New Singles From Jack White, M.I.A. and Madonna

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 3, 2012 07:00pm | Post a Comment

There has been a flurry of activity this week with three heavy hitters releasing new songs - Jack White, M.I.A. and Madonna.

Jack White is releasing his first solo album, Blunderbuss, on April 24 and the first single, "Love Interruption," premiered this week.  (Also new this week, I learned what a Blunderbuss was -- a gun.)  Third Man Records is releasing a 7" for "Love Interruption" on Tuesday, February 7, which features a non-album B-Side, "Machine Gun Silhouette." Mr. White will be doing some solo shows, but so far only two have been announced - Sasquatch! in WA and Radio 1's Hackney Weekend in London. 

M.I.A. released a new single, "Bad Girls," which is a reworking of a track originally featured on a 2011 mixtape, Vicki Leekx. The "Bad Girls" video was directed by Romain Gavras (who also shot her controversial, banned-from-YouTube video for "Born Free"). So far she hasn't announced a release date or title for her next album, but hopefully that will come soon. 

Madonna MDNAMadonna has been all over the interwebs, radio, and television this week in a furious media campaign for her new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" (featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj) and her Super Bowl performance on Sunday, all of which are leading up to the release of her next album, MDNA, out March 26.

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Artist & Musician Mike Kelley Has Died at Age 58

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 1, 2012 11:59am | Post a Comment

Mike KelleyIn more tragic news following this morning's announcement of the passing of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, renowned artist and musician Mike Kelley has died at age 58 from an apparent suicide. (Update: Kelley was 57 when he died.)

Originally from Detroit, Kelley had been living in Los Angeles for many years. Kelley was a diverse artist known for his textiles, doll objects, performance videos, drawings, and multimedia installations. He has had one-artist exhibitions all over the world including the Gagosian Galleries in New York City and London, the musée du Louvre in Paris, and galleries in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Austria. He had public collections featured in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among many others. His work is scheduled to appear in the upcoming Whitney biennial.

Sonic Youth - DirtyKelley was also a musician. Though those two audiences didn't often co-mingle, music fans will recognize his art from the album cover for Sonic Youth's 1992 album, Dirty. Kelley was a founder of Destroy All Monsters, a noise/punk/experimental band from Detroit which began in 1973 and broke up in 1985. Although they never found mainstream success, they garnered new attention in 1977 with the addition of former members of The Stooges (Ron Asheton) and MC5 (Michael Davis). In 1994, Kelley and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore compiled a 3-CD box set called Destroy All Monsters: 1974-1976 on Moore's record label, Ecstatic Peace!. The band reunited in 1995 and re-released past editions of the Destroy All Monsters magazine, recorded 5 new albums, exhibited their art, and performed at festivals around the world.

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New Ana Tijoux Album "La Bala" Out Jan 31 + Free Download

Posted by Rachael McGovern, January 30, 2012 12:49pm | Post a Comment

Chilean MC Ana Tijoux is releasing her new album, La Bala (Nacional Records), on January 31. I've been eagerly waiting its arrival, curious to hear it and witness her evolution.

I first became familiar with Tijoux through her What's In My Bag? video and the infectious title track from her last album, "1977." One of the things that most interested me about her What's In My Bag? video came toward the end -- a conversation about where to file her music in Amoeba, in Latin Pop or Hip-Hop. She views Hip-Hop as one language, regardless of whether the actual words are in English, French, Spanish or whatever. But she is also aware that she is representing Latin America (and Latin American Hip-Hop) to the world.

Tijoux, who was born in France to a French mother and Chilean father, raps and sings in Spanish and French. She released two albums in the late '90s with a Chilean Hip-Hop group Makiza and then collaborated with Mexican singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas. They had a hit with "Eres Para Mi" from Venegas' 2006 album, Limon y Sal. Tijoux's 2007 solo debut album, Kaos (Oveja Negra), earned her nominations for "Best New Artist" and "Best Urban Artist" by the MTV Latin America VMAs. She received further acclaim and success, particulary in the US, with her outstanding album, 1977 (Nacional, 2010). She toured like crazy, including performing at South by Southwest and Lollapallooza, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban album.

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Mike Doughty's Memoir About Drugs, Sex & Soul Coughing

Posted by Rachael McGovern, January 25, 2012 11:44am | Post a Comment

The Book of Drugs - Mike DoughtyFor most of my life I have been an avid reader, but for the last six months - or even a year if I'm being honest with myself - I've struggled to finish books, forcing myself to make the time to read. Happily, that streak has been broken with the new memoir by Mike Doughty, The Book of Drugs (Da Capo Press, 2012). I read it the first time in about two days, inhaling it as fast as I could between work and sleep. As soon as I finished it, I began reading it again. 

Mike Doughty is a solo artist today, but I came to know him as the frontman for Soul Coughing. The book's primary plotline is about his relationship with drugs, the trajectory of his addictions, and his recovery. But the secondary plot is about his relationship with, and to, his former band. Admittedly, that is why I picked up the book. Addiction in and of itself isn't as interesting to me as the person who is telling the story of addiction, and I was very interested in what Mike Doughty, the former lead singer, guitarist and lyricists for one of my favorite bands, had to say.

One of the things that I most appreciated about Soul Coughing was the mixture of intelligence and quirkiness, the wordplay and the soundplay (we'll pretend that's an actual word). Doughty uses those strengths in The Book of Drugs, telling his story with humor, wit, honesty, self-reflection, anger, passion, and sorrow. (For someone who says he was out of touch with his feelings for so long due to his addictions, he has come a long way in accessing those emotions and laying them on the page.) 

For me, the most salient scene from the book that illustrates how much his addiction affected him involved his daily trip to the ATM four blocks away. He would call his dealer and then descend his apartment building's stairs (a thirty minute process one way), walk down the block, and across a larger intersection. The whole trip - four blocks - took him ninety minutes, sometimes two hours. The fact that the ordeal of walking a few blocks seemed to him like a natural side effect of aging (he was thirty-something at the time), and not a by-product of his drug habit, was heartbreaking.

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New Grimes Single "Genesis" From Forthcoming Album

Posted by Rachael McGovern, January 23, 2012 08:07pm | Post a Comment

I am thoroughly obsessed with the new Grimes single, "Genesis." I wasn't familiar with her until hearing this track and now I can't wait to hear the full album, Visions (out 2/21 on 4AD), to see if she can pull off what she has done so masterfully in this initial single - that is, combining the most seemingly disparate genres into one coherent piece of music and somehow making it work.

Grimes"Genesis" starts with this synthy piano bit that could come from an Enya album or something. Then her ethereal vocals kick in around the 0:39 mark. I can't, for the life of me, understand what she's saying, but it's beautiful. But then at 1:02 the track veers left into the world of electronic beats. Every time the track is over, I hit repeat to see if I can finally, finally make some sense of it on the next listen. So far, no dice. 

free download is offering a free download of "Genesis" by Grimes.

Grimes is the project of Canadian Claire Boucher and Visions is her fourth release in two years (it's also her first for 4AD). 4AD and Arbitus Records describe the influences on her new album "as wide as Enya, TLC and Aphex Twin, whilst drawing from genres like New Jack Swing, IDM, New Age, K-pop, Industrial and glitch resulting in a record that is both otherworldly and futuristic." 

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