Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow.
Go to his website and read interesting things: BryceTaylorRudow.com
There’s a lot of music (AND A TICKET GIVEAWAY!) in the column this week, plus I’m still basking in the pride of finally finishing a 7,000-word guide on how completely fucked up the Darren Wilson/Ferguson case was handled from a legal perspective (and why white people still don’t get it).
That means no introduction this week except for a plea for you to educate yourselves and read:
Non-Indictments for the Well-Intentioned, Semi-Informed Layperson: Part 1, The Darren Wilson Case
Killer Mike of Run The Jewels thinks it’s well written, so there’s that. No big deal.
Yeah right. That is a huge fucking deal. Time to go listen to “Blockbuster Night Pt. 1” on repeat.
On to the music!
- D’Angelo – Black Messiah
What do you say when basically out of the blue, an album that has been 14 years in the making pops up and makes itself available to stream at your leisure? And what do you say when it actually ends up living up to the lofty expectations set for it?
Nothing. You let D’Angelo speak for himself (via the liner notes of the album):
“Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We Should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.”
Until recently, my dream 30 For 30 Short: Music Edition would have been about the “Untitled” music video and how it affected D’Angelos career in the long-term. Now, thanks to this savior of an album, that’s just a 3-5 minute segment on his ‘Behind The Music.’
PS: This album is going to help mark the dividing line between ‘Outlets Who Released Their Best-Of-2014 List Too Soon’ and those that were patient enough to at least wait until halfway through December, just in case something like this happened.
- James Murphy – Remixes Made With Tennis Data
If you’re an LCD Soundsystem/James Murphy fan, you’re probably at least aware of 45:33.
For those that aren’t, it was a 45-minute, 33-second track that was commissioned by Nike and Cornerstone (a ‘creative lifestyle marketing’ agency) to accompany jogging workouts. It was built, according to them, “to read and push at good intervals” and had been refined after several runs on a treadmill.
Now this is a very cool concept and 45:33 is a fun listen (plus it birthed the sublime “Someone Great”), but it turns out that this was all bullshit.
In an interview with The Guardian a not-so-short while later, Murphy confessed:
“Well I lied. I made 45:33 for Nike and I don’t even jog. I said I did but that was a total lie. I just wanted to make a record like E2-E4 by Manuel Göttsching. I was mourning that fact that music had changed and you could no longer make a record like that. I could have taken that into EMI but it’d be a bit pretentious. People expect songs. I wondered how I’d ever find the time and justification to do something like that, and that was perfect.”
Shocking, I know. Go listen to this great remix of “Your Love Away From Me”/Track 2 from 45:33 and take some time to digest it if you have to.
Now, with that in mind, let me present to you Remixes Made With Tennis Data.
It is James’ upcoming album (out December 19th) in which Murphy partnered up with the US Open and super-conglomerate marketing agency Ogilvy to turn the oodles of data recorded during last year’s US Open tennis matches into bleeps and bloops that could then be set to a beat and packaged as an innovative approach to making music or something.
When this project was first announced, they released a snazzy trailer that did a great job not actually showing anything of value in between the random clips of James Murphy talking about making music creatively, images of instruments and computers near each other, and FLASHING CAPITALIZED TEXT, but the truth is, if you find yourself jonesing for an LCD fix, these remixes aren’t a bad methadone.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUkwbsd-NcA
- Modest Mouse – “Lightshades On Fire”
Modest Mouse is back!
This is big news for yours truly, as they are probably my favorite band when all is said and done — if you’re younger than 25, please go back and listen to their pre-Good News For… discography so that you don’t say anything stupid — and they haven’t released a full album since 2007’s spotty-at-best We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
Granted they have been playing this song live for about 3 years now and the best thing you can say about it is “this sounds like a not-bad, not-great Modest Mouse song,” but that doesn’t change the fact that on March 3rd, we will have a 15-SONG, DOUBLE-LP from Isaac Brock and company that was worked on with Big Boi from Outkast.
Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) April 27, 2011
And if that’s not enough, here’s a cover of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” they did that you’ve probably never heard.
- Goldroom – TICKET MOTHERFUCKING GIVEAWAYYYYY (airhorn soundzzzz)
I know I don’t do a lot of shameless giveaways in this column and I know I’ve never even mentioned Goldroom (aka Josh Legg) before, but last week PR Person You Can Trust Nancy Lu asked me if I would be interested in doing a ticket giveaway for Goldroom’s show at U Street Music Hall on the 18th (meaning Thursday night) and I figured why not.
However, since I know nothing about this browave synth-pop wonder/I’m a jackass, I made a deal with Nancy that I would only do it if she answered a few questions about Goldroom so that we could all get a better sense of this up-and-coming LA artist…
If Goldroom were two of my favorite synth pop acts mixed together, what would they be?
Nancy: Rolling with the tough questions right out of the gate Bryce. I’d say Panama and St. Lucia because I love both those artists for their ability to create memorable melodic synthpop, which I’d say is something Goldroom also does quite well.
[Editor’s note: For all aspiring PR professionals, notice how she didn’t really say anything while still promoting the material? Take notes.]
If instead of being named after a gold room, this project’s name was comprised of a beach-related word and a random animal, what would it be?
Nancy: Bungalow because it’s fun to say and a dolphin because he’s smart but occasionally attacks humans.
What three songs of Bungalow Dolphin should I play on repeat so I don’t feel lame when he plays them?
Nancy: I imagine that Goldroom will be throwing down his latest single “Til Sunrise” since that was a pretty big hit and spawned a gazillion remixes. If he doesn’t play the original on Thursday night, expect him to give one of the remixes a spin. You can check out a few of them here. I would also check out “Embrace.” You’ve probably heard it before if you’ve ever stepped inside H&M or an airport; it’s pretty much playing everywhere. Finally, take a listen to Goldroom’s remix MO’s “Don’t Want To Dance” and tell me that it doesn’t make you want to revolt and dance anyway.
TO WIN THE TICKETS: Tweet the link to this article to @brycetrudow and @goldroom, and maybe say something nice about us? It couldn’t hurt your chances.
GO TO THE SHOW ANYWAY: U Hall, Thursday (tomorrow) night, get tickets here.
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
AURAL FIXATIONS WITH FRIENDS: Meredith Whitfield Edition
Editor’s Note: Meredith has guest written us before, and when she comes across good new music, she tweets it at me aggressively. She’s also much cooler than she lets on.
- Natasha Kmeto
Hey, it’s Meredith again. Remember me from last time? The uncool one? Don’t worry, I’m still needlepointing napkins for Christmas gifts on Friday nights and faithfully tuning in to Jeopardy! every evening I’m home, but fortunately for this column, I live with someone who is cooler than I am.
And that someone took me with him to see TV On The Radio at 9:30 Club a few weeks ago, where I was fortunate enough to arrive early enough to see a lady and a laptop stride onto the stage toward a clutter of faders and turntables and newfangled gizmos in preparation for her opening bill. The last time I was at 9:30 Club was for tUnE-yArDs, so I figured this was a good sign. I like ladies with laptops.
This particular lady set up her turntables and opened her laptop, the shell boldly adorned with the sort of simple letter stickers you’d use to identify your mailbox number: K-M-E-T-O.
And then this lady Opened. It. Up.
I felt her beats rumble up through the floor, the bass displacement rattling my epiglottis (always the sign of a good time). She carefully built an undulating pattern of beats, tones, loops, and effects to wash through each new track, flowing deep into gooey, dark territory and ebbing easily back to spare snaps and hand claps, dangling me by a hook. I wanted more. I wanted to give her all my bones and lie on the dirty floor. The only other musician I’d give my bones to is Colin Meloy, and come on, that’s not remotely the same.
I practically melted when she performed “Prideless,” a song foundational in spare ambience, finding a tension against Kmeto’s crystalline voice and meandering melody. However, overwhelmingly, the most affecting song she performed that night happens to also be the title of her forthcoming LP: “Inevitable.” Trust me, the lyrics are just as affecting when you hear them back home (38 times over, according to my iTunes Play Counter). I suppose you’d call what Kmeto does electro-soul, but that’s only because electro-stare-here-at-my-spurting-heart-I’ve-laid-it-here-before-you is too cumbersome.
Kmeto ended her set covering Nine Inch Nails’s “The Only Time,” which I loved, and would have loved as much as everyone around me… if I were cooler. However, as a youth unwilling to venture into anything musically darker than Pink Floyd — an aversion stemming from a deep fear of old bat-eating Ozzy Osbourne — I remain disadvantaged.
Still, as her last tone faded, I exchanged exhausted, excited glances with the people around me, most of whom began to seek Kmeto out on Twitter as soon as the cliche out-of-place filler music 9:30 Club plays in-between sets started to fade in.