Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Breaking news: "Snoop Dogg changes name to Snoop Lion, says he is Bob Marley reincarnated"

Normally I'd not repost anything from Fox News because they are generally awful, but...oh my, WRMC community, oh my. Read this article right now. That is all. Wowowowowowoww.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Moscow feminist punk band Pussy Riot on trial for being total BAMFs

The riot-grrrl-influenced Moscow feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, have been longtime anti-Putin (above, heeeeyyy) activists. Today, three of the band's members go on trial for charges of hooliganism, facing up to seven years in jail each. Why were they arrested? Probably has something to do with standing outside the famous Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, leading a crowd in an obscenity-filled prayer to the Virgin Mary, pleading for Putin's deposition. Whoops! Russian intellectuals and artists the nation over have taken up protesting the treatment of Pussy Riot, whose plight has become emblematic of the anti-Putin movement's fate in general. Also on board are Madonna, Sting (yesss), Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Franz Ferdinand, who were critical of the government's reaction to Pussy Riot during live performances in Moscow recently. And Amnesty International's all up in Russia's face about it, too, which is probably good news for Pussy Riot -- though we'll have to see how the trial pans out to be sure. Read more at Variety, and listen to the notorious prayer below, via Youtube. Listen up, Virgin Mary!

Also...incredible band name. Just saying.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Animal Collective Radio goes live...TONIGHT

In partnership with the Creators Project (who can do no wrong!) and their label Domino Records, Animal Collective are for a limited time hosting the aptly named Animal Collective Radio, featuring DJ sets from the four band members: Panda Bear, Avey Tare, Deakin, and Geologist -- all of whom, might I remind you, are very well-versed in pop, folk, dance, dub, reggae, ambient, classical, punk, '90s alt-rock, vintage indie pop, R&B, out-music, kosmische, you name it and it's influenced Animal Collective (please don't antagonistically test this claim on me, it is mere rhetorical hyperbole and deep down inside you know it). Panda Bear's manning the booth the first episode which streams live TONIGHT at 9 pm at their website (click here for a direct link to Animal Collective Radio). Don't miss this! Are you psyched? I'm pretty psyched. The series concludes upon the September release of Animal Collective's new album, Centipede Hz, for which I don't need to ask if you're psyched.

UPDATE: Panda Bear premiered a Centipede Hz track last night on Animal Collective Radio -- it's called "Today's Supernatural" and you can hear it on Pitchfork now!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Read this: Scientists Confirm That Pop Music Is Louder And More Boring Than Ever Before

So, it's official. A large-scale scientific analysis of thousands of popular songs from 1955 to the present has confirmed that songs charting on the Billboard Top 200 in the current decade contain more overlap between instrumentation, recording production, lyrical content, and melody than ever before -- in other words, apparently your parents are right: Top 40 really does all sound the same! And remember, chart pop has been trending towards breadth for a long time now -- including house, post-dubstep, pop-rock, hip-hop, and R&B as major subgenres -- but it turns out that these are just disguises for the same damn song. What's more, the mixing on chart pop is ubiquitously louder than ever before. It's not that people are turning their volume up higher; they don't need to anymore, because the music just is louder. Yes, we all already knew pop music was a market commodity designed to move records (er, downloads), but this study is pretty disheartening nonetheless, as it reveals just how unsophisticated our collective tastes have become -- and how easily we can be duped into falling for songs that are identical in so many respects. Oh, and we're all going deaf. Yikes! Read the full report over at Reuters.

In related news, tune into "Not Guilty," WRMC's only all Top 40, all the time radio show, every Tuesday from 10 to 11 pm, all summer long!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Download: Crystal Castles' new single, "Plague"

The antagonistic, melancholy, forever strobe-lit NYC electro duo Crystal Castles are back with a new 7" single, "Plague" (that's the New Order-indebted cover art below). It's presumably from their upcoming album, which follows 2010's acclaimed self-titled sophomore effort. "Plague" is Crystal Castles in top form: Ethan Kath layers looped monster-movie moans, a church choir sample a la Salem's "King Night", feedback-swathed guitars, and ever-crescendoing nu-rave synth riffs; meanwhile, perpetually terrifying vocalist Alice Glass alternates between her lovely soft coo and hysterically bellowing, "I am the plague!" Yikes -- batten down the hatches, readers! While the band has often imitated the sound of haywire air-raid sirens in the past (see: "Baptism"), "Plague" is probably the first of their songs both massive and menacing enough to trigger a few sirens itself. Listen to and download "Plague" over at the band's SoundCloud now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Watch/Listen: Cross Record, "Cups In The Sink"

Never heard of Cross Record? Well, neither have most others, but hopefully that'll change soon. On new single "Cups In The Sink," Maine-based art-school grad Emily Cross sings in a gorgeous, unaffected tone, rightly compared to Cat Power's Chan Marshall and Lower Dens' Jana Hunter in her press kit. When surrounded by a dark, intoxicating ambient wash of unusual acoustic and electronic instrumentation, it's haunting and riveting stuff. Watch/listen to "Cups In The Sink" below via Lay Flat, and check out Cross's other music, as well as her artwork, at her website. Her new LP Be Good is out this August; pay attention and don't let this deserving singer-songwriter slip through the cracks!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Track/Video Premiere: Bat For Lashes, "Laura" (NSFW)

The renowned contemporary photographer Ryan McGinley, best known for his images of buck-naked young adults running amok in the wilderness, is the artist behind the cover art (above) for The Haunted Man, the new album by Pakistan-born British solo artist/Kate Bush devotee Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes. The greyscaled cover sure is lovely, but a bit sterile and high-gloss for the usually more kinetic, organic McGinley. Nevertheless, it makes for a stark contrast with the gaudy theatricality and Urban Outfitters-meets-Labyrinth aesthetic of the images for 2006's Fur and Gold and 2009's Two Suns. McGinley's photograph contains all the same themes (nature, mysticism, sexuality, loss, and so on) as the earlier album covers, but where Khan previously illustrated her narrative by surrounding herself with objects and images, here it's all concentrated and captured in the singer-songwriter's ten-mile stare and the graceful posturing of the bodies. It might not be the greatest stuff from McGinley, but it's a mature, elegant look for Bat For Lashes, whose work drips with as much potent atmosphere as it does facepaint, but who has always fumbled for a unique sound of her own.

Which brings me to the new album's first single, called "Laura," which is out and about on the internet as of right now. While its title might lead you to mix "Laura" up with Khan's biggest hit to date, "Daniel," and its ivory-tinkling instrumentation might lead you to confuse it with "Moon and Moon" -- or, for that matter, Tori Amos's entire discography -- don't be deceived; this is no mere retread. "Laura" is a stunning, graceful, elegiac piece of music, and it boasts what is easily Khan's most beautiful, honest, and original vocal and lyrical work to date. However, it's the arrangement, hardly simple despite its first impression, that truly elevates this track: the lovely piano line, at first stark and lonely, is augmented by gradually crescendoing horns, rich and autumnal. When mixed below Khan's plaintive cry, the unexpected but very welcome brass section renders the song utterly wrenching without resorting to cheap manipulation -- i.e. saccharine strings -- in the process transcending the otherwise very understandable case against somber piano balladry. It's a subtle and original touch, and marks a big step forward for an artist who's previously seemed more concerned with arranging the feathers in her hair than the instruments on her records. There is no precedent for this sound in the back catalogues of Khan's numerous and obvious influences, nor in her own. She's hit upon something special here. If anything, it's reminiscent of Antony and the Johnsons' shattering cover of "Crazy In Love," but even then, it's singular -- Khan leans on contrast where Antony elects for impressionism.

All this is not to sell Khan's singing short, of course. In fact, there's a bit just before she cries, "Laura, you're more than a superstar!" where the singer makes a brief, wordless sound, a passionate vocalization that's half frustration with Laura and half frustration with her own incapability to adequately express her affection for her friend, and that short but tortured "oooh-ooh" is easily the most powerful moment on any Bat For Lashes song to date. It's hysterical and controlled, wild and poised all at once -- the reconciliation of opposites that's always been at the core of her music (see the persistent astronomical dualities of the lyrics on Two Suns, not to mention Khan's creation of a sinister drag queen alter-ego named Pearl), fully realized at last. It's the fulfillment of the massive, long-neglected potential of Bat For Lashes's brilliant, ambivalent, ambiguous stage moniker, where "bat" is both a girly verb and a creepy noun and lashes are both the body part and the corporal punishment. In other words, "Laura" everything Bat For Lashes has been trying to stand for since we first heard the noirish strains of her very first single. Combined with those horns, it's just magical. If shivers don't go up your spine, you might not have one.

So, if the artwork and single are anything to go by, The Haunted Man might just be a big coming-out for Bat For Lashes, so grab the champagne -- oh, and the animal masks; the record's out on October 23 via Parlophone/EMI/Capitol, just in time for Halloween, which I bet you $5 is Khan's favorite holiday. View her tour dates here.

Watch the new video for "Laura" below. It's pretty creepy; you've been warned.

RIYL: Patrick Wolf, Kate Bush, Fever Ray, Bjork, Tori Amos, Antony and the Johnsons, My Brightest Diamond, Zola Jesus, Glasser, Florence + The Machine, Lykke Li, Niki & The Dove.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Video Premiere: Le1f, "Wut"

Today, NYC rapper Le1f -- one of the heroes of the city's LGBTQ rap underground scene recently profiled in the Pitchfork piece "We Invented Swag" (read it!) -- released the video for his excellent new single "Wut," in which he discusses, among other things: gettin' it on; the ubiquity of the word "wut" in the vernacular; and "getting light in my loafers." Le1f's flow is amazing, the deep low-end of the martial production (by 5kinAndBone5) is hard to resist, and the video itself is quite visually striking (muscular male dancers in Pikachu masks? Why not!), so don't miss it. Plus, Le1f could teach us all a thing or two about booty-shaking, judging from the shot beginning at 0:41. Watch the video below, and download the track from Pitchfork.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TONIGHT: LCD Soundsystem's concert documentary "Shut Up And Play The Hits" screens in South Burlington

In the Burlington, VT area tonight? You're in luck -- South Burlington's Palace 9 Cinemas is one of the  theatres across the nation that's been selected to show the brand-new LCD Soundsystem concert documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits. The film chronicles the band's epic final show in Madison Square Garden, NYC, interspersed with interviews, etc. It's playing tonight in selected cinemas and then never again in theatres, so now's your chance! You can buy tickets for the Palace 9 showing here, and if you're not around, check your own local theatre listings. Don't miss this very special opportunity! Below, check out a live video of LCD Soundsystem's traditional set-closer, the brain-melting dancefloor freakout from hell known as "Yeah (Crass Version)," easily my top concert experience of all time!

Read this: John Maus's 24,000-word response to a fan letter...

In June, SoCal-based sometime-outsider-artist, occasional political theory professor/cultural theorist, and perpetual weirdo John Maus (pictured above) released a track called "Bennington" as a single from his recently released collection of rarities and previously unreleased material (titled, helpfully, A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material). AdHoc writer Ric Leichtung decided to pen an open letter to Maus instead of the usual three-sentence track review, and posted a screencap of this email on the blog. There was no response for weeks, and then...BAM. Maus, out of the blue, shot back a cryptic email informing Leichtung that a rogue poster under the moniker "Frank James" had just made a mess of AdHoc, and lo and behold, when Leichtung checked his own site, Maus had left behind a 24,000-word (!!!!!!), 20-blog-comment-long response. It is incredible. Now we know why it took him so long, and also to never ask John Maus how he's doing if you don't have a lot of time on your own hands. Read the epic response on AdHoc now, and listen to "Bennington" below.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Schedule

Summer might already be well on it's way, but there's still time to listen to WRMC! This summer's schedule is pretty packed, with eight Language School shows and over twenty other dedicated DJs with weekly slots. So check out the schedule below and be sure to tune in at 91.1 FM or wrmc.middlebury.edu any day (except Saturdays).

Video Premiere: NO DOUBT's first new song in 11 years!!!! And the xx's first new song in...a month.

Look, Gwen Stefani's had an enjoyable solo career, but her two full-lengths weren't exactly masterpieces...and honestly, when you're responsible for possibly the biggest, brashest, most inane, most ubiquitous, and most deliriously -- even unfairly, I mean, come on, show some mercy, Gwen -- catchy single of the 2000s (by which I mean the Queen-meets-Bring It On-meets "Crazy In Love"-meets-dancehall godsend that is "Hollaback Girl," which only "Hey Ya!" and "Since U Been Gone" can rival), what's even the point of going forward? So after a pair of chart-topping albums; getting married to, uh, Gavin Rossdale (Currently trying to forgive this misstep...also, did you know Gavin Rossdale was in the movie Constantine? It happened.); poppin' out some kiddos who probably call Moby "Uncle" and Eve "Auntie"; an uncomfortable Oriental fetishist phase; and "Hollaback Girl," Gwen has finally done the sensible thing and reunited No Doubt, easily one of the best (and most missed) pop bands of the 1990s. AND TODAY THEY RELEASED THEIR FIRST SINGLE IN OVER A DECADE! It's called "Settle Down," it's No Doubt in top form (eat yr heart out, Santigold), it's from their forthcoming (!!!!!!) album Push and Shove, and you can listen to it below, via Gawker. Grab a sweater; hell may just be freezing over. This shit is bananas, no doubt. Listen right now, and then watch the videos for "Hollaback Girl" and No Doubt's last single, a seriously bass'd-up cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life".

UPDATE: The new video for the song has now been posted instead of a SoundCloud file. Hooray!

And, oh, happy day -- a new xx single has just dropped as well! Listen to "Angels" over at Pitchfork. New xx album Coexist is due out on September 11.

"Settle Down":

"It's My Life":

"Hollaback Girl":

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frank Ocean releases new LP "channel ORANGE" a week early/is into men, or at least was at one point into one man!

Odd Future's peace-loving R&B wunderkind Frank Ocean decided to push up the release date for his first proper LP, channel ORANGE (following the excellent 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra.) to...three days ago! Sorry WRMC is late to inform you of this fact, but we were busy listening to the album. It is sooooooo good you guys. You can, and should, stream it  in its entirety on Frank's Tumblr blog right now. Below, watch a video of Frank performing the lovely new song "Bad Religion," about a somber epiphany in the backseat of taxicab, live on Jimmy Fallon.

Also, Frank Ocean is gay! (...Or something). His coming out (or whatever it was) letter is beautifully written. It's sorta awkward because the other guys in Odd Future are known for really, really violent, like, nastily violent homophobic lyrics. But then, the only female member of the group, Syd the Kid, is an out lesbian, so what gives. In related news, Target won't stock Frank Ocean's new album, probably because's gay (...or something), but then again, maybe it's for other reasons. Either way it's lame on Target's (pronounced tar-ZHAY, apparently?) part because channel ORANGE is, I repeat, SOOOOOO GOOD and they should only sell good things, right? Also we don't have Target in Vermont, I don't even know what Target is to be  100% honest -- but I hate it. One thing I don't hate is Frank Ocean. I love Frank Ocean. But not because he's gay (...or something). But not not because he's gay (...or something)! Just not only because he's gay (...or something).

And speaking of letters about loving people of the same sex written by famous pop musicians whom I love, here's a handwritten letter from Fiona Apple to a young gay fan, which is to say, I love Fiona Apple even more than Frank Ocean.

Over and out! No pun intended. Just kidding, pun so intended.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Video Premiere DOUBLE FEATURE: Charli XCX, "You're The One" + Diamond Rings, "I'm Just Me"

Barely-legal U.K. goth-pop princess Charli XCX is on one serious hot streak. She released two incredible singles in 2011 ("Stay Away" and "Nuclear Seasons"), penned one of 2012's best songs for Swedish duo Icona Pop ("I Love It"), and just released her second EP, titled You're The One after its lead single. She also admitted to writing a song called "Dinosaur Sex" and performing it at London warehouse raves at age fourteen, and it included the refrain, "Dinosaur sex! T. Rex sex! Oohh yeah!" which is, at the very least, brave. Anyway, the new song "You're The One" showcases Charli's gift for blending wistful reminiscence with bird-flipping defiance, catchy electropop with grim industrial grind. She reconciles such contradictions into a fully-formed, three-dimensional persona which, in turn, contrasts thrillingly with her icy sonic aesthetic. This makes her one of today's more interesting dancefloor divas -- well, that, and her stunning voice, of course. I'd say it was unique if not for the fact that the androgynous Toronto glam-god(dess?) Diamond Rings is doing pretty much the same thing right now, down to the raspy voice and cheesy New Wave stone-fox act. And, hey, they're both into Blade Runner facepaint, and, hey, they've both released videos for their most recent singles, and, hey, those singles' titles are basically in dialogue with one another ("You're The One," "I'm Just Me"), and, HEY, both videos involve fog machines and colored lights and dark industrial spaces and backup dancers, and HEY, they're both awesome, and HEEEEEYYYYY they're both posted below. Spandex pants and platform boots for all! I don't know who I have a bigger crush on.... Actually I do; it's Charli, 'cause she dances with an adorable gang of little goth girls in her video. And also, you know, "Dinosaur Sex." She'll never live that one down. She said this video is the "encapsulation of who I am as an artist"; I raise no objection.

Charli XCX, "You're The One":

Diamond Rings, "I'm Just Me":

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Hot on the heels of Lana del Rey's debacle of a JFK-themed music video for "National Anthem"(scroll down the blog to view, if you dare) comes the Fourth of July! Lana be danged, fact: WRMC is located in Vermont, which is one of the United States of America. Therefore we are fervently patriotic, just in general. Naturally we're thrilled and proud that America has been its own independent nation since 1776 (that's 236 years!). In honor of red, white, blue, fireworks, and most of all, dartying, here's an appropriately themed playlist! Although some of its contents are satirical or downright critical -- we'll tolerate 'em. That's what we are all about here in this land, which is, of course, your land...but also very, very much mine. All song titles below link to Youtube audio tracks -- the videos for Bjork's "Declare Independence," directed by Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, and Ween's "Freedom of '76"are especially worth your while!

1. "America" - John Fahey
2. "Ugly Revolution" - Ugly Megan*
3. "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" - Wilco
4. "Revolution Come and Gone" - Beat Happening
5. "Revolution Rock" - The Clash*
6. "I'm So Free" - Lou Reed
7. "Freedom Of '76" - Ween
8. "Magic America" - Blur*
9. "Revolution 1" - The Beatles*
10. "Living In America" - Dom
11. "North American Scum" - LCD Soundsystem
12. "Declare Independence" - Bjork*
13. "America" - M83*
14. "Stars And Sons" - Broken Social Scene*
15. "Born In The U.S.A." - Bruce Springsteen
16. "Independence Day" - Elliott Smith
17. "4th Of July" - Azure Ray
18. "Cannons" - Youth Lagoon
19. "Continuous Thunder" - Japandroids

*denotes an artist who is not even American! What!

Did we forget your own favorite U.S. of A.-themed track? Let us know in the comments below. Except "National Anthem," by Lana Del Rey, which has received more than its fair share of attention recently. And "The National Anthem" by Radiohead, which is definitely about Britain and also, just, like, really a downer, you know? As is "Windowsill" by the Arcade Fire. Alas.

Monday, July 2, 2012

R.I.P. Girls (the band)


(these emoticons are crying)

Let the wails of protest and lament commence, for I deeply regret to inform the WRMC community that San Francisco-via-the Children of God cult  (no, but really) garage-rock duo Girls is no longer an active music-making unit. Founder and frontman Christopher Owens announced that he would no longer be a member of Girls this morning on his Twitter; view the tweets in question here, via Pretty Much Amazing. Needless to say, this is totally devastating, since Girls are one of the better bands of this young millennium, responsible for 2009's classic Album  as well as worthy follow-ups Broken Dreams Club EP (2010) and Father, Son, Holy Ghost (2011). Pitchfork has proposed that the other half of the band, Chet "JR" White, might continue the band without Owens, but since the heart and soul of the band's singular sound is Owen's rough-edged Elvis Costello whine and desperate, heavily bruised, and thoroughly drug-addled persona, that seems unlikely. Owens, meanwhile, claims this doesn't mean the end of his career as a singer, songwriter, and musician; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be praised!

(And let me [one of] the first to add that I am so, so glad this has apparently nothing to do with the HBO series Girls; if there was beef 'twixt these identically-named, equally cool but very different 2010s blogosphere darlings, I wouldn't know whose side to take!)

Watch the (VERY NSFW) video for Girls' basically perfect 2009 beach-bum anthem "Lust For Life" here (via Pitchfork), featuring a fully exposed Hunx (of Bay Area queer garage-rock group Hunx & His Punx). And below, also via Pitchfork, watch a lovely live performance of 2011's "Vomit."