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Vitamin String Quartet cover Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” for Record Store Day 7-inch: Stream

10 Things… is a recurring new music feature in which an artist digs deep into a particular topic.

The Vitamin String Quartet love music, and not just their own. The Los Angeles string quartet have built a career out of reworking their favorite tracks across myriad genres into sumptuous, symphonic renditions that often cull new resonances from timeless tracks. They’ve previously remade tracks from the likes of David Bowie, Lorde, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Bruce Springsteen, and now they’ve taken their bows to something a touch weirder. For Record Store Day, Vitamin String Quartet have tackled two of The Flaming Lips’ most enduring tracks: “Do You Realize??” and “All We Have Is Now”.

Using only two violins, a viola, and a cello, the outfit has added another beam of color to the Lips’ kaleidoscopic aesthetic. The grandeur of the original cuts, both of which come from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, is given a different texture here, one that maintains the band’s inherent whimsy while indulging the songs’ melancholic undercurrent.

The songs are coming on a Record Store Day 7-inch on April 21st before hitting digital retailers on the 27th. As an early tease of the unique release, you can stream VSQ’s version of “Do You Realize??” below.

In further celebration of The Flaming Lips, Vitamin String Quartet brand manager Leo Flynn and project director James Curtiss have shared 10 Things they love about Wayne Coyne and co. Though the string quartet is known for covering a vast range of artists, the deep cuts, obscure references, and promotional stunts they cite below demonstrate the depth of the band’s fandom.

“Race For the Prize (Remix)”:

Gah, what an opener. This cut, a remix of a song that would reprise at the tail end of its album, might be one of the greatest track 1’s of all time. So immediate, so bold, both lyrically and sonically. The Soft Bulletin is often cited as one of the best albums, not only of the ‘90s, but in the whole of rock and pop. This song is one of the biggest reasons why.

Their Craftsmanship:
No matter how tripped-out a Lips tune is on the surface, there are always super-strong musical ideas, guitar riffs, bass lines, what have you, underneath it all, propelling things forward. Despite an occasional air of frivolity (see below about a particular gummy artifact), the music of The Flaming Lips is very much built to last.

They Want To Work With Everybody and Everybody Wants To Work With Them:
Collaboration is a sure-fire sign that a musical act just wants to play. As such, Wayne and the boys might be the most playful musicians in the history of pop music. Seriously, who haven’t they collaborated with? Erykah Badu, Yoko Ono, Phantogram, Nick Cave, Biz Markie, Henry Rollins, Bon Iver, Peaches, My Morning Jacket, Miley Cyrus; if you haven’t collaborated with the Lips, you were probably dead at the time.

The “Mystery Act” at The Peach Pit After Dark:

Back when the Lips were in danger of being forever regarded as a one-hit wonder with the “novelty” song “She Don’t Use Jelly”, they decided to just embrace their success and take a guest spot performing their hit in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. We’re all the better for it, as the musical moment is a wonderful time capsule of all that was good (the Lips) and all that was god-awful (it starts with Kathleen Robertson’s hair) in 1995.

Wayne’s Grays:
The Lips frontman reminds us all that age is no excuse.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots: The Musical:
For the handful of fans who got to see the sadly short run of this show at La Jolla Playhouse, it was revelatory. Big and bold, the show was 99% sung, structuring its narrative around songs not just from the titular album, but from other Lips releases. It was a love story filled with whimsy, melancholy and giant robots, just like any Flaming Lips show ought to be. Here’s hoping it might find a revival sometime in the near future.

Gummy Song Skull:

The Lips never met a silly idea that they weren’t willing to push to the Nth degree. This 2011 release featured four songs, on a USB drive, in a gummy brain, which was encased in a gummy skull. And, yeah, those four songs were never released anywhere else. Only The Flaming Lips could get away with ephemera like this.

Back when the Lips decided to release their 8th album as four separate CDs that you would have to play simultaneously, it was seen as yet another tripped-out exercise from an oddball band that thrived on tripped-out exercises (case in point: the compilation album they put out that they called Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid). But, man, talk about creating art that demands a communal experience. In honor of that, we’d like to propose four different VSQs, together on one stage, performing this mythical quadraphonic album and let’s get Wayne to conduct the whole thing!

“Halloween On the Barbary Coast”:
Here, in one song, buried on the lesser-known 1992 (though it should have been 1991) album Hit to Death In the Future Head, you can hear the birth of so much of what would be celebrated as indie rock in the 21st century.  All the freak-folk, neo-psych, art rock, whatever; it starts here. Also, the title is so evocative of a time and place all us weirdos would to want to be part of, that it’s kind of funny that lyrically it turns out to be about the Lips guys spending too much time in Vegas in the ‘80s.

Wayne Coyne in Jingle Bell Rocks!: 

The wonderful 2014 documentary details the lives of collectors, fans, and musicians who are obsessed with Christmas music. It’s a wonderful showcase that treats its outsider subjects with genuine love and interest. In it, Wayne talks not only about the joys and sorrows surrounding the holiday, and in turn the music that generates, but also about how the search for a holiday movie that never existed, described to a very young Wayne by his mother, led to the creation of The Flaming Lips’ own Christmas film, Christmas on Mars.

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Surprise: Nicolas Jaar released a pretty great album under his A.A.L. pseudonym last week

Electronica prodigy Nicolas Jaar dropped a new album, 2012-2017, last week and you probably had no idea. That’s because it was released with little fanfare under his A.A.L. (Against All Logic) moniker via the artist’s own Other People label. Pitchfork brought the record to everyone’s attention, and lest you think it’s quiet rollout was due to a lack of confidence in the material, fear not—2012-2017 is really, really good.

More upbeat than his standard brand of stormy, fractured dance music, 2012-2017 feels firmly rooted in house, with many of the songs being built around infectious soul and funk samples, though “Such a Bad Way” draws upon Kanye West’s “I Am a God”. A mix of original material and previously released songs, 2012-2017 dropped last Saturday, February 17th.

(Read: 10 Artists Who Need to Curate a Music Festival)

A.A.L. isn’t Jaar’s only pseudonym. He also makes music under the alias Iva Gocheva, and performs alongside Dave Harrington as Darkside (and, if they’re remixing Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Daftside). Jaar’s last release under his own name was 2016’s Sirens.

“I see things like Against All Logic as a continuation of that,” he told Crack Magazine in a recent interview. “I always find it funny when announcements say something is ‘the first Nicolas Jaar single in three years,’ as I’ve put out work under many different names.”

Listen to it in full below, and pick up your own copy on the Other People website.

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Caroline Rose offers a Track by Track breakdown of her new album, LONER: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist takes us through each song on their latest album.

It’s refreshing to see an album so completely indistinguishable from the artist who created it that their personality is right there on the cover. LONER, the sophomore effort of singer-songwriter Caroline Rose, is truly an expression of both passion and personality, with Rose  writing and arranging every song on the record as well as standing front and center on both its artwork and in its music videos. To just look at the cover image — Rose, glazed over in fitness gear, lighting a pack’s worth of cigarettes — is to grasp the album’s blend of humor, yearning, and sarcasm. In an era of endless, ear-numbing streams, LONER grabs your chin and commands your eyes.

Alongside producer Paul Butler, Rose oscillated between keys, guitar, and bass while also programming the synths and drums and taking on mixing duties. The result is a bold, kaleidoscopic collection that propels Rose far beyond the fetching rockabilly of her debut, 2014’s I Will Not Be Afraid. LONER dabbles in a bit of everything: A rubbery bass line pulses beneath tactile, cabasa-like twists amidst the self-aware sleaze of “Soul No. 5”, plucking violin strings form a sturdy spine for the single’s lament that is “Getting To Me”, and pop-inspired synths snake their way through nearly every corner of the record. “I’d say this album was as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late-’70s punk,” Rose says in a press release.

LONER is out today, and you can stream the whole thing below via Spotify and/or Apple Music.

To give further insight about LONER, Rose takes us through the LP Track by Track, sharing which song’s her favorite, which one was written entirely on an OP-1, and which one reminds her of “Mambo No. 5” (spoiler: It’s “Soul No. 5”).

“More Of The Same”:
I often think about things like faith and what we choose to put our faith in. When I was a kid I used to put my faith in everything, I believed in everything. I was convinced that magic and Yoda were real. I literally practiced moving things with my brain knowing that one day I would be able to master the skill. When I wrote this song I was channeling that moment of disillusionment when this faith in things, in people, in the world, starts to fade. In the song I liken the feeling to floating around in a vacuum of space, but this is really just a visual for when the magic trick is revealed and suddenly you don’t know what to believe in anymore. When the flaws in people and in things you love are discovered, it’s a growing pain that’s both humbling and disappointing.

I always imagined a sort of demented prom queen character in this song, like a blend between Carrie and Drop Dead Gorgeous. I visualize a lot of my songs, so they sort of end up becoming movies in my head, but obviously they start out from a place of personal experience. I wrote this as if I’m having a conversation with myself, kind of like the angel and devil sitting on my shoulders. I was doubting myself, feeling like I couldn’t be what people were asking of me, that I’d choke under the pressure of it all. As we all know it’s a common stereotype that women can’t handle their emotions in pressure situations, so the song also plays with the conflicting feeling knowing that if I were to choke under pressure I’d just become another stereotype.

Ha! I don’t know how much there is to say about this, it’s not really mysterious in any way, nor is it preachy. I want and need money just as much as anybody else. It’s pretty self-explanatory methinks.

“Jeannie Becomes a Mom”:
This is my favorite song on the record. I wrote the entire thing, hooks and all, on an OP-1, which is an amazing little digital synth you can fit in a backpack. I love playing this tune but I also love the story it tells. It was loosely inspired by a friend who accidentally got pregnant, but I took a lot of creative liberty with it and blended a lot of things I was feeling in my own life. Every so often I’ll have bouts of pretty bad anxiety, where it feels like I’m running out of time. It makes me think about all my goals, that no matter how many dreams I fulfill I’m never going to be able to outrun time or my often rude reality. Jeannie is a little bit of me and a little bit of my friend and a lot bit of everyone attempting to build a dream-life for themselves.

“Getting To Me”:
I remember exactly when and where I wrote this. It was in my little apartment in Vermont I’d painted to look like a hacienda-meets-bizarro-taxidermy-shop. I was extremely lonely at the time. I hadn’t dated in years and really wanted to be with someone. Tinder was not for me but it seemed to be the only way to meet queer people in an predominantly straight place, which felt doubly lonely. I remember walking down the street and seeing couples everywhere. Every time I’d go to a restaurant alone I’d have to watch the waiter take away the place setting across from me. I eventually just started sitting at the counter and found it funny that that’s where all the single people sit. It’s interesting what you notice when you’re alone with your own thoughts.

“To Die Today”:
Thinking about death, to me, helps me fully appreciate life. I’ve heard that a near-death experience is extremely sensory, that it can feel like a warm wash come over you, the relief of leaving your body, or like you’re covered in light. I’d really rather not die any time soon but I would love to experience this. Sometimes it brings me real comfort knowing that all the pain in life is only temporary.

Caroline Rose -- Loner

“Soul No. 5”:
This song has gone through five different versions, hence the “No. 5” (also because it fondly reminds me of “Mambo No. 5”). I wrote the original years ago, but it always bugged me how earnest it was. As my style took shape I found the lyrics just didn’t challenge me anymore, so when we were in the studio my co-producer Paul Butler gave me really good advice. He said, “just take the piss out of it”, which in British means, “have fun with it”. It makes me laugh now. I am not ashamed in the least that it’s a feel-good song.

“Smile! AKA Schizodrift Jam 1 AKA Bikini Intro”:
(haha) What a ridiculous song! This is most definitely poking fun at all the times I’ve been told to smile in my life. I originally had twice as many voices in here but having to listen to them over and over was slowly dragging Paul closer to the brink of insanity. They’re mostly mine and Paul’s pitch-shifted, but he also found a way to record these robot voices from the internet, which were pretty hilarious. Schizodrift is what I call my genre of music and “Schizodrift Jam 1” was this amazing jam I’d recorded of my old band playing together for the first time. This is us recreating the jam sesh.

I love this one so much, it’s my riot grrl feminist surf punk anthem. It’s about so many things, but mostly about being female-identifying in the entertainment industry and the standard we’re supposed to live up to. This one’s best listened to with middle fingers up.

Caroline Rose, photo by Matt Hogan

Caroline Rose, photo by Matt Hogan

Whenever I get anxious or slightly manic the paranoia immediately sets in. I wouldn’t say my music is fettered with paranoia but it definitely makes an appearance more often than not. In this case you’d think I’d be talking about trash talk from other people, but I’m really pointing out the loud chatter in my own head. I am and always have been my own worst enemy, which I think is true for a lot of people out there.

This is as close to a love song as you’ll get on this album. In the most blunt sense it’s about a very visceral jealousy I’d had over an ex who was falling in love with someone new (I like that you can’t really tell if I’m jealous of the man or the woman in the story). It was very painful because I really thought I was over it and had moved on, but when you realize you’re still in love with someone the thought of them being physical with someone else drives you mental. Your imagination starts playing very mean tricks on you.

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Wild Beasts share career-spanning final album, Last Night All My Dreams Came True: Stream

We hope you’re wearing black, because today marks the release of the final Wild Beasts record. Titled Last Night All My Dreams Came True, the collection is a career-spanning live studio album comprised of 13 tracks. Subscribers of Apple Music and Spotify can stream below. You can album grab a copy here.

The album will feature cuts from 2008’s Limbo, Panto, 2011’s Smother, 2014’s Present Tense, and 2016’s Boy King. These aren’t just straightforward renditions, however. Just look at pre-release single “The Devil’s Palace”, which mashes together Limbo, Panto‘s “The Devil’s Crayon” and Present Tense‘s “Palace”. All 13 tracks were apparently recorded over just two days last summer at RAK Studios.

“It’s us as tight and slick as we ever have been,” the band’s Tom Fleming declared in a statement “And it’s also us giving the fewest fucks we’ve ever given. There’s a sense of celebration and destructiveness combined, a sense that the fetters are off. Not that they were ever on … but that sense of limited time before you shuffle off is very much a motivator.”

Wild Beasts announced their split in September via a statement on Facebook. “The four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit,” they wrote. “We’re care takers for something precious and don’t want to have it diminish as we move forward with out lives.” The writing had been on the wall for a while, though. In a 2016 interview with The Independent, the band said they’d “become the band we objected to being.”

Last Night All My Dreams Came True follows last year’s Punk Drunk and Trembling, an EP of three original tracks. The band’s last shows are tonight and tomorrow in Manchester and London, respectively. More details, as well as the album’s artwork and tracklist, can be found below.

Last Night All My Dreams Came True Artwork:

last night all my dreams came true 3000x3000 72 dpi 1512576880 640x640 Wild Beasts share career spanning final album, Last Night All My Dreams Came True: Stream

Last Night All My Dreams Came True Tracklist:
01. Wanderlust (Live at RAK)
02. Big Cat (Live at RAK)
03. A Simple Beautiful Truth (Live at RAK)
04. 2BU (Live at RAK)
05. Bed Of Nails (Live at RAK)
06. Hooting & Howling (Live at RAK)
07. This Is Our Lot (Live at RAK)
08. He The Colossus (Live at RAK)
09. The Devil’s Palace (Live at RAK)
10. Alpha Female (Live at RAK)
11. Get My Bang (Live at RAK)
12. All The King’s Men (Live at RAK)
13. Celestial Creatures (Live at RAK)

Wild Beasts 2018 Tour Dates:
02/16 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
02/17 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo

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Why the EMERGE Music and Impact Conference is the Antidote to Festival Fatigue

Perhaps the only effort more herculean than staging a music festival is rescheduling one. To change the dates is to call into question the availability of talent, venues, vendors, and, of course, attendees. The prospect of again finding a weekend that aligns those stars again is a dim one, a dull needle in a gargantuan haystack.

But Mike Henry wasn’t thinking of any of that when he and the rest of producing company A Beautiful Perspective decided to postpone Las Vegas’ inaugural EMERGE Music and Impact Conference, which was slated to unfold on in mid-November of 2017. On October 1st, just a month before it was set to debut, a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured.

“It was the only decision to make,” Henry, who serves as the talent buyer for the festival, says of EMERGE’s postponement. “At the time, what was most important was that we focus on being good neighbors to our community.”

On one of the original dates, Henry and his team staged a benefit concert with White Reaper, Mondo Cozmo, and other scheduled EMERGE artists that raised funds for those affected by the tragedy. “That was a time where Vegas needed to focus on healing. It was amazing to see the community come together and lift itself up.”

Today, EMERGE announced that the festival will now take place in Las Vegas on April 6-8th, and also shared 60 of the artists you can catch at the myriad venues collaborating with the festival. Some you might recognize from the initial lineup shared last summer, while others are new. Henry estimates that they were able to secure roughly half of the artists they initially sought, including Chicago rapper Sir the Baptist, Chicano lo-fi artist Cuco, country-folk outfit Gold Star, and the grimy rockers of L.A.’s Starcrawler. New to the fold is DIY punk veteran Jeff Rosenstock, folk rocker Waxahatchee (who will be playing a solo acoustic set), and Americana star Hurray for the Riff Raff, among several others.

While scheduling played into most conflicts, Henry notes that some artists had simply outgrown the festival. Songwriter K.Flay, for instance, has seen her profile rise considerably over the last year. “When we booked her, almost a year ago, she played a little 300-cap here in Las Vegas. Now, she’s got two Grammy nominations and is packing 1,500 people at Brooklyn Bowl on a Tuesday night. She’s graduated out of the emerging category.”

Losing an artist like K.Flay might be a bummer for EMERGE, but it’s also a demonstration of just how on point their approach to curation is. Their raison d’etre, after all, is discovery. Here, you won’t find the artists headlining other major festivals; rather, EMERGE exists to offer stages to the bands typically relegated to small fonts.

“When you’re booking a giant festival, you need to put 30,000 people in one place at one time,” he says, noting that the reason we keep seeing the same artists headlining the big box festivals every year is because, well, it sorta has to be that way. “There’s a limited number of artists in any given year that can draw those kinds of numbers. We’re not trying to fill a football field. You’re going to get to see these artists in cool, intimate showrooms.”

To ensure they were finding the right artists, they had to “intentionally rewrite the entire curation model.” When I spoke to Henry last year, he and A Beautiful Perspective CEO Rehan Choudhry broke down just how they did that. A proprietary algorithm is involved, as is a collaboration with producing partner Spotify. Behind it all, however, is a “curation panel” of roughly 25 people featuring the likes of The Killers, Spoon’s Britt Daniel, MTV alum Matt Pinfield, and legendary record producer Rob Cavallo, among others.

The entire process was revisited when planning, though Henry notes it was obviously less involved since they still had their original data. Some artists who weren’t available for the fall festival were available for the spring festival, while others crept onto his radar in the intervening months.

“The good news is I couldn’t be more psyched about the lineup,” he says. “I think it’s, in many ways, even better and more interesting than the first. Doing it the second time, i guess that’s the silver lining.”

Similarly, Henry says the need to reschedule the festival allowed them to make the kinds of changes and tweaks an organizer would typically apply to a sophomore outing. “We were able to apply stuff we learned from how we were interacting with our audience, what we were learning from our ticket buyers, our artists, the venues,” he says. “It’s almost like being a second year event; we just had to skip the fun part where all the bands played.”

One benefit, for example, is that Henry and his team were able to sharpen their vision for the kind of acts they want for the festival. He says that, in addition to booking acts that wield a social and cultural impact, EMERGE was also looking for artists who are influencing the ways in which music is being written and released in our modern age. He mentions YouTube pop star Poppy, who’s been added to the lineup, as someone who represents the new ways in which artists are engaging with their audiences. Hurray for the Riff Raff is another example, as her innovative approach to protest music has become increasingly relevant in today’s culture.

On a more logistical side, EMERGE is aiming to increase accessibility on this outing by lowering ticket prices and offering individual tickets to each of the festival’s showcases. They’re also embracing a tighter lineup, with the number of artists decreasing from 100 to 75. This is to accommodate the tight turnaround, obviously, but also to maintain the festival’s commitment to intricate curation.

Because what you’ll find at EMERGE isn’t just a series of concerts with bands that share similar sounds. One of its most groundbreaking innovations is in the way that that curation model extends also to the content of its showcases. While the bands playing these showcases might differ in terms of genre, they’ll be united by common themes that are articulated by a series of speakers that punctuate the acts.

Curating these speakers is Lisa Shufro, EMERGE’s Impact Curator, who notes that, despite there a greater emphasis on ideas and impact at major festivals, there’s a marked division between the speakers expressing those ideas and the music itself. “There needs to be a place where music and ideas are celebrated as equal partners and not separate showcases,” she says. “I don’t think that the music world can just pretend any longer that ideas and culture and music and community are not all closely related. It’s not about choosing between entertainment or substance—we can have both in an enjoyable way.”

Shufro hit similar obstacles to Henry in regards to the speaker series, with the rescheduled date meaning speakers like Way and Henry Rollins were no longer available for the Spring event. But she cites a number of new names she’s brought into the fold, including podcaster Dylan Marron, who works to forge connections with those who troll him on social media on his Conversations With People Who Hate Me, and Saudi Arabian singer Rotana, who will be discussing both her Muslim faith and the sects of Islam who don’t recognize her right to sing.

She also notes that there will be several speakers who, like Rotana, will also be performing at the festival. Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter is one, as is Grandson, who Shufro says will be discussing the state of protest in the social media age.

“Other festivals would have the music and speakers on two separate tracks,” Shufro says. “We’re saying there’s a strong overlap.”

(Read: Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter: Come Right In)

With social media, streaming, and the democratization of the news, it’s easier and easier to insulate oneself in both the realms of art and ideas. “How do we escape the echo chamber?” she asks. “It’s harder and harder to listen to voices you haven’t heard, whether those voices are musical or they’re about ideas.”

The answer, they believe, is through curation. “The fundamental piece here is that EMERGE is 100 percent focused on discovery,” Henry says. “In every aspect, from the event design to the presentations and shows you’re gonna see onstage to what happens when you walk from venue to venue.”

Shufro believes that, should EMERGE prove successful, that they’ll have demonstrated “a very convincing model” for the next evolution in the festival landscape. Because it is changing; where it will end up, however, is still up in the air.

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Childish Gambino takes the Grammys stage to perform “Terrified” with Lion King co-star JD McCrary: Watch

Childish Gambino, the musical nom de plume of multi-hypenate Donald Glover, took the Madison Square Garden stage at tonight’s Grammys to perform “Terrified”. Awash in blue light, he turned in a smooth as velvet rendition of the “Awaken My Love!”  track, backed by the pre-teen vocal powerhouse JD McCrary. The young singer also appears on the studio version of the song, and is set to star as Young Simba ahead of Glover’s adult Simba in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Lion King remake.

Watch the performance here:

“Awaken My Love!” is competing in five different categories across the evening, including Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album. The track “Redbone” took home the Best Traditional R&B Performance before the broadcast and is up for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song.

(Read: 2018 Grammy Winners: The Complete List)

Glover’s got a busy year ahead of him. His Golden Globe-winning FX series Atlanta returns for its second season on March 1st, and his turn as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story will be revealed when the film drops in May. Glover also just signed a record deal with RCA that promises to “usher in the next phase of Childish Gambino’s musical career,” which could very well be his last.

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Hop Along announce new album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, share lead single, “How Simple”: Stream

Photo by Tonje Thilesen

Philadelphia punk outfit Hop Along are back with a new record, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, their follow-up to 2015’s excellent Painted Shut. It’s due out April 6th via Saddle Creek.

Concerned with themes of power and one’s misguided perceptions of it, the album was born from anxiety regarding the current political and social climate. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” songwriter Frances Quinlan says in a press statement. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”

Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by guitarist Joe Reinhart and the studio’s Kyle Pulley, Bark Your Head Off, Dog is said to broaden the band’s instrumental palette with the addition of strings, vocoder, and harmonies from Chrissy Tashijan of Philly punk band Thin Lips.

Accompanying the album announcement is “How Simple”, the LP’s opening song and lead single. As on Painted Shut, Quinlan’s bravura vocals scale over off-kilter guitar lines and rapidly shifting tempos before landing on an infectious shout-along chorus. Of the song’s themes of self-discovery, Quinlan says, “People romanticize the idea of finding themselves, but when they do, at least in my experience, it can be really difficult. You see how you fail others and how others fail you.” Listen to it below.

The LP will be available as a 500-copy limited edition tri-color striped vinyl, which you can pre-order here. See the album’s artwork and tracklist below.

Bark Your Head Off, Dog Artwork:

unnamed 7 Hop Along announce new album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, share lead single, How Simple: Stream


Bark Your Head Off, Dog Tracklist:
01. How Simple
02. Somewhere a Judge
03. How You Got Your Limp
04. Not Abel
05. The Fox in Motion
06. One That Suits Me
07. What the Writer Meant
08. Look of Love
09. Prior Things

Hop Along will also be hitting the road this summer for a tour of the U.S. and Canada.

Hop Along 2018 Tour Dates:
05/01 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
05/02 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts
05/03 – Boston, MA @ Royale
05/05 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
05/06 – Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
05/07 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
05/08 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall
05/10 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
05/11 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
05/12 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / In
05/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi
05/15 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
05/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
05/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
06/01 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
06/02 – Montreal, QC @ Le Belmont
06/03 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
06/05 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
06/06 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
06/08 – Toronto, ON @The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
06/09 – Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch
06/10 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
06/12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
06/13 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
06/16  Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
06/18 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/19 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
06/22 – St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
06/23 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

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Donald Glover signs deal with RCA Records, says to expect new Childish Gambino music later this year

Photo by Ellie Pritts

Childish Gambino, the hip-hop project of actor and Atlanta guru Donald Glover, was supposedly on its way out, with Glover saying his next album under the moniker would be his last. It’s curious, then, that Glover would sign a new deal with RCA Records that, as RCA CEO Peter Edge puts, would “usher in the next phase of Childish Gambino’s musical career.”

“Like I feel like there’s gotta be a reason to do things and I always had a reason to be punk,” Glover told The Huffington Post last summer. “Being punk just always felt really good to me and we always looked at Atlanta as a punk show and I feel like the direction I would go with Childish Gambino wouldn’t be punk anymore. As much as ‘Redbone’ is a punk song because it’s a gospel song that’s on the radio, I’m like there’s only so far you can go before you just are the radio.”

Of course, in a destabilized media landscape where all concepts of “punk” are up for interpretation, one could argue signing to major label is as “punk” as it gets. “It was necessary change of pace,” Glover says of the deal in a new statement.

Whatever the case, RCA promises more new music this year from the hip-hop wunderkind, whose 2017 album Awaken My Love! just scored five Grammy nominations. All three of Childish Gambino’s existing records were put out through GlassNote Records.

Glover recently dropped a teaser trailer for the second season of Atlanta, which premieres in March.

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Preoccupations announce new album, New Material, share stormy lead single, “Espionage”: Stream

Featured image by Pooneh Ghana

Preoccupations, the industrial post-punk outfit formerly known as Viet Cong, will release the follow-up to their 2016 self-titled release on March 23rd. Cheekily called New Material, the Jagjaguwar release is described by frontman Matt Flegel as “an ode to depression.”

“To depression and self-sabotage,” he continues, “and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.”

Lead single “Espionage” feels more furious than depressed, however, with Flegel’s frothing vocals crashing over waves of stormy, echoing distortion and thrumming bass. Cleaving through it all is a clean synth trail that should serve as a lifeline for the casual listener. See its eerie, shape-obsessed video above.

Preoccupations started from scratch with the album, noting that “virtually nothing” was written or demoed before the band came together to develop it. As such, they describe it as a collaborative process, one that incorporated producer Justin Meldal-Johnson (M83, Wolf Alice) to mix the rough cuts.

The band will hit the road a few weeks after the album’s release for a world tour that will keep them touring throughout the summer. See the full dates, as well as the album’s artwork and tracklist, below.

New Material Artwork:

unnamed 64 Preoccupations announce new album, New Material, share stormy lead single, Espionage: Stream

New Material Tracklist:
01. Espionage
02. Decompose
03. Disarray
04. Manipulation
05. Antidote
06. Solace
07. Doubt
08. Compliance

Preoccupations 2018 Tour Dates:
04/14 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
04/18 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
04/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade *
04/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One) ^
04/23 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts *
04/24 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel *
04/26 – Columbus, OH @ The A&R Music Bar *
04/27 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
04/29 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
05/01 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret *
05/03 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite *
05/04 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino *
05/05 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
05/09 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
05/11 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza #
05/12 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater #
05/14 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop #
05/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo #
05/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar #
05/22 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
05/23 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
05/24 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
06/05 – London, UK @ London Underground
06/07 – Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden
06/10 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival
06/11 – Paris, France @ Maroquinerie
06/12 – Ramsgate, UK @ RMH
06/13 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
07/03 – Amsterdam, NL @ Sugarfactory
07/04 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow

^ = w/ Odonis Odonis
* = w/ Freak Heat Waves
# = w/ Moaning

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Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl to be adapted by Hulu

Carrie Brownstein’s post-Portlandia schedule is filling up. In addition to directing the feature film Fairy Godmother, the musician, actress, and author will refashion her best-selling memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, as a half-hour pilot for Hulu, per a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

The series, titled Search and Destroy, is loosely based on the book, which chronicles Brownstein’s upbringing in the Pacific Northwest and experiences within the underground feminist punk-rock movement that give birth to bands like Bikini Kill and her own Sleater-Kinney. According to THR, the pilot “is about a young woman, a band and a community learning how to be unafraid of their own noise.”

(FACES: Carrie Brownstein)

Annapurna Television will produce the series, while Brownstein will both write and direct the pilot. This won’t be Brownstein’s first time behind the camera, either, as she’s previously directed not only episodes of Portlandia, but also Hulu’s Casual and Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter.

Brownstein also recently revealed that her band Sleater-Kinney has entered the studio to begin working on a follow-up to 2015’s reunion LP, No Cities to Love.

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