We’ve heard plenty from Lily Allen since she releasedIt’s Not Me, It’s You in 2009, but not very much of it was music-related, because that, the big mouth songstress said, she was done with. Except apparently she’s not.
Last night Allen announced on Twitter that she is back in the studio, thus ending her self-imposed hiatus. “you will be pleased to know that i am currently in the f****** studio with [It's Not Me, It's You producer] @GregKurstin so SHUT UP PETER!” she wrote, countering a from the site PopJustice about her paused career and breaking the news in one tweet. “No big deal really,” she clarified. ”im just throwing shit at the wall and seeing if anything sticks.” But for eager fans, any news of new music is good news enough.
Allen has kept plenty busy in her break from music: she launched a clothing rental store with her sister; started her own record label, a Sony imprint called In the Name Of (Brooklyn’s Cults were her first signee); and, after suffering through several very public miscarriages, she gave birth to her first child, Ethel Mary.
Music sounds better in the summer, everyone knows this. It gets bigger, so we can bang it from our cars; and other times it gets weirder, because the sun’s got us spinning anyways. Most of all, the promise of Labor Day —when we can put away our ”Call Me Maybes” with our white pants— begs repeat listening. Thusly, if you need me, I’ll be listening to one of these Song Of The Summer this summer:
NOMINATION: Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend” EXPLANATION: So what if it’s not really “chilling by the fire while we’re eating fondue” season? There is nothing this season so sweet as this falsetto bridge “I like to be everything you want / hey girl let me talk to you.” While being a little amateurish, his breathy rapping recalls the Ying Yang Twins’ “Whistle Song” in all the right ways; and the Justin Timberlake-like guitar picked chorus isn’t so bad, either. Read more…
Speaking with DJ Funkmaster Flex last night on New York City radio station Hot 97, Clipse and G.O.O.D. Music rapper Pusha T let it slip that Cruel Summer — the G.O.O.D. Music all-star compilation that Kanye West has been teasing since last fall — is set to drop later this summer. “August 7, G.O.O.D. Music compliation coming August 7,” he said. “So fitting, right? Cruel! Stifling!” Pusha, tell us more!
Be warned that, as we learned last summer with Watch the Throne, these sorts of album releases don’t always go as planned. That said, Kanye has been teasing this album since last fall, and the lead single “Mercy” has seen heavy-radio rotation already this summer. A summer without the rest of Cruel Summer would be cruel indeed.
Pusha also used the call to address rumors of a Clipse split (“We definitely coming back with another Clipse album”), and he also called “Ghoulish,” that Lil Wayne’s dis track, “trash.”
Michael Kiwanuka swung by the Late Show with David Letterman last night to share with the late night audience the indelible talent that we were so lucky to have experienced live last week. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a soft-playing backing band, the British singer performed the doleful “I’m Getting Ready.” With a voice soft and soulful beyond its 24-years, watching this made us wish that Kiwanuka would sing us to sleep everynight.
And we suspect we are not alone in that longing. For one, John Mayer – surely a man in the singing song/writing business worth wooing – was impressed. Or, rather, he was “dumbfounded.” “What a voice. What a song. What a vibe. What a soul. What a message,” he wrote breathlessly (or as breathlessly as one can write) on his Tumblr, thusly deeming Kiwanuka “a revelation.” Who are we to disagree?
A$AP ROCKY WILL PLAY JFK IN LANA DEL REY AKA A$AP JACKIE O’S “NATIONAL ANTHEM” VIDEO Not so sure about this plan? “People are going to get it in three years, and that’s the whole purpose of it,” he assures. [HipHopDX]
With or without the facepaint, Cincinnati indie-rockers Walk the Moon‘s “Anna Sun” sounds like a party. More specifically, the sort of party we want to drive us into the melting 90-degree days that are upon us. The lead single off their eponymous new album —which hit shelves yesterday— – “Anna Sun” takes its name from a professor at Kenyon College who was inspiring, lead singer/keyboardist Nicholas Petricca tells us, and it tells a story about growing up. The song mourns a race lost, a house falling apart, an a time when summer could erase it all. And then, over sun-drenched synths, the chorus signals a charge regardless. “We’re gonna rattle this ghost town,” Petricca sings in a falsetto that recalls the Killers’ Brandon Flowers. And “Anna Sun” is going to rattle our summer.
In the video for “Anna Sun,” Walk the Moon used facepaint to give the project a feeling they describe as “Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Neverland sort of vibe.” Forever after, though, it’s like the paint hasn’t quite washed off. Instead, it’s kind of become their thing. “We tried to recreate the video in a live setting, and it was just so much fun that we did it again and people started coming to shows in facepaint,” Petricca says, warning also that unknowing concert-goers might get a pre-show, endoctrinating slather. “It’s kind of a thing to get you energized and ready to go,” explained bassist Kevin Ray.
Despite performing on the Late Show With David Letterman AND in front of a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, these four Ohio boys showed up to our Times Square offices bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And soon as the driving beat of “Anna Sun” hit, we fell immediately into the performance, which was pared-down slightly from the album version — less synth, more thump, all the same soaring energy. “We want it to be fun,” Petricca says. ”We want the record to be a party as much as the concert is.” The facepaint may be optional, but the fun? That’s inescapable. Read more…
Brooklyn-based indie rockers Dirty Projectors dropped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night to play the lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” off the forthcoming Swing Lo Magellan, which is out July 10 on Domino. As Fallon points out, this was their first live appearance in more than a year; and moreover, it was for many a first taste of Dirty Projectors sans wily vocalist Angel Deradoorian, who is on hiatus from the band. No fear, though! A shaggy looking David Longstreth took reign over a pared down backing band (drums, bass) and a gaggle cooing back-up vocalists, leading a performance of the new song so sharp with focus that it penetrated the airwaves and had us at home completely gripped. Stillness of course being their move, the song builds through soft, harmonizing ”oohs,” but never triggers. And for that, it’s all the more powerful. Read more…
BET AWARDS GET G.O.O.D.
Kicking off their Cruel Summer, Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew will join Usher, Nicki Minaj, and Chris Brown (not an award show does he miss!) as performers at the 2012 BET Awards on July 1st. [RapFix]
27,000 CARLY RAE JEPSEN FANS HAVE DOWNLOADED A SONG CALLED “HERE’S MY NUMBER SO”
Do the knock-off versions of songs that float around on iTunes mess with sales? Clearly the answer is yes! [Billboard]
Believe —Justin Bieber‘s second full-length album, which is out today on Island Records— is a bid bid by a teen star aiming for continued relevance. Will the kids still love him? Can the adults love him, too? Will this be an acceptable substitute for another Justin Timberlake album that will probably never arrive? The critics, all too old to be count themselves as Beliebers, are split:
“Bieber has had to go through cultural puberty and actual puberty — a tough gauntlet by any measure. Luckily, his instincts (or at least the instincts of the small republic of people employed to steer the USS Bieber) are strong, and Believe works surprisingly well as a reinvention and a reintroduction. It’s the rare album that tries to be everything to everyone and largely succeeds.” – Kyle Anderson’s B+ review for Entertainment Weekly
“I let down my hair…and got in touch with my inner tween. And then a funny thing happened: I kind of fell in love. Which is pretty much the point of the whole album.” — Melissa Locker’s review for Time
“Bieber seems to be staking a place in pop history. There’s the Timberlake nod of ‘Hey Senorita’ on ‘Take You,’ a Prince homage (“We all party like it’s 3012 tonight”) plus a shout-out to Beyoncé’s beginnings with the words: ‘You can be my Destiny’s Child’. The blissfully descending melisma of a five-syllabled ‘die’ in ‘Die in Your Arms’ sounds like a forgotten Jackson 5 gem. In fact, the track samples Michael Jackson’s ‘We’ve Got a Good Thing Going’ and bonus track ‘Maria’ is another MJ-esque treat – a paternity-protesting song to file right next to ‘Billie Jean.’” — Hermione Hoby’s 4-star review for The Observer
After six years in record label limbo or hiding or love and hearbreak or anywhere but the spotlight, Fiona Apple has returned. Her much-anticipated fourth album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, is out today, and it has critics pretty universally in awe. Here are some of the nice things they’re saying:
“The stories do say something about obsession and control, and are indicative of how exacting an artist she is. After four albums in sixteen years, Apple has racked up maybe five bad songs, total. “Idler Wheel” is less crammed with detail than her last record, Extraordinary Machine, but it has the same effect: once heard, a song lodges in the mind, melodies take root, and words loop of their own accord. It is an astonishing album. ” – Sasha Frere- Jones’ review for The New Yorker
“This is the most distilled Fiona Apple album yet … It’s an old-school approach, though it rises well above mere sepia Instagrams. Instead of being far-off and dreamy, her throwback moves are the opposite– intrusive, corporeal. This is not background music. It demands attention. ‘Look at! Look at! Look at! Look at me!’” – Ryan Dombal’s 9.0 review for Pitchfork Read more…