Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we see what new music has been released this week and remember February like it was yesterday. 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.
Weezer The Black Album
Man, Weezer really makes you work for it, huh? And by “it,” I mean remaining loyal to the band if, like me, you’ve been a fan of theirs since the jump, all the way back to 1994 when they released The Blue Album. That was so long ago. I was but a mere pup biding my time in high school up in sunny Portland, Maine. I had both my whole life ahead of me and an entire Weezer discography that would take turns throwing me off their scent and then warmly embracing me after some time away. At this point, who do you think is harder to find, someone who prefers light beer to regular beer or someone who likes every single Weezer album? It might be draw.
The latest release from Weezer is especially tricky for longtime Weezer loyalists for one weirdly specific and personal reason. It’s the name of the album, The Black Album. Anyone who has been with the band for the bulk of their career could tell you that the albums named after the color of the album cover are the good ones. The only non-color titled albums that are worth the time of day are Pinkerton, Maladroit, and Make Believe. Everything else is like cold pizza. It’s just not as good as you hoped and makes you wish for something else.
Weezer’s color albums have also served as their course correction albums. The Green Album came after Pinkerton, which was panned at the time, but is now generally considered their second best album, and The Red Album came after Make Believe and Maladroit, two good albums, but albums that had the band exploring pastures greener than their typical pop rock format. The White Album was the band’s ultimate course correction, as it followed three disastrous albums by the band: Ratitude, Hurley, and Everything Will Be Alright in the End. The color albums were both some of the band’s best work and albums that served a specific purpose. Now the band has released two albums in a row with colors associated with them and frankly, it’s damn near criminal. I’m going to be honest and say that it feels a little exploitative.
To make matters worse, these last two color albums have not lived up the standards set by their brothers in colors. The Teal Album was full of covers and the best you can say about that was that it could have been worst. Of course the worst thing you could say in a defeated whisper was “No Scrubs,” to which people would just nod in agreement.
And now we have The Black Album, an album that was introduced with a run of four songs that were just, ugh. Not ideal. Don’t get me wrong. They weren’t complete garbage. “Zombie Bastards” is catchy and “High As A Kite” is fine, but again, they are not in the same league as songs on the other color albums. “Island in the Sun” is part of the color album family. It’s not fair to compare that song to any of these new songs, but it’s going to happen because of the color connection. Weezer has brought this on to themselves. Don’t forget that.
Of course Weezer isn’t done. I don’t think Weezer will ever be done. Rivers Cuomo will somehow outlive us all. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cuomo said the band is currently working on two new albums. One album “is back to big guitars,” while the other is “all piano-based, but it has a ton of orchestration.” I’m not sure what to make of that news at this point. I’d need a day or two.
For more on Weezer, their legacy and current place in the world, I’d recommend this piece on The Ringer from Rob Harvilla. And if you are finding yourself questioning your Weezer fandom, here is a playlist of my picks for their 30 best songs.
[protected-iframe id=”3db9fe6247b76188ce1d45f430eba2f1-97886205-24270677″ info=”https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1221630762/playlist/5vGBx3McqimxtYPF39345a” width=”300″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″]
Royal Trux “White Stuff”
Royal Trux have been around for effin’ long time and frequently during that time I have found myself thinking that Royal Trux is a pretty sweet band name. Of course I haven’t thought that nearly as much in recent years because Royal Trux haven’t been around as much in that time. They last released something in 2017, a live album, Platinum Tips + Ice Cream, which sounds like a place you’d find at the Jersey Shore, but before that, their last studio release, Pound for Pound, came out in 2000. Nineteen long years ago!
Last fall the band released the first song from their upcoming album, White Stuff, which was a collaboration with enigmatic rapper Kool Keith. I think at one point, Keith says “champion pizza,” but I can’t be sure. What I can be sure of though is that the latest single, “White Stuff,” is more in line with the Royal Trux sound: fuzzed out garage rock.
Citizen Cope Heroin and Helicopters
The phrase “heroin and helicopters” sounds like something someone would say when you asked them what they wanted to do for their bachelor party and you wouldn’t be able to tell if they were joking or being serious. Speaking of bachelor parties, have you considered a Nascar bachelor party? Maybe you should.
As for Citizen Cope, I had kind of forgotten about him. I was a fan back in the early 2000’s when he first came out. His 2004 album, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, was a staple for my band as we drove around the friendly confines of New England. Yet it seemed like as suddenly as he appeared in our lives, he kind of disappeared. Well, at least in mine. It’s a testament to the impression he made on me though, that over a decade later I would still find myself seeking out “Son’s Gonna Rise.” That song drives, man.
Despite his absence in my life, shockingly Citizen Cope has kept releasing albums and today he dropped his sixth. It’s his first since 2012, when he released One Lovely Day. In an interview with Billboard, Cope chalks up the time between albums to a few factors, saying “I did a lot of touring, and then I had a daughter, and it just got to be that the record took longer than I expected.” I totally understand. I had a daughter almost four years ago and still haven’t fixed our shed, which has had a busted door for five years. #dadlife
The album’s title actually has a funny story behind, courtesy of Billboard.
“Heroin and Helicopters‘ title comes from a conversation Greenwood had with Carlos Santana when the rock veteran came to see a Citizen Cope show at the Fillmore in San Francisco. “He said, ‘Whatever you do, watch out for the two H’s — heroin and helicopters. They don’t go well with musicians,'” Greenwood recalls. Despite that, he did take his first helicopter ride recently, transported to a show in Jamaica. “They said, ‘You’ve got to take a helicopter’ and I thought, ‘F***, this is gonna be the end,’ but we got there OK.”
I don’t care what line of work you’re in, that’s just damn good advice.
Citizen Cope kicks off a tour to support the new album this weekend.
Gang of Four HAPPY NOW
The legendary English post-punk band Gang of Four are back with their new album HAPPY NOW. It’s their first new album since 2015’s What Happens Next. Last year they released an EP, Complicit, that made some noise due in no small part to their choice of a cover for the EP. If you don’t want to click on the link, here’s a hint: the person on the cover’s name sounds like Travanka Rump.
Okay. It’s Ivanka Trump. You probably weren’t going to get it. My hint was bush league.
There was even a song on “Complicit” called “Ivanka (Things You Can’t Have,”) in which the band runs with a quote the First Daughter said a few years ago (“I don’t know what it means to be complicit”) and proceeds to take some veiled and not-so veiled shots at her.
It remains to be seen if the band continues to dunk on the first family on HAPPY NOW. The band recently wrapped up a U.S. tour under less than ideal circumstances, as member Andy Gill was hospitalized with a chest infection. We’re wishing him a speedy recovery.
One of the best things in life is discovering a band by accident. For instance, last summer I was at a beer festival somewhere on the Jersey Shore and one of the acts performing was Sinkane. I had no idea who or what they were, but once they started playing, I was all in. It was hard not to be. Their sound was infectious and damn near perfect for the situation. I walked away determined not to forget them.
And I haven’t, which is a minor miracle because my memory is complete shit.
Of course one of the things I would learn later that Sinkane is a “he” and not a “they.” Or I guess it’s mostly a “they,” just anchored by a “he.” The “he” being Sinkane (real name Ahmed Gallab,) a Sudanese-American musician who was born in London before moving to America when he was five. Sinkane’s upcoming album, Dépaysé, is his seventh, and it’s led by the lively and vibrant single “Everybody.” The video for the song was filmed in Brazil, at a famous samba school in Rio de Janeiro. Sinkane has said the song is “dedicated to the brave men, women and children fighting against oppression in places like Brazil, Sudan, and all over the world.”
The album the track appears on, Dépaysé, “is the story of an immigrant’s journey of self-discovery in the Trump era,” according to Sinkane, who elaborated that the album was inspired by “the Muslim ban, police shooting unarmed people of color, massive corruption in my native Sudan, fake news, Donald Trump, Brexit and so many other calamities.” The album’s title is French, meaning “to be removed from one’s habitual surroundings.”
Dépaysé is set to be released on May 31st,
White Denim “Reversed Mirror”
Let me ask you something, friend. Are you a looking for some whirling and spiraling guitar riffs that sound like something the Allman Brothers Band might have put out on one of their more energetic mornings? If so, let’s talk about the new track from White Denim, an Austin, Texas-based band. The track appears on their upcoming album, Side Effects, which is set to be released at the end of March. This new track is instrumental, but White Denim aren’t one of those instrumental jam bands that that one friend of yours is always trying to talk you into. A couple weeks ago they released “Shanalala” and that has words in it. So there.
White Denim have been around for a years and seemed to have broken through some in 2013 with their album Corsicana Lemonade. They’ve gotten more jammy, more psychedelic rock in recent years, but still have tidbits of shit-kicking rock in their sound, which I appreciate.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever “In the Capital”
“In the Capital” is one of two songs the Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are releasing on a new 7-inch that comes out in April. This follows their debut, Hope Downs, which was released last year. The song reminds me of Kurt Vile, but if he was from California and not Philadelphia.
The band heads out on tour in May with U.S. festival sets planned for Boston Calling Music Festival, Governors Ball and Bonnaroo.
The Mallet Brothers Band Live In Portland Maine
The Mallet Brothers Band are a gang of alt-country ramblers from the great state of Maine, a geographical location that has played a pretty significant role in their near decade long run. In 2017, they released The Falling of the Pine, which was an album made up of traditional Maine lumberjack and folk songs re-imagined by the band and then a year later they released Vive l’acadie!, an album inspired by French Canadian traditions that run deep in northern Maine. In the spring of 2018 they even struck up a friendship with a Maine politician who also happened to be a pretty accomplish musician himself. The friendship led to a brief run of shows featuring said politician on drums.
(whispers: It was Jon Fishman from Phish)
Now the band has released a live album recorded in their home base of Portland, Maine. As is their tendency to do, the set is full of hard-charging, barn-burners and campfire-worthy singalongs that pulls from all corners of their six album discography. The question isn’t whether or not it’s good ol’ fashioned drinking music, but what kind drinking should you do while listening to their music. I lean towards whiskey myself, but that’s just me.
Elsewhere in Music…
Have You Been Wondering What Kanye is Up To?
Apparently doing cool ass shit on Sundays I guess.
This was part of one of Kanye’s Sunday Service projects he’s started doing. If I could speak to Kanye directly for a second, MAKE THAT BEAT INTO A SONG AND PUT THAT SONG ON YOUR NEW ALBUM, K THX BYE.
File Under: Good News/Bad News
Anyone who is a fan of De La Soul that primarily uses streaming services like Spotify to listen to music have long been hip to the fact that the group’s music is largely M.I.A.. As of midnight Friday though, that changed as the group’s entire catalog was finally released on streaming services (except for Tidal, but standby on that.) So the good news is that this weekend, you’ll be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of De La’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, by jamming out to it on your streaming service of choice (again, except for Tidal.) Anytime you can find a way to listen to De La Soul is good news. That right there is a fact.
Now for the bad news. While fans of the group will no doubt benefit from this move that has been a long time coming, the group themselves mostly won’t. De La Soul are not actually the ones behind the move to streaming. Their longtime label, Tommy Boy Records, is, having recently regained the band’s catalog from Warner Music Group. As a result, any money earned from streaming will be divided between the two, with 90% going to Tommy Boy and 10% going to the group. The group took to Instagram earlier this week to address the situation and in solidarity with them, Tidal has agreed not to stream their music until the situation is resolved. As of Thursday afternoon, resolution seemed a ways off.
This Week in Sure, Why Not?
The Stagecoach Music Festival is the premiere country music festival. This year the California festival, which takes place during the last weekend of April, features Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Jason Aldean, Sam Hunt, Lynyrd effin’ Skynyrd and…uh…Diplo?
Okay then. 2019, anything is possible.
This Week’s Homework
[protected-iframe id=”e2884d6af3b7cf3a50abfe3bb985236c-97886205-24270677″ info=”https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/41028775&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]
On Wednesday, Yasiin Gaye, a project by DJ Amerigo Gazaway turned five years old. It’s an amazing mix, combining the music of Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Marvin Gaye. The set is part of Gazaway’s Soul Mates collection, which also features mixes of Stevie Wonder and Common, De La Soul and Fela Kuti, Otis Redding and Outkast and Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill.
What is Jason Isbell Tweeting About This Week?
It’s been a minute since we checked in on our favorite Nashville Tweeter.
How about one more for good measure?
Seems like a good note to close on.
See you next week!