For some bands, the weight of an estimable catalog can sometimes feel like a burden, and working with the same collaborators for years on end can be stifling. So artists turn to new projects for those ideas that don’t fit into the ideals of their main gig, or just to take a break. Like Thom Yorke indulging his dubstep fetish with Atoms for Peace, Electric Wurms sees psych-pop arena-fillers The Flaming Lips (that is, the band’s singer/songwriter, Wayne Coyne, and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd) have stepped away from the Lips for this collaborative EP (along with the modern prog band Linear Downfall) of acid-trip jams. It’s not much of a departure from the Lips sound, but there’s a freewheeling feel to this mini-album that’s been missing of late from the Lips’ increasingly difficult albums. Unexpected sounds gurgle out of every pore of songs like their cover of Yes’ “Heart of the Sunrise,” yet create a kind of cosmic, atmospheric beauty. Rock-based psychedelia that grounds songs like the insane “Transform!!!” and keep them (or you) from becoming completely unmoored. Musik Die Schwer Zu Twerk may scream “for fans only” on paper, but, as always with these guys, something that at first seems like a one-off ends up feeling well-considered and rewards repeat listens, given Coyne’s whimsical production and the obvious chemistry (in more ways than one!) that these guys generate. Really cool little release from Wayne Coyne and his Heady Fwends.
Interpol has just released a new song, and it's a stunner. Over oceanic guitars, Paul Banks croons "fuck the ancient ways." Perhaps appropriately, the band pummels through a classic Interpol arrangement like it's the first time.
Hear the song below. Interpol will be at FYF Fest this Saturday.
FlyLo today released a video with audio clips from the album and visuals by manga artist Shintaro Kago. Sounds like lots of acid jazz rap insane beats paired with dead bodies exploding—but, like, in a fun, anime way. BTW, there are a lot of flashing lights, if you’re sensitive to that.
FKA Twigs is the stage name of singer/songwriter Tahliah Barnett, who together with a team of some of the best producers working in pop music (Blood Orange’s Devonte Hynes, Clams Casino and Paul Epworth of Adele/Coldplay fame, among others) come up with one of the most brilliant debut records of 2014. What at first sounds like icy, alien R&B ends up feeling amorous, empathetic and intriguing to no end. Songs like “Lights On” at first sound not so out-of-time, fitting in nicely with the adventurous alt-soul stylings of The Weeknd or current Beyonce, but the songs are continuously chewed up and breathed back out into wondrous concoctions that bear little resemblance to anything else out there. Vocally, Barnett calls to mind someone working to effect change within the mainstream like Aaliyah once did as much as she does weirdos like Yma Sumac and Bjork (especially on the bold “Preface”), her airy voice warping into new dimensions yet latching onto reality on the touching “Two Weeks” and suddenly coming through clear as day as she pleads with sexual abandon through classic soul phrasings for a would-be lover amid analog-sounding robotic textures. As much as FKA Twigs is a product of a time in which introspective artists who allow for empty space to permeate their music are the norm, from The XX to How to Dress Well and James Blake, Barnett’s music feels more fun to listen to and not at all dreary, even if mostly downtempo. “How would you like it if my lips touched yours?” she suddenly entreats in the laser-streaked “Hours” and it’s hard not to think of some fantastical Janet Jackson comeback. “Video Girl” is more direct, asking “is she the girl from the video?” (Barnett has a background as a backup dancer in music videos) as Barnett goes on to prove she’s a lot more than that through stunning lead and layered vocals while the song’s lush, post trip-hop music sways and lurches sensuously. But “Pendulum” will no doubt be her entrÃ©e to most audiences, as the Epworth production literally knocks on your door with its stuttering beat and introduces a girl capable of delivering a Prince-level combination of heartache and confidence while keeping sly pop hooks on the backburner right until they’re ready to sizzle. It makes you happy to be listening to pop music in this day and age when something so exciting as this will bubble to the top.
The great, literary singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen celebrates his 80th birthday next month (on Sept. 21). What better way to do that than with a new album?
Popular Problems will likely be out sometime next month, Rolling Stone reports. Though Cohen’s representative could not confirm the album or a release date, it was hinted at during last week’s Cohen fan convention, Leonard Cohen Event 2014, and the album is listed on Amazon France with a Sept. 22 release date.
Here’s what Jarkko Arjatsalo, a Finnish accountant that runs Cohen’s official website, said about the album in the foreward of the event booklet:
“Leonard has worked hard on his next studio album of entirely new songs. He asked me to let you know that Popular Problems will be out at the end of September, shortly after his 80th birthday.”
No tour plans have yet been announced. Cohen’s last album was 2012’s Old Ideas, for which Cohen recorded songs that didn’t make the cut that could make it onto this album, he told RS in 2012:
“I rehearsed some other songs on the road—new songs that didn't make it onto the record. So I have a new record [after this one], at least two-thirds of it, anyway.”
Old Ideas was pretty great, so we're more than OK with that. Hear that album's opening track, "Going Home," below: