My favorite album of 2011 was Past Life Martyred Saints, the gutwrenching and crazy-intense solo debut from the former Gowns leader EMA, and it wasn’t even close. After touring behind the album, Erika M. Anderson has been quiet for a while, but she’s now announced that this spring, she’ll release that album’s follow-up, which has the promising-as-hell title The Future’s Void. Even better, she’s shared first single “Satellites,” which applies the whirling fervor of her last album to a goth-industrial sensibility. It sounds amazing. Listen below. Seriously. It’s the fucking best.
In some secluded cabin somewhere, a curious type has found an old book of incantations and somehow read aloud the one spell that would reawaken a sleeping giant. That, at least, is the best explanation I can imagine for the reemergence of Giorgio Moroder, the Italo-disco genius who recently started DJing again and who has returned to dance-music production, doing things like telling his life story on a Daft Punk song and remixing HAIM. Back in his original run, when he wasn’t making amazing earthshaking anthems with Donna Summer and others, Moroder was a film-music composer and an important figure in the early-’80s moment when synths brilliantly replaced orchestra’s on movie soundtracks. Moroder did the music for Brian De Palma’s 1983 film Scarface, every rapper’s favorite movie. And now he’s remixed his own track “Tony’s Theme” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie, turning it into a fired-up blog-house thing with lots of samples of Al Pacino yelling. Hear it below.
The Pixies 2013 has been a fascinating case study in what happens when a band stops operating like a band and starts acting like a business. After Kim Deal officially left the band, the band dropped the not-particularly-well-received EP-1, their first new record in 22 years, and named Muffs frontwoman Kim Shattuck — another ’90s-vintage lady named Kim — as their bassist. Then they fired her. There were lots of jokes about how they’d now have to reach out to Kim Deal or Kim Coletta to fill in on bass, but instead they just named Paz Lenchantin, of a Perfect Circle and ZWAN, as their new touring bassist. And now we’ve heard from Shattuck, who, understandably, is not all that happy about how things went down.
Last month, we gave Album Of The Week to Back To Land, the surprisingly relaxed and friendly new album from the Portland-via-San Francisco psych-rock warlocks Wooden Shjips. Today, the band gives us their video for the sprawling, meditative, half-acoustic “Everybody Knows.” The clip is an amorphous affair about ladies doing masked rituals in the middle of a forest, amidst clouds of dry ice, and another lady whispering sweet nothings to a horse. It’s all so woodsy and vague and swirly that it evokes serious The Song Remains The Same flashbacks, and that’s probably done on purpose. Austin Will directs; watch it below.
Toto’s 1983 hit “Africa” is a prime example of glorious period-specific soft-rock cheese, a song that can fuck up your whole afternoon if you hear it in a Walgreen’s. It is not, however, the song you want to use when you’re memorializing a recently deceased African human-rights hero. That’s sort of music programming 101. Toto, after all, are white musicians who had never been to Africa when they made “Africa,” and while it’s entirely possible that Nelson Mandela did bless the rains down in Africa at some point, there is no historical record of it. So when CBS This Morning used “Africa” to soundtrack a montage of people, including Mandela’s widow, crying at Mandela’s funeral, it seemed tone-deaf at best. The members of Toto agree.
This is becoming a thing now with Burial — we put out our year-end list in early December; he (she?) drops a new record a week later. Last year it was the One/Two EP; this year it’s Rival Dealer. The new EP was announced a mere week ago, and today, we have it for you to stream in full. Which, of course, you gotta do right now. Fortunately we still haven’t published our best-songs lists; now I just gotta figure out what to bump off mine to make room for “Come Down To Us.” Or “Hiders”? Goddamn. Listen below; you tell me.
Yelp tells me that Rock & Roll Pizza in Moorpark, CA is where you can enjoy good food and good music. It has “no razzle-dazzle made up garbage” as one person put it, and many promise that with its live music, the place makes for a good way to spend your Friday or Saturday night. Expect that 4 star rating to edge closer to 5 now though, because last night the live entertainment upgraded from “good” to “the fucking Foo Fighters.” And this wasn’t a couple songs. The band played a 2 1/2 hour set, in place of Taylor Hawkins’ side project Chevy Metal who were originally on the bill. One fan was kind enough to take a video of a few songs (“Learn To Fly,” “White Limo,” “Arlandria”) or as they put it, provide “just a taste” (10/10 pizza pun!). If only Macaulay Culkin’s pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band would start doing this. The concert was the Foos’ first since last fall, and served as practice for a couple of upcoming dates in Mexico City with the National opening. A new Foos album is expected next year and Dave Grohl recently told Rolling Stone, they’re “doing it in a way that no one’s done before.” Watch the video from last night’s show below.
When he isn’t busy playing bass with Vampire Weekend, Chris Baio makes catchy dance tracks — his latest EP, Mira, was released in October. Baio is a master of good vibes, so naturally, he remixed the chronically sad-but-sunny Cults track “High Road” off of their sophomore album Static. Baio gives Madeline Follin space to stretch out her saccharine voice amidst a blown-out drumbeat and a disco keyboard progression that almost sounds out of place until the Brian Oblivion’s hushed harmony carries the track into a slow build-up. There’s a murky subtext that bottom-feeds on the vast majority of Cults’ tracks, but Baio makes “High Road” sound almost weightless. Listen below.