The Nine Inch Nails live show in 2013 has garnered perhaps even more acclaim than the masterful comeback album Hesitation Marks, a record we ranked among the year’s absolute best. But whereas anybody can stream the album on Spotify or whatever, fans who are broke, geographically isolated, or otherwise indisposed haven’t gotten to witness this Talking Heads-inspired production. Well, today is NIN superfans’ lucky day: The band posted Nine Inch Nails Tension 2013, a full-length concert movie filmed 11/8 at the Staples Center in L.A., online today. It’s not the full set, but 14 songs over 77 minutes is certainly better than nothing. Press play below to live (or relive!) the euphoria.
Here’s how former Oasis co-leader Noel Gallagher describes his own personal 2013: “Fucking had a shit year. All I’ve done is sit around the house and become a fucking hypochondriac. Dog-shit year. Can’t wait until it’s over.” But Gallagher also has something to say about the year in music, and he’s said them in similarly quotable fashion. Let’s dive in.
Even among Scandinavian black metal bands, Watain have a particularly striking, powerful, and original visual aesthetic, so it’s hard to believe they’re only now — on their fifth album — releasing their first video. “Outlaw” is one of the heavier (and better) tracks from the August release The Wild Hunt, and while the video is blurry and grainy as hell (intentionally so), it really does capture the coolest elements of the band’s psycho-fuck style. I didn’t see anything NSFW here, but if you’re not comfortable watching, say, American Horror Story, you might want to avoid this, too. To everyone else, I encourage you to check it out — it’s a really creepy video and an excellent song.
The Walkmen announced their “extreme hiatus” on Black Friday — though, as the extensive Walkmen profile we published today explains, that break was a long time coming — which made last night’s show in Philadelphia at Union Transfer their swan song, at least for now. The setlist was short, sweet, and career-spanning, with 13 songs in total, one for each year since the band formed. Sun Ra Arkestra helped out with horn parts on the first two numbers, and from there on out it was these five guys who’ve given us so much great music playing together one last time. Below, find fan-made video of opener “Red Moon” and a moving two-song encore including “138th Street” and “We’ve Been Had.”
Jorge Elbrose are Jorge Elbrecht and Ariel Pink. Ariel’s real last name is Rosenberg, and pink is “rose” in French, so Elbrose seems like as good a name as any to call one of the best collaborative pairings of the year. Their previous song, “Hang On To Life,” was a stunner and one of our favorite songs in July. Now they have another track out for the Mexican Summer 5 Years compilation, which was released in honor of the label’s anniversary in tandem with a massive concert, where Pink played the best set I’ve seen by him. You might remember this is the same compilation that brought us another great collaboration from Autre Ne Veut and Fennesz. “Called To Ring” is a thicker, fuzzier track but no less romantic until it hits its false ending and then comes jumping back harder and rougher than before in a way that brings to mind Microcastle-era Deerhunter. It’s getting to be due for a new Ariel Pink album by next year, and it’s easy to hope he’ll bring Elbrecht in for it, they’re making some of the best music of their careers.
The last image anyone probably associates with !!! is a crackling fireplace, but that’s the only thing we get in the 3:42 video for the dance-punk veterans’ new sentimental holiday single “And Anyway It’s Christmas.” For that matter, !!! is probably the last band anyone expects to release a sentimental holiday single. (More like ???, amirite?) But here it is, a smooth and heartsick disco ballad laced with twinkly percussion and keyboard sounds that could pass for jingle bells. “And Anyway It’s Christmas” is somewhat reminiscent of that Pulp song James Murphy produced or the eternally wistful and effortlessly graceful Sergio & Benoit, meaning you should certainly give it a spin. Who knew these guys had it in them?
The indie supergroup Wild Flag had a great, albeit short, run: One excellent self-titled album, a year’s worth of face-ripping live shows, a place in the heart of every music dork who worried that they didn’t make bands like that any more. But now, it looks like the run is over.
When Chicago singer/songwriter Angel Olsen announced her upcoming album Burn Your Fire For No Witness last month, it was accompanied by lead single “Forgiven/Forgotten,” which Tom noted was “a juiced-up two-minute rock song that’s about 1000% more muscular than anything on Half Way Home,” Olsen’s skeletal 2012 breakthrough. Now that song has a video by director Zia Anger, and it features Olsen hugging it out with her love interest and cracking a smile on various solo walks and bike rides. It’s a simple and effective visual for a simple and effective song, and you can watch it below.