U2 launched a million thinkpieces last week when they surprised the world with their new album Songs Of Innocence, beaming it automatically into the phones and computers of hundreds of millions of iTunes users. But they’re not done. In a new Time cover story, the band claims that they’ve been working with Apple on a whole new digital music format. According to the magazine, the new format is designed to be “so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music—whole albums as well as individual tracks.”
Girl Talk is ostensibly one of the more successful DJs of the past decade, embarking on countless college tours, becoming a staple on the festival circuit, and putting out five well-received albums of frenetic cut-and-paste mash-ups. He’s certainly nowhere near being a household name, but putting the words “Girl Talk” and “mash-up” right next to each other should be enough to have a lot of people at least check Google to see why that would ring a bell.
Tyranny — either the second Julian Casablancas solo record after 2009′s Phrazes For The Young or the debut album by Julian Casablancas + The Voidz, depending on how you want to look at it — is a strange piece of work. A far cry from the bite-size chronicles of effortless New York cool that Casablancas made his name on, the Strokes frontman’s latest collection of songs finds him grappling with big, serious, universal subjects such as morality, selfishness, public ignorance, and the myriad ways twenty-first century democracy is broken. The real departure, though, is the sound of the thing: Casablancas and his band chose to address those topics in the context of the most abstract, experimental music of his career. If the 11-minute noise-pop sprawl “Human Sadness” and the jagged, discordant “Where No Eagles Fly” didn’t tip you off, Tyranny is a trip, and not always a smooth one.
Next week, Universal Music Group will release the George Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968-75, which collects Harrison’s first six solo albums, as well as a treasure trove of rare and unreleased songs. One of those bonus tracks is an instrumental alternate take of “The Inner Light,” a 1968 Beatles song that the band released as the B-side of the “Lady Madonna” single. Harrison recorded the song’s instrumental track in Mumbai, with Indian musicians, when he was working on his first solo album, the soundtrack LP Wonderwall Music. Other than the studio patter before the take starts, the alternate take doesn’t have any vocals, but you can still hear that beautiful raga pastiche coming together. Listen to it below. Also below, listen to an unreleased acoustic take of “Dark Horse,” the title track of Harrison’s 1974 solo album.
Earlier this year, Kip Berman’s Brooklyn indie-pop crew the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart returned from a too-long hiatus with the new album Days Of Abandon; their single “Simple And Sure” was one of the most purely charming pieces of old-school twee we’ve heard in years. Next week, the band will release an expanded digital edition of the album with five extra tracks. One of those tracks is “Poison Touch,” a shiny, jittery thing with a lovely lead vocal from a Sunny Day In Glasgow’s Jen Goma. Talking about the song, Berman says, “I wrote ’Poison Touch’ for Taylor Swift, but I think her number was in my old phone. So I gave it to A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s Jen Goma instead.” Berman was almost definitely joking, of course, but I could sort of imagine Taylor Swift singing this song, and that’s a good thing. Listen to it below.
The great L.A. rapper and producer DJ Quik released Quik Is The Name, his classic debut album, 23 years ago, and he remains absolutely vital today. I can’t think of a single other person in rap who’s been as good as Quik for anywhere near as long, and he’s still wrecking shit. Quik’s got a new solo album called The Midnight Life coming out next month. On first single “That Getter,” he goes deep into his personal history over a hard, funky track that doesn’t sound remotely old-school. The track has a “featuring David Blake” credit, but David Blake is Quik’s birth name, and we hear him rapping in a couple of different voices on the song. The track bangs, and you can hear it below.
Disclosure’s “Latch” is coming up on two years old now, but the Sam Smith-assisted song is having a second life on radio, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 a few weeks back. With that newfound popularity comes new remixes and this one sees Schoolboy Q hopping on the track and adding a quick new verse towards the end of the song. Listen below.
Since leaving the CBS News anchor desk in 2006, Dan Rather has been producing news programs for AXS TV, including a show called The Big Interview that consists of in-depth conversations with celebrities and has recently featured people like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Darius Rucker. His latest guest was Jack White, fresh off the release of his latest solo album, Lazaretto. “There is Jack White the rock star… but who is Jack White the person?” Rather asks at the beginning of the interview. “What I found was one of the most interesting — and surprising — American artists I have ever met.” Throughout the almost hour-long interview, the singer talks about what made him moved from Detroit to Nashville, his favorite country song ever, and a whole lot more. He also does a cover of Hank Williams’ “Tennessee Border” around the 48-minute mark. Watch the whole video below, plus some outtakes that didn’t make it into the final cut.