L.A. dreampop-psych duo Tashaki Miyaki are going on tour with the Allah-Lahs this fall. They’re recording a collection of covers to herald the occasion, aptly called The Covers EP. Among the songs they tackled with producer Joel Jerome was Prince’s Purple Rain epic “The Beautiful Ones.” They’ve done good work with it, turning a visceral slow jam into the sound of steam on a mirror. Listen below.
It’s been pretty amazing to witness the evolution of A Pregnant Light. The one-man project from Grand Rapids, MI, began its life in 2011 as a post-black metal act in America’s vast, loosely connected cassette-trading underground. Back then, the band’s auteur was a shadowy figure who wouldn’t reveal his identity — he went by the handle Deathless Maranatha, and he ran the DIY label Colloquial Sound Recordings, a collective whose equally anonymous associated members included bands like Aksumite, Bound Bible, and This Station Of Life. The man called Deathless Maranatha played in all those bands, too: In Aksumite, he was credited as Dukula Menelek; in Bound Bible, he went by D; in This Station Of Life, he was credited as Master. At some point over the last couple years, he decided to reveal himself further, identifying himself as Damian Master and establishing a consistently hilarious Twitter presence where he shares selfies, incisive critiques of pop culture, and random thoughts that are both self-aggrandizing and self-aware — for example:
The musical component of SXSW 2015 is going down March 17-22 in Austin, and the first round of performers was announced this morning. Among the most notable names on the docket: Reigning Album Of The Week winner Jessie Ware, Pharmakon, Thee Oh Sees, Courtney Barnett, Bishop Nehru, Mew, Alvvways, Twerps, the Twilight Sad, Carl Barat and The Jackals, the very much not incarcerated Scott Weiland And The Wildabouts, and recent Bands To Watch Ballet School, Happyness, and Twin Peaks. The full list is below for your perusal, and if it’s not to your liking, remember that (1) many more officially sanctioned artists will be announced eventually and (2) even more will appear at unofficial events in Austin — everyone from anonymous garage-rock scrappers at dive bars to world-famous pop stars at massive corporate-sponsored events. Consider this list your appetizer.
Rapper/singer/producer Tkay Maidza hails from in Australia via Zimbabwe, and she makes music covers even more ground than that. If Maidza’s “U-Huh” video wasn’t enough to affirm that she’s worthy of our collective attention — it was — the new Switch Tape seals the deal. Over the course of originals, remixes, and Maidza’s features on other people’s tracks, it presents a wildly adventurous talent. Before the thing is even halfway finished she samples the “Fuck every question you askin’!” part from “Black Skinhead,” approximates PC Music’s more-human-than-human electro-pop, and glides over neon house music. Switch Tape, indeed. Listen or download below, where you can also watch the “U-Huh” video.
It’s been 19 years since Norwegian black metal legend Hoest changed his band’s name from Thule to Taake, and 15 years since Taake’s debut LP, Nattestid Ser Porten Vid, the first piece of a trilogy that would eventually include 2002′s Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik and 2005′s Hordalands Doedskvad: three albums that balance overwhelming harshness with amazing melodies. Throw in the occasional mouth harp or banjo solo, and that’s pretty much what Taake deliver every time out. Hoest releases a new Taake album every three years; he’s now released five such LPs, and they range in quality from “excellent” to “absolutely essential.” (Worth noting, too: His unhinged, flamboyant performance at Maryland Death Fest 2014 was one of the festival’s unequivocal highlights.) Taake’s last was 2011′s Noregs Vaapen, which means they’re due for a new one in 2014, and it looks like they’re JUST gonna make that deadline. Stridens Hus, Taake’s sixth full-length, will be out in December, but we’ve got a song from it to spin today. “Det Fins En Prins” is the third track on the upcoming album, and it’s pretty close to perfect: It mostly works within the long-established sonic parameters of True Norwegian Black Metal — hissed vocals, a blur of hyperspeed, tempo-shifting guitars and drums — but stacks every section with hooks and grooves, and then throws to a crazy wah-soaked solo. It’s no banjo, but it’ll do. Listen.
Chicago’s Bloodshot Records is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with the release of a compilation album that features bands covering songs by some of the artists that have been on the label’s roster, which includes Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Ben Kweller, and more. We’ve already heard Blitzen Trapper cover an Adams song, and now here’s Andrew Bird and Nora O’Connor’s take on Robbie Fulks’ “I’ll Trade You Money For Wine.” In return, Fulks has recorded one of Bird’s songs to be released on an exclusive Black Friday Record Store Day 7-inch. You can listen to “I’ll Trade You Money For Wine” below.
BANGER ALERT. Philly rap demon Meek Mill is in prison right now on a probation violation, but his people have now put a monster of a new song called “Fuck U Mean” out into the world. The track unites Meek with Baton Rouge rap hero Lil Boosie, and the combination couldn’t possibly make more sense. Meek and Boosie have both had their legal issues, but they’re also frantic and intense rappers with urgent, high-pitched deliveries and fervent fanbases. And holy shit, they sound amazing together. “Fuck U Mean” is a piece of bracing, virtuosic street-rap, a song that fucks with your blood pressure and your heartrate if you play it loud enough. Listen to it below, with Funkmaster Flex drops that only make the song better.
Annie is getting a 21st Annie is getting a 21st century update this year with a new film that’s produced by Jay Z and Will Smith. The soundtrack will feature three songs from Sia, one of which is a modern take on “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.” (Another one of Sia’s contributions is a collaboration with Beck, but that’s not out yet.) The song originally appeared in the 1977 Annie musical and also showed up in the 1982 and 1999 film adaptations. Sia reworked the song a lot from its original form, updating the lyrics and changing the production to something a lot more glossy and contemporary. You can listen below.