M.I.A.

Over the Weekend (Nov. 30 Edition)

New music, new videos, and other fun stuff as you recover from the holiday weekend…

The music world continued to respond to the tragic events in Paris earlier this month, including a touching message from Eagles of Death Metal themselves.  Other bands have shown their support by playing EoDM songs at their own concerts, including this Pearl Jam cover of “I Want You So Hard”.  EoDM has responded to these efforts by asking others to play “I Love You All The Time”, with the band then donating the royalties.  My Morning Jacket fulfilled the request at a recent show in New York, and Consequence of Sound has the footage.

Eagles of Death Metal also sat down for an emotional interview with Noisey, though it may be too soon for some fans to watch.

David Bowie recently released a bonkers new video for the title track off his upcoming album Blackstar, and though Mos Def & Talib Kweli do not make a cameo appearance, the bizarre sci-fi vignettes are worth watching regardless.

M.I.A. also released a controversial new video for her song “Borders” from the upcoming Matahdatah, featuring a cast of dozens of refugees.  You can view the video in the link above, since this YouTube copy will probably be taken down in the near-future.

Walter Martin is continuing his solo career during the hiatus of his former group The Walkmen, releasing the easy-going folk song “Jobs I Had Before I Got Rich & Famous” from next year’s Arts & Leisure.  In a fitting gesture, he first released the song through his LinkedIn profile.

Coldplay has probably the last big release of this year, with A Head Full Of Dreams coming out on Friday.  The first single is the soaring “Adventures of a Lifetime”, accompanied by a video featuring computer-animated gorillas, because why not.

Finally, The Verge alerts you to a new Sony website that allows you to mix Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, which should be a great way to waste some time this week.

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Catching Up On The Week (Mar. 20 Edition)

Some #longreads as you enjoy the first day of spring…

Most of the music world spent this week dissecting and analyzing Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly, a record that will singlehandedly keep the thinkpiece industry afloat for the next several months.*  We are going to be judicious in our selection of Kendrick-related material to link to in the near-future, but we imagine that this piece from Stereogum highlighting the important contributors to the record should be worth your while.  We cannot offer the same judgment for Rolling Stone’s upcoming cover story, since the magazine has only released this short preview.

However, Rolling Stone does have an extensive interview with M.I.A., revolving mainly around the ten year anniversary of her debut album, Arular.  As is the case with most interviews with M.I.A., this feature goes all over the place and explores a variety of topics, in alternately entertaining and confounding ways.

Speaking of ten year anniversaries, Stereogum has a profile on Picaresque from The Decemberists.  It’s an uneven essay, with an oddly revisionist bent about the music scene from the previous decade, though it does take the time to acknowledge how this was the beginning of the influential band’s musical peak.

Earlier this week we shared one introductory course in understanding Modest Mouse, and today we have another courtesy of the AV Club.  Unlike the Consequence of Sound piece which focused on songs, Primer focuses on the essential Modest Mouse albums and examining them in context.

Over the Weekend (Mar. 9 Edition)

News, new music, and videos as you adjust to daylight at strange hours this week…

We had been passing along scraps of news and filtering through rumors for months, even relying on shaky fan-shot videos, but we finally have new music from My Morning Jacket.  Last week, the band released the joyous “Big Decisions” from their upcoming album The Waterfall, which is set to hit stores in early May and is the first of two planned releases from these recording sessions.

We probably could have fit the MMJ news into last week’s post, but we have no excuse for neglecting to share Built To Spill’s new song.  The multi-part guitar-centric “Living Zoo” from the upcoming Untethered Moon sounds like classic Built To Spill, which is undeniably a good thing.

The biggest news of the weekend however was probably the announcement of the release date for Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to the brilliant good kid, m.A.A.d. city, and luckily it is only two short weeks away.

Our regular readers know how difficult it is to pass up on any Spoon news, so they shouldn’t be surprised that we’re linking to their performance from “The Takeaway Show”.  It is definitely worth watching this unique, intimate performance as Britt presents stripped-down versions of “Inside Out” and “I Just Don’t Understand”.

If there was any song that required a thirty-minute analysis of its musical structure, it’s probably “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.  Luckily, a video of such analysis exists.  There are probably worse ways to kill half an hour, but then again, the very fact that we mentioned the song means you’ll have it stuck in your head for at least that long anyway, so you should probably learn the reason why.  After the lesson, treat yourself to the “literal version” of the video.

Most cat owners are aware that their feline companions do not particularly care for music, and probably chalked up the reason as to the fickle nature of the cat.  However, The Atlantic has alerted its readers to some important research that has taken place that has determined that it is in fact possible for cats to enjoy music.  They just don’t like most human music.

And finally, enjoy the latest track from M.I.A.–after initially informing fans that she would release “All My People”, she switched gears and offered the groovy, mid-tempo “CanSeeCanDo” instead, a song that fans of Matangi should appreciate.

Catching Up On The Week (Feb. 27 Edition)

Some #longreads as you contemplate what happened to February

Not a lot happened this week, but this Pitchfork exploration of the little-known connection between M.I.A. and 90’s punk rockers Elastica was an interesting piece and a highlight of the week.

The music press community has been buzzing these past few weeks about the release of legendary critic Robert Christgau’s memoir, on which Deadspin provides some commentary while Rolling Stone interviews the “Dean” himself.  Personally, I understand his importance to the field of music criticism, and appreciate the fact that he championed some worthy acts over the years, but I often found his writing itself as too clever by half.

Consequence of Sound interviews Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips frontman focuses their discussion on love.  I would assume that the site’s editor was disappointed that they ran this piece two weeks after Valentine’s Day.

The AV Club takes a look at Nas’s follow-up to his legendary Illmatic, which gave him his first taste of commercial success even if it didn’t measure up artistically to his debut, as well as providing its readers with a Primer on 80’s UK Synth-Pop for some reason.  One of these pieces is more essential than the other.

And finally, for those of you who are the sort of people who plan things, Consequence of Sound ranks the summer festivals so you can adjust your schedules accordingly.

Catching Up On The Week (May 2nd Edition)

We’ve got some nice, light articles for you this weekend, mirroring the gorgeous weather we’ve been experiencing this week (at least here in the Pacific Northwest).

Last week we had an article that provided some interesting trivia about Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, and this week we have an article about its successor band, New Order.  The AVClub has an article about the single “Ceremony”, which bridged the two bands.  Kevin McFarland makes a convincing case for how the song provided an effective transition between the two eras.

The Wild Magazine has an extended interview with M.I.A. that’s worth checking out.  I didn’t get a chance to post anything about Matangi in the 2013 roundup, but I enjoyed the album and felt that it was a significant step up from its predecessor, MAYA.  But now I have a great excuse to post the video for “Bad Girls”, because it’s pretty damn cool.

Steven Hyden listened to the new Damon Albarn solo album, and while he hasn’t completely accounted for his sin of choosing Oasis over Blur in the mid-90’s Britpop battles, he does use the occasion to ponder why there aren’t any big band beefs any more.  Let’s just hope that this eventually leads to a listen of Parklife at some point.

The Flaming Lips recently fired long-time drummer Kliph Scurlock from the band, and Pitchfork has a message from Kliph that explains the situation and dynamic in the band.

And finally, great news for those of us in the Northwest, as the Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden/Death Grips touring juggernaut announced additional dates in Sacramento, Portland (actually Clark County in Washington), and Seattle.  It feels good to not dread making a trip 800 miles down I-5.

Over the Weekend (Mar. 17 Edition)

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, with interesting stories and cool videos to start off your week, though we should note that not one of these items is St. Patrick’s Day-related.  We hope it’s an enjoyable holiday regardless of this fact.

The biggest news of the weekend was the announcement of a joint Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails tour, a possibility that we mentioned previously.  That’s a fantastic double bill by itself, but the addition of Death Grips as the opener should definitely be an extra incentive to catch the show if it comes near you; unfortunately, with no Oregon show, I may have to make arrangements to head down the coast and see the spectacle somewhere in California.  I’m using the Pitchfork link just so I can point out that Pitchfork’s weekend writers apparently cannot spell “amphitheater” correctly.

Speaking of Soundgarden, many people are aware that drummer Matt Cameron had been splitting time between his old band and Pearl Jam.  With Pearl Jam still touring, Soundgarden needed a replacement and found…Matt Chamberlain, one-time drummer for none other than Pearl Jam.  Chamberlain’s stint with the band was very brief, basically just around the time the “Alive” video was shot, before he moved on to working with the Saturday Night Live band.  As Antiquiet reports, Matt is filling in on the early 2014 dates, and it is unknown who will be behind the kit for the tour with Nine Inch Nails.

Franz Ferdinand recently released the music video for their latest single from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, for their song “Fresh Strawberries”.  The album didn’t seem to make much of a dent here in the States, which is a shame because it was one of my favorites of 2013.  Then again, I have had a greater appreciation for their post-debut work than most people.  Also, don’t miss the video for the b-side, “Erdbeer Mund”.  It’s German, and it’s bizarre–a bit redundant, I know.

Another band that had a huge debut in the early part of the last decade, Interpol, is putting together material for a new album to be released soon.  Pitchfork has video of a couple of the new songs that debuted last night here, though don’t expect the highest possibly quality that bootleg video can offer.  It’s good to hear Sam rip it on the drums again, as he does on the track “Anywhere”.

A couple of other short articles worth checking out are a piece questioning the purpose of SXSW and an interview with bassist Billy Cox, who worked with Jimi Hendrix both in the Experience and with Band of Gypsys.  The SXSW article raises a lot of interesting questions regarding the conundrums facing the festival as it continues to expand, and how it conflicts with their initial mission.  Left unsaid is whether or not is the significance of the festival in the digital age we live in, where it’s easier than ever to hear new music or even hear about new bands.  I’m not sure if there are any bands that actually break through at SXSW without initial buzz to begin with or a significant push after the fest.  As for the interview, it is always worth reading what a great musician has to say, especially one that spent so much time with Hendrix.

For your ridiculous news item of the day, I present to you the NFL.  Yes, the NFL is apparently still angry at M.I.A. for her “gesture” at the Super Bowl.  Not only that, Deadspin says they’re making a ridiculous claim for restitution, to the tune of $15.1 million.  There’s no way in hell the NFL could ever prove such losses, and to ask M.I.A. to make that kind of payment is insane.  There’s your quality legal analysis of the day.

Finally, let’s all get to work on fulfilling our nation’s greatest need: more mind-blowing guitar solos.   That should keep us busy through the week.