Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we see what new music has been released this week and after finally seeing ‘A Star is Born,’ really feel that the part where Jackson pissed his pants was a little much. For updates follow me on Twitter for more: @ryanoconnell79
For a glimpse into the not-so-distant future, check out our rundown of some of the music releases we are most looking forward to in 2019.
Gary Clark Jr. This Land
Since first coming into our lives back in the early days of this decade, Gary Clark Jr. has established himself as kick down the door and take no prisoners guitar player. “Bright Lights,” the song that got the world outside of Austin, Texas hip to him, is a stomping, driving blues rocker and proved to be a suitable form of introduction to the musician. He called to mind a fellow Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, but also made it clear that he wasn’t here to solely pay tribute. He was here to create a name for himself, which is exactly what he has done in the years since.
Yet the one thing that has seemed to escape Clark was a real signature song, something that he could be remembered by. There’s no doubt that he has the talent to be a legend, but he needed that one song to seal the deal. And while he’s definitely delivered some quality barn burners on his first two albums, nothing he had done compares to the first single off his new album, This Land. In a world where we’ve been aching for artistic responses to the Trump presidency, Clark drops an effin’ atomic bomb right into our laps.
Responding to our country’s current situation has helped create an album in which Clark says that he has “finally found my voice.” His manager goes a step further, saying the album is Clark’s “tipping point album, to be considered among D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar and [Kendrick Lamar’s] To Pimp a Butterfly. Those great African-American statements.” In the words of Nic Cage (in the form of Andy Samberg’s impression of him) “that’s high praise.” But if the first few songs released from the album are any indication, it might be pretty accurate.
“Pearl Cadillac” is equal parts smooth R&B and arena-ready rock, while “What About Us” has elements of Sly & the Family Stone to it. For this album, Clark brushed off suggestions to work with a veteran producer like Rick Rubin, instead deciding to produce the album himself. He also looked to show the world that he was more than just a blues guitar player.
“With the records I’ve made before, there’s so much emphasis on guitar: We’ll just play a badass guitar solo, and no one cares about the lyrics,” he recently told Rolling Stone. “That’s not what I got into it for. I like Quincy Jones. I like Stevie Wonder. I like Ray Charles. I like Cab Calloway’s arrangements. I like bridges, prechoruses. That’s something I never really paid attention to.”
Hey, I like prechoruses too. You know, for whatever that’s worth.
I also like when a promising young musician takes a big swing and really plants their flag in the ground, which is what Clark is doing on this new album. A Gary Clark Jr. album produced by Rubin would probably have been pretty sweet, but a Gary Clark Jr. album produced by the man himself sounds more interesting and seems like a bigger risk. I’m here for it. I’m totally here for it.
For more Gary Clark Jr., check out this playlist of some of his best songs.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib “Flat Tummy Tea”
This track is two minutes and forty seconds of no nonsense, gritty as hell hip hop. The production is menacing and Gibbs’ flow is here to knock down whatever has been left standing by Madlib’s beats. Presumably this track will be included on Bandana, the duo’s follow up to 2014’s Piñata. If this comes as good news to you, I would urge caution in getting too excited.
An actual release date for the album has yet to be announced. Last fall Gibbs told TIDAL’s Rap Radar Podcast that he was “done with, you know, that Madlib album, so I just been sitting on that,” he said. “I mean I got money. I don’t gotta put it out yet. I’m straight, I’m good. I could put it out when it’s time to put it out, but that’s the beauty of this.”
But what if like, we’re not good, Freddie Gibbs? What if we like, want the album to come out; maybe even soon? Have you considered that, Freddie Gibbs? Have you?
Consider us standing by aggressively, but also consider that our feelings might be a tick hurt.
Sad Planets “Not of This World”
If, like me, you find yourself occasionally wondering if we’ve seen the last of The Black Keys, then Sad Planets might come as something of a bummer. Why? Well one half of Sad Planets is Patrick Carney, who is also one half of The Black Keys. The other half of Sad Planets is John Petkovic (Death of Samantha, Sweet Apple, Guided by Voices, Cobra Verde.) Now I don’t know how Mr. Petkovic feels about the future of The Black Keys, but I know I don’t feel super awesome about it. Dan Auerbach is probably producing another album by someone as I write this, which only makes me feel less optimistic.
The Keys’ last album, Turn Blue, came out way back in 2014 and the further we get from that, the less likely it seems like the pair will ever get back together.
But we should give Sad Planets their due. According to a press release, “Petkovic sings, while Carney plays drums at times, but also adds Enoesque synthesizers and other instruments to the mix.” I always felt Carney got a bad rap as a drummer. Sure he can be tough to watch at times, but his style was uniquely perfect for the Keys, especially their earlier stuff.
Sad Planets’ album Akron, Ohio comes out April 19.
Lil Pump Harverd Dropout
Lil Pump’s sophomore album was originally supposed to come out last August, but it didn’t. Those things happen, especially when legal issues get in the way. But all that is behind us and Harverd Dropout is here. Cue: applause.
The 18 year old’s album features a pretty heavy list of guests including two thirds of Migos (Offset and Quavo,) Lil Wayne, YG, 2 Chainz and Lil Uzi Vert. Lil Wayne and Lil Uzi Vert? Let me again remind you THAT THERE ARE SO MANY RAPPERS WITH NAMES THAT START WITH ‘LIL.’ Kanye West also appears on the album, with their collaboration “I Love It” included. Lil Pump shared the full track list on Instagram earlier this week.
If you are wondering, Pump was actually accepted to Harvard and straight out of ninth grade no less. Apparently the dude knows his way around a math equation. This would make sense seeing as how he spelled “Harvard” wrong.
Judah & the Lion ft. Kacey Musgraves “Pictures”
Well now, you just have to chalk this one up to fantastic timing. I mean, if you were going to drop a song that featured Kacey Musgraves, now would definitely be the time to do it with her coming off a big night at the Grammys. So good work on Judah & the Lion’s part.
But if you thought this song was simply a grasp at Twitter trending straws, you are sorely mistaken. This song is quite the opposite. It’s a reflective and tranquil thing of beauty, a song that is drenched in tragedy and loss, with both Musgraves and Judah’s singer, Judah Akers, trading somber verses.
In a press release, Akers said that “I had a really deep moment with my mom when she called me and broke down bawling about how hard it was to move from our family house. I wrote the song from her perspective and it came in a flood, in five minutes, right after the call. I needed to write it because I was heartsick.”
“Pictures” is the second song to be released on the band’s upcoming third album, Pep Talks, which will be released on May 3rd. The band is set to head out on a spring tour, Pep Talks: An Intimate Album Listening and Storyteller Experience, which sounds like a traveling version of VH1’s old show Storytellers, which they don’t do anymore, but they totally should. Same goes for MTV Unplugged. There’s not enough live music on television anymore, with the one main exception being Austin City Limits. I have yet to decide who I’m going to get behind for the 2020 presidential election, but if a candidate promises to do something about that, that just might help sway me one way or the other.
Kehlani While We Wait
Kehlani’s new mixtape came out today, complete with collaborations with Musiq Soulchild, 6LACK, Ty Dolla $ign and Dom Kennedy, who appears on the Kanye West-produced track “Nunya.” The mixtape is only nine songs, but it’s her first release since 2017’s SweetSexySavage, so if you’re a fan of Kehlani, you don’t really have much to complain about.
Nick Waterhouse “Wreck the Rod”
New music from Waterhouse, a throwback R&B soul gentleman from the great state of California, is exciting news on it’s own. The new track, “Wreck the Rod,” is the second single Waterhouse has released from his upcoming, self-titled album, which is set to be released on March 8th.
The real story here is the video. It is a delight and that’s a phrase I typically reserve for things my daughter does or some really dope ice cream. The video stars Danny Trejo, who you definitely recognize from Breaking Bad, Heat or Sons of Anarchy, if not something else he’s been in, which has been a lot of things. Trejo’s son, Gilbert, directed the video, which features his dad playing a talk show host, an idea I could definitely get behind. Maybe that’s another thing a 2020 presidential candidate can add to their platform? Just a thought.
Elsewhere in Music…
Hey Em, Anything You’d Like to Say to Netflix?
File Under: Well, That’s a Bummer
On Thursday, Variety reported that despite the show’s best efforts, Kendrick Lamar and SZA will not be performing at Sunday night’s Oscars. The duo are nominated for their song on the Black Panther soundtrack, “All the Stars.” This is the second awards show Lamar has elected to skip, as he decided to also pass on appearing at the Grammys. But we’re going to get a performance from the surviving members of Queen with Adam Lambert, so I guess it’s not all bad.
Let’s just move on.
This Week in Wait, What?
The organizers of the 2024 Olympics in Paris have recently proposed adding breakdancing to the summer games. They have also proposed adding surfing, skateboarding and climbing. You know, sports. I don’t know, Paris Olympics, breakdancing seems like a reach. Not to mention a logistics nightmare. WHERE YOU GONNA GET ALL THAT CARDBOARD, PARIS OLYMPICS? HAVE YOU EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THAT?
Yeah, probably not. Talk about amateur hour.
Pick Your Biopic and Live Your Life
Option 1: Rocketman
Option 2: The Dirt
And Finally, a Quick Word From Ariana Grande
I wish I knew, Ariana. I really wish I did.
See you next week!