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New Music

Father John Misty Announces 'Pure Comedy' LP, Releases Music Video and Short Film

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

What do Donald Trump, Pepe the Frog, and the cruel, cruel miracle of birth all have in common? A six-plus minute music video from Father John Misty, of course.

Waxing philosophical on the existential absurdity of the human condition as only Joshua Tillman can, "Pure Comedy" combines idiosyncratic observationalism with soulful detachment in a way that is simultaneously earnest and composed.

Tillman takes the obligatory stabs at politics (Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them? / What makes these clowns they idolize so remarkable?) and religion (They worship themselves yet they're totally obsessed / With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits), but isn't afraid to start at the very beginning (The comedy of man starts like this / Our brains are way too big for our mothers' hips).

So appropriately his forthcoming record begins with this meandering title track. Pure Comedy is due out April 7 via Sub Pop, and so far it sounds every bit of the quasi-preachy-satirical masterpiece you would expect. Tillman explains,

Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like ‘love,’ ‘culture,’ ‘family,’ etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence.

Something like that.

The music video with its aforementioned eclectic cast features cartoons from Matthew Daniel Siskin and is accompanied by a 25 minute companion film directed by Tillman and Grant James. See both, along with the album art (also by Siskin) and tracklist, below.

father john misty pure comedy.gif

Pure Comedy

  1. Pure Comedy
  2. Total Entertainment Forever
  3. Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution
  4. Ballad of the Dying Man
  5. Birdie
  6. Leaving LA
  7. A Bigger Paper Bag
  8. When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
  9. Smoochie
  10. Two Wildly Different Perspectives
  11. The Memo
  12. So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain
  13. In Twenty Years of So

See more by Father John Misty here.

Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples Benefit ACLU With New Track "I Give You Power"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Arcade Fire have returned after two years of silence with a timely released anti-Trump anthem, "I Give You Power." The soulful call and response of the track features music icon Mavis Staples and continues the dark rattle and groove of the band's last LP Reflektor.

It remains to be seen if the track will appear on the full length record Arcade Fire have recorded and poised for release later in the year, though it appears to be a one off according to Win Butler's statements during the premiere on Zane Lowe's Apple Music’s Beats 1 show:

The song was made to come out now. That’s one of the beautiful things about the times we’re in — you can just put something out. It’s the eve of the inauguration and I think it’s easy to get sucked into sitting on the couch and checking your news feed and watching things on CNN, and we’re just musicians and the only thing we really have to offer is our music. I talked to Mavis last night and she said now more than ever we just need to hold onto each other. For us it’s a feeling of solidarity — to not feel powerless and focus on what we can do as individuals and try to do our part.

All proceeds from "I Give You Power" go to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.  Listen below.

Gorillaz Return After Six Years With Politically Charged Single "Hallelujah Money" on Inauguration Eve

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

In an age of campaign finance and special interest lobbying dismantling the fabric of Democracy we can at least find some respite and gentle comfort in the jarring reminder of "We are still human" nestled in the vocoder bridge of Gorillaz' first track in six years.

"Hallelujah Money" features the Mercury Prize winning Benjamin Clementine spinning a gloriously irregular (and not unlike Belave) gospel-turned-spoken-word delivery on Trumpian politics backed by choral chemtrails. From references to the refugee strawman as "Scarecrows from the far east" to comparing wall building to unicorns, it's the poetic truth to power only a cult virtual band could procure.

According to their Twitter and YouTube description, the Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett project drops this "lightning bolt of truth in a black night" "on the eve of the Inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump to serve as commentary on a politically-charged, historical moment. #wearestillhumanz" The accompanying visual directed by the band along with Giorgio Testi depicts La Candelaria brotherhood imagery and more projected on Clementine.

They say bad elections result in good art, and while healthcare could probably bring about that end far better, here we are. We'll take all of this that we can get.

Gorillaz are set to release a new record this year, though "Hallelujah Money" will not be on it.

Spoon Announces New Album 'Hot Thoughts,' Drops Title Track

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

The idea of a new Spoon record is a hot thought indeed, and following their top quality 2014 release They Want My Soul, Spoon has returned to "old friends" Matador Records to give us just that.

Due out March 17, the watercolor covered LP Hot Thoughts has a tracklist and title track available now, and, while there are no full tour details yet, they have announced a residency at their hometown SXSW festival in the days leading up to the release as well.

"Hot Thoughts" sees Spoon continue co-production with Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Tame Impala) for a jangly yet tight single unafraid to embrace danceability at no expense to rock sensibility. Listen below.

Hot Thoughts:

  1. Hot Thoughts
  2. WhisperI’lllistentohearit
  3. Do I Have to Talk You Into It
  4. First Caress
  5. Pink Up
  6. Can I Sit Next to You
  7. I Ain’t the One
  8. Tear It Down
  9. Shotgun
  10. Us

The Orwells' Fourth 'Terrible Human Beings' Single Is a Tribute to Pixies Frontman Black Francis

New MusicVincent BlackshadowComment
Photo by Yam G-Jun

Photo by Yam G-Jun

Charles Thompson IV, 51, also known as Frank Black— formerly known as Black Francis— has finally been granted a song in his namesake, joining his fellow cult heroes Alex Chilton and Grant Hart. After ascending to indie-rock royalty as the potato-shaped Pixies frontman, he infamously faxed his bandmates their walking papers and quickly released two mammoth solo albums, 1993’s Frank Black and 1994’s incomparable Teenager of the Year. (As is tradition, these masterpieces have received only a fraction of the worship they deserve, but that’s another story.)

There are few better candidates for a Black Francis tribute song than Elmhurst garage-rockers The Orwells. The two-and-a-half minute dedication, like many of the band’s songs, has a very Pixie-esque flavor. However, it’s very clearly an Orwells song, right down to the celebration of youthful debauchery (“We should hit it / I think they called the cops”) and the catchy, melodic guitar lines.

“Felt long overdue that we paid him some direct respect,” guitarist Matt O’Keefe explains. “We’ve been ripping him off for years, hopefully this chips away at the massive debt we’ve got to him.”

Fans of The Orwells are hungry as hell - It’s been two years since the solid Disgraceland came out, and one can only spin “Let it Burn” and “Who Needs You” so many times. Thankfully "Black Francis" and the other three singles from their forthcoming LP Terrible Human Beings (due out February 17 via Canvasback/Atlantic), promise more lighthearted ass-kicking is on the way.

It’s about time.

Listen to WHY?'s Second 'Moh Lhean' Single, "Proactive Evolution"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment
proactive evolution.jpeg

WHY? has followed their first Moh Lhean single "This Ole King" with a new lyric video for "Proactive Evolution" today, bringing us another step closer to the Yoni Wolf-led act's 6th LP which is due out March 3 via Joyful Noise.

The predominately percussive track is impeccably produced, the ending of which sees rolling electric guitar give way to a headful of Department of Eagles-esque background chatter. See tour dates and the video below.

The Shins Announce New Album 'Heartworms,' Release Tour Dates and Second Single "Name For You"

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Sometimes it's amazing to reflect on how abstract and seemingly random band names become unquestionably normal to us over the years. We give no second thought to Spoon being a music group first and a utensil second, and the oddly conflagrant face value of Arcade Fire is but a distant memory.

So too with The Shins, about as veteran an act as the indie circuit gets with any remaining relevance, can we take a moment to smile at their curious name with fresh eyes. "What's in a name?" is also the repeated question James Mercer asks in "Name For You," the second single from their finally announced fifth LP Heartworms.

Following "Dead Alive," "Name For You" is a sunny track dealing with labels and societal pressures on women today that does what Mercer does best; combining depth in meaning with a flawless pop exterior. There's still no release date, but the forthcoming record due out this year via Columbia now has cover art and some supporting tour dates, both of which you can find below after pressing play.

Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth Is at His Most Isolated and Brooding on New Single "Little Bubble"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Following the biting first taste of new music from Dirty Projectors that was "Keep Your Name," David Longstreth has released a second single from his still unannounced forthcoming release.

"Little Bubble" explores R&B-leaning tones with gentle piano and violin instrumentation over lines as bare and dark as "I wanna sleep with no dreams / I want to be dead." Alternatingly introspective and aimed outwardly to, assumedly, former partner and bandmate Amber Coffman, Longstreth both deals in themes of isolation and continues to be the only musician credited on the tracks.

Somewhat less cerebral and glitchy than usual, "Little Bubble" has an apparently solo Longstreth at his most straightforwardly brooding, and while Dirty Projectors are keeping the details close to their chest so far, it seems safe to say there is more to come in 2017.

WHY? Announces New Album, 'Moh Lhean,' Drops Lead Single, "This Ole King"

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Yoni Wolf and co. are back - WHY? will officially follow up 2012's Mumps, Etc. with forthcoming full-length, Moh Lhean, via Joyful Noise on March 3, 2017.

The first album recorded in Wolf's home studio since his 2003 debut, Oaklandazulasylum, and his first release since Testarossa, his side-project collaboration with Serengeti earlier this year, Moh Lhean looks set to be a forward-facing return to some familiarity.

The new record, co-produced by Wolf's brother Josiah, is introduced by lead single and opening track, "This Ole King." Filled with warm acoustic and xylophone melodies and vocal echoes, it's a lush track on the more organic side of WHY?'s instrumentation and delivery. "This ole king will be rising," Wolf sings with a somewhat uncharacteristically simple optimism. Thankfully the sentiment seems autobiographical.

Check out the the track and tour dates below. You can preorder Moh Lhean here.

Sykoya Combines With RJ Pickens for an Enticing Remix Of "Shiver"

New MusicNic Ten GrotenhuisComment

Chicago-based producer RJ Pickens has linked up with the London's vibrant indie pop act Sykoya for a remix of “Shiver," which originally appeared on Sykoya's Strange Night EP earlier this year.

The eerily beautiful vocals of frontwoman Anna Marcella blend excellently above the synth melodies and constant drum pulse while the electronic samples pair with their organic piano and bass to bring out a refreshing twist that makes “Shiver (RJ Pickens Radio Edit)” a track that you can dance to and also relax with at the same time.

RJ Pickens has been active in shaping Chicago’s dance scene with over 15 years of live DJ and production experience, during which he's supported Eric Prydz, Hernan Cattaneo, and Jody Wisternoff.

“Shiver (RJ Pickens Radio Edit)” is out today by Vested Recordings. Listen below.