New Music Round-Up 3/9/19: The Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, Juice WRLD, Strand of Oaks and more
Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we see what new music has been released this week and still have that ‘Bodega Man‘ song stuck in our heads. 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.
The Black Keys “Lo/Hi”
Well, I’m here to admit that friends, I was wrong. I’m okay doing so. I have been wrong before, I’ll be wrong again. Being wrong is a part of life.
Here I was thinking that we had seen the last of The Black Keys and then they surprise us all on Thursday with a new song, their first new song since their 2014 album Turn Blue. In the years since then, the band has been busy doing everything except being The Black Keys. Dan Auerbach has released a solo album, as well as an album with another band, The Arcs. He’s also worked as a producer with The Pretenders, Cage the Elephant and Lana Del Rey and more. The other half of the band, Patrick Carney, has also found work as a producer, released an album with the group Sad Planets and gotten married to Michelle Branch.
But let’s be honest, it just didn’t seem like The Black Keys were going to get back together and even if they did, new material felt like a pipe dream. As each year passed since the Turn Blue tour ended and Auerbach and Carney dropped new projects, a reunion seemed further and further away from happening. I for one, had started to come to terms with it and started to view them as something that used to exist as opposed to something that either still does or could again someday.
Again though, I was wrong and dude, I’ve never been happier about it. Not only are they back, they’re back sounding like they always did. Like most bands, The Black Keys evolved, moving from one phase to the next over their career. On “Lo/Hi,” they pull from both of those phases, with the song sounding rugged and raw like they did early on and also having some of that fancy studio sheen that comes with the band having access to better equipment and resources.
I suppose the next thing to speculate about it is whether or not “Lo/Fi” is our first taste of a new Keys’ album. So far, there’s nothing that would hint at something else happening, but as of Wednesday, no one was expecting a new Keys’ song either. 2019 has been a pretty wild year so far and we’d be God damn fools to shut the door on anything.
Local Natives “Café Amarillo”
Next up in Bands We Are Excited to Have Back in Our Lives is Local Natives. Since breaking through in 2010 with their album Gorilla Manor, the band has become one of the more unique acts out there. When they first came out, they balanced delicate harmonies with thundering percussion. It was interesting and fun to listen to. In the albums that followed, some of that big, rumbling percussion started to take a back seat, but the harmonies remained.
On “Café Amarillo,” their first release since 2017, that band continues along that same track. To be clear, the percussive elements that were so prominent early on are still there. They’ve just become a little more restrained and muted as the years have gone on.
As with The Black Keys, there isn’t any indication that this new track is part of a larger project. If it were, it’d be their first album since 2016’s Sunlit Youth.
Juice WRLD Deathrace for Love
You know what’s the worst? Becoming crazy rich, moving to a dope ass house in Beverly Hills and thinking that finally, you are going to have so much room to ride dirt bikes. So much room! Things are great, right? Well they were until you realize that riding dirt bikes is against the law in residential areas.
“The cops showed up yesterday,” Juice WRLD told Billboard recently. “They didn’t do shit, though.”
At only 20 years old, Juice WRLD has experienced what the kids call “a meteoric rise” to fame and his sophomore album Deathrace for Love was one of the year’s most anticipated albums. Juice was discovered via Soundcloud, where one of his songs, “Lucid Dreams,” has surpassed 1.2 billion on-demand U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music and is considered “a shitload,” according to me.
Juice WRLD is currently on tour with Nicki Minaj and after that, he’ll embark on his own headlining tour, presumably one with stops conducive to dirt bike riding.
Maren Morris Girl
My wife’s new favorite artist, Maren Morris, dropped her second album today. On Girl, Morris is looking to prove that she’s more than just a country singer and is looking to get her hands on some of that wide-ranging fame and stardom artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry have. I’m also looking to achieve Swiftian-levels of fame, but if you’re smart, you’d put money on Morris getting there before I do.
One of the album’s highlights is “Common,” a duet with Brandi Carlile. The song is sneaky smooth, punctuated by atmospheric synth lines and a groove the kids might call a “bop.”
For a track by track breakdown of the album, check out this piece from Rolling Stone. Then after that you can look at these pictures of former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher, who I’m convinced looks like she could be related to Morris.
Vampire Weekend “Sunflower”/”Big Blue”
Vampire Weekend released two more songs from their upcoming album Father of the Bride, which is set to be released on May 3rd. The new album is supposed to be a double album featuring 18 songs, which is kind of cute considering a regular Drake album is 22 songs. My dudes, the Juice WRLD album is 20 songs. No need to call it a double album.
On “Sunflower,” the band is joined by Steve Lacy of The Internet. It’s an interesting tune, equal parts shrug emoji and “sure, why the hell not?” Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this, but at times, parts of the verse and chorus almost sound a little like 311; something I honestly thought I’d never ever say about a Vampire Weekend song.
“Big Blue” is the stronger of the two songs, with it’s only weakness being the run time. It’s less than two minutes long. Ah, whatever. It’s a really good song. Reportedly the video of the song, which is forthcoming, will be directed by Jonah Hill.
The Hold Steady “The Last Time That She Talked To Me”
It’s been a while since The Hold Steady, purveyors of wonderfully delicious bar rock, have released an album, with their last one, Teeth Dreams, having come out in 2014. It’s not as if they’ve been lying dormant since then, though. The band’s frontman Craig Finn, has been dropping solo joints on a semi-regular basis and the band themselves have trickled out a new song here and there, most of which have been released via the band’s Bandcamp site.
And this week, this new way of life for the band continues with the release of “The Last Time That She Talked To Me.” It’s a song with an interesting vibe to it, especially for a band like The Hold Steady, who have steadily crafted a unique sound of their own over the years. Finn’s penchant for injecting more lyrics in a rock song than what seems humanely possible continues, but this song also features a southern R&B twist to it, complete with backing vocals and horns.
As with our friends Local Natives and The Black Keys, there’s no clue as to whether or not this song is part of an album that could be coming sometime soon. So much mystery this week!
Strand of Oaks “Keys”
I kind of love it when a band ends up being just one person. It’s tricky, but good tricky. For instance, if I told you that Timothy Showwalter had a new song out, you probably wouldn’t be that into it. Timothy Showalter? That kind of sounds like a realtor. But wait, what if I told you Strand of Oaks had a new tune out? Yeah, then you might react a little differently.
With that being said, Showalter and Strand of Oaks are one in the same and “Keys” is the third song released from their upcoming album, Eraserland, due out on March 22nd. On the album, the part of “other members of the band” are played by Carl Broemel, Bo Koster, Patrick Hallahan, and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket, which makes sense, especially listening to “Keys,” which shares the haunting Americana vibe of early MMJ albums. The song is beautiful love letter from Showalter to his wife and according to a statement, brought him to tears while recording it.
Elsewhere in Music…
Dude, Let’s Talk About These Woodstock Shows…
This summer is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and to celebrate, not one, but two Woodstock anniversary shows are currently being planned. I know. We truly are living in the age of unlimited options.
So there’s the one festival, billed as the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, that is a four-day event set to take place not only at the same spot where the original festival happened, but at the same times. It will feature Ringo Starr, the Edgar Winter Band, Santana and the Doobie Brothers among others. Apparently there might also be lectures, or more specifically, TED Talk style lectures. I guess that’s cool.
And there’s the other festival, Woodstock 50, which is being driven in part by Michael Lang, who was one of the dudes behind the original festival. He’s been pretty tight-lipped about the event, only saying that “we are thrilled with all the excitement about Woodstock 50, but we have an obligation to our fans, artists and partners, to do things the right way. We are in the final stages of laying the groundwork and can’t wait to stage this once-in-a-lifetime event. We’ll be officially announcing the lineup and ticket on-sale soon, stay tuned!” Tight lipped or not, names of potential performers have started to leak and if even half of these names are legit, Woodstock 50 looks like a hell of a good time.
According to Variety, Jay-Z, Dead & Company, The Black Keys and Chance the Rapper are slated to be headliners. Other acts rumored to be performing are The Raconteurs, Imagine Dragons, Run the Jewels, Gary Clark Jr., Cage the Elephant, the Killers, Greta Van Fleet, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson, Portugal the Man, Dawes, the Lumineers, Bishop Briggs, Pussy Riot, Courtney Barnett and Dorothy. Halsey, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae and Brandi Carlile. No word on any TED Talks.
The 90’s Will Not Go Quietly
This week two summer tours were announced and upon hearing the news, your old flannel shirt rose from the depths of your closet, eager to be worn again. One tour features the Smashing Pumpkins and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, while the other tour is a co-headlining jaunt across the states featuring Bush and Live. As a bonus, that tour, dubbed “The ALT-IMATE Tour,” features Our Lady Peace opening.
And wait, as if that weren’t enough, this happened.
These truly are glorious times we are living in.
Your Weekly Reminder That Dave Grohl is The Best
In 2015, Dave Grohl took a tumble off of a stage in Sweden and in the process, dinged his leg up pretty bad. After taking a few shows off, Grohl returned to the stage perched atop a marvelous thrown of guitar necks. Fast forward about a year later and upon hearing that Axl Rose had broken his foot at a Guns N’ Roses show, Grohl lent Rose the throne. Dave Grohl truly is a wonderful bro.
But he wasn’t done there. Old Dominion, who is slated to open some shows for Florida Georgia Line, found themselves in a familiar situation, as their guitarist Matthew Ramsey has been slowly recovering from a leg injury. Fear not Old Dominion! Dave Grohl’s got your back. The band (almost jokingly) asked if they could use it and of course Grohl obliged.
Because of course he did.
He’s Dave (expletive deleted) Grohl.
This Week’s in Conversations I Wish I Was a Part of
This Week’s Playlist
In honor on their return, it’s the best of The Black Keys.
See you next week!