baby elephant

Over the Weekend (Aug. 31 Edition)

News, new music, and new videos to help you start the week…

When the Eagles of Death Metal first debuted in 2004 with Peace, Love, Death Metal, it would have been hard to believe that the side project of Josh Homme fronted by Jesse “The Devil” Hughes would still be around over a decade later.  But sure enough, the guys are set to return this fall with the cleverly-named Zipper Down, and last week they released a video for the track “Complexity”.  It is the perfect match of ultra-serious post-punk black-and-white aesthetics and ultra-goofy scuzz rock.

The craziest news of the weekend was an Instagram post that showed a member of the Wu-Tang Clan in the studio with a legendary film composer, as GZA shared a picture of him working with Vangelis.  This unique collaboration is sure to produce some memorable results.

Television audiences will get the chance to see another exceptional team-up in a couple of weeks, as Run the Jewels is scheduled to perform with TV on the Radio on Stephen Colbert’s version of the Late Show on September 16.

There are hundreds of other sites that you could visit to get a rundown of what happened at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, including Kanye’s acceptance of the “Video Vanguard” award, but we would like to share with you a bit of news about Mr. West that probably was not discussed at the VMA’s.  Kanye is set to do a special show at the Hollywood Bowl to perform his album 808s & Heartbreak in full, marking the first time that he would produce a live show from the unique record infamous for its heavy use of autotune.

Lou Barlow has been an integral part of several significant groups that helped shape the alternative music for decades now (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Folk Implosion), so it is always worth checking out whatever it is that he records.  NPR has the stream for his newest solo albumBrace the Wave, available for streaming this week in advance of its September 4th release.

Finally, have some fun with this short video of Damon Albarn performing the song “Mr Tembo” in front of its namesake, an adorable baby elephant.  Contrary to the reports of the Stereogum reporter, it seems rather obvious that Mr Tembo appreciates the performance.

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Over the Weekend (May 19 Edition)

We’ve got a lot of fun videos and other distractions for your pre-Memorial Day week, so let’s get going.

First, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah released an intense and haunting video for their new single “As Always”.  The song is an interesting change in direction for the band, with spare guitar melodies filtering in and out of a spectral synth track, and propelled by a galloping drum track that stutters a bit with its inventive use of ghost notes.

Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and even more groups) released his solo debut Everyday Robots a few weeks back, and while we’re still processing the spare and melancholic nature of the album, that hasn’t stopped Damon from releasing a video for one of the more upbeat tracks on the album.  He released a video for “Mr Tembo”, a song about an orphaned baby elephant he met in Tanzania, and the video features clips of the little guy in action.  I think this is one of the few times I would prefer less footage of the musicians, just so we can get more baby elephant scenes.

AllMusic conducted an interview with The Dandy Warhols, where they do the usual thing of talking about influences and songwriting goals, which actually are rather revealing when you consider the trajectory of their career.  In addition, they have the premiere of the lyric video for their classic “Bohemian Like You”.  It’s actually the version from their recent release Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia Live at the Wonder, and features some goofy animation.  So, there’s that.

Last weekend’s Saturday Night Live had one of my favorite sketches of the season, with an Andy Samberg Digital Short that was a vicious parody of the inherent ridiculousness of the current EDM scene.  Radio.com picked up some of the reactions from various famous DJs, and many seemed to enjoy the joke, though who knows how many thought that they were not themselves the target.

SPIN has an article talking about the first public performance of the reunited Slowdive and includes some video footage from the secret gig.  It’s great to see the band together again, though expectations should be tempered a bit considering the (understandably) low quality of the footage.

And finally, we have a little bit more chart fun, as Concert Hotels came up with an interactive chart comparing vocal ranges of various singers from different eras.  Some of the results may surprise you.