9 Records We Can't Wait to Hear in 2014

Jack-White-PR-2010Jack White effectively effed up a whole bunch of “most anticipated in 2014” lists when, in a chat with fans this weekend, he casually announced that he’s almost finished recording a new album. This is why it pays to procrastinate, people — get those lists in late! Since we here at OurStage are huge fans of waiting until the last possible minute to get stuff done, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that we’re all anticipating the new Jack White record. So hard.

And, uh, it’s probably time that we tell you about some of the other albums slated for release this year that have us really excited. You can only put these things off for so long. Without further ado, here are 10 more records we’re super pumped to get our ears on in 2014.

1. Against Me!
When Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel, announced her transition back in 2012, some fans wondered if a female-fronted iteration of the band would have the same intensity and infectiousness as its predecessor. The answer: Yes, of course. Last year’s acoustic True Trans EP was beautiful, and if the first few singles from the upcoming Transgender Dysphoria Blues are any indication, that record will absolutely rip as well.

Rock In Pieces: The Biggest Breakups Of 2013

the_gay_blades_03-1024x638With a loving, “Thanks jerks, we’re out,” The Gay Blades officially announced their breakup via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (because it’s hard to get closure without fancy photo filters) earlier this week. The goofy trash-pop duo will certainly be missed, but they’re just one of a score of bands who gave up the ghost this year. And so, as 2013 comes to a close, we’d like to bid adieu to some of the other acts who called it quits during these past 12 months. RIP.

The Mars Volta

In a series of tweets that started out somewhat sane and turned into an increasingly bitter and somewhat incomprehensible rant, Mars Volta frontman Cedric Zavala announced the band’s end through his personal Twitter account. Zavala vacillated between genuine gratitude (“Thank u a million times over for ever giving a fuck about our band”), passive-aggressive gratitude, (“SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE VOLTA FANS WHO FLOODED WARNER BROS FACEBOOK PAGE AND GOT NOTHING IN RETURN!”), and utterly confusing analogies (“What am I suppose to do be some progressive house wife that’s cool with watching their partner go fuck other bands? We owe it 2 fans to tour”). It’s probably good that he’s moved on to something else.

5 Animated Cameos From the Artists You Love

powerpuff_girls_wallpaper_hd-otherThere are two super important pieces of information that you may have missed as you frantically finished buying, wrapping and trading your presents this holiday season. First: The Powerpuff Girls is getting a reboot in 2014, returning to Cartoon Network for a one-night special on January 14th. AWESOME. Second: Ringo Starr will make an appearance in the show as a character named Fibonacci Sequins, “Townsville’s most famous flamboyant mathematician.”

Bubbles, Blossom, Buttercup, and Beaucoups of Blues? Ringo Starr? Math puns? CGI?! The creators of this special thought of literally everything. But really, putting any beloved musician behind an animated character is a recipe for success and at least somewhat decent ratings, which is why showrunners are doing it all the time. Here are five other artists who lent their voices to cartoons “ either as a fictional character or as a stylized version of themselves.

1. Busta Rhymes as Reptar
While he wasn’t the man behind Reptar in the animated series, Busta Rhymes voiced the Reptar Wagon the precocious tots take to run away from their parents in the first full-length Rugrats movie. The rapper also recorded a song for the film’s soundtrack called “On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go.” It’s no “Break Ya Neck,” but it is pretty adorable.


If You Aren't Following These Artists On Twitter, You Should Be

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 7.58.42 PMKaty Perry was crowned the Queen of Twitter earlier this week, after figures released by the site showed that she gained more than 15 million followers in 2013. Which is good, because while KP has already received numerous accolades “ Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame “ we all know that when it comes to determining popularity (and self worth), it’s all a matter of how many Twitter followers you have.

Perry may have narrowly beat out fellow pop superstars like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to take home the title of most beloved on the interwebz, but her timeline isn’t nearly as funny, thought-provoking, or all-around enjoyable as some of the musicians who truly rule the social network. For tweets that are full of lulz and aren’t purely written for self promotion, try following these unsung heroes.

John Darnielle @mountain_goats
The Mountain Goats frontman is already well known for being a prolific songwriter, but he’s equally active on Twitter. Follow if you like: jokes, death metal, bad movies, progressive politics


The Best Music Books of 2013

4474421855_5630cc2cfb_oOh baby, it is literally so damn cold outside. I have no interest in walking in a winter wonderland because the weather outside is actually frightful and I’m terrified that if I try to go anywhere I’ll get lost in a blizzard and never make it back home. It’s that cold. If Beyonce was like, “Hey girl, you can have backstage passes to my show this weekend if you just stand in the snow for ten minutes,” I’d be like, “Sorry, lady, but my heat is on and I’m not coming out for anything.” [Of course, it became bizarrely warm here in New England on the day this went to press. -ED.]
I guess there is one nice thing about these frigid climes “ they offer up a great excuse to blow off plans and cuddle up inside with a new book. And with all of the excellent music-related titles that came out in 2013, I’ve had plenty to choose from. So if you’re a total wimp about the cold like me, grab one of these bad boys, pour yourself a half a drink more (at least), and get your read on.
I’m not the world’s biggest Morrissey fan, but the review that convinced me to pick up Autobiography was this one from Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield, who writes, “Practically every paragraph has a line or two that demands to be read aloud to the mirror, tattooed on foreheads, carved on tombstones. High praise, coming from a guy who also writes for a living. But it turns out he was right: this book is bitingly funny, endlessly entertaining, and stocked with crazy personal anecdotes. Morrissey’s writing is “ no surprise, given his songwriting abilities “ electric. While I won’t be getting anything from this book permanently inked on my forehead, I might consider it on some less valuable real estate like an arm or a foot.
Mo Meta Blues
Drummer for The Roots, bandleader on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, producer, DJ, and all-around rad human being AhmirQuestloveThompson is one of the busiest and most accomplished artists working today. His memoir, Mo Meta Blues, is one of the coolest and most interesting pieces of literature to hit shelves in 2013. This book will teach you a lot, make you smile a bunch, and give you the lowdown on a whole list of records that you may not have known about and absolutely must check out. Is Questlove the coolest guy in music? Yes. Is he the coolest guy in the entire world? Probably also yes. Mo Meta Blues is proof.
9781555537296_p0_v1_s260x420Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN
Carter Alan
I get the feeling that Carter Alan‘s Radio Free Boston wasn’t too widely read or reviewed outside of the New England area, and that’s a real shame. The book details the history of Boston’s WBCN radio, a station founded in the late ’60s when its DJs could essentially say and play whatever they wanted. Author Carter Alan, a former music director and DJ at the station, manages to stay mostly objective as he recounts its history, but it’s charming how his love for WBCN shines through nonetheless. This tale may not have a happy ending “ WBCN played its last notes in 2009 “ but the book kind of makes you wish radio stations today were as cool as this one was in its prime.
How Music Works
David Byrne
Okay, yes, technically Byrne’s How Music Works was released at the tail end of 2012. But the paperback edition, which came out earlier this year, is completely revised and updated and includes the same beautiful, full-color pictures that were found in the hardcover version. So I’m counting it. While the text is exhaustively researched and incredibly thorough (some might say dense), the book manages to be fun and engaging throughout. And while the Talking Heads frontman does discuss how music works in a technical sense, the book really shines when he writes about how and why we relate to music the way we do. Part memoir, part textbook, and all celebration of music, it’s the kind of book that you can come back to year after year.

Review: Childish Gambino – 'Because the Internet'

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 7.28.47 PMWhile Donald Glover listed a slew of personal worries in a headline-grabbing series of Instagram notes earlier this year, his greatest fear must be stagnating. The 30 Rock writer turned Community star turned showrunner of a new FX sitcom, Atlanta, has also been making infectious hip-hop under the moniker Childish Gambino since 2008. And even with that project, Glover refuses to stand still for too long.

Over the course of the last half-decade, the artist has completely revamped both his attitude towards the music he creates as well as his approach in making it. The project started as a lark, with Glover adopting his stage name after plugging his own into a Wu-Tang rap name generator online, and early Gambino tracks have a carefree, this-is-just-a-side-project sort of vibe. But because he’s spent the last several years bouncing around from writer’s room to television studio and back to the writer’s room again, his hip-hop career is the one thing that has offered any sort of stability. It’s also the reason that he’s been able to hone his once-goofy sound into something more lasting. Glover’s studio LP debut “ 2009’s Camp “ found the rapper discussing race and class issues over dazzling electro beats and was hardly the stuff of joke rap. That’s not to say Camp was lacking in wordplay “ my personal favorite line was always, I love pussy, I love bitches, dude, I should be runnin’ PETA,” “ but the record was a definite move in a more serious direction.

Great Poets Whose Words Inspired Songs

Tim Kinsella
Tim Kinsella

Tim Kinsella, the Chicago-based musician who accidentally helped invent what we know as emo while cutting his teeth in bands like Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc, just released one of the more interesting collaborations he’s done since the ’90s. Tim Kinsella Sings The Songs Of Marvin Tate By LeRoy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen finds Kinsella and ex-Wilco member LeRoy Bach setting the poems of fellow Chicago native Marvin Tate to music. And fear not, emo kids, they’re all pretty damn sad.

Kinsella and Bach aren’t the first musicians to lend their talents to preexisting poems. In fact, we could have compiled a list featuring hundreds of singers who have quoted writers, but we tried to reel it in. For time’s sake, you can check out four of our favorite music and poetry connections after the jump. And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of TKSTSOMTBLBFAO. Its title may be a mouthful, but its tracks are beautifully short, simple, and sparse, perfectly complimenting Tate’s stark and sometimes abrasive words.

1. Vladimir Nabokov and The Menzingers
Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov may be most famous for penning Lolita, but it’s Pale Fire, his 1962 novel/999-line poem, that featured what is likely Nabokov’s most well-known couplet:

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the window pane

Definitely the most beautiful thing that anyone has ever written about birds flying into windows. Anyway, Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers quoted those lines almost verbatim during the bridge of “The Obituaries,” and while the rest of the song’s lyrical content has little to do with Pale Fire, the emotional impact of Nabokov’s words aren’t lessened at all. In fact, they compliment the track so well, it seems that the writer may have missed out on his calling as a punk lyricist.


OurStage's 2013 Gift Guide

Are you one of those foolish people who thinks the holidays are about getting together with loved ones to share some laughs, eat a delicious meal, and make memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives? HA. Sucker. The holidays exist for one reason: proving to your friends and family that you love them more than they love you with over the top spending on extravagant gifts. And with less than three weeks until Christmas day, time is running out to empty your bank account in the hopes of impressing the people in your life.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Welcome to OurStage’s 2013 gift-giving guide. If you have a music lover on your list this year, any of these items will be sure to impress, proving once and for all that you are the better friend/family member/lover. Merry merry, y’all.

1. Tickets

When it comes to buying presents for the music fan in your life, nothing is better than a pair of tickets to see their favorite band live. They get an unforgettable night of music with an artist they love, you get the joy of giving them a gift that’s also kind of for yourself. (“Oh my god, you want me to take the other ticket to the Neutral Milk Hotel show? It’s totally fine if you want to take someone else. Well, if you’re sure…”)

2. A record player

Sure, this whole vinyl revival has been going on for a few years now, but I’m pretty sure we all have that friend who has yet to give up their mp3 player because they think it’s just a fad. For as little as $50.oo you can get that uninformed goon a record player so that they, too, can become a pretentious pseudo-audiophile who gushes over how much warmer everything sounds on vinyl. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

In the Thicke of It: The Latest on Robin Thicke’s Legal Woes

He may have recently been honored as one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Entertainers of the Year, but Robin Thicke has spent a good portion of 2013 defending his hit song “Blurred Lines.” First, there were the (completely justified) claims that the song promotes rape culture and is derogatory to women. Then, of course, there are his legal troubles “ late Motown legend Marvin Gaye’s surviving family members claim that Thicke’s hit borrows a bit too much from Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” Multiple suits and countersuits have been filed since August, making the legal action a little bit tricky to follow. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy timeline of each court claim filed by both Thicke and the Gaye family. After the jump, you can check out each track that allegedly steals from Marvin Gaye (spoiler alert: there are now four) to determine for yourself whether Thicke is guilty of infringing on the motown artist’s intellectual property.

Thursday, August 15: Knowing that Gaye’s estate plans to move forward with legal action if the “Blurred Lines” singer doesn’t compensate them for the song, Thicke, along with co-writers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., take preemptive action and file a suit which states that Blurred Lines is starkly different from Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” The lawsuit states, “The basis of the Gaye defendants’ claims is that ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Got to Give It Up’ ‘feel’ or ‘sound’ the same. Being reminiscent of a ‘sound’ is not copyright infringement.

A Very OurStage Thanksgiving

We’ve all been there before: It’s mid-October and you’re walking around Wal-Mart, halfheartedly looking for a costume and mostly using the trip as an excuse to scour the aisles for cheap Halloween candy, when suddenly your ears detect something amiss.

Is that…? It can’t be. But it is! That superhuman wail is unmistakable! Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is playing over the crackling Super Center speakers! A wave of disgust washes over you (Seriously, Christmas songs already?), which is quickly overtaken by panic (“I haven’t bought a single present yet!”), which then turns into joy (I’m going to get SO MANY PRESENTS!). Or, at the very least, the feeling becomes a sort of numbness to all things Santa-related that lasts until December 25th rolls around and you’re promised another ten months that are free from Michael Bublé and his stupid, charming face.

Just thinking about the sheer number of times you’ll have to hear “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” before the year is out is enough to make anyone nauseous, regardless of how much egg nog you’ve had to drink. But the real bummer here is that Thanksgiving songs get totally overlooked in all the hubbub. One minute, you’re getting your spooky on with the help of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” and then suddenly you find yourself humming along to “The 12 Days of Christmas,” almost against your will.

But here at OurStage, we don’t stand for that. We like autumn, we love turkey, and we can’t live without music, so we compiled a playlist of some of the very best Thanksgiving-themed tracks. Check out this collection of songs about stepping on crunchy leaves, being grateful for what you have, and how much food rules* on our very special Thanksgiving playlist.

A Very OurStage Thanksgiving by Emily Cassel on Grooveshark

*Disclaimer: We included at least one tune about how much autumn kind of sucks, actually. But, like… there’s so little daylight, you guys. And it’s so cold.