Happyness, the British trio we named a Band To Watch on the strength of their wistful music and mischievous lyrics, have a new EP called Anything I Do Is Alright out this week. It’s essentially a UK single for the title track featuring two B-sides. We already heard “You Come To Kill Me?” Now here’s the chilled-out “When You Wake Up” below.
All the videos from UK trio Fujiya & Miyagi’s new album, Artificial Sweeteners, have felt like science projects. There was the lab-made goofiness of the title track clip, as well as the neon light show of “Flaws.” The band’s newest video, for “Acid To My Alkaline,” messes with primary colors; it feels like you’re watching one of those old red-and-blue 3D movies, but without the glasses. It’s a weird video, but the song’s chemical obsessions make for a pretty sweet sentiment: An acid and an alkaline together would balance each other to form water. Watch the video below.
LP3, the aptly named third album by Restorations, is a Replacements-damaged heartland punk move from a band whose previous music cast them as #emorevival. That lands it in that roots-rock-meets-post-punk sweet spot that feels like Constantines and the Gaslight Anthem carved out more than a decade ago, yet LP3 is far too vital and singular to feel like a retread. The “Separate Songs” video finds them rocking in a huge empty mansion alongside a pro baseball player who appears to be dying a slow death of suffocation by luxury. Mitchell Wojcik and John Komar direct. Check it out at NPR.
77, the forthcoming third album from the Brooklyn-based trio Nude Beach, is an 80-minute double album, a ridiculous thing from a band whose stock in trade is the short, shimmering old-school power-pop singalong. But judging by what we’ve heard from the album so far, that just means they’ll have time to pack in more hooks than anyone knows what to do with. “I Can’t Keep The Tears From Falling” and “For You,” the first two songs we’ve heard from the album, are both wildly catchy and confident windows-down gems, and you can say much the same about “See My Way,” the beautifully jangly nugget that you can hear below. Also below, read some words about the song from frontman Chuck Betz.
When Killer Mike and El-P shared shared their concrete-shattering Run The Jewels single “Blockbuster Night Part 1,” they also mentioned RTJ2 would be out at 10/28 on Mass Appeal. Now hip-hop’s greatest active duo has shared the artwork and tracklist for the album. In addition to previously mentioned guest spots by Rage Against The Machine’s Zach De La Rocha and Blink-182′s Travis Barker, RTJ2 features visits from Beyoncé producer BOOTS, former Foxygen member Shaun Fleming AKA Diane Coffee. There’s also a song called “Love Again (Akinyele Back),” which is probably nice and raunchy. And I can’t wait to hear what “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” is like. Check out the tracklist below along with a lengthy slate of tour dates that spans all of North America and includes a trip Down Under around New Year’s. Get stoked.
The Japanese band MONO has been making glacial, metallic, all-consuming post-rock for 15 years, and over that time, they’ve been getting grander and more orchestral with their music. Next month, though, they’ll pull a Use Your Illusion, releasing two albums on the same day, and both albums strip back their sound a bit. The Last Dawn is, at least according to a press release, the brighter of the two, wheras Rays Of Darkness is heavier and doomier. “Where We Begin,” a track from The Last Dawn, is a very pretty seven-minute exercise in slow-building shoegaze-influenced instrumental grandeur, and you can hear it below.
If there were any justice in the world, Perfume Genius’ sophomore album, 2012′s Put Yr Back N 2 It, would have been a much bigger deal. As it was, that record, though critically beloved, drew attention for lots of weird reasons: The promo ad was rejected by YouTube for not being “family safe” (i.e., it showed two men hugging) and the album’s excellent “Hood” video became extra poignant and sad after one of the video’s stars, adult entertainer Arpad Miklos, later took his own life. The album’s somewhat harrowing subject matter tapped into relatively universal themes — the desire to love and be loved, how we choose to make peace with our past — but still so much of the conversation regarding the album centered specifically on its gayness. As an out gay music journalist myself, I found it sort of grimly amusing how many times I was told by my straight white dude peers something along the lines of, “You know, I actually really love that Perfume Genius record,” as if it were somehow surprising they might relate to something so queer, usually with the unspoken tone of “I’m not gay, bro. But I’m cool with this.” It’s the same thing I used to hear back when the Magnetic Fields released 69 Love Songs back in 1999, and older rock critics that I knew had to stop talking about Wilco for five minutes to admit that, yes, even I can relate to this.
In 1967, Bob Dylan and the Band got together to work on a whole pile of songs, many of which eventually came out as The Basement Tapes. But many of those songs were left unfinished, and now producer T Bone Burnett has gotten together with an all-star cast to finish some of those songs, setting Dylan’s old lyrics to music. The project features people like Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, and Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford. We’ve already posted the lyric video for “Nothing To It,” and now they’ve shared another one, for a messy two-minute ramble called “Married To My Hack.” Come on. You know you want to hear Costello’s Bob Dylan impression. It’s below.