In honor of the passing of Malik B., this week’s playlist is The Roots Appreciation Society, celebrating the legendary group as it mourns the passing of one of its founding members.
Some Beach Reads
Seeing as how it’s summer and it’s beach season, I thought I’d add a section to the Round-Up with some potential beach reads for you to check out.
Speaking of the late Malik B, Simon Vozick-Levinson wrote an excellent tribute to the rapper for Rolling Stone. Vozick-Levison writes that Malik “kept the Roots grounded, giving their jazzy, free-wheeling explorations a firm footing in the Northeastern rap canon of that era.”
Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem put together a great remembrance of Bruce Springsteen’s iconic 1975 London performance for Spin. The show captured Bruce and the E Street Band right as they were really starting to make waves and it was their first truly dominant performance abroad.
Sebastian Bach made some noise a couple of weeks back when he tweeted out that standing with Donald Trump meant you were standing against rock ‘n roll. Esquire decided to follow up with Bach and the result was a wild, wine-fueled interview that went in roughly 500 different directions.
Over the past week or so, I keep thinking about Kanye West and specifically, about how we should truly be dealing with him. He clearly has some issues, but he’s also clearly a wildcard, possibly because of those issues. I don’t think we should be giving him attention, but also don’t think he should be ignored. It’s tough. Elamin Abdelmahmoud at Buzzfeed dove headfirst into the subject with an excellent piece about how we should talk about West. Spoiler: it’s still tough.
Where Are We At With A Song Of The Summer?
Guys, it’s almost August. By the time you read this, it might already be August. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re definitely in the back nine of summer. Although on the plus side, that does get us closer to 2020 being over, so it’s not like it’s all bad news.
Now seemed like a good time to check in on some potential candidates for the illustrious title of Song of the Summer for 2020. And please remember that this is my list of candidates. It’s not yours. Your summer very well could be drastically different than mine and as a result, your list could be just as different. Settle down. I’m trying my best over here.
Khruangbin “Time (You and I)”
Run The Jewels feat. Greg Nice, DJ Premier “Ooh LA LA”
Megan Thee Stallion & Beyoncé – “Savage (Remix)”
Haim “The Steps”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”
Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”
Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar”
Post Malone “Circles”
Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande “Rain On Me”
Dinner Party feat. Phoelix “Freeze Tag”
And while we’re talking about Songs of the Summer, feel free to check out my look back at the best songs of each summer going back to 2000 and see who I crowned the winner.
This Week’s Releases
Trey Anastasio Lonely Trip
Well, last week it was Taylor Swift surprising everyone with a new album and now this week it’s Phish’s Trey Anastasio.
Is no one following the rules anymore???
Oh well. We’ll be fine.
On Thursday, Anastasio announced that he’d be releasing Lonely Trip on Friday. It’s not as if the news was a total surprise. Anastasio has been dropping new solo tracks all throughout quarantine. You have to put them all somewhere, right?
In a statement, Anastasio said that the album “was conceived and recorded in isolation at my home studio (aka Rubber Jungle) during the peak of New York City’s COVID-19 crisis, March – July, 2020.” The Phish guitarist says that he had just wrapped up a weekend-long songwriting session with his longtime collaborators Tom Marshall and Scott Herman so once quarantine kicked off, he was prepared to hunker down and start working. Anastasio pulled everything together himself but had help from Phish’s drummer Jon Fishman, who had put roughly 30 four-minute drum sequences in a Dropbox that Anastasio combed through and used.
Lonely Trip is Anastasio’s first solo release since 2019’s Ghosts of the Forest. It is, however, the second surprise release he has been a part of while in quarantine as Phish dropped a new album, Sigma Oasis, back at the beginning of April.
While you were sleeping, Beyoncé first released a video for “Already” featuring Major Lazer and Shatta Wale, and then her new visual album Black Is King was released via Disney+. Black Is King is something of a twofer in that it’s a new visual album, but also contains a deluxe version of The Lion King: the Gift, the soundtrack album Bey put together for the live-action Lion King that came out in 2019.
“Black Is King is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture. The film highlights the beauty of tradition and Black excellence,” Disney said in an earlier statement about the film.
The visual album features Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Naomi Campbell while The Lion King: The Gift [Deluxe Edition] features Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Pharrell Williams, WizKid, SAINt JHN, 070 Shake, and more.
Action Bronson “Latin Grammys”
Action Bronson dropped “Latin Grammys” this week, his first new music released this year. We’re okay with the slow output, though. My man Bronson has been busy in the department of self-care. Bronson has dropped over 80 pounds while in quarantine.
Eighty pounds! Good for you, Action Bronson.
Bronson has also dabbled in acting, appearing in both The Irishman and The King of Staten Island, continues to host his food/travel show F*ck That’s Delicious and recently welcomed a newborn baby. So in short, Bronson can be forgiven for taking some time to release some music following his 2019 Alchemist collaboration Lamb Over Rice.
“Latin Grammys” features a beat from producer Tommy Mas that was originally recorded back in 2017. In a statement released with the song, Bronson says that the song is “all about metamorphosing, this song is about coming of age. I love a good Latin-jazz, upbeat vibe. It’s got that funk, you know? You can do all kinds of dances to this song. You know a song is good when you can do all different types of dances to it, and you’re still on rhythm.”
No word yet as to whether or not the song will be part of a new album, so standby on that one.
Billie Eilish “my future”
I think it was at least a decade ago that young Billie Eilish ran away with multiple Grammys and cemented her place as both a prominent up and coming artist and legitimate force to be reckoned with. The future was wide open for Eilish and there wasn’t anything capable of slowing her down.
Well, except for a pandemic.
But even that hasn’t ground Team Eilish to a halt.
Earlier this year, Eilish released the theme song to the new James Bond movie (which’s release has since been postponed) and in May she released a short film, Not My Responsibility. And now she’s released “my future,” a song that starts out very Eilish in that it’s quiet and trance-like, before a beat kicks in halfway through, giving the song a little bit of mustard behind Eilish’s patented haunting vocals.
“my future” is most likely the product of work Eilish and her brother FINNEAS have been doing why holed up together during the quarantine as Eilish has talked about having started working on a new album.
Okay, cool. Whatever you do, don’t tell us when you’re going to release it, Billie. Just effin’ do it. That’s how we’re doing things now, okay?
Travis Barker feat. Run The Jewels “Forever”
Travis Barker got our attention banging away on drums with Blink-182, but it’s no secret that Barker harbors a love for hip hop, specifically abrasive and assaulting hip hop. On his latest solo effort, “Forever,” it’s exactly that style of hip hop Barker is dabbling in and who better to help him than the fine fellas of Run The Jewels.
This isn’t the first time the three guys have worked together, as Barker is featured on the RTJ2 track “All Due Respect.”
Barker was last seen helping Post Malone cover Nirvana, but this new track feels more like Barker than that did.
As for Run The Jewels, their plans for a world-conquering 2020 were put on hold (again, thanks to the pandemic,) but they’ve still gotten out there, giving insightful and entertaining interviews and unveiling a new cannabis line. You can check out where the duo lands on my list of best hip hop duos ever here.
A$AP Ferg feat. Nicki Minaj, Madeintoyo “Move Ya Hips”
I don’t know if this is a Song of the Summer 2020 candidate or not, but it does kind of feel like it. The new track from A$AP Ferg is his third collaboration with Minaj. They had previously released 2017’s “Plain Jane REMIX” and 2018’s “Runnin” for the Creed II soundtrack.
Calling it an A$AP Ferg joint does seem a bit misleading though as Minaj does most of the heavy lifting but we’ll let the suits figure that one out. Either way, it’s a short, tidy, little bop that’s a lot of fun.
In a statement, Ferg said that he’s currently working on the following up to 2019 Floor Seats. Meanwhile, Minaj recently announced that she’s pregnant, leading us to wonder what else Madeintoyo has going on.
Get your shit together, young man!
Mastodon “Fallen Torches”
Who doesn’t love a good compilation, huh? Way back before streaming services made it super easy to deep dive into a band’s catalog, compilations were the way to go when you wanted to bone up on a band’s history. Ah, the good old days.
I’m just kidding. Streaming services are dope and I still don’t know what to do with the books of CDs I have in my basement.
On Friday, Mastodon announced they’d be releasing a compilation of rarities this fall, Medium Rarities. Along with the announcement came a new song, “Fallen Torches.” Medium Rarities will include instrumentals, one-off singles, live tracks, cover tunes, and other obscurities.
Medium Rarities comes out on September 11th.
Elsewhere in Music…
Listen To Richard Marx People!
Wherever you go…whatever you do…if it’s in public…wear a MOTHERFUCKING MASK!
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) July 27, 2020
Check Out, Cousin Greg
Nicholas Braun, best known as Cousin Greg on HBO’s Succession, came out of nowhere earlier this week to drop the quarantine anthem we all didn’t know we needed. Sure, other artists have released albums recorded during these past few months but few have spoken to us as a country like Braun’s new song “Antibodies” does.
“I want a girl whose blood’s got the stuff/I want a girl who’s safe/Do you have the antibodies?/Do you want to be with me?/Do you have the antibodies?/’Cause if you don’t/you better stay away!”
Sound advice right there.
Appearing on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show, Braun explained the idea behind the song.
“I was in quarantine, I was in Los Angeles, I was staying at a friend’s house. They were doing a full lockdown deal and they were like, “You should be really careful about going out and talking to people.” And I said, “I might go on a date,” and they were like … “Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t be near a person.” So I was in this two-week quarantine away from even my friends in this house, and I think my brain just started turning like, what would make this OK? Or what would allow me to go on a social distance walk with somebody? And maybe it’s the antibodies. And, obviously, just felt like a punk song because it’s the word antibodies … I knew it had to be in the Blink-182, Papa Roach, P.O.D. realm.”
Braun told Rolling Stone that being alone and rocking quarantine solo was tough business for him and at one point thought that he wished he “had somebody right now to go through this with.”
“And so this girl and I were talking and we were like, ‘Maybe we should go meet up and go for a walk — with bandanas on.’ So I went on this quarantine date; it sort of felt secret because I didn’t want my friends to know. And I guess the combination of paranoia and romance is what the song is about.”
After working out some lyrics, Braun took to Instagram for help flushing out the song. An AR rep from Atlantic Records ended up reaching out, asking if he was interested in putting the song together for real. Why not, right? It was quarantine. We were all looking for stuff to help us pass the time.
Braun ended up connecting with producer Colin Brittain (Papa Roach, Dashboard Confessional, 5 Seconds of Summer) and soon “Antibodies” was born.
Questlove Shares A Loving Tribute To Malik B
This Week In It’s Funny Because It’s True
When you walk into your parent's room at 3 am to tell them you threw up. pic.twitter.com/6iyhIRckyu
— phat nat (@555natalie555) July 29, 2020
Well, That Was Pretty Sweet
That being a cover of Rush’s “Anthem” performed remotely by members of Coheed and Cambria, Tool, Mastodon, and Primus. It comes from Two Minutes to Late Night’s “Bedroom Covers” series of quarantine performances. Previous songs tackled by the show include Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”, AC/DC’s “Riff Raff”, Danzig’s “Snakes of Christ”, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Candy’s Room.” It has featured artists such as Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, and members of Slipknot, Baroness, High on Fire, and more.
One of the biggest bummers about the summer of 2020 is that a scheduled tour featuring Primus covering Rush’s A Farewell to Kings in its entirety. Like everything else, it has been rescheduled for summer 2021.
Well, if there is a summer of 2021. I don’t think we can take anything for granted anymore.
Lollapalooza Goes Virtual
So yes, everything has been canceled this summer and that very much includes music festivals. The bulk of those festivals have already turned the page to next year but not Lollapalooza. The Chicago festival is going virtual this weekend.
Starting Thursday night, Lolla 2020 will feature 150 performances and appearances as well as archival footage from previous editions of the festival over four nights. Thursday night featured a reunion of Porno For Pyros as well as an archival performance from Cypress Hill among others.
The archival portion of the virtual festival will include sets from Paul McCartney, Metallica, The Cure, OutKast, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tyler the Creator, Run the Jewels, ASAP Rocky, Chance the Rapper, Tenacious D, Cypress Hill, Jane’s Addiction, Alabama Shakes, Tove Lo, Portugal. the Man, Kehlani, LL Cool J, Princess Nokia, Polo G, and more.
You can find the full schedule here.
And We’ll End Here
I have a joke about En Vogue, but you're never gonna get it.
— Jill Hopkins (@Jillhopkins) July 27, 2020
See you next week!