This week’s playlist is the Best of 2020 Playlist. It’s been a minute since we’ve checked in on it and during that time, some new tunes have been added to it. New songs get added every week, so feel free to follow it. No pressure, though. Only a little bit of pressure.
This Week’s Releases
The 1975 Notes On A Conditional Form
The 1975’s debut album was called simply enough The 1975. Since then though, they have elected to pass on brevity when it comes to album titles. The 1975 was followed by I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, which was followed by A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Their new album, which was released on Friday, continues this trend of album titles that are kind of cool, but also kind of pushing the limits of how long an album title should be.
Notes On A Conditional Form is their long-awaited follow-up to 2018’s Online Relationships. The album clocks in at 21 songs, although a healthy amount of those songs have been out in these streets prior to the album’s release, including “The 1975,” “People,” “Guys,” “The Birthday Party,” “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” “Me & You Together Song.”
You want some reviews? I have reviews.
Pitchfork says the album is “a long, messy experiment that just so happens to peak with some of their sharpest songs ever.” That’s funny. “A long messy experiment” is also how I would describe quarantine at the O’Connell house.
Stereogum says that “the band continues to imprint its unique sensibility on a wide range of styles, developing not an aesthetic so much as a point of view.” Meanwhile, Steven Hyden of UPROXX calls the new album “their most bloated and self-important album” yet.
For more 1975, singer Matty Healy recently talked to Pitchfork about what inspired the new album. And in case he missed anything with that interview, he also sat down for one with Fader that’s worth checking out.
El-P “Mama’s Hurt,” “That Is Al That’s Left”
We still have to wait a little bit longer for the new Run the Jewels‘ album, but in the meantime, we have the soundtrack to Capone, which one half of the duo, El-P scored. The Tom Hardy film, in which Hardy plays an aging Al Capone, was released earlier this month.
El-P knows Capone’s director Josh Trank from back when El-P scored the end credits to Trank’s reboot of Fantastic 4. El-P contributed to 2016’s Bleed for This and 2018’s Roma, but this is his first time scoring a film from start to finish since 2004’s Bomb the System.
“I grew up on film scores and they’ve always been a huge influence on me and I’ve been hoping to get the time and chance to do another, so I was thrilled to do Capone,” El-P said in a statement.
“I also wanted to share ‘This Is Al That’s Left (End Credits)’ because it contains elements from all of the major musical themes we created for the film woven into one more traditional instrumental form,” El-P added. “It ends the film so it really had to be a definitive feeling emotionally for what Capone was about.”
Run the Jewels 4 is set to be released on June 5. As for Capone, I’ve heard mixed reviews, so take that for what you will.
Wilco “Tell Your Friends”
Wilco emerged from quarantine with their first new song since their 2019 album Ode to Joy. The soft and ethereal “Tell Your Friends” was written by the band while holed up and is about maintaining connections and looked forward to better days.
“Don’t forget to tell your friends/ When you see them again/ O’ I love you/ O’ I love you.”
The band debuted the song earlier this month but they also performed it this week on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, with each band chipping in from their respective homes. Proceeds from the song when purchased on Bandcamp will go to the World Central Kitchen.
Also on Colbert, Jeff Tweedy dusted off the band’s classic from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, “Jesus, Etc.”
Wilco is slated to go on tour later this summer, but you know, as per usual, better standby on that one.
Matt Beringer “Serpentine Prison”
Matt Beringer, the lead singer of The National, has one of the more unique voices out there. My dude barely sounds like he’s trying, but also sounds as smooth as velvet. It’s kind of diabolical actually.
Earlier this week, Beringer announced that he was finally coming out with a solo album. The album, due in October, is produced by Booker T. Jones of Booker T. and The M.G.s, which is just cool. Beringer has previously appeared on the Booker T. tune “Representing Memphis” back in 2013.
Serpentine Prison is set to be released on October 2nd.
deadmau5 feat. The Neptunes “Pomegrante”
Does Pharrell Williams make everything better? It’s hard to say, but I think I’m leaning towards saying yes.
Williams and his Neptunes homey Chad Hugo pop up on the new deadmau5 track, “Pomegranate,” which was released earlier this week. The track is slated to appear on deadmau5’s new album, which as of today, does not have a title or a release date.
That’s smart. Everything is TBD these days, anyways. Why get bogged down with committing yourself to something like a release date?
Ol’ deadmau5, playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.
Local Natives feat. Sylvan Esso “Dark Days”
Local Natives have been in the remix business lately with their last release Violet Street (Remixes) being a compilation of different remixes of songs off of their 2019 album Violet Street. For that album, they generally left the heavy-lifting to others. With their latest remix, they’re doing things themselves, albeit with the help of Sylvan Esso’s Amealia Meath.
“Dark Days” originally appeared on their 2016 album Sunlit Youth and the new version features an additional verse written and performed by Meath. They debuted the reworked version of the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in March.
Cool, cool, cool. So, Local Natives, now that we’ve gotten the remixes out of our system, how about we record some new music, huh?
Trey Anastasio “If I Could See The World”
“If I Could See The World” is the latest song that the Phish frontman has released from the friendly confines of quarantine. And by the latest, I mean the fifteenth.
My dude has been super productive.
I reorganized our basement.
It seems like we’re even, Trey.
Elsewhere in Music…
So, How Did That Concert In Arkansas Go?
Okay, so in case you lost track of the timeline, let’s get caught up.
- Bishop Gunn frontman Travis McCready announced he would perform at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas on May 15, the first concert in the country since the concert industry closed up shop nearly two months ago.
- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who had issued a directive that limited audience sizes at venues to 50 people, was not happy.
- The McCready show said that it was planning on limiting their capacity, but still planning on exceeding that 50 person number.
- Hutchinson hits the venue with a cease-and-desist order.
- Cooler heads prevailed and the show is back on, rescheduled for May 18th, three days after new social distancing guidelines are set to go in place.
Okay, cool. Now we’re caught up.
So, how did the show go?
Country singer Travis McCready performed this week in Arkansas, in America’s first “Social Distancing concert”! People got temperature checks, had to wear masks, 😷 and were 6 feet apart! Fun! 🙄 Hang in there Travis, this “concert” isn’t your fault! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ziwpQUadNu
— Shawnasaurus Rex (@ShawnG927) May 21, 2020
According to Rolling Stone, about 200 people were at the show, with the venue having reduced their capacity by 80 percent.
From Rolling Stone:
“Attendees were greeted at the door by TempleLive staff, who checked the temperature of each person with an infrared thermometer. Once inside, stickers and tape placed on the floor directed fans where to queue at a six-foot distance for everything from merchandise to food and beverages. Another staffer policed the bathroom lines, allowing no more than 10 people in at a time.”
Again, looks fun.
But hey, let’s not be negative. At least it’s something, right?
For more about the future of live music in the states, check out this piece I wrote for the site.
Checking In On The Streaming Front
Besides random country shows for 200 hundred people in Arkansas, live streams are all we have right now. Whether it’s digging into the vaults or performing from their homes, artists are trying and we can’t be picky here.
So, what’s new to report?
The Dropkick Murphys will be playing in an empty Fenway Park in Boston on May 29. The show, dubbed Streaming Outta Fenway, will reportedly feature Bruce Springsteen joining the band virtually. The show kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Dropkick Murphys’ Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch accounts and the JamBase Livestreams Calendar. The band will be asking for donations for the non-profit organizations Boston Resiliency Fund, Feeding America and Greater Boston Habitat For Humanity
The sites Live For Live Music and nugs.tv have put together Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival taking place on May 30th. The jam band-centric lineup features Lettuce, Galactic, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Railroad Earth, The Ghost of Paul Revere, Moon Taxi, and more. To gain access to the festival, viewers can donate any amount here with proceeds going towards the participating artists as well the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Guns N’ Roses are the latest act to open their vaults, having launched the Not in This Lifetime Selects, a series where they will feature pro-shot videos from their most recent tour. The series kicked off on Thursday night with highlights from the band’s October 29th, 2019 show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shows will stream via the band’s YouTube page.
In Case You Missed It
Ice Cube is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of his album AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and recently, he hosted a listening party on Instagram Live. He rapped along to the songs, told some stories, and answered some questions.
All fairly normal, all fairly routine.
But then he dropped this little nugget:
“I actually wrote [‘A Gangsta’s Fairytale’] for Eazy-E. But y’all know what it is; we weren’t getting down at the time so I had to take it myself,” he said on Instagram. “It’s a trip because off this song, Mr. Rogers sued us. He was mad because we had the Mister Rogers theme at the beginning of this shit. ‘It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood’ and all that. The nigga sued us and was getting like five cents a record until we took that part off.”
Mr. Rogers sued Ice Cube? How has this not come out before?
Actually it has. The anecdote appeared back in 2014 in Brian Coleman’s book Check the Technique Volume 2: More Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. I guess we all missed that one.
If you’re thinking you also missed the sample in question, it’s okay. It appeared in the original version of the track but was removed once the lawsuit happened.
Don’t worry though. Even after the sample was taken out, Rogers still got paid.
The moral of the story here? Mr. Rogers always wins.
It’s Funny Because It’s True
Every day I by mistake dress like a six year old kid who was just told they can wear ANYTHING they can find in the house.
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) May 14, 2020
This Week In Thanks, I Needed That
This is from the New Orleans band Galactic, who streamed their 2019 New Year’s Eve performance earlier this week.
And We’ll End Here
A CVS receipt going on to glory. pic.twitter.com/wfaMQ9rhqk
— Maya Normus-Bottom (@StaceyJSpiehler) May 20, 2020
See you next week!