk bands at different stages of their careers converged at NYU’s Kimmel Center last night, and our photographer BJ Enright was there to take in the action. Atop the bill were the trailblazing hardcore veterans Ceremony, currently at work on the follow-up to 2012′s Album Of The Week honoree Zoo. Vancouver punks White Lung were also on hand, and they too are at work a new LP, the follow-up to 2012′s triumphantly splenetic Sorry. Opening the night was the buzzy Perfect Pussy, who recently signed to Captured Tracks.
It’s weird how these things play out. Sam Brown had already done stints drumming for seminal Columbus garage punk bands Gaunt and New Bomb Turks when he joined pop-minded alt-rockers the Sun on a whim back in 2002 days before their showcase with Warner Brothers. The Sun inked a deal with WB that would unfold as one of the more horrific major label horror stories, a series of discouraging foibles that culminated in the release of debut album Blame It On The Youth as a series of music videos on DVD. The band never quite recovered from that failed experiment, but the core membership did stick together long enough to record the swan song Don’t Let Your Baby Have All The Fun with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy in 2007, forging a relationship that would come in handy four years later when Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner were seeking a drummer for their new project. McCarthy suggested they give Brown a shot, so the drummer flew out to Austin to jam with Daniel, and before he knew it he was in L.A. writing and recording with the newly formed Divine Fits. That band emerged in 2012 with a hell of a debut album and traipsed around the globe a few times before Daniel headed off to work on a new Spoon record. Boeckner and Brown saw no need to put their creative chemistry on hold, so they met up in Boeckner’s adopted hometown of San Jose, cooked up an aggressively melodic synth-driven project called Operators, and quietly played a debut show there.
We typically have a hard enough time narrowing down the vast bounty of music this very generous internet bequeaths us each week, and
Thanksgiving Black Friday Weekend made sure our selection process was even more excruciating this time out. As with today’s best videos list, we were working with two weeks’ worth of songs for this installment, so the field of legitimate contenders was extra dense. But in the end that field must be pared down to just five honorees, and these are they.
Secret Colours are a Chicago combo that traces their sonic lineage from ’60s psychedelia and ’90s Britpop, which seems about right in light of the song they’re sharing today. After working with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Califone) on their first two full-lengths, the band has teamed with Dan Duszunski for a pair of upcoming EPs (Positive Distraction Part I and Positive Distraction Part II) that sound distinctly punchier and brighter than the hazy psych-pop of this year’s Peach. On “It Can’t Be Simple,” a track from the first EP, staccato organ, snappy bass, and crisp drums combine to pack a wallop while singer/guitarist Tommy Evans spins a low-range vocal melody and unfurls evocative yet uncomplicated riffs.
Swedish garage-rockers the Hives are no strangers to lapses in taste; they did, after all, make this. But as Boston’s CBS Local reports, they went a bit far last night, when they opened for Pink at Boston’s TD Garden. Here’s a bit of stage patter from singer Pelle Almqvist: “This song’s for everyone in Boston. It’s about stuff blowing up. It’s called ’Tick, Tick, Boom.’” Boston, of course, has faced recent tragedy in the form of stuff blowing up, and Almqvist quickly issued an apology on the band’s Facebook page:
Here’s how annoying Childish Gambino is: He lined up a guest appearance from Chance The Rapper, one of the best rappers currently working, on his song “The Worst Guys,” but didn’t actually get him to rap on it; instead, he got Chance to repeat “all she needed was some…” a bunch of times on the hook. Here’s how annoying Childish Gambino is: Instead of a Chance verse, he has a guitar solo on “The Worst Guys.” Here’s how annoying Childish Gambino is: He made his fun-in-the-sun video for “The Worst Guys” password-protected, at least at first, and then he revealed that password in an interactive screenplay, whatever the fuck that is. (The password, as it happens, is 12.10.13SIXTY.) But you might want to watch the video anyway, since it has Chance smoking weed while surfing, which is hero-status stuff. It’s below.