Saturday, April 28, 2018

Live Review: Peter Hook & The Light at Brooklyn Steel

There are artists that wish they could find success in one outlet but the rare instance they find glory with two is enough to cement their place as iconic.

For Peter Hook, the former bassist of Joy Division and New Order, acclaim, success, and hits is what anyone in any musical outlet today wish they could have. To prove this, Hook and his band, The Light returned to New York City for the first time in over a year-and-a-half to display the power of songs he created in his two previous bands with a packed gig at Brooklyn Steel.

The British musician has been touring the work of Joy Division and New Order yearly since 2010 in North America and in between, Hooky has released two acclaimed books about the live of both of the acts, and through that, he has connected with his audience on levels that have not been done before because now it is personal.

The fans now know his side of the story and see how accessible the music pioneer has been this decade and now he is seeing the reward with his largest solo show ever in the Big Apple.

Over 2,000 fans packed into the Brooklyn warehouse Friday night to hear the Substance record, which is the hits of Joy Division and New Order, come to life. It is part dance party, party trip down memory lane, and part awe inspiring that an arsenal of this many quality of songs he was apart of writing.

Opening the show with a 90-minute New Order set, everyone from all age ranges inside the venue were ready to shake off the worries of the work week and get ready to open their weekend. Dancing to tunes like "State of the Nation," "Age of Consent," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "True Faith," "Blue Monday," and "Temptation."

Hardly addressing the crowd in between songs, Hook just let the music do the talking and kept the tempo up before a brief intermission.

After returning to stage, he realized they didn't do "Too Late," which addressed and then performend before kicking into his Joy Division set.

For the first time in 8 years, his son, Jack Bates, is not touring with the band due to fulfilling a duty as the new bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins, something Hook joked about.

"My son is not with us tonight because he has gone off to join the fucking Smashing Pumpkins," the Manchester man said. "How ungrateful kids can be these days?"

His latest bassist, Hook says, had to learn 40 songs in a week, and has not skipped a beat.

Doing an hours worth of Joy Division material which included "Transmission," "Warsaw," "Shadowplay," "Isolation," "Dead Souls," "She's Lost Control," "Atmosphere," and the closer, "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Ending the night on the high in which he did, everyone inside the massive and overheated venue left with pleasure they had known and expected to have.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Parquet Courts on 'Ellen'

Watch Parquet Courts perform "Wide Awake" on Ellen.

Questlove Guesses Prince Tracks on 'Fallon'

Roots bandleader Questlove took a break from playing drums on The Tonight Show and sat down with Jimmy Fallon where the host quizzed the Prince fan and music expert on song titles from the Purple One by playing one-second, half-second and quarter-second samples of Prince songs as Questlove attempts to guess the correct tracks.

Run the Jewels on 'Colbert'

Watch Run the Jewels perform "Thursday in the Danger Room" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Andrew W.K. on 'Conan'

Watch Andrew W.K. perform "Music is Worth Living For" on Conan.

Listen to Nas 'Live at the Kennedy Center'

In 2014, Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut, Illmatic, with a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The performance was released this year as a Record Store Day vinyl and as a PBS special. Now, you can listen to the whole performance online.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The English Beat Announce 1st Album in 36 Years!

In June, The English Beat will release their first album since 1982 called Here We Go Love. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below:

1. how can you stand there?
2. the one and the only
3. redemption time
4. if killing worked
5. here we go love
6. never die
7. the love you give
8. you really oughtta know
9. you're stuck
10. every time you told me
11. dem call it ska
12. drive her away
13. be there for you

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Prince's Estate Release Original Version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U'

For the first time ever, Prince's estate released his original 1984 version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" which he wrote and recorded but never put out on his own. In 1985, the song was released by The Family, a Prince-formed and sanctioned band, then in 1990 the song exploded thanks to Sinéad O’Connor. Take a look and listen to the "Purple One" and The Revolution playing the song along with rehearsal footage which has also been unearthed for the first time.

Ben Gibbard on 'Conan'

Watch Ben Gibbard perform an inclusive version of The Beatles' "And I Love Her" on Conan.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

GHOST Announce New Album

Ghost will release their new album, Prequelle, and will arrive in June. 

The album is a bit different than most records from the Swedish metal band as singer Papa Emeritus has converted himself to Cardinal Copia.

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and the video for "Rats:"

1 Ashes
2 Rats
3 Faith
4 See The Light
5 Miasma
6 Dance Macabre
7 Pro Memoria
8 Witch Image
9 Helvetesfonster
10 Life Eternal

SZA Brings Out Kendrick Lamar at Coachella

During her Friday night set, SZA brought out Top Dawg top dog Kendrick Lamar. Take a look!

Jack White on 'Fallon'

Jack White appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday and spoke with the host. Take a look.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Kamasi Washington Details New Album

Kamasi Washington took to social media on Monday to announce his new album, Heaven and Earth.

He also posted about what the project was about on Instagram, see above. The double-album arrives in June.

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below:

I. Earth:
01 Fists of Fury
02 Can You Hear Him
03 Hubtones
04 Connections
05 Tiffakonkae
06 The Invincible Youth
07 Testify
08 One of One

II. Heaven:
09 The Space Travelers Lullaby
10 Vi Lua Vi Sol
11 Street Fighter Mas
12 Song for the Fallen
13 Journey
14 The Psalmnist
15 Show Us the Way
16 Will You Sing

Monday, April 9, 2018

Manic Street Preachers Detail New Album

The legendary Manic Street Preachers will release their new album, Resistance is Futile, on Friday. 

Of their first new recordings in four years, the band said in a press release: “The main themes of ‘Resistance is Futile’ are memory and loss; forgotten history; confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration. It’s obsessively melodic - in many ways referencing both the naive energy of ‘Generation Terrorists’ and the orchestral sweep of ‘Everything Must Go’. After delay and difficulties getting started, the record has come together really quickly over the last few months through a surge of creativity and some old school hard work.”

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and watch the video for  "International Blue."

1. People Give In 
2. International Blue 
3. Distant Colours 
4. Vivian 
5. Dylan & Caitlin 
6. Liverpool Revisited 
7. Sequels of Forgotten Wars 
8. Hold Me Like a Heaven 
9. In Eternity 
10. Broken Algorithms 
11. A Song for the Sadness 
12. The Left Behind

The Nectars Announce Debut Album

New Jersey buzz band The Nectars will release their debut album, Sci-Fi Television, in May.

“Sci-Fi Television is our cumulative answer to the last 60 years of rock music, dissected on our alien operating table," says the band in a press release. "Immensely personal and sometimes profoundly goofy, we wrote these songs as an attempted escape from all the real life monsters surrounding us. What we didn’t realize initially was isolating ourselves from the turmoil of news media left us alone with an entirely different beast. Ourselves. Picking apart the bad habits of our 20’s through song brought clarity to our band message. Profound societal change begins from within. There’s no hiding from yourself. With that in mind we’re abducting Rock N Roll, and never bringing it back. Enjoy.” 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and watch their video for "I Want It."

1. Holy 
2. Heaven 
3. Cemetery Girl 
4. We Will Run 
5. I Want It 
6. Don’t Panic 
7. Lights Off 
8. Tame 
9. Tired

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Royston Langdon Discusses New Project LEEDS

In the over 20 years Royston Langdon has been making music, he has made it for himself and whatever band he has been in but has never crafted a tune for his own sake. This spring, Langdon, who will go under the moniker LEEDS, will release his solo debut, Everything's Dandy.

The former Spacehog frontman and Arckid member has been living in New York City for over 20 years and while he was born in Leeds, England, the Big Apple has been his home longer than many would imagine. He told Officially A Yuppie that the record is "not about NY anymore than any other of my records are. It's about where I am now, at the place I find myself. Wherever I go, there I am. It's a lateral look at myself within the city I suppose but it isn't about NY parse. If you listen to it, that will become obvious I think."

Langdon aka LEEDS spoke to us about his new record, his former projects, and what it means to do it on his own.

You are going under the moniker LEEDS as an homage to you hometown, why are you not using your name? 

It's not really an homage to my home town. It's more of an effort, and I recognize perhaps ironically, to avoid immediate association with my past. Also, 'LEEDS' is what I often find myself answering to the first or second question I'm asked once I've opened my mouth. 'Where you from?' Seems interesting to me that these are common conclusions being made here nevertheless.

Do you intend to tour or have a full band with you at any point? 

I'd love to tour. Will have to wait and see if the music connects with people enough to initiate that sort of engagement. I think it would probably make most sense for me to tour solo at first, get the ball rolling. Ultimately though, the songs really do need to be performed with a band to make them come to life the way I made them on these recordings.

The songs are so much more personal than anything you have ever written, what prompted you to craft this record after nearly 30 years in the music business? 

Thanks very much. That's always the goal for me. Being vulnerable isn't easy. Making music is ultimately compulsive for me. After a while of leaving it on the shelf so to speak, it starts to compel me to take it down and make something. It's a natural part of me. It would be a disservice to myself to avoid that indefinitely. It can comes at a high price though, to do it wholly.

The big misconception many have about you is that Spacehog formed in the UK then once you broke big in the U.S. you stayed in the city but that wasn't the case at all. How did it all work out? 

I came to NY in '94, way before Spacehog, to visit my brother, Antony who'd been living in NY for a year at that time. I came for two weeks, for a holiday and to spend time with Ant. I fell in love with NY on the taxi ride from JFK. Two days before I'd arrived, Ant met a guy called, Jonny Cragg (a drummer from Leeds) who was working in a cafe on 2nd Ave in the East Village. Once here, Ant was very keen that I should stay and that we should start a band. At the time I was in another band in the UK. I was sort of fed up of music. My brother can be very persuasive and the truth was that my band in England was not that good. I stayed. Ant and I began auditioning drummers. Jonny was the second. He was the best I'd ever heard. Within a few weeks I'd gotten a lucky break by securing and internship at a recording studio, Baby Monster. I loved this job. I got to be around The Ramones, Dinosaur Jr. Sonic Youth, Pavement. Soon I was making a small wage. The real beauty was that I had access to the studio at night. I spent all my time there making songs after hours. So Spacehog was very much formed and then signed within NYC.

Spacehog reunited in 2008, is there talks about a new album soon?

 I was never happy with our third record and so I wanted to go out with one that sounded improved. There are no plans to do anything in the future.

One of my favorite projects you did was Arckid, I must have seen nearly every gig you did in NYC in your short run. What ever happened with that project and will the songs you released ever see the light of day? Could a reunion ever happen? 

Was bad enough been in Spacehog with one Langdon brother. Working with two brothers was like the musical equivalent of a freak yachting accident waiting to happen every minute. Volatile. There were some great songs though. And a great video for 'I'll Stick Around'.

You have been in New York so long that it is certainly not the same city you arrived when you got here. What do you think of the change? Does New York City still excite you? 

NY's always been changing and it always will. Rapidly. In that sense it remains exciting and vital. The influx of global money especially from the finical sector has made the artist community suffer and diminish, certainly from how it was when I arrived in 1994. And so there are things that one misses of course, like certain places, some of the characters etc. that lack in that economy was paradoxically good for the economy of artists and art. Now, it's so much harder than ever to survive here as an artist. I do think NY will suffer a dilemma of identity within this paradox at some point. Though barring an Apocalyptic event, it will always remain one of the great social hubs of the planet. Aren't we humans physically social at heart?

The latest collection of songs you kept private from many people, why was that? 

I was working on the business side of the music business. I wanted to keep the focus on helping other artists ford the many challenges of necessary change the internet heralded to the old form of the industry. However, it was useful to stay connected to my personal creative expression of choice, music but only for personal reasons, i.e. so that I could remain honest and fulfilled even within that less creative environment. Would have felt like a conflict of interests were I to be sharing my own work whilst working on behalf of other artists. I respect the art form too much to do that.

After all these years making music and seeing the business and landscape change, is everything dandy? 

'Everything's Dandy' is an effort to speak to our societal propensity towards upholding the 'dreamland' we've made. The fake version of society which is now impossible to see beyond. I wanted to express the beyond, for me personally. I've been through a lot. I've been forced to change or die. I've had to let go of a hell of a lot. People, places, things. My dreams. Innocent dreams of being in bands. The broken dreams of my family life. The idealized dream of my country subjugated by a Wall Street Government. The American dream. There's sorrow there but in a way that's also still just old joy. There's a deeper peace in the acceptance of that. What IS is now, and that's way more fulfillment than I've ever known and so yes, everything is looking dandy. It's wonderful to be in this position I am with my insights I have at my age. I've still so much to do and so little time.

What advice do you have for any up and coming artist today? 

Get a good lawyer.

Johnny Marr Announces 3rd Solo Album

In June, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr will release his third solo album, Call the Comet. 

"Call The Comet is my own magic realism. It’s set in the not-too-distant future and is mostly concerned with the idea of an alternative society. The characters in the songs are searching for a new idealism, although there are some personal songs in there too. It’s something that people like me can relate to," he said in a press release. 

1. Rise
2. The Tracers
3. Hey Angel
4. Hi Hello
5. New Dominations
6. Day In Day Out
7. Walk Into The Sea
8. Bug
9. Actor Attractor
10. Spiral Cities
11. My Eternal
12. A Different Gun

Ben Howard Announces New Album

In June, Ben Howard will release his new album, Noonday Dream via Republic Records. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below:

1. Nica Libres At Dusk
2. Towing The Line
3. A Boat To An Island On The Wall
4. What The Moon Does
5. Someone In The Doorway
6. All Down The Mines (Interlude)
7. The Defeat
8. A Boat To An Island Part II Agatha’s Song
9. There’s Your Man
10. Murmurations

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Arctic Monkeys Announce New Album


Next month, Arctic Monkeys will release their first album in five years -- Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and watch the album trailer. 

01 Star Treatment
02 One Point Perspective
03 American Sports
04 Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
05 Golden Trunks
06 Four Out of Five
07 The World's First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip
08 Science Fiction
09 She Looks Like Fun
10 Batphone
11 The Ultracheese

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Rising Artist: Goat Girl

London continues to be a breeding ground for influential indie rock and in turbulent times it simply crafts some of our greatest artists. This latest band is no exception and is proof of the continuing tradition of great acts to come from across the pond. Goat Girl are the band that defines our current times. The South London four-piece combine the guitar work of The Smiths as well as the girl power of The Breeders and the playful but quirky folk attitude of The Roches.

This week, they will release their 19-song self-titled debut and made their way to SXSW where they took Austin, Texas, by storm. “Simply put, it’s an album that comes from growing up in London and the first-hand experience of our city’s devolution,” say the band in a press release about the record.

“We wanted to think of it as this place seen not necessarily just through our eyes, but someone who can’t get past the abnormalities and strange happenings that exist in our city. We think this gives the freedom lyrically and musically to explore unspoken truths and emotions that we all as humans feel.”

This is a band that will have all of the taste makers of the years talking and one you want to jump on now.

Gang Of Four Detail Anti-Trump EP

Later this month, Gang of Four will release their brand new 4-song EP called Complicit

The EP features Ivanka Trump on the cover and no surprise, the collection is an anti-Trump array of tunes. 

"When we think of ‘the media’, everyone has lots of ideas about what we mean. It could be social media, where hundreds of memes criss-cross the world; informing, misinforming, beginning or reinforcing ideas that may last a lifetime and beyond. Ideas about Jews, Muslims, or, say, the world trade centre or perhaps, the criminality of certain American politicians. And then there is the receding traditional media with disappearing jobs like ‘journalists’ and ‘fact checkers’. That’s the media the Trump family despise," guitarist and founder Andy Gill says of the song, "Ivanka" which is featured on the album. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below:

    1. Lucky
    2. Ivanka (Things You Can’t Have)
    3. I’m A Liar
    4. Lucky (10 O’Clock Chemical Remix)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Underrated Classic: The Roches 'Nurds'

In the early 70s, long before the trio of sisters in HAIM were dominating the airwaves, a three member sorority from New Jersey was turning heads with their quirky and oddball lyrics and alternative take on folk music. The Roches, formed by three sisters, Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy, released a string of albums during their heyday but their third album, 1980s, Nurds, heard them becoming more off the wall and unique than ever before. The Irish-American sisters never strayed from their roots and they took the music of their heritage and found a way to make it punk and rather nontraditional and the best use of that came on Nurds. The 10-song record, which was an inside look into their mind, made listeners and critics rather frightened by the disturbing images they portrayed in their lyrics.  On "The Death of Suzzy Roche," Suzzy writes about her own demise and on "My Sick Mind," the sisters discuss what it is like being a woman in the early 80s and having to make sure they need to look their best at all times or else they will be judged. On "This Feminine Position," the sisters sing about being with a man and what their past sexual exploits while letting him know he might not be as good as he thinks he is. It was music way ahead of its time and in the wake of the "Nasty Woman" movement, these three ladies were showing how it was done with songs that will still resonate nearly 40 years later. Nurds peaked at 130 on the Billboard album charts but for The Roches, it was never about Billboard position as much as it was being able to speak their minds.