New Jersey punk rock band Titus Andronicus have always been as ambitious as they were aggressive in their fiery punk revelries. Fronted by songwriter Patrick Stickles, the band is no stranger to concept albums, producing a Civil War themed record in 2010. This month, though, the band is taking things to a whole new level with the forthcoming release of The Most Lamentable Tragedy.
Clocking in at over 90 minutes and packed with 29 sprawling tracks, the group’s latest self-described “rock opera” is poised to become one of the most challenging and talked-about records of the year. Thematically the band says the new record plays out like a piece of long-form fiction. From a press release they describe the plot:
TMLT concerns an unnamed protagonist whom we meet in deep despair. Following an encounter with his own doppelgänger (an enigmatic stranger, identical in appearance though opposite in disposition), long held secrets are revealed, sending our protagonist on a transformative odyssey, through past lives and new loves, to the shocking revelation that the very thing that sustains him may be the thing to destroy him.
That’s some heavy stuff right there. The Most Lamentable Tragedy comes out on July 28. Below you can stream the new album via NPR, and in September you can see the band when they perform at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
Yo La Tengo, the Cure, and total world destruction; these are a few of my favorite things. Which is why this new video from prolific New Jersey rock band Yo La Tengo seems almost too good to be true. The long-time trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew are known for their unbelievable ability to play ANY song by request, and their upcoming covers album, Stuff Like That There, tackles classic songs by everyone from Hank Williams to the Lovin’ Spoonful and re-works their own tunes, culled from a 30-year career in music.
Set for release at the end of August, the album also features a demure cover of popular ’80s hit “Friday I’m in Love” by British new wave icons the Cure. And now, Yo La Tengo present that song’s bizarrely hilarious official video. It’s a tale of woe, as singer Georgia Hubley wanders the streets collecting nicknacks while an invading force of extra-terrestrial hearts pummel mankind into the stone age. I love it!
Los Angeles singer/songwriter Jake Smith has spent the last decade roaming the wilds of America’s clubs and venues under the moniker the White Buffalo. Through his wanderings, Smith is more like a lone wolf, stalking up and down the highways of America and slinging his hearty acoustic roots rock. Tonight, he returns to City Winery in Napa for a solo performance that will feature a slew of new songs from his forthcoming album, Love and the Death of Damnation.
Recently, the White Buffalo announced that pre-orders of the new record are available with plenty of bonus goodies thrown in to sweeten the deal, like behind-the-scenes looks of Smith making the record, alternate versions of his songs and more. Smith’s new music has also been the subject of an ongoing online documentary series from Ernie Ball capturing his songwriting and recording in an intimate studio space. Check out one of webisodes below and head to Napa tonight to catch a glimpse of the White Buffalo for yourself.
City Winery Napa, 1030 Main St, Napa. 8pm. $18-$22. 707.260.1600.
Noah Benjamin Lennox is best known as a member of experimental indie rock group Animal Collective, and under the pseudonym Panda Bear, Lennox has evolved considerably as an electronic artist with a pitch perfect penchant for expansive melodies in his sampled beats. This week, Panda Bear released his fifth solo album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, to universal acclaim; and today at noon tickets go on sale for Panda Bear’s upcoming concert at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma on April 16. This is a great chance to see the indie star in the intimate setting of Gun Bun’s newly restored Old Redwood Barn. Click here to grab tickets to the show, and watch the official video for “Mr Noah,” the first single off the new album.
“Weird” Al Yankovic is turning into a fantastic insult comic.
He has released two videos so far from his latest album, “Mandatory Fun,” and aside from being spot-on parodies of two of the most popular songs of the year, they are beautifully dickish in an inarguable way.
“Tacky,” a riff on Pharrell’s “Happy,” highlights the terrible fashion trends of Crocs, stripes and plaid, and the idea of taking selfies with the deceased at a funeral. The video features several comedians, mostly notably Jack Black, who is tacky defined with his high-waisted pants, rhinestoned fanny pack and obsessive twerking. It does such a good job of pointing out the stupidity of all these actions and looks, that anyone finding themselves associated with anything mentioned in the song should feel immediate and extreme shame. Then never do that thing again.
“Word Crimes,” a take on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” is basically Yankovic being a grammar Nazi. Dangling participles and contractions aside, he belittles those who use numbers for letters and single letters for full words (unless you’re Prince). It’s sweet release for that inner word cop that wants to spring out and beat the mob of uneducated slobs senseless with their own words. Yankovic has saved us much embarrassment and heartache.
The videos are part of his 8 videos in 8 days project, which in itself is a riff on Beyoncé’s latest release. Bey put out an album of 15 songs and 17 music videos available only on iTunes in December, with complete secrecy before its release. It sold a million copies in less than a week. Yankovic will release a full album in physical form, but has hinted that this album, the last under his current record contract, might signal a change. He says on his blog that he’s “weighing his options.”
Here’s hoping those options include a deeper delve into insult comedy.we
Trebuchet, one of Sonoma County’s most wonderful bands, is recording a followup to their self-titled debut album. Hopefully, this one will be filled with just as much reflective storytelling and beautiful vocal harmonies as their first effort. The 10-song full-length record will hopefully be released in the fall, says drummer and recording engineer Paul Haile, who was recording drum tracks in Santa Rosa today with bassist and guitarist Navid Manoochehri. Judging by the drum tracks, it sounds like this album will feature a larger sound, maybe with more punch and, if possible, even more emotion than the previous one.
It’s also supposed to hit 97 degrees today, so maybe the tracks recorded later in the day will be more subdued.
Retro “pause tape” edit as intro—words from different sources spliced into a coherent sentence, like three kinds of adhesive tape used to wrap a Cartier bracelet. “Therrr es Love n Oooyou.” So far, much different than “A Joy,” the leadoff from Everything Ecstatic, and thus welcome. No one would file this in ‘Electronica.’
Rubbing it in: the sound of R2D2. Take that, Krohn. Processed hi-hats essential for that “chase scene” feel. Slow build with dope rubber-band bass, vocal loop fading, snares popping in to check on the bird just when you’d forgotten. Ways to get lost to the third power.
Would be hard to peg this as Four Tet until it starts harping on me, vintage Hebden. Taking the candy away as soon as it’s spiraled around the lips. How does one gate a synth? Suddenly I realize that the whole picture isn’t a picture. Match the edges first, then fill in the field. Coffee table’s out of commission for weeks.
If the pleasure of something is in its anticipation, and one is in control of crafting their desires, the world should theoretically be a wellspring of happiness instead of an assemblage of threshing machines ready to chew up the next mystery.
A slightly more pensive Four Tet, this one. I approve.