You hear about a lot of musicians delving into strange (yet kind of quirky) ventures like beer or even hot sauce. And while those are pretty cool, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) has just announced a new venture that I can really get behind. A new espresso blend. Named House of Good, Murphy has partnered up with Blue Bottle Coffee Company’s founder James Freeman to collaborate on the supremely balanced espresso. Describing the taste, Blue Bottle says, Its flavor profile “ dried cherry, cocoa, meyer lemon “ is a harmony between the voluptuous and the austere: It’s akin to the second movement of Carl Nielsen‘s Symphony No. 3 “ or, perhaps, to that buzzing, syncopated synth line from ‘Dance Yrself Clean.’ Depends on which James you ask.
You can get a taste at Blue Bottle’s new shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn or order online. But be warned, it will run you $26 a pound.
Fast-rising indie rock(ish) act Holy Ghost! have released a new single entitled, “Teenagers In Heat.”
The first song to surface from the duo since their 8-minute fan favorite “Dumb Disco Ideas,” the latest offering from Holy Ghost! feels like it could fit perfectly alongside your favorite LCD Soundsystem hits. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, as LCD’s James Murphy produced the album and signed the band to his label. Pitchfork has the premiere, so head over here to stream “Teenagers In Heat.”
Holy Ghost! will release their new album, Dynamics, on September 10 via DFA Records. The artwork is also the image appearing in this article.
The summer blockbuster is already well upon us, what with The Avengers (awesome!) and Hunger Games (eh?) making out like gangbusters at the box office. But 2012’s summer movie season isn’t just rich with moody, gritty epics and superhero franchise pieces. No, it’s also shaping up to be a great period for music films as well. Here are three music movies that we’re most excited about this summer.
LCD Soundsystem started out as just another Brooklyn hipster band fronted by a guy with too much scruff. But as Shut Up And Play The Hits will show, the group became so much more. The film covers the band’s final show to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in addition to a little bit of the periods just before and after the momentous event. Check out the trailer below.
No Room For Rockstars – The Vans Warped Tour Movie
Still going strong after all these years, the venerable Vans Warped Tour has allowed hundreds of bands – including many OurStage artists – to grace the stage in parking lots and fairgrounds across the country. No Room For Rockstars aims to capture the Warped Tour experience from the eyes of the artists, roadies, the fans, and the kids who are just trying to survive the whole thing. Unlike the other movies included here, this one just came out on DVD and on iTunes.
Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap
From director Ice-T comes Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, a fascinating look into the rap game. Most of the people featured are already household names, from Snoop Dogg to Kanye West, Nas to Eminem. That said, there’s a number of less well-known MCs featured, giving their insight into what has become one of the most popular musical genres of the past two decades. To have all these voices included in one place is something special…maybe even swag? You can check out the trailer below and you can also feast your ears on a little freestyle Eminem did for the movie here. Opens in theatres on June 15.
It was a big year in the world of music. The past twelve months were filled with huge collaborations, new releases across every genre and some drama as well. The year also brought us lots of new talent to go crazy over, and the loss of some incredibly influential artists. So, let’s review 2011 and highlight the top stories that affected the world of music”from concerts to television; technology to YouTube sensations.
- Jay-Z and Kanye West teamed up to release their much-anticipated collaboration album, Watch The Throne, in the beginning of August. They’re currently on tour across the United States and Canada promoting the album, which has already been certified Platinum.
- Tragedy struck big music festivals in a couple countries, when severe weather caused stages to collapse. Ottawa Bluesfest and Pukkelpop Festival were two of the events affected.
- Ryan Murphy apparently took it personally when artists such as Slash, Kings of Leon and and Foo Fighters didn’t want their songs to be used on Glee. Dave Grohl was especially pissed, calling out Murphy for thinking every artist would want their songs featured on his show.
- Speaking of drama, some artists learned the hard way that Twitter is not all fun and games. For example, rapper The Game almost got himself in trouble with the authorities, when he tweeted a number for fans to call, which happened to be the phone number of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. (more…)
These days, the dance-punk/nu-disco/electropop/synth-rock/whatever scene is a crowded one. Between Cut Copy, Hot Chip, MGMT, the late LCD Soundsystem and countless others of their ilk, it must be hard to make yourself known in the crowd. Holy Ghost! probably understood this when they released their self-titled debut. Sure, they might have a leg up or two on some other bands in the scene. Holy Ghost! are on DFA Records, a label whose reputation goes without saying. Also, the group has been kicking around for some time already, releasing a string of singles and an EP since 2007. As far as “new” or “debut” artist go, they’re in a unique position; they’re a New York City band that has watched their local sound go global over the past few years. What was once the purview of the hip set, the kids in the clubs and discotheques is now a hot, popular sound. The stakes are higher.
So kudos to Holy Ghost, then. On their debut, Holy Ghost!, the group (made up by production duo Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser) come off as the definition of poised”their music buffed to a shine. They’ve taken the time to hone their craft and it shows. Every delay effect, every high-hat hit, comes off as being right where it should be. This is not the drippy psych synth of MGMT, the flamboyant, grandiose electro of Cut Copy or the careening, splashy pop of Phoenix (all bands that Holy Ghost! have remixed in the past). Holy Ghost! is polished, reverential and somewhat understated in their approach which is a breath of fresh air.
The album starts off with “Do It Again” which sets the tone well for the rest of the record. The ’80s are strong in this one as the beat pulsates along and “something’s going on but I don’t know where” as we “put the windows down, scream it out, really tune it out“. The track would make for good music to listen to while cruising in a top-down Delorean, if only such a thing existed. Lyrically, Holy Ghost! is suitably nervy with a narrator often speaking to some paramour who’s intent we can only question. The songs often imploring the listener to “do it again,” and or wanting to go back and “change it all”. The songs themselves, dancey and melodic (as they should be) also come off as tightly wound and occasionally claustrophobic. Take the opening of “Hold On”, with drums borrowed from disco circa ’79, hand claps and oodles of synth delay. All that and it’s dripping with tension.
Their aforementioned reverentialism is another wrinkle which adds to the groups appeal. The record features guest spots from the likes of Luke Jenner (lead singer from The Rapture), contemporary blog darling Penguin Prison and the legendary Michael McDonald. Yes, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, that Michael McDonald. What’s even more of a testament to Holy Ghost! is how natural all these singers sound on their tracks. Like on “Some Children” with McDonald owning the hook and a full choir moving in and out of the mix.
Frankel and Millhiser don’t let their zealousness or their craft get in the way of wanting to make their audience move. “Wait and See”, “Hold My Breath” and “Jam for Jerry” all are all well crafted dance gems. “Jerry”, the highlight of the record, is the busiest and swingingest production and also acts as an a rather touching ode for late drummer and friend of the band Jerry Fuchs. “We dropped our records at the scene” the song goes, “writing numbers on our hands/ out of batteries/ called the cops called a car/ called up friends called up relatives still in the dark“.
So it’s fair to say that Holy Ghost! cover a lot of bases. The group has a lot of potential and here’s hoping that they don’t take another four years to pound out a followup. One has to wonder how the band behaves in a live setting (this reviewer hasn’t had the pleasure of catching them in person). With a full backing band in a small club and a dedicated audience ready to move, I’d have to imagine that Holy Ghost! would make you sweat.
Let’s face it, Brian Eno is the kind of guy who can make you feel bad about yourself. Now, don’t blame poor old Eno, it’s not really his fault. After all, he’s not setting out deliberately to undermine anyone’s self-confidence, it’s just that he seems to get more accomplished between breakfast and lunch than many people manage in a year. That’s the way it’s been from the beginning for the seemingly tireless, quite conceivably workaholic artist. After helping Roxy Music make rock history, he embarked on an endless flurry of projects that included not only a solo career, but a host of collaborative efforts, production jobs for other artists, and the inauguration his own label”and that’s just the ’70s. From the ’80s on, Eno worked at an even harder pace (if anything) breaking new ground in electronic-oriented music pretty much every time he blinked, but the new documentary Brian Eno 1971-1977: The Man Who Fell To Earth focuses exclusively on Eno’s ’70s “rock” period, presenting a fascinating portrait of an artist in perpetual motion.
As it’s title indicates, the documentary” which is set for a DVD release on May 17 through MVD Entertainment Group”begins with Eno the longhaired, cosmetically enhanced, outrageously attired glam-rock provocateur, presenting a striking figure behind his synthesizer as he electronically treated the sounds of the other musicians in the band and generated some groundbreaking tones of his own. Eno’s solo on Roxy’s “Editions of You,” to name just one, remains one of the greatest, most gloriously unhinged synthesizer solos in all of rock and roll. From there the in-depth, two-and-a-half-hour documentary does a laudable job of following the twists and turns of Eno’s mind-boggling mid-’70s evolution, incorporating commentary from critics, collaborators and in just a couple of instances, Eno himself.
Before turning his attention more exclusively to electronic music and ambient textures”though the groundwork he laid for that in his duo albums with Robert Fripp and his solo release Discreet Music is covered here as well”Eno released four solo albums that still stand apart from anything else ever to come under the umbrella of “rock.” If pressed, you’d be within your rights to label them art-rock, especially since they include contributions from members of King Crimson, Genesis, Matching Mole and of course Roxy Music, among others, but Eno’s blend of the conceptual and the instinctual was unprecedented and still sounds entirely sui generis today. The film sheds some light on the process behind these massively influential works, which have informed the output of everyone from LCD Soundsystem to Moby. It also examines Eno’s equally seminal contributions to Bowie‘s “Berlin trilogy” of Low, Heroes and Lodger, his championing of avant-garde music through the establishment of his trailblazing Obscure Records imprint, his work with krautrockers Harmonia and his production of albums by John Cale and Ultravox, to name just a few items on Eno’s ’70s CV.
It just so happens that The Man Who Fell To Earth arrives at a time when Eno is ramping up for a new release, Drums Between the Bells, set to drop in July on Warp Records, but then, it probably would have been difficult for the DVD to appear at a point when there wasn’t a new Eno project in the offing. Such is the continuing prolific nature of Eno’s output, with more accomplishments being added to the dossier all the time, but if you want a thoughtful, comprehensive look at the works that Eno’s legend was built on, look into this lovingly-detailed doc.
- TV on the Radio will soon be on the big screen.
- 10 bucks says James Franco plays Jeff Buckley in his upcoming biopic.
- Maybe her house just wasn’t on Gucci Mane’s way home.
- Emile Hirsch made a video about bodybuilding and shirtless dance-offs and scored it to a Daft Punk track. Maybe he was bored.
- Britney Spears and Rihanna start their own bad girls club.
- Never thought we’d see “Charlie Sheen” and “redeem” in the same headline.
- Dave Grohl has a thing for older ladies.
- Well that didn’t take long.
- The White Stripes final gig will be put out as a live album. Tear.
- Looks like John Cryer may have a secret stash of tiger blood of his own.
LCD Soundsystem announced their last show of their final tour a few weeks ago, as though you hadn’t already heard. On April 2nd, the band will grace the stage at Madison Square Garden for their sold out farewell show, capping off a valediction of both shocking and well deserved amounts of hype. They will play their swan song, they will leave the stage and that will be the end of one of the great dance-punk bands of our generation. We’re still bummed that we couldn’t get tickets to that show, or to any of the ever increasing number of gigs leading up to the MSG date (Side note: kudos to James Murphy for blasting the scalpers! Seriously, that guy is a class act).
But that’s beside the point. It got us thinking, LCD Soundsystem made a big deal out of this being their farewell tour but they hadn’t really earned their bonafides a live band du jour, as a touring entity, up until that point. Unlike LCD, there are some bands that have always made a big deal out of their live show, that seem to exist only to tour. Not that that’s a bad thing. Let’s take a look at some of the artists we hope never stop touring:
A rolling stone gathers no moss, and even though Dylan is old enough to have moss grow on him, there’s no stopping this man’s touring regimen. His tour schedule since June of 1988 has been dubbed the “Never Ending Tour“; this globe-trotting tour has Dylan performing around 100 days out of the year, and he’s kept up this pace in spite of the fact that he’s almost a septuagenarian. You’d think the man might want a break or a nap or something after so many years. Still, he’s already got April dates lined up in Australia. We should count ourselves lucky that we’ve heard so much from him, and we’ll probably be hearing more from Bob in years to come.
Reel Big Fish
These ska-punk workhorses have been at it longer than most of their ilk from the mid ’90s. You could’ve gone to see them at some festival in middle school, you caught them in the club when they headlined in high school and you went to their show again in college when you were feeling a wee bit nostalgic. They just wrapped up a tour with fellow goof-punk road warriors The Aquabats in January. So what do they have on their plate for the upcoming year? A European tour, you say? Suprise suprise.
This spot could have easily gone to Dave Matthews Band if they weren’t planning on taking 2011 off, kinda. And sure, some may cry foul as there was a long stretch when Phish didn’t tour, but we won’t count periods of band hiatuses/ breakups.
Phish’s reputation as a band is based off of their live show. Not only in how technically good it is or how “communal” (read: chemically altered) the atmosphere at one of their gigs is but also in how Phish fosters the live experience with their fans. For those who don’t follow the band, Phish’s fandom is reminiscent of the Grateful Dead’s and a lot of other prominent jam bands of yore. And a big aspect of that culture is bootlegging. I won’t go into the number of Phish phan phorums (I’m sorry) on the Internet; suffice it to say, they’re numerous. The online dedication to Phish is also unique in the number of ways fans can get their hands on live material from the band. You can find high quality audio recordings from nearly every live set the band has done on their Web site and the fan bootlegs and set lists for Phish shows spanning their entire career can be found all over the web.
The man has been in the solo game for about 5 years now and has taken to touring with a workmanlike approach. There’s no need to count his time in hardcore band Million Dead in his total number of shows played because his solo schedule is so impressive that it speaks for itself. Since Turner started flying solo, he’s played over 1000 shows at a rate of a little over 200 shows a year. And he’s still had time to record three LPs, a handful of EPs and demos on top of all that. I wonder if he’ll go out on the road behind his next album?
What artist would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.