Have you ever seen a concert that’s been put on by a single person? No, by that we don’t mean a “solo artist,” someone who’s got a bassist, a drummer, and a roadie or two to get their guitars tuned for them in between songs while they preen behind the mic. We mean someone who, quite literally, stands up on stage all by their lonesome, setting up their instruments and pedals, then performing with nary another individual on stage, then tearing it all down at the end of a set. It’s an incredibly vulnerable position to be in, both as a performer and as an audience member, and a stark and intimate way to take in a performance.
We mention all this because we caught Teeth & Tongue‘s set at Piano’s in New York’s Lower East Side last night, one in which she performed all the duties mentioned above, PLUS playing the keyboard, drum machine and the guitar. Teeth & Tongue is the musical project of 31-year-old Jess Cornelius, who hails from Melbourne, Australia and is currently wrapping up her current North American tour. We caught a few minutes of her set at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival a few weeks back, which was intriguing enough to get us to brave the crisp chill in the air last night to see her showcase her talents.
Teeth & Tongue has a beguiling, sultry sound, one that to this listener lies somewhere between Cat Power and Bat For Lashes. She’s got a real knack for setting the scene in her songwriting, and has a novelist’s gift for conveying the kind of minute details in her lyrics that really put the listener in her head space. Take her confessional breakup song “Unfamiliar Skirts”, for example, a song that’s ostensibly about a couple that’s on one of those ill-fated “breaks.” It contains emotionally raw lyrics like “They all have long eyelashes that drink compliments like dew” and “You can seek forgiveness in their muscles and their thighs,” phrases that read like poetry and take on a heartbreaking quality when paired with her expressive voice and feedback-laden guitar accents. Check out what we mean in this video for the song, her first single off Tambourine (now available on Spotify), her second full-length album.
Chances are viewers are drawn to Mob Wives every Sunday night to catch the explosive drama, tears and laughs (courtesy of Big Ang) that our favorite Staten Island ladies never seem to run short of. This week was no different as we watched Carla’s warm reunion with ex-husband Joe, newly divorced Drita’s fledging dating attempts, and Big Ang opening up about her tumultuous marriage. However, it was the scene where Renee is shown quietly lamenting Junior‘s distant behavior that seemed to really resonate with the Mob Wives audience this week. Her loneliness and vulnerability in this scene is brilliantly emphasized by the accompanying music, Gary Clark Jr‘s “Things Are Changin’.”
The scene opens with footage of desolate locations around Staten Island, as the sun sets we hear Clark’s smooth R&B vocals over the gentle plucking of a jazzy guitar. As we transition into Renee’s home, we find her lying in her bed almost cradling herself. It seems she and Junior have hit a crossroads again after discussing the future of their relationship. As she explains, “Something just don’t sit right. I just don’t feel right. It just feels so unfinished…” A shot of Junior driving away highlights the increasing distance between them. The lyric “Things are changing now and I can’t tell/Where I’ll be from here on out/Ooh it’s hell” poignantly accentuates the uncertainty of their relationship.
Madonna joined Twitter using the handle @MadonnaMDNAday for one day only yesterday to promote her new album MDNA, and it could not have been a more fruitfull stunt.
Not only did Madonna manage to cool Deadmau5‘s anger for what he saw as encouraging drug use, she may have booked an opening act for her upcoming tour. When asked by a fan for her opinion on Justin Bieber, Madge responded: “He’s awesome. I’m a huge fan. I love it when he raps.” The Biebs, who’s bringing sexy back with his new single “Boyfriend” (let’s call him JB), responded to Madonna as any tween sensation would: “Seeing that is a huge honor. Yours is a career artists dream of. Congrats on the new album!” Madonna then upped the ante in the twosome’s love fest by tweeting, “Come and join me on stage when I’m on tour when we are in the same city and congrats on your new single.” Is this Madonna’s way of ensuring her popularity with the prepubescent set?
MAD MEN STAR JESSICA PARÉ DROPS HER FIRST SINGLE
Denizens of the Internet have been frantically searching for “Zou Bisou Bisou” and “Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo” all day long, and AMC —ever the smart media entity— has decided to strike quickly on the popularity of the saucy, French language striptease anthem. You can now buy an mp3 in the iTunes store or even buy it on vinyl. Sexy lingerie probably not included. [InSound]
DR. DREW WARNS ABOUT REPEATED EXPOSURE TO MDNA
It’s no surprise that Madonna is pulling out all the stops to promote her new LP, MDNA. It is a bit of a surprise, though, to see Dr. Drew starring in a viral video warning about the druggy side effects of listening to the record. Trust us, you don’t wanna cross Deadmau5, bro! [YouTube]
If you were playing Family Feud and the category was “Iconic Bridges of the USA,” the top two answers on the board would almost certainly be San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge. This thinking almost certainly went into play for this weekend’s aptly named Bridge Session benefit concert, which saw San Francisco’s own Bob Weir (of Grateful Dead fame, natch) team up with a cadre of Brooklyn indie rockers from bands like The National, The Walkmen, and Takka Takka for a series of collaborative songs from these bands’ catalogs.
If you think about it, though, the Bridge Session is not just a literal reference to a structure that rises over the water. If you stretch the Bridge reference into more metaphorical territory, one could infer that music itself is a bridge that connects generations — in this case, the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
Regardless of what the gents intended to convey with the name Bridge Session, the results were magical. This supergroup played two sets, which included covers of Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time”, and Cass McCombs‘ “Love Thine Enemy.” In between sets, a discussion panel took place where they covered everything from politics, energy production, women’s rights, and everything in between. After taking questions from Twitter and Facebook, the lights were dimmed and they performed a 2 song encore acoustically, including the version of “Uncle John’s Band” we have for you above!
Madonna‘s 12th studio album, MDNA, just came out today and it’s already the #1 selling album in the iTunes Store. The critical consensus on the record, however, is decidedly mixed. We’re excited to give it a few spins after work tonight and decide for ourselves, but in the interim, here’s a taste of what some of our favorite music publications and critics have to say about Madge’s new jawn. (We already know what Deadmau5 thinks!)
“MDNA is a collection of thoroughly pumping pop tunes, some of which are slices of sheer brilliance. Not only does Madonna take us to the club with MDNA, she exhausts us, drains us, and confides in us.”—Keith Caulfield’s review for Billboard
“Madonna’s in a rapturous state of mind in 2012, and in more ways than one: A bulk of her latest album, an incredible, varied collection of pounding club cuts, bloody revenge odes and swinging, psychedelic ’60?s-tinged anthems, seems to be tripping out on acid–or, more accurately, ecstasy … MDNA is an incredible, explosively defiant record, but also [one that contains] unexpectedly raw, introspective balladry, all of which showcasing far more vulnerability than one might have concluded from the album’s two lead singles.”—Bradley Stern’s review for MuuMuse
“In fact, much of MDNA has more the flip zip of a disc by Katy Perry or Ke$ha than something by a woman who may be older than both their mothers … So many good tracks crowd the disc, in fact, that even the four extras on the deluxe version rate as must-owns.”—Jim Farber’s 5-star review for the New York Daily News
“Madge spends nearly half the album insisting that this is the Best Party Ever … So it’s surprising that Madonna is at her best on the love songs. The W.E. ballad ”Masterpiece” (which won her a Golden Globe in January) begins with Spanish guitar and a finger-snap rhythm — a refreshing break from the relentless bass throbbing.”—Melissa Maerz’s B- review for Entertainment Weekly
This hot button issue was on the top of everyone’s mind at this year’s SXSW Festival, where the worlds of technology and music collided for a few days earlier this month. Spotify executive Sean Parkerexplained during a VH1 Rock Docs panel audience that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
But what do the musicians themselves think? We sat down with a number of artists at varying stages of their careers —veteran acts like Train, The Shins, and Keane, as well as relative newcomers like Alabama Shakes, Best Coast, Fun. and Gary Clark Jr.— to get their perspectives on this controversial subject. Find out what they have to say in this exclusive VH1 Tuner video!
One would think that a world-famous DJ who wears a Mickey Mouse hat and spins electronic music against a backdrop of psychedelic lights would not object to a pop star like Madonna making a drug reference. With Deadmau5, not the case. Making a surprise appearance at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival on Saturday to introduce the ultra-hot Swedish DJ Avicii, Madge asked the audience: “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” Molly is a slang term for MDMA (found in ecstasy). The crowd cheered while Deadmau5 took to his Facebook page:
HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???” such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. quite the f’n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! f*cking cant smack my head hard enough right now.
It seems to us that Deadmau5 has as much of a problem with Madonna trying to be hip by referencing ecstasy as he does with the reference itself. Madge, of course, has a long history of stoking controversy at just the right moment, and she does have an album to promote, MDNA — short for Madonna or a drug reference or both?
Fireside fondue, Buzz Lightyear cosplay, and mad disposable income: These are three things that you would be privy to if you agreed to let the barely legal Justin Bieber be your boyfriend. How do we know this? He tells us all of these things in song in his brand new single “Boyfriend”, which dropped at midnight last night. It’s a decidedly more adult Bieber that we’re hearing this time around; gone is the pip-squeaky, soaring upper register voice that bazillions of tweens went B-A-N-A-N-A-S for when My World hit the scene a few years back — he now raps (yes, raps!) in a voice that is leagues huskier than his fans are used to, but don’t get it twisted, it’s not like he’s morphed into Joe Cocker territory. (It should be noted that Biebs does go full falsetto in portions of the song’s chorus.)
So, will this song be a hit? Um, DUH. The song was produced by Mike Posner —which accounts for the song’s Timberlakeian charms— and sounds a bit like The Ying Yang Twins “Wait (The Whisper Song)” if it were imbued with the acoustic guitar flourishes of JT’s “Like I Love You.” Even more promising is the fact that the lyrical subject matter is something that will, as they say in politics, play to his base. We asked eons ago if Mike Posner was going to be the new Justin Timberlake, but it now appears that Biebs is gunning for that crown. We’re pretty sure that Posner isn’t sweating it, though, as he’ll be cashing some The-Dream sized paychecks for co-writing this one with The Biebs, which makes it a win/win for everyone.