We named celestial R&B songstress Doe Paoro a Band To Watch two years ago upon the release of her sparse, haunting Slow To Love. She’s back with Ink On The Walls an EP she recorded over the winter at Justin Vernon’s Wisconsin studio with his Bon Iver bud S. Carey and Volcano Choir engineer BJ Burton behind the boards. Vernon features on the EP too, and although he’s not on lead single “Walking Backwards,” its grandiose emotional swell carries traces of his influence. Still, this thing is pure Doe, a New Amerykan torch song delivered with theatrical flair from within a futuristic orchestral sheen. Listen below.
Next Tuesday marks the official start of SXSW’s music conference — which runs through next Sunday — meaning a good percentage of the industry will be in Austin for the whole week. To account for this, the industry was on overdrive this week, flooding Soundcloud and YouTube and the inboxes of music bloggers with new songs, rushing to capitalize on the final moments before everyone and everything goes south. Not surprisingly, then, this week’s 5 Best Songs is pretty well loaded (the same thing occurred last week, too). Expect next week’s pickings to be considerably slimmer. But that’s no reason not to revel in the bounty while it’s before you.
During SXSW next week, Vans will reissue a limited run of some of their iconic band-themed shoes, and we’ve got a bunch of pairs you can win. Collaborations with Circle Jerks, Motörhead, Bad Brains, and Rise Against will be put out in a quantity of 150 per band: 50 will be available at the Vans pop-up shop in Austin during SXSW and the other 100 will be on Vans.com the next day. Each pair retails for around $70 (though if you know sneakers, these limited runs usually skyrocket once they hit eBay). Below you can read more details on each pair and its availability at SXSW’s Vans Village (corner of 7th & Red River) along with info on how to enter Stereogum’s sweepstakes.
Between her work with Shit Robot and the Juan McLean, 2013 was the year Nancy Whang began her ascension to becoming one of the great current dancefloor divas. And 2014 — the year both those projects drop long-awaited new albums — seems to be her chance to really claim that title. Whang’s great strength, as this video for “Do The Dance” proves both visually and musically, is her complete sense of cool as she effortlessly sing-speaks her way through the track. She completely owns this song, as she has every song on which she’s appeared recently, from “Get Down” to last year’s stunning “Feel Like Movin’.” Watch her streak continue below.
HBO’s Game Of Thrones is coming back to TV soon, and the network is doing everything possible to remind us of this, as if we needed reminding. Those efforts include, but are not limited to, releasing Catch The Throne, a mixtape in which famous people rap about Game Of Thrones. We’ve already posted two songs, Big Boi’s “Mother Of Dragons” and Wale’s “King Slayer,” and the 10-song tape also features a deeply random cast of contributors — Daddy Yankee, Bodega Bamz, Common. And now you can stream the entire thing; click below to figure out what rhymes with “Westeros.”
The music video for “I’m Closing In,” a track off Obits’ 2013 album Beds & Bugs, plays out like every doodle in a little boy’s notebook vividly come to life. It’s filled with dinosaurs, space battles, undersea submarines getting eaten by whales, and a fiendish villain who has to go up against our adolescent hero for control of a massive crystal. All this, mind you, is soundtracked by the fired-up punk rock of the band, who appear here as a bat, a skeleton, a dinosaur, and a fish with a cool hat. Watch the Paul Clark-directed video below.
Technology is an integral part of Chvrches, whether they’re in the studio or on the stage. “We’re inspired by pieces of technology,” says band member Iain Cook. “If we get a new synthesizer or a new drum machine or a certain sound, it can trigger off the momentum for a whole stream of creative ideas that we might never have thought of if we were just sitting with an electric guitar.” The three-piece talked to The Guardian for their “Tried And Tested” series, which gets famous people to offer opinions on new tech in their field. They reviewed four new pieces of equipment, including the colorful learning tool Skoog and an instrument that the band says could be a “much-needed evolution of the traditional keyboard.” You can read the band’s thoughts on those and the Alphasphere and Deltar here, and see demonstrations of these instruments below.
Last month, the former Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire released Along The Way, a soft, thoughtful, wonderful mostly-instrumental album, and it was our Album Of The Week when it dropped. McGuire has now put together a video for the album track “The Human Condition,” and he’s done it by editing together old footage of his father. McGuire’s family held a sort of celebrity roast for him one night, and most of the footage in the video comes from that night. But you don’t have to know the backstory to see a certain familial warmth in the images or to hear the way it translates to McGuire’s music. Check it out below.