While the world was busy watching Kanye West’s spectacle unfold live at Madison Square Garden, English producer and singer-songwriter James Blake unexpectedly dropped a new song of his own. The track, called “Modern Soul”, premiered during Blake’s BBC Radio 1 residency. “The next one is a new song from me,” he casually told his listeners before diving right in.
Now led by Zach Rogue and his longtime bandmate Pat Spurgeon, pop-minded indie rock veterans Rogue Wave are set to release their sixth album Delusions Of Grand Fur this spring. Lead single “What Is Left To Solve?” reverberates with a sense of urgency thanks to a fast bass line and steady drums. It’s a bit of a departure for Rogue Wave, infusing their classic indie sound with traces of krautrock and new wave. Though the synthetic harmonies feel distant, “What Is Left To Solve” builds to an increasingly tangible urgency, creating a feeling of excitement and anticipation. When it finally reaches its end, the track sounds like a system breaking down, leaving its big question unanswered and us eager for more. Perhaps the rest of the project will provide the resolution they seek?
Five years after Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, former WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts hasn’t lost his howl, and with LUH., he’s got a new context for his giant, gravelly, world-beating instrument. On “I&I,” his voice is counterbalanced and echoed by Ebony Hoorn’s, and as the pair sing about daybreak, the instrumentation behind them gradually becomes more enormous. It’s an assist from the Haxan Cloak, who helps undercut some of the song’s grandiosity with shuffling, thumping currents of darkness.
When DIY spoke to Eagulls at the tail end of last year, it sounded like they might have somehow upped the misery for album two. Tales of vermin-infested brick boxes and soul-purging led the way, the Leeds rabble somehow managing to revel in even bleaker imagery than that which defined their greyer-than-granite self-titled debut.
‘Lemontrees’, contrastingly, shines far brighter than anyone could have expected. Soaring, clearly Cure-influenced washes of guitar set the pace for Eagulls’ return – in the place of the chainsaw riffing of the debut comes a shimmering new guise. Talk of dancing beneath those titular lemon trees drags the lyrical agenda away from British monotony and into sunny new pastures, too, Eagulls now opening their hearts rather than shying away in the shadows.
On its face, “Dust” is Parquet Courts‘ attempt to give germophobes everywhere a neverending panic attack. On the track from their forthcoming album Human Performance, they assure us that dust is everywhere. Of course heaps of it exist in places you almost never see, like the spots underneath heavy pieces of furniture, but look around you—there’s dirt, dead skin, bits of bugs, and so on just flying around. “It follows, now swallow—you’re biting it now,” they taunt. It’s a truth people usually deal with quietly, but by drawing attention to it, they’re laughing at the repulsive nature of human existence. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we’re constantly breathing in filth. Pretty gross!
The central message in the song is a command: “Sweep.” It’s a solution to all that dust, for sure, but even when you’ve swept and carried it to the dumpster, how much have you actually accomplished? Can you be sure that it’s all gone? Isn’t there still dust floating around? Eventually, you’re just going to have to sweep again. And again.
The Improbable Story of How Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” Became a Protest Anthem
It was a warm Midwestern day during the last week of July and hundreds of activists were gathered at Cleveland State University. They had all just wrapped up a conference called theMovement for Black Lives, the first formal convening of Black Lives Matter’s official and unofficial network of activists. After three days of talking about the the police violence that had roiled black communities, they were saying their goodbyes to one another and boarding buses back to their respective cities. Despite taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, a city recently in the national spotlight for the deadly police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the week had gone by without any direct confrontations with police.
Until they spotted a 14-year-old black boy being questioned by police for allegedly carrying an open container of alcohol onto a bus.
“We saw this encounter happening, saw this young man being arrested and so a number of folks went over to talk to the police to see what was happening,” Treva Lindsey, an assistant professor at Ohio State University who witnessed the altercation, told Mic. “The situation escalated so quickly.”
For many songwriters, the wake-up call comes when they have their first streaming hit. For Michelle Lewis, an indie-rock singer-songwriter who now writes primarily for other artists, it was the song “Wings,” which she co-wrote for the British girl group Little Mix. Lewis and her writing partner, Kay Hanley, the former lead singer of the band Letters to Cleo, had been busy working on a Disney show (children’s TV relies heavily on alt-rock music), and at first she didn’t realize how popular the song had become.
“We were emerging from this bubble,” she told me, “and I realized, ‘I have this hit. This is going to be good! Nearly three million streams on Spotify!’ And then my check came, and it was for seventeen dollars and seventy-two cents. That’s when I was, like, ‘What the fuck?’ So I called Kay.”
Oscar Front-Runner Ennio Morricone Talks Composing, Tarantino, Westerns & Why He’s Still Going Strong At 87
If there has been a more prolific composer in the history of movies than Ennio Morricone, I don’t know who it is. The Maestro, whose haunting score for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eighthas landed him his sixth Oscar nomination as well as Golden Globe, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice awards, reportedly has been responsible for more than 500 film scores in a career spanning six decades. (Watch a seven-minute segment from the actual recording session of the movie above.) Mixed in with innumerable Italian scores are such classics as A Fistful Of Dollars, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, The Mission, The Untouchables, Malena, Bugsy, Days Of Heaven — the last five all earning Oscar noms — as well as my personal favorite Cinema Paradiso, which incredibly did not get even nominated for an Academy Award. Of course, the Academy’s Board Of Governors, obviously feeling guilty about the tremendous oversight of leaving the great man Oscarless, voted him an Honorary Oscar in 2007, the first given to a composer since Alex North, who went 0-for-15 in his career.