This makes two years in a row now that an actual Album Of The Year contender has been released in the pre-holiday murk, a time traditionally reserved for Christmas compilations and extensive box sets, a time after lists of the year’s best albums have been published. That’s too bad — it would be nice to see Black Messiah represented on such lists, because it deserves to be there — but D’Angelo made the right call: The world needed that record right now; it couldn’t wait. Anyway, he’s at the top of this list of the week’s best songs, and he deserves to be there, too.
Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time promotional cycle just wrapped up, but her boyfriend made a video for one of the songs anyway. The boyfriend in question, DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith, posted a lovingly assembled “home video” for album track “OMANKO” (the one about Japanese Christmas) and tweeted it out today. It seems to be a compilation of footage he shot throughout their travels together. See his tweet and watch the video below.
Last year, King Khan & The Shrines gave us their Idle No More album. But it’s been more than six years since the King Khan & BBQ Show, Khan’s duo with fellow Montreal garage rock lifer Mark Sultan, last gave us an album. (They also broke up onstage in Australia in 2010, before returning with a new song called “We Are The Champion” in August.) Early next year, they’ll finally follow up 2009′s Invisible Girl with a new LP called Bad News Boys. First single “Alone Again” is a stripped-down, hooky, extremely likable garage-rock tune with a serious doo-wop undertow. Give it a listen below.
Earlier today, I published my list of the 40 best music videos of 2014. It’s always a bit dangerous to publish a year-end list before the year is actually over, especially in this new surprise-release universe where we now live. But it sure looks like the music-video universe has slowed down for the holiday season, and nothing on this list presented much of a threat to make it onto the year-end list. This week’s five picks are all good videos, but make sure you’ve seen everything on the year-end list before you bother with any of them. This week’s picks are below.
The 2009 movie Black Dynamite was a pretty great blaxploitation parody/homage, and since then, it’s become the basis for an Adult Swim cartoon that, I’m told, is also pretty great. Next month, the show will air a special hour-long musical episode about police brutality. The episode titled “The Wizard Of Watts” concerns what happens when Michael Jai White’s Black Dynamite character gets hit in the head with a brick during a Watts riot and dreams that he’s in an Oz-like magical land. Erykah Badu and Tyler, The Creator will make appearances, as will actor Tim Blake Nelson and comedian J.B. Smoove. The episode airs 1/10 at 10:30PM eastern. Set your DVR.
Last month we heard First Aid Kit’s cover of R.E.M.’s “Walk Unafraid” from the new Reese Witherspoon movie Wild. (Incidentally, we also heard the Swedish folk duo cover Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” last month following the summer release of their album Stay Gold.) The video for “Walk Unafraid” features clips from Wild intercut with footage of First Aid Kid singing in the woods. It’s good to see the duo back in a magical forest where they belong, singing gorgeous harmonic covers. Watch below.
Columbus-based All Dogs don’t write songs, they write confessions. This isn’t wholly unexpected from a band emerging from Detroit-based Salinas Records, who put out the Radiator Hospital’s tender-hearted Torch Song earlier this year and champion aesthetically similar bands like Swearin’ and Joyride! “Georgia” is the kind that will make you want to keel over if you hear it in the right moment. There’s nothing really complicated about the band’s lyricism, which makes “Georgia” feel like a privilege to listen to, as if Maryn Jones is letting us into a private, fleeting moment of clarity: “I can’t be trusted, you were so sweet/ You gave me flowers and I stomped them under my feet/ I loved you, and I know that much is true/ But it didn’t stay, you know it never do.” So many songs are about being dumped, about being wronged by a significant other, but there are few sensitive great ones about being the wrongdoer. On “Georgia,” it sounds just as painful. Listen below.
Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori announced over the weekend that his band would be going on “indefinite hiatus” after a farewell show in Chicago and a New Year’s Eve surprise in NYC. In a new interview with The Chicago Reader’s Dan Hyman, Omori clarifies that Smith Westerns are breaking up for good, with no plans to reunite, thanks to guitarist Max Kakacek’s decision to leave the band. Here’s how the breakup came to pass: