Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap placed near the top of our 2013 albums list, and we’re not the only ones who’ve been seduced by the young Chicago MC’s spasmodic rasp; he’s also been mixing it up with a wide range of eminent musicians. We heard Chance’s recent collaborations with James Blake and Childish Gambino, but neither of those guys gave the young Mr. Bennett the audience that his latest duet partner can leverage.
“Hold My Liquor” is one of the darkest, most despairing selections on Kanye West’s Yeezus, a resplendent lament that somehow synthesizes Justin Vernon’s falsetto croon, an autotuned Chief Keef’s melodic groan, and Ratatat-style frenetic digi-guitar by producer Mike Dean into a coherent composite of sadness. So it’s not the most obvious choice for a cover by Swedish pop auteur Eric Berglund aka CEO. But here he is turning the tune into a cross between a Panda Bear song and a children’s Christmas hymn. Happy holidays?
The Pixies have a humongous world tour coming up in 2014, but as of recently they had no bassist lined up for those dates. They’ve resolved that by hiring a familiar name in the alt-rock world. Like the previous two bassists, she’s a woman; unlike Mss. Deal and Shattuck, she’s not named Kim.
St. Vincent’s self-titled fourth LP, out 2/25/14, will also be her major label debut. The album is coming not on longtime home 4AD, but via Universal subsidiary Republic/Loma Vista. The first single “Birth In Reverse,” which was teased in that tour announcement we posted last month, is now available to stream in full below.
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. 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.