I saw the War On Drugs in concert Wednesday night in Columbus, and it was rad in its own right. (Who’d have thunk a pit full of kids would be moshing and crowdsurfing to “Red Eyes“? Who’d have thunk this band even counts anyone under 30 among its fan base?) But do you know what would have been even radder? Seeing the band rock an intimate venue in their hometown alongside former bandmate Kurt Vile. Vile, who famously was a member of the War On Drugs before either he or they ascended prominence, joined Adam Granduciel and company for several songs last Friday in a “special secret show” at relatively tiny Philadelphia bar Johnny Brenda’s. Philly radio station WXPN has photos from the show, and they shared some excellent videos of “Under The Pressure,” “Arms Like Boulders,” and “Hear You Calling” by videographer Joe Burns, each one with Vile hunched over in the corner of the stage. There’s also footage of “Red Eyes,” which didn’t feature Vile, just because it rocks. Honestly, Vile’s involvement is pretty negligible here, and you can barely even tell it’s him down noodling away down there, but seeing the War On Drugs at the peak of their powers is reason enough to watch all four clips below.
A few months ago, Richmond, Virginia locals launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring the Foo Fighters to their town. It worked, and last night, the band played the local club the National. During the show, Dave Grohl dedicated a song to local thrash legends Gwar and to Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, the Gwar frontman who died earlier this year. Grohl also told a story: One about being a kid and going, absolutely unprepared, to a Gwar show in Richmond. (It sure sounds like it was the band’s Halloween 1986 show in Schafer Court at VCU, a locally infamous show.) He also told a story about how Brockie, in an interview, once claimed that Grohl had had teeth removed “so he can fit more Grammy dicks in his fucking mouth.” In response, Gwar member JizMak The Destroyer posted a video, claiming that he’d gone to the show intending to kill Grohl but that, because he said something nice about Oderus, he’d spare Grohl’s life “this time.” Watch the videos of Grohl’s Brockie dedication and JizMak’s response below.
I’ve heard people compare Iceage’s new Plowing The Fields Of Love to the Mekons’ 1985 classic Fear And Whiskey, but when I listen to it, the album I’m reminded of most is the Libertines’ self-titled second record. That resemblance is most apparent in Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s vocals, which share many qualities with those of Pete Doherty. I think you can really hear that in new single “How Many,” which is the third track on Plowing The Fields Of Love, and which you can spin right now. Listen below, let me know what you think.
Absolutely Free’s newest song begins with a warbled old-timey tune, a radio dial fading in and out on the band’s wide away of influences. But when “Vision’s” finally kicks in, it sounds completely modern — sure, they’re music is rooted in the past, but this song sounds urgent and of the now. Coupled with the sprightly “Beneath The Air,” Absolutely Free is showing a dynamic range that should serve them well on their upcoming debut album. Listen below.
The People’s Climate March, the largest climate change rally in history, is happening this Sunday, 9/21 in New York, and various musicians are playing a part. For instance, Cass McCombs teamed with the Chapin Sisters for a gleaming old-fashioned folk singalong simply entitled “Protest Song.” Over hand-strummed campfire chords, McCombs and the Chapins harmonize on such pointed questions as “I wonder how?” and I wonder who?” and “I wonder when?” You can stream or download it below.
Jessie Ware’s awesome Tough Love track “Say You Love Me” is a big, bold power ballad, a far cry from her usual poised smoldering. Rising London production duo Gorgon City’s remix remakes the song into a club anthem, framing it with a different sort of bigness and boldness. Whereas the original might crush your heart, the remix might just level your whole body. Stream or download it below.
So, uh, Queen and Michael Jackson once recorded a song together. Did you know this? I didn’t know this. Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson, two of the greatest and most distinctive pop-music vocalists of all time, both recorded their parts for a power-ballad duet called “There Must Be More To Life Than This” during the sessions for Queen’s 1984 album The Works, and the band recorded a backing track, but they never finished it. This boggles my mind. They’ve got a song with Michael Jackson — in 1984, Jackson’s world-conquering commercial peak — and they don’t do anything with it. That’s like finding a giant pile of money under the bed in your hotel room and deciding, what the hell, you’ll just leave it there. Mercury used a Jackson-free version of the song on his 1985 solo album Mr. Bad Guy, and that was it, until now. William Orbit, the guy who produced Madonna’s Ray Of Light, put together a finished-enough version of the song, and it’ll appear, alongside a couple of other unreleased tracks, on a forthcoming Queen collection called Queen Forever. Listen to it below.
Laura Jane Grace has responded to rumors that ex-Against Me! member Jay Weinberg has joined Slipknot as their newest drummer. “Dear Slipknot, good luck with that. #shitbag,” she said, kicking off a series of tweets about the former drummer. Weinberg announced that he was leaving the band in a tweet during the 2012 recording sessions for Transgender Dysphoria Blues, shortly after Grace opened up about her transition in an interview with Rolling Stone. Here’s what Grace had to say on Twitter: