Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we see what new music has been released this week and think Tupac is still dead, no matter what the Internet says. For more follow me on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79
This Week’s Playlist
Happy April. With winter officially behind us and summer on the horizon, I thought we’d celebrate with a playlist of the New Music Round-Up’s favorite tunes that have been released so far in 2019.
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Trey Anastasio “Ghosts of the Forest”
Trey Anastasio of Phish is a busy dude. The man’s main gig is enough to fill his days, especially with a summer tour coming in hot that includes a stop at Bonnaroo. But as my cousin recently said to me, “it’s all about side hustles these days.” Anastasio has always kept himself busy outside of Phish and he’s continuing to do so, as he is set to release a new solo album on April 12. It’ll be his first new solo studio effort since 2015’s Paper Wheels. He released a live album with the Trey Anastasio Band, TAB at the Fox Theater, earlier this year.
The new album will have a different than vibe than his past solo efforts, as well as Phish’s music. This is due in no small part to the inspiration for the album, which was the death of Anastasio’s lifelong friend Chris Cottrell, who passed away in 2018. “He was my tether to childhood and to a life before Phish happened,” Anastasio said of Cottrell in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Ghosts of the Forest was subsequently written with Cottrell in mind, as Anastasio set out to write and record an album his friend would have liked.
The song “Ghosts of the Forest” is at times both restrained and subtle and grand and soaring. Anyone who has followed his career would be quick to recognize the folks in Anastasio’s band. His Phish bandmate Jon Fishman is on drums and longtime TAB members Jennifer Hartswick, Tony Markellis and Ray Paczkowski, as well as singer Celisse Henderson, round out the squad.
Anastasio and company are hitting the road for a short run of shows this month and when asked about the show, Anastasio answered with a question of his own: “are you familiar with the New York City theater scene?”
God Trey, who isn’t?
The tour opened last night in sunny Portland, Maine.
At first glance, the idea of Father John Misty offering up a song to Khalid sounds like some weird take on Madlibs. There’s Misty, a resident weirdo and prolific songwriter, and there’s Khalid, a young, up and coming, talented as all hell song and dance man. I suppose there’s more random connections out there, but at time of pressing, I’m at a loss to think of any.
No wait, I just did. Billy Ray Cyrus appearing on a rap song.
Yet if you dig a little deeper, the pair working together isn’t that random at all. It turns out Khalid has been a big fan of Misty and when Misty offered up the tune, Khalid grabbed on with both hands.
“I would never pass on singing a Father John Misty song and putting that on my album ever,” he said during an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1. “If Father John Misty is like, ‘Yo, here, look here’s this song, you want to sing it?’ I’m like, ‘Hell yeah I want to sing that.’”
Khalid went on to talk about how much Misty inspires him (spoiler: a lot) and how Misty’s voice is one “that I grew up with, and I sat with, and I lived with.”
The track appears on Khalid’s latest release Free Spirit.
Anderson .Paak ft. Smokey Robinson “Make It Better”
A little while back, with the ink still dry on his last release Oxnard, Anderson .Paak came out and announced a follow-up album, Ventura, set to be released on April 12. The announcement, at least in this part of the office, was met with equal parts excitement and intrigue.
The excitement was a given. .Paak is one of the brightest young talents in the game right now and new music from him is always a cause for celebration. Oxnard is only a few months old and now .Paak is out here dropping a follow-up. Give the people what they want indeed.
The intrigue came from the inclusion of Motown legend Smokey Robinson among the list of guests appearing on Ventura. There’s Andre 3000 and Brandy and Nate Dogg and Dr. Dre once again producing – all things that made sense. Robinson, though? That was a little surprising. In recent years Robinson-sightings have been mostly limited to once a year at the Grammys. But according to .Paak, the dude’s still got it.
“My original was like, ‘It’s easier to run away than to eat what’s on your fucking plate,’ and he was like, ‘No baby, What in the hell? No, no,'” he recalled, referring to the “It’s easier to run away, than to look for what will make you stay.”
The tune definitely has an old school, vintage Motown sound to it and could be mistaken for a Robinson hit from the back in the day if not for the drum loop.
.Paak’s “Best Teef in the Game” tour kicks off on May 17 in Nashville. The tour will also feature Earl Sweatshirt, Noname, Mac DeMarco and Thundercat.
Vampire Weekend “This Life,” “Unbearably White”
Vampire Weekend have now released six of the 18 songs that will appear on their upcoming album Father of the Bride. If we’re patient, we might get damn near the whole thing by the time May 3rd rolls around. Hold the line everyone.
“This Life” is the first of the new slate of tunes that sounds the most like older Vampire Weekend, in that it’s breezy and recklessly paced. The track uses lyrics from the iLoveMakonnen song “This Life” and features backing vocals from Danielle Haim. Dave Macklovitch of Chromeo is listed as an additional producer, while Apple Music is listing Mark Ronson as a co-writer.
The second new track, “Unbearably White,” is more low key and sly, anchored by a easy to digest back beat. You can learn more about what the song is about and more importantly, not about, in the Pitchfork review of the song.
Father of the Bride comes out May 3rd.
Titus Adronicus “(I Blame) Society”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Patrick Stickles of the punk band Titus Adronicus has an issue or two with the current world in which we are living in. It’s just a hunch, a gut feeling, and it’s hard to really pin point what made me think all of this. I guess I’m just good at reading in between the lines.
This new track comes off of the band’s upcoming album, An Obelisk, which is their first new release since last year’s A Productive Cough. Co-produced by Bob Mould, the new album is a back to basics album from the band, bringing them back to the no-holds barred punk leanings and learning of their earlier releases. The new album also is “part of a story of an individual’s personal and intellectual development” and by the time it’s over, the narrator comes to the conclusion that they are “going to try and be a kinder person.”
So I suppose, no longer blaming society and instead, accepting society for what it is and offering to help wherever possible.
Lee Fields & the Expressions It Rains Love
Lee Fields “may not be the richest man, but he wants to give you everything he can.” One of the main things the 68-year-old singer does have is a voice perfect for soul-searching and heartfelt soul tunes. Fields is another one of those older, been around the bend once or twice, singers, similar to Charles Bradley and the late Sharon Jones, who has had their career propped up by younger cats from New York City.
Fields had been around since the late sixties, but found allies in guys who went on to start a series of soul-loving record labels, including Daptone, which was home to Jones. He’s currently signed to Big Crown Records, a label run by Leon Michaels, who has been working with Fields for over 15 years.
For the past few years, Fields has been a machine, releasing an album nearly every year. He took some time with this new one though and it’s his first new album in over two years. Despite the absence of new material, Fields has still been out there, albeit in samples. His music has been sampled from A$AP Rocky, J. Cole and Travis Scott, who used a Fields’ sample in his song “Antidote.”
GRiZ Ride Waves
Michigan DJ and producer GRiZ spent two years working on his latest album, The Ride, and the new release is full of the kind of lively, party-ready jams he’s become known for. The album is also stacked with guests, featuring appearances by Snoop Dogg, DRAM, Bootsy Collins, Wiz Khalifa, and Matisyahu, among others. No, Smokey Robinson is not on this one.
GriZ recently performed at Ultra Music Festival in Miami and will spend the rest of the spring on a tour that includes stops at Hangout Fest, Bonnaroo and Firefly in Delaware.
Elsewhere in Music…
Today is The 25th Anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s Death
Today marks the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death and if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a minute to process the fact that A) I’m old and B) has it really been that long? It seems like both are true. Cue the expletives.
Cobain’s body was found on April 8, 1994, six days after he had been reported missing. He was found in a greenhouse at his Seattle home with a 20-gauge shotgun laying across his chest. Cobain was 27 years old.
His death marked the end of both Cobain’s troubled life and the meteoric rise of his band, Nirvana. Cobain had attempted suicide about a month before, so it wasn’t a total surprise when he died, but it still hurt like hell when the news came out. For a certain generation, Cobain was the voice and the soundtrack, and his music no doubt accompanies some of those people’s most memorable moments during their formative years.
Nirvana itself feels like a band that was around longer than it was, but the truth is that they were only in our lives for a short time. Yet during that time they did as much damage as they could, making music that still sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did in the early 90’s.
Here is a playlist of 20 of my favorite Nirvana songs; a playlist that easily could have been a lot longer.
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For a look at Nirvana’s place in the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990’s, check out this history of the scene.
What the Shit Miley?
Our girl Miley Cyrus caused a little bit of an Internet dust-up earlier this week when she posted pictures on Instagram featuring her posing in what definitely looks like a Joshua Tree. Posing in trees; seems innocent enough, right?
Dude, this a Joshua Tree we’re talking about here and according to Geary Hund, the executive director of the Mojave-Desert Land Trust, the trees “have a shallow root system and that additional weight can damage its branches.”
Damn it, Miley. This is a shallow root system we’re talking about.
Miley, some real talk. We’re all super stoked you’ve appeared to clean your act up some and seem to be back on the right track, but let’s not go ruining things by effin’ up some Joshua Trees, okay?
Cool, thanks. Still love that Mark Ronson track by the way.
Mayor Pete, DMB & Radiohead Walk Into a Bar…
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and Democratic presidential candidate, has captured a good chunk of the nation’s attention over these past few weeks, thanks in large part to his fresh ideas and frank discussion on the current state of American politics. Here’s the thing about Mayor Pete, though. This dude’s been coming up with fresh ideas and frank discussion topics for years.
Case in point. An essay Mayor Pete wrote while attending Harvard in the early 2000’s has emerged and in it, he’s using the music of Dave Matthews Band and Radiohead to describe the general bleh feeling on Harvard’s campus. As Mayor Pete saw it, DMB represented hope, while Radiohead represented despair and in the wake of 9/11 (yes, that plays a part in this too,) the music of DMB didn’t make sense anymore.
“Then all hell broke loose. Just as we were adjusting to the fact that our country could function even if the president didn’t completely know what he was doing, a team of Saudis with box cutters torpedoed our innocence. Right then, like our cell phones, our culture stopped working for a minute. What sense could the old Dave Matthews make when Dave Letterman was weeping on air?”
“One summer later, it seemed everyone on campus was listening to Radiohead. The band’s tone of alienation and danger—more than one reviewer has found the word “unwell” an apt term for their feel—touched a nerve in America, which speaks volumes about how quickly things changed. The band’s frontman, Thom Yorke, admits puzzlement at why they continue to catch on, telling a reporter he’s “never been able to understand why so many people get it.” But given the temperature of the times, it should surprise no one that their dyspeptic experimentation is popular. We, too, are nationally unwell.”
As someone who lived through that time, I get it and kind of agree with it.
As someone also living through this current time, I’d be interested to know what Mayor Pete thought of Imagine Dragons and what their popularity says about things in America, let alone why they are popular at all.
See you next week!