Last month, Brooklyn pop-mutation specialists Chairlift announced the impending release ofMoth, their third album, and they shared the video for their slick, impressive first single “Ch-Ching.” But if that song had you worried that Chairlift were through being weird, then their new track “Romeo” should be some consolation. The song is a giddy melodic splurge that the band claims is written from the perspective of the Greek mythological figure Atalanta, a virgin huntress raised by a bear after her king father abandoned her as a baby.
Porches’ new album Pool is out via Domino this Friday, February 5th.
Says Maine on ‘Car’:
“’Car’ is about leaving a place where you’re unhappy and the beauty of arriving somewhere where you feel good. Whether you escape physically or mentally it’s just about using your facilities to take control of your situation. Positive mental attitude.”
Pool, Porches’ (aka Aaron Maine) debut full-length for Domino, and a major step forward for Maine —as an evolving singer/songwriter, and as a nascent producer. Written and recorded almost entirely in his Manhattan apartment, and mixed by Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Tobias Jesso Jr) in Los Angeles, Pool was influenced, in part, by settling in the city as an artist and a person. Says Maine, “there was something special about recording this album in my new home. To be surrounded by the city and in my own world at the same time. I quickly became obsessed with the energy around me, and my experience of New York – I was forced to see my music in an entirely different context. This was challenging, but also exciting, when the songs started to sound like a true reflection of what I was feeling in my new surroundings.”
Last year, Holy Ghost! highlighted released Work For Hire, a compilation of the various remixes (LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Cut Copy) they’ve put out over the years. Now, the Brooklyn natives are focusing on their own material again with the upcoming Crime CutzEP. It marks Holy Ghost!’s first release of original music since 2013’s Dynamics album. Due out on April 29th via DFA Records, the EP is being previewed today with the title track, a seven-minute space-funk jam.
Mass Gothic, the group led by Hooray For Earth’s Noel Heroux and featuring Zambri/Solvey’s Jessica Zambri, will release their self-titled debut album on Sub Pop next month, and we’ve already heard the darkly melodic lead single “Nice Night.” That’s followed today by “Every Night You’ve Got To Save Me,” a jaunty pop track with shades of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the New Pornographers, and the Shins. The song is incredibly winsome on its own, and the effect is only amplified by director Addison Post’s video, which features Heroux and Zambri chilling in NYC locales ranging from bar to sidewalk to bathtub.
Hinds have spent the last year tickling fancies all over with their irresistible brand of DIY garage rock, earning them CoSigns to live accolades. On January 8th, the Madrid quartet will bring even more joy to listeners when they finally release their debut LP, Leave Me Alone, via Mom + Pop/Lucky Numbers. So far, we’ve heard swinging lead single “Chili Town” and the girls’ more downbeat side on “Garden”. Now, they’re blending the two moods on their latest track “San Diego”.
Premiered on SiriusXM over the weekend, “San Diego” is bopping slice of surfing lo-fi highlighted by a snappy drum kit from Ade Martín and the playful harmonies of Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote, the former of whom can’t contain a giggle escaping during one chorus. Though there’s plenty of familiar pleasantness in the cut, it once again lets listeners know Hinds isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. “We all have bad days,” the band said of the track. “We mean bad nights. One day a friend told us, ‘I don’t wanna fall asleep because I know what’s the dream about.’ This song is about staying awake. Just staying awake.”
Good time: the greatest moments of Maurice White and Earth, Wind & Fire
In 1971, Maurice White was struggling. He’d moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, broken up his first band (the Salty Peppers) and launched a new one with his brother, Verdine, named after the elemental qualities of his star sign, Sagittarius. Earth, Wind & Fire’s first, self-titled album was released in February of that year to strong reviews but modest sales. A follow-up was on the way, but times were tight. White’s girlfriend was working as a secretary to an anarchic filmmaker, Melvin van Peebles, and suggested the director get her boyfriend’s band to make the soundtrack album to his new movie.
Although signed to Warner Brothers, EW&F jumped at the chance, recording the entire album in a single day. Van Peebles, knowing there’d be no money to promote his film, came up with the idea of releasing the soundtrack album first: the record, credited to Van Peebles (who had written the material) but with EW&F mentioned on the back cover, was released by Stax in November. The micro-budget Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song would go on to become a touchstone moment, its soundtrack album helping usher in the blaxploitation era on record as well as in cinemas.
Queen’s ‘Innuendo’: Remembering Freddie Mercury’s Last Masterpiece
Twenty-five years ago this week, iconic English rock maximalists Queen released one final classic album with their original lineup of Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor.
Innuendo fell into fans’ laps like a saving grace following the hijacking of Deacon’s signature bass line from “Under Pressure,” the group’s 1981 collaborative single with David Bowie, for Vanilla Ice’s 1990 pop-rap mega-hit “Ice Ice Baby,” a song still dominating Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart by the time of the album’s release on February 5th, 1991. (“I first heard it in the fan club downstairs,” May said of “Ice Ice Baby” in the March 1991 issue of Q Magazine. “I just thought, ‘Interesting, but nobody will ever buy it because it’s crap.’ Turns out I was wrong.”)
Kanye West’s new album Waves is due out next week, and there’s a palpable excitement building in the media. Kanye recently tweeted it would not be “the album of the year, but the album of the life”, only to later clarify that it would in fact only be “ONE of the greatest, not the greatest”. Meanwhile Rolling Stone is speculating it could be a dud at the same time as producer Swizz Beatz declares it one of the best West albums he’s heard.
If anybody can casually ignite this kind of mini-media-firestorm, Kanye can. Like the late David Bowie through the 70s and 80s, Kanye functions as a mirror for the most visible and occasionally garish social and cultural values of his time.
Unlike the intensely private Bowie, though, Kanye’s performance extends beyond the stage, into his personal life, and every tic of his outsized personality is reflected back to us via his own twitter feed and an insatiable celebrity-obsessed media.