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When the long-running British psychedelic-gospel institution Spiritualized unveiled the artwork for their long-awaited seventh album Sweet Heart Sweet Light, there were rumblings that — after years of seemingly loitering at the doorway to realms of consciousness most mortals will never reach — Jason Pierce had finally lost it. But like every piece of imagery associated with his band, Pierce (the creative force and only constant member of Spiritualized) had a clear vision for the hilariously baffling “Huh?” traffic sign that adorns his new one.
Last summer indie rock institution Matador Records turned more than a few heads when they announced that they had signed the adventurous Bay Area hardcore group Ceremony, known since 2005 for face-ripping shows and confrontational lyrics.
Stef Alexander lives in Minneapolis in what he calls a commune situation with nine people, and has turned down reality television offers from producers anxious to turn his life in to TLC fodder. If these producers had heard P.O.S.’s anti-materialism salvo “Fuck Your Stuff,” they would have known that he has very little interest in trying to achieve someone else’s version of success.
Hospitality’s 2008 EP earned plenty of “band to watch” notices for the trio’s knack for sneaky hooks and scene-setting lyrics. But the blog-buzz-band game can be a fickle one, and artists that get attention for a hot mp3 or two face an implicit pressure to get the full-length to market as soon as possible. Which didn’t happen until last week, when Merge released their self-titled debut.
When Santigold released her self-titled debut, Barack Obama was still trying to win the Democratic nomination, pop singers didn’t work with underground producers like Diplo, and the woman born Santi White was still calling herself Santogold.
Dimitri Coats is not a punk, but he plays one on record. As the frontman for the L.A. band Burning Brides, Coats was known for dreamy, classically-mined alt rock that took cues from Dinosaur Jr. and the Cure. But he’s gained much greater recognition in the past few years for channeling the spirit of rage-filled hardcore punk in the group OFF!
Chris Martin once told Newsweek Magazine that he has an unrequited love affair with Thom Yorke, a man who once dismissed Martin’s band Coldplay as lifestyle music. “I’m in love with a lot of things. Some of those things love me back. And some of them don’t — and one of them is Radiohead.”
We’ve seen a lot of David Bowies over the years. He got his start as David Bowie the Joni Mitchell Superfan in 1967, but two years later he was David Bowie the Space Cadet. There’s David Bowie The Man Who Fell To Earth and David Bowie The Plastic Soul Crooner. There was David Bowie The Drum ’N’ Bass Early Adopter and David Bowie The Hones-To Go-Top 40 Star and even David Bowie the Midlife Crisis Noise Rocker. Some of his guises defined styles, and many of his approaches to art and music will still be influential 100 years from now.
My proposed topic for a TED Talk: 100 years in the future, long after we’ve all uploaded our minds into our iSingularity Pods, China has bought California and gluten has been outlawed, serious young bands will still be copping moves from Joy Division.
Last week Guided by Voices — indie rock legends released Let’s Go Eat the Factory, their first album since reuniting in 2010. And lo, it was very good. (More on that in a sec.) Bands get back together to play live seemingly all time usually around April or so, when Coachella happens. (Glad to have you back, Refused and At The Drive-In.)
There’s a scene in the third season of Mad Men where Don Draper visits his colleague Pete Campbell to convince him to join his new, rogue firm. Before Pete even considers the offer, he demands that Don genuflect before him. Campbell was feeling unappreciated, and he craved credit for his contributions to the firm. He wasn’t wrong to want this, necessarily, but his need for validation made him come off — yet again — as deeply unsympathetic.
Aspiring rappers take note: the next time you’re trying to unload your mixtape on the street, Tom Scharpling is an easy mark. “I can’t say no, so I have a pretty substantial collection of crummy rap in slim CD jewel cases,” says the beloved WFMU DJ and video director. Scharpling’s admiration for the hip-hop hustle provides the basis for his new clip for “Easy” by fellow Jersey boy’s Real Estate.