For fans all across the land, all is right in the “Wide World of Wilco”. The recent news that the band’s upcoming release Wilco (The Album) was exciting enough. I, for one, particularly enjoyed the eponymous nod to themselves, and the fans, with their Stephen Colbert-debuted “Wilco (The Song)” — how cute. Now, throw in the little nugget that the “The Album” will feature Feist on the track “You and I” and this album is due for lots of worthy hype when it drops on June 30th. I’ll hype it indeed.
So, shortly before its release, Wilco have thrown another log onto the fire with a cover of the Woody Guthrie classic “Jolly Banker”. It’s no surprise at this point that Wilco are heavily influenced by Guthrie, having dropped two albums at the beginning of the decade with British folkster Billy Bragg of reworkings of unfinished Guthrie tunes.
While those two pieces were in large part thankful to the Woody Guthrie Foundation giving Wilco and Bragg the license to put music to Guthrie words, the now topical, well-timed release of the Depression Era “Jolly Banker” is a chance for Wilco and fans to give back to the Foundation. It’s a gentle folk-rollicker featuring Ms. Feist banging away on a drum, so reminiscent of those past Mermaid Avenue albums, but still very much in the new Wilco format a la Nels Cline’s gorgeous guitar work. Get the track for free, or with a well-deserved donation to the Woody Guthrie Foundation, at Wilco World.
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band return to the States (well, just barely) to record the follow-up to the former Bright Eyes lead man’s self-titled 2008 release Conor Oberst. The new album, Outer South, was recorded in pretty much the most outer-south you can get (wordplay!), among the cacti and shrub of El Paso, Texas. The new sounds drop on May 5th, but right now you can stream them in full length at NPR.org.
Cool jackets, Mr. Oberst. That press photo is so Reservoir Dogs meets We Are Marshall…
Oh…hell…yes. So Sonic Youth is back in 2009, and I’m not sure whether its my need for something new/old, or my always urgent need to unleash the punk beast inside, but the first single from their 16th(!) release The Eternal has got my blood boiling. “Sacred Trickster” clocks in at a whopping 2:10, but Sonic Youth has always been a band that can take the smallest of spaces and cram in an orchestra of noise. Now, many will say that they yearn for something in the vein of SY classics Sister and Daydream Nation, complete with grand, sweeping avant blasts of No Wave, but frankly, this isn’t it. In fact, if anything, this first single suggests that they’ve managed to write songs with hooks hookier than Goo, and depth depthier(?) than Dirty. Though considering that Thurston Moore claimed to take lots of inspiration from black metal, the rest of the album is anyone’s guess. I mean, Sonic Youth could noise jam the phonebook and I’d still be interested, and of course, bloggers everywhere would lose their shit.
The ever-eternal Sonic Youth release The Eternal on June 6th on Matador.
Sonic Youth – Sacred Trickster
Sonic Youth’s Website
You might have thought that Baked Beans was gone, alas, it is not. In fact, it is a risen zombie, and is now the second worst music blog on the entire intertron, set out to devour all previous thoughts on what a good publication should/would look like. In light of that, I don’t think there could be any better way to reanimate than with a post about the new(ish) metal band Werewolph, and the adjoining picture on the left. They’re incredible and will cause you to evaluate everything you thought you knew about death metal, which for some of you, is probably very little outside of your dying passions for Motorhead (ACE OF SPADES!!!).
But, if you thought that was all this post had to offer, you’re quite wrong. Consider this your slightly-less-funny-than-actual-April-Fools-Day-jokes post-April Fools day joke. Sorry. This is just Ryan Adams goofin’ around, though it’s actually not too bad, if you’re into rippers about fighting the undead at the Gap, “human Chick-fil-A’s”, and evil witches. Because in this economy, aren’t we all? Enjoy the fury here: werewolph.com.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious infatuation with Robyn, Sweden’s pop princess export. She’s versatile, super-talented, and collabs on some of the hottest tracks to come out of Scandinavia. Just last year Robyn had fellow Swedish beatmaster Andreas Kleerup craft a song for the US release of her much-anticipated album. It was, for me, one of the best songs of the year and really became a dance club hit around the world. So, Robyn is great, that’s for sure. Now, Norwegian duo Royksopp are hitting the North American shores with soon-to-be-released Junior. If the first single, “Happy Up Here”, was any indication of just how spectacular the new effort was going to be, then the unexpected will be blown away with Royksopp’s invitation for Robyn to tell the story about “The Girl And The Robot”. Ha, like a storyteller. The track is sure to be another club banger, framed with a really dark, gothic intro and a beautiful strings-led ending. She loves a robot, which of course, breaks my heart, but it doesn’t keep me from dancing, and neither will it you. I should be getting paid for my Robyn obsession. Enjoy!
Royksopp – “The Girl And The Robot (feat. Robyn)”
So we’re officially a month from a little Austin shindig that you might have heard of before: SXSW. I’m pretty geeked because besides being a shit-ton of bands coming through this year (obviously), there are a lot of great bands at that. And some big, big names to boot. As we get closer to the kickoff (March 18th), I’ll post some bands that I’m particularly going to try to catch.
I think that there is some legitimate trepidation these days when a band is compared to Arcade Fire — there seem to be plenty of unworthy comparisons thrown around these days to bands without the gutsy panache Arcade Fire had when Funeral released. London’s Fanfarlo, however, will draw immediate comparisons to both Funeral-era Arcade Fire and Beirut, but they exist outside of that widely-thrown blanket. They blaze with the anthemic capacity of the Canadian folksters and the pop-sensibilities of Snow Patrol, though their tunes still seem fresh, unheard-of. They’ll be releasing a brand new album, Reservoir, on a short tour with (who else) Snow Patrol around the UK before setting their sights on Austin in March. Reservoir should be a huge hit for these guys, and I’ll be sure to give a review right here.
Fanfarlo – I’m A Pilot
Fanfarlo – Luna
I think at this point it would basically be redundant for me to express how excited I am to see Grizzly Bear coming through Austin. In part because it’s pretty neat to see that a band that’s as widely-known as they are at this point is still coming to SXSW, but also because 2009 is set to be “Year of the Grizzly Bear” all over again. Exciting times! The Brooklyn guys recently announced the May 26th release of a new album, Veckatimest, and yours truly could not be more excited.
Grizzly Bear – While You Wait For The Others (Live On KCRW)
In my desperate attempt to catch up with the many things I missed over the past week or so of being a terrible music blogger, I thought I’d drop in a few recent things before dropping in some upcoming things. The internet never takes a day off, though I certainly do more often than not! Here We Go Magic is Brooklynite Luke Temple’s new solo project through which he’ll be releasing a self-titled LP on February 24th. The album already sounds like an absolute winner, with leading single “Tunnelvision” a striking trip on psych-folk that pulses with a hypnotic, dark undercurrent. Oh, and the video does a pretty good job of making you feel that way, too.
Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision