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.