New Music Round-Up 7/19/19: Wilco, Nas, Brittany Howard, Grizfolk and More
Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we’ve decided to ask Congress to set a limit on the number of “Old Town Road” remixes Lil Nas X is allowed to do. For more follow me on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79
This Week’s Playlist
Thursday would have been Hunter S. Thompson’s 82nd birthday. To celebrate, and knowing that he was a man who definitely had preferences, this week’s playlist is Thompson’s 10 best albums from the 1960’s. To read more about the list, check this out.
I’d also recommend this piece about Thompson’s legacy and his enduring influence on journalism.
Wilco “Love is Everywhere (Beware)”
Man, Wilco just keeps plugging along, don’t they? They’ve become one of those bands that seem like they’ve been around forever and will likely continue to be around forever. They’re like the lawn furniture that came with your house when you bought it: there before you got there and will definitely be there after you’re gone.
Earlier this week they released ‘Love is Everywhere (Beware,)” the first single off of their upcoming album, Ode to Joy, which comes out in October. The album is the band’s eleventh and their first since 2016’s Schmilco.
Now last week, when talking about the new 311 album, I talked about the challenges facing a band that has been around as long as they have. Those same challenges apply to Wilco, who have been around since 1994.
Wilco’s frontman Jeff Tweedy seems to be aware of these challenges as well, saying in a statement that “nobody needs more Wilco music,” he said. “But at the same time, if you use that as motivation, that’s a lot of energy to push forward and try to make something that is worth sharing, to challenge yourself to make something that has meaning to you. As an artist, I think that’s your fucking job.”
Point taken, Jeff Tweedy.
Tweedy has also gone on to say that the new album is “full of really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on.”
That sounds like exactly what we could use right about now.
Nas The Lost Tapes 2
It has been over 15 years since Nas last released his first Lost Tapes compilation and seeing as how the legendary rapper hasn’t slowed down that much since then, it goes without saying that he had plenty to choose from when it came to putting together a second installment.
The Lost Tapes 2 features unreleased tracks from sessions for 2006’s Hip Hop Is Dead, his 2008 untitled record, 2012’s Life Is Good and his most recent album, 2018’s NASIR.
The album also features a murderers row of producers, with Kanye West, Swizz Beats, RZA Pete Rock and Pharrell Williams all contributing.
Brittany Howard “Stay High”
When the Alabama Shakes entered our lives earlier this decade, it seemed like an inevitability that at some point, the band’s singer Brittany Howard would strike out on her own. This assumption was based in large part on the undeniable star power of Howard and the general blandness of the rest of the band. Don’t get me wrong. The dudes in the band were great.
Howard was a star, though.
Now the time has come for Howard to strike out on her own. Of course it’s not her first crack at making music outside of the Shakes, that was Thunderbitch in 2015. But this is her first time releasing music under her own name.
Howard is set to release her solo debut, Jaime, in September and earlier this week, released the second song from the album, the laid back dose of soulful goodness, “Stay High.” You’d have to imagine that Howard will really bust out her voice on other tracks on the album, but on this one she really lays it down for a tune that sounds like a warm, lazy summer afternoon.
Jaime comes out on September 20th.
The Flaming Lips King’s Mouth
Every time The Flaming Lips release something new, my first reaction is “holy shit, those dudes are still around. Good for them.”
This new release from them is actually technically not a new release, as it was originally released on vinyl for Record Store Day back in April. But did you know that? I didn’t. You know what means, right?
We’re counting it as a new release!
Interspersed throughout the album’s twelve tracks is narration from Mick Jones of The Clash, who helps tells the concept album’s story “about a community mourning the noble death of a benevolent monarch.” The album was part of an art installation that was on display in New York City this spring.
You can check out a review of the album here.
Grizfolk Rarest of Birds
Rarest of Birds is the second album from Grizfolk, a band of four dudes based in Los Angeles, all of whom have varying degrees of beards. The band plays melodic pop rock along the lines of a band like Local Natives and are best known for “Bob Marley” from their 2015 Waking Up The Giants.
For their second album, the band was shooting for not just a certain sound, but a specific vibe to go with that sound, saying “We just wanted to make an album that sounded timeless, and also more akin to something that we would want to listen to and the type of album we would put on if we were just hanging out on our own or with friends.”
The band heads out on tour later this month.
For a full review of the album, plus the band’s thoughts on select tracks, check out this feature from Atwood Magazine.
Murs The Iliad Is Dead And The Odyssey Is Over
Fifteen years ago, Murs and 9th Wonder teamed up for Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition, an album that Okayplayer calls “one of the greatest underground rap albums of all time.” In the words of Andy Samberg as Nic Cage, “that’s high praise.”
Since then, the duo have released a handful of albums together, but this one is the last rodeo for them. The project is Murs’ first since parting ways with Strange Music, Inc. earlier this year. The change was definitely on Murs’ mind while working on the album.
“9th and I have been working together since ’03 and were like brothers at this point,” Murs said in a press release. “This album is my first release post-Strange Music and post a lot of other major life changes.”
Murs said he spent 18 hours a day working on the album, giving credit to his wife, who “was kind enough to hold down the fort for a few weeks.”
Smart move, Murs. I hope he bought he flowers too.
Generationals Reader As Detective
These Generationals fellas are an interesting duo. Apparently they “have existed at the convergence of classic style and contemporary technique” and are “students of an analog school actualized in a digital medium.”
What’s crazy is that The New Music Round-Up also exists at the convergence of classic style and contemporary technique.
The duo are one of those bands where you might not know who they are, but if I were to play you one of their songs, you’d be like, “oh, I know that song.” Reader As Detective is their first release since State Dogs: Singles 2017-18, which came out last year.
The band heads out on tour in August.
Elsewhere in Music…
So Like, Woodstock 50 is Back On?
So in short:
Please stand by.
Lil Nas X Won’t Stop, Can’t Stop
Lil Nas X will not rest until he has effectively flooded the marketplace with endless remixes of “Old Town Road.”
First he did one with Billy Ray Cyrus and there was much celebration. Then last week he dropped another remix, this one with Young Thug and Mason “The Walmart Yodeler” Ramsey, and there was not as much celebration, but still some celebration.
That gets us at one original version and two remixes. So we’re good, right?
Lil Nas X, who it should be noted is one 7,000 rappers with Lil in their name, has now set his sights on none other than Dolly Parton.
Parton was quick to answer.
In case you’re confused, the pink horse means she’s down.
You’re move, Billie Eilish.
Hey, What’s Jason Isbell Tweeting About?
It’s been a minute since we’ve checked in on Isbell.
In related news, parenting is hard.
This Week in Office Politics
Back in June, Jerry Foxhoven, the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, had a simple request of the agency’s 4,300 employees as they headed into their weekend.
Spend the weekend listening to Tupac in honor of the late-rapper’s birthday.
Kind of a strange request, but I’m sure we’ve all gotten weirder ones from a boss.
Either way, a week later Foxhoven resigned at the request of Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds. And while it’s unknown if Foxhoven’s Tupac request was the reason for the dismissal, it kind of feels like it might have been part of it. When asked about his resignation, Foxhoven dismissed the idea that his request had anything to do with his leaving the agency, saying that “I think it’s a coincidence.”
I don’t Jerry and I think you should take this shit to city hall.
It’s what Tupac would do.
We’re Here For Your Anniversaries
It seems as if every week, a classic album is celebrating an anniversary and the band behind said album is finding ways to get in on the celebration. This week it’s Live, who are having their classic album Throwing Cooper re-released by Radioactive/MCA/UMe.
The box set will feature the original album plus bonus tracks on two black vinyl LPs. There will also be a 12-page booklet (there’s always a booklet with these) featuring interviews with the band looking back at the album.
But wait, there’s more!
The set also includes two CDs that include the band’s Woodstock 94 set among other previously unreleased tracks.
All of that is fine, but at some point in this thing I hope someone explains why they felt the concept for their video for “I Alone” was a good idea. It was weird then and it’s weird now. I need some answers.
You Ever Wonder What Ice T Is Up To?
And We’ll End Here
See you next week!